Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus

RATING *5/5 STARS*

Excerpt of Inner Cover Summary: “The circus arrives without warning.  No announcements precede it, no paper notices plastered on lampposts and billboards.  It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.  Within these nocturnal black-and-white-striped tents awaits an utterly 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, stare in wonderment as the tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and become deliciously tipsy from the scents of caramel and cinnamon that waft through the air.  Welcome to Le Cirque des Rêves.”

Magic – this is the only word that came to mind as I read The Night Circus, if in fact there exists a word to properly capture the essence of this book.  I am having difficulty putting into words how happy The Night Circus made me as I read.

Fans of The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye will enjoy this book.  Both books have the same competition of magical feats as the main plot.  I enjoyed The Night Circus much more, however.

Normally, the characters make the book for me.  Not so with this one.  The circus itself made me fall in love.  I could clearly picture myself wandering the grounds of the circus, climbing the cloud maze, eating the chocolate mice with their licorice tails, and wandering through the ice garden.  The mystique that surrounded the circus filled me with joy.

The characters did play an integral role, as they do in every book.  I was thrown onto a roller coaster of emotion.  Celia and Marco, the two main characters of the book, were amazing.  My favorite character, however, was Isobel.  She is a secondary character and makes an appearance throughout several chapters.  I was able to personally connect the most with her and her struggles.

There is only one thing I did not like about the book – the timeline.  For the first couple of chapters we are in the past, then for the next couple chapters after those, we are in the present day.  This patterns continues throughout the book.  The only indication that we had switched time periods was the month and year listing underneath the chapter titles.  This confused me until about a quarter of the way into the book.  Other than that, there were no major issues.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is a must read!  I wish there were other books like this one.  Though if I am being perfectly honest, I think other books would be hard-pressed to outdo The Night Circus!

Review: I Was a Teenage Ghost Hunter by Brian K. Henry

i was a teenage ghost hunter

*I was given this ebook by the author in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts are my own and were not influenced by anyone.*

RATING *3/5 STARS*

I Was a Teenage Ghost Hunter was a fun read.  Devin is a high school student who has the ability to see ghosts.  His friends encourage him to investigate and utilize his ability, especially when there is a seemingly ghostly presence on the abandoned Rousten estate.  In addition, supernatural happenings start occurring throughout their town.  With his friends’ help and the encouragement of Emily, Devin’s crush, they seek to discover what exactly is causing supernatural occurrences, how to stop them and finally bring peace to their town.

Between the equipment they used and their in-this-together spirit, Devin and his friends Rex and Clive reminded me of a cross between the Three Musketeers and the Ghostbusters.  I wanted a group of friends like them when I was in high school.

The writing and imagery in this book is phenomenal.  I could see the Rousten estate in such detail.  This imagery also added to the relationships in this book.  I was able to clearly picture Devin, Rex, and Clive as they gave one another a hard time and support.  I haven’t loved characters like them so much in quite a while.

The action in the plot is kind of slow until about a third of the way into the book.  I was happy I kept reading though, because when the action does pick up, it picks up quickly.  By the end of the book, I couldn’t put it down.  In fact, I had a couple late nights because I had to see what happened next.

I Was a Teenage Ghost Hunter is more geared toward the sixteen and younger age group; although, I highly enjoyed it.  I rate the fright aspect of the book a 2/5.  Some of the images are vivid, but they contributed positively to the book’s plot.

Brian K. Henry’s writing is amazing.  I enjoyed reading his I Was a Teenage Ghost Hunter and look forward to future works!

 

 

Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

ACOWAR_US

Inner Cover Book Summary: “Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythia to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit – and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.  As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places.”

RATING *5/5 STARS*

*MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD*

I absolutely loved A Court of Wings and Ruin.  Sarah J. Maas has only further proven she is a literary genius!!!

The first half of the book is kind of slow in terms of action.  Instead, it is filled more with the strategy leading up to the impending war.  I noticed ACOWAR received several low reviews because of this.  I thought it contributed greatly to the plot, though.  It gives the reader the thought process behind the moves.  War is like chess in that there is a lot of strategy.

There are a few hot and heavy romance scenes in A Court of Wings and Ruin, as there are in the two previous books.  I would not suggest anybody under the age of sixteen read these scenes, unless they are mature enough to handle it.  The romance scenes, however, depict a healthy, married relationship, which is extremely rare in the young adult books of today.  All things considered, I would rather have young adults reading about these kinds of relationships then the hook ups which seem to permeate our present culture.

Unlike the first two books, A Court of Wings and Ruin has a lot more diversity.  It is revealed that one of the main characters is a lesbian.  In addition, one of the High Lords is bisexual while another is gay.  SJ Maas did not give sexual scenes with these characters.  She did, however, take time to explain what these terms meant.  I thought it very classy.  She presented these characters naturally instead of forcing them upon us.

My favorite part of the story is the war at the end.  In retrospect, it is reminiscent of the The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.  I felt as if I were there, feeling what the characters were feeling.  I felt Nesta’s anguish and fury, Feyre’s worry and ferocity, and Rhys’s determination.  I was sad I finished this book so fast.

