Thursday, December 27, 2012

Sister by Rosamund Lupton

"Before you died, the adjectives about my life were second league:  stressful, upsetting, distressing; at the worst, deeply sad.  Now I have the big gun words--harrowing, traumatic, devastating--as part of my thesaurus of self," writes Beatrice in the novel Sister by Rosamund Lupton.  When Beatrice's younger sister, Tess, goes missing days after giving birth to a stillborn baby boy, Beatrice flies back to London to look for her, but she is too late.  The police discover Tess's body in Hyde Park and rule her death a suicide.  Only Beatrice is sure that Tess could never kill herself; that she was, in fact, murdered.  No one else believes her, not the police, not her mother, not even Tess's closest friends.  But Beatrice refuses to stop looking for her sister's killer, determined to discover the truth, even if it kills her.  And it just might.                                     
        Beatrice narrates the story as if she is writing a letter to her sister, making Tess an integral part of the story, even though she is dead.  Lupton is a lyrical writer who does a masterful job of moving the story forward while building suspense until the very end--an ending that will definitely surprise you.  I couldn't put this book down!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Night Circus

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern--             

        Reading this book made me wish I could visit Le Cirque des Reves with its magical ice garden, wishing tree, and labyrinth of wonders.  The novel begins with a wager between two rival magicians; they bind two of their students, Celia Bowen and Marco Alisdair, to playing out this wager, neglecting to mention to either player that the wager will only end with one of their deaths.  The Night Circus, or Le Cirque des Reves, is created as the chessboard on which Celia and Marco play out their game.  Through magic and illusion they take turns adding to the circus, each new attraction even more amazing than the last.  Celia travels with the circus as an Illusionist; Marco does not.  Marco knows who his opponent is; Celia does not. 
      Years pass, but none in the circus seem to age.  When Marco and Celia finally meet face to face, they discover the passion they feel for their magical creations in the traveling circus is really a passion for each other.  But not even their love can change the fact that one must die in order for the wager to end.  And what happens to the circus when the challenge is done and there is no more magic to keep it running?  I found myself racing to the end of the book to find out the answer, anxious to see what became of Celia, Marco, and Le Cirque des Reves.  Part of what makes this book so fun to read is its uniqueness.  Morgenstern outdid herself inventing a circus filled with so many marvels, and so many memorable characters.  This is a must-own book!                   

Friday, December 21, 2012

Top Ten Reads from 2012

     Out of all the books I read in 2012, here are ten of the best (in no particular order):
  1. The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston
  2. Where Shadows Dance by C.S. Harris
  3. An Uncertain Place by Fred Vargas
  4. Girl Reading by Katie Ward
  5. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  6. Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson
  7. The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin
  8. Soulless by Gail Carriger
  9. In The Sea There Are Crocodiles by Fabio Geda
  10. The Quiet Girl by Peter Hoeg