Tag: circus

Top 5 Wednesday – Favorite Book Covers!

Posted September 26, 2018 by A Conjuring of Lit in Top 5 Wednesday / 0 Comments

We are the ultimate Cover Queens, so you can imagine how excited we got when we saw this week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic over on Goodreads. That excitement quickly turned to panic as we both went home, scanned our shelves, and realized that we have EXQUISITE TASTE.

We’re humble, right?

Anyway, here are our top TEN (five each, it counts) favorite book covers that we settled on.



UK 1st/1st of Strange the Dreamer: We will not speak about how much Paige snagged this for on eBay. We just won’t. While all the the UK hardcovers have this beautiful, deep blue cover with gold foil, the first printing of the first edition ALSO came with sprayed edges. It is everything a book cover should aspire to be, and we cannot WAIT to get our UK copies of Muse of Nightmares! (WHICH COMES OUT NEXT WEEK HOLY CRAP GUYS)






UK hardcover of Daughter of Smoke and Bone. The covers for all 3 of these books are PHENOMENAL, but this is definitely Paige’s favorite. We’re both working on tracking down the whole series in this format! The feathers are a beautiful color AND they’re shiny.






THIS BOOK IS STUNNING. Neither of us has read this yet, but we have both been waiting for it to come out for a while. This is the original cover, but Owlcrate and Fairyloot both did awesome exclusives. We








…are we seeing a theme yet? This is the Goldsboro edition of Reaper at the Gates. We are both OBSESSED with the UK revamp of these book covers, and we both HAD to get this copy when it was announced. So gorgeous, and we can’t wait to get the other books in this edition as well.





swoon. Not only is this book beautiful on the inside, but this Fairyloot exclusive cover is AMAZING. The original has orange where this one has a deep red, and it is just that much more stunning for that change.






This is two books. We don’t care. Paige is ~literally~getting a Nevernight inspired tattoo later today. These covers are stunning, especially the detail on the crow on Nevernight. We cannot wait to see what Darkdawn looks like! (Also we both have the US hardcovers as well. Whoops.)

And maybe also the US paperbacks….Kate has a collection problem…




Tired of seeing UK covers yet? And is it a post by us without some SJM? We love the simplicity of the white background that highlights Aelin’s badassery.






Tra la la. Something something white UK cover with red foil. We have a type, okay?







We couldn’t pick just one copy of The Night Circus, so instead here are all of Paige’s copies. This book makes promises with its cover(s) and then TOTALLY DELIVERS.







And also, look at how pretty the UK Halloween edition is! No, we don’t care that we’re including five editions of the same book. They’re all similar enough that it basically just counts as one anyway, right? Right.






And yet another book that is as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside!









Extra bonus – our copies of the sequel, The Caged Queen, arrived today! Happy, happy book birthday!






So there you have it! The gushiest of gushes over some of our favorite beautiful books. We would also recommend ANY of these books to you guys. Let us know in the comments what you think of our faves, and let us know what you would add to the list!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Review – By a Charm and a Curse

Posted February 6, 2018 by Paige in Book Reviews, Reviews / 0 Comments

Review – By a Charm and a CurseBy a Charm and a Curse by Jaime Questell
Published by Entangled: Teen on February 6th 2018
Pages: 300
Format: eARC from Netgalley

Le Grand’s Carnival Fantastic isn’t like other traveling circuses. It’s bound by a charm, held together by a centuries-old curse, that protects its members from ever growing older or getting hurt. Emmaline King is drawn to the circus like a moth to a flame…and unwittingly recruited into its folds by a mysterious teen boy whose kiss is as cold as ice.
Forced to travel through Texas as the new Girl in the Box, Emmaline is completely trapped. Breaking the curse seems like her only chance at freedom, but with no curse, there’s no charm, either—dooming everyone who calls the Carnival Fantastic home. Including the boy she’s afraid she’s falling for.
Everything—including his life—could end with just one kiss.

I discovered this book somewhere through the book Twitter grapevine, and I was super excited a few weeks ago when I got an eARC on NetGalley. I mean, look at that cover guys. Aesthetic, much? I actually finished it in the middle of January, but I put off reviewing until now because today is its book birthday! I was about halfway through the book when I preordered it, if that tells you anything about the book.

Our main character is Emmaline King, who attends a traveling carnival with her best friend. She has recently returned to the small town she lives in to stay with her father while her mother is abroad, and she’s having a hard time fitting back into the space she left there. When she is taken in by the young fortune-telling box worker, she suddenly finds a different place in the world, and one that is more than she bargained for. And this is all I can really tell you without being too spoilery!

