Title: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Published on: September 13th, 2011
Page Count: 387
Rating: 5/5 Crystal Balls
Summary: The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night. But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands. True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per¬formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.
Sometimes the best stories are the ones that wrap around me slowly, but surely. Little by little, I can feel it taking hold. Somehow I know it’s actually become a part of me. Before long, the end is near. How can I possibly say goodbye, when this book gave me so much meaning? So much to hold on to. This was my experience with The Night Circus.
The Night Circus is an epic tale, spanning years and locations. It’s a story so grand, incandescent and bewitching, words fail. Morgenstern gives readers pages and pages of unforgettable people, places and things, so rich in detail that readers will feel like they have been truly transported to The Night Circus itself. Perhaps my favorite thing about The Night Circus is the magic it bestowed upon me. One evening I will look outside my window, and even though I know better, a part of me will always hope to see those tents a short distance away. Just to feel the completeness that circus gave to those characters, a place to belong, even for a minute, would be enough. I know without a doubt that years and years from now people will look back at The Night Circus and it will be remembered as one of the classics for all times.
Title: Stellarnet Rebel by J.L. Hilton
Published on: January 2nd, 2012
Page Count: 281
Rating: 3.5/5 Crystal Balls
Summary: Genevieve O’Riordan is the only news blogger living in humanity’s most remote and dangerous space settlement populated by criminals, refugees, and obsessive online gamers. She’s determined to find a story that will put her at the top of Interstellar News Corps and expose Asteria Colony as an oppressive, corporate-controlled dumping grounds for the unwanted riff-raff of Earth. But then she meets Duin. How far would you go to help another? Armed with only audacity, a translator, and a stolen spacecraft, Duin is an alien freedom-fighter desperate for humanity’s aid. Mysterious invaders kidnapped his family, destroyed his village, and are stealing every drop of freshwater they can find. Asteria Colony is as close as he can get to Earth, but with Genny’s help the Stellarnet will get him even closer. What happens when you fall in love with someone trying to save the world, and that world isn’t your own? Their relationship begins with a blog post and becomes a dangerous web of politics, prejudice and passion as Genny and Duin struggle to survive not only a war but the darker side of humanity.
Let me just get this out here right now: science fiction is my favorite. I’m a sci-fi geek, especially if it’s set in space. So, when I came across Stellarnet Rebel, I was excited. I didn't love it as much as I hoped I would, but it was still a terrific read. Once the story clicked more for me toward the middle, it was definitely a page turner. Genny, the protagonist of this book, is fantastic. I loved her from the start, and even when I was struggling getting invested toward the beginning, she kept me engaged in the story. By far my favorite thing about this book is the world building. It’s outstanding. The level of work J.L. Hilton must have put into it, I can’t even begin to contemplate. It will blow you away. Stellarnet Rebel is also full of laugh-out-loud lines, with top notch humor infused in every page. There is a love triangle in this book, and while 98% of the time have zero tolerance policy for those, J.L. Hilton did something very unconventional, and I thought it worked extremely well. It’s definitely a refreshing spin on the typical ‘triangle’. Go pick up Stellarnet Rebel if you like space opera/futuristic stories, with amazing world-building and lots of humor. Note: This is an adult book, so you will find explicit sex scenes in here.