Caraval by Stephanie Garber

 

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Yup. Finally. FINALLY. I really read it. I have had this book since release date and just got around to it.

Caraval is such an interesting book. The story is about two sisters, Scarlett and Donatella, who live with their cruel father and dream of leaving their home and finally escaping from his clutches. Scarlett writes letters to a mysterious man named Legend asking him to visit. Legend is the head of a performance group who perform once a year. The audience is a part of the show and there is to be a winner who will receive a prize. Upon escaping with the help of a mysterious guy, the sisters become separated and it turns out one of them has been kidnapped by none other than Legend. The book repeatedly mentions that Caraval is a game and everything that happens is simply part of the show. However, the tale cautions that it is possible to become caught up in what’s real and what isn’t.

Garber weaves a fun, mysterious, and dark tale about romance, illusion, and magic. It is a captivating tale and I felt on the edge of my seat the entire time. I could not out this book down and felt totally enmeshed in the lives of the characters. I was dying to see how it ended and I won’t spoil it, but let’s just say I hope there is a sequel!

I loved this story and the only thing I was sort of hung up on was the romance bits..Maybe I was not in the mood for it and just wanted the mystery and magic. Or maybe I’m tired of YA books having so much romance in them. I give the book a 4/5 and will be rereading it later this year because it was so good.

Happy reading guys!

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The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova

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The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova is my most recent read. I really am not sure that I can save I loved it or even liked it but there is something in this story that I found very intriguing. It took me a few days to read it and St times I felt like I was having to force myself to read it but I really wanted to see how it ended up so I continued on.

Basically, the story is about a young woman named Alexandra who has traveled to Bulgaria in the hopes of healing after her brother’s death. She soon meets a family that is getting into a taxi and she accidentally keeps one of their belongings. It turns out that the belonging is actually an urn..full of someone’s ashes. She is upset to learn this and she meets a taxi driver who joins her on a journey to return the urn to the family. The only information the two have is the name of the deceased man in the urn, Stefan Lazarov. It is an intriguing tale woven in two time periods that delves into the pain of loss and the hope of tomorrow. I enjoyed it but I still feel kind of weird about it. Like something was missing. Because I actually felt the pull to stick it out and finish, I will give it a 3/5.

This book was sent to me from NetGalley as an ARC and while I’m always grateful to receive books, I always want to point out that my opinions are still my own and are in no way influenced. This book was released on April 11th so give it a try!

The Enemy Within by Scott Burn

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I just finished this book and all I can say is whoa! The Enemy Within by Scott Burn is an awesome sci-fi story that is sure to leave the reader wanting more. I love a good sci-fi story and I knew I would like this one but I’m really surprised with how it surpassed my expectations. At less than 200 pages, it’s a quick read full of action and suspense with each page turn. Now that I have given so much praise, I should probably mention what the book is about. It is a story about a kid named Max who has had a rough life. On top of that, he also has terrible visions of a burning city and doesnt know why or how to drop them. Meanwhile a trio of teens are looking to team up with Max against a group that is after them. The 4 teens have something in common. They all have special abilities. Page turner and a fun ride from start to finish!

I loved this book and thoroughly hope that there will be a sequel. I’m grateful that the author, Scott Burn, sent me a copy to read and review however my thoughts and opinions are still my own. 4.5/5!

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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So this is one of my recently read books and let me just say…it was so raw and real. I went in not knowing what I would face but I love what I found in this story. The basic premise is that the main character Starr, is a black teen who lives in a rough neighborhood BUT she attends a private school that is primarily white. She is sort of stuck in between worlds and doesn’t quite fit into one world neatly. On one side, she is black in a predominantly black town but she differs from the kids there because she doesn’t attend the same school. On the other hand, she goes to the private school but the kids there are mainly rich causing a disconnect with her life because her family isn’t wealthy. A big event takes place in the story that deals with racial profiling which is a huge issue in society that many people face. Thomas delves into the mind of a black teen directly affected by racism and stereotyping. The reader walks in Starr’s shoes through her book and gets a glimpse of what it feels like to be judged. I thought it was a great story and it even has light hearted moments and a touch of comical relief to it. I give the story a 4.5/5!

