Book review – The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Caidyn's review (1)

The Night Circus


This book isn’t my usual fare. It’s magical realism, which I don’t usually like, and it’s basically a romance book… which I don’t read. And, surprise surprise, I liked it even more than I liked it the first time around!

It was just… beautiful.

I love the way Morgenstern can tell a story. It’s not necessarily chronological and, for this story, it wouldn’t have worked. We needed the jumping around, the not knowing why someone or something is important. In a way, it was like watching a circus act. You don’t know where it’s going just that everything you see is spectacular in its own way.

Two magicians decide to play a game again. Not a game of skill, but a game of endurance. Who can they teach better to win a game where the whole world is their chessboard. Celia shows up on her father’s, Prospero or Hector Bowen, doorstep after her mother commits suicide. Marco is chosen by a magician and is taken in.

The playing field for this game? A circus of dreams that they weave together to show off their own power.

And, yet, Marco and Celia fall in love. Which they shouldn’t do because it makes things worse in the end. I do love the way they came together and the way the relationship went. I think my thing with romance is that I love when two people get together who maybe shouldn’t and when it’s about a game, playing each other until someone gets the upper hand. It’s the only way I can do romance. Usually that means the story’s dark, but this was incredibly light and beautiful.

I think what really sells the story is Morgenstern’s writing. She can paint a beautiful scene that you can see in your child’s mind, like the circus that you always want to see as a kid or a magic show. All of that wonder and awe. I read the book, but I think that this would be a captivating audiobook to listen to.

The plot itself is rather nonexistent for most of the book. There isn’t a discernable one and I thought that I figured it out, but that wasn’t the real story. The real story is very hidden, which I loved because it made it feel as if there were multiple stories wrapped into this one book.

It’s a beautifully woven book, as delicate and intricate as the magic in this book. It’s one of those books you can sit down to on a gloomy, dark day — maybe raining lightly, but not absolutely storming — with soft classical music playing (I thought a string quartet station was the best fit) and allow to wrap you in a warm hug.

In short, this book definitely moved to my all time favorites because it’s so unexpectedly beautiful.

Talk to me!
Have you read this?
What did you think?

Book review – The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee

Caidyn's review (1)

The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy (Montague Siblings, #2)

This is an ARC of the book! Any quotes that I use are subject to change by publication!


TW: sexism, aphobia, racism, character injury

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue – 3/5.
Chantel’s review

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The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

The Astonishing Color of After



CW: suicide, grief, and depression

Buddy read with Melanie @ meltotheany and Yusra @ themysticmango!

Is it sad that I didn’t think I would like this book? No, I’m serious. I didn’t think I would. I even chose it for my Book of the Month in March because it sounded interesting but I wasn’t convinced that it would be good for me.

Boy was I wrong.

I think that this is probably one of the most beautiful and poignant book I’ve read so far this year. It’s definitely in my top reads of this year, even this month. The writing for it is amazing. The story connects deeply on so many levels. The characters are imperfect and incredibly real.

This is the story of Leigh, a girl whose mom commits suicide and then turns into a bird, guiding her to reexamine her life. She travels to Taiwan to meet her grandparents for the first time, all in search of her mother and what she might have meant in her suicide note.

It’s told through flashbacks to Leigh’s life, her mother’s life, and her grandparent’s life. It tackles the issues of being an immigrant perfectly, of parents wanting to forget the old ways and their families at home. Having looked at immigrants and religion, I know the pattern. Usually, the kids want to go back and relearn the old ways that their parents shrugged off to live a fully American life. That’s what Leigh experiences; that desperate want to go back and discover her heritage while her mother just wants to forget.

The book also gives a gorgeous look at the stigma of mental illness. The different treatments her mom tries to battle her depression, how she sunk away, how it was hidden from her because it was considered “too much for a kid to understand,” and how it inevitably caught up with all of them before they realized what was happening.

While I am rating it five stars, I do have some issues with it. I wasn’t a fan of the magical realism side of things. I loved the bird and the metaphor of it. Religion was blended perfectly to make the religion real and active in the world. But, I didn’t really like the joint flashbacks and how Leigh had flashbacks to things that weren’t her own. I couldn’t suspend my disbelief enough to believe it was going on.

But, that’s minor. That’s very minor. I was so caught up in the story that it didn’t impact my reading. I might have rolled my eyes a little bit or felt a bit like it was a convenient plot device, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book and consider it one of my favorite books of the year so far.

First Lines Friday

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

Caidyn will be in blue.
Chantel will be in purple.

TW: suicide

My mother is a bird. This isn’t some William Faulkner stream-of-consciousness metaphorical crap. My mother. Is literally. A bird.

I know it’s true the way I know the stain on the bedroom floor is as permanent as the sky, the way I know my father will never forgive himself. Nobody believes me, but it is a fact. I am absolutely certain.

This is a book I’m currently reading, one that people really love. (Literally, it has a 4.2/5 on GR. That’s pretty high.) And it’s a gorgeous book. Seriously. It’s YA and I like it. Someone call anyone who can help or explain.

The book is…

The Astonishing Color of After

I’m not loving this book, but I am really enjoying it. There are elements that I don’t like but, to me, they’re very minor things that I just don’t think work for the story. But, they’re not bad elements. If you want a book that portrays the effect of suicide, the stigma of mental illness, grief, and the desperate need to discover more about your family history, I highly recommend it.

A man in a blue coat crossed the common, and Deborah craned her neck to glance through the window. No, not the recruiter; no need to worry. She turned back to her weaving; the broad room on the ground floor of the Sproat Tavern was empty and silent. Another row of fabric emerged as she worked her shuttle through the wool. 

I know that was pretty short but honestly, I’m just glad to briefly talk about this book. I first heard about it on Jackson Byrd’s Youtube channel. Go check him and his Ted Talk out, he’s a transman and his videos have a lot to do with him being trans. Which I like. This book came from a recommendations video in which he talked about books about trans people. 

Now, this is also a historical novel set during the Revolutionary War, but I love the idea of queer stories from history being told. It’s one of my favorite things. 

This book is…

Revolutionary by Alex Myers

revolutionary cover

You guys, this book sounds fucking awesome. Alex Myers, the author, is not only trans himself, but he is a descendant of Deborah Samson who is the protagonist of the book. Imagine writing a novel about someone who was part of your bloodline who disguised herself as a man to fight in the Revolutionary War. That sounds pretty fucking cool if you ask me. I’m excited to read it as I’ve had it on my shelf for awhile and sounds right up my alley.