Now Quoting: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.

-Goodreads.com description

I just finished this book a few days ago, and I absolutely loved it! It did take me a bit of time for me to get into it at the beginning, but after I did, I was captivated. This book is one of the most beautifully-written novels I’ve read in a long, long time.

For those of you who don’t yet know, “Now Quoting” is a feature I try to do on my blog every week or two in which I share a quote from a recent read that particularly resonated with me and share my thoughts on it. I had a bit of a hard time choosing the quote from this book that I wanted to share with you guys because it contains so many amazing quotes, but I think I found my winner!


“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.” 2.jpg


I just loved this quote, especially the first line. “You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose…” This quote shows how stories can quite literally change someone’s life. Stories can teach you an important lesson, allow you to see the world through someone else’s eyes, and inspire you like you’ve never been inspired before.

I guess I just really related to this quote because while I may not be the best writer in the world, I feel like it’s my role and my gift to move people and drive people with my words. To educate them and empower them and inspire them. This is the reason why I get up early each morning and go to bed late each night to read and write. I want to change the world with my words.


Have you read The Night Circus? What did you think? What are some books that you’ve found particularly quotable lately?

Now Quoting: It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

248704.jpgIt’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

Published by Miramax on May 1st 2007

Page Count: 444

Genre(s): YA, contemporary, mental health, humor, romance

Format: Paperback, purchased

Would I recommend? Yes, absolutely! This was a super honest, raw read, and really funny in a strange way. The writing is just gorgeous as well. 🙂 I will be writing a review on this one in the near future!

Rating: ★★★★☆


Ambitious New York City teenager Craig Gilner is determined to succeed at life – which means getting into the right high school to get into the right job. But once Craig aces his way into Manhattan’s Executive Pre-Professional High School, the pressure becomes unbearable. He stops eating and sleeping until, one night, he nearly kills himself.

Craig’s suicidal episode gets him checked into a mental hospital, where his new neighbors include a transsexual sex addict, a girl who has scarred her own face with scissors, and the self-elected President Armelio. There, Craig is finally able to confront the sources of his anxiety.

Ned Vizzini, who himself spent time in a psychiatric hospital, has created a remarkably moving tale about the sometimes unexpected road to happiness.

-Goodreads.com synopsis

I read this book a few months ago, and I absolutely loved it! The author himself experienced similar circumstances as the main character, Craig, had, and you could definitely tell by the realistic and honest portrayal of mental illness in this novel. I realize I’m extremely late to the party on this one as it was released almost 9 years ago, but better late than never, right? XD


“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.” 2.jpg

Although I’ve never experienced any circumstances like Ned Vizzini or Craig did, I’m still able to relate to this quote incredibly on a personal level. I don’t like book characters to be “perfect and ready to explode,” as Vizzini puts it; I like them screwed-up and realistic. Vizzini wasn’t afraid to capture these flawed, messed-up characters in his writing, which is a huge reason why I loved this story so much.


Have you read It’s Kind of A Funny Story? What did you think? Have you seen the movie? Have you read any books lately that you’ve found particularly quotable?

 

Mini Reviews | March 2016 Edition

Yes, I do realize that it is no longer March. But I was hoping to do some sort of round-up of all the books I didn’t get to review in March….so I’m doing mini reviews! Grab your beverages and get cozy, guys, because this is going to be a long post.


11588.jpgThe Shining by Stephen King

This book took me a while to get through, because, you know…..I’m not that experienced with Adult books. I did love it though! I had extremely high expectations for this one because Stephen King is considered to be one of the greatest writers of modern times, and I was certainly not let down. The only thing I wasn’t really expecting – and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing because I don’t like to get too freaked out – is that it didn’t scare me as much as I expected it to. I’m not saying that I didn’t get scared at all, because I did. I’m just saying that although I was pretty scared while reading this book, it didn’t have much of an effect on me after I finished it. I think it’s just one of those “it’s not you, it’s me” situations.

Rating: 4/5 Stars


22205.jpg This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

I had pretty mixed feelings about this one. I mean, it is Sarah Desssen, so it was extremely well-written and quite adorable. I guess I was just let down a little bit by the plot. I guess it felt a little slow to me for the first half of the book, so I didn’t get into it until much later on. Also, the main character, Remy, really bugged me with all her negativity and selfishness. The plot seemed pretty cliche with the whole “girl who doesn’t believe in love meets boy who changes her life” trope. It was a cute book, though, and while I didn’t necessarily like the characters individually, I loved them together.

