Caraval is like a very Dark Disneyland

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Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her 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 faraway, 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. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever. Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away (From Goodreads)

What I loved the most about the book was the setting of Caraval. It’s so beautifully descriptive it feels like a magical place. You’re taken back to the feeling when you were a wee little one and you’re in Disneyland for the first time in your life. It’s that magical feel good feeling that comes back to you when you’re reading the book. At the same time you know things aren’t what they seem and there’s some dark undertones to Caraval. It’s hard not to get swept away (as they have warned you) because everything seems so real and fun.

I loved the plot throughout the book. Like Scarlett, you had doubts as to whether things were real or not. By the time you finished the novel you were still doubting what was real and what wasn’t. Scarlett was at times frustrating and irritating. She hesitated at the wrong times and didn’t listen to anyone when she really needed to. Argh. You wanted to jump in and drag her to point her to the right direction. I didn’t really see her well with Julian because I really saw Julian as more of a means to an end because he guided her throughout the game. However I have to admit, I liked it when he called her ‘Crimson’ it suited his personality at the time (I hope he doesn’t stop calling her that, it adds more to their characters.)

The last few pages of the novel though. Wow. You’re blown away and you’ll have your heart wrenched and torn out of your chest and then it’s put back in. Yet it doesn’t feel the same anymore and you’re left with more questions and wanting more. OH MY GOD I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE SECOND BOOK! I NEED ANSWERS!

Greatly recommended. Immerse yourself into the world and enjoy. You’ll probably get carried away like I did. Get ready for some good twists that are gut wrenching. You’re not left the same after reading it.

I give it an 8 out of 10.

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Nikolai Seems the Better Catch ….

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Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long. The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm. (From Goodreads)

***Spoilers ahead, you have been warned***

You’d have to read Shadow and Bone to read and understand Siege and Storm. Otherwise you’d be pretty lost as events follow up right after the first book.

The first half of the book was at a great pace and filled with lots of action, bombs, explosions, fighting, magic, all sorts of goodness you would expect for the second book to follow up for an excellent start in the first. It slows down in the second half of the book where preparations for encountering The Darkling are made and you have this whole drama with Alina and Mal going on;

Okay I was wrong about The Darkling. I was torn apart when he ended up being jackalope of the year and I was holding a banner of love for Alina and Mal.

Then Nikolai steps in.

Handsome, charismatic, swashbuckling, people sway to his beat Nikolai. I loved reading about him whenever he came into the picture. It’s like when your school crush comes into the classroom and you realize you’re going to share a table with him. That kind of giddiness is what Nikolai brings to the book.

I saw the chemistry with Alina and Mal in the first one, and it just falls apart here in Siege and Storm – understandably so as the dynamics have changed a lot and Alina has climbed up in the ladder of importance and Mal has suddenly fallen off the grid and is just considered a lowly guard of Alina the Sun Summoner. Which is pretty good right? You’re near the person you love and care about, you’re standing guard and you’re close by.

No. Can’t be that easy right? First Nikolai steps into the picture and is suddenly looking like a much better prospect and the drama with Alina looking for the Firebird to amplify her powers even more – the point where she becomes obsessed with it changes her personality and makes her more darker, assertive, and she’s not the girl we all once knew in the first book. I really love this personality change in her. There’s a slight whiny voice to it but she really steps up and grows exponentially as a character.

So I can see the romance aspect of the book falling apart, but at the same time you ask yourself is it really necessary? I can see the attempt at a love triangle with Mal and Nikolai with Alina in the middle but from what I see, she gets along fine with both of them, but does she really need one or the other as a love interest? I don’t see the chemistry there with either of them.

Sure, Alina still cares a lot for Mal but everything’s changed and it just seems like she doesn’t need romance..not yet anyway. Instead, the attempt at the romance is seen as two whiny people who can’t get their own way and they take it out on each other by indulging themselves on the road to self destruction. Again, that’s a very human trait and good on portraying that. The whininess though, I could do without. It caused unnecessary drama in the book, and endless of pages in the second half where the plot doesn’t seem to be moving forward or anywhere. It feels like an unnecessary filler.

The last third of the novel though did pick up the pace (did not make up for the whiny drama though) and provided a lot of the explosions and action you had in the first half. Not really featuring a cliffhanger ending, but it’s making me look forward to what I have to see in the third and final book of this series.

PS: My heart bled for Genya.

I give it a 7.5 out of 10.

 

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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Reading has been pretty slow lately. I think I hit a rut. I think I know the book responsible. Nevertheless we power on! I’m also really hooked on Darkest Dungeon which has also taken up most of my spare time. Not really good when you have lots of good books to read, but again sometimes it’s nice to take a break and let the mind vegetate for a few hours (okay..I’ve been playing more than that…awful awful me)

I did manage to finish one book:

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I’ll be reviewing this one and the post should be up tomorrow.

