Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

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As stated in Goodreads:

Pachinko follows one Korean family through the generations, beginning in early 1900s Korea with Sunja, the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them all. Deserted by her lover, Sunja is saved when a young tubercular minister offers to marry and bring her to Japan.

So begins a sweeping saga of an exceptional family in exile from its homeland and caught in the indifferent arc of history. Through desperate struggles and hard-won triumphs, its members are bound together by deep roots as they face enduring questions of faith, family, and identity.

 

My Comments:

Pachinko is just the kind of book I love.  It starts in Korea in the early 1900s with Hoonie, a young man with a cleft palate and a twisted foot.  Despite his deformities he marries and his wife gives birth to a daughter, Sunja.  When Sunja is a young teenager she makes some bad choices and ends up pregnant.  The man who is to be the father is already married, and Sunja is ashamed of her mistake; but proud and determined she refuses to be his mistress.  A single, kind pastor, sickly as a child and unable to find a wife, offers to marry her and bring her to Japan to start a life together.

Author Min Jin Lee takes us through the World Wars, the painful suffering and poverty of the Koreans in Japan, and the small victories of these family members.  We become immersed in complex relationships, quests for education, financial success, faith and identity, nationality controversies, the shady Pachinko business, and organized crime. The strength of women is exemplified in many of the characters as well as the challenges both men and women faced due to the culture, tradition and society.

The story concludes in 1989 in Tokyo following the life of Solomon, Sunja’s grandson, Hoonie’s great grandson.  The incredible generational saga is told with great description and background information about Korean-Japanese relationships, culture and class.  For me it was not an emotional rollercoaster tear jerker, but a transportation in time where I was absorbed in Korean and Japanese culture; I was captivated, shocked at times and engrossed for all 485 pages.  I was unaware of the discrimination and prejudice Koreans felt in Japan and how the laws disallowed Koreans born in Japan to be considered Japanese citizens and therefore considered foreigners.  It’s a huge bonus when a book gives me a reason to do additional research…this well written novel was a pleasure to read; from the multi facetted, complex and expressive characters to the rich and unsettling history of Koreans and Japanese, I couldn’t put it down and I  learned a lot too!

Order your copy of Pachinko at AMAZON today.

 

 

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Min Jin Lee went to Yale College where she was awarded both the Henry Wright Prize for Nonfiction and the James Ashmun Veech Prize for Fiction. She then attended law school at Georgetown University and worked as a lawyer for several years in New York prior to writing full time.

As stated on the book jacket:

Min Jin Lee’s debut novel, Free Food For Millionaires, was one of the “Top 10 Novels of the Year” for the Times (London), NPR’s Fresh Air, and USA Today.  Her short fiction has been featured on NPR’s Selected Shorts.  Her writings have appeared in Condé Nast Traveler, Times (London), Vogue, Travel + Leisure, Wall Street Journal, New York Times Magazine, and Food & Wine.  Her essays and literary criticism have been anthologized widely.  She served as a columnist for the Chosun Ilbo, the leading paper of South Korea.  She lives in New York with her family.

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A Writer’s Badass Guide: Branding, Blogging, and Social Media.

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As stated on Amazon:

A Writer’s Badass Guide To Branding, Blogging and Social Media is a fun and easy step by step guide for new writers, bloggers and entrepreneurs. This book teaches writers how to conceptualize and develop their personal brand using meaningful and strategic exercises, create a website from soup to nuts, and utilize social media to promote their work. Nathalie Laitmon and Kristin McCarthy of SuburbanMisfitMom.com combine years of branding expertise with cutting edge social media strategies to assist writers and entrepreneurs in building an authentic and resonate brand that will get their writing read while growing their community of dedicated followers online. The authors use their offbeat sense of humor to motivate writers while demystifying the seemingly complex process of building a personal website and growing a brand.

