The Girl Who Chased the Moon
By: Sarah Addison Allen
Emily Benedict came to Mullaby, North Carolina, hoping to solve at least some of the riddles surrounding her mother’s life. Why did she leave her hometown so suddenly? Why did she vow never to return?
But in a place where unexplained lights skip across the yard at midnight, where the wallpaper in your bedroom changes so suit your mood, and where a neighbour bakes hummingbird cakes in the hope of bringing back a lost love, Emily will find that the answers are not what she expects…
I first stumbled across Sarah Addison Allen and her works in a list on GoodReads about books containing magical realism. There’s something magical about the covers associated with her books, so naturally I was curious about them. I decided to start with this book because a) I love the title (anything celestial immediately grabs my attention) and b) the story sounded really magical. May contain minor spoilers ahead!
The Night Circus
By: Erin Morgenstern
The circus arrives at night, without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within nocturnal black and white striped tents awaits a unique experience, a feast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, meander through a lush garden made of ice, stand awestruck as a tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and gaze in wonderment at an illusionist performing impossible feats of magic.
Welcome to Le Cirque des Rêves. Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is underway–a contest between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in “a game,” in which each must use their powers of illusion to best the other. Unbeknownst to them, this game is a duel to the death, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will.
I’ve been curious to read this book since I’ve heard of it. It’s received a lot of buzz on the internet, in bookstores, in reviews—and rightly so. Spoilers ahead!
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
By: Susanna Clarke
The year is 1806, England is beleaguered by the long war with Napoleon, and centuries have passed since practical magicians faded into the nation’s past. But scholars of this glorious history discover that one remains, the reclusive Mr Norrell, whose displays of magic send a thrill through the country. Proceeding to London, he raises a beautiful woman from the dead and summons an army of ghostly ships to terrify the French. Yet the cautious, fussy Norrell is challenged by the emergence of another magician: the brilliant novice Jonathan Strange. Young, handsome and daring, Strange is the very antithesis of Norrel. So begins a dangerous battle between these two great men which overwhelms that between England and France. And their own obsessions and secret dabblings with the dark arts are going to cause more trouble than they can imagine.
So this novel has been sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be read since last Christmas. Been meaning to get around to it sooner but I had all these other books to get through and to be honest, its size was rather daunting, lol (despite having read longer books before; books this size definitely need considerable attention). When I left to Italy for my semester exchange, I decided to take this book with me. That was in September; I didn’t get around to actually reading it until the end of November when I had a long train ride from Trento to Wien. Anyways, I only finished it yesterday when I got back from my exchange altogether (having read the remaining 300 pages on the plane ride back) and the following things really stuck out for me from the book…
This book has been on my want-to-read list for a few years now, after having watched the movie years ago. Weeks ago I was in the mood for a historical fiction novel and finally decided to pick it up (I have the version with the cover below (which is awesome, the cover’s very intriguing); then I went to the bookstore yesterday and found out that the Vintage Classics version came out xD). I didn’t get around to reading it until I came back from my (surprise!) trip home last weekend.
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
By: Louis de Bernieres
It is the salad days of the Second World War and Captain Antonio Corelli, a young Italian officer, is serving out his time as part of the occupying forces on the Greek island of Cephallonia. While the war is raging, things seem awkwardly serene from his agreeable posting, as Corelli is a kind, conscientious man who wants nothing more than peaceful war. A consummate musician, he passes time plucking his mandolin and courting the daughter of a local daughter. Just as their love begins to bloom, the intensity of the war is turned up, bringing the savagery within a heartbeat of the island.
Now, I’ve read a lot of books set in World War Two, but I’ve never read anything set in the Balkan front of the war. In fact, I’ve only read two other books (that I can recall) that even take place in Greece (Victoria Hislop’s The Island and Byron Ayanoglu’s Crete on the Half Shell) so this was an interesting read for me. But anyways, I finished reading it and I have to say, I loved it a lot more than I initially thought I would!Spoilers ahoy!
City of Thieves
By: David Benioff
I found out about this novel back in January when it was first released on paperback. The cover was interesting and when I read the synopsis, I knew I had to read it: the novel follows Lev Beniov, a resident of Leningrad during WW2 who was caught by the Red Army for looting. He and a fellow prisoner, Kolya—the handsome and confidant soldier charged for desertion—are sentenced to find a dozen chicken eggs for the colonel’s daughter’s wedding cake. So they set off across the war-torn Russian countryside in search for a dozen eggs, encountering resistance fighters, victims of war and German soldiers along the way. Read More