BOOK REVIEW: Sarah J Maas “A Court of Frost and Starlight”

36156268Title: A Court of Frost and Starlight

Author: Sarah J Maas

Genre: Fantasy

My Rating: 2/5 stars

 

Sarah J Maas, author of the Throne of Glass series and the A Court of Thorns and Roses series, deemed it necessary to bridge the gap between the first trilogy of the ACOTAR books with the spin-off books she will be releasing later. The first three books in the world of ACOTAR follow Feyre Acheron and the way her life changes when she’s brought against her will into the world of the fae. Apparently, the next books set in this world are going to follow a different character, but I imagine will feature many of the same. We’ll most likely see lots of Feyre and Rhysand and the rest of the inner circle in the future.

A Court of Frost and Starlight is supposed to be the transition between Feyre’s world into someone else’s point of view. It’s too bad that I found this so very pointless.

I’ll admit that I think the Throne of Glass books are superior to the ACOTAR series in basically every way. Still, I’ve read and have found something to enjoy about every ACOTAR book that’s come out; I still love Maas’s style and characters, even if I’m not as fond of the world and story. Sadly, I couldn’t bring myself to care about anything that happened in ACOFAS because literally, nothing, happened.

If I’m being brutally honest, this novella feels like a money grab. Maas could have easily clued us in on what may have or may not have occurred in the gap between these two installments, yet she filled a 200 page book with mindless nothingness for fans of the series to buy.

For die-hard fans of the books, they will probably find enjoyment in seeing their beloved characters in a more relaxed setting. In this book, they’re all celebrating the Solstice, which is basically their equivalent of Christmas. And that’s all they do. For 200 pages.

I’ve never been so disappointed in a Mass book before and I hoped that day would never come. Oh well.

 

Sarah J Maas: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

BOOK REVIEW: Karen M McManus “One of Us Is Lying”

22091443_1815491551814261_406256347_nTitle: One of Us Is Lying

Author: Karen M McManus

Genre: Contemporary/Mystery

My Rating: 2.5/5 stars

 

Five students enter detention. None of them are connected prior to being here today. They’re here under suspicious circumstances, having each been found with a cellphone that didn’t belong to them. By the end of detention, one of them is dead.

The dead student was none other than the school’s most notorious gossip, Simon. Up until his untimely death, he ran an app that he posted on frequently, typically using the platform to reveal other student’s secrets and to humiliate them.

Some suspicious evidence comes to light in the wake of Simon’s death, and police look to the 4 remaining classmates. They all had reason to want him dead, especially when the police find a queued post with juicy gossip about each of them. Could one of them have found out what Simon was planning to reveal and wanted to silence him? Or did they all band together to take him out before he ruined their lives?

My thoughts:

My review is going to be a little spoiler-y only because I feel I need to complain about the way this author went about revealing the killer and everything leading up to it. I won’t talk about who the actual murderer was, but you’ll probably be able to tell who didn’t kill Simon based on what I have to say; so if you want to remain unspoiled, steer clear.

I’ve heard this book described as The Breakfast Club + murder, and I can get on board with that. You have your typical, cliché high school stereotypes: Bronwyn, the Ivy league-bound brainiac; Nate, the drug-pushing trouble-maker; Cooper, the beloved all-star baseball player; and Addy, the pretty blonde one. People who are irritated by these character formulas will be glad to see that some of these characters break free from these models. Unfortunately though, characters like Cooper do little to develop in their character. Cooper remained “MLB-bound star” throughout the book, and while there is a small twist to his story, it’s not enough to break the popular jock-type pattern.

Because Simon’s queued post about these characters is eventually posted and seen by their classmates, they each have to deal with the repercussions. Fortunately, they all ended up with good outcomes and came away from it as better, stronger individuals.

Unfortunately, while this is a positive thing character-wise for the book, I felt it was a bad call mystery-wise. This aspect of the story made it really easy for me to assume that none of these four characters committed the murder. I feel that the author made it too obvious, like they each had too much evidence going against them, so there was no way that one of them did it. Does that make sense?

