Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Book Review: Caraval




27883214Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Released: January 31st, 2017
Read: February 2017
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Format: Hardcover, 407 pages
Series: Caraval 1

Description from Goodreads:

Whatever you've heard about Caraval, it doesn't compare to the reality. It's more than just a game or a performance. It's the closest you'll ever find to magic in this world . . . 

Welcome, welcome to Caraval―Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.

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.

Review:

Holy crap this book knocked my socks off. Big time. The world that Garber painted was so real and so vivid, you could literally taste the magic in the air. I loved this book from start to finish, and it really didn't have that "boring" intro part that plagues so many YA novels today. From the beginning, I could sense that this a book, singular in it's brilliance. I thought that it was so intriguing, and I loved the characters! All of the characters felt so round, and were fully developed, it seemed that there was no line where the characters began, and their stories ended. It was seamless to say the least. Plus the plot was one of the best I've read in a good long while. It kept me guessing, and the twists and turns that it took were really hard to follow (but in a really great way!). I was kept on my toes, and I loved that there were was so much to soak up. I couldn't put this book down, and I'm pretty sure I read it in a manner of two days. Plus the romance in the novel was so adorable! I really thought that it was a nice touch to the plot. In all honesty, I simply cannot wait for the sequel to drop! 

Favourite Quote:

"She imagined loving him would feel like falling in love with darkness, frightening and consuming yet utterly beautiful when the stars came out.” 

― Stephanie Garber, Caraval

Rating:

9.5/10 Stars

Reccomended for people who enjoy: mystery, romance, magic, fantasy, mind games, the carnival

Happy Reading,
Mari

Monday, March 20, 2017

Book Review: Meg & Linus

  Meg & Linus by Hanna Nowinski

Released: April 17th, 2017
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Format: ARC, 323 pages
Read: March 2017

Description from GoodReads: Meg and Linus are best friends bound by a shared love of school, a coffee obsession, and being queer. It’s not always easy to be the nerdy lesbian or gay kid in a suburban town. But they have each other. And a few Star Trek boxed sets. They're pretty happy.
   But then Sophia, Meg’s longtime girlfriend, breaks up with Meg. Linus starts tutoring the totally dreamy new kid, Danny—and Meg thinks setting them up is the perfect project to distract herself from her own heartbreak. But Linus isn’t so sure Danny even likes guys, and maybe Sophia isn't quite as out of the picture as Meg thought she was. . .

Review: This book was exactly the way I thought it was going to be. That's not a bad thing, necessarily. It sounded like the main focus would be on relationships, whether platonic or romantic, and it was. I figured it would have complex and flawed characters that didn't fit in the stereotypes put on them, and it did. I guessed that it would be an easy read, and yeah, it was. 
   Everyone needs books like this, where you worry about the characters, but you know they're going to be fine in the end. This book makes a good "break" novel. When you need a break from super-dramatic books, this one is here for you.
   This book also dealt well with more than a few issues. The sexualities of the main characters wasn't their identity, but it did dip casually into the bullying they had faced. It also, I feel, pretty accurately described the feelings after a breakup. I mean, I don't think most people meddle in their best friends love life instead of dealing with their issues, but apart from that, it seemed realistic.
   Some of the dialogue can be a little off, but I can let it slide, since the author is German.

Rating: 8/10

Read if You Liked: Queens of Geek, most books published by Swoon Reads, meddling

Optimistically yours, Ola <3

Friday, March 17, 2017

Book Review: Three Dark Crowns

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Released: September 20, 2016
Read: September 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen 
Format: ARC, 416 pages
Series: Three Dark Crowns #1


Description on Goodreads:

    Fans of acclaimed author Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Bloodwill devour her latest novel, a dark and inventive fantasy about three sisters who must fight to the death to become queen. 
    In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.
    But becoming the Queen crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose...it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.
    The last queen standing gets the crown.

Review:
    I read Three Dark Crowns such a long time ago, but it's not until now that I FINALLY figured out exactly what I want to say. Being one of my utmost favourite novels, I didn't know how to start this review and I didn't want to screw it up. So here goes nothing.
   Katharine, Mirabella and Arsinoe are each fierce and riveting in their own way. It is clear right from the start that the people who raised each child had a massive impact on their behaviour and attitude. Arsinoe is a wild child that lives for the moment and ignores her queenly duties as much as possible. She doesn't like rules and is more interested in going on adventures than winning the crown. Jules, and the rest of her family, treated Arsinoe like a child (as she was) and not like the future queen. And rightly so. She got to have fun before she was forced to grow up, and that's an important perspective to have. Knowing how the villagers think and feel will bring Fennbirn into a better state of peace, making Arsinoe an accomplished queen. 
    Katharine on the other hand was raised to take what was hers and stomp on those who got in her way. She's somewhat blood thirsty, as she tries to be as ruthless as Genevieve and Natalia want her to be, but has a kind heart at times. She's more of a weakling and is intimidated easily, although she has put up with emotional and physical abuse most of her life. She's a strongly built character, and I don't mean physically. When you read about her, you feel like she's a real person and you come to learn how she'll react to certain situations. 
   Mirabella was definitely my favourite of the queens. I found her the most relatable and such a badass when it came to her gift. Her powers over wind, lightning, water and fire give her an advantage over her sisters, along with the lengthy amount of practice she's had over he years. Meanwhile, her home life is a lot healthier than Katharine's. She has a nice reliable foster family and friends that would do anything for her. I liked reading from Mira's point of view so much because of her curious nature. She was told all her life that her sisters were monsters and that when the time came, they'd slaughter her if she hesitates to kill them. Of course she'd doubt this and want to know more. That's what I admired; she didn't just believe what everyone said, she wanted to know herself what Katharine and Arsine were like. 
    The events of the book were enticing and I loved that you could read what was happening with one sister while knowing exactly what another was doing on the other side of Fennbirn. 
    Now about the romances... there was a LOT going on. I don't want to spoil too much, because it's not obvious who ends up with who, but I liked that the love triangles criss-crossed between the Elementalists, Naturalists, and Poisoners.
    Overall I would DEFINITELY recommend Three Dark Crowns, not just for the epic plot line and extravagant characters, but for the beautiful cover as well.

Favourite Quotes:


  • “Queens do not remember these things,"

          "Saying so does not make it true."
          "You will need it to be true, for it is too cruel otherwise, to force a Queen to kill what she loves. Her own sisters. And for her to see that which she loves come at her door like wolves, seeking her head.”

  • “His eyes, when they meet hers, are like the storm. Perhaps he is not a boy at all, but some elemental thing, made by the crashing water and the endless thunder.” 
  • "We are all dual-natured, Queen Mirabella. Every gift is light and dark. We naturalists can make things grow, but we also coax lobsters into pots, and our families tear rabbits to shreds."
  • "I could never hate you, but if you do not leave now, my cat will tear your throat out."


Rating: 9.5/10

Recommended if you like: witchcraft, powers, nature, finding the evil within characters, making a new OTP, unexpected endings, the elements (as in air, fire, water, earth), other novels by Kendare Blake, competitions to the death, reading about close relationships between people and their 'pets', adventure, slight romance (the book doesn't get very mushy)

Keep flipping pages,
Lauren