Monthly Wrap-Up: June 2019

Where has the time gone? The months are flying by too fast, I feel. Even though my long weekend plans shriveled up, I knew I wanted to set aside some free time for my posts and my books.

I’m excited and proud to say that Mom has just two more rounds of chemo left! She started back in March, and we never thought we’d reach this far. She’s gone through so much. Even though our lives are still hell, I cannot be prouder of what she’s done.

So let’s start off a new month with a wrap-up post! Have fun.

Read More »

Advertisements

Most Anticipated Reads of May 2019

Good morning, readers,

May is my birth month. Typically, it’s pretty quiet for me. I don’t do much, and this years, all I want to do is read and avoid the world. But the book community is buzzing with new books. And I haven’t been this excited for a month until I saw what is being released. I feel it now. May will be exceptional.

Now, I haven’t listed all the forthcoming titles. So this list isn’t complete. But here are my most anticipated releases:

Read More »

Monthly Wrap-Up | June 2018

Seriously?! June is over? I cannot believe it is. I’m kind of freaking out at how fast this year is going. So I needed to take some time away from blogging. My life has been too hectic. And just for the sake of doing so, I didn’t want to publish something half ass. But you’ll be seeing me around much more though!

Let me know how your June has gone! I’d love to check up with all of you.

 

Yeah, last month, reading took a back seat. I couldn’t decide which book to read, which one to hold off on, and which one to finish. I went back and forth from one book to the next. Don’t you hate you that? I know I do. I can’t stand it when indecisiveness rules my every choice.

But with the books I did read, I enjoyed. And I was finally able to read two of my most anticipated reads of this year!

 

Legendary by Stephanie Garber

⭐⭐⭐⭐½

I need to find my fellow Dantella groupies because I need to squee about this book. Caraval is one book that snuck on me when I didn’t expect it. And I’ve been eagerly waiting to read Legendary. But like other readers, I was hesitant to read a book solely on Tella’s POV. Tella is a tricky character for me. She bothered me in Stephanie’s debut novel, but I loved her in this one. Stephanie blends magic, intrigue, and politics and creates an enchanting experience.

I cannot wait to read Finale.

 

Smoke in the Sun by Renée Ahdieh

⭐⭐⭐⭐

This book is GORGEOUS. It rivals Flame in the Mist, and I thought that book was too beautiful for words. Smoke brings on a rollercoaster of emotions for me. Going in, I knew my favourite characters, Mariko and Okami, would suffer, but I was not anticipating the need to punch a wall and scream, “don’t hurt my babies!” at 2 in the morning.

Renée beautifully crafts a historical fantasy you’ve been hoping to read. And while the book is a slow burn, it will satisfy her dedicated readers. I’m hooked.

 

Winter by Marissa Meyer

This book is BEAST. I haven’t finished it yet, but I’m enjoying it. Even though I’m late to the game, I don’t want this series to end. Finally, the entire crew joins forces to take down the evil bitch queen we call Levana (bless my swearing skills). I feel the story starts off slow and then builds off of that. I enjoy seeing how each character interacts, and I hope to finish this monster off shortly.

I cannot wait to find more sci-fi books. I don’t want to miss any great series. So shoot me some of your favourite picks! I’d love to discover more!


Give it to me to buy more books than I read for the month. Okay, I can’t put the blame on that. I had several pre-orders, so don’t judge. What am I saying?! I’m talking to fellow book nerds.

I wanted to keep my book haul short for June since I wasn’t sure if I’d read this all (I’m glad I decided ahead of time, or I’d be kicking my butt right now). But I was able to pick up books I’ve been dying to read. And hopefully, I’ll get to them soon.

Who am I kidding? I’ll just keep adding to my pile. 😂

 

So what was your most anticipated book for June? Did you get into a reading slump like me? Let me know in the comments!!

Review | Legendary by Stephanie Garber

Legendary by Stephanie Garber

Published by: Flatiron Books

Publication Date: May 29, 2018

Genre: Fantasy, Romance

Page Count: 464

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Purchase

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository


A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.

After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.

The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more-and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets, including her sister’s. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice. But now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about-maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever.


“Every good story needs a villain. But the best villains are the ones you secretly like.”

Sometimes a book captivates all your senses where you taste the candy apple on your lips, hear the music trickle out from every store, and watch the stars dancing above you. So how can Legendary top my love of Caraval? I’m still trying to catch my breath from Stephanie’s debut novel, but I recapture it with this book. And I want nothing more than to crawl back into this world all over again.

