Review || Eighteen Years- Madisen Kuhn

Eloquent || Honest || Inspiring 

After reading Milk & Honey and The Princess Saves Herself in This One [two wonderful books I have to say], I realised that poetry is truly the ultimate remedy for your soul and after experiencing it, I knew that I couldn’t live without it. So I bought myself a copy of Eighteen Years and I have to say it’s the best thing I’ve done in quite a while!

This collection of poems is a journey of thoughts, encounters and a multitude of emotions. Every page hosts a short passage that deals with heartbreak, anxiety, depression, love, loss and identity, amongst others. My favourite collection by far is the Winter 2012-2013 collection, mostly because I related to it the most. The reason why I didn’t give it 5 stars though is because there were a number of poems I didn’t really connect to, which obviously doesn’t mean that they’re not worth reading…not at all. This is just a matter of personal opinion. I found certain poems repetitive, specifically the ones that deal with a bad breakup and was hoping for something uplifting amongst them. Having said that, I can totally understand why there will be passages that will read your heart and soul and others that you will never truly grasp simply because to really understand them you need to experience first hand the reality she was describing. But thanks to these poems, I was given an insight to what she was going through and I appreciate that.

you are my thoughts as

the sun rises, and my dreams

after it has set

Madisen Kuhn’s writing spoke to me on such a personal level, as if her poems were written just for me and I’m pretty sure that everyone who has read/will read it will relate to it in some way or another, regardless of the age, gender or your experiences. And this made me come to realise how much everyone is connected even if we are not always aware of it. We are all tied together by our thoughts, feelings and emotions; invisible threads spinning across the universe.

This brilliant prose proved to me that words could be the best remedy for your soul. It offered me comfort when other things failed. It soaked up my tears and opened my heart to new opportunities. It reminded me that while life is not always easy, we can always find strength within ourselves to overcome our obstacles. Scars are the reminder that we are human. Beautiful and strong.

the world is dirt,

i have seen

the most beautiful flowers

spring up

from it’ soil

(please do not pluck them all)

 every rose has thorns,

but that shouldn’t be a reason

to neglect it’s petals

The writing explicitly showed how much the author poured her heart and soul into her work and bared her heart to us for a chance to understand ours. Sometimes you love something and think about it so much that you are rendered speechless. You can barely find the proper words to describe your feelings coherently. These poems somehow awaken that silent creature within you and as it rises from its slumber you are keenly aware of everything around you: the shadows on your bedroom wall, the creaking of the floor, birds chirping outside and your own heartbeat dancing along to it’s own music. I loved this collection of poems mostly because it made me appreciate the simplest details in my life that I have often neglected. And it is only by treasuring these little moments will you be able to truly value the bigger ones.

who are you,

really?

you are not a name

or a height or a weight

or a gender,

you are not an age

and you are not

where you are from

you are your favorite books

and the songs stuck in your head,

you are your thoughts

and what you eat for breakfast

on Saturday mornings

you are a thousand things,

but everyone chooses

to see the million things

you are not

you are not

where you are from

you are

where you’re going

and I’d like

to go there

too

May this book make you fall in love with everything that is beautiful: life…and you. x

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Rating:  ☆☆☆☆

  • Genre: Poetry
  • Edition: Createspace, November 2015, Paperback
  • Pages: 266
  • Source: Wordery

KAZ BREKKER // A Playlist

Kaz Brekker. Dirtyhands. Lieutenant of the Dregs. 

My all-time favourite character deserved a playlist. So that’s what I did. May these songs call out to the words on those red-tainted pages and make him materialise next to me ….oh how I wish….

Human // Rag’n’Bone Man

Ain’t No Grave // Johnny Cash

Beat The Devil’s Tattoo // Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Mad World // Gary Jules, Michael Andrews

Staying Up // The Neighbourhoods

Short Change Hero // The Heavy

Hurt // Johnny Cash

Lose Your Soul // Dead Man’s Bones

Blood on My Name // The Brothers Bright

Blackbird Song // Lee DeWyze

The Preacher // Jamie N Commons

Seven Devils // Florence + The Machine

It Will Come Back // Hozier

Gold // Imagine Dragons

Glory // Jamie N Commons

[SPOTIFY]

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Books I want to reread in 2017

“There’s always another story. When you read a book again and let your imagination take over, it can take you to new stories, so it’s like a book inside the book!” ― Kate Westerlund, If You Wish

I love rereading books. I love revisiting my favourite characters and envelope myself amongst the pages I can call home. I always notice a new detail to the story, fall in love with a new character and just breath in the words that are able to make me feel a multitude of emotions.

