Posted in Young Adult

Caraval Book Review

Caraval by Stephanie Garber caraval

Published: January 31st 2017 by Flatiron Books

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:

Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or a performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find to magic in this world . . .

Welcome, welcome to Caraval―Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

Caraval (Caraval, #1)

Before you enter the world of Caraval, you must remember that it’s all a game . . .

Wow, just wow. I received my book the day that it came out and I finished it in one sitting! This book had me hooked from the very first page! It is actually taking me longer to write this review, than it took me to read the book!

No one is truly honest. Even if we don’t lie to others, we often lie to ourselves. And the word good means different things to different people.

Garber wrote basically almost everything you would want in a book! It had a mystery, magic, a slight romance (thankfully no love triangle (for the most part)), and murder. This starts off with Scarlett and her sister living on a tiny island with their abusive father, they escape and go to Caraval to experience everything before Scarlet gets married. Once arriving on Legend’s island, everything is not what they seem and Scarlet spends her time trying to find Tella after she has been kidnapped. She must then follow the rules of the game and try to find her sister before any of the other players do in order to win a wish from Legend.

Not quite sure how far she’d already fallen, she imagined loving him would feel like falling in love with darkness, frightening and consuming yet utterly beautiful when the stars came out.

Without giving things away, I just want to say that when you think you have figured everything out. Garber throws in a twist that has you rethinking everything that you have read so far. For instance, with their father you wonder for most of the book why he is so abusive and controlling of the girls. But, then at the end things get explained and you can’t help but think oh. It still doesn’t condone what he did, but you get a better understanding of where he was coming from.

But Scarlett had already been broken. For years her father tore her down. Over and over, she had let him. She’d allowed him to make her feel worthless and powerless. But she was neither of those things. She was done allowing her fear to make her weaker, to eat away at the meat on her bones until she could do nothing but whimper and watch.

Overall, I really loved this book. I don’t think my review has done it justice. But there is only so much I can say without giving anything away! It probably could have been more detailed if I wrote it soon after I read it, but life gets in the way sometimes. For those of you that like magical fantasy mysteries, then I definitely suggest you check out this book!

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Posted in Young Adult

Waiting on Wednesday (2/22/2017)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by  Jill from Breaking The Spine that shows the upcoming books that many of us are anticipating! This week, I’m waiting for…


acrownofwishes

A Crown of Wishes (The Star-Touched Queen, #2)

Title: A Crown of Wishes (The Star-Touched Queen #2)

Author: Roshani Chokshi

Expected Publication:  March 28th 2017

Publisher:  St. Martin’s Griffin

Goodreads Summary:

Gauri, the princess of Bharata, has been taken as a prisoner of war by her kingdom’s enemies. Faced with a future of exile and scorn, Gauri has nothing left to lose. Hope unexpectedly comes in the form of Vikram, the cunning prince of a neighboring land and her sworn enemy kingdom. Unsatisfied with becoming a mere puppet king, Vikram offers Gauri a chance to win back her kingdom in exchange for her battle prowess. Together, they’ll have to set aside their differences and team up to win the Tournament of Wishes—a competition held in a mythical city where the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor.

Reaching the tournament is just the beginning. Once they arrive, danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans and mischievous story birds, a feast of fears and twisted fairy revels.

Every which way they turn new trials will test their wit and strength. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there’s nothing more dangerous than what they most desire.

I haven’t actually read the first book yet, but I am looking forward to this book coming out! I do have it on my shelf, but I think I might wait for this one to come out so that I can read them back to back. On a side note, how pretty is this cover?! My favorite colors are green and purple, and I think this cover is just perfect!

What are you waiting for this week?

Posted in Young Adult

Emergence Book Review

Emergence (The Infernal Guard #1) by S.G.D Singhemergence

Published: January 30th 2016 by Glory Press

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Emergence (The Infernal Guard Book 1)

Goodreads Summary:

Seventeen year-old Asha’s days are spent training in martial arts, attending homeschool classes, and helping in the kitchens of a luxurious Miami resort which she seldom leaves. Until the night her grandfather arrives home mysteriously injured, accompanied by a terrifying stranger. Asha begins to suspect that nothing is what it seems when she is abruptly sent to Punjab, India to live with relatives she never knew she had.

Joined by her best friend, Lexi, and her newfound cousin, Nidhan, Asha is soon drawn to an unusual place where the three of them learn that our World is much more than it appears. And there is a good reason people are afraid of the dark.

