The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern


I'm out of my reading slump! After a solid two months of barely any reading, I finished three books in one week! There's no better feeling than finally returning to so many books and stories and to be able to really enjoy reading them. The first book that I read is The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Now I know the hype train for this book is long gone (if you read the book, you'll catch the joke!), but I couldn't resist finally reading it too. 

The Night Circus is the story of a circus that travels around the world and is only open at night. However, this is not a normal circus. It always shows up unexpected, is completely black and white and contains many tents with wonders so magical that you can't be sure if they aren't true magic. 

What I loved about this story is the originality. Everyone has some memory of childhood that includes circus and how magical they are. I remember that I always felt like they just showed up, as in the story, and were completely unannounced. While that certainly wasn't true, I like that the book played with that element. As a child, everything in a circus seems magical and I love the idea of a place like that for adults.

Even though the book is about the circus, the key plot line is a romance story. Both Celia and Marco are magicians, trained from childhood to compete with each other in a battle that can only have one of them win. Their playground? The circus. The complication? They love each other.

Both Marco and Celia are well-rounded characters and very enjoyable to read. Throughout the story, we work towards one big climax and in the beginning this was a little confusing. There were many characters that seemed vague and unnecessary, but it all tied in in the end. The only real complaint I can have about this book is that the real plot twist could be spotted from a mile away and thus made some of the emotions of Marco and Celia fall a little flat. When they found out and were all shocked, all I could think was 'but they MUST have known this, right?'. They didn't.

But if I nitpick about something like that in my review, it can only mean one thing: I really enjoyed this story. The setting and descriptions were amazing and though I'm not as entranced as some other readers by the love story, I did genuinely enjoy reading about Celia and Marco and their relationship. It's not always straightforward and its complexity is a thing of beauty.



Girls on Fire - Robin Wasserman

Rating: ★

Publication Date: May 5, 2016
Publisher: Little, Brown
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 368 pages

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for a honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion of the book.

It seems that since Gone Girl, the amount of suspenseful literary novels is just increasing. Girls on Fire is contemporary, beautifully written and revolves all around a plot that has twists and turns on every single page. It's been praised by so many people that I was excited to read this and I wasn't disappointed.

Girls on Fire is the story of Hannah and Lacey and starts off in a Thirteen kinda way: girls become friends and one drags the other one on the path of teenage rebellion and destruction. Except, there's more to this story. Lacey isn't just a bad influence; she somehow seems to have information on the suicide of one of their classmates. What does she know? And how far will Hannah go in this friendship?

What I loved most about this book is the amazing writing. We alternate between Hannah and Lacey's perspective and though they're both teenage girls, they have distinctively different reading voices and both manipulate the reader in different ways. Hannah just tells the story, while Lacey's narrative is like a letter to Hannah explaining her past. I loved Lacey's dark sense of humour and her seemingly 'smart' thinking about the most dumb decisions. They're real teenagers and I loved the portrayal of their friendship.

The plot is also perfectly worked out. A story like this revolves all around the element of shock and I definitely was shocked - though personally, I found the ending a little bit far fetched and unrealistic, which is why it's not a perfect read for me. The author had to wrap everything up in a neat way, and that happened, but I was left unsatisfied with the reasoning and the actions of the characters I grew so close to throughout the story.

Girls on Fire is a suspenseful read that you won't want to put down until you finish it. And then you'll be thinking about it for a long time after. I won't forget these characters, these voices that remain so lively in my head. It's the perfect summer read for when you need a break from all those loved up contemporary books and want to take a walk on the dark side.


A Spool of Blue Thread - Anne Tyler

Rating: ★★★

Publication Date: February 10, 2015
Publisher: Bond Street Books
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 358 pages

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for a honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion of the book.

Once upon a time, I set out a goal to read all books on the Man Booker Prize shortlist of 2015. I decided to start with A Little Life, which is one of the longest and emotionally draining books I've ever read. Needless to say, I couldn't read any other book after that for weeks and thus I never read the Man Booker Prize shortlist. But when I was able to request A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler on Netgalley, I couldn't resist reading this book and I'm sure glad I did.

A Spool of Blue Thread follows three generations of the Whitshank family that all live in the same house. Their home is the core of the narrative through which different people are explored. There's the youngest generation, with four children all trying to find their way, their parents, who tried to find out what exactly family means and the grandparents, with the grandfather who build the house and his journey to make it a home.

It is important to note that nothing really happens in A Spool of Blue Thread, however, even though I am usually one of those readers who wants action, I really enjoyed A Spool of Blue Thread. The fact that there isn't a lot of action works beautifully for this story line. This is about a regular family who has their issues and problems, but nothing out of this world. There's romance, loss, worries, and concerns that any family has during any period of time. It felt realistic and touching, also because Anne Tyler just writes beautifully and is able to transport you into her world so easily.

A Spool of Blue Thread is a book you finish and then think about your own life, family and house and what really connects people together. Will the events of the book stay with you forever? No, not particularly. Like I said, they're not shocking or mind blowing. But it is a very enjoyable read and it really makes you reflect on your own life, while also missing the peaceful world Anne Tyler created. 

This book is perfect for this season; it's cold and rainy and who really wants to go outside? I suggest some tea (or coffee, if you're fancy like that), a cosy blanket, a fire place and A Spool of Blue Thread to get through February.

Perfect Days - Raphael Montes

Rating: ★★★

Publication Date: February 16, 2016
Publisher: Penguin Press
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 272 pages

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for a honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion of the book.

After the success of Gone Girl, contemporary fiction has been constantly trying to find more shocking story lines that will draw readers, and hopefully eventually viewers, into their world. Perfect Days by Raphael Montes is the perfect example of this trend. Every chapter makes you think that this book has become as crazy as possible and then every next chapter will prove that it is possible for the story to get more crazy and sick. 

Reading Perfect Days is like driving past a car crash. You know you shouldn’t look, but you can’t help slowing down and trying to figure out what happens. Teo is a med student with an obsession of corpses, especially Gertrude, his best friend who is an old dead lady and the corpse he has to cut open in class. At a party he meets Clarice and immediately feels connected to her. As a reader, it’s easy to tell that Theo is off, he barely talks to Clarice and yet his narrative shows that he feels deeply connected to her and is convinced she is madly in love with him, even though she barely talked to him.

Instead of trying to build a normal relationship, Teo kidnaps ‘his girlfriend’ and decides to take a trip with her so she’ll realise how madly in love with him she really is. While they are on this trip, everything gets messed up and it turns out that both Teo and Clarice are quite eccentric in their ways of dealing with each other.

This book has left me really conflicted. On the one hand, I couldn’t wait to find out what the characters would do next, but at the same time, I felt like it was drama for the sake of drama. A lot of readers find dark humour in this book, but that completely passed me by and I never found it really funny. I get the irony of someone saying what a perfect boyfriend should do and then doing the most horrendous things to a girl because he thinks that’s the thing to do, but the actions were so dark that it was impossible to laugh about. Yet, I kept reading and finished this book in two days.

The writing draws you in and Teo is so fascinating in his thought process that it was hard to get out of his head, but there are so many gimmicks in the plot that it didn’t feel as organic as Gone Girl. While the twists there were unexpected, yet completely natural, the twists here were just too many towards the end and I couldn’t help but feel certain events were just put in there to shock readers.

Is Perfect Days a compelling read? Definitely. Does it set a dangerous trends of book being written just for the shock value? Definitely. In the end, it really depends on what kind of reader you are whether you’ll love this book, hate it, or feel as conflicted as I did.