Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Young Adult Genre407 pages
Published in 2017 by Flatiron Books

Goodreads Summary:

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her 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 faraway, 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. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Review:

I have been seeing Caraval featured on so many blogs and instagram accounts, I couldn’t just not read it. I’ve read, “A MUST READ”, so many times; I knew I had to get my hands on it…

And I loved it! LOVE, LOVES, LOVED IT!

It was everything a book should be: fun, diverse characters; steady plot; twist and turns (let me tell you, there were so many twists- I got dizzy); romance; suspense; adventure! I read this book in one sitting; only stopping to use the bathroom once and another time to grab a quick snack (a handful of pink Starbursts). It was that good.

I enjoyed every character, even the ones you’re supposed to hate. Garber did a great job coming up with such an assorted group of characters. To be honest, I didn’t really care for Scarlett, but that’s okay. She was what was needed for the story. She has a bit of a stiff bland persona, but she is completely dedicated to her sister which I admired.

I think what I liked the most was the misdirection thrown every which way at the reader. You think you understand what’s happening and then “WHAM! Think again!” So you start to unravel a bit more of the truth, but “NOPE!” The end is so far from what I thought it would be, and it left me amazed. It was brilliant and thrilling.

I definitely recommend this book. READ IT! It’s so worth it. From what I’ve been reading, a second book is expected. Which I hope is true. There is so much more I want to know about Legend and Caraval.

Rating: 4.8/5

The Bronze Key by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare

Young Adult Genre256 pages
Published in 2016 by Scholastic

Goodreads Summary:

Magic can save you.
Magic can kill you.

Students at the Magisterium are supposed to be safe. Under the watchful eyes of the mages, they are taught to use magic to bring order to a chaotic world.

But now the chaos is fighting back. Call, Tamara, and Aaron should be worrying about things like pop quizzes and magic contests. Instead, after the shocking death of one of their classmates, they must track down a sinister killer… and risk their own lives in the process.

As Call, Tamara, and Aaron discover, magic can only be as good as the person who wields it. In evil hands, it has the capacity to do immeasurable harm, unless it is stopped in time.

In this striking third book of Magisterium, bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare present us with a school where anything, good or evil, can happen, and the only way to unlock the truth is to risk everything to find it.

Review:

This is the third book in the Magisterium series. I loved the first two books (my review for the second book can be found here: The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare), I really did. But I enjoyed The Bronze Key even more. Things are progressing and every new piece of information given has me begging for more.

I mentioned it in my review of The Copper Gauntlet, but I want to do a small reminder: This is geared more towards middle schoolers, but can be enjoyed by all age groups.

Call has always been a complex character, but he keeps getting more interesting as the series progresses. He’s growing up; becoming more bold and every chance he gets he shows how loyal he is. The same can be said about his companions Tamara and Aaron.

I feel like the series is starting to get a little more dark and serious, which is understandable now that they are getting older. It’s something that happened throughout the Harry Potter book series, so I was definitely expecting things to get darker. I won’t giveaway names, but there are two deaths; one in the beginning and one at the end. I certainly wasn’t expecting that, though I shouldn’t be surprised. Black and Clare killed off someone in the very first book. Those SAVAGES!

There was lot that happens and though some parts were somewhat predictable, I couldn’t put the book down. Just as I did with The Iron Trial and The Copper Gauntlet, I read The Bronze Key in one sitting. It’s not long, and it had my interest the entire time.

I cannot wait for the next book in the series to be published. The next book is titled, The Silver Mask, and is set to hit shelves August 29th of this year. ONLY A COUPLE MORE WEEKS! I’m so excited.

Rating: 4.2/5

Unstoppable

I stated in a previous post that I had my sister staying with me; which has prevented me from doing much reading. She left last Thrusday and since then I have read FOUR books; I’m currently on my fifth book. Once I started, I just couldn’t stop. The first day I ended up reading two books in one day! I suppose that’s what happens when you have reading withdrawals.

Because of my incredible reading obsession from the past few days, you can expect reviews from the following:

  • The Bronze Key by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
  • Caraval by Stephanie Garber
  • Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg
  • Hate List by Jennifer Brown
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

I haven’t typed up my reviews yet, but I will work on those soon. Expect them to start being posted sometime in the next day or two. I’m currently reading Hate List and so far it’s pretty good. I have loved every book I have read already.

So, be on the lookout for my newest reviews! Hope everyone has been enjoying their summer. 🙂

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

Young Adult Genre293 pages
Published in 2011 by Harlequin Teen

Goodreads Summary:

Every girl who had taken the test has died.
Now it’s Kate’s turn.

It’s always been just Kate and her mom – and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate’s going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear that her mother won’t live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld – and if she accepts his bargain, he’ll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he’s crazy – until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she’ll become Henry’s future bride and a goddess.

