Book Review

Book Review: Finale by Stephanie Garber- 4 Stars

*Minor spoilers if you haven’t read the other books in the series*

I love this series! Stephanie Garber creates a world that is so magical, imaginative, and descriptive, you feel like you’re right there in the game. Finale picks up right after Legend abandons Tella on the steps after she wins the game. The fates have been freed from the Deck of Destiny, Scarlett and Tella’s mother has been rescued, and the game is finally over. Now, tough decisions must be made.

Finale is told between both Tella and Scarlett’s point of view. They are both courageous and headstrong, and will do whatever it takes to save the ones they love. This book had quite a bit more romantic scenes than the other two books, including a love triangle between Tella, Dante, and Jacks which I am all here for! Those boys are both crazy, messed up fellas, but I love certain things about both of them!

There’s a lot of characters that make up these books but they are all so well written and bring a lot of dimension to the world of Valenda. I really liked several of the fates, Jacks of course, but also The Lady Prisoner and Assassin. While I didn’t care too much for Tella in the first book, she became my favorite over the course of this series!

I felt the ending was rushed and kind of left me hanging but overall I really loved this book. The magic, intrigue, and shocking plot twists make for a wonderful reading experience! I’m sad this series is over but a book from Paloma or Legend’s POV would be amazing!

Have you read this series?

 

Book Review

Book Review: Prose and Cons (Magical Bookshop #2) by Amanda Flower-3.5 Stars

 

I definitely liked the first book in this series more. This one seemed slower paced and Violet started to annoy me. I also didn’t like how it ended leaving me wanting more romance between Violet and Chief Rainwater!

Book 2 in this Magical Bookshop Mystery takes on a Poe theme. When a member of the writing group is found dead in the bookshop during a Poe reading, cute, vintage clothes lover Sadie becomes the prime suspect with all evidence pointing towards her! The magical shop keeps hinting at Violet to use the works of Poe to uncover the killer, but will her sleuthing cause her heart to beat nevermore?

A fun cozy mystery but the lack of intrigue had me wanting more. I do still look forward to book 3!

Book Review

Book Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber- 4 Stars

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It’s only a game…

This was so magical! The world of Caraval and its performers was so enchanting!

Caraval is an annual performance overseen by Legend, a magical, mysterious figure. Those invited each year get to participate in the game-where the lines between truth and lies, fact or fiction, are blurred.
Scarlett and her younger sister Tella live on a tiny island with their father, the governor. He is abusive and downright evil. He has arranged a marriage for Scarlett, to a man from another island, whom she’s never met. He sends her romantic letters and she can’t wait to get married and be safe with him, away from her father. Tella argues there’s more to life than being safe, and how can Scarlett be so sure the Count she is to marry isn’t more cruel than their father? When they receive tickets to Caraval, Tella hatches a plan for Julian, a sailor, to take her and Scarlett away, against Scarlett’s better judgment.

Once there, Scarlett is swept up in a journey that seems impossible to complete. Full of magic, mystery, and danger, can Scarlett remember what’s real and what’s not?

While I loved this novel as a whole I was disappointed in two things: Scarlett was annoying and idiotic a lot of the time, but I guess that’s what made the character. The other thing I disliked was the supremely extravagant and somewhat disappointing ending, but it does lead in to a sequel, which is nice.

If you like highly descriptive, synesthesia-esque fantasy with a little romance thrown in, I highly recommend picking this up!

I received an advance copy of this novel via Netgalley. All opinions are my own!

 

Book Review

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child-4.5 Stars

SPOILER FREE

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was amazing and emotional and would be for any Potterhead. The script format was confusing to follow (hence the 4.5) but I loved the storyline(s). You have to approach this script focusing on the storyline, the world-building, and the characters. NOT the fact that you’re reading a script of something supposed to be performed…otherwise you’ll become irritated and not enjoy what’s happening. The beauty and allure of this story, for me, is that it allows readers to revisit the magical world of Harry Potter and his friends. Yes, it’s a play, not a novel. NO, J.K. Rowling didn’t completely write it. Yes, it’s a lot different than the books we grew up reading over ten years ago-but the characters are different-they’re adults, married, with children and jobs. The story is emotional, frightening, and funny even, some characters are pretty snarky.  😉 I got watery eyed during several scenes and really liked several lines-one being from Harry- “I’ve never fought alone…And I never will.” (*SOBS*)

CRAZY things happen in this story-alternate realities, nightmares- you will be shocked, you’ll cry, you’ll laugh, and your heart and mind will be flooded with the memories you had of the first time you met Harry Potter.  What I would give to see this on the stage….

