Caraval by Stephanie Garber

21645469-_sy540_Well hey, I finally got around to reading Caraval in honor of book #2 releasing soon! I hate to miss out on all of the goodies coming out soon…plus, of course, I’ve been hearing about Caraval non-stop since it was released so I gave in to the pressure! I don’t have regrets!

So there are a couple of expectations that I have to quash right off the bat: first – “caraval” =/= carnival, so don’t expect circus tents and a formal show with clowns and popcorn and elephants, etc. Not quite. Second – Legend (master of “Caraval”) is not an omniscient or stalker-ish presence like the Wizard of Oz. Maybe I’m the only one, but I was expecting something like that. I won’t say any more because I don’t want to spoil anything but….the Legend part of the book was NOTHING like how I expected it to be.

caravalAs for the rest of the book, I really enjoyed it!! The twists and turns of the game keep you very involved and the other players are diverse and fun to meet. Scarlett (the MC) was on the annoying side. She is engaged to be married in 4 days (?), though Caraval ends in 5, so she is obsessed with the idea of finding her sister in time to get back for her wedding. Furthermore, she gets romantic attention from a handsome guy and she’s a blatant jerk about it because she’s engaged to a man back home who she has only met via correspondence. She is obsessively “that’s not ladylike” this and “oh, that’s so improper” that, bla bla bla and it is so obnoxious. Add to that constant whining about her sister being missing and she is a complete broken record for the first two-thirds of the book.

The last third of the book, though, is when the action really picks up and there is just too much happening for there to be any whining or thinking about fiancees or any of that other junk. Its all just go-go-go. I feel that it sounds like I’m listing a lot of negatives but I really did enjoy the magic and the romance in this book. I can’t wait to dive into Legendary !!

Book soundtrack:  “Twisted” by Aaron Taos

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A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland

a_semi-definitive_list_of_worst_nightmares_krystal_sutherland_fall_2017_ya_booksWow, you guys. I am amazingly shocked by how much I enjoyed this book. This is an example of don’t-judge-the-book-by-its-cover. Its not really an ugly cover, per se, but it isn’t glittery and mind-blowing for sure. I would never be drawn to it in a million years. However, after reading it, I absolutely recommend it. This book had so much humor and so much heart, I want anyone reading my reviews to go and read this book next.

janko-ferlic-391257-unsplashSo what is it about, you may now be asking? Esther Solar and her “semi-definitive list of worst nightmares.” Esther and her family have been under a curse to suffer from one great fear in their lifetime ever since her grandfather met Death in the war. Now this family is quirky. The father, for instance is agoraphobic and will not leave their basement. Esther’s brother, Eugene, is afraid of the dark and turns on candles and lamps and strings of lights when the sun goes down.

The curse hasn’t hit Esther yet, and when she has a hapless reunion with a former crush, he discovers her list and challenges her to face her fears. Together they tick off the nightmares, and of course, the surprises along the way.

This book definitely has trigger warnings of suicide, depression and anxiety, which I didn’t really know going in. In the afterward of the book, the author does a really nice follow-up about mental health and mentions a piece of Adam Silvera’s that is a “must read” for every person no matter where you are in life. Forgive me, for I don’t have the book in front of me so I can’t pull up the exact title at the moment.

claudia-nuta-362408-unsplashAside from this, as I mentioned before, the book is overall a very sweet, funny, and touching story. I didn’t realize there would be so much depth in a book with such a simple cover. I think it should also be mentioned that this book…while I wouldn’t label it as fantasy, one could view it as magical realism in some ways. That’s what I would call it anyway.

Book Soundtrack: “Wolves Without Teeth” by Of Monsters and Men

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February Wrap-up…March TBR

amy-reed-408611-unsplashWho can believe that we are already going into the third month of 2018? Seems like I was just doing my 25 days of December and now we’re talking March! Crazy!