Every year I make it a point to reread at least ten of my favourite books and that’s not counting the Harry Potter series which I reread every year. So here are the books that I’m planning to reread this year. I can’t wait! x


*The Martian // Andy Weir

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Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate the planet while
thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded on Mars’ surface, completely alone, with no way to signal Earth that he’s alive. And even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone years before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, Mark won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first.

But Mark’s not ready to quit. Armed with nothing but his ingenuity and his engineering skills—and a gallows sense of humor that proves to be his greatest source of strength–he embarks on a dogged quest to stay alive, using his botany expertise to grow food and even hatching a mad plan to contact NASA back on Earth. As he overcomes one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next, Mark begins to let himself believe he might make it off the planet alive. But Mars has plenty of surprises in store for him yet. [Goodreads]

*The Book Thief // Markus Zusak

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It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an
accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.
This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul. [Goodreads]

*The Graveyard Book // Neil Gaiman

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After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the
ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own. Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family… [Goodreads]

*Saga // Brian L. Vaughan

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When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.

From bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan, Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults. [Goodreads]

*Milk & Honey // Rupi Kaur

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milk and honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. It is about the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. It is split into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose, deals with a different pain, heals a different heartache. milk and honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look. [Goodreads]

*The princess saves herself in this one // Amanda Lovelace

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“Ah, life- the thing that happens to us while we’re off somewhere else blowing on dandelions & wishing ourselves into the pages of our favorite fairy tales.”

A poetry collection divided into four different parts: the princess, the damsel, the queen, & you. the princess, the damsel, & the queen piece together the life of the author in three stages, while you serves as a note to the reader & all of humankind. Explores life & all of its love, loss, grief, healing, empowerment, & inspirations. [Goodreads]

*The Infernal Devices // Cassandra Clare

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In a time when Shadowhunters are barely winning the fight against the forces of darkness, one battle will change the course of history forever. Welcome to the Infernal Devices trilogy, a stunning and dangerous prequel to the New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.

The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them… [Goodreads]

*Atonement // Ian Mc.Ewan

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On a hot summer day in 1934, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses a moment’s flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant and Cecilia’s childhood friend. But Briony’s incomplete grasp of adult motives—together with her precocious literary gifts—brings about a crime that will change all their lives. As it follows that crime’s repercussions through the chaos and carnage of World War II and into the close of the twentieth century, Atonement engages the reader on every conceivable level, with an ease and authority that mark it as a genuine masterpiece. [Goodreads]

*Harry Potter // Jk Rowling

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Harry Potter’s life is miserable. His parents are dead and he’s stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he’s a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

After a lifetime of bottling up his magical powers, Harry finally feels like a normal kid. But even within the Wizarding community, he is special. He is the boy who lived: the only person to have ever survived a killing curse inflicted by the evil Lord Voldemort, who launched a brutal takeover of the Wizarding world, only to vanish after failing to kill Harry.

Though Harry’s first year at Hogwarts is the best of his life, not everything is perfect. There is a dangerous secret object hidden within the castle walls, and Harry believes it’s his responsibility to prevent it from falling into evil hands. But doing so will bring him into contact with forces more terrifying than he ever could have imagined.

Full of sympathetic characters, wildly imaginative situations, and countless exciting details, the first installment in the series assembles an unforgettable magical world and sets the stage for many high-stakes adventures to come. [Goodreads]

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2017 Book Releases

It’s a new year, which means a plethora of new books to look forward to, ready to indulge our literary fancies. So I have made a list of my most anticipated book releases that have given me something to look forward to this year. Honestly this year does not disappoint and that’s just from reading the synopsis. And let’s not talk about the covers or I would end up rambling for a week. I just hope we all end up enjoying them!

[The books are organized by release date]

Wayfarer (Passenger #2) // Alexandra Bracken  [Release Date: January 3rd]

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All Etta Spencer wanted was to make her violin debut when she was thrust into a treacherous world where the struggle for power could alter history. After losing the one thing that would have allowed her to protect the Timeline, and the one person worth fighting for, Etta awakens alone in an unknown place and time, exposed to the threat of the two groups who would rather see her dead than succeed. When help arrives, it comes from the last person Etta ever expected—Julian Ironwood, the Grand Master’s heir who has long been presumed dead, and whose dangerous alliance with a man from Etta’s past could put them both at risk.