With Scarlet’s story, you rediscover magic. It tastes enchanting, and it doesn’t disappoint you. With Tella’s story though, this magic morphs into a dark, bone-chilling, ancient enchantment. It scares you, but you want more. Once again, Stephanie takes you on a magical yet emotional adventure. And I honestly thought I couldn’t love the sequel as much as the first. But I do.

Legend first shows you what magic can be in a world filled with pain. Now, he gives you the thorns along with the roses. New mythological creatures, the Fates, begin to weave themselves in the beloved and sought-out Caraval. And even though you should believe everything is a game, it isn’t now. The stakes are real. Magic comes with terrifying consequences Tella isn’t sure she can pay.

I thoroughly love jumping back into this world. I love trying to find out what will happen to my two favourite sisters, who Legend might be, and how this game plays out. But did I expect to be picking up the pieces of my heart once I finished the book? No.

In Caraval, I didn’t like Tella. But she develops into a strong-willed character who I was hoping for. She discovers that her mother is alive but trapped in a set of cards, the Deck of Destiny. But along the way of trying to save her, Tella uncovers buried secrets and owes a debt to a man who may rival Legend himself. This game demands sacrifice, and she must either save her mother by destroying Caraval and giving up Legend or save the game everyone lives for. But the girl who doesn’t want love may have it completely change the course of her entire life.

Dante is one character who I didn’t think would play a larger role in the sequel. However, even though I despised him in Caraval, I love him now. His complexity and depth are what make him one of my favourite characters.

The writing and storytelling hook onto your every whim and dream. You want to be a part of Caraval as much as the characters. And the suspense to reach the end is nerve-wracking. I adore how Stephanie crafts a single sentence that will break your heart but make you believe in this world. Love, sacrifice, betrayal, political intrigue, and ancient forces create an enthralling performance. I cannot wait to find the next ticket to Caraval.

Wrap-up: February 2017

february-wrap-up

I loved February. I got to read the books I’ve been dying to get my hands on. And my heart, psyche, and well, mind are all in revolt. I can’t count how many times I’ve cried. So here are the reads that kept me up past midnight!

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Naturally, my first carnival book is, in fact, my favourite. Yes, Caraval has a insta-love feel to it, but the author makes a nice twist to it. The hype is real, so magically real, and I can’t help but gush about this book.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

A Darkness Absolute by Kelley Armstrong

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Kelley’s books are always instant buys and instant reads for me. I’ve read most of her work and probably own well over thirty of her books. I’ll warn you now: this book is dark and may trigger some readers. Kelley has an uncanny talent for writing complex and utterly intriguing characters. I can’t get enough of the series and hope to get my hands on the next instalment.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I need a support group, stat. Please. King’s Cage is a vast improvement from Glass Sword. You can feel how much time and effort Victoria put into this book. It’s deliberately slow paced, yet it smacks you with intensely real emotions at the end. The sequrel cannot come soon enough.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A poignant tale of a girl falling in love with the Goblin King and finding herself and her music in the Underground. I knew I had to read this story. Don’t expect anything similar to the Labyrinth. Wipe the slate clean and prepare yourself for this gut-wrenching love story. Highly recommended!

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

Book Haul: January and February 2017

I’ve been waiting forever to buy these books. Ah! Okay, clearly I didn’t have a huge haul for these two months, but I’m giddy to see them in the mail.

January

27883214Caraval by Stephanie Garber

I’ve read a lot of raving reviews for this book. And each one just solidifies my need to buy Caraval. The story has intrigued me from the first day I heard about it. It is my first carnival-themed novel, so I wasn’t sure if I’d like. I was wrong. I love it. Caraval is one of my favourite books for 2017!

I’m tempted to buy a UK edition, too. The book designs are simply beautiful!

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository


February

91519King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard

Queen Victoria, you bless us with another enthralling story….And now I sound obsessed. Great.

I can’t wait for this book! I’ve been waiting for a good year or more. And while I saw the betrayal coming, Victoria’s debut novel just sparked something in me.

Victoria is an outspoken author, but that trait draws me to her books. And I hope that her views will translate into some interesting stories!

