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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A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

4 STARS

Release Date: January 29, 2019

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Synopsis:

Fall in love, break the curse.

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper Lacy. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

Review:

Alright, so overall I did enjoy this book. It is a retelling that has been done, so some of the elements were predictable. Harper is from our world, and dealing with quite a lot. What I love about her is that she is always standing up for what is right, even when she finds herself in the world of Emberfall. She has a lot to deal with and I think she does it well.

Rhen and Grey are both likable in their own right, but I don’t feel like I got to know enough about them. There is a lot going on towards the end, and then there’s a nice kicker at the end that has to do with the male leads.

Harper also has Cerebral Palsy, and while I respect the fact that the author clearly wanted to have some ability representation, I also felt it could have been executed a little better. I have lots of opinions, but I don’t want to spoil anything, so feel free to connect with me to chat about it!

Overall, I think that this book would be great for YA fans that love fantasy and haven’t read Beauty and the Beast retellings before.

Special thank you to Bloomsbury for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Add it on Goodreads here.

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

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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

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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!