Meet The Infernal Guard: Shape-shifting Jodha warriors, Seers of various psychic Talents, Healers, Illusionists, and weapons-creating Tvastars. They are the gifted few who fight to protect our realm from demonic Underworlders escaping the seven lower dimensions of Hindu Mythology’s Fourteen Worlds.

As the next generation of heroes from around the globe gathers to begin training, Asha discovers true love and a family in her friends and instructors. But something in the darkness knows that she alone possesses the rarest Talent of all. Now Asha must find the courage and strength to risk everything she has gained before a devouring evil like no other The Infernal Guard has ever faced destroys our realm’s very existence.

First, I would like to thank the Lunar Chronicles Facebook group for hosting a Q&A with the author, where I was able to win a free copy of this book. This in no way impacted my opinions and review of the book.

This story follows 17 year-old Asha, who is sent off to Punjab without any explanation from her grandfather. This book starts off with quickly with Asha’s grandfather being injured and then the next thing you know we’re on a plane to India. There she quickly learns that she is part of the next class of the Infernal Guard, and she starts her training. All throughout the book, Asha and her friends are attacked by demons from Hindu mythology at various locations and she has to figure out why.

Since this story is mainly set in India, the author inserted a lot of cultural terms that I did not know. At first it was a little overwhelming, just because I didn’t know what it was referencing. After awhile though, I finally figured it out and it didn’t bother me as much. I did enjoy being immersed in a new culture that I had hardly any previous knowledge about. Singh’s writing style is very beautiful and very descriptive. She included basically almost every nationality and had them interacting with each other all the time.

With that being said, there was probably way too many characters to remember. They each had their own separate personality, so it wasn’t that difficult to remember who was who. I can’t say the same for the adults in this story. They still had their own personality, but it was just so many that I couldn’t remember who was who and what their role was in the Guard.

Asha as a main character was basically our “chosen” one. There was a mention of a prophecy and everyone seems to think that she is the one that will lead everyone. This was especially evident when she started to develop multiple talents, that hasn’t been seen in hundreds of years. Personally, I thought that she wasn’t very smart. She would jump into situations without thinking everything through and when bad things happen she would blame herself. If she only waited for more people to accompany her or something, then a lot of situations could have been avoided.

At first I didn’t like Asha’s romantic plot with Aquila, mainly because I thought it happened way too fast and all of a sudden they were in love with each other. After awhile though, they grew on me and I ended up liking them as a couple. They obviously had eyes only for each other, so when another trainee all of a sudden liked her it didn’t make much sense. At least though it was a small portion of the book, and wasn’t one of the main dominating theme throughout.

Lexi (Asha’s best friend from Miami) was probably my least favorite character in the whole book. She is your stereotypical blonde teenager whose father travels a lot and has so much money she doesn’t know what to do with it. So what does Lexi do? Buys anything and everything she wants and gives things away to people even if they don’t want it. It made her seem very superficial, especially when she didn’t want people to compare her to Barbie or Britney Spears. It also bothered me that it seemed she would get jealous of Asha every time she discovered a new talent. Since Asha is a seer, you would think Lexi would just agree with her and follow instead of arguing every step of the way.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The world building and diversity was probably my favorite parts of the book. As well as the originality of the story. I can’t wait to pick up the second book to see how Asha’s story continue, maybe she’ll pick up another talent or two on the way.

Posted in Young Adult

Goodreads Monday (2/20/2017)

Goodreads Monday is a meme hosted by Lauren @Page Turner,  and the idea is to post a book that’s on your TBR pile and show it off. This is a great way to show off books I have not yet managed to read!


This week I have chosen:

kissofdeception

Title: The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles #1)

Author: Mary E. Pearson

Published: July 8th 2014 by Henry Holt

Goodreads Summary:

A princess must find her place in a reborn world.

She flees on her wedding day.

She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor’s secret collection.

She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.

She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.

The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can’t abide. Like having to marry someone she’s never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love.

The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles, #1)

Happy Monday everyone! I spent this President’s Day at the vet with my baby who has an infected dew claw, and decided that I needed to spend the rest of the day at home with him. I hope he heals quickly so that he doesn’t have to wear the cone of shame for longer than a week! How is your President’s Day going?

I’ve had this on my TBR shelf for awhile now, and now that the series is finally finished I should go and pick them all up! I haven’t heard that much about this series and I am interested to see how it goes.