 

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Nathalie Laitmon is a Branding professional and Staffing Entrepreneur from Manhattan who conceived Suburban Misfit Mom while nestled in the suburban bliss and drama of idyllic New England. On a daily basis, Nathalie asks herself, “Who died and made me the adult?” And the hubbie, three kids, the house and dog thing? It never gets old. Nathalie’s passion for creating a community of like-minded moms who are REAL, HONEST and MULTI-FACETED is just one of her fantasies that women will support and embrace each other’s uniqueness. Other than writing essays and fiction, Nathalie’s passion is all about helping other writers build their brands and identify their authentic writing voices. She is interested in living a passionate, purposeful life and is found hiding inside the toy closet with her Kindle to figure out how. She is currently writing a novel about a cult in the suburbs. Nathalie is available for speaking engagements, brand consulting for companies and individual writers, focus groups and events that cull the power of the Suburban Misfit Mom community.

 

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Kristin McCarthy is the funny, snarky mastermind behind the blog Four Princesses and The Cheese.  This Midwestern Misfit Mama spends her days raising her four small daughters, vacuuming up Legos and Shopkins and swearing at the piles of laundry constantly surrounding her.  When she isn’t attending to her domestic duties, she can be found writing at Suburban Misfit Mom, Red Tricycle, and Parent Co.  Kristin has been published on a number of tolerant sites that put up with her ranty writings including Blunt Moms, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Bon Bon Break, Hooray For Moms, Practical Politicking, and Erma Bombeck.

My thoughts:

I have an advertising background, I am a blogger, and I do some small business marketing consulting which often includes social media…and I can’t believe how much I learned from this Badass Guide!  The Badass authors, Nathalie Laitmon and Kristin McCarthy helped me conquer the emotional and technical challenges of starting a blog…commitment, focus and authenticity paired with the basic, everyday computer obstacles someone of my age just might experience!  There is always more to learn and A Writer’s Badass Guide: Branding, Blogging and Social Media doesn’t disappoint.  Never have I seen a step by step guide that encompasses all the information needed to put out a cohesive, appealing  product into the virtual world…it’s not that daunting if you can follow directions.  You may begin to notice small changes on Book Nation by Jen here and there as I transform into a Badass…stay tuned!

This easy to read ebook can be preordered for delivery directly to your reading devise on April 1st for only $5.99. Order today on AMAZON  You won’t be sorry!

 

 

 

NOW EVERYONE WILL KNOW by Maggie Kneip

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As stated in Goodreads:

After a fairy-tale courtship in 1980s New York City, Maggie’s young marriage shatters when her “perfect” husband–a star editor at The Wall Street Journal–is diagnosed with and dies of AIDS, leaving her with two young children in a city electrified by paranoia about the new epidemic. Devastated by his betrayal, Maggie struggles to protect herself and her children from stigma, keeping the circumstances of her husband’s death a secret for nearly twenty-five years. It is only when a journey of self-discovery aligns with her children’s coming of age and a new world of sexual tolerance that she can finally embrace the truth and set herself free.

With a foreword by former Wall Street Journal editor Laura Landro and an afterword by psychologist Dr. Dale Atkins, a frequent commentator on NBC’s Today Show, NOW EVERYONE WILL KNOW is an honest, unflinching look at the damaging nature of family secrets and an inspiring call to embrace every truth–the good, the bad, the ugly–that makes us who we are.

Tony Goldwyn, Actor and Director says:

“I first met Maggie Kneip when she was 9 months pregnant with her second child. Less than a year later, her husband John would die of AIDS. In the wake of this unspeakable trauma, I watched Maggie bravely, tirelessly rebuild her life and raise two extraordinary kids. Familiar as I was with her story, nothing prepared me for the transcendent power of NOW EVERYONE WILL KNOW. Maggie’s unflinchingly honest memoir of loss, grief, and ultimately triumphant self-discovery is a book for anyone affected by the plague of AIDS, anyone who has struggled to process grief and make sense of the bewildering randomness of life and death.”

 

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Author Maggie Kneip (right) appearing with Psychologist Dr. Dale Atkins (left).

Maggie Kneip is a veteran of the publishing industry, with more than two decades in publicity and marketing at Bertelsmann, Scholastic Inc., and Abrams Books.  Often with Dr. Dale Atkins, she visits synagogues, churches, libraries and civic organizations to talk about NOW EVERYONE WILL KNOW, and the challenge of relationship and family secrets. She has also met with book clubs to talk about NOW EVERYONE WILL KNOW, coast-to-coast. Maggie has performed as a singer at such Manhattan clubs as the Laurie Beechman Theatre and the Metropolitan Room.  Learn more about her at www.maggiekneip.com.