 

So considering that February was a short month, I’d say that I did okay reading-wise. In January I finished 4 books but in February I bumped that up to 5–woo! Subsequently page count went up as well. I don’t have that number in front of me, but I promise, I crunched that number earlier and its the Gods-honest truth. So here’s my little overview:

Fangirl & The Kiss of Deception were audiobooks, Caraval & Siege and Storm both I flipped between digital and physical copies of. All of these reviews are up on the blog except for Caraval… that one is still a bit under construction. It should be done in another day or two. My favorite book of the month was definitely Fangirl. I am still swooning over Levi!! I am so glad I read that around Valentine’s Day!!

tbrmarchSegue to: I also was also glad to have finished Siege and Storm because now I am so ready to move on to Ruin and Rising and finish the trilogy this month!! Not that I want it to be over but I am so eager to see what happens!! That AND I want to move on to Six of Crows. Also on my TBR for this month are a couple I picked up from the library. Stillhouse Lake is a thriller that I picked up thinking I would read during #thrillerthon. Well, I missed that. Bummer. But I like thrillers anyway and this one has a wicked cool synopsis (dead bodies in the lake!) and a pretty high Goodreads rating. Plus its a book of the month for a group I’m in so I’m going to do my best to get to it. The other two I picked up–Invictus and Unearthed–are a little (a lot) more sci-fi-ey than I usually read but I couldn’t help myself. For whatever reason, I was just in the mood for time travel and aliens. So boom! I chose them also. So we’ll see where I’m at by the end of the month.

What are you planning to read this month? How much did you read in February?

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Tag Tuesday: 20 Questions

I’m sorry, I lost track of who I got this from! If it was you (yes YOU reading this!) then thank you! Here are my answers for the 20 questions tag:

THE QUESTIONS

How many books are too many books in a book series?
To me, more than four is too much. But then again, I can never get enough Harry Potter so I suppose if the content really is good then why stop?

jesse-bowser-258699-unsplashHow do you feel about cliffhangers?
Cliffhangers are the devil! 😉 Just kidding. But seriously, this is why I don’t like reading books in series until all of the books are released–I hate being on edge and then having to wait in suspense for what feels like decades for the cliffhanger to resolve!!

Hardcopy or paperback?
Honestly I read the most on my iPad, but I prefer collecting mostly hardcovers. (Although I much more prefer the price of the paperbacks.) See? They all have their perks!

Favorite book?
Isn’t this always one of the most difficult questions to answer? My favorite book is between Anne of Green GablesHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. 

Your least favorite book?
Books that I think are my “least favorite” are considered such to me either because they were disappointing to me or because they drove me crazy. And these are books that I DID finish! So I will say The 100 and Meddling Kids.

designecologist-560022-unsplashLove triangles, yes or no?
I am okay with love triangles. I mean, of course, some are very poorly written and are annoying but I certainly don’t shy away from books that have them. They aren’t my favorite trope, but I don’t mind them.

The most recent book you just couldn’t finish?
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue.  I just wasn’t all that into it at the time and I had other things to read for challenges and what-not. I’ll probably get back to it at some point but for now, its near the bottom of my TBR.

A book you’re currently reading?
I’m reading a physical copy of Caraval and I’m listening to A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares.

laura-kapfer-429073-unsplashLast book you recommended to someone?
I don’t remember for sure. Could be anything…my last blog post was Kiss of Deception by Mary Pearson, so let’s go with that!

The oldest book you’ve read? (Publication date)
In its entirety? Probably the Epic of Gilgamesh, which dates back to ancient Babylonian times.

The newest book you’ve read? (Publication date)
Everlesspublished January 2018

Favorite author?
I like Marissa Meyer, Kresley Cole, Cassandra Clare….many, many more….

Buying books or borrowing books?
There are opportune times for both. Sometimes you just need to borrow. But most of the time, I prefer to buy (even though my wallet doesn’t want me to)

A book you dislike that everyone else seems to love?
Well, this isn’t a book that I dislike but one that I have managed to avoid that everyone seems to love…the Maas ACOTAR craze. I plan to get to it eventually but I’m just not there yet. I feel like there are so many other books out there and I have several other series to finish before I start into that monster of a series.

justin-veenema-147056-unsplashBookmarks or dog-ears?
Don’t hate me….sometimes I dog-ear. Good quotes or if I absolutely cannot find a bookmark or something to use for one. But typically I am a dedicated user of bookmarks.

