Book Reviews

Finale (Caraval, #3) by Stephanie Garber


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!



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.


Bookish Features

Waiting on Wednesday – May 15, 2019

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

The Beholder by Anna Bright

The BeholderFrom Goodreads:

Selah has waited her whole life for a happily ever after. As the only daughter of the leader of Potomac, she knows her duty is to find the perfect match, a partner who will help secure the future of her people. Now that day has finally come.

But after an excruciatingly public rejection from her closest childhood friend, Selah’s stepmother suggests an unthinkable solution: Selah must set sail across the Atlantic, where a series of potential suitors awaits—and if she doesn’t come home engaged, she shouldn’t come home at all.

From English castle gardens to the fjords of Norge, and under the eye of the dreaded Imperiya Yotne, Selah’s quest will be the journey of a lifetime. But her stepmother’s schemes aren’t the only secrets hiding belowdecks…and the stakes of her voyage may be higher than any happy ending.

Bookish Features

Top Ten Tuesday: Books You Need to Read Before Watching Their Movie

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. I decided to post the first five books based upon actual length. However, the last five novels are books that felt like they took me forever to finish.

1. Me Before You, JoJo Moyes

2. The Maze Runner, James Dashner

3. My Sister’s Keeper, Jodi Picoult

4. Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling

5.  The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien

6. Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn

7. Big Little Lies, Liane Moriarty

8. The Giver, Lois Lowry

9. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

10. Divergent, Veronica Roth

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.

maze runner

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?!


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?

Bookish Features

First Lines Friday – May 10, 2019

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature hosted by Wandering Words. The meme is based on the idea that instead of judging a book by its cover, author, prestige, we judge it instead by its opening line(s). You can check out my review of the book here!

It took seven years to get the letter right.

Year 50, Elantine Dynasty

Dear Mister Caraval Master,

My name is Scarlett, but I’m writing this letter for my sister, Donatella. It’s going to be her birthday soon and she would very much like to see you and your amazing Caraval players. Her birthday is the 37th day of the Growing Season and it would be the most wonderfulest birthday ever if you came.

Most hopefully,

Scarlett, from the Conquered Isle of Trisda




Title: Caraval
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.

Book Reviews

Legendary (Caraval, #2) by Stephanie Garber


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.


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. 




Bookish Features

Waiting on Wednesday – May 8, 2019

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

Shadow & Flame by Mindee Arnett

Shadow & FlameFrom Goodreads:

From acclaimed author Mindee Arnett comes the thrilling conclusion of the stunningly epic, action-packed, and romantic fantasy adventure about a powerful girl possessed of strange magic, the outcast prince she loves, and the kingdom that has torn them apart.

Kate and Corwin are on the run, desperate for allies in a new world of war among the kingdoms of Rime. As the book opens, Kate suffers a massive loss, one that will shape the struggle for freedom of all wilders and magic folk—that is, if Kate can learn to control her own power.

See my review for Onyx & Ivory.