My thoughts:

Meeting Maggie today, a strong, independent woman with two gorgeous adult children, many interests and talents, involved with her community and lots of friends, one might be shocked when they read about her journey.  Maggie married John in the 1980s; he was the love of her life. Shortly after their second child was born he became ill and after a trip to the hospital and some tests he and Maggie were given the news…he had AIDS and just a short time to live.  No apology and no explanation; no conversations were to be had and no truths were revealed.  And while caring for two babies, taking over the running of the household and the finances, she graciously cared for him until his passing.

The times dictated secrecy due to fear and lack of education and information on the virus.  Maggie was not able to tell anyone what happened to her husband, she had to protect her children, move out of town, avoid the truth and project strength until her kids grew up and society became more sexually tolerant and developed life saving treatments for AIDS.

In this honest, beautifully written memoir, NOW EVERYONE WILL KNOW, Maggie opens up and tells her story of love, disappointment, betrayal and secrecy, bringing to light the destruction and damage a secret can inflict on a loved one, a relationship and a family.

Order NOW EVERYONE WILL KNOW HERE

 

The Forever Summer by Jamie Brenner

 

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As stated in Goodreads:

The discovery of long-buried secrets brings three generations of women together to Cape Cod for the summer homecoming of a lifetime.

Marin Bishop has always played by the rules, and it’s paid off: on the cusp of thirty she has a handsome fiancé, a prestigious Manhattan legal career, and her father’s hard-won admiration. But with one careless mistake at work, Marin suddenly finds herself unemployed and alone. Before she can summon the courage to tell her parents, a young woman appears, claiming to be Marin’s half-sister. Seeking answers, Marin agrees to join her on a soul-searching journey to Cape Cod, to meet the family she didn’t even know she had.

As the summer unfolds at her grandmother’s beachside B&B, it becomes clear that her half-sister’s existence is just the first in a series of truths that will shake Marin’s beliefs–in love, and in her own identity–to the core. Filled with shocking revelations, heartfelt romance, and resilient women banding together against the most unexpected twists of fate, THE FOREVER SUMMER is an emotionally resonant page-turner, and a delicious escape for any season.

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Jamie Brenner is the author of THE FOREVER SUMMER coming in April from Little, Brown. Her previous novels include THE WEDDING SISTERS (St. Martin’s Press). She lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters.

 

My thoughts:

I literally could not put this book down – The Forever Summer was about so many things…love, loss, infidelity, illness, secrets, romance, commitment, revelations and personal truths. Each character has their own story, as in real life, and Jamie Brenner does a wonderful job showing the incredible strength in women and the undeniable power of family. Joining talented authors like Jane Green and Elin Hilderbrand, Jamie Brenner has written the next must read for your beach bag.  The New England Coast setting is my favorite for a juicy summer book – don’t miss this one!

Order The Forever Summer HERE

 

 

Before the Rain Falls by Camille Di Maio

 

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As stated in Goodreads:

After serving seventy years in prison for the murder of her sister, Eula, Della Lee has finally returned home to the Texas town of Puerto Pesar. She’s free from confinement—and ready to tell her secrets before it’s too late.

She finds a willing audience in journalist Mick Anders, who is reeling after his suspension from a Boston newspaper and in town, reluctantly, to investigate a mysterious portrait of Eula that reportedly sheds tears. He crosses paths with Dr. Paloma Vega, who’s visiting Puerto Pesar with her own mission: to take care of her ailing grandmother and to rescue her rebellious younger sister before something terrible happens. Paloma and Mick have their reasons to be in the hot, parched border town whose name translates as “Port of Regret.” But they don’t anticipate how their lives will be changed forever.

Moving and engrossing, this dual story alternates between Della’s dark ordeals of the 1940s and Paloma and Mick’s present-day search for answers about roots, family, love, and what is truly important in life.

 

My Comments:

Ok, still wiping away tears! Thank you Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of Before the Rain Falls. Author Camille Di Maio hit another home run with this emotional story of family, love, loss and secrets. Add to your TBR list right away; book will be available May 2, 2017.

