*ARC Review* Finale by Stephanie Garber

FinaleTitle: Finale (Caraval #3)

Author: Stephanie Garber

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Release Date: May 7, 2019

Page Count: 496 pages

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Summary:

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. Finally, 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. . .

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♠ Halt, Caraval players! I must warn you that the review below will contain spoilers from the previous two games. If you wish to see my thoughts on Caraval and Legendary, please click the links above. Without further ado…Welcome, Welcome, to my review of Finale, where all games will come to an end! ♥

Caraval fans all over the world are in for a treat! Finale is absolutely magical and gripping, you will not be able to put this book down. Stephanie wraps up everything with a bow and it is glorious. I have never felt more serene and content with any series ending before Finale. 

461FDE62-13A9-4E9C-AA0F-6EAF794E69D9Finale picks up a few weeks after the events in Legendary, where Legend is waiting to become the new Emperor. Things did not end well between Tella and Legend, but both are determined to rectify that, but in very different ways. And Scarlett is still struggling with who she wants to end up with: Julian or the Count. When Scarlett stumbles upon shocking information, she must decide what is truly worth fighting for if she wants a happy ending. Both sisters must make multiple life-altering decisions in order to face off against some of the Fates and secure their happy endings.

Tella continues to be my favorite sister (after her story continuation in Legendary). I want her to have a happy ending, but she does not believe she deserves one, even thought she deserves to be happy. But the question remains: who will she end up with: Jacks or Legend? Both men vying for her are wonderfully described and irrevocably handsome. She never expected to capture the attention of a Fate, or even the Caraval master. But I’ve noticed that most lives are filled with unexpected surprises, and both sisters receive plenty of surprises in this book.

It’s no spoiler that Caraval and Legendary were both stories filled with magic and romance. Finale is the same way, but this story is more romantic and filled with magic on every singly page. The magic in this series is so unique and beautiful and it leaps off the pages. New and old magic is discovered in Finale, and let me tell you, it’s absolutely breathtaking. I did not think this series could get any more magical. but it does. Every page, every chapter, is filled with magic and it is captivating.

This book, though fantastic and magical, was also heartbreaking. It was heartbreaking because it meant this would be the last time I would ever return to this world and the characters (unless Stephanie writes novellas; PLEASE!!). This would be the last time I’d discover new places with these characters; sure, I can always return to the world by re-reading, but there is nothing quite like reading a book for the first time. And Stephanie has created a world and intriguing characters that will always have a place in my heart.

I don’t know how Stephanie does it. She’s an outstanding storyteller, and I hope to someday have the skill she has in writing. This series has been a journey filled with magic and romance and heartache, and it was beautiful to watch everything unfold. I’m telling you now, if you have not read this series, you need to. You will not be disappointed!

nikole

*Review* Fire & Heist – Sarah Beth Durst

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Title: Fire & Heist

Author: Sarah Beth Durst

Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers

Release Date: December 4, 2018

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

My Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5 stars

Summary:

Fans of Cassandra Clare and Julie Kagawa will devour this contemporary fantasy about a teen were-dragon who must steal her first treasure. But a dark discovery during her heist could put her family in incredible danger.

In Sky Hawkins’s family, leading your first heist is a major milestone–even more so than learning to talk, walk, or do long division. It’s a chance to gain power and acceptance within your family, and within society. But stealing your first treasure can be complicated, especially when you’re a wyvern–a human capable of turning into a dragon.

Embarking on a life of crime is never easy, and Sky discovers secrets about her mother, who recently went missing, the real reason her boyfriend broke up with her, and a valuable jewel that could restore her family’s wealth and rank in their community.

With a handpicked crew by her side, Sky knows she has everything she needs to complete her first heist, and get her boyfriend and mother back in the process. But then she uncovers a dark truth about were-dragon society–a truth more valuable and dangerous than gold or jewels could ever be.

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My Review

“You know how sometimes in life, you can look back on a moment and know that this, this, this was the instant when everything changed? I felt, in that moment, as if I were outside myself, looking in, and knowing that from here on, everything would be different.”

