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“Have a Prompt!” Saturday #101

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Posted by on June 24, 2017 in Prompts

 

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Circuses and Carnivals

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Circuses and Carnivals…

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Pantomime by Laura Lam

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2017 in Home

 

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Review: Circus Mirandus

“[I]t was a ridiculous, amazing thing to do, and once in a while, it’s good to be ridiculous and amazing.” — Cassie Beasley, Circus Mirandus

“Circus Mirandus” Review

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This post may contain spoilers.

 

Circus Mirandus is a fantasy story aimed at children, mostly around the middle school age. Nevertheless, it involved a magical circus, prompting me to pick it up and read it within a few short days.

The story follows young Micah, a ten-year-old who believes in magic thanks to the wonderful stories his Grandpa Ephraim tells him about the Circus Mirandus. The circus was a haven for children who believed in magic, a safe place for them to explore and marvel at the wonders the performers acted for them. One such performer was the Man Who Bends Light… or, as Ephraim names him, the Lightbender. The Lightbender is an illusionist, taking children on fantastic journeys to all corners of the earth, and found young Ephraim special enough to promise him a miracle within his power.

It’s years later when Ephraim is terminally ill that he asks for his miracle to be granted. The Lightbender, however, feels as if he cannot grant it.

Micah, along with his friend Jenny, refuses to accept that answer and journeys to find the circus himself to make the Lightbender keep his promise. Micah believes that the miracle his grandpa had asked for was to cure him, yet Ephraim had a much better miracle in mind…

The story itself goes back and forth between points of view, including Micha’s, young Ephraim’s, and the Lightbender. Two to three timelines weave themselves together to fill out the novel, the prose showing even the most dislikable characters in an understanding light by the end of it. The characters’ developments were one of my favorite parts of this story — even minor characters had their own agendas rather than any of them feeling like cardboard caricatures.

My other favorite aspect of this novel was the magic, of course. Following along with the descriptions of the people and acts of the circus gave me a sense of excitement and even nostalgia for my childhood.

Being catered to children, Circus Mirandus was a light read for me, but I nevertheless enjoyed every chapter.

“Circus Mirandus” gets a 4 out of 5 stars.

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2017 in Book Reviews

 

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Magic

Magic.

What first popped in your head upon reading that word? Was it a magician pulling a rabbit out of his hat? A girl showing off a card trick? An acrobat seemingly twirling in thin air high above a circus ring?

Perhaps your idea of magic is a wizard creating fire from a wand carved out of the bark of an oak tree, or a hero with flight and super speed saving the world from an impending meteor.

Maybe magic to you is the first snowfall of the Christmas season, light, fluffy flakes freewheeling to cover the ground in white. Maybe it’s the jingle of your baby’s first laugh, the spine-tingling sparks of your first kiss, the bittersweet feeling of your heart piecing back together after it was shattered, knowing that everything will be alright.

It could be the words flowing in unison to share a tale to all.

What’s magic to you?

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2016 in Home

 

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Book Coma

I just read over 400 pages of a book today to finish it.

I had started it maybe last week sometime, reading less than 30 pages, just the first couple of chapters. I picked it up again today when I had wanted to write but I wasn’t sure what to write or I had too many things to write and my fingers just wouldn’t cooperate and put the letters in the right order that I had wanted them to go in.

(After typing out that last sentence thing, “write” doesn’t look like a real word anymore.)

So, I read.

For my birthday, Rachel gave me the first book of The Magicians trilogy by Lev Grossman, which was a book that The Night Circus‘s author Erin Morgenstern has listed on her website as one of the books that she personally loves. After The Night Circus I was looking for more books with magicians, so I thought I would give it a try. In order to start that book, though, I needed to finish the book I had picked up the week before on a whim.

Because I’m weird and can’t read more than one book at a time. It feels like I’m cheating on a boyfriend or something. Not that I know that that’s like. Moving on.