Rating: 3/5 Stars


228965514.jpgNone of the Above by I. W. Gregario

None of the Above is an extremely important book, and I’m so, so glad I read it. It centers on a teenage girl, Kristin, who has to reevaluate everything she thought she knew about herself after being told she was intersex. Admittedly, this book did make me a bit uncomfortable, but not because of the subject matter at hand. The way people reacted to Kristin’s situation and completely betrayed her just broke my heart. The sad thing is that before reading this book I had no idea what it meant to be intersex – and that is one of the reasons this book is so necessary. Lovely writing, realistic and fleshed-out characters, and unique, important subject matter. Highly recommend!

Rating: 4/5 Stars


22489107.jpgFairest by Marissa Meyer

This one was okay. I mean, I guess it was kind of interesting to learn about Levana’s background and how she became so evil and everything, but for the most part, I feel like it didn’t add much to the series. Readers that actually liked Levana’s character to begin with might enjoy this book, but I personally don’t see the appeal. Some parts felt more like a chore to get through than actually reading for pleasure.

Rating: 2.5/5 Stars


6654313.jpg Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

I actually wrote a review on this book a few weeks ago, which you can view here. Basically, while the writing was still gorgeous and the story was somewhat enjoyable, I had some issues with the plot. By that, I mean: literally nothing happens throughout the course of the entire novel. Nothing. It was also pretty predictable, and I wasn’t a huge fan of the new characters that were introduced. Overall, a fast-paced, fun read, but I found it lacking in a few areas.

Rating: 3/5 Stars


12425532.jpgOf Poseidon by Anna Banks

I wasn’t a fan of this one at all! The premise sounded promising because I’ve hardly ever encountered any YA mermaid novels and I was in the mood for a good beach read, but unfortunately, it didn’t deliver. The writing style is what about 80% of my ratings are based off of, and I didn’t enjoy the writing style in this one at all. The sentences felt kind of choppy and contrived and there wasn’t much sentence variety, and it felt like the book was geared towards a much younger audience than “young adults.” I also had some serious issues with the characters, starting with Emma. Emma just seemed so whiny and naive, and she bugged me so much throughout the novel! Galen just seemed way too creepy and stalkerish and possesive for my taste. Insta-love is one of my least favorite romance tropes, and it was painfully present in this book. I could go on with all the things I didn’t like about this novel, but it’s supposed to be a “mini review,” so I’ll just stop right here….

Rating: 1.5/5 Stars


180442773.jpgThe Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

Loved, loved, loved! The first 3/4 of the novel is really, really confusing, but the confusion is well worth it. This book centers on the lives of 3 teenage girls: Amber, Orianna, and Violet. It tells the stories of these super messed-up girls and the crimes they did or did not commit. The way Nova Ren Suma wove these stories together in such a beautiful, seamless way was honestly awe-inspiring. The lyrical writing was absolutely gorgeous – almost poetic. This book will seriously mess with your mind, and while I do admit that this book isn’t for everyone because of the dark subject matters at hand, I thoroughly enjoyed it and would highly recommend it.

Rating: 4/5 Stars


 

13455498.jpgAnything But Ordinary by Lara Avery

I wrote a review on this one a few days ago, which you can view here. This book had lots of potential, but unfortunately, I wasn’t a huge fan of the execution. I suppose the first half of the book was pretty enjoyable, but there were too many aspects in the latter half that left me rolling my eyes and wanting to throw the book across the room in frustration to overlook. The writing was okay, but nothing special. The characters were boring and felt pretty unrealistic. The plot was shockingly predictable, and the ending felt really cheap and unsatisfying. A quick, fast-paced read, but I definitely had some issues with it.

Rating: 1.5/5 Stars


 

16068341.jpgThe Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

For anyone who has ever been bullied, The Truth About Alice is an absolute must-read. This book explores the effects of an extreme case on the bullying spectrum in an incredibly honest and raw perspective. The book is in the POVs of four characters: Kelsie, Alice’s ex-best friend; Kurt, the boy next door; Elaine, who hosted the party and is the most popular girl at school; and Josh, the best friend of the boy who Alice supposedly “killed.” The writing was amazing and I loved how Mathieu used 4 unique perspectives to piece together what truly happened that night. The only issue I have with this book was the extremely stereotyped and cliche characters. These stereotypes included: “the nerd actually really likes Alice” and “the best friend betrays Alice to fit in with the popular crowd” etc., etc. This did get a bit annoying, but besides that, I didn’t have any issues.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars


18806240.jpgBone Gap by Laura Ruby

This one was probably my favorite read of the month! I mean, I wasn’t MIND-BLOWN or anything, but I’m really, really glad I read it. The concept is so unique and unlike anything I’ve ever read before, and it kept me on the edge my seat the whole time. I’ve read an embarrassingly small number of magical realism books, but of the ones I’ve read, this one certainly takes the cake. Oh, did I mention how incredibly unique and quirky and WEIRD the characters are?! I completely fell in love with all of them within the first few chapters. Also, the writing style is quite gorgeous.

