The Tea Rose is one of my favorite books. I first read this book in 2005 after my mom had passed the book along to me, I then passed it on to my siste...moreThe Tea Rose is one of my favorite books. I first read this book in 2005 after my mom had passed the book along to me, I then passed it on to my sister (who unlike me is not an avid reader) and we all loved the book. The mass-market copy was so tattered and worn I went out and bought a replacement copy for my mom that Christmas. Since then I’ve re-read this book several times, and would constantly recommend this title to customers when I worked at a book store. I was very pleased when I learned Jennifer Donnelly was writing a sequel to it (The Winter Rose)and eventually with plans to make it a trilogy (The Wild Rose).
When recommending this book I would describe it as part historical fiction, part romance and part mystery, but it’s really more than that. It’s an epic tale about a young woman, Fiona Finnegan who works in an East London Tea factory in the late 19th century. Fiona has dreams of one day owning her own tea shop with her long time childhood friend Joe Bristow, but due unforeseen events her dreams do not exactly happen as she plans.
(It’s been a while since I’ve read this book. Planning on writing a more in-depth review once the story is again fresh in my mind)
Five little words and I was intrigued...a few paragraphs later I was hooked. I had to read this book.
After waiti...more"The circus arrives without warning"
Five little words and I was intrigued...a few paragraphs later I was hooked. I had to read this book.
After waiting six weeks, the copies I ordered for my library came in, and I was finally able to get my hands on a copy of this book!
Night Circus is absolutely charming and pure magic. The imagery is so vivid I felt I could easily set foot in the black and white world of Le Cirque des Rêves, and on more than one occasion I found myself wishing the circus was real.
The story is about Celia and Marco, two magicians (and I’m talking real honest magic here, not the kind of magic that makes use of misdirection and sleight of hand, but kind of magic we, or at least I, wish was real) who are bound at a young age to compete against one another in a magical competition. The circus is the stage for this battle of imagination. As they each begin using their magic to make additions to the mysterious circus they begin to fall in love and start look at the competition as more of collaboration instead of a competition. The rules are vague at best and neither Celia nor Marco knows what is truly at stake.
Yes, the book has several different points of view and the book switch back and forth between two distinct time lines, and I understand that could make it difficult to read, but I promise it all comes together in the end and I promise you it’s worth it. I myself didn’t find the multiple points of view distracting, but maybe I just read a lot of fiction written from multiple points of view. As for the timelines each chapter is clearly marked at the beginning stating where and when it is taking place so as long as you pay attention to that detail jumping back and forth between the two timelines shouldn’t be too distracting.
Night Circus is a captivating read, it one of those books (for me, at least) that grabs you and takes you on a wonderful journey and leaves a lasting impression. I’ve found myself thinking about this book constantly since I put it down a and I’m sure I’ll continue to ponder the story and reread the book once I get a copy to add to my personal library. I cannot stop gushing about how much I enjoyed this book and it has rightfully earned its place in my top 5 favorite books!
I do not know for the life of me why I didn't pick this book up sooner! This book has been in the back of my mind on my to read list ever since I firs...moreI do not know for the life of me why I didn't pick this book up sooner! This book has been in the back of my mind on my to read list ever since I first saw it on the shelves when I worked at Borders #20. The cover art is simply stunning, and the tag line on the back "all her worlds a stage" should have gotten me to pick this book up much sooner than just now. Infact I knew I was going to finish this book tonight so I stopped by my local library (the LMC dosen't have these books.<- something I'll be reminding shortly) to pick up the 2nd book in the series Perchance to Dream
Our heroine, Beatrice Shakespeare Smith AKA: Bertie <- Great name! lives in the Théâtre Illuminata, a playhouse in which the players are the characters (not actors playing them but THE actual characters) from every play ever written. <- how cool is that!? Bertie's side kicks Cobweb, Moth, Mustardseed and Peaseblossom from Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream, who are absolutely hysterical, I found myself laughing out loud at their antics more than once while I was reading.
I don't want to ruin the story for anyone so I won't go into any detail on the plot, but I will say the story is steeped in Theatrical lore and practice. There are plenty of The Bard's characters roaming the wings of the theatre for any fan of Shakespearean literature to appreciate. Anyone who has ever been involved in a theatrical production be it as an actor or crew will fully understand the banter between the scenic manager and the properties manager as well as the other non acting members of the company. And anyone who has ever sat in a theatre and witnessed magic happen as the curtains rise and fall will be completely under the spell of the Théâtre Illuminata.
