Posted in Young Adult

17 Books That I Enjoyed in 2017

2017 is about to come to an end and there have been many many books published, bought, and read this year! I always enjoy reflecting back on the books that I have read and enjoyed this time of year, and start new goals for the new year. This year my Goodreads goal was to read 100 books, that quickly got changed to 75, and now that the year is almost over? Well lets just say that I did not meet my goal of 75. =/ A lot of life events happened for me this year, and I am okay with that. After reading my list, leave a comment and tell me which books you enjoyed this year!

  1. The Language of Thorns and Roses by Leigh Bardugo
  2.  Illuminae by Amie Kauffman and Jay Kristoff
  3. Bellamy and the Brute by Alicia Michaels
  4. Once and for All by Sarah Dessen
  5. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
  6. House of Ash by Hope Cook
  7. Rook by Sharon Cameron
  8. Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer
  9. The Girl at Midnight by Claudia Gray
  10. Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter
  11. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
  12. Caraval by Stephanie Garber
  13. The Diabolic by SJ Kincaid
  14. Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham
  15. Eon by Allison Goodman
  16. Emergence by S.G.D. Singh
  17. Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault by Candace Robinson

(Clicking any of the links above will take you to my book review)

Did you enjoy any on my list? What’s some of your favorite books this year?

Posted in Young Adult

Nameless Book Review

Nameless by Lili St. Crownameless

Tales of Madness and Beauty #1

Published: April 4th 2013 by Razorbill

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:

When Camille was six years old, she was discovered alone in the snow by Enrico Vultusino, godfather of the Seven—the powerful Families that rule magic-ridden New Haven. Papa Vultusino adopted the mute, scarred child, naming her after his dead wife and raising her in luxury on Haven Hill alongside his own son, Nico.

Now Cami is turning sixteen. She’s no longer mute, though she keeps her faded scars hidden under her school uniform, and though she opens up only to her two best friends, Ruby and Ellie, and to Nico, who has become more than a brother to her. But even though Cami is a pampered Vultusino heiress, she knows that she is not really Family. Unlike them, she is a mortal with a past that lies buried in trauma. And it’s not until she meets the mysterious Tor, who reveals scars of his own, that Cami begins to uncover the secrets of her birth… to find out where she comes from and why her past is threatening her now.

Nameless (Tales of Beauty & Madness, #1)

Reading the premise, I went in thinking that this was going to be a very great dark retelling of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. With a bonus of vampires and other types of creatures mixed in. What I got was a lot different that what I was expecting to get.

First, I want to talk about Cami. I really liked her in the beginning. She was mysterious with a dark hidden past, and just trying to find her place in the world. But then, the “I’m not really a Vultusino, so I shouldn’t get comfortable” routine got old real quick. She’s been there since she was 6 years old, if they were going to get rid of her I think they would have done it by now. She definitely has the I’m a little rich girl with no real problems so I will create problems for myself syndrome. This was especially evident, when everyone is just trying to help her and keep her safe and she just runs off and tries to do things without consulting anyone. I understand being independent and doing things on your own, but when someone has to bail you out of every situation it’s time to grow as a character and figure things out. I think that was my biggest problem with Cami. There was no actual character growth, so therefore she wasn’t very relatable. She just seemed very whiny and then petulant when things didn’t go her way.

Cami’s relationship with Nico was an interesting one. At first it was kind of like a big brother/little sister vibe that turned into a romantic one? Then after her birthday, their relationship became super weird and almost like he was a father figure. At least, that was how it seemed she was treating it. It was like all before her birthday, Cami knew exactly how Nico felt about her and didn’t question it one bit. Then she did a complete 180, and acted like if she did one single thing wrong he would kick her out of the house and never speak to her again. To sum up, their relationship is not very believable and therefore are my least favorite couple this year.

Plot wise, this book moved very slow and I mean achingly slow. For the first half of the book, I think the author was trying to set up the world? But all I got was confusion, on top of confusion. There are so many different types of creatures and references to an event that happened to create the dystopian world, I have no idea what any of it means. We are left with a lot more questions than answers. The plot started in the prologue and then didn’t reappear again to about halfway through the book, or at least that’s what it seemed like. The big moment felt very rushed, and then for me the ending took way too long.

