Now Quoting: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Page By Paige

13330943.jpgThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Published by Doubleday on September 13th 2011

Page Count: 387

Genre(s): Adult, fantasy, historical fiction, magical realism, romance

Format: Paperback, purchased

Would I recommend? Absolutely! I don’t read very many adult books because I tend to grow bored of them quite easily, but this one held my attention the entire time. The plot is so incredibly creative and unique and the author’s use of imagery and figurative language is absolutely astounding. I loved every second of it! I would especially recommend this novel to fans of Bone Gap and Challenger Deep.

My Rating: ★★★★☆


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.

But behind the scenes…

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Now Quoting: Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

18812437LET’S GET LOST BY ADI ALSAID

Published by Harlequin Teen on July 29th 2014

Genre(s): YA, contemporary, romance, coming of age

Format: Hardcover, library copy

Would I recommend? Yes. I wouldn’t say that it was a particularly memorable book or had a long-lasting effect on me, but it was definitely an enjoyable read and had a great concept and very unique and colorful cast of characters. Find my full review here. 

Rating: ★★★★☆


Five strangers. Countless adventures. One epic way to get lost.

Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named Leila. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most.

Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila’s own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth—sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you’re looking for is to get lost along the way.

-Goodreads.com description


“I know there may be universes out there where I made different choices and they led me somewhere else, led me to someone else. And my heart breaks for every single version of me that didn't end up with you.”.png


Have you read Let’s Get Lost? What did you think? What are some books that you’ve found particularly quotable lately?

Review: Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

18812437.jpgLet’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

Published by Harlequin Teen on July 29th 2014

Genre(s): YA, contemporary, romance, coming of age

Format: Hardcover, library copy

Would I recommend? Yes. I wouldn’t say that it was a particularly memorable book or had a long-lasting effect on me, but it was definitely an enjoyable read and had a great concept and very unique and colorful cast of characters.

Rating: ★★★★☆


Five strangers. Countless adventures. One epic way to get lost.

Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named Leila. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most.

Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila’s own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth—sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you’re looking for is to get lost along the way.

-Goodreads.com description


My Thoughts

Let’s Get Lost had a lot of hype surrounding it before its release, and rightfully so. I was really looking forward to reading this book because of all the potential the unique concept held. I absolutely love road trip books (seeing the term “road trip” in a book’s synopsis is one of the most foolproof methods of getting me to check it out!), and you all know how big a fan I am of coming of age books. Plus, the idea that one person – in this case, Leila, the main character – could make such a big impact on the lives of four different people in a small amount of time is incredible to me – definitely something I wanted to read about.

I loved Leila. Although I’ve seen a lot of versions of her in many other YA books, her vibrant personality and sassy dialogue kept me engaged throughout the whole read. She’s outspoken, opinionated, caring, and hilarious – definitely someone who I would love to be friends with.

The other characters were great too. Their stories and backgrounds did all seem somewhat stereotyped and typical, but their personalities were all very unique and every one of them brought something new to the table. I found myself getting very emotionally engaged in each character’s individual story, only to have that part of the book end and move on to another character’s perspective. The endings of each character’s POV weren’t very satisfying because it seemed like the story was stopping before it even got started, which was pretty frustrating for me. I wish the author would have taken a little more time with each story so we would have gotten to know the characters better.

The author’s writing style is gorgeous, filled with lots of humor and engaging dialogue. I’ll definitely have to check out his other books!

Final Thought

A very unique and interesting concept, filled with humorous writing and colorful characters. Although I did have a couple minor issues with it, all in all it was a very enjoyable read and definitely something I’d recommend.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars


Have you read Let’s Get Lost? What did you think? I’d love to hear what you guys have to say in the comments!

Review: Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby

 17571215.jpgThings We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby

Published by HarperTeen on April 21st 2015

Page Count: 304

Genre(s): YA, contemporary, romance, coming-of-age, grief

Format: Hardcover, library copy (but will be purchasing a shiny hardcover copy of ASAP!)

Would I recommend? Yes, absolutely. This is by far the best book I’ve encountered this year and one of the most perfect books I’ve ever read. A unique concept, lovely characters, and a brilliant, long-lasting effect. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone.

Rating: ★★★★★


When Quinn Sullivan meets the recipient of her boyfriend’s donated heart, the two form an unexpected connection.