Because of this, the 4 end up getting together to go over everything they all knew in an attempt to catch the real killer and to clear their names. I enjoyed the bond these characters had, I just hated that it meant none of them did it. I mean, it just invalidates the title of the book; it doesn’t even make sense anymore. They all were lying, but not about killing Simon. It’s misleading, but not in a good way. As in, I wanted to be misled by the contents of the book and be wrong about who the killer was, not by the title and the entire point of the story.

I ended up guessing the ending, which is good because I love being right, but also bad because I love to be shocked as well. I wanted to be surprised by this book, and I just wasn’t. This was an easy read and I ate it up because I was excited to know the ending, but I wasn’t happy with it.

Additionally, I didn’t like the way that the author revealed the killer; if I hadn’t guessed who had done it, I still wouldn’t have been shocked because the moment wasn’t even gasp-worthy. I mean, there was no “wow” factor to the big ending, so I was disappointed in all regards.

Choosing to read this book was easy because I was in the mood for a good mystery, but I just wasn’t pleased. I expected more and was let down.

Karen M McManus: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

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:

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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???

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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.

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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.

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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: Leila Sales “This Song Will Save Your Life”

22014863_1813506502012766_621267476_nTitle: This Song Will Save Your Life

Author: Leila Sales

Genre: Contemporary/Fiction

My Rating: 4/5 stars

 

I’ve owned the book This Song Will Save Your Life for several years, initially attracted by it’s eye-catching cover and intriguing title. It’s sat on my bookshelves for several years, waiting to be discovered, realized, and felt. I’ve heard this book calling out to me on several occasions since being bought, begging to be read. Finally, for some unknown reason,  I had the urge to pick this up a few days ago, and I am so thankful that I did.

This book was such a journey, and so heartfelt. I understood it’s main character, saw myself in her, and knew her. The story follows this main character, Elise, who’s a social outcast and does everything she can to change it. She spends an entire summer researching all the things that “cool” people do, wear, and know. She reads up on the lives of celebrities that she doesn’t care about, TV shows she doesn’t watch, and to her dismay, popular music that she hates. Then when it’s time to put this newfound knowledge to use, Elise realizes that none of it would ever make her cool. The trendy clothes that she spent a fortune on, the person she’s pretending to be… they always see through it. She can change how she appears all she wants, but she can’t change who she is. She can’t change the ill-timed questions or comments, born from a social cluelessness that she’s struggled with her whole life. Nor can she change the years of loser persona that she has perfected and her peers have come to know her as.

Somehow, Elise happens across an underground nightclub, where music rules the night and the people have no idea who she is during the day. No longer is she Elise, the loser. She’s Elise, aspiring DJ.

Elise’s story hit me so deep. While I was fortunate to be homeschooled and a part of a relatively accepting group of fellow homeschoolers, I was definitely never cool. When I was enrolled in private school for a short time, I was teased, and I absolutely know why. I was actually one of the most annoying kids ever. I liked to raise my hand in the middle of class because I had a comment or story relating to what the teacher was talking about. I picked my nose in public. I wore oversized hoodies and I never, ever, brushed my hair. I was the last of all the girls in my grade to get a training bra. I said things out loud that I probably shouldn’t have. I was a social nightmare.

When I left school and started interacting with new people, I was so excited to start over and try to be a cooler person. However, I learned the same thing that Elise did: it’s not cool to try.

This book also deals with having suicidal thoughts and cutting, and while I’ve never harmed myself in that way, I’ve had thoughts of killing myself before. However, this story stresses the fact that sometimes, people aren’t driven to kill themselves because something significant and horrible happened to them. Sometimes, it can be because a group of girls forced you to clean up their mess after lunch. It’s not about cleaning up the mess, though; it’s about that and every moment leading up to it. For Elise, it had been every torturous thing that happened to her, every mean thing anyone had ever called her, all the time she had spent trying to be cooler, trying to be better, and all her work being good for nothing. For me, it was every boy I had ever cared for rejecting me. It was finally being in a relationship, and not being happy. It was being treated like crap by the only boy who had ever liked me and wondering if this was how I was going to feel for the rest of my life.

