Book Reviews

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (September 24, 2012)

Vivid. Captivating. Enchanting.

This book was so beautifully written. It was a true feast for the senses.  Morgenstern writes will a real eye for even the smallest detail.

I felt like I was there at the circus.  I could see everything in brilliant detail.  I could see the performers in their intricate costumes. I could smell the caramel and hot cocoa.  I could see the inner workings of the main characters.

I did not devour this book, instead I choose to savor it.  I would read it in short bursts.  I wanted to make it last as long as possible.  I desperately wanted to read more to find out how it was all going to end. However, I also wanted to put off reading it as I knew when I got to the end of the book it would be the end of our journey.

The premise of the book is simple.  Celia and Marco are two opponents in a fierce competition where the Night Circus is the stage on which they perform.

The book itself has many different layers.  There was so much to discover about Celia and Marco, as well as all of the characters.  Morgenstern develops each character with their own intricacies and nuances.  Her previous experience as a set designer is evident in the way she describes each scene with such vivid detail.

It reminded me of those Russian nesting dolls.  Each time I read a chapter of the book, I found the chapter so interesting and was pleasantly surprised to see there was another aspect I had not noticed.  After each section, I became more invested and more enamored with the story.

This book is for anyone who enjoys a great read.  There is truely something for everyone.

You will not be disappointed.

For Darkness Shows The Stars by Diana Peterfreund (September 17, 2012)

After a genetic experiment gone horribly wrong, the result was two distinguishable classes - The Luddites who are the pures and the upper class and The Reduced who are the lower class who tried to alter what God made them to be.

Most of the Reduced live on lands of the Luddites.  They work for the Luddites and the Luddites in turn provide a shelter and care for the Reduced.

On one such estate, there is a girl named Elliot North who is a Luddite and a boy named Kai who is a Reduced. Both of them fall in madly love with each other and they keep this love a secret as it would be taboo for a Luddite to be in love with a Reduced.

However after Kai's father's death, at age fourteen, Kai decides this is not the life he wants and he leaves the estate. He asks Elliot to come with him but she tells him she cannot leave her estate and all of the people that depend on her.

Four years later, when her family's estate is in dire financial need, she decides to rent out part of her land to a group of shipbuilders headed by a Captain Malakai Wentforth who turns out to be her Kai...except not her Kai.

Will they end up happily ever after? Has Kai forgiven her for not choosing him? If Elliot has to to choose again, will she choose loyalty or love?

Loved. This. Book. I read it in 24 hours if it tells you how much I liked this book.  Reviews of this book, as well as the author, indicate this book is akin to Jane Austen's 'Persuasion'.  I cannot say for sure as I have not read 'Persuasion'. But I can say this, if it was based on 'Persuasion', I'm pretty sure the author added the dystopian society, sci-fi vibe all on her own.

This book was outstanding.  The heroine, Elliot, was such a strong, yet vulnerable character. Captain Wentforth (Kai) seems to be an enigma.  Just when you think you have him figured out, he does something completely unexpected.

I loved getting to see how their initial relationship bloomed by reading their letters to one another. The author switched back and forth between letters written to each other when they were young to the present day. (Usually I find this style of writing irksome but the author did so seamlessly.)

If you enjoy Jane Austen, dystopian society, sci-fi or romance, this book is for you. It has something for everyone!

Just be sure to set aside A LOT of time as this book will grab you and pull you in!

A Beautiful Evil by Kelly Keaton (August 13, 2012)

Let me start by saying this book is a sequel to 'Darkness Becomes Her'.  If you have not read the first book, go get it immediately!

This series is outstanding.  The heroine, Ari, is so perfectly flawed.  She is so brave in the sense she does what needs to be done to save those she cares about even though she is terrified.  She is beautiful yet fated to become a monster.  Or is she?

Ari finds a bunch of misfit kids living in a run down mansion in The New Orleans which is emancipated from the United States.  Among these kids, there is Sebastian.  Ari feels drawn to him but she is not sure who he really is and if he feels the same.

This book has a great twist on an old Greek myth, along with a riveting paranormal romance.  The characters are expertly developed and you find yourself caring for each of them, especially Ari and Sebastian.

If you have not read the first book, stop reading now!  I don't want to spoil anything for you.


For those of you who have read the first book, this second book takes place right where the first book left off.

Ari is living in The New Orleans, going to the school for the Novem (witches, vampires and shape shifters), training and searching for a way to bring down Athena.

Absolutely loved this book!  Kelly Keaton did it again.  I devoured this book. I stayed up really late one night and read the whole thing.

The characters, the plot, the romance, the action, the adventure - all of it is in this series!

The unique telling of the story of Medusa set in modern day times with a dash of romance and a dollop of paranormal - what's not to love?!

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (April 14, 2012)

Juliette is a prisoner.  She has been for several years.  She is held prisoner by the Reestablishment.  They want to use her as a weapon.  Why?  Because things happen to people when they touch her.  Bad things.

There is no one.  Only Juliette.  She is all alone.

But she has hope.  Hope that one day she will see him again.  The boy from her past.

This book is outstanding!  Loved it!  It's a little X-men and a little dystopian society.  I think this is going to be a series. *Squeee!* (You know I love my dystopian society series!!)

If you are an X-men fan, Hunger Games fan, Divergent fan or just looking for a great read, this book is it!  Cannot recommend it highly enough!

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (sequel to Delirium) (March 20, 2012)

Page Turner. Clever. Outstanding. I could not put this book down.  I lost several hours of sleep because I was awake in the wee hours of the morning reading.  I just had to know what was going to happen next!