The book that I had started a week ago and finished the other 400 pages of today was Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Like Morgenstern, I had heard of Rowell through NaNoWriMo. Fangirl was a fun, wonderful novel about a young woman trying to navigate the awkward world between teenager and adult that is college. She doesn’t want anything to change, but inevitably things do, and she grows with them. She’s a writer too, struggling with identity both in and out of the classroom, friends that she didn’t expect, and friends that she had expected that didn’t turn out to be friends. It’s a novel that is for people going through that stage, wondering how to grow up, and for people who supposedly have grown up and need a reminder that, sometimes, being yourself is just enough for the adult world. If you’re looking for a refreshing YA book, I highly recommend picking Fangirl off the shelf.

Like usual, whenever I finish a book, I go into a mini book coma, wondering what to do with my time and my mind and my emotions before picking up the next book. Sometimes it takes a little while before I pick up the next novel, and sometimes it takes less than a day. Like I mentioned earlier, I believe my next book will be Grossman’s The Magician.

You folks may get another book rave soon enough.

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2015 in Home

 

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Indescribable Books

Ever have those books that you can’t describe? One of those stories that just swallows you up, heart and soul, but for the life of you, you just cannot describe it properly enough to give it justice?

Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus is that book for me.

The book has already been out for a little over three years, but it still seems brand new. I had thought the premise was interesting when it had first been published, if only because the author had written it due to NaNoWriMo. It was exciting to know a fellow NaNoer had broken into the publishing industry and, although I don’t know her personally, I was proud of her success. After the book was published (like, months after, maybe a year later), one of my old friends had thrust her copy of the novel into my hands, demanding that I read it.

Come to think of it, she couldn’t really give me a good, proper description of it either.

I devoured the book. I could not – did not want – to put the novel down. I had other borrowed books, most of them from Rachel’s old boyfriend (who was very confused as to why it took me years to read his borrowed books, but mere days to read The Night Circus, and all Rachel could say was that, while his books were good, they were not as soul-sucking as The Night Circus was for me), but they were abandoned in favor the Morgenstern’s masterpiece.

Alas, I eventually had to return the book, and I had no idea what to do with my time for a while after finishing the story. Eventually, despite feeling as if I had lost a very dear friend, I had moved on with my life for the next two years. Until this past Christmas season, that is.

About half of my Christmas wish list consisted of books, and one of the latest additions to the list was The Night Circus. I don’t know what prompted me to think of the story again, but it wasn’t a thought I pondered about for long. It was a welcome present and, despite the other dozen or so books that I have unread on my bookshelf, The Night Circus was the first book I began to read after the holidays wound down.

My mother asked me recently what The Night Circus was about, and I was stumped. “Magic,” was the first word that popped into my head, then came the not-so-brilliant, “It’s about a circus that’s only opened at night.” Seriously, duh. I started to ramble. “There’s a love story beneath it all, it’s really about a competition between these two magicians, but they didn’t enter the competition themselves, and they use all sorts of magic to help create and maintain this circus. The circus isn’t a typical three-ring affair with lion tamers and acrobats, but filled with many sorts of tents, like one created entirely of ice and a pool where you throw stones to get rid of those weights of the world on your shoulder…”

That’s really all I remember. My mom began to just give me a smile, one of those amusing kinds of smiles that said she was humoring me and enjoying the fact that I loved the book so much.

The Night Circus is one of those stories where you have to read it several times. The first time you plow through the pages and chapters, eagerly getting to the end just to see what happens because you’ll die if you don’t find out right. Now. The second (and the third and the forth and so on) time you read it, you taste it slowly, relishing the small bites, the intricate details you missed on your first flight through the words. It’s an amazing bookshelf addition for everyone who enjoys a world with magic, a bit of romance, and just the fantastical blending beautifully with people.

I hope everyone out there has a book that they cannot properly describe.

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2015 in Home

 

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