March Wrap-Up and April TBR

So I didn’t get many books read this month but the ones I did read were excellent! I finished 4 this month. I reviewed all but The Handmaid’s Tale. I am waiting until I can actually do it justice because it was one of the best books I’ve ever read. Anywho, in March I read:

Lola by Melissa Scrivner Love (amazing!)

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti (good!)

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood(fantastic!)

Heir of Illaria by Dyan Chick (great!)

So that’s what I got to in March. For April, I have begun :

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Enemy Within by Scott Burn

I plan to also read:

Caraval by Stephanie Garber(I know..what is taking me so long to get to this one lol?)

Death Jars of Broams Eld by Jennifer Cano

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

This may change but for now this is what I’m going to read. I feel the need to point out that I don’t tend to stick to my tbr list 100%..if I find a book that gets my attention that I want to read at that moment and it’s not on my tbr, I am going to read it just because I feel like it so we shall see what happens in April.

Thanks for reading!

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti

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These things we do that others may live.

This book was such a nice read. I really enjoyed the characters of Samuel and Loo. Samuel Hawley is the main characater and has lived a life of crime, danger, and adventure. He has many bullet wounds and we learn the story behind each one as we continue reading. Loo is his daughter and in the present day she is a teenager and living with Samuel. The story goes back and forth between Samuel’s past and Loo’s present. Their stories even overlap at some points. I don’t want to give much away but the book starts off with lots of excitement and it never let’s up. It’s so thrilling and there is something crazy happening in just about each chapter. I loved how it all unfolded and am so glad I decided to pick this up. I will say it’s a real Heartbreakers but one heck of a story.

It was released yesterday and is available for purchase now! Go get it! I give it a 4/5 stars. I graciously received an ARC of this book from NetGalley but my opinions are still my own.

Lola by Melissa Scrivner Love

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I am blown away.

This book is so incredible. I feel like I just went to the best amusement park and spent the day riding thrill ride after thrill ride. It is so refreshing to read a book that doesn’t involve magic or a sappy love story. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy those types of books sometimes but this book was so real on such a deep level.

Lola is the main character of this story and she is a strong and loveable lead. Lola is the shadow leader of a up and coming gang in her neighborhood. In other words, she doesn’t show the public that she is the leader and to most, she just appears to be the leader’s girlfriend. Her boyfriend, Garcia actually appears to be the boss but in reality the gang follows Lola’s orders because she has proven herself capable of taking care of them.

Lola’s story is one that grips you. It’s hard to believe the things she has gone through and still goes through. I found myself cheering her on and hoping she would triumph in the end.

I was sent a copy of this book by Librarything and am so gracious to them for sending it! However, my thoughts and opinions are still my own. I give this book a 5/5!

Warning: The book contains violence and mentions drugs and sex and abuse. It is definitely an adult book.

Heir of Illaria by Dyan Chick

 

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I just finished reading The Heir of Illaria by Dyan Chick and it was such a good read!

I really really loved the main character, Winona. I thought she was such a good character and enjoyed reading about her. When the first twist happens and we learn more about Wilona, the story really takes off. This happens fairly early on so it’s exciting because the story is great and interesting and action packed from the start.

Wilona’s character encounters other characters throughout the story. One of those is a female named Saffron. Saffron is a fun character as she protects Wilona and helps her adjust to the changes that take place in the story. There is also a character named Max who is leader of a group called the Ravens. They are a rebel group who oppose the color rent king and seek to dethrone him and put one of their own on the throne. It’s interesting how he so woven into the story.

I loved Dyan Chick’s style of writing. She really does a good job of keeping the reader entertained. I read this book pretty quickly and was fully invested in finding out what happened.

