BOOK REVIEW: Stephanie Garber “Legendary”

9781250095312Title: Legendary

Author: Stephanie Garber

Genre: Fantasy

My Rating: 5/5 stars

 

It almost feels pointless to write a non-spoiler review for this book… I can’t give anything away and I can’t rant and rave about what went on. Why am I even here? And who’s going to read a review of Legendary anyway? Anyone who’s planning to read the book will be avoiding spoilers at all costs, and anyone who isn’t planning to read it simply hasn’t read Caraval yet. (While I’m at that, here’s some self-promotion: read my review, then read Caraval. Just do it.)

Legendary was everything I wanted it to be.

It had heartbreaking romance, magic, mystery, surprise, action. Legendary had everything needed to be the perfect story. I am beyond impressed with Stephanie Garber, and so pleased that she managed to ward off second-book syndrome. There was nothing lacking in this, it didn’t feel like it was a filler novel, and it was perfect.

Donatella was a wonderful main character. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about it just based on her character in Caraval, but she was really great. She was strong and independent and funny and so completely human. It was so easy to relate to her and feel for her and did I mention the utterly heart-shattering romance? I adored the love interest in this novel, adored the villain… I have all the love for every aspect of this book.

I think I actually enjoyed Legendary more than the first book, which is saying a lot because I loved Caraval. I can’t wait for the final book in this series, although Garber is welcome to write as many books in this world as she wants to. I will read them all.

 

Stephanie Garber: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

The Best Books I Read in 2017

This year was full of many duds when it came to new releases or even old releases that I finally got around to, but there were a few stand-outs that really caught my attention and became new favorites of mine, the first of which was Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham.

CpH4ANsVUAE5OwOGilmore Girls is one of my favorite TV shows, and Lorelai is one of my favorite characters. She’s sassy, spunky, quirky, and hilarious, and I hoped that reading Graham’s memoir would make me love the actor who played her. (PS – it did.)

This reading experience was so much fun; Graham’s voice was so clear through her writing, and I can only imagine how wonderful this audiobook must have been. I loved reading about her life and some behind the scenes tidbits from Gilmore Girls, Parenthood, and A Year in the Life. This was my first 5 star read of 2017 and really just made my heart so happy.

29772863Next up was a graphic novel by none other than Marissa Meyer, a personal favorite of mine and a staple in the YA book community. That book would be Wires and Nerve, which is a sort of spin-off of the Lunar Chronicles following the adventures of Iko the android. Seeing as Iko was never a favorite character of mine, I was surprised by how much fun I had reading this and how much I now anticipate book two! This was my second experience reading a graphic novel and it has also given me a thirst for more. (PS – if anyone has any recommendations for other good graphic novels, comment below because seriously, I need more.)

DocumentAnother surprise was Caraval by Stephanie Garber. You can read my full review for this book here, but basically this book was incredible. It had everything I ever wanted and checked all of my boxes and was absolutely amazing. There was magic and mystery and action and romance and twists and family drama, and truly I cannot recommend this book enough. I want to buy copies for everyone I know and force them to read this except I don’t have that kind of money, so all I can say is: do whatever you can to get your hands on a copy of Caraval.

9781250050748Another book that I loved was This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales. For some reason, this received a 4 star rating according to my Goodreads, but that may change upon further inspection because really, this book was so incredibly moving. Not only did I relate to the main character, I felt that it was a beautiful story of redemption and growth and moving past the pain of your past. I wrote a full review for this book here, so feel free to check out my complete thoughts on it and then hopefully pick up the book for yourself.

34538054The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones is another book that snuck up on me and became a quick favorite. The story was very unique and sucked me in fairly easily, but ended up really tugging on my heart-strings as well. I didn’t expect this to be such an emotional read, although I should have based on other people’s reactions. This was such a special book with such a heart-wrenching ending, but I can see myself rereading this for sure. Definitely check this pick out, and also my original review for it.

29385546Marie Lu’s most recent release definitely made it on the list; Warcross exceeded my expectations. I didn’t want to get too caught up in the hype lest it let me down, but this book is well-deserving of the praise. It was cool and modern, with interesting characters, a steamy love interest, and an awesome concept. This book made me want to get sucked into video game culture and participate in this world of virtual reality and technology. Check out my full review for Warcross here.

