Title: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Narrator: Jim Dale
Format: 11 discs, 13 1/2 hours
Publisher: Random House Audio, 2011
Summary: Celia and Marco, two illusionists, have been bound by their teachers to compete against one another in a "game". The venue is Le Cirque de Reves, a magical circus like no other. They are given minimal information about the contest, and Celia is not even told the name of her opponent. Things get more complicated when Celia and Marco fall in love.
Thoughts: This author does an amazing job with descriptive writing! I felt like I was at the circus and in the other settings of this book completely. I could not only see what was in these places, but I could smell and hear what was going on. On top of that I felt so much- excitement, anticipation, happiness, etc... It was a magical experience, entering this extraordinary world that the author created. This is what made this book stand out to me and why I really consider it special.
This book was not fast paced, but kept me engaged. It did not have deep characters, but they were entertaining. The plot was simple, but there was a lot going on and to me, it was woven together well, so that at the end it all came together. It did have many time jumps, so I had to pay attention to what year I was reading about, but this was not a problem.
The narrator did a great job reading the book. I felt he added to the atmoshere of the story and to the character's personalities. He was easy to understand and follow.
This author is a master at creating vivid imagery which makes for a terrific experience. She also created a magical world. This was a great fantasy novel. On the other hand, if you are looking for very developed characrters that you can connect with, this is not the book for you. It is also not for you if you are looking for an intense competition. It is quite laid back.
Tea: Shui Xian Da Hong Pao
I purchased the Farmer Favorite's Tea Sampler from Yezi Tea Company. The company provides free shipping for their samplers and the order arrived very quickly. So far, I have not been disappointed with this tea company. I have tried 5 out of the 6 samples, and enjoyed every one.
This time I brewed a cup of Shui Xian Da Hong Pao or "Big Red Robe". This is an oolong tea grown in the Wuyi Mountains on a rich carpet of lichens and moss (according to the Yezi Tea website). There are legends surrounding the name of the tea. One is that it was grown by Buddist Monks on inaccessible cliffs and picked by trained monkeys wearing red vests. Another is that someone important (the person varies) was cured of an illness by the tea, so laid out a red robe or robes to give thanks.
The tea came in a bag that was easy to open. The leaves were long and dark brown (although the website said they are yellow-purple) and had a sweet, woodsy scent.
I poured eight ounces of hot water over four teaspoons of the tea leaves and let this steep for 45 seconds. The liquid was a pale yellow, much lighter than it came out in the picture. (The website said it would be dark orange?) The taste was woodsy with a hint of floral which was very subtle. There was no bitterness to this tea and it was light, yet very flavorful. This was an enjoyable, refreshing oolong tea.