 

 

Book Review

Book Review: Pies and Prejudice (A Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery, 1) by Ellery Adams-4 Stars

 

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I love cozy mysteries. Especially ones involving food, and especially especially ones with a paranormal aspect! They are just fun books that I simply enjoy relaxing with and reading. They aren’t too heavy or make you think too much.

Pies and Prejudice is set in a small town in Georgia where everybody knows everybody, sweet tea is a staple, and families are tight-knit. Ella Mae LeFay has come back home to Georgia after catching her husband cheating on her in the elevator of their New York apartment. She loves baking pies, and it seems like her emotions and feelings get baked into these pies. Thinking about her childhood crush who is all grown up and hunky leaves crumb toppings full of lust onto pies, leading those who eat it to proclaim their love to those they’ve longed for for years! A blueberry pie baked with resentment, fear, and feeling of loss sends blue tears of heartache streaming down the faces of it’s eaters. I loved the magical aspect of this cozy mystery, but I was a little annoyed at how long it took for it to sink in to Ella Mae that she and her family possessed special magical talents.

Ella Mae is a suspect in a murder/arson because her marble rolling pin is at the scene with her fingerprints all over it. Ella Mae has to clear her name, so she sets out on her own investigations, all while opening up her very own pie shoppe! Looking forward to reading the next book in this series soon!

Book Review

Book Review: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater-Book III in The Raven Cycle-5 Stars

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Man, this series is one wild ride. The story and world just keeps getting better book after book! Like the two books preceding it, Blue Lily, Lily Blue made me laugh, cry, terrified me, and enthralled me. I love this world Stiefvater has created, I love the raven boys, I adore Blue, and I fell in love with Mr. Gray and Jesse Dittley. In this novel, Blue accepts her non-psychic-ness more so than she had. It still stings to not be “special” like the rest of the women in her family, but she realizes that by being a “mirror” and amplifying paranormal aspects for others, she truly is special and can bend things essentially, to her will. She can cut energy suckers off, also.

I like to keep my reviews spoiler-free, but I will mention some things that happen without giving anything away. Blue’s mom has disappeared, She and Mr. Gray are in love, Greenmantle, (Mr. Gray’s previous employer) is the boy’s new Latin teacher….bad things happen, HUGE secrets are revealed, crazy things go on…this book is just a roller coaster! And it is seriously creepy and scary, but I can’t keep from reading. I devoured this one. I said it on the last review and I’ll say it again, I just love the relationship the boys and Blue have. I literally found myself crying at the emotional moments! Like Adam in the courtroom, Blue and Gansey’s almost pretend kiss. Ronan is still my favorite, I am liking Adam a bit better, and enjoying having Noah around more often!

I can not wait for the final installment in this series. My life is revolving around those raven boys, Blue, Glendower, and Cabeswater.

Book Review

Book Review: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater (Book II of The Raven Cycle)-5 Stars

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If you could steal things from dreams, what would you take?

The Dream Thieves picks up right after The Raven Boys. This book is creepy, thrilling, romantic, and magical all at once.

Oh, Ronan. He’s my favorite. While I love Gansey, there’s just something about Ronan that I LOVE.

This book centered around Ronan and his ability to steal things from dreams. We find that he has a lot of secrets, and that made me love him all the more. Noah is still a sweet, sad boy. The moment between him and Blue was just wonderful, but sad. I’m disliking Adam more and more, and I’m desperately wanting Blue and Gansey to kiss. Even though I know terrible things would happen. Never has an author made a pretend kiss seem so magical and romantic though!!