Let me tell you guys, I love this book. Ever since reading The Night Circus, more good circus-y books are like my white whale. While Le Grand’s Carnival Fantastic is a little more modern than Le Cirque des Reves, it still definitely drew me in. The carnival has all the attractions one would expect – trained animal acts, acrobats, fortune telling, and ferris wheels. Like your usual enchanted circus, the performers never age, and are protected from harm and from failing during their performances. This all starts to go haywire when Emma gets involved, and we start to learn more about the carnival’s origins and exactly where the protection comes from. While this carnival is grittier and less dreamy than the one in TNC, it serves the story well. We get to see the inner workings of carnival life, and we get to know the characters pretty intimately. Our other main character and alternating viewpoint of the story is Ben, who is the master carpenter’s son. He isn’t himself a performer, but he reaps the benefits of the protection the circus gives its inhabitants.
Ben is a sweet cinnamon roll of a character, and I adore his friendship with Emma and the way he gets to know her. He helps Emma grow from a timid, listless girl to someone who can fight for herself, and he grows a little bit along the way as well. I’m not normally a fan of first person narration, but dual POV stories are an exception to that blanket rule. Questell absolutely rocks the alternating chapters, giving you just enough of one POV before yanking you to the alternate one, and it keeps the pace going when the book could have otherwise dragged on.

Mildly spoilery, but I also appreciate the way she treats the relationship between Emma and Ben. It is a slow burn type friendship to romance with a payoff that waits until the very end, and I always appreciate that, especially in a YA book. Too often, things get rushed and it feels a little anticlimactic.

What I also appreciate is that she pulls NO punches when it comes to the negative events that start happening in the story. The harshness of the events of the story helps make the good moments even sweeter, and it makes the story feel more mature. Nobody wants a creepy magic circus that has all its edges sanded off.

I really like how the story of the charm and the curse gets slowly unfolded – it makes it feel like an urban legend run through a game of Telephone, and it lends itself to the slow burn I enjoyed so much about the plot.

Overall, I would recommend this to anyone who was a fan of The Night Circus, especially those who read Caraval and didn’t quite find what they were looking for there. If you’re eternally grateful when an author avoids the instalove trope, this one will also warm the cockles of your heart. If you enjoy found family, strong platonic friendships, supernatural elements, and a little New Orleans flair at times, I invite you to read this book! Happy book birthday to A Charm and a Curse by Jaime Questell!


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Review – Daughter of the Burning City

Posted January 5, 2018 by Paige in Book Reviews, Reviews / 0 Comments

Review – Daughter of the Burning CityDaughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody
Published by Harlequin Teen on July 25th 2017
Pages: 384

Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show.
But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.
Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca, and their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina’s illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all of her loved ones disappear.

I was drawn to this book because I started following the author, Amanda Foody, on Twitter and Instagram. I had heard of her upcoming novel, Ace of Shades, and when I realized she had another book, I decided I needed it. I picked it up at The Book Loft in Columbus, Ohio, because the cover was so captivating. If you don’t know this about me, purple is my favorite color. Additionally – how many books do you own that have a purple cover? That’s right, not many. Once I read the synopsis, the Night Circus fangirl in me desperately needed to read this creepy circus mystery. I read it in about two sittings!

Our main character is Sorina, the daughter of the proprietor of the Gomorrah Festival, which is a traveling city centered around circus tents, performances, and different vendors. She is a jynx-worker, which is the term used in this world for someone who has a special skill or power they can exert upon the world around them. Sorina is an illusionist, and she uses her illusion powers to run the Gomorrah Freak Show. What makes this SO interesting is that her illusions seem and act like real people. She has created a family for herself using her powers. Despite being treated as the daughter of the proprietor, she was actually adopted by him, so she doesn’t know her real family. Therefore, she creates her own.

The plot thickens when Sorina discovers one of her family members has been murdered in their performance tent. Illusions should not be able to be killed because they aren’t technically real, so the loss of her illusion family member opens up a whole new world of questions about who Sorina is and what the actual depth of her powers are.

I tried very hard to go into this book mostly blind, and I think that paid off for me in the end. This book ultimately reads as a murder mystery, almost like a thriller, and that is a genre that I never reach for but ALWAYS end up enjoying when I stumble across it. There is so much intrigue surrounding the events of this book, both with the events happening inside the festival as well as the events that are happening outside the festival, resulting in internal and external tension.

What I found most frustrating was not being able to attach to Sorina. I LOVE all of her illusions she creates, as well as many of the people she interacts with from the festival. Attention keeps being drawn to Sorina and the fact that she isn’t very smart and, even if that were true, it really rubs me the wrong way. That might just be a personal issue I have, but whenever female characters are repeatedly pointed out to be not as smart as everyone around them, it is pretty off-putting. I LOVE Luca. At the risk of being mildly-spoilery, it is heavily implied that he is Ace, although he is still trying to figure himself out in that respect. I love that Foody included this detail about him, because it shows that people who are Ace can still be romantically involved without being sexually involved. Additionally finding LBTQ+ people in non-contemporary books is something that warrants an extra gold star whenever I find it in a book.

Ultimately, while I felt that this book took a while to pick up its pace, I ended up falling for it in the last 50 pages or so. There was a lot of world-building that was necessary, and slower pace in the beginning really helped build up the overall suspense. I did not see the ending coming despite desperately trying to puzzle it out myself. I hope DotBC remains a stand-alone, because I think Foody wrapped up the storyline beautifully. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys mysteries, unique magic systems and world-building, Biblical imagery in a unique setting, or circus books. I have an eARC of Foody’s next book, Ace of Shades, which comes out in May, and I am SO excited to get to it. I’ll be posting a review of it within the next few weeks, so stay tuned!


Tags: , , , , , , ,