Fire & Heist easily became one of those stories that surprised me. I went into this book not expecting much, but came out with a new found love and appreciation for Sarah Beth Durst. And most of that had to do with the main character and how she was depicted.

Sky Hawkins is the point of view for this story, and quite a lovable and relatable narrator. I’m no longer a teen, haven’t been for a few years, but even I could relate to Sky and the problems she was facing. She’s sixteen and has a lot on her shoulders, and I felt the same way at that age. Granted, her issues are slightly more…intense…but she’s still undeniably relatable. And she is easily one of those characters you love almost immediately. She’s got a spunk and a positive attitude that drove the story forward. It was refreshing to see a main character like Sky.

“It’s not arrogant to know who you are. It’s powerful. And I am powerful.”

I know that some people are going to deem Sky’s voice as immature and childish, when really, her voice is perfect for her age. I’ve never been more surprised by a voice than I have with Sky’s. And I loved that. I loved reading a book where the voice of the main character sounded exactly like her age. It was a nice breath of fresh air.

I also enjoyed the fantasy in Fire & Heist. I mean, were-dragons, fantastical heists, and all this happening in this day and age? Count me in! I’m a huge fantasy genre reader, and in that genre, this book does not disappoint. Fire & Heist does not place a heavy focus on fantasy, but more on what it’s like to be a teen were-dragon and plan your own heist. There are a few chapters that focus heavily on the fantasy part, but I enjoyed how Sarah Beth Durst connected it all in this world. And what I also liked about this book is how the romance is not the main focus of this story, but is placed more on the back burner.

Another aspect I loved about Fire & Heist is how important family is to Sky. She plans this heist to protect her family and find out what happened to her mom. And best of all, she comes to terms that family is not just your bloodline, but also those friends closest to you. Family plays such a big role in this book, and I loved that.

I believe Fire & Heist is a perfect book for teens, especially those looking for a relatable character in the YA Fantasy genre. Readers will easily feel a connection to Sky and her friends and find that not all YA fantasy books need a main character that puts the weight of the world on his/her shoulders. Sky has the help of her friends, and best of all, she doesn’t believe she needs to do everything on her own. So, I hope you all will take a chance on Sky and her wonderful depiction of her world and her heist!

Fire & Heist by Sarah Beth Durst is available now!

nikole

 

*Blog Tour + Giveaway* My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life – Rachel Cohn

My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life High ResTitle: MY ALMOST FLAWLESS TOKYO DREAM LIFE

Author: Rachel Cohn

Pub. Date: December 18, 2018

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Pages: 384

Find it:

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“I’m here to take you to live with your father. In Tokyo, Japan! Happy birthday!”

In the Land of the Rising Sun, where high culture meets high kitsch, and fashion and technology are at the forefront of the First World’s future, the foreign-born teen elite attend ICS-the International Collegiate School of Tokyo. Their accents are fluid. Their homes are ridiculously posh. Their sports games often involve a (private) plane trip to another country. They miss school because of jet lag and visa issues. When they get in trouble, they seek diplomatic immunity.

Enter foster-kid-out-of-water Elle Zoellner, who, on her sixteenth birthday discovers that her long-lost father, Kenji Takahari, is actually a Japanese hotel mogul and wants her to come live with him. Um, yes, please! Elle jets off first class from Washington D.C. to Tokyo, which seems like a dream come true. Until she meets her enigmatic father, her way-too-fab aunt, and her hyper-critical grandmother, who seems to wish Elle didn’t exist. In an effort to please her new family, Elle falls in with the Ex-Brats, a troupe of uber-cool international kids who spend money like it’s air. But when she starts to crush on a boy named Ryuu, who’s frozen out by the Brats and despised by her new family, her already tenuous living situation just might implode.

My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life is about learning what it is to be a family, and finding the inner strength to be yourself, even in the most extreme circumstances.


About Rachel:

RachelRachel Cohn is the bestselling, award-winning author of many books. She lives in Los Angeles with two very cool cats named McNulty and Bunk.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram


Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive finished copies of MY ALMOST FLAWLESS TOKYO DREAM LIFE, US only.