Have you read anything by Pearson? What did you think? What’s on your TBR shelf this week?

Posted in Young Adult

Waiting on Wednesday (2/15/2017)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by  Jill from Breaking The Spine that shows the upcoming books that many of us are anticipating! This week, I’m waiting for…


onebloodruby

One Blood Ruby (Seven Black Diamonds #2)

Title: One Blood Ruby (Seven Black Diamonds #2)

Author: Melissa Marr 

Expected Publication:  February  28th 2017

Publisher:  HarperCollins

Goodreads Summary:

Now that Lilywhite Abernathy is the heir to the Hidden Lands, everything is about to change.

The Queen of Blood and Rage wants Lily to help broker peace with the human world, but Lily knows that harmony won’t come easily. After decades of waging war on the humans, who cost the queen her firstborn daughter, the fae are struggling to accept Lily, a half-human monarch. And the humans, while no match against faery affinities, will hardly agree to the queen’s détente without resistance.

Lily wants to be a fair ruler but fears having to abandon the life she’s known to do so. Now that she and Creed are more than just fellow Black Diamonds—operatives for the queen—her priorities have shifted. But her worries about assuming the throne are derailed when it becomes clear that someone—or some fae—is masterminding violent attacks to discourage peace.

In this gripping follow-up to Melissa Marr’s lush Seven Black Diamonds, Lily and her friends are forced to reckon with the truth of their own parentage and to protect one of their own, no matter what—or who—comes between them.

I was not a big fan of the first book, but I feel like I should give the second book a chance. I love Marr and most of her series, so I am willing to give this one another try. Plus, I really like the cover. =)

What are you waiting for this week?

Posted in Arc, NetGalley, Young Adult

Wanted eArc Review

Wanted (Spelled #2) by Betsy Schowwanted

Publication: February 7th 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

This eArc was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Goodreads Summary:

In the sequel to Spelled, can Robin Hood’s daughter, Rexi, stop the Wicked Witch from finding Excalibur?

Fairy-Tale Survival Rule No. 52:
No matter how difficult the obstacles or all-powerful the evil villain, one can rest assured that the hero of the story never dies. The sidekicks though…they should be worried.

Rexi Hood is proud to be an outlaw. After all, she’s the daughter of the infamous Robin Hood. But sidekick? Accomplice? Sorry, that wasn’t in her story description. Yeah, she and Princess Dorthea of Emerald have been inseparable since they teamed up to fight the wickedest witch. But if Rexi doesn’t figure out how to break the curse that binds them, forget being overshadowed by the spirited princess, Rexi’s going to become a Forgotten, wiped from the pages of Story and reduced to a puddle of ink.
Not happening. No way in Spell.
Rexi’s plan? Steal the sword Excalibur and use its magic to write her own tale. But Gwenevere has opened a new Academy of Villains in Camelot and danger lurks behind every plot twist. And you know how it goes in Story: keep your friends close and your enemies closer…

Wanted
I read the first book a little over a year and a half ago, and I don’t really remember it all that much. Which after reading this book, I probably should have reread beforehand. I was a little lost in the beginning, but once Schow moved away from it and more into Rexi’s story I started to really enjoy the book.
Probably for half the book I couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for Rexi and all the situations she was put through. Half of the time it wasn’t even her fault, but Rexi was the one who had to deal with the fall outs. For instance, in the first book Rexi sacrificed herself for Dorthea and then Dorthea brought her back to life. The catch was that Rexi’s life is now attached to Dorthea’s. In this book, Rexi seems to be dying a lot. At least 10-15 times, and each time she has to give up a memory to the Grim Reaper and eventually she started to become more and more like Dorthea. This unfortunately created a love triangle between Dorthea, Rexi, and Kato. Although, I am not really sure how Kato was developing feelings for her since he is “in love” with Dorthea. The whole situation didn’t make much sense (except from Rexi’s point of view) and Dorthea’s jealousy was just uncalled for.
One aspect that I didn’t like about this book was the fact that it seemed to jump around a lot from situation to situation. It seemed a little chaotic and not flushed out completely. At some points it even got a little confusing. Especially since I was reading an eArc copy, in the beginning of each new chapter the first letter of the word would be somewhere else in the sentence. This book definitely suffered from the middle book syndrome. All it really did was set up for the final book in the trilogy without really advancing that much plot-wise.
Overall, I did enjoy this book. I liked that Schow incorporated different legends instead of just fairy tales into this story. She also created some very interesting curve ball situations that was very creative. I hope in the third book Rexi gets to be involved with the love interest I want her to be with. ::crosses fingers::

Posted in Young Adult

Goodread’s Monday (2/13/2017)

Goodreads Monday is a meme hosted by Lauren @Page Turner,  and the idea is to post a book that’s on your TBR pile and show it off. This is a great way to show off books I have not yet managed to read!