Overall, I was very meh about this book. I really enjoyed St. Crows Strange Angels series, so I was hoping that I would enjoy this one as well. At this point, I don’t think I will continue with the series as there is way too many books on my TBR shelves to read. But, if you do enjoy dystopianesque, vampires, and fairy tale retellings you may enjoy this book and hopefully more than I did!

Posted in book review Book Review by River Laurent

Published: April 22nd 2017 by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform (first published April 20th 2017)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:

Once upon a…hot cowboy

Loan sharks are circling, I’ve got my dad’s hospital bills to pay, and my landlord is about to kick me out onto the street.
It’s all doom and gloom until my best friend, Jesse, tells me that she’s found me a job impersonating the famous hotel heiress, Tamara Honeywell.
I get to live on a ranch in Montana for a month and take care of all my money worries. The only snag is I’ll have to have my lips injected, and act like a spoilt, demanding, selfish brat. but, what the hell? Collagen is temporary, and I can act like the world’s most bitchy heiress for a month.

Until I see the jaw-droppingly handsome cowboy who comes to collect me. All flashing eyes, sun drenched skin, steely muscles…and spitting venom. Oops, he can’t stand talentless celebrities. Absolutely hates them. Damn, he looks like he wants to put me over his knee and spank me.

This is going to be interesting!

In Montana it’s not just the sky that’s big. So saddle up for the hottest cowboy that ever walked the pages of a book.

This is a standalone with HEA and no cheating. ADULT content over 18

I received this book during one of LitCube’s live sale a few months back. After reading Lady of Sherwood, I didn’t have any expectations going into this book since the last one was an epic fail (to me). I actually ended up liking this story,  although I should have read the description to know that it had adult content. For most of the book I kept thinking this is a YA book? This can’t be a YA book, it has too much adult content to be a YA book. Well, it definitely isn’t a YA book and very much so a contemporary romance (but I imagine not as romancey as those books with the half naked sweaty guys with better hair than me). I thought LitCube was a middle-grade to YA subscription box, but I guess I am wrong about that. This is the first adult book I have ever received from them, and looking at the contents in the box (and the cover) I wouldn’t have expected that.

Anyway, on to the real review. Our Cinderella in this story is Cass who is a bit down on her luck and struggling to make ends meet. From the description (that I just read), you would think that Cass reads and understands guys body language very well. But, this is not the case, every time Lars (our prince) was upset or looked angry she would always ask why he hated her. So as our main character/princess Cass was ok, she wasn’t very re-memorable to me at least. My biggest problem with her is that she accepted a job to pretend to be this rich bratty celebrity for a month, and the whole time she complained about having to pretend to be someone she isn’t. If she was going to have such a hard time acting to be someone else, then maybe this job wasn’t for her but then we wouldn’t have had a book.

The plot in this book moved fairly well until the ending. I felt like the book needed a bigger ending than what happened, and everything felt very rushed. We had this sort of slow build up to the end of her month stay, and then all of a sudden the book was over in like 10 pages. The author did include a deleted scene at the end, that I think would have helped the story out a little bit.

Overall, I think this book is decent and has potential to be better if it had gone through one more edit. Although this wasn’t in my normal genre of reading, I enjoyed it. Sometimes it’s good to step out of your typical genres and find something new. Although I wouldn’t have picked this up myself if it wasn’t for LitCube.




Posted in Young Adult

Illuminae Book Review

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoffilluminae

Published: October 20th 2015 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

BRIEFING NOTE: Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)

I am frequently underestimated. I think it’s because I’m short

I’ve had this book on my TBR shelf since last October, and I don’t know why it took me a year to finally pick it up and read it! I am kind of glad I did though, because after I read the second one I only have to wait a few months for the third and final book in the series to be released.

Most people would say I’m pretty cold, but I think of it more as…private. People are always saying “how are you?” to each other, and I guess I don’t see why I should answer such a personal question for just anyone

First off, I would like to say that I really liked the format of the book. It’s definitely not for everyone as it’s told through interviews, IM’s, e-mail exchanges, and a few other formats. I really liked the ones that made you rotate the book and where words made up pictures. So although it is almost a 600 page book, it goes by very fast because of the format. I was able to read it all from Friday night to Sunday morning (and while taking care of a baby in between).

