Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

“Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or a performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find to magic in this world.”
My goodness!! I am so excited after finishing this book! I pretty must wanna write, “GO READ THIS!” and just leave it at that, but I won’t.

I’ve been told by quite a few people that this book is super fun and intriguing, and will keep you on your toes. And they were so very right. I had so many theories as I was reading. It’s hard to know what’s going to happen when you’re told not to believe anything to you see or hear.

It’s only a game…

Famous last words.

Scarlett and Tella have grown up under the evil hand of their father. In fact, his scenes had me wincing quite a bit. Evil is an understatement. But the girls have a chance to run away to Caraval for a few days and escape their life, before Scarlett is forced to marry someone she’s never met. But things don’t turn out the way that they hoped. The game has a way of changing you, if you’re not too careful.

When Tella is kidnapped, the game gets more real. Scarlett must rely on the help of Julian, the sailor who seems to have an ulterior motive behind his actions, in order to rescue her before the five days is up. Scarlett has always done what needs to be done, in order to protect her sister, so this will push her far beyond her imagination.

As she spends more and more time with Julian, she starts to question everything about him. Romance has no place in this game. By the end, no matter what her feelings are for Julian, it’s all about her sister. Scar will do whatever it takes to find Tella and escape their father.

This is another YA book I’ll be adding to my list. No only is there a sweet romance in the background, this book will keep you on the edge of your seat and have you constantly guessing. A real page turner. In fact, if you liked the movie Now You See Me, then you will like this book. Nothing is real, and yet it is. It’s only a game, and yet it isn’t…

SO.MUCH.FUN.

~Melpomene

Buy Caraval https://amzn.to/2IiEYHh

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Review: The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell


Exciting and magical and characters you can’t help but root for.

What a wild ride!! I decided to listen to this instead of reading it and I wish I read it first, then listened to it. While loved the narrator and how she made the voices come alive, I wasn’t able to highlight all my quotes, like I usually do. So flipping back and forth, if I got tripped up in all the excitement, wasn’t possible. But I will say that this book was very exciting and kept my attention. I wanted to sit in my room and do nothing but listen. The story had me on the edge of my seat.

Time travel and magic…I never knew how much I would love it. It was so fascinated with all the characters. They all had their secrets and personal missions. I had no idea who to trust!

Esta and Harte were super fun to get to know. The banter between these two, was super fun. Esta reminded me of my daughter, with all her sassiness. I really want her to succeed in her mission. And I look forward to what happens to her in the next book.

I had my teen son read this book when I finished. He’s a very reluctant reader, so I was hoping he would enjoy it. Well, I gave it to him one evening and two days later he handed it back and sorta teased that he can’t handle the stress of endings like that. And then he immediately asked for the next one. That’s a sign of a good book right there.

I had no idea this book was a duology, so by the end, my nerves were shot. I was on the edge of my seat hoping and praying for an ending that didn’t have me crying. What a wild last chapter!! I had to shush my kids as they talked around me. Epic. I may even tensed up for a moment. I need the next book!!

~Melpomene

Buy The Last Magician http://amzn.to/2GXbyyW
Add The Devil’s Thief to your GR shelf https://goo.gl/HxeN9C

Review: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

10,000 stars!!!! I am speechless. Wow. What a wonderful magical fantastic novel!

How does one review a book that you absolutely love and manage to do it the justice it deserves? One where you get to 40% and can’t put it down. One where you have 20 pages left and tell your husband to shut up and leave you alone when he reminds you that it’s bedtime. One that after reading you’re so hyped up you can’t possibly sleep, even thought it’s past 11 pm and you have a full day of work to do the next day.

If I had to complain about anything, it’s that at the start it is a bit confusing with the children’s names. They have their given name, but also the names their family calls them and they go by. I also struggled with some of the Russian vocabulary, but soon discovered that there was a glossary in the back. I soon got over these bits and had no issues at all following along.

There is so much here to review. So I will just tell you again, that I loved this book. Every single bit of it. The family. The fairytale. The spirits that Vasilisa cares for. Even the Winter Demon. I love these old folklore stories and they all came to life in this book. Please, give this novel a chance. It will go down as an all time favourite of mine. Seriously. Top 5 lifetime reads.

What I find very interesting is that the step mother and Vasilisa are from the same bloodline and although they are much alike, their attitude it what separates and divides them. One refuses to accept what is before their very eyes, the other one does. This attitude makes all the difference to themselves, but also to everyone in the village.