Meanwhile, Nicholas and Sophia are racing through time in order to locate Etta and the missing astrolabe with Ironwood travelers hot on their trail. They cross paths with a mercenary-for-hire, a cheeky girl named Li Min who quickly develops a flirtation with Sophia. But as the three of them attempt to evade their pursuers, Nicholas soon realizes that one of his companions may have ulterior motives. As Etta and Nicholas fight to make their way back to one another, from Imperial Russia to the Vatican catacombs, time is rapidly shifting and changing into something unrecognizable… and might just run out on both of them. [Goodreads]

Caraval // Stephanie Garber  [Release Date: January 31st]

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Welcome, welcome to Caraval—Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over. But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever. [Goodreads]

A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3)// VE Schwab  [Release Date: February 21st]

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London’s fall and kingdoms rise while darkness sweeps the Maresh Empire—and the fraught balance of magic blossoms into dangerous territory while heroes and foes struggle alike. The direct sequel to A Gathering of Shadows, and the final book in the Shades of Magic epic fantasy series, A Conjuring of Light sees Schwa
b reach a thrilling culmination concerning the fate of beloved protagonists—and old enemies. [Goodreads

The Hate U Give // Angie Thomas  [Release Date: February 28th]

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Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice. [Goodreads]

Saga, Volume 7 // Brian K. Vaughan  [Release Date: March 28th]

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When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe. (Saga Vol 1)

Finally reunited with her ever-expanding family, Hazel travels to a war-torn comet that Wreath and Landfall have been battling over for ages. New friendships are forged and others are lost forever in this action-packed volume about families, combat and the refugee experience. [Goodreads]

Strange the Dreamer // Laini Taylor  [Release Date: March 28th]
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Strange the Dreamer is the story of:
the aftermath of a war between gods and men
a mysterious city stripped of its name
a mythic hero with blood on his hands
a young librarian with a singular drea
a girl every bit as perilous as she is imperiled
alchemy and blood candy, nightmares and godspawn, moths and monsters, friendship and treachery, love and carnage.
Welcome to Weep. [Goodreads]

Flame in the Mist // Renee Ahdieh  [Release Date: May 16th]

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The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor’s favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family’s standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.

Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the ranks of the Black Clan, determined to track down the person responsible for the target on her back. But she’s quickly captured and taken to the Black Clan’s secret hideout, where she meets their leader, the rebel ronin Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, his best friend Okami. Still believing her to be a boy, Ranmaru and Okami eventually warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. As Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets, of betrayal and murder, which will force her to question everything she’s ever known. [Goodreads]

Wicked Like a Wildfire (Hibiscus Daughter #1) // Lana Popović  [Release Date: August 15th]

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All the women in Iris and Malina’s family are born with a gleam—a unique way of manipulating beauty through magic. Seventeen-year-old Iris sees flowers as fractals and turns her kaleidoscope visions into glasswork, her twin sister Malina interprets moods as music, and their cold, distant mother Jasmina bakes scenery into decadent treats at her confectionery in Old Town Cattaro, Montenegro.

Jasmina forbids Iris and Malina to share their gleams with anyone, and above all, she forbids them to fall in love—being discovered could shatter the quiet lives they’ve built in their tucked-away, seaside town. But Iris and Malina are tired of abiding by their mother’s
rules and rebel in secret whenever they can.  Yet when a mysterious, white-haired woman attacks their mother and leaves her hovering between life and death, the sisters unearth an ancient curse that haunts their line—a wicked bargain that masquerades as a blessing, and binds the twins’ fates—and hearts—to a force larger than life. To save each other, they must untangle a thousand years of lies and reveal their own hurtful secrets. But even the deepest sacrifice might not be enough. [Goodreads]

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Illustrated Edition // JK Rowling            

[Release Date: October 2017]

Harry Potter is lucky to reach the age of thirteen, since he has already survived the murderous attacks of the feared Dark Lord on more than one occasion. But his hopes for a quiet term concentrating on Quidditch are dashed when a maniacal mass-murderer escapes from Azkaban, pursued by the soul-sucking Dementors who guard the prison. It’s assumed that Hogwarts is the safest place for Harry to be. But is it a coincidence that he can feel eyes watching him in the dark, and should he be taking Professor Trelawney’s ghoulish predictions seriously?