A highly anticipate the next book, even though we have to wait an entire year *crawls into the corner and cries*!  I hope you decide to read A Court of Wings and Ruin.  Let me know what you think if you do!

 

Review: Ones and Zeroes by Dan Wells

ones and zeroes

Inner Cover Book Summary: “Overworld.  It’s more than just the world’s most popular eSport – thousands of VR teams around the globe, Overworld is life.  It means fame and fortune, or maybe it’s a ticket out of obscurity or poverty.  If you have a connection to the internet and four friends you trust with your life, anything is possible.  Marisa Carneseca is on the hunt for a mysterious hacker named Grendel when she receives word that her amateur Overworld team has been invited to Forward Motion, one of the most exclusive tournaments of the year.  For Marisa, this could mean everything – a chance to finally go pro and to help her family, stuck in an LA neighborhood on the wrong side of the growing divide between the rich and the poor.  But Forward Motion turns out to be more than it seems – rife with corruption, infighting, and danger – and Marisa runs headlong in Alain Bensoussan, a beautiful, dangerous underground freedom fighter who reveals to her the darker side of the forces behind the tournament.  It soon becomes clear that, in this game, winning might be the only way to get out alive.”

RATING *3/5 STARS*

*MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD*

I must admit, I was a little disappointed with Ones and Zeroes.  I really enjoyed the first book in the series, Bluescreen.  But book number two was a bit of a letdown.

For starters, there was very little continuation of the first book’s plot in Ones and Zeroes.  While there was some mention of it, Ones and Zeroes focuses mainly on an entirely new plot.  Don’t get me wrong, the new plot is great, but I didn’t like it as much as the one in Bluescreen.  That being said, there is still plenty open for the the continuation of the original plot in the third book.

Ones and Zeroes had a large family element, which I loved!  We learn a lot more about Marisa’s relationship with her parents and how far Marisa is willing to go to protect her family.  And the answer is kind of shocking, yet understandable.  Not to mention Marisa’s abuela (grandmother).  Her abuela is my new fave.

We are introduced to several new characters.  They range from archenemies of the Cherry Dogs, to new allies, to a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  I enjoyed their additions to the story line.  Not only did the new characters add an unexpected element but they also assisted in main character growth!

There are a lot more Spanish phrases included in Ones and Zeroes, which for me was good as I am trying to learn Spanish.  Be prepared to look up phrases with which you are unfamiliar.  I highly suggest looking up these words; it will help give you increased context.

 

Review: Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

carve the mark

Inside front cover summary: “Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people.  Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power – something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies.  But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.  Akos is the son of a farmer and an oracle from the frozen nation-planet of Thuvhe.  Protected by his unusual currentgift, Akos is generous in spirit, and his loyalty to his family is limitless.  Once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get his brother out alive – no matter what the cost.  Then Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, and the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable.  Will they help each other to survive, or will they destroy one another?”

*MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD!!! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!*

Let me just start out by saying, “Wow!”  Carve the Mark is amazing.  The plot is well thought out.  The character development is profound.  Not to mention the action!

I wasn’t sure how well I would like this book; I had read quite a few low reviews prior to reading it.  Boy am I glad I didn’t listen to them!  I think the reason so many reviewers rated it the way they did was because they went into it with a Divergent-bias.  To fully enjoy Carve the Mark, all Divergent-love/bias must be set aside.  Divergent and Carve the Mark are two entirely different books with different plots and different genres.  Personally, if I were to compare the two, I enjoyed Carve the Mark significantly more than I did Divergent.

In terms of the characters, I was able to identify and connect with Cyra more than Akos.  I think it was because she started out as a strong character.  I do love a well-written, strong female character!  In addition to her strength, her vulnerability and willingness to open up emotionally developed throughout the story.  My connection with Akos came towards the end of book.  He was a stronger character by then; in other words, he was no longer the naive boy as he started out.  The relationship between Cyra and Akos is beautiful.  It did not begin that way, though.  In fact, I was worried for a while the actions of one of them jeopardized the entire thing.

I failed to see the plot twists Veronica Roth threw at us.  I thought them brilliant!  I won’t explain further; I did say MINOR spoilers, after all.

Another criticism I have seen is the Shotet characters’ use of carving a line in their skin as a way to mark a kill/loss.  It did not personally bother me, but I can see where some readers may find it offensive.  Carve the Mark is not the first book to introduce characters who practice this, however.  The main character of the The Storm Siren trilogy by Mary Weber carved and tattooed herself for the same reason.

Overall, Carve the Mark only adds to Veronica Roth’s list of successful works.  I highly anticipate the sequel!

 

Getting Started

book-2304388_1280Alright, let’s get this party started!  I decided to start a blog dedicated to books, mainly because the book discussions I saw on Goodreads was starting to disappoint me.  That and the fact it’s summer, and I have a lot of free time.  Why not do something that I love?

Since this process is relatively new to me, it may take me a little while to figure out the ins and outs of WordPress.  I ask only for your patience.  Because once I get it figured out, I am going to be off and running!

So here’s to a fantastic start!  I can’t wait to review my first book (I am reading one right now!)  Have a blessed day!