This week I have chosen:

emergence

Title: Emergence (The Infernal Guard Book #1)

Author: SGD Singh

Published: January 30th 2016 by Glory Press

Goodreads Summary:

Seventeen year-old Asha’s days are spent training in martial arts, attending homeschool classes, and helping in the kitchens of a luxurious Miami resort which she seldom leaves. Until the night her grandfather arrives home mysteriously injured, accompanied by a terrifying stranger. Asha begins to suspect that nothing is what it seems when she is abruptly sent to Punjab, India to live with relatives she never knew she had.

Joined by her best friend, Lexi, and her newfound cousin, Nidhan, Asha is soon drawn to an unusual place where the three of them learn that our World is much more than it appears. And there is a good reason people are afraid of the dark.

Meet The Infernal Guard: Shape-shifting Jodha warriors, Seers of various psychic Talents, Healers, Illusionists, and weapons-creating Tvastars. They are the gifted few who fight to protect our realm from demonic Underworlders escaping the seven lower dimensions of Hindu Mythology’s Fourteen Worlds.

As the next generation of heroes from around the globe gathers to begin training, Asha discovers true love and a family in her friends and instructors. But something in the darkness knows that she alone possesses the rarest Talent of all. Now Asha must find the courage and strength to risk everything she has gained before a devouring evil like no other The Infernal Guard has ever faced destroys our realm’s very existence.

This book has been on my TBR shelf for awhile now, and I actually won a copy in the author Q&A on one of the Facebook groups that I follow! Since I now own a copy, I think it is time for me to actually read it!

What is on your TBR shelf this week??

Posted in Arc, NetGalley, Young Adult

Shadows of the Forest eArc Review

Shadows of the Forest by Emma Michaelsshadowsoftheforest

Published: November 4th 2016 by CHBB Publishing

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

This eArc was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Goodreads Summary:

Everyone is dying to live in the Shadows of the Forest.
They gave me three rules to follow in exchange for my brother’s life:
1. Do not enter the West Wing;
2. Do not go outside after darkness falls; and
3. There is only one exit; The Gates.

This is what happened when I broke them…

Shadows of the Forest

What drew me to this book was the premise and the cover, lets be honest its gorgeous! I have never heard of Emma Michaels before, so I thought I would give her a shot. It was definitely not what I thought it was and for a 144 page book, it seemed to drag on in some places making it seem much longer.

This book is heavily influenced by Lily’s abuse from her father growing up, and how she is dealing with it now that her parents are dead. This would have been fine if it didn’t define all of Lily’s actions for the first half of the book. In the beginning it’s understandable how her past would define her, I get it, but for it to continue for half the book and then all of a sudden she’s over it it doesn’t make sense. There was no character development whatsoever, one minute she was “don’t touch me” and the next she was all over Arro (or whatever his name is, I don’t remember anymore =/).

I liked that Lily wanted to make sure that her brother lives and that she would do anything for him. It’s understandable that she has no idea where she is and that she keeps getting information at each new step instead of all at once. What would have been better for the book is if we weren’t reminded of it on every single page. Not only is this the driving force of the plot, it is also very confusing. Mainly because we will be in one scene where we get confusing descriptions and half sentences, and then next will be a flashback. Nothing is ever explained coherently or in an order that makes sense. There was a heavy mix of Japanese folklore in this, and unfortunately I don’t know enough to know if it was done properly.

Overall, this book needs a major edit overhaul. The way it is now, I wouldn’t suggest reading it. Just enjoy the cover and go enjoy another YA fantasy book.

Posted in Young Adult

Goodreads Monday (2/6/2017)

Goodreads Monday is a meme hosted by Lauren @Page Turner,  and the idea is to post a book that’s on your TBR pile and show it off. This is a great way to show off books I have not yet managed to read!