81uGB-QT1hLGeekerella by Ashley Poston was not a surprise favorite for me. I went into this book 100% certain that I was going to love it, and I was not disappointed in the slightest. This fairytale retelling of a fangirl Cinderella was adorable, funny, fresh, and such good fun. I wrote a review for Geekerella here, but you can just take my word for it: this retelling is so worth it. You may think that this story has been wrung dry, but I think there are still so many new and special ways to tell this classic tale.

Xpress-YA-Bardugo-TheLanguageofThornsThe last favorite of 2017 was The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo. Sometimes I have issues with short story collections because typically, there are a few in the batch that aren’t as good as the others. This was not the case with this compilation. Every single story included in The Language of Thorns was exceptional, and I was so pleased with the entire reading experience. The illustrations on every page were stunning, and the stories were all beautiful and unique. Check out my review for this book here, and then buy it for yourself because you know you want to.

This was such an incredible batch of books and I’m so excited for the new stories I’ll be introduced to in the coming year! What are some of your most anticipated 2018 releases?

Straight Up, Just a Collection of Pretty Covers

I don’t know about you, but I have a serious case of lusting after beautiful books. Even if I buy the book and despise it, I will keep it simply because it’s a nice addition to my bookshelf.

How shallow, right? It’s true. The following are some of the prettiest books I’ve ever seen: some I loved, some I didn’t, and some I have yet to read.

1.) Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo

The cover is what initially drew me toward this book in the first place, but this is one instance where the cover matched the contents. This is a beautiful series, and definitely one of my favorites. In fact, all of the books in the Grisha trilogy are beautiful. Here, just look at them:

grisha-trilogy-covers

Recently, this series underwent a cover change, which I felt was completely unnecessary but oh well. As long as I own the superior covers.

2.) These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman

Whoever designed this cover deserves an award. Just holy cow. I borrowed this book first from a friend, and when I ended up loving it, I immediately bought it. (Didn’t hurt that it’s one of the prettiest books I’ve ever seen in my life, right?) However, I wish the rest of this series had been as amazing as the first. This space adventure trilogy started off so strong, and then I slowly started to lose interest. I’ve shamelessly kept the books, though, and still like to take them down and gaze at them every so often.

22014643_1813503125346437_1104639075_n

3.) Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Holy cow, this book. Before I opened it for the first time, I knew nothing about it. It turned out to be the best book I’ve read so far in 2017. The story, the characters, the mystery; just oh so incredible and engaging. And of course, it has one of the most amazing covers. Mine even shimmers in certain lights, and I could just stare at it all day. However, please read this book because of the amazing story and not because the cover is so beautiful you could die. You can read my review for Caraval here.

22054476_1813503155346434_757001693_n

4.) A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

I have very mixed feelings about this trilogy. On one hand, the concept and idea of the story is very interesting and showed plenty of promise. I’m all for time travel and talk of different dimensions and all that jazz. This book could have had it all, for me. Unfortunately, I wasn’t pleased with how the story was told. For a story so action-packed like this one, I shouldn’t be bored. I shouldn’t be wishing for the end like I did so often with this series. However, would you just look at those covers?

22016547_1813503118679771_461155569_n

5.) Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Long before I ever joined bookstagram or I even dreamed of blogging about books, I ran across this book while browsing Goodreads. I was immediately struck by how beautiful the cover was, and I immediately wanted it. At the time, I had no job and no money, so it went into my Amazon wish list for me to buy at another time.

Over three years later, I have finally bought this book and added it to my bookshelf, and it was one of the most glorious moments. I’ve been waiting to own this piece of art forever, and I finally have it. Have I read it yet? No. Will I soon? Maybe. If I hate it, will I get rid of it? Definitely never. In fact, I need to add the rest of this series to my wish list ASAP, and maybe purchase them in the next few months instead of waiting three years like last time.

22054648_1813503172013099_1436021894_n

6.) Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

I read this one on a whim and I was so glad that I did. Rebel of the Sands had a unique premise and a unique setting, and also sported some very likeable, interesting characters. My only wish is that I could find this same edition for the second book in hardcover, because so far I have had no such luck. Why are there so many different editions and various covers for the same book? Why can’t they all look the same, even if they’re covers for another country? Can’t you change the language and content of the book without changing the look of the cover? Is this so much to ask???

