Tag Archives: romance

What to Read: The Crane Wife

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The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness


Summary

Based on a Japanese fairytale, The Crane Wife follows George Duncan, a man resigned to abuse by life and love because of his kind nature. Then, one night, an injured crane appears in his backyard. Soon after saving the crane, a mysterious artist enters his life, inviting him to take part in her latest project. Things finally seem to be falling into place for George, but beneath the surface of the everyday a dark and ancient story is unfurling. One of lore, love, and loss.

Overall Impressions

Through shifting perspectives, Patrick Ness poetically captures the paradox of what it means to love. (I know, bear with me.) The story moves easily between George’s life and the embedded myth, eventually merging into one narrative that spans fantasy and reality. A fantasy lover, I found myself drawn primarily to the myth portions. That said, less fantasy-inclined readers should be prepared to exercise their suspension of disbelief. Though “a little trippy”, as described by the friend who recommended it to me, the book’s strangeness ultimately translates in a relatable way. The best way I can think to describe it is whimsically noir. Take it as you will. I recommend The Crane Wife for adult readers who enjoy romance and magical realism/fantasy genres.

Happy Reading!

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What to Read: Daughter of Smoke & Bone

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Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor


Summary

Art student Karou’s double-life has long been filled with dark magic and strange beasts. Yet her place among her adoptive, inhuman family has always been a mystery. When supernatural events begin to occur around the world, Karou finds herself alone and thrust into the makings of a war. A run-in with one of the angel-like Akiva only leaves her with more questions. Unsure who to trust, Karou must discover the deadly past that has led her present, and face an uncertain future.

Overall Impressions

Gorgeously written, this is one of my favorite YA fantasy series. After book one I gleefully tore through the rest of the series. The characters are highly developed and charming, and I always appreciate books with a strong female lead. Taylor constructed an equally dark and fantastical world to compliment her characters. Suspenseful and romantic, her writing balances a quick-paced plot with elegant style. I recommend the series for lovers of YA fantasy.

Happy Reading!

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What to Read: Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares

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Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn


Summary

A whimsical girl looking for love, Lily leaves a notebook tucked among the shelves of her favorite bookstore; a notebook full of dares for anyone brave enough to accept them. Enter Dash. The pair begin trading anonymous challenges through the notebook, launching them into a comedic, whirlwind romance.

Overall Impressions

A perfect read for Christmas break. Set around Christmas, this funny and heartfelt novel is a part of my personal library. I’ve read it at least three times and it never fails to make me smile. The idea behind this story is beautiful. Beyond the plot, Lily’s enthusiasm is a lovely juxtaposition to Dash’s thoughtful cynicism, their voices clear and equally balanced between shifting viewpoints. I recommend Dash & Lily to anyone looking for a fun and relaxing read this holiday season.

Happy Reading!

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What to Read: Shadow and Bone

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Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo


Summary 

Thrown together by war, Alina Starkov and best friend Mal have grown from orphans to soldiers. When their regiment is shredded upon entering the Shadow Fold, Alina unleashes a power she’s suppressed since childhood in order to save her comrades and Mal. But this revelation tears her from the life she’s known, including Mal, to become a Grisha. Far from home and entangled in dark conspiracies, Alina’s magic may be the only thing capable of ending the war. She must decide who she is willing to trust, and what she is willing to sacrifice for her country.

Overall Impressions

This intriguing, chillingly beautiful story captured my attention from the start. The first in the Grisha series, I was struck by Bardugo’s stylistic noir and strong characters. Alina is a true heroine faced with a delightfully sophisticated villian. The Darkling stands out for his elegance and ruthlessness, so much so it was hard to decide whether I wanted Alina to kill him or marry him (read it, you’ll see what I mean). Bargudo has created a world real enough to step into, and who wouldn’t want to explore the enticingly dark yet enchanting world of the Grisha? Well written, suspenseful, and romantic, I adore this entire series. HIGHLY recommend to fantasy fans (and totally going on my Christmas list). Also by Leigh Bardugo: Six of Crows

Happy Reading!

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What to Read: Sunlight and Shadow

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Sunlight and Shadow by Cameron Dokey


Summary

When Mina was born to feuding parents, a deal was struck. She would live with her mother, queen of the night, until after her sixteenth birthday. But her father breaks the pact, setting in motion a dangerous series of events. To bring back her daughter, the queen enlists the help of a young determined prince armed with his wits and a magic flute. So begins Dokey’s masterful retelling of “The Magic Flute”.

Overall Impressions

A light read for fairytale lovers, this book is my version of comfort food. It has everything: humor, romance, an age-old prophecy. Not to mention the charming characters who adventure across each page with wit and tenacity. What’s not to love? Told in true yet original fairytale fashion, I was immediately drawn into Mina’s competing worlds, and after reading it once I was happy to return time and time again (I think the count is somewhere around five?). Sunlight and Shadow speaks to a storyteller heart.

Happy Reading!