Whatever the don’t want me to see, that’s where I’m digging. I need to be where the secrets are

Although the book starts off with interviews of Kady and Ezra’s experience of the invasion, you slowly start to get a sense of who they are as a person. By the end of the book, you know them pretty well and feel as if their fight is your fight as well. This book has three main obstacles for our MCs to overcome:  (1) they are being pursued by Beitech because they want to eliminate any witnesses to the invasion, (2) there is a mutated virus going around that command is being hush hush about, and (3) something is going on with the AI that is in charge of the Alexander (AIDAN). At first all three didn’t seem related to each other and I wondered how the authors were going to tie them all in, but thanks to all of the documentation you get a pretty good sense of what is going on. It doesn’t take very long for the pieces to start clicking together (with the help of Kady’s newly learned hacking skills of course).

What you do when stuff like this happens is you LIVE, you survive it, that’s how you honour the ones you lost

Overall, I really enjoyed this book! As someone who doesn’t read science fiction that often, I thought this book did an excellent job of living up to the hype that surrounded it when it first came out! I definitely recommend this if you are a sci-fi lover, or even if you just need to branch out and try something new!

Posted in Young Adult

The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic Book Review

The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugothelanguageofthorns

Published: September 26th 2017 by MacMillan/Imprint

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:

Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.

Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.

Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, these tales will transport you to lands both familiar and strange—to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.

This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, all of them lavishly illustrated with art that changes with each turn of the page, culminating in six stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.

This book included:

  1. Ayama and the Thorn Wood
  2. The Too-Clever Fox
  3. The Witch of Duva
  4. Little Knife
  5. The Soldier Prince
  6. When Water Sang Fire

Since I have already written individual reviews on three of them (you can click on the link to read them), I will focus mainly on the three new ones for this particular review.

Bad fates do not always follow those who deserve them

First off, I just wanted to say that the illustrations in the book by Sara Kipin were simply amazing. They were just as creepy and beautiful as the short story they are based upon. Even if you didn’t read the story, the illustrations themselves gave you a visual representation of what was going on during that time. I honestly, would love just a copy of the picture at the end of each story for my office!

This is the problem with making a thing forbidden. It does nothing but build an ache in the heart

Ayama and the Thorn Wood, kind of set up how we can expect the rest of the stories to be. As in not to expect the Brothers Grimm versions, where everyone has a happy ending with the perfect guy and running off into the sunset together. All these fairy tales take on a much darker theme and have completely different messages than the typical fairy tale.

What harm can a little hope do?

I couldn’t tell if Ayama and the Thorn Wood was a retelling or not, but the last two stories was definitely retellings of The Nutcracker and The Little Mermaid. I loved the direction that Bardugo went with these retellings, and if she wanted to do another book just like this (but longer) I would totally be okay with that. These were just the right amount of dark and imaginative that I expect from Bardugo. I don’t want to go into more detail and spoil anything for you, but there was definitely a Darkling cameo in When Water Sang Fire. I didn’t realize that when he first appeared, but by the end I definitely realized who he was and I wanted more!

This goes to show you that sometimes the unseen is not to be feared and that those meant to love us most are not always the ones who do

Overall, I loved this short story collection and was very sad when it ended. Even if you haven’t read any of Bardugo’s other books, you should definitely check this one out. You don’t even have to read the others to understand what is going on since this is basically the Grishaverses version of our Brothers Grimm.

Posted in Young Adult

Just Listen Book Review

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

Published: April 6th 2006 by Viking Books for Young Readers

4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:

Last year, Annabel was “the girl who has everything” — at least that’s the part she played in the television commercial for Kopf’s Department Store.

This year, she’s the girl who has nothing: no best friend because mean-but-exciting Sophie dropped her, no peace at home since her older sister became anorexic, and no one to sit with at lunch. Until she meets Owen Armstrong.

Tall, dark, and music-obsessed, Owen is a reformed bad boy with a commitment to truth-telling. With Owen’s help, maybe Annabel can face what happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends.