Rating: 4/5 Stars


Gosh darn it, that took a long time to write. Still no 5-star reads for me this year, but I have had some solid 4-stars. Anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed! 🙂

Let’s chat: Which of the books on this list have you read? What did you think? What was your favorite book you read in March?

Now Quoting: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Hi guys! I decided to bring back a feature I started a while ago, Now Quoting. This week I will be spotlighting the book This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales, which is an amazingly written and extremely powerful novel. I read it over a month ago and it still gives me chills whenever I think about it because of all the gorgeous quotes this book has to offer. I originally rated it 4 stars, but I’m thinking about moving it up to 4.5 or even 5 stars because of the long-lasting affect it had on me. This book dealt beautifully with some darker themes such as bullying, suicide, acceptance, and mental illness, but there were also some fun scenes about things like first love, music, growing up, and that strange, fiery thing we call passion.

Also: In the past I’ve featured multiple quotes with each of my posts, but I decided to do just one this time. Hopefully this will give me a better chance to explain how/why this quote really affected and resonated with me.

 * * * * *

Daily Quotes (1).jpg

I thought this quote was really interesting because it shows how such a huge part of who we are and how we identify ourselves comes from one thing: passion. I’m not a huge music person, but this quote really made me appreciate people who are music fans because I’ve experienced a similar type of passion for other things in life. This book particularly resonated with me because it shows how deeply people can be affected by their greatest passions. For Elise, the protagonist, this passion was music. Music changed her life in a way that she could never imagine, and it may have even saved her life. For me, this passion was books.

This post has gotten a bit rambly, and I apologize for that, but I think you understand the general idea. Anyway, I hoped you enjoyed it!

Have you read This Song Will Save Your Life? What did you think about it? Would you agree with my analysis of my chosen quote, and what would you add to it? What books have you read recently that you’ve found particularly quotable?

 

Mini Reviews: Throne of Glass and Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock

13519397

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Rating: 4.5 stars

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king’s champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass–and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.

-Goodreads.com description

 My Thoughts:
I loved this book so much! I wasn’t very interested until after the first 100 pages, but after that, I couldn’t put it down! I normally steer away from fantasy, so I wouldn’t normally read something like this, but once again, I gave into the hype monster and I’m so glad I did. The characters were all so unique and interesting, the plot was complex and layered, and the writing was amazing. I loved the main character, Celaena, with all her flaws and strengths. I’m so excited to read the rest of the series!
13477676
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
Rating: 4 stars

Today is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol.

But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him: his Humphrey Bogart-obsessed next-door neighbor, Walt; his classmate, Baback, a violin virtuoso; Lauren, the Christian homeschooler he has a crush on; and Herr Silverman, who teaches the high school’s class on the Holocaust. Speaking to each in turn, Leonard slowly reveals his secrets as the hours tick by and the moment of truth approaches.

In this riveting look at a day in the life of a disturbed teenage boy, acclaimed author Matthew Quick unflinchingly examines the impossible choices that must be made—and the light in us all that never goes out.

 -Goodreads.com description
 My Thoughts: 
This book was so unique and honest in the way the author told it. The main character, Leonard, was one of the loneliest people I’ve ever met. He’s weird, incredibly smart, and deeply flawed. Through his eyes, we experience this 24-hour period where he plans to kill himself and his former friend. This book is sad, no doubt, but it’s also very important and I think every teen (or adult) should read it. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoyed Thirteen Reasons Why, Falling Into Place, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
So, as you can see, I really enjoyed both of these. Have you read either of them? What did you think? Let me know in the comments! 😀

Review: Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

22465597 Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

Published by HarperCollins on March 10th 2015

Pages: 357

Genre(s): YA Contemporary, Psychological Thriller, Mystery

Rating: 4 stars

New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver delivers a gripping story about two sisters inexorably altered by a terrible accident.

Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara’s beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it’s too late.

In this edgy and compelling novel, Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other.

“Alarming and uplifting, a rare psychological thriller that has a kind heart at its center. Read it with all the lights on.” — E. Lockhart, author of We Were Liars.

-Goodreads.com description

The Characters: I LOVE sister relationships in books. It’s something that I don’t think YA has enough of. It’s also by Lauren Oliver, who I love, so I was ABSOLUTELY POSITIVE that I was going to love this book. Which I did.

Dara and Nick are two sisters (and the main characters) in Vanishing Girls. I absolutely loved their relationship, and how they each grew and matured in their own way. I liked how Oliver portrayed all the intricate layers of love and jealousy that the sisters had for each other in a very believable way. Dara is bold and intense, while Nick is quiet and intelligent.

The Plot: A lot of people say that Vanishing Girls was to predictable, or that they saw the ending coming from miles away. However, I didn’t see it coming at all, and I was completely shocked and confused. The last few chapters were so intense! It took me a while to process the conclusion.

