Book Reviews

The Storm Crow (The Storm Crow #1) by Kaylyn Josephson

The Storm Crow

Title: The Storm Crow (The Storm Crow #1)
Author: Kaylyn Josephson
Rating: ★★★

In the tropical kingdom of Rhodaire, magical, elemental Crows are part of every aspect of life…until the Illucian empire invades, destroying everything.

That terrible night has thrown Princess Anthia into a deep depression. Her sister Caliza is busy running the kingdom after their mother’s death, but all Thia can do is think of all she has lost.

But when Caliza is forced to agree to a marriage between Thia and the crown prince of Illucia, Thia is finally spurred into action. And after stumbling upon a hidden Crow egg in the rubble of a rookery, she and her sister devise a dangerous plan to hatch the egg in secret and get back what was taken from them.

Thia, our protagonist, is daughter to the queen of Rhodaire. And Rhodaire is home to a special kind of magic…elemental crows. Fire crows, storm crows, earth crows, sun crows, you get the picture. These crows are essential to the daily life of those living in Rhodaire.

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Thia, the daughter who wants nothing to do with royalty, starts out the story by riding one of these elemental crows…of course getting into trouble. But, soon, Thia will have a crow of her very own.

But things take a turn for the worst before we know it and the Illucians come and set fire to everything in their wake…including the crows and Thia’s mother. Her sister, Caliza is now the new Queen and in order to save Rhodaire, has promised Thia to Prince Ericen in a marriage proposal.

When all hope seems lost of the revival of Rhodaire, Thia comes across a crow egg amongst the rubble. The only problem is, she has no idea how to hatch a crow egg, it being a secret tradition she just barely missed before the destruction of Rhodaire. Caylus, a cute outcast from another overthrown kingdom may be able to help. But no one can find out that they are hiding a crow egg.

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What will happen to the crow egg Thia found? Will she be able to hatch it? Will Rhodaire be restored? Which guy will she choose?

Let me just say, I’m sick of girls getting promised to other princes as their brides by everyone else. Let’s see some other storyline! And girls, stop picking the guys I don’t want you to pick! Ugh! Give me something new. Love triangles are out! Monogamous relationships are in (at least for me)!

The expected publication date is July 9, 2019.

Book Reviews

Viper (Isles of Storm and Sorrow #1) by Bex Hogan

ViperTitle: Viper (Isles of Storm and Sorrow #1)
Author: Bex Hogan
Rating: ★★★★

Marianne has been training to be the Viper for her entire life – to serve and protect the King and the citizens of The Twelve Isles – but to become the Viper and protect the islands she loves she must find the strength to defeat her father. A new fantasy trilogy perfect for fans of Sarah J Maas.

He will make me a killer.
Or he will have me killed.
That is my destiny.

Seventeen-year-old Marianne is fated to one day become the Viper, defender of the Twelve Isles.

But the reigning Viper stands in her way. Corrupt and merciless, he prowls the seas in his warship, killing with impunity, leaving only pain and suffering in his wake.

He’s the most dangerous man on the ocean . . . and he is Marianne’s father.

She was born to protect the islands. But can she fight for them if it means losing her family, her home, the boy she loves – and perhaps even her life?

A brave heroine. An impossible dilemma. An epic new fantasy trilogy set on the high seas.

This story is a blending of the Greyjoys from Game of Thrones and Hunger Games. The different isles signify different ways of life, but the Viper’s crew members are as ruthless as the Greyjoys, specifically Euron, who is willing to betray blood.

Hogan’s debut novel is the epitome of adventure, lust, and betrayal. The perfect pirate read. I loved her world-building. Not only that, but we see a realistic character, with realistic reactions.

The author even pulled a George R.R. Martin twist by killing off one of my favorite characters.

Viper was a telling tale of deceit, love, and the power of good. The Viper was a terrifying and ruthless character, a definite challenge to our peace-seeking Marianne. What will become of the Viper in the next installment? Who is picked in our always-enticing love triangle? I’m excited to see what is next!

Book Reviews

Finale (Caraval, #3) by Stephanie Garber

Finale

Title: Finale (Caraval, #3)
Author: Stephanie Garber
Rating: ★★★★

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. 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. . .

Caraval: ★★★★★
Legendary: ★★★★★
Finale: ★★★★

Every story has four parts: the beginning, the middle, the almost-ending, and the true ending. Unfortunately, not everyone gets a true ending. Most people give up at the part of the story where things are the worst, when the situation feels hopeless, but that is where hope is needed the most. Only those who persevere can find their true ending.

Upon reading Caraval, I was convinced that Scarlett would be my favorite over Tella. But reading Legendary and Finale, it is surprising that Garber chooses her to write from the perspective of more. And, surprisingly, I find myself enjoying Tella more. I am disappointed that Scarlett just turned into a “blah” character over the course of the series. It’s just plain weird and I don’t think has ever happened with a protagonist in a series before.

I’ve gotta be honest…I’m not crazy about the whole Fates idea. The premise of a game was intriguing to me in the last two books and this whole vengeance idea just fell flat for me. There was no “bad guy”. It was like the Avengers and Thanos. Come on! Everyone loves a villain and it ends up no one is truly a villain in the end. BORING!

