The Paper Magician

Synopsis: (as told by the back of the book)

Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart.  Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal.  And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic… forever.

Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined – animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes.  But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic.

An Excisioner – a practicer of dark, flesh magic – invades the cottage and rips Thane’s heart from his chest.  To save her teacher’s life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure that will take her into the chambers of Thane’s still-beating heart – and reveal the very soul of the man.

Morgan’s thoughts:

First of all, it’s necessary for you to know that I love books about magic, especially beautiful forms of magic.  I’ve been obsessed with Harry Potter for as long as I can remember and no book has ever made me fall in love quite like The Night Circus.  So it is safe to say that I am always looking for magical tales that fill that craving.

The world of magic in The Paper Magician is a delightfully inventive one.  Each magician bonds to a particular substance: paper, glass, metal, rubber, etc.  After that, they are only able to perform the magic that substance allows; a paper magician cannot control glass, and so on and so forth.  Each resource has powers that are not immediately obvious; there is more to this magic than meets the eye.

At the start, I was loving this novel.  I found the magical world to be unique and detailed.  However, too quickly into the story, the “adventure” began.  I found the pacing to be off – I would have liked to have more time learning about the rules of this magical world before we got trapped in the life or death plot.  Additionally, the romance seems to come out of nowhere for this same reason.  More time for the romance to develop and more exposition of their magical world, please!

Despite this, I will definitely be reading the second book.  Now that I’ve gotten a taste, I do want to know more.  What are some of your favorite magical stories?  Tell me below!

Interested in this book?  Click here to buy it on Amazon or find it at your local independent bookstore.

Red Clocks

Thanks to the lovely people at Little Brown for this copy of Red Clocks by Leni Zumas.  All thoughts and images are my own.

Synopsis: (as told by the back of the book)

In this ferociously imaginative novel, abortion is once again illegal in America, in vitro fertilization is banned, and the Personhood Amendment grants rights of life, liberty, and property to every embryo.  In a small Oregon fishing town, five very different women navigate these new barriers alongside age-old questions surrounding motherhood, identity, and freedom.

Ro, a single high school teacher, is trying to have a baby on her own while also writing a biography of Eiver, a little-known nineteenth-century female polar explorer.  Susan is a frustrated mother of two, trapped in a crumbling marriage.  Mattie is the adopted daughter of doting parents and one of Ro’s best students, who finds herself pregnant with nowhere to turn.  And Fin is the gifted-forest dwelling herbalist, or “mender,” who brings all the fates together when she’s arrested and put on trial in a frenzied modern-day witch hunt.

Morgan’s thoughts:

The world in which this story exists is so completely terrifying to me and also so imaginable. Primarily, this book feels so real as it is so grounded in the experience of inhabiting a body that is in some ways defined only by its ability to create children.  I felt this book physically; I could tell because I found myself laughing aloud and squirming with discomfort.  

Additionally, the premise does not seem so far from the realm of possibility.  Our current political situation has left me feeling despondent; I feel like what happens in the government is so out of my control.  What’s so terrifying to me about today’s situation is that I feel like any day now, we could wake up to have certain rights that I consider inalienable revoked without much warning.

Finally, Zumas is a damn good writer.  I’m pretty sure I can say with confidence that this is the first story I’ve ever read with four alternating perspectives where I was equally interested in each story line.  Once I adjusted to her unique prose, I raced through to the end of the story.  I couldn’t put this one down.

This book is my first recommendation of 2018.  Check it out.

Interested in this book?  Click here to buy this book on Amazon or find it at your local independent bookstore.


The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley

Synopsis: (as told by the back of the book)

Samuel Hawley isn’t like the other fathers in Olympus, Massachusetts.  A loner who spent years living on the run, he raised his beloved daughter, Loo, on the road, moving from motel to motel, always watching his back.  Now that Loo’s a teenager, Hawley wants only to give her a normal life.  In his late wife’s hometown, he finds work as a fisherman, while Loo struggles to fit in at the local high school. Continue reading

How to Murder Your Life

Thanks to the lovely people at Simon and Schuster for sending me this copy of How to Murder Your Life by Cat Marnell.  All thoughts and images are my own.

Synopsis: (as told by the back of the book)

Cat Marnell’s story begins at a posh New English prep school – and with a prescription for the attention deficit disorder medication Ritalin.  It continues to New York, where she rises from intern to editor through the beauty departments of Nylon, Teen Vogue, Glamour, and Lucky.  At each turn, her disease threatens everything she worked so hard to achieve. Marnell falls, she gets up, she falls again. Continue reading


Synopsis: (as told by the back of the book)

Sophia Amoruso spent her teens hitchhiking, committing petty theft, and scrounging in dumpsters for leftover bagels.  By age twenty-two she had dropped out of school, and was broke, directionless, and checking IDs in the lobby of an art school – a job she’d taken for the health insurance.  It was in that lobby that Sophia decided to start selling vintage clothes on eBay. Continue reading