Well, this is another dystopian society series. (Surprise, surprise!) The main character, Lena, lives in a world where love is considered a disease.  It is called "the sickness".  Kids have an operation at age 18 so they will not have to suffer, so says Society.  After the operation, people function without passion, without any real emotions and without love.

Of course, there are dissenters.  Society refers to them as "Invalids" or "Infecteds".  Those people who have chosen to live outside of the Society so they won't have to have the operation; so they will be free to love.  They live outside of the wall, in The Wilds.

It only seems fitting that I am posting about this book today, as The Hunger Games movie comes out this weekend. For those of you that love that series, you should give the Delirium series a whirl. This series, The Hunger Games series and Divergent series are all on the same level of awesomeness. (You can thank me in chocolates or bottles of wine.)



In this story, Lena escaped into the Wilds and finds herself outside of Society.  She is learning about what is means to live in the Wilds and what is means to be free to love.  All throughout the book, Lena struggles because she is so heartbroken as she sacrificed everything to escape with Alex, her love, and he did not make it.

In this book, Lena tries to make sense of her life now and who she really is.  Lena is like a ship lost at sea, trying to find her way to port. I don't want to give to much away, suffice to say, there are a lot of twists and turns.  I enjoyed readying the different perspectives. (The book switched between "then" and "now".)

I liked the mystery in trying to figure out where Lena's character was going (literally and figuratively).  When I thought I had it figured out, I was thrown a curve ball everytime.  The book ended with a cliffhanger and it is killing me!  I don't think I can wait another year for the next book.  (Could I bribe someone? I make killer chocolate chip cookies and give fantastic back rubs!)

Happy reading!

Misfit by Jon Skovron (March 6, 2012)

This book focuses on a teenage girl who is half human and half demon.  The premise alone had me hooked as there are not many books out there with this idea.  (They only other one I have read with this premise is the Hex Hall series by Rachel Hawkins, which by the way, is an excellent series.)

Jael Thompson knows she is different from other people because she is half demon but she doesn't exactly know what this means for her. Her father keeps close tabs on her, makes her go to Catholic school, and moves around the country a lot every couple of years.  Jael inherits her demon side from her mother who was a succubus.

Her father initially appears very cold and distant but we learn more about him as the story unfolds.  We learn more about him through flashbacks through Jael's eyes that shows scenes from the past when her parents were together.  I enjoyed these flashbacks as you can see there is more to her father than what he appears and you can understand why he is so jaded.

Jael has one friend, Britt, and there's a cute skater-science nerd, Rob, who she really likes.  Both of these characters are very interesting as the author gives you just enough background to see there is more depth there than you realize.

Her uncle, Dagon, shows up and makes quite the entrance.  He is her mother's brother.  He is another great character and it is fun to see him help Jael come into her own with her supernatural abilities.

And as for Jael, I like how she takes her traditional upbringing in the Catholic church and what she knows about demons and turns them on their head.  She has a different take on being a demon and she is determined to live her life helping people, not hurting them, as well as avenging her mother's death.

I enjoyed this book a great deal.  I liked the premise, the characters, the teen angst (of course!) and the supernatural romance (duh?).  If you are looking for a quick, engrossing page-turner, this one's for you!

Once In A Full Moon (Full Moon Series #1) by Ellen Schreiber (February 27, 2012)

Celeste Parker is the main character in the story.  She is typical heroine in the sense that she is the antihero.  She is beautiful but doesn't know it. She is well-to-do but has a heart gold.  She is popular but she would prefer to read and write instead of go to parties.  She lives in Legend's Run on the wealthy side of town, but treats everyone with respect.

Celeste perfers to hang out with her boyfriend, her two best friends and their boyfriends.  Her boyfriend does not make her heart go pitter-patter and she longs to find true love.

Brandon Maddox is the new guy at school from the other side of town.  Celeste immediately notices him as he is handsome and mysterious.  Both are drawn to each other despite their differences. Celeste must choose between her friends or Brandon. 

Oh yeah!  There's also the legend of werewolves in Legend's Run.  Bet you can't guess who the werewolf is?!

Is this a typical mythical teen romance read?  Yes. Does that make it bad?  No.  (I am still searching for the next 'Twilight'.  I know, I know. The movies are cheesy but the books are really good!) If you like teen angst and paranormal romance, this is a pretty good read. 

Plus, it is a series.  You know how I like my series people!

Variant by Robison Wells (February 11, 2012)

Okay, this is my first book review.  I have read tons of books but never given a review of one.  Here goes!

Benson Fisher is a foster kid who has moved around from place to place.  He thinks things will turn around for him when he finally ends up at Maxfield Academy.  Benson discovers there are no adults there and the kids are prisoners.  Benson tries to figure out why the kids are kept there and hatches a plan to escape.  I won't mention anymore specifics as I don't want to ruin it for you.  (That's part of the fun, trying to figure out the mystery!)

This is another great dystopian society series. (Surprise!) I enjoyed Wells depiction of the three factions of the school, Benson's journey to discovering what the school is really about as well as the many twists and turns.  Several times I was feeling smug as I thought I had it figured out.  Turns out, I was incorrect in my assumptions. (Not quite so smug now.) But, I enjoyed finding out the real reason for keeping the kids at the school and the intriguing ending has me wanting to read the next installment.

If you are looking for a good dystopian read, and appreciate the challenge of figuring out the plot, take a look at this one.  I think you will enjoy it.

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