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LIKE REALLY.

This is my choice, and I choose you, Donatella. I don’t need immortality. You’re my forever.

I wanted my bad boy, Dante, to continue being a bad boy. Sad face

To say I am disappointed would be an understatement. While this was a good novel, my expectations surpassed the reality. If you’re going to name the last novel in a series Finale, you better have one heck of an ending.

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Book Reviews

To Best the Boys by Mary Weber

To Best The Boys

Title: To Best the Boys
Author: Mary Weber
Rating: ★★★★★

Every year for the past fifty-four years, the residents of Pinsbury Port receive a mysterious letter inviting all eligible-aged boys to compete for an esteemed scholarship to the all-male Stemwick University. Every year, the poorer residents look to see that their names are on the list. The wealthier look to see how likely their sons are to survive. And Rhen Tellur opens it to see if she can derive which substances the ink and parchment are created from, using her father’s microscope.

In the province of Caldon, where women are trained in wifely duties and men are encouraged into collegiate education, sixteen-year-old Rhen Tellur wants nothing more than to become a scientist. As the poor of her seaside town fall prey to a deadly disease, she and her father work desperately to find a cure. But when her Mum succumbs to it as well? Rhen decides to take the future into her own hands—through the annual all-male scholarship competition.

With her cousin, Seleni, by her side, the girls don disguises and enter Mr. Holm’s labyrinth, to best the boys and claim the scholarship prize. Except not everyone’s ready for a girl who doesn’t know her place. And not everyone survives the maze.

I loved this! Welcome to a world where The Maze Runner, Hunger Games, and Divergent are a reality. In order to get a chance to apply to an infamous college, children of a certain age are given the opportunity to compete for a chance in Holm’s maze. But this isn’t your typical maze…beasts and ghouls are around every corner, it is an exercise both physically and mentally, and death is an imminent threat.

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Who are your real friends and who are your enemies? Struggling for survival and the hope of a better future, Rhen finds herself caught between finding a cure for her mother and fighting for her independence.

Did anyone else love Lute?!

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In a story of women empowerment, justice, and the desire for equality, we find ourselves encountering two women want entirely different things, but on the same journey to happiness. What will happen if Rhen and Seleni are caught in this game historically created for male participants? Will Rhen be able to save her mother? How was this deadly disease created? And most importantly, who will win Holm’s maze?

Book Reviews

Legendary (Caraval, #2) by Stephanie Garber

Legendary

Title: Legendary (Caraval, #2)
Author: Stephanie Garber
Rating: ★★★★★

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.

Caraval: ★★★★★
Legendary: ★★★★★

Now taken from the perspective of Tella, we see a different side to this notorious character we knew from Caraval. Having really lived Scarlett, I think I enjoyed this more realistic character of Tella. They are both “good” in different ways and really care about the other. But, oh, the treachery! I would not want to be friends with either of these two…what is the truth?!

Every good story needs a villain.
But the best villains are the ones you secretly like.

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Who can help falling in love with Legend? No one. The guys want to be him and the ladies want to love him. I’m still confused on if he is a nice guy or not. HELP. I want him to be, but the story would be better if he wasn’t.

…most people give up at the part of the story where things are the worst, where the situation feels hopeless. But that’s when hope is needed most.

Let’s be honest, everyone’s life would be easier if Scarlett’s and Tella’s mother never left them. What a selfish lady!

I’m really enjoying the romance in these novels. It isn’t too gushy and the men have a little edge to them 😉 I’ve been a Dante fan since Caraval. 

legendary

I CANNOT WAIT FOR FINALE! GIVE ME NOW!

legendary1

Book Reviews

Caraval (Caraval, #1) by Stephanie Garber

Caraval

Title: Caraval (Caraval, #1)
Author: Stephanie Garber
Rating: ★★★★★

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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Scarlett – the selfless sister who will do anything to protect her beloved Tella

Tella – the notorious sister who constantly desires pleasure.

Bound to a cruel father who both try to steer clear of, they are trapped forever on the tiny island they live on. But, things are about to change. Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her.

After years of writing to the infamous Legend of Caraval, Scarlett is finally invited to participate, along with her sister, in the game of a lifetime.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval! The grandest show on land or by sea. Inside you’ll experience more wonders than most people see in a lifetime. You can sip magic from a cup and buy dreams in a bottle. But before you fully enter into our world, you must remember it’s all a game.

Carnival-rider-fail

But Caraval isn’t what it seems and Tella is taken by Legend. In order to win Caraval, someone must be the first to find Tella. In a game of illusion, lust, and deception, who will win Caraval? If Scarlett doesn’t find Tella, Tella will be gone forever.

Every person has the power to change their fate if they are brave enough to fight for what they desire more than anything.

Carefully crafted, Caraval brings reader into the dangerous game of a lifetime. I’ve seen so many bloggers ranting and raving about this novel, but was never really intrigued until news about Finale starting coming about. But let me tell you, I was pleasantly surprised.

The pace was perfect, the character development was on-point, the writing was clever, and the mystery is intriguing. Caraval definitely takes readers for a ride! I can’t wait to see what Legendary has in store for me next!

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