I knew I was going to love this book. I’m a true history geek at heart, civil war, colonial I love it all. I’m a total sucker for period dress, and ye...moreI knew I was going to love this book. I’m a true history geek at heart, civil war, colonial I love it all. I’m a total sucker for period dress, and yes I’m one of those people you see at the Renaissance Faire dressed in costume and if 18th and 19th century costumes were so expensive I would probably have those too. I also worked in a living history museum one summer (sadly it wasn’t as an interpreter, so no period dress for me.) So, when I the synopsis of Past Perfect my inner history geek jumped for joy. A YA novel set in an historical reenactment village *yay!*
The premise of the book is super cute too. Chelsea has worked at Essex Historical Colonial Village as an historical interpreter since she was little. She is trying to get over her ex, who decides to work at Essex over the summer too. At the same time she is trying not to fall for a boy from the rival civil war camp across the street, because every year the junior interrupters from the colonial village (unbeknownst to the adults) go to war with the kids from the civil war camp , so falling for a boy from the wrong century is a major problem. It’s very R&J/West Side Story, by no means an original story, but the setting makes it very unique and a whole lot of fun.
I also really liked Chelsea, she was fun to read and I felt I could really relate to her. That could be due to the fact that although Chelsea doesn’t think of herself as a “history nerd” she fosters a love for history that comes from growing up around it, and the fact that she says/thinks things like this “In his suspenders, loose-fitting vest, and felt hat, he looked even better than when I'd seen him in a T-shit and cut-offs. What can I say; I have a thing for guys in period dress, okay? That's Just who I am.” (pg. 126.) Which I can absoulty relate to. Love of history withstanding, Chelsea is very genuine and a joy to read. She isn’t perfect by any means and has flaws but it makes her believable and that is why I enjoyed reading her.
The book has a quite a bit of historical jargon and references which might get overlooked if you’re not a history person, but Leila Sales does a very good job of explaining the nuances of working in a living history museum. You can tell she’s had experience in this environment with historical reenactors. Ms. Sales also does a fantastic job of explaining the way we choose to portray the past. History happens to those who have lived it, and written by those who remember or interpret it. Whether it’s a major historical event like the Boston Massacre or our own life it’s how we choose to remember the past or interpreted the facts that determines how the past is remembered.
I really enjoyed Past Perfect. The setting was original and fun (mind you I’m a bit biased since I’m a total history geek). The characters are honest and genuine, they all have flaws, yet you can’t help but root for them. The story was believable, which is a big deal to me when dealing with realistic fiction, if I want to suspend my disbelief I’ll read fantasy and sci-fi books (which I read quite a bit of) but I like my realistic fiction to be just that, realistic. Over all it’s a book I truly enjoyed and would absolutely recommend, especially if you are a bit of a history geek like me. (less)
Many visitors to Yellowstone National Park don’t realize that the boiling hot springs and spraying geysers are caused by an underlying supervolcano. I...moreMany visitors to Yellowstone National Park don’t realize that the boiling hot springs and spraying geysers are caused by an underlying supervolcano. It has erupted three times in the last 2.1 million years, and it will erupt again, changing the earth forever.
Fifteen-year-old Alex is home alone when Yellowstone erupts. His town collapses into a nightmare of darkness, ash, and violence, forcing him to flee. He begins a harrowing trek in search of his parents and sister, who were visiting relatives 140 miles away.
Along the way, Alex struggles through a landscape transformed by more than a foot of ash. The disaster brings out the best and worst in people desperate for food, clean water, and shelter. When an escaped convict injures Alex, he searches for a sheltered place where he can wait—to heal or to die. Instead, he finds Darla. Together, they fight to achieve a nearly impossible goal: surviving the supervolcano.
(Above text from ashfallbook.com)
If the above text doesn’t make you want to read this book, I’m not sure what will…but if you need a little more persuasion here is my humble review of this amazing book.
I don't want to go into too much detail and spoil the story, but the whole story is very realistic. The premises of the supervolcano, obviously since there hasn't been a supervolcanic eruption in human history we don't know exactly what will happen. There is plenty of speculation and scientific researcher as to what could happen if a volcano of that size were to erupt, and the author has done his research on that part.
The characters are very believable. Alex is just your average 15 year old who is thrown in to this devastating situation, and his emotional and physical journey as he tries to make his way to his family is very moving. In addition to Alex’s true to life partial the way the satellite characters react to the eruption and to Alex is very realistic. Some of the people he encounters are very giving despite the hardships they are forced to endure others are far from generous. Over all I think Mike Mullin’s portrayal of a society in crises is very accurate.
Unlike other dystopian novels that are set in the distant future with a society that is hardly a shadow of our world now Ashfall happens in our world in our not too distant future. On the first page of the book Alex says he will always remember where he was the day the volcano erupted just like his parents will always remember where they were on September 11th so at its earliest this story could be set in 2016 (I’m assuming Alex was not born until sometime after 2011) but no later than 2030. We can only hope something like this doesn’t happen in our lifetime.
For more information about the book and supervolcanos make sure you check out the books website (ashfallbook.com) and if you get a chance to read this book don’t pass it up it is well worth the read. I’m anxiously awaiting the sequel Ashen Winter which is set to come out October 8, 2012. (less)