A book you can always reread?
Anything in the Harry Potter series or the Hunger Games trilogy.

Can you read while hearing music?
Yes, but preferably of the instrumental variety. Hearing lyrics just naturally makes me tempted to listen to them rather than focus on reading.

One POV or multiple POV? (POV’ = Points of view)
I am pretty picky about multiple POV’s. I don’t mind it per se, but if it well done then it really decreases the quality of the book for me. The same thing for books that do time jumps. Maybe even more so.

Do you read a book in one sitting or over multiple days?
Several/multiple days unless its a read-a-thon, or I have really planned it out. Especially since I read multiple books at a time.

One book you read because of the cover.
Ha, one book because of the cover?! There are many at this point! So for this one, let’s say An Enchantment of Ravens. I am absolutely in love with that cover!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

So that’s it, friends! If you are reading this and you are interested, consider yourself tagged!!! This was a really fun one to do and I hope you enjoy it too!

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Kiss of Deception by Mary E Pearson

18490681There is no way to state my opinion of Kiss of Deception other than to just come out and put it bluntly: I expected far more from this book. The synopsis on Goodreads makes it sound like there will be action and intrigue and peril. I suppose there is, but the pacing of the book is so incredibly slow that its astounding anything gets done at all!

Currently there are three books in The Remnant Chronicles series, with the fourth set to release….sometime, I’m not sure when and I couldn’t find the information on GR. From those whom I have talked to about the series, the characters and relationships are enough to keep you reading, though the pace never really picks up. Fortunately I do really enjoy Mary E. Pearson’s writing, her characters, and the world building. I am curious to see the choices that the characters make now that the first book left off in the middle of a tense situation.

kiss-240x300The final comment I feel that I need to make was my confusion about the book’s fantasy genre tag. I noticed it on Goodreads and then just because of the slow pacing, for most of the book, I had no idea why the book was tagged Fantasy since there was no magic or fantastical beasts or system really in the book. Yes, the lands were made up but really that was all. What the heck was going on!? Who did I even contact to get this fixed?!!? Well, finally a change in the wind (metaphorically speaking) came along and answered my question so now all is settled. It was just strange to me.

So overall, Kiss of Deception does not hit anywhere near one of my favorite books, YA or otherwise. However, I did think it was okay and I am interested to see how things progress with the guys and the kingdoms. I think I’ll head to book 2, but not in a rush.

Book Soundtrack: “Dust and Bones” James and the Wild Spirit

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Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Siege and Storm for me is hard to rate. On the one hand, I am loving this GrishaVerse trilogy overall so far. I think that the world building is good, the characters are well-built, and the overall story line is really great.

35529904I still am not all that impressed with Alina as a main character and heroine. To me she is just okay. She doesn’t do anything that really annoys me–she’s not a whiner or a weakling, but she isn’t particularly brave or outgoing or really trying to go anywhere either. She’s just….there. And, of course, all of the boys like her. So then there’s the boys. In book one, I thought Mal was also pretty useless. The first half of this book, he was still pretty useless. Finally, though, he started to show some personality and some life so maybe Mal can actually be a contender! We meet Nikolai in this book and he completely steals the show. Nikolai I love. I mean, how can one not love this guy?! And then, of course, there’s the Darkling. *swoon* He isn’t in this book as much but he’s still as dark and alluring as always.

Aside from the characters, I felt like the plot moved way slow in this installment as well. We saw some action in the beginning, and then really nothing for a long time. The gang sat in waiting (or did some travelling) for the majority of the book with a couple little rifts in the middle, or maybe a couple little discoveries along the way, and one big skirmish at the end….and then the book is over. Maybe that’s how most books are but I expected so much more out of this one!!

So that is my take on book 2 of the Shadow and Bone trilogy from the GrishaVerse. Of course, by the end of the book, I’m left SO ready to go into book 3 but if I go straight into it, I will have a book hangover so bad! So I’m going to wait at least another week until I start the third book. But I will be back for more. Stay tuned!