I really love Blue and her crazy family. She doesn’t know her father, but has never once doubted her mother’s love. I find that in a lot of YA the protagonist is dealing with dysfunctional familial relationships so this is refreshing.

I thought book 2 was CRAZY, and I liked it better than book 1 because so many things happen, so many things are revealed, and this world the author has created is just spectacular.  Ronan’s night horrors are incredibly scary (don’t read this before bed!) and described in such detail they practically come through the pages!

This book is freaking hilarious too. The innuendos, sass, and sarcasm ooze from practically every other page, even when the situation is seriously creepy! I’m addicted to this series!

Book Review

Book Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater- 4.5 Stars

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What would you do if you saw a boy who was destined to die, and the only reason you saw his spirit is because you either are the one who killed him, or you’re his true love?

The Raven Boys chronicles the story of 4 boys- Gansey, Adam, Ronan, and Noah, and a very non-psychic girl from a very psychic family, Blue. The boys belong to Aglionby Academy- a private, high-society school. Blue goes to your basic public school. They live in Henrietta, Virginia, a place teeming with magical/paranormal aspects.

All of the characters were superbly developed. Their present lives, backstories, physical descriptions, all of it. I think my favorite raven boy so far is Ronan, and Blue made for an excellent female protagonist. She was strong, sassy, passionate, and loyal. Gansey’s life mission is to find the corpse road/ ley line and wake Glendower- a welsh king. He who wakens Glendower can ask for anything. If you’re confused, it’s okay. I was too. You will began to understand as you read further in.

Trees that speak in Latin, little pools of water containing fish that can change with just a thought…walking through all four seasons in one place, time moving so slow that 45 minutes is really 7? What is Cabeswater? And where is Glendower?

For like 120 pages I was seriously confused and tempted to quit reading because I was so lost. I felt the book was lacking detail, or leaving out a lot of key information. But then it got GOOD, and I started to figure out what was going on! It’s funky and creepy but oh, so entertaining. I loved the relationship between all the boys, even though it seemed a little strange at times, but I really liked how they all fit together, each with their own uniqueness.

 

The writing and general world building was so descriptive and magical! While this is a pretty dark and creepy book, there’s lots of snarky sass and humor tossed in that lightens it up a touch. I love Blue and her raven boys. I can’t wait to go along with them in the remaining books!

Book Review

Book Review: Splintered by A.G Howard-5 Stars

If you’re looking for a book that’s equal parts romance, suspense, magic, and twisted fantasy, I suggest this book! One of the booktubers I watch has been raving about this book and it was already on my TBR, so I decided to get it from the library, and I was not disappointed! 1- The cover. splintered Awesome!! 2-A twisted retelling of Alice in Wonderland? I’m in!

 

Alyssa is your average high school girl. She’s got a sworn enemy, Taelor, a huge crush on the boy next door, Jeb, and she loves to skateboard. Except for the fact that bugs and plants talk to her, and she’s a descendant of THE Alice….

Splintered takes what you thought you knew of Wonderland and completely turns your world upside down. The White Rabbit is actually Rabid White…a skeletal grotesque creature! Alyssa’s mom is in a mental institution and after an extremely scary visit, Alyssa realizes she has to find Wonderland to save her mom, and the rest of her family. Along the way Alyssa remembers aspects of this place from her childhood dreams…but begins to realize not all is as it seems in Wonderland. Alyssa is a very likable, relatable MC who is torn between good and evil, with 2 dreamy suitors to choose from as well! We have loveable, loyal Jeb, and the deceitful, but beautiful Morpheus. And there’s Alyssa, a blend of both worlds. A.G Howard did an AMAZING job with detail and description. I really felt like I was surrounded by the creatures and plant life of Wonderland. A neat fact that I enjoyed, and felt kept everything tied together was the town Alyssa lived in, called Pleasance. Pleasance is actually the middle name of Alice Liddell, the inspiration behind Lewis Carroll’s story. There’s also lots of references to butterflies in the story, and you’ll see why that’s interesting once you read it! I can’t wait for the others in this trilogy!