Finale by Stephanie Garber

5 STARS!!

Release Date: May 7, 2019

Publisher: Flatiron Books

SYNOPSIS

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. . .

REVIEW

I love this series so much. The magic and darkness are mesmerizing. I fell in love with Scarlett in the first book! I was so invested in her and Julian, but that second book left me so unresolved. Luckily, the second book brought me Tella, Dante, and Legend, which was a crazy amazing story line. Now we get book three and we can find out what happens to them all! I love that the characters are messy and struggling with difficult choices throughout the Caraval.

The world Stephanie has built is so magical and unlike anything else I’ve ever read. Each small facet adds to this spellbinding story. The twists and turns will keep you enthralled to the last second. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I would recommend that you read this whole series ASAP!

Thank you to Flatiron Books and NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review!

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Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer

4.5 Stars!

Review:

This was a whole new world full of dark characters and gruesome work. The characters did what they had to do, and didn’t hold back. I loved all the different types of unnaturals in this story, they really illustrated the whole idea of moral ambiguity. Nita’s struggle with her own moral dilemma was a little overdone for me at times, but that was really the only thing I didn’t love about this story. Luckily, there is a certain zannie that I just fell in love with, that made up for that.

I really enjoyed how the author tied in some religious history into the storyline. There was also a subtle acknowledgement of the problematic gender roles of our society, and how we as humans can be selective in who we bestow empathy upon.

Overall, this is a dark young adult novel that is absolutely thrilling. The characters are going off their base instincts, and holding nothing back!

Add it on Goodreads.

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Synopsis: 

Dexter meets This Savage Song in this dark fantasy about a girl who sells magical body parts on the black market — until she’s betrayed.

Nita doesn’t murder supernatural beings and sell their body parts on the internet—her mother does that. Nita just dissects the bodies after they’ve been “acquired.” But when her mom brings home a live specimen, Nita decides she wants out — dissecting living people is a step too far.

But when she tries to save her mother’s victim, she ends up sold on the black market in his place — because Nita herself is a supernatural being. Now Nita is on the other side of the bars, and there is no line she won’t cross to escape and make sure no one can ever capture her again.

Nita did a good deed, and it cost her everything. Now she’s going to do a lot of bad deeds to get it all back.

Sara Wolf signs Bring me Their Hearts

First of all, Sara Wolf is hilarious, and very good at reading her book aloud. She was just such a joy to listen to, and you can tell where her characters get their snark. She handing out candle in a little vile that looked like it should contain a blood sample, which is a pretty appropriate pairing for a book called Bring me Their Hearts.

I always enjoy hearing about how much or little authors have a part in their covers, and this cover is just beautiful. On the hardcover the letters are raised and metallic gold, I’m in love! Sara did mention that she originally wrote Zera, the main character, that wasn’t skinny and typical, but unfortunately most of that was edited out of the book, and clearly not portrayed on the cover. I appreciated her sharing this, because I think it is so important that main characters aren’t all the same (i.e. some unrealistic “ideal” that society has).

Sara also spoke about how she wanted her main character to be the monster, not the princess. I really appreciate this as well. Zera doesn’t have a heart and has to eat raw bloody meat to survive, pretty zombiesque. And then the whole undead part is pretty vampy. Sara was hilarious trying to combine to two, which lead to the repeated use of Zampire/Zompire, because it’s obviously much better that Vombies/Vambies.

Overall, it was just a complete pleasure hearing about Sara Wolf’s author process and Bring me Their Hearts. I also ended up purchasing her contemporary series, Lovely Vicious (I’ll link them below).

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Synopsis:

Zera is a Heartless – the immortal, unageing soldier of a witch. Bound to the witch Nightsinger ever since she saved her from the bandits who murdered her family, Zera longs for freedom from the woods they hide in. With her heart in a jar under Nightsinger’s control, she serves the witch unquestioningly.

Until Nightsinger asks Zera for a Prince’s heart in exchange for her own, with one addendum; if she’s discovered infiltrating the court, Nightsinger will destroy her heart rather than see her tortured by the witch-hating nobles.

Crown Prince Lucien d’Malvane hates the royal court as much as it loves him – every tutor too afraid to correct him and every girl jockeying for a place at his darkly handsome side. No one can challenge him – until the arrival of Lady Zera. She’s inelegant, smart-mouthed, carefree, and out for his blood. The Prince’s honor has him quickly aiming for her throat.

So begins a game of cat and mouse between a girl with nothing to lose and a boy who has it all.

Winner takes the loser’s heart.

 

Goodreads

Order a signed copy here Call to make sure they still have signed copies

Amazon order here.

Other Books:

Goodreads Lovely Vicious Series

Series on Amazon

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Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean (ARC Review)

4.5 Stars!!!!

Cover Reveal

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Synopsis:

In a palace of illusions, nothing is what it seems.