~Waltzing through Winter

Kindling Wood // Winter Playlist:

Skinny Love // Bon Iver

T.B.D. // Hanging Valleys

Down in the Valley // The Head and the Heart

Early Morning Fog // Jacob Shea, Jasha Klebe

Ends of the Earth // Lorn Huron

Outerspace Mover // Tom Rosenthal

Dead Sea // The Lumineers

Tiger Striped Sky // Roo Panes

White Winter Hymnal // Fleet Foxes

Live Forever // Drew Holcomb & The Neighbours

Harmony // Handsome and Gretyl

Heartbeats // José Gonzáles

Man on Fire // Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

Lovers Who Make Love // Ciaran Lavery

Paint // The Paper Kites

x.

•Winter TBR

The bitter skies are turning a murky grey outside. The pearly moon is hidden behind blankets of cumulus clouds. The wind is screeching and howling, battering against the windows, making me grateful for the warm fire in the grate saturating my face with heat. A fleece blanket swaddles me tightly, my hands clutching a mug of warm tea with a book balanced precariously on my knees. The smell of baking bread in the kitchen downstairs mingles with the woody smell from the fireplace…

As much as I love Fall, I am now completely ready to embrace the cold and stormy days and finally be able to cuddle in my thick blankets and cardigans! Here are the books that I am planning to read this Winter. Some of them have been on my bookshelves for ages and I’m finally doing something about it! Let me know if you have any book recommendations ideal for the Winter season! x


*All The Light We Cannot See // Anthony Doerr

18143977 A blind French girl and a German boy’s paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.  Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

 In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge. [Goodreads]


*The Queen of the Tearling // Erika Johansen

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 A young woman. A kingdom. An evil enemy. A birthright foretold . . . With the arrival of her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn is ascending to her rightful place as the new Queen of the Tearling. Surrounded by enemies, including an evil sorceress possessed of dark magic, the young ruler stands little chance of success. But Kelsea possesses fearsome weapons of her own, including the Tear sapphire, a jewel of immense power and magic. As an epic war draws near, Kelsea’s quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny begins a wondrous journey of self-discovery and a trial by fire that will make her a legend…if she can survive. [Goodreads]


 *A Little Life // Hanya Yanagihara

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When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever. [Goodreads]


*The Snow Child // Eowyn Ivey

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Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart–he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm, she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season’s first snowfall,
they build a child out of snow. The next morning, the snow child is gone–but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees. This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them. [Goodreads]


*Between Shades of Grey // Ruta Sepetys

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Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets
crushes on boys. Until on
e night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they’ve known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic
Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin’s orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

 Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously–and at great risk–documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father’s prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart. [Goodreads]


*The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle) // Patrick Rothfuss

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Told in Kvothe’s own voice, this is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen. The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story unrivaled in recent literature. [Goodreads]


*The Final Empire (Mistborn Trilogy) // Brandon Sanderson

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In a world where ash falls from the sky, and mist dominates the night, an evil cloaks the land and stifles all life. The future of the empire rests on the shoulders of a troublemaker and his young apprentice. Together, can they fill the world with color once more? 
In Brandon Sanderson’s intriguing tale of love, loss, despair and hope, a new kind of magic enters the stage — Allomancy, a magic of the metals. [Goodreads]


*Caraval // Stephanie Garber


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Welcome, welcome to Caraval―Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game. Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over. But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the sho. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever. [Goodreads]


*The Goldfinch // Donn Tartt


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It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

 As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle. The Goldfinch combines vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and suspense, while plumbing with a philosopher’s calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art. It is an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate. [Goodreads]

 

Review || The Night Circus- Erin Morgenstern

The circus arrives without warning.

No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.

 Le Cirque des Rêves offers an experience that is truly unique and remarkable. Every black and white tent holds a mystery, an extraordinary experience that will leave your senses wanting more. However, behind the scenes there is a competition, a challenge between two magicians that could affect the fate of both their lives and the circus itself.