In the 1940s Della was charged with murdering her sister and spent many years of her life in jail.  Now an old woman, she returns to her family home in Puerto Pesar, Texas, with no family or friends.  Around the same time, Paloma returns to the Texas home she grew up in to care for her grandma and reconnect with her teenage sister.  In Boston, aggressive journalist Mick, reprimanded for running a story with inaccuracies is sent to Puerto Pesar on a mission for a soft news story about a painting of a girl that appears to be crying.  Each chapter reveals more about Della and Paloma, and we get a glimpse into their families histories, revealing  how their lives are surprisingly intertwined.   Mick is the catalyst to bring Della, the old woman just out of jail who knows about the painting, and Paloma, his new friend together as he learns how asking the right questions and moving at a slower pace can lead to greater results and bring understanding, joy and love.

Through storytelling, author Camille Di Maio brings to light how decisions based on faith can be life changing, offering hope and a reason to live, but also causing one to protect a loved one leading to their own demise.  In contrast, always being pragmatic and factual may push one to achieve their goals to reach financial and career success, but relationships and a personal life may suffer and have an emptiness to it.  Before the Rain Falls is simultaneously heartbreaking, hopeful, and joyous: a story of complex characters with varied pasts and bright futures.  Loved it!

 

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If you missed Camille Di Maio’s stellar debut novel, The Memory of Us, you can order it here on Amazon.  I loved this one too!  Scroll back to read my book review in an earlier blog post.

 

 

 

 

Idaho by Emily Ruskovich

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Idaho by Emily Ruskovich

Summary as seen on Goodreads:

One hot August day a family drives to a mountain clearing to collect birch wood. Jenny, the mother, is in charge of lopping any small limbs off the logs with a hatchet. Wade, the father, does the stacking. The two daughters, June and May, aged nine and six, drink lemonade, swat away horseflies, bicker, and sing snatches of songs as they while away the time.

But then something unimaginably shocking happens, an act so extreme it will scatter the family in every different direction.

In a story told from multiple perspectives and in razor-sharp prose, we gradually learn more about this act, and the way its violence, love and memory reverberate through the life of every character in Idaho.

 

My Comments:

Narration alternates throughout the novel, Idaho, as we travel back and forth in time to learn about main character, Wade, his father, first wife Jenny, and their daughters May and June, as well as Ann, his piano teacher and second wife.  We also get to know Eliot, a schoolmate of May and June’s and a student of Ann’s.  The storytelling is slow and deliberate, each chapter reveals information that connects the characters to each other and gives the reader a greater understanding of their emotions and actions.

Wade succumbs to memory failure as he battles early onset dementia like his father and grandfather.  Jenny gives up on life and self punishes, and Ann lives with secrets and guilt as she pieces together her ideas and thoughts to create what she believes is the truth of the past.  Fighting memories, real and imagined, and exercising forgiveness in the face of loss, I struggled along with each character as they tried to remember, tried to forget, and tried to make sense of it all.

Emily Ruskovich did an exceptional job with character development and I have to believe she put a lot of time and thought into who each character was, what they believed in and how they would think and act in any situation.  Through their relationships they are portrayed as real and whole and complex. The rural, solitary setting in Idaho made for a secluded and eerie feeling, perfect for the storyline (No spoilers!).  I Highly recommend this book if you want to read a slower paced, thoughtful novel that is more character focused and less action packed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fractured Memories by Emily Page

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Fractured Memories:  Because Demented People need Love, Too by Emily Page.

Emily and her father were extremely close; they had a unique and special father-daughter relationship. In this brutally honest and real book Emily first tells us about her larger than life father in a way we can really get to know and love him as she did; a vibrant, talented and colorful guy. Next, she brings us on her journey as a devoted daughter, caregiver and decision maker as we learn about how dementia manifested in her dad and slowly took him. She bravely offers up her thoughts recorded in her journal during this time and includes her beautiful artwork which depicts her dad, his faltering state of mind, and their relationship as it changed. I laughed and cried through this book as it touched my heart.