Elise found her happiness, though, and so did I. Her story is inspiring and beautiful, and it touched me in a way that few stories have. I didn’t expect to love this book so much, but now that it’s a part of my life, I’m so happy to be able to share it. Elise’s story mirrors many of our stories, and it deals with some of the same pains and heartbreaks that we have faced.

This is my favorite book I have ever read that deals with suicide. It’s an encouragement to all those who struggle with suicidal thoughts, and an anthem to all those who have overcome them.

Please read this book.

 

Leila Sales: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

PRODUCT REVIEW: OwlCrate “Mythical Creatures”

*Disclaimer: for those who are subscribed to OwlCrate and do not wish to know what the contents inside are, please do not proceed.*

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This morning, I was quite surprised to receive my September OwlCrate box, especially considering I never received my email notification. No matter, it’s here, and I was so excited to open this one. This is the third OwlCrate box that I have received, and this month’s theme was Mythical Creatures, for fans of Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, and Game of Thrones.

For those who don’t know, OwlCrate is a YA book subscription box that typically contains 4-6 items relating to the theme. Each box also carries the monthly hardcover book with an OwlCrate exclusive cover, with both a signed bookplate and a letter from the author. Each box is so much fun to receive and I have loved every item that has come with them.

I was very interested to see what they were going to do with this theme, and I was pleased with it. While the box didn’t have as many items, I’m guessing this is because of the more anticipated item, the Book Beau!

21767599_1802559003107516_689884393_nBook Beau is a company that creates unique and beautiful book sleeves to protect your preciouses. The exclusive book sleeve that we received in this month’s OwlCrate box has two mythical creatures incorporated in the design, fitting perfectly with the theme. I was very excited to hear that this box would include a book sleeve because I’ve been seeing them all over Instagram and have been positively lusting after them. I love the various designs and wish that I wasn’t trying to save money, or else I would buy them all. I was disappointed that this particular size of sleeve will only fit paperbacks and small hardcovers because the majority of my books are hardcovers, but I know I will still find plenty of use for this.

21624236_1802558976440852_1650861161_nOne of the first items I pulled out of the box was this container of bath salts made by The Soap Librarian. Unfortunately, I’m not going to be able to use this right away because my tub is have some problems draining. However, once this problem is resolved, I’m so looking forward to using this! Inspired by Percy Jackson, these Son of Poseidon bath salts smell of chamomile, lavender, rose, hibiscus, etc. There are even cornflower petals in the mix! I’m not a huge bath salt user so I’m not sure what the benefits are to this, but it seems interesting to me and I’m definitely not opposed to it. It has a very calming fragrance to it and I think this was a very fun, creative item.

21622035_1802558999774183_1078306024_nThe next item I opened was a canvas coin purse created by OwlCrate! I think it’s so awesome that their team is making items of their own. This is such a cute little pouch and I feel I’ll definitely be using this to organize my purse. My one complaint about this item is the material used for the inside lining; it’s made of that crinkly stuff that I’m not super fond of. Still, the print itself is very pretty and again, very fitting with the theme. I’m so excited to see what else the team at OwlCrate continues to create and include in these boxes!

21754472_1802558973107519_861444953_nOne of the most beautiful products in this month’s box was the wooden bookmark from the company Ink and Wonder Designs. I’m assuming this was the Game of Thrones inspired item, and while I’m not a part of this particular fandom, this is one of the most gorgeous bookmarks I have ever beheld. Also, I’ve never seen a wooden bookmark before and when I heard that this box was going to be containing one, I was skeptical. I was concerned that it would be flimsy and easily breakable, but it’s actually quite sturdy and pliable. The work done on it is very clean, and you don’t have to worry about getting splinters if you run your fingers across the surface of it.

21744690_1802558959774187_1919960114_nPerhaps one of the cutest items OwlCrate featured this month was this Hagrid sticker designed by Susanne Draws. My husband was curious and wanted to watch me unbox this, and funny enough, he and I were just watching Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban yesterday. However, we hadn’t quite finished it before he had to go back to work, and we had just finished the part where Buckbeak *spoilers* “dies”. This is his first time watching the movies so of course, he’s a little sad. He is not an emotional person in the slightest, but the sight of this sticker produced the smallest of pouts. “Well that’s cruel,” he proclaimed, crossing his arms over his chest, pretending to not care even though he totally does. I’m going to make a Harry Potter nerd out of him, yet.

