It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? 8/26/19

I haven’t been reading that much since I started my second job but I’m going to try to find some time to read again. This is what I hope to read this week.

What are you reading?

A Dress for the Wicked- Autumn Krause

40220881Nothing much happens in the sleepy town of Shy in Avon-upon-Kynt. And for eighteen years, Emmaline Watkins has feared that her future held just that: nothing.

But when the head of the most admired fashion house in the country opens her prestigious design competition to girls from outside the stylish capital city, Emmy’s dreams seem closer than they ever have before.

As the first “country girl” to compete, Emmy knows she’ll encounter extra hurdles on her way to the top. But as she navigates the twisted world of high fashion she starts to wonder: will she be able to tailor herself to fit into this dark, corrupted race? And at what cost?

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The Beautiful- Renée Ahdieh

42265183New York Times bestselling author Renée Ahdieh returns with a sumptuous, sultry and romantic new series set in 19th century New Orleans where vampires hide in plain sight.

In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she’s forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city’s glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group’s leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien’s guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

At once a sultry romance and a thrilling murder mystery, master storyteller Renée Ahdieh embarks on her most potent fantasy series yet: The Beautiful.

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The Year They Fell- David Kreizman

40864750When a horrible tragedy unites five very different high school seniors, they discover the worst moment of your life can help determine who you really are in the powerful YA novel, The Year They Fell.

Josie, Jack, Archie, Harrison, and Dayana were inseparable as preschoolers. But that was before high school, before parties and football and getting into the right college. Now, as senior year approaches, they’re basically strangers to each other.

Until they’re pulled back together when their parents die in a plane crash. These former friends are suddenly on their own. And they’re the only people who can really understand how that feels.

To survive, the group must face the issues that drove them apart, reveal secrets they’ve kept since childhood, and discover who they’re meant to be. And in the face of public scrutiny, they’ll confront mysteries their parents left behind—betrayals that threaten to break the friendships apart again.

A new family is forged in this heartbreaking, funny, and surprising book from award-winning storyteller David Kreizman. It’s a deeply felt, complex journey into adulthood, exploring issues of grief, sexual assault, racism, and trauma.

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Top Ten Tuesday 8/13/19

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This weeks topic is: Book Characters I’d Love to Be Besties With

  1. King Cardan- The Wicked King by Holly Black
  2. Cassidy Blake- City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
  3. Julian Santos- Caraval by Stephanie Garber
  4. Nomi Tessaro- Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart
  5. Serge A. Storms- Florida Roadkill by Tim Dorsey
  6. Brooklyn Stevens- The Merciless by Danielle Vega
  7. Charlotte Davis- Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow
  8. Evelyn Gray- Where Did You Sleep Last Night by Lynn Crosbie
  9. Elijah Roe- How to Hang a Witch- Adriana Mather
  10. Tyler Durden- Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

Click on the title of each book to check out the synopsis on Goodreads.

Which characters made your list?

stacy

 

*First Line Friday 8/9/19* A Dress for the Wicked- Autumn Krause

42650795. sy475 Nothing much happens in the sleepy town of Shy in Avon-upon-Kynt. And for eighteen years, Emmaline Watkins has feared that her future held just that: nothing.

But when the head of the most admired fashion house in the country opens her prestigious design competition to girls from outside the stylish capital city, Emmy’s dreams seem closer than they ever have before.

As the first “country girl” to compete, Emmy knows she’ll encounter extra hurdles on her way to the top. But as she navigates the twisted world of high fashion she starts to wonder: will she be able to tailor herself to fit into this dark, corrupted race? And at what cost?

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“When I was growing up, the rector of our parish told me, Don’t judge people by the way they dress, there can be angels in rags and demons in silk.”

*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

*Reread Review* Legendary by Stephanie Garber

It’s that time of year everyone! The birds are starting to chirp, the weather is getting warmer…and Finale is hitting shelves in just a week! So, to take part in all the excitement, I’m posting my thoughts about reading Legendary for the second time. Flatiron Books on Twitter is doing a wonderful Caraval Reread to help prepare for the release of Finale (which comes out NEXT WEEK!!). I can barely contain my excitement for this world and the final book (though I will admit I am sad to see the story end).

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Legendary2Title: Legendary (Caraval #2)

Author: Stephanie Garber

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Release Date: May 29, 2018

Pages: 451 pages

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Summary:

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.

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If you would like to see my Reread review of Caraval, click here.

I thought Caraval was magical and that nothing could surpass the first book. But I was wrong. Legendary is twice as magical and twice as romantic. Legendary is such a fantastic sequel to Caraval.

Legendary follows Tella on her journey to save her mother while also trying to uncover who Legend really is. She knows that if she gives up Legend’s true name to the person she bargained with, Caraval and all the magic of the game with cease to exist. But if she doesn’t, her mother will be lost to her forever. In order to find out Legend’s true name, she must win the second game of Caraval, while also trying not to lost her heart in the process.

