The Night Circus

Author: Erin Morgenstern
Publisher: Anchor Books

A magical circus that is only open at night, the striped black & white tents appearing with no warning or notice. Inside the tents are a labyrinth of stunning new worlds & logic defying performers. Le Cirque des RĂªves (the Circus of Dreams) leaves just as suddenly as it appears, taking with it the secrets of why the circus exists & how. 

Behind the scenes the circus is being controlled & created by two young magicians, Celia & Marco, who are bonded into a challenge from a young age. Neither one knows the rules, including who their opponent is or how the challenge actually ends. They secretly use their magic to create one fantastical tent after another, feeding off of each other's creativity & raising the stakes while still unaware of exactly what that means. Others involved begin to notice some strange things that are happening to them since the circus has opened & those odd occurrences begin to slowly affect the circus itself. 
 

The Chaperone


Author: Laura Moriarty 
Publisher: Riverhead Books 

Summary: Louise Brooks was to become the most famous silent movie star but her first venture outside of Kansas was to study at the Denishawn School of Dancing. Cora Carlisle, a married middle-aged woman from Louise's hometown, volunteers to chaperone the young teenager in New York City and also to get some answers from her own past. Once they arrive it is very clear that Cora underestimated Louise's drive and rebellious spirit, as well as her own sheltered views of how the twentieth century was changing.


Review:
The Chaperone is a pleasant if not particularly memorable historical fiction-ish book. The plot focuses mainly on Cora and her desire to find out more about her past, which is based on true event of the time. The side story of Louise and her antics while at the Denishawn Company serve as a backdrop and almost a catalyst for Cora to shake up her life.

The Literary Lifestyle


image Gal Meets Glam

As I've started to discover more book blogs I've come across the term "literary lifestyle". The Ardent Biblio describes it as:

Living a literary lifestyle is a way of interacting with the world through a literary lens. It's weaving books and reading into the fabric of your everyday life, and celebrating that in all ways, big or small.

This term has really resonated with me because reading is such a integral part of my life. The idea that being a book lover is a part of your lifestyle & not merely a hobby or something to do to help you sleep is a wonderful concept.

Reading can be such a solitary activity but part of the literary lifestyle idea is that you're sharing your love of books with other. From book clubs to conversations with friends to scouting out unique book stores- all of it involves sharing a love of books with others.

As a mom the sharing my love of reading has become a bigger priority. I've also struggled a bit with finding friends in my neighborhood since we moved 3 years ago & recently had a light bulb moment of starting a book club. What better way to connect with new people than through books?

So as I move forward with this blog I want to have more posts with this loose concept in mind- sharing the book club adventures plus some literary lifestyle inspiration!

Do you love this term as much as me?

Fates and Furies

Author: Lauren Groff 
Publisher: Riverhead Books 


Summary: There are two sides to every story and, in this case, to every marriage. Told from the perspective of first the husband and then the wife, this novel examines how two people can experience very different moments in their relationship.

Lotto spots Mathilde across the room at a college party, falls instantly in love and marries her as they begin their adult lives in New York City. Their marriage is the envy of all their friends but as they get older it gets more and more complicated.

Review: This is one of those novels you love or hate, it seems. I loved it while also recognizing why people did not. At times it did seem overwritten and there were passages I needed to reread to figure out exactly what she meant by a metaphor or description. And many of those times it really seemed unnecessary to not just write outright what she meant (if that makes sense).

The Book List // Dreaming of Paris

image: Atlantic Pacific

In my fantasy life I will have moved to Paris at some point, frequenting cafes & riding my vespa (which always plays a key role in these fantasy lives as I'm a complete klutz & this seems like a very bad real-life idea). I'll be involved in writing somehow & spend my weekends exploring while also improving my French, which after 6 years of lessons you'd think I'd be able to say more than four words. Naturally I will be able to eat all the delicious food & not gain weight as this is my fantasy life & I'm going to look chic in it!

Clearly none of the above is going to happen (especially the vespa) so instead I like to live vicariously through the memoirs of people moving to France & discovering Parisian life. Apparently I am not the only one as this seems to be a very popular theme & there's a lot to choose from. In case you too are getting wanderlust & want to live out your French dream, here's a list of Paris memoirs to hold you over!


Idaho

Author: Emily Ruskovich
Publisher: Random House 


Summary: Ann marries Wade Mitchell, a husband and father whose family had been ripped apart in a tragedy on a mountain in Idaho. His wife is in jail, one daughter is dead and another has been missing for years. While Ann tries to piece together what happened to her husband's family she also has to deal with his quick decline into dementia. Alternating between perspectives, Idaho examines the effects this tragedy has had on those linked to the Mitchells.



Review:
This debut novel is beautifully written but incredibly depressing and without many answers. It is not a mystery: the murder is a small plot point to examine the emotional aftermath for these characters. It makes for a very intricate look at how people move on with their lives but also a slow moving character study with a frustrating back story.

You Will Know Me


Author: Megan Abbott
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company


Summary: Katie Knox & her husband have sacrificed a lot for their daughter Devon, a rising star in the gymnastics world who is destined for the Olympics. A lot is riding on Devon's shoulders to make it big & Katie admires the singular focus Devon has when she's competing. Their gymnastics community though is hit hard by a violent death which threatens to distract Devon, disrupt the gym, & possibly tear the Knox family apart.


Review: I can sum this book up in one word: predictable. Not good for a mystery/thriller. I had the entire plot figured out fairly early on in the book & I'm one who can be fairly gullible. There are a few red herrings thrown the readers way but it's not very convincing & introduced so early on that you know that can't be the truth.


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The Night Circus