The last item before the book was this month’s pin. Each box has a pin, always something that matches the artwork on the spoiler card, both pictured below. On the backside of the spoiler card, you’ll find the names of all the items included in the box and the company’s that provided each item. It also has a synopsis for the book, which I will talk about next.

Keeping with the theme of Mythical Creatures, this month’s book is promised to include many, many dragons. Without further ado, the book is: Before She Ignites, the first book in the Fallen Isles Trilogy by Jodi Meadows. I just want to say that I totally guessed the book; trying to predict each month’s book is one of my favorite things. I love to just browse through upcoming or recent releases on Goodreads and look for books matching the short synopsis provided for us by OwlCrate. I guessed last month’s box, The Hearts We Sold, and I guessed this month’s box. I’m 2/3, y/all.

Also included with this box is something that I haven’t seen from them before: a short little pamphlet with an interview with Jodi Meadows, an interview with the creator of Book Beau, Benita Botello, as well as a sneak peak for next month’s box, themed Find Me in the Forest. As seen in the picture below, they also compare the original cover to the OwlCrate exclusive, which for this particular month was a subtle swapping of silver to gold print.

In conclusion, I’m quite pleased with this month’s box. I believe it’s an excellent value for the money, which is $29.99 for all. I’ve loved this box, even before I was subscribed to it; I used to watch unboxing videos and pictures longingly, wishing that I could order one of my own. Now I finally have, and it’s such a fun thing to anticipate each box every month. You can find links to all stores, shops, and socials below; thank you for reading!

 

OwlCrate: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Book Beau: Website | Facebook | Instagram

The Soap Librarian: Website

Ink and Wonder Designs: Website | Facebook | Instagram

Susanne Draws: Tumblr | Etsy | Instagram | Twitter

Jodi Meadows: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

GROWING PAINS BOOKLIST: Devyn Guerra

About two years ago, I worked briefly with a music company where I wrote single, album, and music video reviews, and occasionally other fun articles. One such article was called “Growing Pains Playlist”, where I noted some songs and artists that truly shaped me and made me who I am. It was a really introspective article and allowed me to really look back and examine the music that formed me.

A few days ago, I saw someone write an article about the books that had shaped them, and it made me think of the Growing Pains Playlist that I wrote a few years back. I suddenly felt inspired to write one of my own here, and I hope that you all might do the same if you haven’t already!

1.) The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner

I owe this series for stoking my love for reading at such a young age. My first grade teacher read this book to our class, and I remember being so invested in the lives of Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny. Seeing how smart and resourceful they were in the eve of their parent’s deaths really inspired me as a child, and I longed for a boxcar of my own to live and cook and sleep and hide away in. I read these books well into my middle school years, and even though I don’t read them anymore, my love and admiration for these mystery-solving kids has never died.

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2.) Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

In 2009, I watched the Inkheart film and fell in love. Watching the movie caused me to want to read the book, which I loved even more. For about three years, Inkheart was my favorite book, sporting a beautiful fantastical world, likable, interesting characters and two more books full of the same. It was such an enjoyable series, and it was possibly my first time reading something besides children’s and middle grade novels. This book was sort of my graduation into YA, which makes it so much more important to me.

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3.) Percy Jackson & the Olympians by Rick Riordan

These books are so much fun, and certainly not meant for just middle grade readers. Percy Jackson can be enjoyed by all ages in my opinion, with it’s lovable, hilarious characters, action-packed plot, and even some learning moments, teaching about Greek mythology and giving it an interesting twist. I consider Percy Jackson to be a hallmark of my middle school reading days, which is why these books earn a place in my Growing Pains Booklist.