After Quinn loses her boyfriend, Trent, in an accident their junior year, she reaches out to the recipients of his donated organs in hopes of picking up the pieces of her now-unrecognizable life. She hears back from some of them, but the person who received Trent’s heart has remained silent. The essence of a person, she has always believed, is in the heart. If she finds Trent’s, then maybe she can have peace once and for all.

Risking everything in order to finally lay her memories to rest, Quinn goes outside the system to track down nineteen-year-old Colton Thomas—a guy whose life has been forever changed by this priceless gift. But what starts as an accidental run-in quickly develops into more, sparking an undeniable attraction. She doesn’t want to give in to it—especially since he has no idea how they’re connected—but their time together has made Quinn feel alive again. No matter how hard she’s falling for Colton, each beat of his heart reminds her of all she’s lost…and all that remains at stake.

-Goodreads.com description

My Thoughts

I really, really tried to word a review that would do this book justice, but I just couldn’t. Not in my typical review format, anyway. One of my blogging resolutions for 2016 was to play around with some different review formats, so who knows, maybe I’ll try doing something like this again in the future! There’s no need to worry about spoilers in this review; as always, there is none. Hopefully reading this post will give you a little insight as to why I loved and needed this book so much.


Dear Jessi,

I went into Things We Know By Heart with pretty high expectations. After you completely stole my heart with your lovely novel In Honor, how couldn’t I? When I was perusing Goodreads one day and stumbled across your latest novel (and this was before I even knew you existed, mind you), I instantly fell in love with the title, cover, synopsis, everything. I knew from that day that Things We Know By Heart would be a definite 5-star read, and I certainly wasn’t wrong.

Things We Know By Heart was a beautiful, utterly perfect novel. I honestly couldn’t have asked for anything more. I read some reviews and noticed that a few people said that the novel’s concept is a bit cliche or stereotyped, but really, how could it be? There may have been a few common tropes I recognized, but every novel has those. The concept in its entirety is so unique, so brilliant, that I don’t think any other author has ever written anything like it before.

I already knew from reading In Honor that your writing style is gorgeous, Jessi, but Things We Know By Heart gave a whole new definition to amazing writing. Your prose is so seamless and flows so well that I found myself reading every sentence twice in effort to savor every word. There was also lots of dialogue, which I adored. What struck me most about your writing, though, was the descriptions. I absolutely loved how you described the setting of the novel in such a powerful and poetic way that left me thinking, hey, I want to go there! A few days ago in English class, we were discussing how setting can make such a big impact on the overall effect and theme statement of a book, and I really saw this aspect come into play with your novel. A big part of your book took place at a beachy setting, which I really appreciated because I could relate to Quinn’s and Colton’s connection with nature on a very personal level.

When I read this novel, I was in a pretty tough place. It was near the end of the year and I was stressing out about all the assignments teachers were piling up, I hadn’t read any good books lately, I hadn’t gotten a chance to go on an ocean swim recently, swim practice was super stressful. Honestly, I was just really tired. I felt like I needed a long break, like life was this never-ending cycle of stressfulness and tough situations and I had to fight to make it through every day. This is why I was so, so thankful that I read Things We Know By Heart when I did. I needed to read that novel desperately just then, and you, Jessi, allowed me to do just this. So thank you. Thank you so much.

Although I thankfully hadn’t ever gone through an experience similar to the one Quinn had to go through, I still related to her and empathized with her so much. You have a way of carving out characters that manage to find their way into your heart within the first few chapters, and I’m so grateful for this. I’m so grateful that I had the pleasure of meeting Quinn, and of learning about – no, living – her incredible story. She is such a strong, unique, and very real character, and I genuinely felt while reading this book that I experienced some degree of every emotion she went through. I understood her, I empathized with her, I cried with her. At first glance you might think that it’s unrealistic and naive for a young character to be going through this much grief after the death of a boyfriend, but once you get to know her and understand the bond she and Trent shared, it makes so much sense. I feel like going looking for Trent’s heart recipient was exactly what I would have done if I was in her shoes. I understand why she wanted to look for Colton in effort to find a piece of one of the people she loved the most. She was incredibly strong, but she definitely had some flaws, too. Her mistakes and weaknesses were what really made me be able to love her and relate to her so much.