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Book Soundtrack: “Undefeatable” by Young Rising Sons

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Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics, and Pesky Poltergeists

Hi everyone! Sorry I’m slow this month so far. Big things are happening in my life, from planning my wedding, which is coming up in September, to hopefully starting up a little business with my fiancee to raise some extra income for said wedding! Needless to say these things take up loads of time when I’m already working a full-time and a part-time job! But I’m still reading as much as I can and Bookstagramming when I can and (obviously) blogging whenever I can. So here goes!

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Just in case you didn’t know, there are three Pottermore collections of short stories by J.K. Rowling:

  • #1: Heroism, Hardship, and Dangerous Hobbies
  • #2: Power, Politics, and Pesky Poltergeists
  • #3: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide

I read them out of sequence (if there is a proper sequence…I don’t think there really is, even though they technically are numbered), and read the first one first, followed by the incomplete and unreliable guide, and I just now finished the second book. There wasn’t a real reason or logic as to why I did this, I just opened them up one at a time at random on my iPad. I finished book 1 in November of 2016 and gave it 4 stars, writing that “I liked it but…I wish it was more narrative than encyclopedic.” Book 3 I thought I remembered liking less than book 1 but I gave it 5 stars so apparently not. I even wrote that its “my favorite one so far” and that I “love all the info!” Guess I need a re-read!!

As for book number 2, Power, Politics, and Pesky Poltergeists, I also gave this 5 stars. From what I remember of the other two books, I am pretty sure I felt this one was the best formatted. I thought the chapters were longer and held more information and were more story-like. I absolutely love backstories and side characters which means that these little books were practically made for me!

I really enjoyed all of the tidbits, from the good characters whom I like such as Slughorn to the topics that I find interesting like the Ministers for Magic, and even the evillest of evil: Umbridge herself. She, too, has an interesting background. Plus, of course, there is more than what I have mentioned here and there are more quips and FYI’s thrown around…I always love reading about how Rowling came up with this name or that place or bla bla bla. Its all fascinating to me and if these tiny 75-page tidbits were 10x bigger, I would still devour them and recommend them to you all!

Listening to: “Obliviate” from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 Soundtrack

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Wow. Just wow.

So first of all, my surprise comes because I was not a big fan of Carry On. It was my first Rainbow Rowell read and I felt like there was so much hype around it. I gave it 3.5 stars and just didn’t get into it. I expected all this world-building and excitement like Harry Potter because I heard it was moderately based/inspired by HP and it was sort of fan fic of HP and it was very, very different from it.

fangirlHere I am a year and a half later giving Rainbow Rowell another shot because its almost Valentines day and I’m trying to read books that I have for a challenge and my edition is pink and what the hell? I’ll give RR another chance. Well surprise, surprise. I freakin’ LOVE this book!! Cath is totally me my first year away at college. I would have rather starved than ask strangers where the cafeteria was! ha! I was shy and awkward and classes and just about anything specifically college-related intimidated the crap out of me. Oh, and “freshman time.” Yeah, that was definitely a thing.

tumblr_mti8miwcni1qhz2h3o1_1280The only things that I didn’t appreciate in this book were Cath’s stubbornness (aka stupidness) about her writing project and the ending. I felt too empty at the end. Where is book 2?!?! There is so much detail in every other aspect of the book! There were so many other conflicts that occurred in the book where it felt like “Oh, after this happens and gets resolves, the book could end”….oh but wait, the book still has 225 pages yet. I’m not done!! So that was nice, but then we finally do get to the end and I don’t feel resolved hardly at all! Its not a cliffhanger by any means, but its not exactly a neat little bow either. Its just an ambiguously wrapped gift without a label or a ribbon or a tag or a bow. So that’s my little schpiel on all of that!

In the end, I’m coming away with Levi being one of my absolute favorite book boyfriends. I’m not usually the nice guy book BF type, but somehow the guy just had me under his spell and swooning. I loved all of the characters and I really appreciated the college setting. Great read overall–I’m so glad I gave Rainbow Rowell another shot!

