The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Have you ever been to the circus? Were you blown away by the trapeze artists and the animals who jumped through impossibly small hoops? Well, imagine a circus which operates solely on magic. A circus composed of people with real magical abilities. People who can actually make themselves disappear; people who can create wonderlands made of ice. Now imagine that this circus opens at sunset and closes at dawn; it is only open at night. What I’ve just asked you to imagine is called the Le Cirque des Rêves — the Circus of Dreams.

Even as a young child, Celia Bowen had extraordinary talent. Her father, Prospero, is a renowned and boastful magician who enters into a competition of sorts with a mysterious Mr. A.H–. Prospero teaches Celia the art of magic, specifically illusions. Mr. A.H– chooses an orphan boy as his protege: Marco Alisdair. He takes a different angle with him and reveals to Marco the art of magic through texts and glyphs.

Celia begins performing at Le Cirque des Rêves as the illusionist, while Marco takes a more subdued role as assistant to the proprietor of the circus: Chandresh. Very little of the competition is revealed to the two competitors. In fact, the only thing they know for sure is that they are involved in a competition and that giving up is not an option. Neither knows anything about their rival, much less who it is; nor do they know much about the rules or endgame. As one might expect, as the story progresses Celia and Marco begin falling in love, and neither is aware of the consequences that this might entail.

Even before I had begun reading this book, I had fallen in love with it. The cover is beautiful, and I feel as if it fits very well with the themes of the story — mystery and magic. The way in which this story is written was interesting, and I believe it too added to the mystery and fantasy behind it all. It is written from the prospective of a whole array of different characters including Celia, Marco, Prospero, Mr. A.H–, Chandresh, a German clockmaker, a boy who is completely enamoured by the circus, and other circus performers (including the contortionist: Tsukiko, and twins called Poppet and Widget).

This was a great and fairly quick read. Erin Morgenstern does a beautiful job lacing themes of fantasy, magic, and mystery into her words. This book took me to a completely different world filled with magic and wonder. I’d give anything to visit Le Cirque des Rêves

-Elina T.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available for download from Overdrive

Fraternize by Rachel VanDyken

Best book I’ve read so far in 2018.

So let’s see where to start…

Emerson (referred to as “Em”) was in love with her best friend Miller when they were young kids. They did everything together, and when she wasn’t allowed to play football, she became a cheerleader. When Miller left in their senior year of high school, Em kept a big secret from him.

Miller ends up being traded to the same NFL team that Em is cheerleading for. They have a really bad past at this point, so he is literally the last person she wants to see again. Then Grant Sanchez comes into the picture. He is on the NFL team as well. He is extremely cocky, and Miller starts fighting with him almost immediately.

But Sanchez see’s something in Em the first time he lays eyes on her, she doesn’t reciprocate, but he keeps trying.

Eventually, Miller and Em reform the bond that they used to share. But at that point Em likes Sanchez too. The question for her is, who will she pick?

As time goes on, the choice is obvious to Em who she will pick.
“I think…That I’ve always been yours. I just didn’t realize it.”
Yes, I know that I made this book sound like a huge cliche, but it isn’t. It is such a great, great book, and I enjoyed each and every little part of it. You will too! READ IT!

-Skylar N.

Fraternize by Rachel VanDyken is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Red Clocks by Leni Zumas

In the wake of the unrelenting movements spanning across the globe on gender equality, an achingly honest account on the female experience rises from contemporary beginnings. Leni Zumas masterfully crafts together a mosaic of triumph and misery through the lives of five women:

  • A desperate list-making biographer whose anguish feeds her fire
  • A student brighter than the sun, knee-deep in an undesirable predicament
  • An exhausted wife/mother, carrying in her hands her breaking marriage
  • An arrested mystic guided by her own lunacy
  • And finally, an unacknowledged polar explorer of the nineteenth century.

In brash, burning, and heartrending prose, Zumas teaches us the interconnectedness of one life to another and the vibrancy of hope in tumultuous times. Set in a United States where abortion is banned and IVF illegal, Red Clocks is a novel of forward thinking and revolution. It’s witty and full of relatable quips – a reflection of life’s pitfalls and mountains and written with the hand of a skilled writer.

Zumas writes inside the heads of her characters – each sentence a gunshot ringing clear in the minds of the protagonists. Each woman wielding her own flaws, dreams, and faulty beauty, the reader gains a true and sometimes alarming insight into their lives. The novel is incandescent with the fire of the strange, sparking with the light of life.

Ultimately, through pain and reward, the women of Red Clocks learn their own lessons in the novel’s revelation. While its mature themes are not for everyone, there are countless aspects to love in Zumas’ political, hilarious, and gorgeous testimony to the horrors and beauty of a woman’s life.

-Esther H.

