The Night Circus
by Erin Morgenstern
Published by HARVILL SECKER
In 1886, a mysterious travelling circus becomes an international sensation. Open only at night, constructed entirely in black and white, Le Cirque des Reves delights all who wander its circular paths and warm themselves at its bonfire. Although there are acrobats, fortune-tellers and contortionists, the Circus of Dreams is no conventional spectacle. Some tents contain clouds, some ice. The circus seems almost to cast a spell over its aficionados, who call themselves the reveurs - the dreamers. At the heart of the story is the tangled relationship between two young magicians, Celia, the enchanter's daughter, and Marco, the sorcerer's apprentice. At the behest of their shadowy masters, they find themselves locked in a deadly contest, forced to test the very limits of the imagination, and of their love...A fabulous, fin-de-siecle feast for the senses and a life-affirming love story, The Night Circus is a captivating novel that will make the real world seem fantastical and a fantasy world real.
This story was exquisitely put together, with a large group of distinct characters. Somehow, though, it jusr failed to captivate me. The switches between different times from chapter to chapter took that little too long for me to get used to, and I never fully warmed to the relationships between the central characters. I shame, as I loved the premise of this one.
by Sue Moorcroft
Published by Choc Lit
New home, new friends, new love. Can starting over be that simple? Tess Riddell reckons her beloved Freelander is more reliable than any man - especially her ex-fiance, Olly Gray. She's moving on from her old life and into the perfect cottage in the country. Miles Rattenbury's passions - Old cars and new women! Romance - He's into fun rather than commitment. When Tess crashes the Freelander into his breakdown truck, they find that they're nearly neighbours - yet worlds apart. Despite her overprotective parents and a suddenly attentive Olly, she discovers the joys of village life and even forms an unlikely friendship with Miles. Then, just as their relationship develops into something deeper, an old flame comes looking for him ...Is their love strong enough to overcome the past? Or will it take more than either of them is prepared to give?
This had a bunch of elements that generally appeal to me: house restoration, classic cars, village life, a protagonist with medical issues that felt real. But the hero felt a little too inconsistent, and while at times he was sympathetic to the heroines problems, at others he was not so much a good bloke as the best of a bunch of not particularly appealing ones. On the other hand, I would have loved to see more of the background couples and their relationships, but the book failed to deliver there.
I'd like to see more from this author, because there's definitely the promise of stories I'd like to read.
by L.A. Meyer
Published by Macmillan Children's Books
Meet Bloody Jack Faber, Scourge of the High Seas and Pirate-murderer, in the most swashbuckling, rip-roaring adventure of the year! Desperate to escape a life of poverty on the streets of London, twelve-year-old Jacky Faber joins the HMS Dolphin as a ship's boy. Looking forward to daring adventures and riches galore, Jacky soon discovers that surviving life at sea requires more than quick feet and hard work. Being shot at from all directions, taking on a fully-grown toothless pirate, or being washed up on a desert island demands courage and A Lot of luck. But Jacky loves it. There is just one problem - Jacky is a girl. And she will have to use every ounce of cunning she has if she is to keep the crew from discovering her secret. For eighteenth century girls aren't supposed to murder pirates, have tattoos or swear -- are they?
Another story that ought to have appealed, but it suffered from being the first in a long series and from the seemingly shoehorned in hints of m/f romance. Considering how many real life stories of crossdressing women at sea exist, the ending felt rather unlikely too.
31 Dream Street
by Lisa Jewell
Published by Penguin Books Ltd
Leah and Toby have lived across the street from one another for years without meeting ...and Leah has been itching to peek behind the front door of Toby's eccentric house, always packed to the rafters with weird and wonderful tenants. When fate finally lets her in, Leah finds that Toby needs her as much as she is surprised to realize she might need him. Sometimes life needs a helping hand and with a sprinkle of romance and their own special magic, Toby and Leah's dreams show the glimmer of a chance of coming true.
Toby was given his house as a wedding present, but he and his tenants have been there far longer than his estranged wife ever was. Now Toby wants to move on, and to do that he has to ensure that all his tenants are happily settled elsewhere before he can renovate the house and then sell it. I liked this story a lot, although not all the stories had the perfect endings that I would have liked for them. I definitely want to find more by this author.