It all starts with Prospero the Enchanter, an infamous magician best known for his illusions; illustrious acts that go beyond your normal magical tricks. But he is still struck dumb when one day he finds a young girl in his dressing room who could levitate objects with her mind. There was no doubt that she was his daughter.

 Marco Alisdair lived quite an ordinary life in a London orphanage until a man in a grey suit chose him as his student and requested to leave with him with the promise of a great number of books.

Growing up, Celia and Marco are taught to manipulate the world and perform illusions concealed as normal magical tricks, which would later on prepare them for a magical contest set by their whimsical tutors. They have no knowledge of its rules or way of victory, but they do know that they are falling for each other and this could lead to complications no one could ever foresee.

“The finest of pleasures are always the unexpected ones.”

The Night Circus reads like Chandresh Christophe Lefèvres’ famous Midnight Dinners. Both have an air of nocturnal mystery to them and while you might recognize certain elements that make them what they are, the rest are shrouded in secrets. This is not an epic love story. Nor is it a heated battle between two powerful magicians. I’m still confused as to what it really is to be completely honest. All I can say is that it is a magical experience beyond even your wildest imagination!

The writing is one of the most powerful elements in this book. It is only the true magic of the written word that can induce such a sensory overload of savory smells, enchanting attractions that defy the laws of physics and the delicious taste of mulled cider. Morgensterns’ brilliant writing is induced with a poetical undertone that is able to evoke rich mesmerizing imagery, deliberately transporting you into a world full of mystery and magic. And while you can still feel your back resting against the couch and hear the rustle of the pages between your fingers, you can also feel the crisp air around you and smell the caramel wafting through the evening breeze. Various chapters written in the first person are also an effective way in allowing the reader to experience first hand the magic of the circus as if one is actually there. It’s like the author attempts to grant your wish to actually visit it by providing you with these short glimpses into the world she created. Erin Morgenstern is a wordsmith goddess. There’s no doubt about that.

“Like stepping into a fairy tale under a curtain of stars.”

The story has quite a slow start but it builds up gradually without it becoming tedious. I do have to point out however that the plot is quite slow-paced throughout the whole novel and while I understand those readers eager to see the ball rolling who might skip certain chapters, it is not really the best idea since every page is a puzzle piece that ultimately aids in forming the final picture. I did have the urge to skim over certain chapters just so I could revel in the interactions between Celia and Marco. Their relationship does take a lot of time to develop but somehow this made it even more realistic and also made those special moments between them even more memorable.

This book is truly a huge puzzle piece. The time differences in narration and the different perspectives all provided small pieces of information about the story, but never a complete picture. It was actually quite effective in increasing the tension and anticipation for forthcoming events that are only mentioned briefly. It was so beautiful the way all the different stories finally came together and everything started to make sense.

What can I say about the characters without drowning in my own tears? I loved each and every one of them, even those that at first glance might seem malicious. In contrast to the circus’s appearance, there is no definite black and white when it comes to the characters’ nature since each and every one of them is flawed in their own way. The author transcended the boundaries of good versus bad, giving the story a much more realistic feel to it.

“Good and evil are a great deal more complex than a princess and a dragon . . . is not the dragon the hero of his own story?”

Celia is such a strong female character with an extremely resilient personality, albeit her occasional short-temperedness. She grew up with a deluge of abuse from her father, which she learnt to tune out or retaliate with her own vehement opinions when she grew up. She might appear eerie and almost transcendental in the way that she’s described, especially during her performances, but she is actually quite reserved and friendly, and very much attuned to the feelings and emotions of the people around her. Marco on the other hand is quite charming and uses this to his advantage many times, but his intentions were never malicious. However, he was quite irresponsible when it came to his relationship with Isabel, having led her on for so many years. While he made it quite obvious in his actions regarding his feelings towards her, I wished that he were honest with her from the start. I guess his lonely childhood didn’t really help for his future interactions, having spent all his life with books and lacking any sort of social guidance when he was growing up.

“I made a wish on this tree years ago,” Marco says.

 “What did you wish for?” Bailey asks. 

Marco leans forward and whispers in Bailey’s ear. “I wished for her.”

The romance between Celia and Marco is incredibly beautiful. It feels like their love for each other was there from the moment that they were bound together, and the years apart only made it grow and flourish even more. It was refreshing however to see their relationship develop gradually and not see them fall instantly into each other’s arms just because of who they are. I loved their covert glimpses at each other, the tents that they built as their form of silent communication and the palpable electrifying feeling every time they touched. Sometimes it felt like I was intruding because their romance felt so personal and unique. I’m not ashamed to say that I was swooning the whole time!

