The Night Circus

“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.”

The Night Circus

This is a book that chills and excites and enchants.  It is one I will read over and over so that I can go back to the magical, tent-covered land of the Circus, because what Erin Morgenstern has created is more than a masterpiece.  It’s magic.

This book review isn’t going to be a standard format, because this book isn’t standard.  It’s extraordinary in every sense of the word.

The writing is breathtaking, the characters are creative, the story is beautiful, the suspense is delicious.

Reading it was a sheer joy.  There were times I had to stop and make myself a cup of tea before continuing because I just couldn’t take all the glory of it.

So go.

Read it.

Now.

But be warned of two things:

First, I got “stuck” about a fifth of the way through reading it.  Don’t give up if you get “stuck.”  It was a tiny bit confusing with all the different plot lines, but DON’T GIVE UP because they all come together.  I promise.  And when they do, it’s magnificent.

Second, don’t read the second paragraph of the synopsis on the back of the book (or anywhere else you see the synopsis – Amazon, Goodreads, etc).  DON’T READ IT.  It contains a moderate spoiler that I believe detracts from the overall enjoyment of the book – especially the climax.

This book is sheer delight.  I’m going to stop talking now so you can go and buy yourself a copy.  It is tingling to the mind as magic might be to the fingers.

Five out of five stars any day for superb story telling.

Maximum Ride

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Author: the best-selling James Patterson

Synopsis: Fourteen-year-old Max (full name: Maximum Ride) has a lot on her plate.  She’s responsible for protecting five of her closest friends from blood-thirsty scientists who want to experiment on them.  One of those friends happens to be a cute, quiet, boy.  Then she’s also trying to track down her long-lost parents.  Oh, and she’s supposed to save the world in her free time.  But at least she can fly.

She and the rest of the “flock” have to fight off half-wolf, half-human mutants, rescue the youngest member of their winged-group from captivity, and find a place to eat tonight.  Because flying sure does have a way of making you hungry.

So come along and join the adventure, but be ready, ’cause you’ve gotta soar to survive.

What I love about it:   1) The plot.  I mean, how awesome is a bunch of bird-kids soaring around America trying to stop an evil science team?    2) The characters.  From adorable Angle to blind-but-sarcastic Iggy, the whole Flock is amazing.  And Max herself is awesome.  She has determination, a pair of wings, a bit of self-doubt, and an amazing wit that’s used for extreme sarcasm.

Content Advisory: nothing bad —  a bit of action violence and a smidgen of romance that’s completely clean.

Rating: 4.5 stars, if only because the first book wasn’t nearly as good as the second two.

Describe it in one sentence: An action-packed, sky-soaring adventure that leaves you breathless and wanting to read more.

Bonus: shout out to my older brother for introducing me to this series!

The Gallager Girl Series

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Author: The beautiful, wonderful, soul-stealing Alley Carter

Synopsis: (of the first book – I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You)

Cammie Morgan may be fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways (three of which involve a piece of uncooked spaghetti), but the Gallagher Academy hasn’t prepared her for what to do when she meets an ordinary boy who thinks she’s an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, and track him through a mall without him ever being the wiser, but can she have a regular relationship with a regular boy who can never know the truth about her? Cammie may be an elite spy in training, but in her sophomore year, she’s doing something riskier than ever—she’s falling in love.

My Thoughts: I love this series.  LOVE LOVE LOVE.  Ally Carter writes in a refreshing, deep POV prose that grabs you by the mini-skirt and pulls you along for a wild ride.  I love the characters — Cammie, the MC, is hysterical, intelligent, special… and yet easy to relate to.  And a spy.  (Which makes her pretty darn awesome.)  The other characters are diverse and funny and awesome – and also spies.  As the series progresses, Cammie faces new challenges – like being kidnapped, meeting boy spies, and finding out that the truth can hurt.  She has to rely on her training, her friends, and her instincts to make it out alive at the end of the day.

Anything objectionable?  Nope!  I mean, there’s action violence throughout the series, and there is certainly some romance, but there’s nothing objectionable for young audiences.

Rating: FIVE STARS!

Describe it in one sentence: It’s a series that you can’t put down, with awesome characters and epic plot lines… and have I mentioned, SPIES?!

More info: http://allycarter.com/books/

Bonus: I was introduced to this series through Ally’s amazing website for writers.  It was uber helpful!  Check it out here.  Lots of fun stuff and amazing info, especially for young / beginner writers.

EDIT: I got to meet the author, Ally Carter!  Read about it here.