Alright, now I should talk about Colton. Earlier in my review I talked about some of the aspects of your book that made such a lasting impact on me, but in all honesty, Colton’s character was what really made the difference. I started this novel feeling small, tired, and relatively insignificant. I finished this novel feeling empowered, inspired, and ultimately fulfilled. This was the result of having the pleasure of meeting a lovely character by the name of Colton Thomas.

Colton’s character was just wonderful. He was one of the most real, fleshed-out characters I had ever met, and definitely one of my favorites. He’s sweet, quirky, idealistic, weird, observant, and independent. He cares so much for Quinn and his family, and he’s a real gentleman. He’s strong, flawed, and pragmatic. He has had to go through so many tough experiences, and these experiences have helped shape the lovely person he is. What struck me most about his character, however, was his passion for nature. He literally lived every day like it was his last because his experiences had taught him to, and he taught Quinn to do the same. He fed his passions boldly and fearlessly, and invited others to do the same. He had such a deep connection with nature – the ocean, in particular – that it immediately made me want to put on a bathing suit and dive in to the 56 degree surf.

In fact, that’s just what I did after finishing this novel. I put your book down, careful not to bend any of the pages, slipped into my favorite one-piece, drove down to the beach, and plunged into the frigid ocean. I floated out there for a while, feeling the waves lap against my body, feeling the seaweed thread in between my fingers, watching the way the sun set over the water, feeding my passion boldly and fearlessly just as Colton had. This book was one of the most powerful, inspirational, impactful books I’ve ever read.

So thank you, Jessi. Thank you for creating characters that I could empathize with and relate to. Thank you for your beautiful writing that made me want to get up at 6am every morning to read it. Thank you for making me smile, cry, laugh, swoon, think, and act. Thank you for creating such wonderful relationships between your characters and your readers (AKA me). Thank you for inspiring me and moving me in a way that no book has ever inspired me and moved me before. I appreciate it so much. If you ever end up reading this letter, Jessi, I hope it gives you even the smallest insight to how much I loved and appreciated you book. Really, it meant the world to me.

Love, Paige

Rating: 5/5 Stars


Woah, that was a long post. To everyone who managed to get to the bottom of all that: thank you so much! I hope you enjoyed it, despite my rambles.

Let’s talk: have you read Things We Know By Heart? What did you think of it? What is your favorite Jessi Kirby book?

Help Me Pick My Vacation Reads! | June 2016

Am I Too Easy Of A Rater- (2) 2.jpg

Hi guys! So, if you have been following this blog for a while, you may know that I’m a competitive swimmer and absolutely love the water. Because of this, my parents decided to get me something swimming-related for my birthday way back in December – tickets for the Olympic Swimming Trials in Omaha, Nebraska!

If you don’t know too much about swimming, the Olympic Swim Trials spans over an 8-day period and is the most competitive swim meet in the world. It is also one of the most exciting and emotional sports events in the world because it’s the moment that decides whether or not thousands of swimmers will become an Olympian for the rest of their lives.

I have tickets to go see the first four days of this meet, which means that I have a few hours each day between prelims and finals to hang out and go to tourist attractions around the city. And when I say “hanging out,” you probably already know that I mean reading!

Yesterday, I went on a library spree and I’m very pleased with the books I checked out! However, I did pick up a pretty large number of books (10 to be exact, but I’ve already read 2), so I need your guys’ help picking out the four books I should take.

Anyway, on to the book haul!


Book Haul

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Have you guys read any of the books I listed above? What did you think? Which books do you think I should bring on my trip?

Review: Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

23492661.jpgMaybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Published by Washington Square Press on July 7th 2015

Page Count: 342

Genre(s): Adult, contemporary, romance, coming-of-age

Format: Paperback, purchased

Would I recommend? YES, YES, YESSSSSS. I would absolutely recommend this to anyone, especially someone who is at a difficult time in their life, is at the crossroads, and/or needs a good comfort read.

My Rating: ★★★★☆

From the acclaimed author of Forever, Interrupted and After I Do comes a breathtaking new novel about a young woman whose fate hinges on the choice she makes after bumping into an old flame; in alternating chapters, we see two possible scenarios unfold—with stunningly different results.