If she fails…

Review:

I’ve probably read The Goddess Test trilogy at least five times. I absolutely LOVE these books.

This spin on the Greek gods is amazing. It’s so different and refreshing. In this book, Kate has a big task ahead of her. Passing the seven tests are difficult, but what happens after winning is almost as difficult, if not more so. But let me just say, she has the ability to pass and do well after doing so, she just doesn’t quite believe it herself.

You get to read about a lot of different characters, each one is very different and has their own little quirks and faults. Some of them being Ava- Kates best friend who is a flirty, boy crazy young girl who has a hard time keeping her hands to herself; Calliope- a quiet, obedient servant who shows Kate support; Ella- Kate’s bossy attendant who loves to dress her up in awful dresses; and Diana- Kate’s loving mother who is dying but visits Kate through her dreams.

If you’ve read any of my past reviews, I’m sure you can guess who my favorite character is. Henry, of course. Dark and mysterious, secretive and scared to let himself feel anything close to love. In the summary it says he’s tortured, and let me tell you, he is beyond tortured. I just wanted to jump into the book and hug him tight. Henry is full of secrets and he’s very private, which Kate doesn’t really like, but she slowly starts to unravel his true self.

If you’re into Greek mythology and enjoy some romance, then The Goddess Test is totally for you. I love this book; I actually love the whole trilogy to honest. It gets so much better after reading the first book. Kate and Henrys’ relationship is rocky and complicated. They have to learn how to trust each other and be open for this relationship to work; and hopefully get through the tests. It’s an amazing journey to watch unfold.

Rating: 4.3/5

Unblemished by Sara Ella

Young Adult Genre352 pages
Published in 2016 by Thomas Nelson/HarperCollins

Goodreads Summary:

Eliyana has always recoiled from her own reflection in the mirror. But what if that were only one Reflection—one world? What if another world existed where her blemish could become her strength?

Eliyana is used to the shadows. With a hideous birthmark covering half her face, she just hopes to graduate high school unscathed. That is, until Joshua hops a fence and changes her perspective. No one, aside from her mother, has ever treated her as normal. Maybe even beautiful. Because of Joshua, Eliyana finally begins to believe she could be loved.

But one night her mother doesn’t come home, and that’s when everything gets weird.

Now Joshua is her new, and rather reluctant, legal Guardian. Add a hooded stalker and a Central Park battle to the mix and you’ve gone from weird to otherworldly.

Eliyana soon finds herself in a world much larger and more complicated than she’s ever known. A world enslaved by a powerful and vile man. And Eliyana holds the answer to defeating him. How can an ordinary girl, a blemished girl, become a savior when she can’t even save herself?

Review:

Let me start off by saying that the summary reeled me in, but once I read the book, I realized the summary wasn’t very good. BUT! The book was worth it.

I really enjoyed reading Unblemished. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I was not disappointed. I genuinely liked El’s character. She’s relatable in a way that made me like her, and worry about her. She has insecurities, and fears just like any other person. As you read through the book, her character keeps on building up, learning new things about herself every chapter.

You also get to meet two boys, Joshua and Ky, who are VERY different; but I fell for them both. I think those differences are what draws the reader to both characters. Joshua is reserved, and kind of quiet. He’s loyal to his job as a Guardian, and it seems as though nothing will distract him from his duty. Whereas Ky is stubborn, a bit reckless and more rough around the edges. He doesn’t care about breaking rules, but he also has a soft side.

In this book you learn about Callings which are special abilities some people have. They are attained before a persons 18th birthday. I can’t remember them all, due to the fact that at times I felt overwhelmed by all the information given throughout the book. Oddly enough, many people don’t fully understand the Callings nor a lot of other things happening in their world.

As much as I liked reading Unblemished, I had some trouble getting through some parts, especially towards the end. As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, there was a lot of information given and I had difficulty understanding. I had to reread a lot of parts to try to follow what was going on. In the end, I think I understand enough.

Thankfully for me, since I liked the book and want more, I found out this is the first book in a trilogy. The second book will be out July 11th; so only in a couple weeks! The third book is expected May of next year. I recommend this book to anyone who likes to read fantasy or contemporary fantasy. It’s worth a shot!

Rating: 3.2/5

Been a long time.

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted, and I’m sorry about that. I had my vacation in Michigan at the beginning of June, which was awesome. Since I’ve been home, I haven’t had much time to read. I have my younger sister staying with me until the beginning of August, so my time is occupied with doing things with her.

“Things” mainly means Netflix, working out, and cooking.

I’ve been trying to read a book, any book really, but I just haven’t had the time or motivation. Until today. I finally got my hands on a book that really called to me. Today I started and finished Unblemished by Sara Ella. I will be writing up a review tomorrow or the next day, so be on the lookout for that!

Vacation Time.