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

24763621Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

I can’t get over that Sarah, aka JJ, expands on the Goblin King universe! And I’ve been drooling over this cover for months. I have huge hopes for Wintersong. And I love how she incorporates German folklore. She also draws a lot of inspiration from Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, which is one of my most beloved movies. It contains layers and undertones in each shot, so I expect nothing less for Sarah’s debut novel.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

31338270A Darkness Absolute by Kelley Armstrong

Not too long ago, I finished reading City of the Lost, but I can’t even enough of it. Kelley weaves in these dark and twisted arcs that just hook you from the very start. This series is a departure from her fantasy realm, but she has touched on mystery, thriller, and crime in her other series, though. So I have a feeling this book will ignite a new love. City of the Lost is definitely one of favourites!

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

27883214Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Published by: Flatiron Books

Publication Date: January 31, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Extent: 401 pages

Rating: 5/5

Source: Purchase


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.


“Welcome, welcome to Caraval! The grandest show on land or by sea.”

I reserve a five-star rating for these rare books that seep in and take hold of my heart. Sometimes words can’t convey my thoughts on a book, and right now, I wonder if I can grasp onto my emotions after reading CaravalCaraval is a treat for any YA enthusiast. It tickles your senses, captures your heart, and takes a hold of your wildest imaginations.

Scarlett Dragna, the daughter of a brutal governor, dreams of attending Caraval, an annual performance where the participants take part in the festival. When tickets arrive for her and her sister, Donatella, Scarlett still sees that her hope dies because of her upcoming wedding. Tella has other plans though. She and Julian, a mysterious sailor, snatch Scarlett away. But Caraval is more than meets the eye. Legend, the Caraval master, kidnaps Tella. And Scarlett and Julian have only five nights to find her so they can win the game.

But this story is not just a carnival-themed novel. It blossoms into something more magical than parlour tricks. At the centre of this thought-provoking story is the bond of sisterhood.  I adore Scarlett. She endures many trials in Caraval. Her sister fuels her strength, her courage. She’s willing to give up everything for Tella, and I admire her determination and relate to her pain. She makes me wonder what I’d do for my family.

At first, I thought Tella is brash, reckless, and thoroughly selfish. I was mostly wrong, and rightfully so. Yes, she may exhibit some of these traits. However, she protects her older sister, just like Scarlett does for her. They both offer a unique dynamic, yet it’s an often used one, though. Scarlett is the mature, motherly type, and Tella is the rash one. They must be since their father abuses, threatens, and often uses them against each other. But their strength rises above their pain.

The world building doesn’t stay true to normal books. The reason why is that Caraval takes centre stage here. It becomes the world itself. You don’t see much of the outside world, but I enjoy that detour. Stephanie entwines snippets of Caraval’s and Legend’s history into the story. What is real? What isn’t? Is what you’ve heard a rumour? Or is there some truth within the lie? You don’t know until the very end. But the way Stephanie weaves this story will keep you up throughout the night.

 

“Every person has the power to change their fate if they are brave enough to fight for what they desire more than anything.”

Fate, fear, hope, and choice play heavily in Caraval. Stephanie incorporates these attributes in almost every chapter, and they just make for a beautifully written world. Her work forces you to question what you’re willing to do in this situation and what you’ll give up.

Caraval has captivated me, and I feel as if I cannot fully express my appreciation for it. At the beginning, I was hoping for magic, imagination-filled adventures, and, well, hope for these sisters, but Caraval gives me so much more. It shows me that people can hold onto hope so as long as they believe. So pick it up and jump in. It won’t disappoint.

 

“Hope is a powerful thing. Some say it’s a different breed of magic althogether. Elusive, difficult to hold onto. Not much is needed.”

 

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository


More about the Author

XnQD3A-0.png
© Matthew Moores and Protégé Films.

Stephanie Garber loves Disneyland because it’s the one place on earth where she feels as if the fantastical stories she loves to write about could actually come to life. When she’s not writing young adult fantasy, she teaches creative writing at a private college in northern California, where she’s known for turning assignments into games and taking students on field trips that involve book signings. Caraval is her first novel for young adults.

Waiting on Wednesday: Caraval

WoW4_edited-3

Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine, is a weekly meme that showcases upcoming book releases that readers are eagerly awaiting.

27883214Caraval 

Stephanie Garber

Publication Date: January 31, 2017

Extent: 416 pages

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.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

Why Am I Waiting?

Circus stories are pretty hot this year. I want to find a new fantasy world I haven’t read yet. And I haven’t went to many carnivals in real life, so this world will definitely be a new adventure for me, and I want to be enthralled by the pomp and the magic that swirls under the red-and-white tent.

I’m also looking for another great story that centres around sisters who protect each other. I wonder how these sister will survive their abusive father. I’m interested on how that family dynamic will play out.

I’m ready to be enchanted by and to head to the carnival!