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From the category archives:

Books

The Night Circus

by Emma on June 22, 2012

in Books

This week I finally finished The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I have been slowly savoring this book for the past… few months. I’m trying to remember how this book was recommended to me, but I forget. I’m sure I was sold when I learned that it was about magic. I am a sucker for fiction about magic. I think it’s a condition that everyone who grew up reading the Harry Potter’s suffers from. We are all looking for something to fill that Harry Potter shaped hole in our hearts these days. Refugees.

That got dramatic. Never mind.

The Night Circus follows a little girl and boy who are taught magic in order to compete against each other once they grow up. Their instructors also serve as their parental figures (one literally and one just by default, I suppose) and are responsible for pitting them against each other in a competition that is meant to lead to one of their deaths. The arena for their dual is the Night Circus, also called Le Cirque des Rêves. The characters eventually fall in love and this, well, complicates the competition. As you can imagine it might.

Here’s what I love about this book: the circus. It is glamorous, magical, other worldly and Morgenstern does a fantastic job transporting her readers there. There are so many details and side characters who are involved with the circus that it really becomes a world of its own. I really think this book is worth the read just for the chance to go to the night circus.

Here’s what I didn’t love about the book: the conflict. The characters dilemma, being pitted against the one you love in a fight for survival has epic potential. But, in the end, the conflict feels more like it fizzles out. I also wish the lovers relationship had been explored more. I think it’s a really interesting idea that they both grew up with cruel, isolating parental figures and yet they had no difficulty falling in love with each other. I can see how their upbringing would give them some common ground to understand each other from, but to me it seems like their pasts would have given them major distrust issues. I would have loved to have seen this obstacle confronted, as I think it would have added a level of depth to the characters and their relationship.

Have any of you read The Night Circus? What did you think? xo. Emma

42 comments

Girls of Riyadh

by Emma on February 23, 2012

in Books

I have been reading Girls of Riyadh since about a week before Valentine’s day. It was sort of the perfect book to read this month as it’s all about love and relationships but set among a culture that is both foreign and extremely interesting when examining those types of relationships. It’s like if Sex in the City or Gossip Girl was set in Saudi Arabia instead of the US. The social (and legal) boundaries between men and women are much more severe than in my own, so reading about the these four female friends and their journey to find love was really neat.

This would have still been a fun read had it been set in a culture more similar to mine, but what made it a great read was seeing all the differences the characters face and yet still had similar reactions to what I’ve seen in myself and other friends when face with… matters of the heart. I don’t know how you are when you read a book about love, but I’m usually surprised or at least get the chance to reexamine my own opinions and reactions to it as I find myself rooting for or disagreeing with a character’s choice. And then sometimes an author can get you to change your mind completely, based on a few actions from a character you previously considered somewhat a villain. That’s always interesting to me.

This was a really good read, I would put it slightly above a just a ‘pleasure read’ as I feel like I actually did learn a bit about a different culture due to the setting and the author’s honestly. So… yeah… I totally recommend this one.

What have you been reading lately???

Happy reading adventures! xo. Emma

P.S. The illustration to the right of book cover was created by Martha Rich, found here. Loved it!

27 comments

Commencement. It’s a good one.

by Emma on January 6, 2012

in Books

Ok, now this is what I’m talking about! This would probably fall under the category of just-for-fun read, or easy-beach read, etc. And it is, sure. But it has enough depth and story to keep you interested and make you want to root for/be friends with the characters. I like that. I like all my fictional friends. Don’t judge me.

Commencement is, at its core, a simple story about four women who meet in college and remain friends throughout their early adult lives. They are different enough women that I feel it’s safe to say that the author, J. Courtney Sullivan, has a real talent for voicing very different points of view. The book is funny, irreverent, emotional, and engaging. Since the characters met at an all women college many of the interesting (and often funny) ideals in feminism come up while the characters discover who they are and engage in various relationships.

I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone looking for a fun but engaging weekend read. It’s a good one. For realz.

Did I just loose all credibility with you by using the word “realz?” Yes? Oh dear.

What have you been reading lately?

xo. Emma

40 comments

Witches of East End

by Emma on December 23, 2011

in Books

I love fantasy novels. I really do. If the book has: vampires, magic, werewolves, witches/wizards, or any other-worldly elements I am all in. I will read that book. It really doesn’t take much to convince me.

So after about a month and half hiatus from reading ‘for fun’ (I had been studying for a big, important test) I decided I wanted to start back up with a truly just-for-fun fantasy novel. I had read a short review of Witches of East End and it sounded pretty promising. The story centers around a mother and her two daughters, all witches who have been forbidden from using their magic. Their town begins having a number of public health and weather related problems, along with a few murders and a disappearance/kidnapping. So the witches are forced out of hiding to deal with all that craziness.

There is a lot of magic. There is a lot of love. And there is a lot of just plain ridiculousness in this book.

I am more than happy to suspend my disbelief. I mean, I openly embrace the fantasy genre. But this book just got a way too… out there. Bordering on not making any sense at some points. I’m not even entirely sure how it ends, and I read that part. I just don’t get it, and not because it’s so deep.

I have not read Ms. de la Cruz’s other series, she is a NY Times best-selling author, so who am I to judge? But frankly, I was pretty unimpressed with the last 1/3 of this book. I tried. But I can’t say it was very good.

Sorry if that was a total downer, guys. I mean, it’s the holidays and all. I’m excited to celebrate with my friends and family this weekend. I wish you all a very happy holiday-be safe and have fun!

xo. Emma

P.S. If you read this book and totally loved it-cool! Feel free to call me a crazy lady. We can still be buds. Even if I’m crazy. :)

22 comments