Basically, the story reads as a pretty slow-moving contemporary. It describes the sisters’ relationship before the accident, and how they drifted apart over the years. I can see how some people would find the ending predictable, because there are some reoccurring themes in YA psychological thrillers, but I guess I just didn’t realize that when I was reading it.

One problem I had with the plot was that while the synopsis makes it seem that Dara’s disappearance came early in the book, the “disappearance” didn’t actually come until I was about 3/4 of the way through. By this time I had almost lost interest.

The Writing Style: I love Lauren Oliver’s Delirium series and Before I Fall. Her writing is so beautiful and realistic. The book is told in Dara and Nick’s POVs before and after the accident. Each of the characters felt so genuine and authentic, and I related to them so much over the course of the novel.

Quotes:

“Sometimes people stop loving you. And that’s the kind of darkness that never gets fixed, no matter how many moons rise again, filling the sky with a weak approximation of light.”

***

“That’s what life is, pretty much: full of holes and tangles and ways to get stuck. Uncomfortable and itchy. A present you never asked for, never wanted, never chose. A present you’re supposed to be excited to wear, day after day, even when you’d rather stay in bed and do nothing.”

***

“You broke my heart.
I fell for you and you broke my heart.
Period, done, end of story.”

***

“This is it: somehow, in these pictures, the mystery of the accident is contained, and the explanation for Dara’s subsequent behavior, for the silences and disappearances. Don’t ask me how. I just do. If you don’t understand that, I guess you’ve never had a sister.”

***

“And for a split second I find her, silhouetted by the sky, arms outstretched like she’s making snow angels in the air or simply laughing, turning in place; for a split second, she comes to me as the clouds, the sun, the wind touching my face and telling me that somehow, someday, it will be okay.”

Final Thought: Overall, I really enjoyed reading Vanishing Girls. I did find that the first half of the story was really slow-moving and dragged on and on, but the ending seemed to make up for that. I loved the writing style and the depth and complexity of each character, as well as the shocking conclusion. I would recommend to anyone who liked We Were Liars or Before I Fall.

Happy reading!

Review: Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

7664334Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on May 4th 2010

Pages: 344

Genre(s): Contemporary YA, Romance

Rating: 4 stars                                                                                               

 Amy Curry is not looking forward to her summer. Her mother decided to move across the country and now it’s Amy’s responsibility to get their car from California to Connecticut. The only problem is, since her father died in a car accident, she isn’t ready to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger. An old family friend, he also has to make the cross-country trip – and has plenty of baggage of his own. The road home may be unfamiliar – especially with their friendship venturing into uncharted territory – but together, Amy and Roger will figure out how to map their way.

-Goodreads.com description

I had super high expectations for this one, because I loved Morgan Matson’s Since You’ve Been Gone. And boy, did this deliver! It was such a fun summer read! I loved watching Amy and Roger’s relationship blossom, and seeing all the fun places they visited on their trip.

The Characters: Amy, the narrator, is 18 years old and dealing with the aftereffects of her father’s unexpected death. I was really able to relate to Amy throughout the book, and all her emotions and thoughts felt so realistic and genuine. She also had a really fun and sweet personality.

Roger, the love interest. Oh, Roger. He was so kind and understanding of Amy, and he supported her so much throughout her grieving process. He was also really funny, and had me laughing out loud more than once. I see another possible addition to my book boyfriends list….*wink, wink*.

The Plot: I was really interested in the road trip aspect of the plot, and I really liked learning about each of the places that Amy and Roger visited, but I was truly engrossed in the grief part. I thought the author handled the topic really well, because I know grief is a tough subject to write about. Amy’s emotions and healing process felt so real and raw, exactly how I would imagine them to be in those circumstances.

Another aspect I really enjoyed in the plot were all the music references and playlists in the book. In each chapter, there would be a playlist to show what Amy and Roger were listening to during the trip and they seemed to bond a lot over music. This was a fun addition to the story, as well as all the pictures, drawings, maps, receipts, etc. throughout the book.

The Writing Style: Matson’s overall writing style didn’t seem like anything special or unique, but she still represented the character’s thoughts and emotions well.

Quotes: 

“Tomorrow will be better.”
“But what if it’s not?” I asked.
“Then you say it again tomorrow. Because it might be. You never know, right? At some point, tomorrow will be better.”

***

“The best discoveries always happened to the people who weren’t looking for them.”

***

“Saying good-bye is basically an invitation not to see a person again. It’s making it okay for that to be the last conversation you have. So if you don’t say it–if you leave the conversation open–it means you’ll have to see them again.”

Final Thought: I would definitely recommend this! I give it 4 stars. The only downside would be that it took me a while to really get into the story, but when I did get into it, I was hooked! Super excited to read Matson’s book Second Chance Summer.

Well, that’s it for my first review. Hope you enjoyed it! Happy reading!