Review: Finale-Stephanie Garber

Review: Finale-Stephanie GarberFinale by Stephanie Garber
Published by Flatiron Books
Published: May 7, 2019
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four-stars

Welcome, welcome to Finale, the third and final book in the #1 New York Times bestselling Caraval series!

Welcome, welcome to Caraval...all games must come to an end.

It’s been two months since the last Caraval concluded, two months since the Fates have been freed from an enchanted deck of cards, two months since Tella has seen Legend, and two months since Legend claimed the empire’s throne as his own. Now, Legend is preparing for his official coronation and Tella is determined to stop it. She believes her own mother, who still remains in an enchanted sleep, is the rightful heir to the throne.

Meanwhile, Scarlett has started a game of her own. She’s challenged Julian and her former fiancé, Count Nicolas d’Arcy, to a competition where the winner will receive her hand in marriage. Finaly, Scarlett feels as if she is in complete control over her life and future. She is unaware that her mother’s past has put her in the greatest danger of all.

Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun―with lives, empires, and hearts all at stake. There are no spectators this time: only those who will win...and those who will lose everything. . .

The final book in a series always, always worries me. I get so invested in the characters and the story and have an idea in my head how I want it to end. Sometimes I am let down because my idea doesn’t happen and sometimes I am blown away because it doesn’t end how I expected at all and it is utterly perfect. It never fails though, final books make me anxious but they also make me extremely excited because I get to see how it all wraps up.

Since I read Caravel in 2016 I was sucked into the world Stephanie Garber created. Between the setting and the characters, I was enthralled. Garber gave us something that felt magical and enchanting. It felt new and fresh and I was so excited to see what kind of journey we were in for. And then I read Legendary and I was blown away by it even more. Book two in the series took everything I loved in book 1 and made it amazing. This left me dying for Finale. I couldn’t wait to see how it all ends and what the fate of my favorite charters would be. And although it wasn’t my favorite of the series, it was a satisfying ending for a trilogy that captivated me from the start.

I think my issue was that I love Tella so much more than I love Scarlett so I found myself not really caring what was going on in Scarlett’s world. I wanted to see what would be Tella’s story, especially after the events of Legendary. I wanted to know where her story was going. And believe me I understand that Scarlett is a part of Tella’s story, but there was just something about her that I didn’t love. All in all, though I loved how everything played out and how each girl’s story ended. It seemed fitting and it seemed right.

I don’t want to give too much away, but definitely a series I would recommend and a world I will miss.

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Review: Legendary – Stephanie Garber

Review: Legendary – Stephanie GarberLegendary by Stephanie Garber
Published by Flatiron Books
Published: May 29, 2018
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five-stars

Stephanie Garber’s limitless imagination takes flight once more in the colorful, mesmerizing, and immersive sequel to the bestselling breakout debut Caraval

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.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval...the games have only just begun.

When I love a series debut I tend to get nervous for the next book. Whether is is a continuous story or a companion, I worry what will happen to the people/couple I have grown to love and be invested in. It truly makes me anxious. And that feeling was strong when I started Legendary. How did I feel when I was done? Broken. I was completely broken by how amazing the book was. If I’m honest, I loved it more than Caraval and I wasn’t sure that would happen.

I think what I ended up loving the most about Legendary was Tella. Having met her in Caraval I had a rough idea about who she was, but what I didn’t know was that didn’t even scratch the surface. Tella was a formidable force. She was way stronger than her sister, Scarlett, made her out to be. And man was she sassy. Even when she was up against an uncertain situation she never backed down or showed her fear. But underneath all of that she was still a teenager that was figuring out her spot in life and love.

The other part I loved in Legendary was the mystery that was threaded through the book. As a reader I love thinking I have everything figured out but still find myself questioning what I thought was happening. I would be convinced I was right and then something would happen and I would have a new theory all over again. For me that’s the sign of great storytelling. Whether I was right from the start of never figured it out it didn’t matter because I loved every step of the journey.

In the end I loved everything about Legendary. I loved the characters, the setting, and the story. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time I was reading. Sure I was left broken by the end but what better way to know you just read a fantastic book. Now the anxiety can start for the next book.