Just Listen
Don’t think or judge, just listen
This was the book I read last week during Banned Books Week 2017. I wasn’t aware that it was even on the frequently challenged list until I actually looked up the list in order to pick a book from it. I was amazed at how many challenged books were on there that I read in my high school English classes. This review might have some spoilers so please read with caution if you haven’t read this book yet!
There comes a time when the world gets quiet and the only thing left is your own heart. So you’d better learn the sound of it. Otherwise you’ll never understand what it’s saying
This book begins at the start of a new school year, Annabel was one of the popular girls last year and this year she is an outcast. We learn pretty early on that an incident happened at a party that caused Annabel to basically fall from grace and her shutting everyone out didn’t help her situation. Throughout the book we get flashback chapters of the night in question, how Annabel became friends with Sophie, and how she lost Clarke as a friend. With these flashbacks it did seem that the plot kind of dragged a little bit, but at the end it was worth it.
Not only do we slowly learn about what happened to Annabel, the book focuses on her sister Whitney and her eating disorder. Because of what is going on with her sister, Annabel feels that if she tells her mom anything (like what happened to her or that she wants to quit modeling) that it will destroy her. So what does Annabel do? She just stays quiet and keeps everything in.
Silence is so freaking loud
Annabel as the MC was alright in my opinion. She didn’t really have that baby of the family attitude that I am used to seeing in my family or in books in general. But understanding what happened to her, her current personality makes sense. She does remind me of a bunch of other Dessen’s main characters, but Annabels story itself is unique to the Lakeview world (community?).
Just like Annabel is a typical MC for Dessen, Owen our “bad boy” is kind of just the same. It seems as if there are two different types of guys that the main character falls for. We have the silent, sometimes moody bad boy vibe, or the quirky, all over the place but still kind of cute somehow guy. Owen is the first type, and honestly he isn’t very rememberable amongst all the other bad boy types. His “quirk”, I guess you could say, was that he is obsessed with music. Every conversation that he has with anyone has to deal with music. It’s like he eat, breathes, and sleeps music.
I wondered which was harder, in the end. The act of telling, or who you told it to. Or maybe if, when you finally got it out, the story was really all that mattered
In typical Dessen fashion, her novels focus on a theme of friendship and then somehow a guy fits in to make the main character see that there is more than one way to view things. In Just Listen, I felt that Dessen went a little deeper and focused also on some harder themes, such as eating disorders and rape. This whole book (for Annabel) was to figure out how to live with oneself after such a traumatic experience and get the help that she needed. In her case it was finally listening to herself, finally telling her family, and then talking to the lawyer to help make sure this didn’t happen again. I’m glad that Annabel finally stood up to her attacker (it did take basically the whole book though) and she was able to move on and even mend friendships along the way.
I understood now. This voice, the one that had been trying to get my attention all this time, calling out to me, begging me to hear it — it wan’t Will’s. It was mine
Overall, this wasn’t may favorite Sarah Dessen novel but it is in the top 5! Even though it was slow in the beginning, it did pick up around the middle. I liked that Dessen focused more on stronger themes in this book than she has previously, and I hope that in future books that she continues to do so.

Posted in Young Adult

Once and for All Book Review

onceandforallOnce and for All by Sarah Dessen

Published: June 6th 2017 by Viking Books for Young Readers

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:

As bubbly as champagne and delectable as wedding cake, Once and for All, Sarah Dessen’s thirteenth novel, is set in the world of wedding planning, where crises are routine.

Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that’s why she’s cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm’s length. But Ambrose isn’t about to be discouraged, now that he’s met the one girl he really wants.

Sarah Dessen’s many, many fans will adore her latest, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story that has everything—humor, romance, and an ending both happy and imperfect, just like life itself. 

Once and for All

First off, I just want to say that I love Sarah Dessen and all of her books! When I first heard about this book coming out last year, I circled the date in my calendar and counted down the days. Well, okay, almost but I did circle the date so that I could remember to pick up a copy!

Isn’t that the way everything begins? A night, a love, a once and for all.

As much as I love Dessen’s books, I couldn’t help but think about her other books as I read this one and how similar they are. It’s almost like a formula: you have the cynical main character who doesn’t believe in love, then there is the happy go lucky boy who is determined to make the cynical girl live a little, and then there is typically only one parent in the picture. Now not all of her books follows these guidelines, but most do. Even though I know the formula after reading almost all of her books, I still couldn’t help but be sucked in after page one! This one even made me tear up several times (okay there is a point in every one of her novels that makes me tear up, but this one made me tear at least twice more than usual)!

Once and for All is told from Louna’s point of view in the present and then we get flashback chapters of her and Ethan spread throughout. We get a sense pretty early on that Louna is I wouldn’t really say jaded, but turned off on love and that whatever happened had to have been pretty bad (basically she comes with a lot of baggage). As we learn her story and what happened almost a year earlier, it becomes clear and you can’t help but feel for her. When Ambrose comes into the picture, I couldn’t help but wonder how Dessen was going to weave him into Louna’s story.

