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!
By: Anne Fortier
Twenty-five-year-old Julie Jacobs is heartbroken over the death of her beloved Aunt Rose. But the shock goes even deeper when she learns that the woman who has been like a mother to her has left her entire estate to Julie’s twin sister. The only thing Julie receives is a key—one carried by her mother on the day she herself died—to a safety-deposit box in Siena, Italy.
This key sends Julie on a journey that will change her life forever—a journey into the troubled past of her ancestor Giulietta Tolomei. In 1340, still reeling from the slaughter of her parents, Giulietta was smuggled into Siena, where she met a young man named Romeo. Their ill-fated love turned medieval Siena upside-down and went on to inspire generations of poets and artists, the story reaching its pinnacle in Shakespeare’s famous tragedy.
But six centuries have a way of catching up to the present, and Julie gradually begins to discover that here, in this ancient city, the past and present are hard to tell apart. The deeper she delves into the history of Romeo and Giulietta, and the closer she gets to the treasure they allegedly left behind, the greater the danger surrounding her—superstitions, ancient hostilities, and personal vendettas. As Julie crosses paths with the descendants of the families involved in the unforgettable blood feud, she begins to fear that the notorious curse—“A plague on both your houses!”—is still at work, and that she is destined to be its next target. Only someone like Romeo, it seems, could save her from this dreaded fate, but his story ended long ago. Or did it?
This book has been on my radar since maybe last year when it first came out in hardback. I’m the type that waits for the book in paperback (given my lack of shelf space these days, and my student background) so I only got the book some time ago. I decided to bring it with me last week when I went on vacation to Italy seeing as the location was fitting (even though I didn’t go to Siena; would be nice to go there again when it’s sunny and not the middle of the Italian winter) and it fit nicely in my luggage. The verdict? Let’s just say I wanted to stay in my hotel and finish the book rather than go out and explore the Italian countryside! lol Spoilers ahead!
By: David Nicholls
It’s 1988 and Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley have only just met. But after only one day together, they cannot stop thinking about one another. Over twenty years, snapshots of that relationship are revealed on the same day-July 15th-of each year. Dex and Em face squabbles and fights, hopes and missed opportunities, laughter and tears. And as the true meaning of this one crucial day is revealed, they must come to grips with the nature of love and life itself.
I forgot what list I read but this book showed up as one of the best for the year. The premise intrigued me (especially the fact that every chapter focused on July 15th year after year) and I was in need of a good book that would keep my mind off the stress that is my thesis. Some spoilers ahead!
The Time Traveller’s Wife
By: Audrey Niffenegger
When Henry meets Clare, he is twenty-eight and she is twenty. Henry has never met Clare before; Clare has known Henry since she was six. Impossible but true, because Henry finds himself periodically displaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity from his life, past and future. Henry and Clare’s attempts to live normal lives are threatened by a force they can neither prevent nor control, making their passionate love story intensely moving and entirely unforgettable. The Time Traveller’s Wife is a story of fate, hope and belief, and more than that, it’s about the power of love to endure beyond the bounds of time.
I’ve been debating back and forth whether or not to check this book out for the longest time. Then the trailer for the movie came out and that was when I decided to check the book out. As I mentioned for my Teaser Tuesday this week I’ve been re-reading LOTR lately but I decided to start reading The Time Traveller’s Wife as well, try to minimize the TBR list before I move in a few weeks. I was quite surprised that I was unable to put it down at all today (I say quite surprised because even after picking it up I’ve been rather guarded towards the book—the reviews have been either positive or negative)!—so much so that I just finished the book a little while ago and am typing this review while the reaction and memory of it is still fresh (shall be returning to Middle Earth shortly). Possibly highly spoilerish review ahead.
The Lord Memoirs of Jane Austen
By: Syrie James
Being a massive Jane Austen fan, I had to go and pick up this book (well, actually I was staring at this book for how many weeks before I picked it up). There’s always been speculation as to whether Jane Austen had a great love story in her life that inspired the greatest love stories in her novels; you can see it in the various biographies available at bookstores on her life, there was the movies Becoming Jane and Miss Austen Regrets. The premise of this novel fits in with the speculation; James writes from the point of view of Jane Austen herself, transcribing her relationship with a well-off gentleman by the name of Mr. Ashford. This relationship was set between her teenage years and the time that Sense and Sensibility came out. It’s a sweet novel, drawing in incidents that would’ve influenced certain scenes later in her six novels. It’s a great read, James captures the period that Jane lived in quite nicely, although she could have expanded the ending a bit longer, it seemed a bit abrupt (though, thinking upon it further, it made sense since it would’ve been a painful memory to Jane). I strangely found myself drawing parallels with the movie Becoming Jane, but that could just be a coincidence since I had also seen the movie shortly before reading the book. I highly recommend this book if you enjoy Jane Austen’s works.
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