If you know me you probably are aware that my father has been living with dementia for almost a decade and my incredibly strong and brave mother is his primary caregiver along with daytime, lifesaving in-home caregivers. Day to day living is consistently stressful and worrisome; riddled with questions where no answers exist and little support is available. The doctors don’t know enough, many caregivers lack proper experience or intuition, most friends and family don’t come around often, and every little household chore becomes a huge burden to tackle. More recently Alzheimer’s and dementia have been in the spotlight due to publicity from news about Pat Summit, Glen Campbell, Ronald Reagan and Robin Williams, but the media (tv, movies, and books) had yet to present to me anything that resembles truly what dementia entails and what my family has been enduring…until Fractured Memories: Because Demented PeopleNeed Love, Too.

 
Its not always as simple as the person with dementia gradually just forgetting things and becoming quiet. It is so much more and so much worse. It’s more like watching your loved one go from being strong, independent, creative and reasonable to not driving, not knowing what to do with a pencil, unable to complete a sentence. Keeping your loved one clean, dressed, safe, fed, distracted, nonviolent, happy and occupied uses up every bit of energy. And if you are lucky to sleep at night you can recharge to be ready to do it all over again the next day, but often sleep doesn’t come because of the worries about money, medications, living situations, proper help, the future…Emily Page offers advise and tips for caregivers, dementia facilities, and friends and family of dementia patients…so many tidbits I have wanted to scream from the rooftops myself! She has touched on just how difficult this disease is for the patient and the family.

 

If you know anyone with dementia or Alzheimer’s – if you are a loved one, a caregiver, a friend, acquaintance, nurse, hospital worker or volunteer, YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK.
If you have lost someone due to dementia YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK.
And even if you have no connection to anyone with this disease YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK.

 

Education and understand can only help lead to new medications and hopefully a cure or preventions and better training, facilities and care for the increased number of people who end up with this devastating and debilitating disease that effects entire families as well as the patient. Kudos to author and artist Emily Page for being honest and truthful in her book and her artwork, and loving and loyal to her wonderful father. May his memory be for a blessing.

 

 

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About the author as stated in Goodreads:

Emily Page is a professional artist and part-time writer. Working out of Raleigh, NC, Page spends most of her time elbow deep in paint, but comes up for air periodically to share her art and thoughts on her blog. She translated her ridiculous musings about her family’s journey through her father’s dementia into a book, Fractured Memories: Because Demented People Need Love, Too, available at http://shop.emilypageart.com/. Follow her on Twitter at @EmilyPageArt23, and read her blog at https://emilypageart.net/.

The Bloom Girls by Emily Cavanagh

 

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Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with The Bloom Girls, this lovely debut novel by Emily Cavanagh.

When the Bloom sisters, Suzy, Violet and Cal, were young and in school, their father was a caring teacher and swim coach. Due to horrific accusations by some of his students, he was  forced to resign. The stress and embarrassment of being in the spotlight combined with an unspoken personal secret lead to the break up of his marriage. The relationships with his daughters changed dramatically and became fractured as he tried to rebuild his life in a new place, always feeling the void of his beloved family.

Years later, Suzy, the youngest, now in her late 20s was living with her own secret, Violet, the middle daughter was rejecting her loving, unconventional boyfriend, and Cal was feeling unsatisfied with her job and overwhelmed with family responsibilities. After hearing the shocking news of their father’s unexpected death, the girls are devastated and are faced with questions, unspoken words and regrets. The Bloom sisters come together for his funeral where they learn more about him through his community.   Mourning together provides the girls with time to understand his painful past, process how it impacted their young lives and to find forgiveness as they make decisions for the future.

This was a heartfelt story of sisters, complexities in families, and how secrets can eat away at happiness and poison relationships. I thoroughly enjoyed the journey of The Bloom Girls and look forward to Emily Cavanagh’s next novel.

 

The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff

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As stated on Goodreads:

A powerful novel of friendship set in a traveling circus during World War II, The Orphan’s Tale introduces two extraordinary women and their harrowing stories of sacrifice and survival .

Sixteen-year-old Noa has been cast out in disgrace after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier and being forced to give up her baby. She lives above a small rail station, which she cleans in order to earn her keep… When Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants bound for a concentration camp, she is reminded of the child that was taken from her. And in a moment that will change the course of her life, she snatches one of the babies and flees into the snowy night.