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Excerpt

Keep your head down. Stay quiet. In ten minutes, it will be over.

“EZ! EZ! EZ!” The boys at the back of the bus chanted. My  bad  luck  that  the  initials  in  my  name—Elle Zoellner—made  me  too  “EZ”  a  target  for  unoriginal bullies.

A sharp pencil hit my neck and then fell to the floor behind me. I heard Redmond’s voice say, “Damn, I was hoping it would catch inside her spiderweb of frizz hair.” Hah, the joke was on him. My hair was indeed frizzy, but it was so dirty that anything thrown into it would have no scientific option other than to slide down, the result of that one-shower-a-week rule.

Today was my  sixteenth birthday.  While other  girls probably wished for a driver’s license or a new outfit or a later curfew, all I wanted was to be clean. Sucked for me that this year’s birthday fell on a Tuesday. Wednesday was shower day.

Of course Foster Home #3 parents always denied to my social worker that the shower was off-limits to me except on Wednesdays. If I had a phone, I could secretly record them talking about it, but why bother? Then I’d probably be sent to an even worse home. Foster Homes #1 (lice) and #2 (bedbugs) had been bad enough, but #3 (over- lords who were mean, and liars) was the worst. I didn’t want to know what could happen at #4.

The devil you know is better than the one you don’t, Mom always told me. Mom was raised in foster care; she would know. She tried for better for me, and until the car crash two years ago, she’d succeeded. She had a job. We had a nice, small house. There was laughter in our lives. A cat. Then, after the car accident, the Beast moved in and took over. He wasn’t someone I could see or talk to; the Beast was addiction. And thanks to that Beast, my mom was now in prison.

Was Mom keeping track of time? Did she even remem- ber today was my (Not So) Sweet Sixteen? If I had a phone, I knew I’d see a dozen emails/texts/GIFs from Reggie, my best friend from when we were both on the swim team at the Y, wishing me a happy birthday. But he also didn’t have a phone and was stranded at a boys’ home across the county, another foster care victim. Not victim—he’d hate that word. I’m a survivor, Reggie would say. His mother had also been an addict, but she never made it to prison. She died from a fentanyl overdose. Despite my miserable situation, I was still incredibly grateful that my mother was alive. I knew how lucky we were that Mom’s problem took her to jail rather than a graveyard.

“Hey, smell bomb! Turn around when you’re addressed by your superiors.” The latest taunt came from Jacinda Zubrowski, who sat two rows behind me on the bus and two seats behind me in homeroom, and never failed to comment on my smelly, secondhand clothes.

The poor kid sitting next to me—I didn’t even know his name, he was some scrawny freshman who looked about twelve—slid closer to the  window.  Smart  move. No reason he should be brought down with me. Then he scrunched his nose and said, on the down low, “There are showers in the gym locker room, you know.” Little jerk.

I knew. I was hardly going to further expose myself— naked—in a public high school locker room. I’d rather smell bad.

“Anybody hungry for some mixed nuts?” a male voice—one of Redmond’s friends—asked, and the back of the bus group laughed. What a not clever way to speculate about my heritage. My mother was part Irish, German, African American, and Native American, but the shape of my eyes and my cheekbones indicated my biological father was Japanese. I’d never met him, didn’t even know his name. “Mr. Tokyo,” Mom called him. He was probably married like all of Mom’s other boyfriends. Married men were her primary weakness, until she was introduced to painkillers. One of those men had been driving the car when they got hit from behind on the Beltway. He died. Mom suffered severe spine injuries. That’s when the Beast took over. I blamed the dead married man.

An object much larger than a pencil hit the back of my head. I wouldn’t have known exactly what it was, except the next one missed my head, grazed my shoulder, and landed on my lap. A bar of soap.

A new chant erupted in the back of the bus. “Smell bomb! Smell bomb!”

Happy birthday, Elle Zoellner.

Full Excerpt Here!