Red Clocks by Leni Zumas is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Quest For A Popstar by Katie Hamstead

I literally could not read this book, at all. It was so darn cringey, well, I know I called The Football Girl the cringiest book I ever read but  nope, it is now this one.

So let’s see… the book was written as if by a 12 year old, which was a turn off in the beginning. But I thought to my self “Skylar, it may get better, just think of all those other great books that you hated in the beginning but then loved.” Nope, nope, nope. That didn’t happen here in the slightest. But here is the part that I stopped reading:

“I grit my teeth. There are guys in the group who look worse than me and didn’t get such severe criticism.”

And with this, I DNF’d. I do not need to read a book with a female character playing the “Oh look, the man is treated better than me, must be because I am a woman.” No thank you. If you don’t want to read a book that a Junior High school student wrote, do not read this.

-Skylar N.

Ultrasabers: Prophecy v3

Are you a Star Wars fan? Well, if you don’t have one of these, you aren’t. Introducing Ultrasabers, the finest custom lightsaber company out there. With these sabers, you can duel to whatever intensity your heart desires. The site has everything, from double-bladed sabers, to crackling crossguards. While the price may seem a little much, you’ll be absolutely amazed by what you receive.

For my first saber, I chose the Prophecy v3, which is based on the hilt that Anakin Skywalker used in Episode II: Attack of the Clones. This saber was eventually lost during the Battle of Geonosis. I ordered it with Obsidian LITE soundboard, an Ultraedge Heavy Grade blade, and, for the color, Guardian Blue. When I first got it, some factors that surprised me were its weight, color, and volume.

Let me tell you right now, if you think holding a fishing rod one-handed is too heavy, you’ll have one heck of a struggle keeping these sabers suspended in your hand. When I first picked it up, I had to use two hands, but as I practiced with it, it got lighter and lighter. Another thing was the color. On camera, the blade appears white with a blue hue around it. The blade is actually a pure blue color. I definitely recommend the Ultraedge blade, as they allow the light to cover the whole blade, giving it a full look. Finally, the sound. Obsidian LITE is all you need, it sounds great, had motion and contact recognition, and is the best soundboard for its price. Thank you for reading, if you end up buying one, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

-Luke D.

Suspect Red by L.M. Elliot

Suspect Red, by L.M. Elliot, was one of the most historically accurate books I’ve ever read. It takes place in the 1950’s, which was the time of the Cold War. This book has everything, from psychotic secret agents, to power-hungry communists. I used this book for an English report, and it gave me an abundance of powerful characters and vivid scenery to write about. Another factor that I really enjoyed was the length of the book. It wasn’t too long, nor too short. The book, in my opinion, is a great read for all ages.

The storyline follows the point of view of Richard, a teenage boy who loves reading. However, the nation is thrown into distrust, with communist propaganda around every corner. Hundreds of classic books are being thrown out, their authors accused of being pro-communist. His father, who Richard idolizes, happens to be working under the people responsible for this overexaggeration of fear, the FBI directors.

Overall, this is a great book for anyone looking for a good, well-rounded historical fiction read. If you’re interested in the Cold War, or just think the cover art looked cool, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Thank you for reading my review on Suspect Red, by L.M. Elliot. Definitely take this book into consideration!

-Luke D.

Suspect Red by L. M. Elliot is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Film Review: Black Panther

Black Panther had a lot of ups and downs but it was still a good film. I wouldn’t praise it as the best Marvel movie but it is still a good movie. To me this movie was like a lot of Marvel movies. We have the hero who was defeated by the villain then gets saved and comes back to save the day. It seems like Marvel is trying to keep following that pattern.

This kind of had to do with some history. To me T’challa and Kilmonger represented Malcolm X and Martian Luther King Jr. One had extremist beliefs while the other had peaceful beliefs. It seems fitting that they use these comparisons because of the film’s release during Black History Month.

I thought that Eric Kilmonger played by Michael B Jordan had a very empowering role as the villain. I think he really improved as a actor since Fantastic Four which was his last marvel film. This movie also had a Lion King feel to it. Like when T’challa fought Kilmonger he was struck down and then came back to defeat him.

Now I’m going back to Kilmonger because he had such a deep part in the movie. One of the deepest things he said in the movie was “Bury me in the ocean with my ancestors who jumped from the ships, because they knew that death was better than bondage.” Those few words could probably be the most deepest thing in the whole movie. That is what is so cool about his character.

Since he lived in America and has Wakanda blood, he goes back to the secret country where nobody has ever heard of The Civil Rights Movement. Which makes no sense what so ever to the people but we as a audience get it.

I also thought that the costumes in this movie really understood the type of look that Wakanda would have. The technology in the movie was really cool in every aspect.

I thought that it was funny that the whole world thought that Wakanda was a very poor country but, it was the most advance in the world.

-Max U.