It’s currently 3:30 a.m and I am totally beyond the point of tired. Tomorrow, technically today, my boyfriend and I will be going to Michigan to visit family. We will be there for NINE days. Nine days that are completely booked, thanks to all the wonderful things I have planned.

My baby sisters are graduating from high school this weekend, and I am so NOT prepared for that. They grow up so fast! *UGLY CRIES*

I plan on getting two new tattoos, one with each of said sisters. My boyfriend is getting a Star Wars tattoo. Yes, he’s nerdy. But what’s even more nerdy than that, is the fact that we got nerdy couple tattoos together last year. We got our avatars from an online game we play together, called Ragnarok. No regrets. (Picture of our tattoos below. His is on top, mine on the bottom.)

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My mom, sister and I are taking my boyfriend to his first MLB game. Being from Michigan, especially the Metro Detroit area, we are Tigers fans. I’m hoping they win since it’s his first game, but I have a pretty horrible streak going on at the moment. The last 4-5 games I’ve been to have all been loses. So… fingers crossed?

On top of that, I will be seeing an old friend who I have not seen in approximately 10 years. We’ve known each other since kindergarten, but had lost touched when she moved away in high school. Speaking of friends, I will also get to meet my best friends second baby! I’m so excited. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE babies! I hope the baby fever stays away, lol

Unfortunately due to my busy schedule, I will not have time to read. Which means, no book reviews for little awhile. I had hoped to read more books leading up to my trip so I would have some reviews to post while in Michigan, but I’ve been so busy with doctor appointments, cleaning and planning for the trip, I just didn’t have time to read.

I hope everyone is doing well, and maybe I will do an update or two when I’m in Michigan.




RANDOM CONFESSION: I HAVE 5 TATTOOS, BUT HAVE BEEN TATTOOED 6 TIMES. I HAD A PARTIAL COVER UP AND ADDICTION TO MY FIRST TATTOO. ALSO, I HAVE 3 JUST ON MY LEFT ARM.

Hurt by Travis Thrasher

Young Adult Genre496 pages
Published in 2013 by David C. Cook

Goodreads Summary:

His Rebellion Will Soon Turn to Hope When Chris Buckley first encountered the mysteries of creepy Solitary, North Carolina, he had little idea how far he would fall into the town’s shadows. After losing the love of his life, Chris tried to do things his way. He hunted answers. Then he gave up trying to find them. But now Chris comes back to Solitary knowing there’s a purpose for his being there. As he watches his place in a twisted and evil bloodline become clear, Chris waits for the last battle—and wonders who will be left when he finally makes his stand. The fourth and final book in the Solitary Tales shines light into deep darkness as Chris’s journey to Solitary comes to a dramatic close.

Review:

Let’s do a minor recap: I have now read all four books in The Solitary Tales. Solitary=Loved it, minus the ending due to feels. Gravestone= Disappointed. Temptation= Really enjoyed. Now onto Hurt, the final book in the series. Get ready for another wishy-washy review people!

I enjoyed Hurt a lot more than Gravestone, BUT!, I was left scratching my head at the end. I liked watching Chris try to take control of his life and future. He’s a lovable character and I really hated how his luck with girls is pretty much nonexistent, so I was really rooting for him and his girlfriend Kelsey. Of course, the bad guys in Solitary don’t want them together, and they don’t care about hurting whoever gets in the way of what they think is Chris’s destiny.

As I mentioned in my review of Gravestone, I am not religious in any way. Because of this, it was sometimes hard reading the religious bits throughout the book. For the most part, I set aside my beliefs, or lack of actually, and just tried to savor the story. I like to think I’m pretty open minded, so I did find some of it pretty interesting. I certainly found it intriguing watching Chris evolve from an angsty teenager who denied the existence of God, to an almost adult who relies on religion to help him get through challenging times.

It had the same suspenseful, “what the hell is happening” moments, which I loved about this series. But I felt so confused throughout the series; I was hoping for some closure or answers in the final book. Honestly I finished Hurt with more questions than before. I did not understand a damn thing that happened. I love the idea of the series, even the religious parts don’t bother me, but I’m not sure the execution was right. Maybe I missed something. Maybe I have to read the series again to understand. Which I would be willing to do, later down the road.

I don’t know what else I can say about this book or series. I was left completely confused. Don’t get me wrong, there was A LOT that I really liked. But I feel like I’m missing a big point in this last book, so I’m not sure how to rate it. I guess I’ll just give it a relatively middle ground rating, because I’m being tugged between “liked” and “disliked”.

You can find my reviews for the previous three books here: Solitary by Travis ThrasherGravestone by Travis Thrasher and Temptation by Travis Thrasher

Rating: 2.8/5

Things I Should Have Known by Claire LaZebnik

Young Adult Genre320 pages
Published in 2017 by HMH Books for Young Readers

Goodreads Summary:

Things Chloe knew: Her sister, Ivy, was lonely. Ethan was a perfect match. Ethan’s brother, David, was an arrogant jerk.