At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She has lived in six different cities and held countless meaningless jobs since graduating college. On the heels of leaving yet another city, Hannah moves back to her hometown of Los Angeles and takes up residence in her best friend Gabby’s guestroom. Shortly after getting back to town, Hannah goes out to a bar one night with Gabby and meets up with her high school boyfriend, Ethan.

Just after midnight, Gabby asks Hannah if she’s ready to go. A moment later, Ethan offers to give her a ride later if she wants to stay. Hannah hesitates. What happens if she leaves with Gabby? What happens if she leaves with Ethan?

In concurrent storylines, Hannah lives out the effects of each decision. Quickly, these parallel universes develop into radically different stories with large-scale consequences for Hannah, as well as the people around her. As the two alternate realities run their course, Maybe in Another Life raises questions about fate and true love: Is anything meant to be? How much in our life is determined by chance? And perhaps, most compellingly: Is there such a thing as a soul mate?

Hannah believes there is. And, in both worlds, she believes she’s found him.

-Goodreads.com description

My Thoughts

OH MY GOODNESS GRACIOUS. I should probably warn you guys: I literally just finished this book so I may or may not be a complete mess of feels. Expect lots and lots of rambling in this review.

feels.gif

LITERALLY ME RIGHT NOW. Don’t judge, please.

“I know there may be universes out there where I made different choices and they led me somewhere else, led me to someone else. And my heart breaks for every single version of me that didn’t end up with you.”

I bought this book on a complete whim. Well, I guess I had heard about it once or twice from other bloggers, but it’s not one of those really really hyped-about books, you know? I mean, I guess I’m not too experienced in the whole “Adult Fiction” thing, but if it was really popular then I would be seeing it everywhere. And, the point is, I only just saw it in the bookstore yesterday.

Gosh darn it, I don’t know how to talk today. SEE, THIS IS WHAT BOOKS DO TO ME!!!

Ahem.

ANYWAY, I went into this book knowing pretty much nothing. Heck, I didn’t even read the synopsis when I picked it out at the bookstore. I just saw it, thought “hey, I’ve heard of this one before,” scrolled through some Goodreads reviews (which were ALL 5 STARS, mind you), and purchased it. Which turned out to be a really great decision.

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I’ve also been trying to get more into adult fiction lately, so this worked out perfectly. I still haven’t quite worked up the courage to start on The Shining yet.

I honestly can’t tell you one thing about this novel that I disliked. I really do try to find things to critique when reading a book (okay, that sounds kinda harsh. But we are book bloggers, after all.), and I couldn’t find ONE. SINGLE. THING. The writing style is amazing, the characters are realistic and fleshed out, and the concept was super unique and intriguing. I didn’t get bored at any point during this novel.

But, I rated it 4 stars. Which isn’t a bad rating, mind you. It’s a great rating! But since all I’ve done in this review so far is gushed about my feelings, why isn’t it a 5-star read? Why doesn’t it instantly go to my “favorites” shelf?

I honestly don’t know. I’ve been trying to figure that out for the entire time I’ve been writing this review (which is probably like 20 minutes), but nothing that really makes sense has occurred to me. The closest thing I can come up with that may or may not make sense in this situation is this: Maybe I just didn’t read it at the right time. Maybe I should have listened to the reviews and read it when I needed a great comfort read, or when I was making a big decision in my life. Or, as Ms. Taylor Jenkins Reid would put it, “maybe in another life.”

See what I did there?

Ha, ha.

I find myself way too amusing for my own good.

Anyway, I decided to create a list on all the things I absolutely LOVED in this book in attempt to get you to read it. That’s what positive reviews are for after all, right?!