Tour Schedule:

Week One:

12/3/2018- Novel Novice– Excerpt

12/4/2018- Here’s to Happy Endings– Review

12/5/2018- A Court of Coffee and Books– Excerpt

12/6/2018- BookHounds YA– Review

12/7/2018- A Gingerly Review– Review

Week Two:

12/10/2018- Rhythmicbooktrovert– Review

12/11/2018- Do You Dog-ear?– Review

12/12/2018- A Dream Within A Dream– Excerpt

12/13/2018- Daily Waffle– Excerpt

12/14/2018- The Reading Corner for All– Review

Week Three:

12/17/2018- Lisa Loves Literature– Review

12/18/2018- Eli to the nth– Review

12/19/2018- Dani Reviews Things– Review

12/20/2018- The Pages In-Between– Review

12/21/2018- Sincerely Karen Jo Blog– Review

Week Four:

12/24/2018- Falling For YA– Interview

12/25/2018- Smada’s Book Smack– Review

12/26/2018- All the Ups and Downs– Excerpt

12/27/2018- Confessions of a YA Reader– Review

12/28/2018- Wishful Endings– Excerpt

Week Five:

12/31/2018- Under the Book Cover– Excerpt


Thank you Rockstar Book Tours for this blog tour and included A Court of Coffee and Books!

nikole

~Blog Tour~ Echoes by Alice Reeds

Echoes_1600Title: Echoes
Author: Alice Reeds
Genre: YA Thriller
Release Date: August 7th 2018
Publisher: Entangled Teen
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary:

“Fast-paced and thrilling. ECHOES is a heart-pounding and addictive love story.” —Mia Siegert, author of Jerkbait

They wake on a deserted island. Fiona and Miles, high school enemies now stranded together. No memory of how they got there. No plan to follow, no hope to hold on to.

Each step forward reveals the mystery behind the forces that brought them here. And soon, the most chilling discovery: something else is on the island with them.

Something that won’t let them leave alive.

Echoes is a thrilling adventure about confronting the impossible, discovering love in the most unexpected places, and, above all, finding hope in the face of the unknown.

Get yourself a copy HERE!

About the Author

Alice Reeds was born in a small town in Germany but spent her first eight years in Florida, USA. Later on, she moved back to Europe, where her family moved around a lot. She was raised trilingual and has a basic understanding of Russian, read and spoken. After getting her International Baccalaureate Diploma, Alice is studying English Language and Literature at University. In her free time Alice mostly writes, reads, figure and/or roller skates, or watches countless let’s plays and figure skating videos.

Author Links:

WebsiteGoodreadsTwitter


Thank you Alice Reeds, Entangled Teen, and YA Bound Book Tours for this great book tour!

Let me tell you something: Echoes had me guessing everything. In a good way, I should add. You are just as out of the loop as the characters, not fully knowing the difference between what is real and what isn’t. And with how Alice Reeds has the story set up, you won’t know anything until the characters do. It’s a wonderful challenge, to try to guess what’s going to happen next. Echoes had me engaged in every chapter and eager for more.

In all honesty, this book surprised me. I was expecting more of the characters just wondering how they got on the island and how to get off; I was not expecting all those lovely twists and shocking turns. And I most certainly was not expecting that ending. I’m so glad I cam across this beauty because Echoes literally kept me guessing; it kept me thinking I had it all figured out when I really didn’t. That was the best surprise of all.

2 (1)Fiona is the main protagonist, and she is quite the character. A champion kick boxer, you would think she’s naturally strong. And she is, physically. But like the rest of us, she has her demons, her flaws, her imperfections. She has the traits that make her utterly human. And seeing her growth through this story through this story really helped her fight those demons; she started to grow as a person, and that brought out the real her.

Then there’s Miles, the love interest, and the every-annoying, yet very attractive, guy Fiona is trapped with on the island. He’s the type of character that hides how he really feels and hides who he is, which is why Fiona and Miles are enemies at the beginning. But as the story progresses, his true self comes out and Fiona, along with the reader, starts to see that he’s really not all that bad.

I was overall very pleased with this book and thoroughly enjoyed Echoes! For anyone who enjoys Young Adult Thrillers, Echoes by Alice Reeds is definitely the book for you!


Enter the Giveaway Here!!

Blog Tour Organized by:

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