Things Chloe should have known: Setups are complicated. Ivy can make her own decisions. David may be the only person who really gets Chloe.

Meet Chloe Mitchell, a popular Los Angeles girl who’s decided that her older sister, Ivy, who’s on the autism spectrum, could use a boyfriend. Chloe already has someone in mind: Ethan Fields, a sweet, movie-obsessed boy from Ivy’s special needs class.

Chloe would like to ignore Ethan’s brother, David, but she can’t—Ivy and Ethan aren’t comfortable going out on their own, so Chloe and David have to tag along. Soon Chloe, Ivy, David, and Ethan form a quirky and wholly lovable circle. And as the group bonds over frozen-yogurt dates and movie nights, Chloe is forced to confront her own romantic choices—and the realization that it’s okay to be a different kind of normal.

Review:

I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED THIS BOOK!

Did I mention I loved this book? The story follows Chloe and her autistic sister Ivy while they pretty much go on double dates with David and his autistic brother, Ethan.

Chloe and David go to school together and often bump heads. Chloe has a rich jock boyfriend and David is a standoffish arrogant guy. Ivy and Ethan are in a special class for people with autism. Ivy is a hesitant girl who wants to do the things her younger sister gets to do and Ethan is a movie buff wanting a girlfriend.

Being someone with sisters, I completely understand Chloe. I understand wanting freedom from being a caretaker and just wanting to live life. It was amazing seeing her love and dedication to Ivy. You also see it between David and Ethan. With David, you’re supposed to kind of dislike him and think he’s a jerk, but really he’s just a teen with a hard life, but still has a lot to give; and he gives it all to his brother.

It was great seeing what it’s like for families living with someone on the autism spectrum. You actually get to see two sides. Chloe’s family definitely differs from David’s when dealing with their autistic child. You really get to see that towards the end.

You get to see Chloe make a lot of different choices, many that aren’t really the right ones. She judges David without really getting to know him; she stays with a boyfriend that might not be right for her; and she pushes Ivy into a relationship that maybe isn’t right for her. Chloe makes a lot of assumptions and quite a few mistakes. She’s a typical teen girl, and her character is completely relatable.

Chloe tries to push Ivy and Ethan closer together, but then there’s a huge revelation. Maybe they’re not right for each other. Perhaps their relationship is one sided. When the big secret is revealed, it sends both families into a tail-spin and everything changes; we see changes with Ivy, Ethan, David, Chloe’s step-dad, and the relationship between Chloe and David.

I HIGHLY recommend this book. It makes you feel something, something real. If for some reason you struggle in the beginning and you think you might not want to finish, KEEP READING! This story has everything: sisterhood; brotherhood; LBGTQ recognition; and family struggles. Seriously, give this book a try!

Rating: 4.7/5

Temptation by Travis Thrasher

Young Adult Genre432 pages
Published in 2012 by David C. Cook

Goodreads Summary:

The third book in the Solitary Tales series for young adults, Temptation follows the soul-wrenching twists of Chris Buckley’s journey as he heads deeper into a darkness that threatens all he loves best.
As a reluctant student at Harrington High’s summer school, Chris meets a fun-loving senior girl who offers a welcome diversion from Chris’s past. Soon Chris no longer searches for the truth about the town of Solitary. He no longer tries to pierce its shadows. He no longer questions his role in its mysteries. He makes a new choice: he runs. What he doesn’t realize is that he’s running the wrong way—and is very close to being beyond any choices at all.

Review:

Temptation is the third book in The Solitary Tales. If you read my review for the second book, Gravestone, then you will know that I was not a fan. It left me extremely disappointed. So when I picked up this book, I was very wary.

Thankfully, I had nothing to be worried about. I was pleasantly surprised by how the story seemed to up the ante compared to the previous book. From the very beginning, I was hooked. It was like, “Oh hey, this is what I remember Solitary being like. Yeah, here’s the suspense I remember!”

I felt bad for Chris because he just does not have the best luck with girls. He really doesn’t. As I was reading, I would shake my head at his stupid comments and think back to when I was a teenage girl dealing with clueless boys.

Thrasher did a really good job building his characters. He made you love the characters you’re meant to love and hate the characters that you’re meant to hate. Reading anything to do with Marsh or Staunch made my blood boil.

Towards the end of the book, we learn some truths about certain characters; and it showed how messed up the town and people of Solitary truly is. Just when you think it can’t get any worse, Thrasher proves you wrong.

This was a huge improvement from Gravestone, in my opinion. I’m really glad I did not give up on this series. Look for my review on the next and final book in The Solitary Tales: Hurt.

Rating: 3.5/5

Here are my reviews for the first two books: Solitary by Travis Thrasher and Gravestone by Travis Thrasher