Things I Loved

  • The concept is so interesting! Seriously, please read the synopsis because I’m really not in the mood to explain it all. Maybe In Another Life was such a thought-provoking, eye-opening, intriguing read that kept me deeply interested the whole way through.
  • The writing style is so gorgeous! I was literally scrambling for my quote notebook throughout the entire novel. One of the quotes that particularly stuck out to me was: “Life is long and full of an infinite number of decisions. I have to think that the small ones don’t matter, that I’ll end up where I need to end up no matter what I do.”  And, “When you sit there and wish things had happened differently, you can’t just wish away the bad stuff. You have to think about all the good stuff you might lose, too. Better just to stay in the now and focus on what you can do better in the future.”
  • It dealt with themes like soul mates and fate and love and acceptance and a lot of other beautiful, wonderful things. The only other book I’ve read that deals with these themes is Volition by Lily Paradis, which I absolutely loved as well.
  • It’s the perfect comfort read. In the future whenever I fell stressed out or depressed or alone or really any negative feeling at all, I imagine I’ll want to take this book out for a reread. It’s an adorable love story, a coming-of-age novel, and an eye-opening, uplifting novel that really puts a smile on your face all in one.
  • As well as being a comfort read, it’s also actually really deep. I mean, it would kind of have to be a deep novel if it talks about soul mates and destiny and stuff like that, but the synopsis makes it sound like a light, fluffy contemporary. Which it really isn’t. While I didn’t get too emotional while reading this, I can imagine people who have gone through similar circumstances as the main character would. It really makes you think about how the smallest decisions make the biggest impacts and the meaning of life and other fun stuff like that. It’s deep stuff, guys.
  • Absolutely amazing friendships! Hannah and Gabby are now one of my favorite duos of ever. While I didn’t necessarily love each of them individually, I adored the relationship they shared. They stuck with each other literally through the worst possible circumstances you can imagine, and I loved how they were always putting each other over their husbands/boyfriends. Seriously, I want a best friend like that!
  • The characters were so darn relatable! Especially Hannah. I mean, while I’m not quite stressing out about having no home and no job and no steady relationship, I can see myself stressing about those things in the future. Dang it, me and my anxiety! And also, cinnamon rolls. While for me it is pretty much every food of ever and not just cinnamon rolls, I do see where Hannah is coming from.
  • It’s really, really inspiring. Like right now, after just finishing it, I basically feel like: “Yay! Maybe I’ll never get married! Maybe I’ll just move around the world with a dog named Charlemagne and my best friend and open a cinnamon roll factory and get obese from just eating cinnamon rolls!” Dreams do come true, guys. Talk about inspiring.

Final Thought

I realize this review was probably way too much rambling and not nearly enough reviewing, but my list should give you a general idea on why you ABSOLUTELY NEED TO DROP EVERYTHING YOU’RE DOING RIGHT NOW AND SPRINT TO THE NEAREST BOOKSTORE AND SPEND $20 ON A SNINY HARDCOVER COPY OF THIS BOOK. Okay? Okay.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Life-y Update | Swimming, School, and a Short Hiatus

Hi guys! I know….it’s been a loooong time. I’ve been feeling really guilty lately about not getting very many posts up, so I decided to try to squeeze in a post today to explain myself.

Basically, I’ve just been really busy lately. With everything. It’s one of those months where all your teachers seem to get together and coordinate all the projects so they’re all due in the same week, you know? I know I’m only in junior high so I still have a LOT of homework to look forward to, but….I don’t know. I’m just a bit overwhelmed.

In other news! I had a swim meet last weekend, which went really well. The last few meets haven’t gone so well for me so I was really nervous for this one, but I ended up doing great and having a lot of fun. I did the 200 back and the 200 fly, and I ended up getting 8th in the 200 fly. I also dropped a bit of time between those two events, so I was pretty pleased.

Anyway. I figured I should talk a little about my recent reads, because, you know….this is a book blog. I finished reading The Shock Of The Fall by Nathan Filer last week, which was AMAZING. Definitely confusing in some parts, but the confusion was well worth it. I also read It’s Kind Of A Funny Story by Ned Vizzini last week, which was pretty good. The writing style was beautiful and the characters were relatable and fleshed out, but the novel didn’t quite have the lasting affect on me that I was hoping for.

I’m currently reading Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid, and I’m loving it! I’ve been trying to branch out and get more into Adult Fiction, and the Adult novels I’ve read recently have been great so far. If you have any recommendations for a teen pretty new to Adult Fiction, I’d love to hear them!

As I’ve said previously in this post, I’ve been having a lot going on recently. And this probably isn’t going to end anytime soon, so I’ve been thinking about going on a blogging hiatus until the end of next week, which is when my biggest school project is due. Hopefully I will be a lot less busy by then, but we’ll see. I really miss having the time to read and blog.

Anyway, what have you been reading recently? Do you have any adult fiction/NA recommendations for me, preferably contemporary? What have you guys been up to lately?