Legendary is one of those sequels that will capture your attention from the first line and keep you hanging until the very end. I never wanted to put this book down, especially the second time reading it because there were so many things I missed during the first read. Stephanie truly knows how to capture an audience’s attention and keep them wanting more.

In Caraval, the reader is experiencing Scarlett’s journey. In Legendary, we experience Tella’s journey. Tella is almost the complete opposite of Scarlett. Tella is brave and sassy and sometimes impulsive, and she’s about to learn what it really means to sacrifice, especially for those you love. Tella’s characterization in Legendary is extraordinary. She has so much hope throughout this novel that her hope gives me hope that there will be a happy ending for all the characters. She’s a breath of fresh air, and experiencing her journey with her was amazing. I loved Scarlett in Caraval, but Tella, in my opinion, brought so much more to the series.

There is still that beautiful bond of sisterhood with Scarlett and Tella, but in Legendary, we get to experience who Tella is when she’s not with her sister. Tella comes into her own and, as the reader, we really see her develop into a strong and intelligent young woman. And her relationship with Dante, one of the Caraval players, brings a sense of fun and adventure and romance to her life, something that she never thought she would get to experience.

In Caraval, the Deck of Destiny was barely mentioned, mainly just an after thought for what’s to come in Legendary. But Legendary explores more of the Deck of Destiny and what it actually means to Legend and the people in Valenda (and what it means to Tella).

Caraval and Legendary were both spectacular books, so I can only imagine what Finale will be like. I’m luckily almost done with Finale, and let me tell you, it’s everything I hoped it would be and more. Stephanie Garber is truly a gifted writer and I am so glad she created this beautiful world that means so much to so many people.

nikole

*Reread Book Review* Welcome, Welcome to Caraval by Stephanie Garber: The Magic Comes Alive

It’s that time of year everyone! The birds are starting to chirp, the weather is getting warmer…and Finale is hitting shelves in just a few weeks! So, to take part in all the excitement, I’m posting my thoughts about reading Caraval for the second time. Flatiron Books on Twitter is doing a wonderful Caraval Reread (they’re currently on Legendary) to help prepare for the release of Finale. I can barely contain my excitement for this world and the final book (though I will admit I am sad to see the story end).

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CaravalTitle: Caraval

Author: Stephanie Garber

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Release Date: January 31, 2017

Pages: 407 pages

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Summary:

Remember, it’s only a game…

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.

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I haven’t read Caraval since November 2016, a couple months before it hit shelves. I was enamored with the world Stephanie Garber brought to life. I became a starry-eyed girl that fell in love with Caraval and the players and the magic and the sisters. It was a world I wanted to live in, a world I could easily see myself getting lost in. A little over two years later, and here I am re-reading Caraval. And let me tell you – the magic does not disappear the second time around. I’m actually a firm believer the magic will never disappear from this beautiful world.

My friends and family members know how much Caraval means to me and how much I absolutely love the story. The story didn’t just remind me what it’s like to dream about magic and live a life of adventure; Caraval helped reignite my love for writing and for that, I will always be grateful of the world Stephanie has created.

I wanted to find a book that was filled with magic and adventure, and Caraval was exactly that for me. The magic leaps off the pages and the world reminded me what it was like to be a kid and believe in impossible things. Caraval brought back the magic I’d lost while growing up and showed me that magic is in everything we do and it’s worth believing in, even if you are an adult.

Caraval tells the story of two sisters: Scarlett and Tella. Scarlett has always wanted to attend Caravalso when she receives tickets to attend, she’s beyond ecstatic, but also weary. She just never expects her sister and their companion, Julian, to kidnap Scarlett and bring her to Caraval. And that’s where things start to take a turn: Tella becomes the prize of winning Caraval, so Scarlett has no choice but to play if she wishes to rescue her sister.

Even though this story is filled with magic and romance and mischief, the heart of the story is sisterhood. And though I do not have a sister, I can understand what it could be like to have that bond through Scarlett and Tella. It’s such a magical and beautiful thing to witness through the pages of Caraval. It reminds me of the relationship I have with my brother; it’s probably not similar to the relationship sisters share, but I am thankful for a brother who would protect me the way Scarlett protects Tella.

Caraval will always hold a special place in my heart and it will always be a book I’ll reread. If you have not read Caraval by Stephanie Garber, I highly recommend, especially if you like magic!

nikole

*First Line Friday* 3/22/19 Finale- Stephanie Garber

40381392Welcome, 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. . .

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The Beginning

“The first time Legend appeared in Tella’s dreams, he looked as if he’d just stepped out of one of the stories people told about him.”

stacy