In contrast to Louna, Ambrose is very social and outgoing. He has a dating philosophy of no commitment and only enjoying the firsts of any relationship. When he starts to work for Louna’s mom, they make a bet basically to date using each others philosophy. They continue working at her mom’s wedding planning business and partaking of the bet. It becomes obvious early on that they both like each other, but doesn’t want to admit it to each other until one of them finally does. After that happens, the book kind of slows down for me until near the very end when we get our happy ending.

Other than Louna and Ambrose, we really get to know the secondary characters as well. Normally, I don’t really care for them or I forget about them as soon as the book is over, but this time Dessen made me remember them! I hope in her future books, she does the same thing.

Ambrose would again reach out a hand, asking me to dance. And this time, I’d say yes.

Overall, this was a very quick read because I didn’t want to put the book down! I loved going back to Lakeview and seeing how Dessen was able to weave in some of her past characters into this one. As much as I enjoyed it, I wouldn’t put it as my favorite (that will probably be This Lullaby or The Truth About Forever tbh). If you love contemporary novels and haven’t picked up a Sarah Dessen book, definitely do! She is probably one of my favorite (she used to be my only until recently when I discovered Kasie West) ya contemporary authors.


Posted in Young Adult

Rook Book Review

Before I begin my book review of Rook, I just wanted to say Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads out there in the blogging world! Also, to all the dads who supported us when we were young and just beginning our reading addiction! Without my dad I probably wouldn’t have a love of reading like I do today. So I appreciate him very much!

Rook by Sharon Cameronrook

Published: April 28th 2015 by Scholastic Press

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:

History has a way of repeating itself. In the Sunken City that was once Paris, all who oppose the new revolution are being put to the blade. Except for those who disappear from their prison cells, a red-tipped rook feather left in their place. The mysterious Red Rook is a savior of the innocent, and a criminal in the eyes of the government.

Meanwhile, across the sea in the Commonwealth, Sophia Bellamy’s arranged marriage to the wealthy René Hasard is the last chance to save her family from ruin. But when the search for the Red Rook comes straight to her doorstep, Sophia discovers that her fiancé is not all he seems. Which is only fair, because neither is she.

As the Red Rook grows bolder and the stakes grow ever higher, Sophia and René find themselves locked in a tantalizing game of cat and mouse.

Daring intrigue, delicious romance, and spine-tingling suspense fill the pages of this extraordinary tale from award-winning author Sharon Cameron.

I just discovered Sharon Cameron last year when I read her book The Forgetting. I really enjoyed it, so I thought I would check out some of her other books. I finally got my hands on this copy at my local library, and I started reading it as soon as I walked through my front door.

He thought she was someone who could break the pattern of history. And he was offering to break it with her

Rook starts off with the Red Rook breaking a family out of prison in the Sunken City (aka Paris). So even from the start, I was hooked in wondering why the Red Rook was breaking people out, and if they would survive another day.

After such a dramatic and action packed beginning, I thought that this was going to be a great fast paced book that I’ll be able to finish in a day or two. Boy, was I wrong. I really enjoyed the plot of the book, but in reality this story could have been told in probably half the amount of pages. The middle for me just dragged and dragged and then continued to drag some more. If it was shorter, or if the plot moved a lot more then I definitely would have enjoyed it more.

I thought Sophia was a great main character (although I might be a little biased, because this is the first book I read that had a Sophia after we decided to name our baby girl that that’s due in September). She had some flaws which helped make her more relatable, but she was also very independent and strong willed.

Although, for someone who was very smart it seemed as if Sophia couldn’t or didn’t want to see things that was right in front of her face. Especially at the end, when the author was revealing all of the hidden conspiracies and betrayals to the Bellamy family. It wasn’t Sophia who revealed it all, but rather Rene. Which had me thinking how did he figure everything out? But, it also seemed a little too convenient in order to wrap up everything at the end.

“I think you are very beautiful,” René said, “especially when you are admiring mischief.”

“You must think that every time I look at you, then.”

Overall, this wasn’t a bad  book. It definitely wasn’t something new and original, but it does have it’s own little twists that help it stand out a little bit. Between this book and The Forgetting, I definitely enjoyed The Forgetting a lot more.

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!

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.