Listening to: “Paranoid” by Kanye West

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A List of Cages by Robin Roe

Hi friends! Hope you all had a good weekend full of many pages of reading! Throughout this week I finished reading the graphic novel of A Wrinkle in Time, made progress on Siege and Storm, as well as finished A List of Cages in its entirety. There have been several bookish chats going on, as well as readathons and I hope some of you have been able to get out there and take part.

ALOCSo here is something I have learned about myself within the past couple weeks: stay away from reviews and past biases when going into a new book. These things  may have hurt my opinion on both of my last two reads. For example, in A List of Cages, I read on review where a blogger said it was the kind of book that stays with you and I just love books like that. It had a higher rating than another book that I was considering reading. So for those reasons, I chose this book over the other one. Based on the synopses, I wasn’t necessarily more interested in this book than the other, but like I said, a “book that stays with you”? SOLD!! Now I read it, it was good but I don’t think that I was fully swept away or anything.

It is pretty much A List of Cage‘s one year anniversary, I just noticed! It was released last January. The book is written in alternating POV’s between Adam, a popular senior with ADHD, and Julian, a quiet, insecure orphaned freshman. When Adam is assigned to escort Julian to the school psychologist, the two guys are reunited as former foster brothers. Of course, the two growing closer together means learning secrets about one another, and Julian has plenty of those. He just needs a friend with the courage to give him the help he needs to get through it.

simson-petrol-110900I did enjoy this book. There were a few moments where I literally said “AWW!” out loud and my heart melted a bit. There were a few moments where my heart hurt and I felt overwhelmed for the characters. Really, though, it was the characters that made this book. I’m just going to stick to the main characters, but know that the secondary characters are even extremely supportive of Julian and have growth throughout the book. Julian is a character who is a bit immature in how he acts–i.e. what he reads, how he writes, how he reads, etc. but is this because of trauma and his living situation? This is discussed a bit in the book and its a hard topic. Overall, he says genuine things to people around him without even realizing it and it really reaches them. Then there is Adam. Adam is described as “untouchable.” If something sad were to happen, his friends think he would still be happy. Adam is an absolute sweetheart and he is very loyal to his friends and to his own mom as well.

Overall, I felt that this was a really good YA contemporary involving mental health issues, close friends, family, and courage. And on that note, I need to leave you with this quote from the book:

“Hate ricochets, but kindness does too.” – Robin Roe

Book soundtrack: “Be My Escape” by Relient K

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A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel

13513205I have bad news, my friends. I have a relatively negative review to write. Now, I have to say that it has been a while since I read the original A Wrinkle in Time book by Madeline L’Engle. I know I have read it twice….once when I was quite young, and once when I was in my early 20’s? So maybe 5 or so years ago? So maybe my details are foggy but I feel I am generously giving this book a rating of “2 stars” simply because it is A Wrinkle in Time. Ever since I heard about this graphic novel three or four years ago, I wanted to read this one and man, am I disappointed. My mom loved the original book as a child and I remember reading it with her when I was young. I am pretty sure my Goodreads rating for the actual book is 5 STARS!….so where did this graphic novel go wrong?? What is the movie going to be like?!?!
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So now I am confused and concerned. I guess I need to re-read the actual book and have a refresher. All I know is that the graphic novel was, in my opinion, awful. For starters, I absolutely HATED Meg. She was/is a TERRIBLE character. Charles Wallace also is a MOSTLY awful character. In my opinion, the only redeeming character in the book is Cal, who is a tertiary character. The Mrs. Witches are so vague (just like in the book) and they stay extremely vague in the graphic novel. Meg/CW’s dad is pretty much useless. And the book’s resolution contains no answers. Just a big POOF! pretty much! But now that I have read this, I feel ready to read on in the series I think? Or maybe I’ll just read the actual novel and refresh my brain and reassure myself that the series is worth its grain of salt. I’m questioning my own opinion!! Yikes!!

Book Soundtrack: “Day One” from Interstellar by Hans Zimmer