Each generation, a competition is held to find the next empress of Honoku. The rules are simple. Survive the palace’s enchanted seasonal rooms. Conquer Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Marry the prince. All are eligible to compete—all except yōkai, supernatural monsters and spirits whom the human emperor is determined to enslave and destroy.

Mari has spent a lifetime training to become empress. Winning should be easy. And it would be, if she weren’t hiding a dangerous secret. Mari is a yōkai with the ability to transform into a terrifying monster. If discovered, her life will be forfeit. As she struggles to keep her true identity hidden, Mari’s fate collides with that of Taro, the prince who has no desire to inherit the imperial throne, and Akira, a half-human, half-yōkai outcast.

Release Date: November 6, 2018

Publisher: HMH Teen

Goodreads

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My Thoughts:

I loved this book.

First, the world building is beautiful, especially the four seasonal rooms. The Japanese elements were new to me, and made the story that much more fascinating. The magic is alluring, yet can be deadly. The female competitors are just so strong and fierce when they enter these magical rooms. Every single female in this book is just trying to survive, and I love each and every one of them, even when they do despicable things.

Mari, the main character, is fighting societal norms, trying to do what is right, and kicking butt. She has insecurities, but she knows her strengths and uses them, which makes her that much more relatable. The other two perspectives are Taro and Akira. Prince Taro gives me so many mixed feelings, but I still kind of love him. As for Akira, talk about tugging on your heart strings. I just wanted so much more for Akira. Truly, I was invested in all of the characters, and the on-going fight between the humans and the yōkai. The underlying themes of social justice and feminism were woven in wonderfully.

The only reason this wasn’t a five-star read for me was that the ending seemed kind of abrupt, and I wanted so much more from this story (it definitely could have been a wonderful duology or trilogy). Also, there is a classic literature inspired part that I’ve never been a fan of, but I’ll let you read and figure out what it is, because maybe you’ll like it.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves a good fantasy, strong female leads, and the fight for equality and social justice!

Stephanie Garber – Legendary Launch Party

THIS LAUNCH PARTY WAS AMAZING!!

First of all, I loved Legendary, so I was already beyond excited for this event. And then when I got to the event (two hours early), they were setting up and my excitement just flew to the next level.

The setup:

 

Then Stephanie started handing out goodies and announced the games had begun, and I was just in heaven. Not to mention that the Starbucks inside the Roseville Barnes and Noble made a Legendary inspired drink! And this was all before Stephanie even started talking about her amazing book.

The Starbucks Drink:

The Discussion Starts:

 

Stephanie was in conversation with Kristin Dwyer (an aspiring writer and Adrienne Young’s critique partner), and she did a wonderful job. She asked great questions, made a few fun jokes, and wore black for our new book boyfriend Dante.

 

They talked about the evolution of Legendary, which was scrapped multiple times, and had multiple endings. Stephanie also spoke about how her writing is really influenced by music, and that her Tella inspiration started with Taylor Swift songs, but changed to Bishop Briggs songs, which makes since after you read Legendary! Someone asked her what she would do if she could go into the world of Caraval, and she said she would find Legend. Kristin said she would find Dante. Let’s talk about that after you read the book!

While Stephanie couldn’t give details, Caraval is being optioned to become a movie! Also, there will be a third book in the series, Finale!  Which I am beyond thankful for, because the ending of Legendary almost ruined me. I need resolution NOW!

Also, Stephanie is the SWEETEST ever, and it was such a pleasure to meet her. I definitely found a new auto-buy author!

What goodies were handed out:

Red Caraval Bag

Caraval Map Coloring Poster with Colored Pencils

Legendary Chocolates and Bookmark

The Games & Prizes:

Tell the woman in the top hat that Legend sent you (it was Stephanie’s mom, how sweet is that?) and receive a sticker that is good for one mask.

Find one of the Golden Crowns hidden throughout the Barnes and Noble Bookstore, and pick a mystery foreign edition book!

YES, I did get both, and I’m not convinced I could win Caraval.

Adrienne Young signs Sky in the Deep, in Conversation with Mary E. Pearson

May 25, 2018

Mysterious Galaxy – San Diego, CA

Adrienne Young was a wonderful surprise! She spoke about her passion for feminism, and how a feminist theme is present throughout the whole book. Also, she talked about the ruthlessness of the main character (breaking our typical female gender role), which is right up my alley. Another goal was to write a ya story that didn’t feature so many of the same tropes, such as a romance as the end all, be all. I’m just overly excited for this book!

Adrienne was also in conversation with Mary E. Pearson, author of The Remnant Chronicles, and upcoming book Dance of Thieves (out August 7, 2018, Signing at Mysterious Galaxy on Release Day). Mary E. Pearson was so sweet and excited about Sky in the Deep. She said she wanted to ask questions that she would want to be asked, and I think she did a wonderful job.

Sky in the Deep Synopsis:

OND ELDR. BREATHE FIRE.

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield — her brother, fighting with the enemy — the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.

Author Website: http://adrienneyoungbooks.com/