Have you read this series yet?

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Review: The Hazel Wood – Melissa Albert

Review: The Hazel Wood – Melissa AlbertThe Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
Published by Flatiron Books
Published: January 30th 2018
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two-stars

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother's stories are set. Alice's only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother's tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

When I first picked up The Hazel Wood I was really excited for a book that would use a modern time but throw fairytales into it. It seemed almost like a Once Upon a Time kind of a vibe based on the description. Sadly the book and my reading aesthetic just didn’t mesh as well as I wanted it to. I felt like I was wondering what was happening and what I was reading the whole book and I never quite jived with it. It also started really slow for me. It took a good 25% for me to feel like the story picked up and I also wasn’t a fan of some of the choices made in the last fourth of the book.

With that said, there was something that worked for me though. I actually really enjoyed the brief look we got at the Tales of the Hinterland. The writing in those fairytales was magical and enthralling. The story itself was not a creep fest like I had expected, but the fairytales found in Tales of the Hinterland were. They were dark and twisted and a little strange and oddly they were the part of the book I was excited about. The part of the book I wanted more of. Every time I got to read a little of one of the Hinterland fairytales I got excited for the book again, only to be a little let down.

What can I say about The Hazel Wood? It just wasn’t a book for me. Many of friends have loved it. Actually way more love it than had the same feelings I did. It just didn’t work for me. That being said, it may work for you. I will say that I’m really excited there will be a book released of the fairytales. That made me happy to hear. So while I won’t be running out to read this again or pick up the sequel, I will be picking up Tales from the Hinterland. Also the cover is a work of art!

What book is the last one you read that didn’t live up to your expectations?

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Review: If I Was Your Girl – Meredith Russo

Review: If I Was Your Girl – Meredith RussoIf I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
Published by Flatiron Books
Published: May 3rd 2016
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four-stars

Amanda Hardy is the new girl in school. Like anyone else, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is keeping a secret, and she’s determined not to get too close to anyone.

But when she meets sweet, easygoing Grant, Amanda can’t help but start to let him into her life. As they spend more time together, she realizes just how much she is losing by guarding her heart. She finds herself yearning to share with Grant everything about herself, including her past. But Amanda’s terrified that once she tells him the truth, he won't be able to see past it.

Because the secret that Amanda’s been keeping? It's that at her old school, she used to be Andrew. Will the truth cost Amanda her new life, and her new love?

I came across If I Was Your Girl completely by chance. Some friends were talking about it so I looked it up and  week later it was in my house on my “read” shelf. I knew reading the description that the book would be powerful but I didn’t know just how powerful until I read it. The thing about If I Was Your Girl is that it makes you think and it makes you feel things you don’t expect to feel and look at things you kind of take for granted. It has a way of opening your eyes to how everyone doesn’t not have the privilege of living an easy life and how just going to the store can take courage.

If I was Your Girl is the story of Amanda, a girl that moved in with her father to start off fresh where no one knows her. With her walls but, for good reason, Amanda starts on her new journey. Slowly she lets people in and lets her walls down. She begins to make new friends and find her place and she meets Grant and Grant is the last thing she expected to have in her life. But as she gets closer and closer to the new poplin her life Amanda struggles. She is keeping a huge secret from her new friends and she doesn’t know if she should share or not because what Grant and her now friends don’t know is that Amanda used to be a boy. Amanda is transgender.

It’s really hard to describe how this book will make you feel. My heart broke for Amanda as she struggled in a way that no one should have to struggle. I completely understood her fear and worry about her secret coming out and it made me so sad for her. It’s hard enough being a teenage girl as it is never mind for a person like Amanda that had another set of problem to think about on top of it. She was seriously one of the strongest characters I have read in a long time.

I also felt for her father. He was trying, he really was, but he was struggling too. He wasn’t mean or hurtful but he was just trying to understand something he never thought he would have to understand. Basically my heart just broke in general for everyone.

In the end I think If I Was You Girl is a book that should be read by everyone. It is powerful and thought provoking. It is a story that will stay with you for a long time an just open your eyes to hate and prejudice in our world that we all just wish would go away.  Definitely add it to your TBR.

 

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