I feel like this book is hard to review without spoiling the story so I suggest that if you like YA fantasy, just dive in. It’s not too heavy on romance but there is a romantic side to it. There is action, a little mystery and magic in it. It is the first in a new series and is independently published so definitely worth a look. I am rating it a 4.5/5.

It was released January 23, 2017 and I received a copy of this book directly from the author, Dyan Chick. I will definitely be looking out for the sequel!

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

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Alright so I have finally finished this book and while I thought it was okay, it was hard to get through.

 

I liked the cover of the book. I also liked the style of Rin Chupeco’s writing and I really liked Tea, the main character. I felt like the story wasn’t bad but for some reason,  it was lacking and I just couldn’t get sucked in. I wanted to. I mean the blurb…wow.

It says:

Let me be clear: I never intended to raise my brother from his grave, though he may claim otherwise. If there’s anything I’ve learned from him in the years since, it’s that the dead hide truths as well as the living.

What?! That made me want to just dive in and never come up for air. And it made me think that I would feel like I couldn’t get enough and devour the story in a sitting. But that did not happen. Not even close. I enjoyed the whole story behind the dark Asha and the daeva and the characters were fine too but certain things about the story irked me. One, the alternating time in the chapters. They appeared to be going back and forth in time from when Tea was training and then to when she was a full fledged bone witch. I don’t know about anyone else but it was a bit confusing for me. Then the huas. Oh my gosh. Chupeco felt the need to describe what each Asha was wearing with the most detail and it kind of took away from the story because of the emphasis on the clothes. I know the has have magic stitched into the fabric but I don’t know why I needed to hear every color and design for every single person wearing them. The whole part with Tea’s brother in the beginning was weird but I thought it was cool that he was arisen and would be her companion despite not being a living person. That was gnarly. Since she’s a necromancer basically, of course having an undead sidekick sounds cool. However, Fox wasn’t really badass like I hoped he would be. He was just ok. Most of the characters were just ok. I give the story a 3/5 and that is because the ending was actually interesting and the pace really picked up. I saw that alot of people dnf’d this book or just took forever to read it. It has been two weeks and this book was a thorn in my side and I’m just glad it’s over. To be honest, I’m confused because I feel like I didn’t like it but I did. Lol. I would be willing to read a sequel but I wouldn’t be at the edge of my seat for it. Great premise for a story but it was not well executed.

Thanks to NetGalley for allowing me the opportunity to read this review before it is released and for no charge. My opinions are my own though.

Stuck in a reading slump?

Getting out of a reading slump!

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So I’m really struggling this month with reading and feel like I’m not making much progress at all. In an effort to not only help myself but others as well, I thought I would make a blog post about this topic. Hopefully I will work my way out of my current situation.

1. Stop reading and start watching!

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Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, cable
Detach from reading completely and just put your time and energy into a tv show. I keep hearing this is good and I have done this in the past and it has helped me out. By focusing on a tv show.l, your mind gets a break and it’s kind of like coming up for air. After a season or two of a new favorite show, you can revisit reading and you should now be out of the book slump.

2. Read a book outside of your typical genre!

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You usually read YA? Read a contemporary or a historical fiction. Maybe a memoir? Browse books that you probably wouldn’t ever read. This can help because broadening your reading preference can not only help you out of your slump but can also open you up to new books.
3. Try a book with short stories!

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A short book can definitely help you out of a slump by giving you a short, sweet story to read in a short, sweet time period. 🙂 I know when I finish a book, it makes me feel really good.
4. drop the book you are reading and pick up something else!

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Just stop what you are reading. Put it down and pick something else. Simple huh? I know that by doing this you can just take a break from that book that has you in a slump and come back to it later. Or not.
5. close your eyes and randomly pick a new book from your tbr or bookshelf

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Picking a new book from your tbr or shelf is a great way to dig out of the slump. A brand new read can really get you out of it.

So that’s it guys. Hope I helped someone. Hope I helped myself because I’m currently in a slump which explains the lack of reviews lately.

Happy reading!