22052693_1813503128679770_743820331_n

7.) The Selection by Kiera Cass

Ah, yes. This infamous series. What to say about The Selection? I hate them, and I can’t get enough of them. I could talk crap about them all day, but if Cass were to release another book right now, I would go out and buy it immediately, no questions asked. Why is this? What is the magic of these books? It’s not even the beautiful covers with the girly dresses, although I love them. I just can’t stop reading them. I want to say that they bore me but they don’t. It doesn’t matter how much I despise America (the main character’s name in the series, I promise I love my country). It doesn’t matter how maddening her decisions are. I just eat these books up, and I am ashamed.

22053371_1813503152013101_987412706_n

8.) To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

These books have always been a lot of fun, particularly the very first one. The premise is wonderful, and even though I have disliked certain aspects of the story, I still consider these to be good reads. While I prefer the Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy, this is still an excellent addition to Han’s repertoire. Plus, the covers are super cute, come on.

22014980_1813503122013104_555520185_n

That’s all for today folks. Just wanted to share with you some of my favorite book covers and feature them here for y’all’s enjoyment and appreciation. Sometimes I like to stare at them dreamily, and maybe that’s a little creepy. I love my books, okay? Not only do I believe they should have excellent content, I’m a firm believer in creating aesthetically pleasing cover art. What can I say, I’m a sucker. Slap a nice cover on a crappy book and I’ll totally buy it. Sue me.

BOOK REVIEW: Stephanie Garber “Caraval”

22054476_1813503155346434_757001693_nTitle: Caraval

Author: Stephanie Garber

Genre: Fantasy

My Rating: 5/5 stars

 

This book took me by surprise. I knew of the hype surrounding Stephanie Garber’s debut novel; however I knew very little about the actual story. When I finally started it, I was still blind, which is why it’s so difficult for me to write any sort of synopsis for you here: I want you to be as surprised as I was.

Caraval is beautifully written, and almost immediately, you’re swept into the beautiful world that Garber has created. In her story, we follow the main character Scarlett Dragna, who lives a very sad, dismal life with her cruel father and darling sister, Donatella, who she would do anything to protect. After years of dreaming and hoping, Scarlett and her sister suddenly have the opportunity to go to Caraval, a magical performance and game where the audience participates and the winner is awarded with one wish. Once there, however, Donatella is promptly kidnapped, and it soon becomes evident that it’s all a part of the performance. With the stakes much higher, Scarlett must solve a series of clues and riddles if she wants to win the game and find her sister, preferably alive.

This book was such a wild ride. It’s been such a long time since a book has made me audibly gasp, both with fear and surprise. It’s been so long since a book has left me both frustrated and enchanted. The story is out-of-this-world amazing, and I’m so glad that I read it and I can jump on the bandwagon.

Scarlett is a wonderful character, but I didn’t always feel this way. In the beginning, she was skittish, hesitant and fearful, and while she had dreamed of going to Caraval as a child, as an adult she was much more concerned with safety and survival. This makes sense considering her horrible home life, where her father beat and terrorized the poor sisters. However, as the story progresses, you see Scarlett transform and develop into this intelligent, strong woman and I am just here for it.

I loved the mystery that surrounded this whole story, particularly around the creator of Caraval, Legend. We hear about his tragic history and how he obtained his magic; he’s a curious character with strange motivations. He leaves notes and clues that seem to be specifically meant for Scarlett, and you get the sense that there’s more to the game, and that the Dragna sisters were invited to Caraval for a reason. I spent the entire book trying to guess who Legend might be in case we had met him already while he was in disguise. I was so intrigued by his character and loved the darkness he brought to the story.

Scarlett’s mysterious companion throughout was Julian, a young sailor that Donatella had befriended at the beginning of the story but of course, left him with Scarlett when she was kidnapped. I was constantly trying to figure this guy out. Can he be trusted? Or is he an inside man, trying to mess Scarlett up? What’s his deal? I went back and forth with him throughout the entire book, and I still hadn’t decided when it was finally revealed.

I adored everything about Caraval. The plot, the characters, the fantastical elements, the whimsy, the mystery, the plot twists; I was here for all of it. This was by far my favorite read of 2017 so far and has also earned a place in my list of all-time favorites. I highly recommend this read and hope that you will enjoy it as much as I did.

 

Stephanie Garber: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Pinterest