 

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I’m reading this for an upcoming book blog tour and the world building is excellent and so far it’s not that bad. Arian is starting to grate on my nerves though. I’ll let you all know why when I review it when it’s my turn on the blog tour!

 

 

 

 

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Started this one and really like how it’s going. I’m in need for some real good sci fi with a bit of noir mixed in. Imagine Futurama but more gritty and no comedy (dry sense of humor is more like it).

 

 

 

 

 

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Not much progress on this one a few pages here and there but I still love the read. I find Dante and Colomba make quite an interesting working pair despite Dante’s quirks and Colomba’s past trauma (which we have yet to know what happened – yet you’re given snippets here and there.)

 

 

 

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Besides finishing Siege and Storm, this book was the one I was focusing on the most. I’m nearly halfway and I’m so intrigued as to what’s going on. I’ve noticed the chapters are short in parts of the book which probably attributes to the feeling you’re progressing faster but the plot is so..wow. I’m loving this one so far. I really want to know who’s behind this Pact and what else our Alice and Jake are in for.

 

 

 

These are my reads for the week. Let’s hope Darkest Dungeon doesn’t take up all my time and I try and at least gome some reading done 😀

 

 

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

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Wow we’re close to September!!!!! I can’t believe this! where has August gone?

So I was able to do a little more reading this week even though I was snapping like an angry dragon at the husband for taking up my time (but we always need quality time with our significant others don’t we?)

So this is what I’m reading this week:

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Progressed further into this one. And I just found out who the Privateer was and I was floored for a couple of minutes. This is getting better and better.

 

 

 

 

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Almost halfway on this book and I really like it. Jackaby is very likable despite his quirks and although the case itself is at a slow pace, the cast of very interesting characters really make up for it.

 

 

 

 

 

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OMG I can’t stop reading this one and I keep getting interrupted when I do! THIS IS SO GOOD. Considering I just got married in May I can pretty much relate to this. LOL. It’s so intriguing and I’m really curious as to what’s behind the Pact. It’s pretty shady sounding right now. I hope it doesn’t end up in a lackluster climax.

 

 

 

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I started this one yesterday. Wow. I’m already sucked into it in the first chapter. Dante is one of the most interesting characters I’ve ever met. Colomba also doesn’t let him push her around and I love her personality. She reminds me a lot of Alet from The Monster’s Daughter, with a more stronger in your face attitude that perhaps Alet could have used to let her go through the issues she faced. If you haven’t read this. You really should. It’s pretty good from the start.

 

 

 

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Just started this one that I got for an upcoming blog tour. So far it’s all right. Can’t say much as I am just 2 chapters in.

 

 

 

 

 

These are my reads for this week! let’s hope I get some done!! what are yours!?

 

 

 

 

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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You actually think I had time to read this week??? nooooooooo it seems everybody wanted my attention JUST when I’m about a third or less into a book then the interruptions start coming non stop. “Let’s go out and do this” “Let’s go get this” “Let’s do a pokemon go raid”

Okay I admit I did go on the pokemon raid……even though it aggravated me to no end because the stupid zapdos just wouldn’t stay in the pokeball and I gave up getting another one because one is enough. I’m not going to go through the frustration and agony of seeing my pokeball roll once only to have that odious bird pop up again no matter how many berries and nanabs I give it. You can just go stuff it Zapdos. Just stuff it. Thanks to you my reading went to a crawling halt. 

That being said however, I did manage to finish two books and started a few. So let’s see how my progress went:

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I finished this one. AND I LOVED IT. Expect a review coming up soon. OH MY GOD THERE MUST BE MORE TO READ ABOUT ERIC CARTER. Although he did manage to tie loose ends, I’m hoping they’ll continue his adventures. You can’t get enough of an anti hero with an attitude!

 

 

 

 

 

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I finished this one just yesterday after MANY INTERRUPTIONS. Finally, it was good. Despite the slow pace and the plot I didn’t mind it at all. It was more about the characters and their own stories that all come together into the novel.

 

 

 

 

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I’ll be working on this one for this week. I really want to finish this and get a review going. It’s off to a good start and introduces you to a small cast of characters. I can only wait to see what’s going to happen next.

 

 

 

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Just a few pages into this one since I read the first book a few weeks back. I still miss the Darkling. I fell for him and his stupid charms. Mal is nice too but we all like the bad boys don’t we?

 

 

 

 

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I was in a few chapters with this book while getting my oil changed for my car. I love this time period and the atmosphere it provides. I’ve read Ariana Franklin’s books before and absolutely loved them. It’s a shame she passed on I loved her Adelia Aguilar books.

 

That’s my reading this week! let’s hope I can actually get some done!!!