This week I have chosen:

deadlylittlesecret

Deadly Little Secret (Touch, #1)

Title: Deadly Little Secret (Touch #1)

Author: Laurie Faria Stolarz

Published: December 8th 2008 by Hyperion

Goodreads Summary:

Some secrets shouldn’t be kept…

Up until three months ago, everything in sixteen-year-old Camelia’s life had been fairly ordinary: decent grades; an okay relationship with her parents; and a pretty cool part-time job at the art studio downtown. But when Ben, the mysterious new guy, starts junior year at her high school, Camelia’s life becomes anything but ordinary.

Rumored to be somehow responsible for his ex-girlfriend’s accidental death, Ben is immediately ostracized by everyone on campus. Except for Camelia. She’s reluctant to believe the rumors, even when her friends try to convince her otherwise. She’s inexplicably drawn to Ben and to his touch. But soon, Camelia is receiving eerie phone calls and strange packages with threatening notes. Ben insists she is in danger, and that he can help-but can he be trusted? She knows he’s hiding something… but he’s not the only one with a secret.

From the best-selling author of Blue is for Nightmares comes a story of paranormal romance that’s sure to be a thrilling and chilling teen favorite.

Did anyone watch the Superbowl last night, or if you’re like me the game that I had to endure so I could watch the Lady Gaga concert? I much prefer to watch the commercials and the halftime performance, than watching the actual game, unlike my husband who is very into watching sports. What did you think of Lady Gaga’s performance?

I chose this book this week because it’s a recent new add to my Goodreads TBR shelf. I read Stolarz series Blue is for Nightmares in high school and I loved the series. I didn’t know that she had other books out, so I am interested to see how this “new” series from her is! I bought 2 books in this series the last time I was at Half Price Books, and hopefully one of them is at least the first book.

What is on your TBR shelf this week?

Posted in Nonfiction

Talking As Fast As I Can Review

talkingasfastasicanTalking As Fast As I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls, and Everything in Between by Lauren Graham

Published: November 29th 2016 by Ballantine Bookes

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Genre: nonfiction, autobiography

Goodreads Summary:

In this collection of personal essays, the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood reveals stories about life, love, and working as a woman in Hollywood—along with behind-the-scenes dispatches from the set of the new Gilmore Girls, where she plays the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore once again.

In Talking as Fast as I Can, Lauren Graham hits pause for a moment and looks back on her life, sharing laugh-out-loud stories about growing up, starting out as an actress, and, years later, sitting in her trailer on the Parenthood set and asking herself, “Did you, um, make it?” She opens up about the challenges of being single in Hollywood (“Strangers were worried about me; that’s how long I was single!”), the time she was asked to audition her butt for a role, and her experience being a judge on Project Runway (“It’s like I had a fashion-induced blackout”).

In “What It Was Like, Part One,” Graham sits down for an epic Gilmore Girls marathon and reflects on being cast as the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore. The essay “What It Was Like, Part Two” reveals how it felt to pick up the role again nine years later, and what doing so has meant to her.

Some more things you will learn about Lauren: She once tried to go vegan just to bond with Ellen DeGeneres, she’s aware that meeting guys at awards shows has its pitfalls (“If you’re meeting someone for the first time after three hours of hair, makeup, and styling, you’ve already set the bar too high”), and she’s a card-carrying REI shopper (“My bungee cords now earn points!”).

Including photos and excerpts from the diary Graham kept during the filming of the recent Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, this book is like a cozy night in, catching up with your best friend, laughing and swapping stories, and—of course—talking as fast as you can.

Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls, and Everything in Between

When I first discovered this book in Target in December, I thought Lauren Graham writes books? I immediately wanted to get it, but alas that trip to Target was not for books for myself, but for Christmas presents. Alas, it wouldn’t be until almost a month later before I could finally get my hands on this book!! (Thank you birthday money!)

I thought this book was very light and funny, exactly what you would think Lauren Graham would sound like if she was sitting right next to you discussing life. I didn’t know that she wrote another book already, so I am definitely going to go check it out the next time I am ordering books off of Amazon.

My favorite parts of the book was well basically all of it, but especially the parts where she discusses the original Gilmore Girls and what it was like back then and then her time on the revival. I don’t remember how I discovered the show in the first place, but I do remember that my roommate back in college and I would watch the reruns on ABC Family every morning while getting ready for the day. It was our little tradition and even though I have all of the DVDs, I love that I can binge watch them on Netflix anytime I want. It drives my husband nuts!

If you love Lauren Graham then you will not want to miss this memoir! It was fast paced, funny, and very down to Earth.