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What to Read: The Night Circus

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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern


Summary

Raised among backstage curtains by her ruthless father, illusionist Celia is trained to compete in an age old rivalry. Her grooming leads her to Cirque de Rêves, a massive and fantastical undertaking like the world has never seen. As strategies unfold and terrible secrets are revealed, Celia and her opponent begin to realize they are competing for more than victory–they are competing for their lives.

Overall Impressions

Ladies and gentlemen, my favorite book, The Night Circus. Nothing prepared me for the absolute marvels inside the iron gates of Cirque de Rêves. Gorgeously written characters from all flocks of life capture the imagination, ignite the wonderment of childhood, and make a home in the heart. But amidst the magic are deeply human struggles. Hunger for power, unrequited love, and sacrifices for the sake of success. I smiled, I cried, and I fell in love with everything about Morgenstern’s magical circus world. Without question, I would recommend making The Night Circus your next read.

Happy Reading!

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What to Read: Fangirl

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell


Summary

Cath, a fanfiction writer and long-time lover of the Simon Snow series, has just entered her freshman year of college. With her is charismatic twin sister, Wren. Wren is eager for new-new places, new people, new experiences. Cath prefers the familiar. But the world outside of Simon Snow is calling, and Cath’s not quite sure which world she’d rather belong in.

Also by Rainbow Rowell: Carry On

Overall Impressions

Yes. Just…yes. Fangirl captures the essence of what it means to be a nerdy, eight-year-old girl stepping into the big wide realm of college for the first time. I would know. That was me two years ago, all anxious heart and fandom T-shirts. I’ve gotten over the nerves, mostly. But somedays that’s still me, which is why Fangirl is so relevant for today’s budding adults. It reassures us that shedding old ideas of who we are doesn’t have to mean letting go of what’s important, and that we never have to go through it alone. Rowell has a deep understanding of the young adult mindset, and her style shines on every page. Every girl in transition, fan or otherwise, should grab a copy of Fangirl ASAP.

Happy Reading!

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What to Read: The Demon King

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The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima


Summary

Bad luck has followed young Han Alister his entire life. That doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon. When he unwittingly steal a powerful talisman, the ex-streetlord finds himself hunted by one of the most powerful wizard family’s in the queendom. Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana’Marianna, princess heir, must navigate the dangers of a fragile court. The queen seems all too ready to lean on the opinions of her advisor, High Wizard Bayar, and Raisa suspects all is not as it seems. With the truce between the wizards and the Valefolk hanging in the balance, trusting the wrong ally could prove costly.

Overall Impressions

Great start for a series! I was hooked from the first few chapters. The characters were dynamic, likable, and well-distinguished. (Personally, I loved the nobel and tender-hearted Amon.) Each character stands on his/her own, and it was fun to see how they crossed paths through interventions of fate and chance. The Bayar family makes a formidable, Malfoy-esque enemy that has the reader squinting and shaking their fist. Chima also crafts a believable, well-mapped world in which her characters live. This fantasy is an excellent addition to the summer reading list for lovers of adventure, romance, and magic. I can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel.

Happy Reading!

 

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What to Read: The Rosie Project

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The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion 


 

Summary

Don is…odd. A brilliant professor and scientist, he abides by a strict lifestyle based on efficiency and science. It seems he’s only missing one thing: love. So begins the Wife Project–a carefully calculated endeavor to find himself a “suitable partner”. Then Don meets Rosie, an unpredictable hurricane in his quiet life of reason. Rosie is looking for her real father, and Don might just be the man to help her find him. Together they embark on the Father Project, catapulting Don into a world far more colorful than he thought possible.

Overall Impressions

Yes. Yes to all. The Rosie Project is a triumph of nerd love. The characters are full and authentic and the dynamics between the various couples are nicely blended. I loved Don’s quirky yet relatable take on life. I smiled at nearly every page thanks to the brilliantly crafted voice. It’s a fast read, the kind of book you can sit down with and enjoy over the weekend. If you’re looking to fall in love with reading all over again, check out The Rosie Project. 

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What to Read: Yes Please

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Yes Please by Amy Poehler


Summary

Amy Poehler recounts her journey to fame, motherhood, and self-discovery in her usual heartfelt, bright-eyed manner. She discusses her time spent with the Upright Citizens Brigade and the cast of SNL. She tells life like it is. Full of insight into the world of writing, directing, and straight up people-ing, Poehler’s book is a glimpse into the life of an ordinary woman accomplishing extraordinary things.

Overall Impressions

First off, I LOVE AMY. (Can I call you Amy? I’m going to call you Amy. Maybe wishing to be friends will someday make it so.) She’s a force to be reckoned with across the board- writing, acting, comedy. As for Yes Please, I enjoyed getting to look into the life of someone I admire. Well I couldn’t always connect personally with her stories, I walked away feeling entertained and enlightened on a world I didn’t know. I imagine as I get older I will go back to this book and find myself nodding along to much of Amy’s advice. For now, I can only say this: Yes please, and thank you.

Happy Reading!

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