 

 

Vampire Empire is a Superb Series So Far…

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Princess Adele struggles with a life of marriage and obligation as her Equatorian Empire and their American Republic allies stand on the brink of war against the vampire clans of the north. However, the alliance’s horrific strategy for total victory drives Adele to abandon her duty and embark on a desperate quest to keep her nation from staining its hands with genocide. Reunited with her great love, the mysterious adventurer known to the world as the Greyfriar, Adele is pursued by her own people as well as her vengeful husband, senator Clark. With the human alliance in disarray, Prince Cesare, lord of the British vampire clan, seizes the initiative and strikes at the very heart of Equatoria. As Adele labors to bring order to her world, she learns more about the strange powers she exhibited in the north. Her teacher, Mamoru, leads a secret cabal of geomancers who believe Adele is the one who can touch the vast power of the Earth that surges through ley lines and wells up at the rifts where the lines meet. These energies are the key to defeating the enemy of mankind, and if Princess Adele could ever bring this power under her command, she could be death to vampires. But such a victory will also cost the life of Adele’s beloved Greyfriar. (From Goodreads)

 

***Spoilers ahead you’ve been warned!***

It is greatly recommended you read The Greyfriar before jumping into this novel. You’d be pretty much lost if you started reading out of order.

This one was just as good as the first one and better. I enjoyed reading Adele’s development throughout the book! I never thought of her as a whiny damsel in distress even though there were times when she wasn’t sure what to do but in this book she went from a strong character to someone even  stronger. She immediately knew what to do and there were times when she didn’t take no as an answer (and the empress in her came out! That was fun to watch!)

You now have a more developed plot and you also get to see who’s on who’s side and who has a private agenda (Yes Mamoru, we’re talking about you.) I used to like Mamoru so much until the last third of this book. Wow. I understand where the hatred is coming from but it goes to show how blinding it can be and the way it can twist someone around.

Also: Everybody needs a friend like Colonel Anhalt. You need a loyal friend like that in life. No kidding. He’s become one of my favorite characters in the series because of his loyalty, despite discovering who the Greyfriar really is. He adores and cherishes Adele so much I loved reading about him. She treats him just the same way and they both are the best match when it comes to a good loyal friendship, in fact it’s almost a father daughter relationship.

Speaking of fathers. The deaths of both Constantine and Dmitri just tore me up. It’s interesting how they died similarly. Both heartbreaking, and wanting you out there crying for revenge because of the way they died.

So who do I dislike more? Cesare? Or Senator Clark? I’d go with Cesare on this one. He’s cunning, ruthless but there’s something slimy about him that you just want to sink a stake into his heart and watch him disintegrate. Senator Clark on the other hand is just an uncouth baboon that’s funny when he’s upset. You can’t help but laugh at his antics even though he’s a jerk.

The plot in the book is evenly paced as for the majority of it you follow the Greyfriar and Adele through their journey (GARETH THE WEDDING CRASHER! I LOVED IT!) their romance is well written and it’s not sappy or too sweet. It’s just right. They have their funny moments, and their sad ones, and ones where it was a close call to ending them. I rather wish they had more moments on Cesare and his plotting but he’s sporadically featured here and there throughout the book. Not enough though (there’s just something about villains that you want to read more about anyway…)

I definitely can’t wait to read the third one! I want to see what’s going to happen now that Adele is using her skills as a Geomancer and she’s getting more training on it (although there’s a downside to that as well.) Can’t wait to see what’s in store for them next!

I give it an 8 out of 10.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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I didn’t get much reading done over the weekend this time around since my sister came to visit us from BC. It was a nice change and it was great having her around. Of course naturally, we stopped by Barnes and Noble and I grabbed my LibraryThing app and started scanning right left and center for books.

Anyway! I finished This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab. Wow. Completely blown away from that one. That review is coming up on the blog. So let’s see what’s on the reading agenda for this week (clicking on images will take you to their Goodreads page):

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Really want to finish this one. I’m about..nearly halfway on it. It’s long and the pace is a bit slow but it’s not boring and I always go back to it when I can sneak in some reading. It’s pretty good and I like it. I’m still trying to figure out how everything from the past ties in with what’s going on currently.

 

 

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Not much progress was done with this one since I was caught up with This Savage Song and The Monster’s Daughter. I did get some reading done on it yesterday while I had some downtime. Progress was made. I’m almost done with this one so I’m going to try and wrap this one up soon.

 

 

 

 

 

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I received this by Bethany House to review last week!!! am so excited! I already a few chapters into it and I’m loving it so far. It kind of reminds me of a lighter comedy version of Peaky Blinders. I’m hoping to finish this one as soon as possible!

 

 

 

So those are my reads for the week! what are yours!? thanks for stopping by! have some blueberries~! 🙂