Noa finds refuge with a German circus, but she must learn the flying trapeze act so she can blend in undetected, spurning the resentment of the lead aerialist, Astrid. At first rivals, Noa and Astrid soon forge a powerful bond. But as the facade that protects them proves increasingly tenuous, Noa and Astrid must decide whether their friendship is enough to save one another—or if the secrets that burn between them will destroy everything.

My Comments:

This is a story of two lost souls attempting to survive the War. At sixteen, Noa has already lived a lifetime. She got pregnant by a Nazi soldier, got kicked out of her home, had a baby that was taken from her and was trying to make a living by working in the train station. After coming across a boxcar piled high with Jewish babies she is compelled to rescue one and run away. She calls him Theo and now must find a way to protect him from the Germans.  She seeks refuge in the traveling circus where they offer her a job in exchange for room and board.

Astrid, a Jew who grew up performing in the circus, had been married to a German soldier who was ordered by his superiors to get rid of her as the war progressed. Feeling rejected and distraught she returned to her home town but her family was gone. She approached Herr Neuroff the head of the competing circus and he hired her to work, silently agreeing to protect her.

At first, Astrid was not warm and welcoming, but ultimately both girls needed each other.   Noa finds love with the son of a Nazi, and Astrid with Peter the political clown in the circus as together they protect and nourish baby Theo and each other while trying to make a life during wartime.

Author, Pam Jenoff, paints the realistic picture of desperation as she shows us how so many people were orphaned, separated from family and committed to making an acceptable life be developing connections, setting goals and being open to falling in love during such desolate and dangerous times.   The Orphan’s Tale takes us on a heartbreaking, hopeful, touching and emotional journey; one that is not to be missed.

Published in the recent past, here are a few other great novels with a circus/side show backdrop.

9361589-1.jpgThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

As stated in Goodreads:
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices plastered on lampposts and billboards. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.

Within these nocturnal black-and-white striped tents awaits an utterly unique, experience, a feast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, meander through a lush garden made of ice, stare in wonderment as the tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and become deliciously tipsy from the scents of caramel and cinnamon that waft through the air.

Welcome to Le Cirque des Rêves.

Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is under way–a contest between two young illusionists, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in a “game” to which they have been irrevocably bound by their mercurial masters. Unbeknownst to the players, 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.

As the circus travels around the world, the feats of magic gain fantastical new heights with every stop. The game is well under way and the lives of all those involved–the eccentric circus owner, the elusive contortionist, the mystical fortune-teller, and a pair of red-headed twins born backstage among them–are swept up in a wake of spells and charms.

But when Celia discovers that Marco is her adversary, they begin to think of the game not as a competition but as a wonderful collaboration. With no knowledge of how the game must end, they innocently tumble headfirst into love. A deep, passionate, and magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

Their masters still pull the strings, however, and this unforeseen occurrence forces them to intervene with dangerous consequences, leaving the lives of everyone from the performers to the patrons hanging in the balance.

Both playful and seductive, The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern’s spell-casting debut, is a mesmerizing love story for the ages.

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As stated in Goodreads:
Orphaned, penniless, Jacob Jankowski jumps a freight train in the dark, and in that instant, transforms his future.

By morning, he’s landed a job with the Flying Squadron of the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. By nightfall, he’s in love.

In an America made colourless by prohibition and the Depression, the circus is a refuge of sequins and sensuality. But behind the glamour lies a darker world, where both animals and men are dispensable. Where falling in love is the most dangerous act of all…

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The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman

As stated in Goodreads:
Coralie Sardie is the daughter of the sinister impresario behind The Museum of Extraordinary Things, a Coney Island boardwalk freak show that thrills the masses. An exceptional swimmer, Coralie appears as the Mermaid in her father’s “museum,” alongside performers like the Wolfman, the Butterfly Girl, and a one-hundred-year-old turtle. One night Coralie stumbles upon a striking young man taking pictures of moonlit trees in the woods off the Hudson River.

The dashing photographer is Eddie Cohen, a Russian immigrant who has run away from his father’s Lower East Side Orthodox community and his job as a tailor’s apprentice. When Eddie photographs the devastation on the streets of New York following the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, he becomes embroiled in the suspicious mystery behind a young woman’s disappearance and ignites the heart of Coralie.