 “I would have written you, myself, if I could put down in words everything I want to say to you. A sea of ink would not be enough.’

‘But you built me dreams instead.”

What’s beautiful about this book is that even the secondary characters are rich and complex. Widget and Poppet bring so much life to the circus, and not only because of their flaming red hair. Bailey, an ordinary teenager is just as significant as the main characters. And let’s not forget Herr Friedrick Thiessan, a maker of extraordinary clocks and writer of letters about the extraordinary. Everyone forms an integral part to the story one-way or another.

The Circus also reads like an actual character that stands out on it’s own. It is imbued with deep and complex magic, which makes it hard to fathom at times. This added a certain aura of mystery and charm to it, making it feel almost like a dream, hence its name. The circus is also what binds Celia and Marco together so in a way it represents a combination of their most profound desires. Their many tents and illusions were like a silent conversation between them, and we are the audience watching this beautiful interaction.

“You think, as you walk away from Le Cirque des Rêves and into the creeping dawn, that you felt more awake within the confines of the circus.

You are no longer quite certain which side of the fence is the dream.”

I will never grow tired of this book and it’s promise of an otherworldly experience and this is the reason why I want everyone to read it. All of you have a chance to visit this enchanting circus, wander its paths that weave around the tents, smell the cider in the air, see the black and white colors long after you’ve fallen asleep, and allow your eyes to seek the words written in an elaborate sign after the smoke and sparks dissipate:

Le Cirque des Rêves


Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

  • Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
  • Edition: Anchor Books, July 2012, Paperback
  • Pages: 516
  • Source: Book Depository

Shades of Autumn ~

Harvest Moon || Autumn Playlist:

Have We Met Before? // Tom Rosenthal

Big Black Car // Gregory Alan Isakov

Outro // M83

Rivers and Roads // The Head and the Heart

To Build a Home // The Cinematic Orchestra

Ophelia // The Lumineers

If I Go, I’m Goin // Gregory Alan Isakov

Mykonos // Fleet Foxes

The Funeral // Band of Horses

Skydive // Astronauts

Work Song // Hozier

As Luck Would Have It // Tom Rosenthal

Here With Me // Susie Suh & Robot Koch

Step // Vampire Weekend

Small Hands // Keaton Henson

x.

II. Favourite Book Quotes

“I apologize for anything I might have done. I was not myself.”

“I apologize for shooting you in the leg. I was myself entirely.”

-VE Schwab || A Darker Shade of Magic 

“A lifetime isn’t enough to know how a person will behave.”

-Jessie Burton || The Miniaturist

“Someone needs to tell those tales. When the battles are fought and won and lost, when the pirates find their treasures and the dragons eat their foes for breakfast with a nice cup of Lapsang souchong, someone needs to tell their bits of overlapping narrative. There’s magic in that. It’s in the listener, and for each and every ear it will be different, and it will affect them in ways they can never predict. From the mundane to the profound. You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift. Your sister may be able to see the future, but you yourself can shape it, boy. Do not forget that… there are many kinds of magic, after all.”

-Erin Morgenstern || The Night Circus 

“I got to thinking that poems were like people. Some people you got right off the bat. Some people you just didn’t get-and never would get.”

-Benjamin Alire Sáenz || Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe

“If you take a book with you on a journey,” Mo had said when he put the first one in her box, “an odd thing happens: The book begins collecting your memories. And forever after you have only to open that book to be back where you first read it. It will all come into your mind with the very first words: the sights you saw in that place, what it smelled like, the ice cream you ate while you were reading it… yes, books are like flypaper—memories cling to the printed page better than anything else.”

-Cornelia Funke || Inkheart 

“The first of many autumn rains smelled smoky, like a doused campsite fire, as if the ground itself had been aflame during those hot summer months. It smelled like burnt piles of collected leaves, the cough of a newly revived chimney, roasted chestnuts, the scent of a man’s hands after hours spent in a wood shop.”

-Leslye Walton || The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender 

“Time passes. That’s the rule. No matter what happens, no matter how much it might feel like everything in your life has been frozen around one particular moment, time marches on.”

-Cynthia Hand || The Last Time We Say Goodbye