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4.) Christy Miller series by Robin Jones Gunn

This series came at a perfect time in my life. I was about 13-14, going through puberty and struggling in my faith in God. The Christy Miller series is about a girl much like many other teenage girls. She faces the same problems with boys, school, family, etc, but the series also has a special focus on Christianity and faith, and it’s always been such an encouraging and inspiring read for me. I’ve never related to a character like I have with dear Christy Miller, and I almost feel as if I’ve grown up with her: she was in high school while I was, making decisions about life after graduation when I was, and she was getting married around the same time as myself. Robin Jones Gunn is still releasing Christy Miller books, her most recent about Christy and her husband’s struggles with pregnancy and children. These books have had a huge impact on my life and I’m thankful for each new adventure I get to experience with Christy.

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5.) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

This is my favorite book of all time. I have loved this book with all my heart ever since I read it in my freshman year of high school. I care for the characters in this story like they’re my own family; a book has never moved me in the same way that this one has. In fact, this is the first book I ever read to make me feel such intense feelings. I can’t speak highly enough about this book, and every time I read it, I feel like it makes me a more insightful, fuller person.

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6.) Divergent by Veronica Roth

This may come as a surprise to you. Divergent isn’t particularly profound or moving, although I must say that Tris is incredibly inspiring as a woman and just as a person in general: so good and pure and beautiful. However, the reason this book makes it onto this particular booklist is because it spurred on my love for reading when I was stuck reading the same things over and over. There’s not necessarily anything wrong with this; rereading beloved books is no problem. However, I was in some sort of loop for about 3 years where I wasn’t reading anything except the same 10 books on my shelves. A friend recommended Divergent to me, and I bought it on a whim. I have never read a book the way I devoured that one. I stayed up all night, eyes wide with surprise and intrigue and suspense. At the time, this book was one of my favorites, and it began my unhealthy book-buying habit which I am still trying to break to this day. Now, there are definitely things that I find problematic about this story and the logistics of it, but I still have nothing but admiration and adoration for Tris, one of my favorite female characters of all time. (PS – I will never forgive Veronica Roth for Allegiant. That is all.)

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This concludes my Growing Pains Booklist! Let me know what you think in the comments: whether you share any of my childhood favorites or if any of these titles were important to you and your personal growth. Message or email me if you’d like to be featured on my blog with your own Growing Pains Booklist. Mahalo!

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

Introducing Myself

Good morning from Hawaii! My name is Devyn Guerra, and this is blog number 5 or 6 that I’ve started now? I’m the absolute worst about remaining focused on one topic; sometimes I’d love to write about my life. Sometimes I’d love to write fantasy. Sometimes I write fan fiction. And sometimes I like to post my bookish opinions on the internet.

So here I am.

I was born in South Carolina 21 years ago and I lived there for 9 years. Still, those were never really the formative years from me, and so I’ve always considered Texas my home. I lived there non-consecutively for about 8 years total, but they were some of my most important. Sure, I moved away junior year to live in Nevada for three years, but I eventually ended up back in the Lone Star State.

Unfortunately, I didn’t live in a very pretty part of Texas. While I would absolutely love to live somewhere like San Antonio, my dream city, I ended up in a dumb town called Harlingen, and I love it. It’s where I’ve made some of my most important friendships, suffered my greatest losses, and where I met the love of my life.

I’m grateful for all the moving around I’ve done in my life because it has prepared me for a lifestyle I never saw myself living: the military life. A little less than a year ago, my boyfriend proposed to me, enlisted in the Army, and shipped off for basic training, all in the matter of about one month. It was all very fast, but we decided it was the quickest way for us to be married and to start receiving a steady income. So far, the long separations have been very difficult, especially considering I am probably the clingiest person alive and require constant reassurance, but we’ve made it work and are now happily married and stationed in Oahu.

Now, I find myself with loads of time on my hands. I’m not in school (yet), and I’m not working. So what does that leave me to do? I hope to begin building up a legitimate internet presence with my newfound time and to actually use this opportunity to write. I find that I always run out of steam about a month into a new blog, but it’s always been because I’m so tired from work or school. I would come home after a long day and find that it was easier to relax in front of Netflix than to actually write anything. So all my blogs before have fizzled out. So this is my chance to finally do something I love.

I hope that you’ll follow me and that you’ll enjoy future blog posts. Comment with any questions that you have for me, and contact me if there is a specific book that you’d like for me to review. Mahalo!