Man, this is truly a Midlevel Russian Fairytale. Go satisfy that child within your heart, the heart that longs for a good old-fashioned story…where good and bad clash….where you’re too scared to breathe and too afraid to not go on…where you have to pause to build your courage and you close your eyes at the truly scary parts and cheer for the really happy parts….go curl up to a warm fire on a snowy night, make yourself a hot drink and some fresh cookies, find a warm and fluffy blanket and curl up with this book. I can’t imagine a better way to spend any night…Seriously….the best…

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Quick Review: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Mesmerizing, passionate, dark and heart breaking. I can’t believe I waited so long to read this. Goblins, changelings, and fae beings, of a sort. I love fantastical books like this.

“Love is a bridge that spans the world above and below, and keeps the wheel of life turning.”

There’s something about the music aspect that sucked me in. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I loved it. The way music is wrapped around her makes Elisabeth more powerful than she ever knew. This girl was filled with passion, it was overwhelming. I can’t wrap my head around how it surrounded everything about her. Her whole world was music. Her soul even. She was almost manic about it. I can understand a bit of that.

I love the Goblin King. By the end of this story he had my heart. In fact, he broke my heart. My eyes were stinging when I closed my kindle. He loved her so much. I could feel it through the pages, straight to my gut. This is what makes me want to read. This feeling of a love so strong you’d give up you very existence for it.

“The maiden was both brave and beautiful, beautiful in ways that she did not see. Could not see, for all her beauty was locked away inside, magic and music, waiting to be set free.”

I am dying to dive into book 2 right now. My heart needs to be put back together, after that ending. I can’t take this much pain.

~Melpomene
Buy Wintersong ~ http://amzn.to/2D0qN8q
Pre-order Shadowsong(Feb 6) ~ http://amzn.to/2F8xIgC

Quick Review: The Beast is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale

I’m not one for creepy books but I fell in love with the cover and thought I’d give it a shot. I’m glad I did. Silly me didn’t read the synopsis beforehand though, and thought it was a Beauty and the Beast retelling. Boy, was I wrong. SO WRONG.

I have no idea what to say this book. It was creepy and weird and oddly addicting. I couldn’t put it down and yet I had no idea what I was reading. I did, but I didn’t, ya know? Who wouldn’t like to read about soul eaters and beasts?

Very creeptastic YA that I’m sure all your teens will love. In fact, I described the first few chapters to mine and they both wanted to read it. Goofy kids. They’re excited to be scared and I’m over her hoping I can sleep without hearing any singing.

My daughter just finished reading it this week and absolutely loved it. She’s all about the creep factor. She now wants more books like this. When I told this to Paternelle, she said that she’s working on another dark fairy tale now. Another book!! Much squealing happened when I read that. So now I’m on the hunt to find books that meet up with these creepy standards that TBiaA has set, as I wait for her next book. Wish me luck!

~Melpomene

Buy The Beast is an Animal http://amzn.to/2CwXJ7t

Review: The Simplicity of Cider by Amy E. Reichert

This book reminded me of First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen: magical! It’s not wand and wizard type magical, but more like “can you believe this is happening I think it’s a miracle” type magical. And I loved it. 

Sanna is a tough nut to crack. She’s the primary worker on her family farm, the sole apple orchard and cider person, and very focused on keeping her farm and family intact. Sanna is protective, territorial, and averse to visitors. 

When Isaac and his son Sebastian appear at the farm and endear themselves to Sanna’s pa, Sanna is more annoyed than anything else. But Sebastian’s presence softens her heart a little … just enough to let Isaac in, too. 

Sanna’s love for the apples and love for her family save the farm from external threats. It’s that love that saves Sanna from herself, too, and provides room for Isaac and Sebastian in her life. 

I just couldn’t get over the specialness of  Sanna’s abilities with the apple orchard. It was nice to see someone care that much about their land and what grows on it. And I appreciated her loyalty to her family and the land. 

This novel was a lot of twinkles and touches and glances and fairy lights. Not my usual fare, and I’m kind of glad about that. The Simplicity of Cider is a special book that will stay with me for a long time. 

-Calliope 

Buy THE SIMPLICITY OF CIDER

Review: Garden Spells (Waverley Family #1) by Sarah Addison Allen

garden-spellsWhat in the world did I do before I found Sarah Addison Allen when i needed a touch of magic in my life? Oh my….I just love her books more and more….I think I’ve appreciated and loved each book I’ve read more than the previous ones….I really enjoyed this one from SAA…..I’m sad that I only have one more to go….what will I do now? Where will I find the magic in everyday life? Yep…she needs to write faster!!!

If you haven’t ever tried SAA, please do. I never expected to love her so much. Don’t go thinking it’s all unreal and not believable because I mentioned magic. There’s just a tad…and only enough to assure you that, yes, magic really does exist in the world…and who doesn’t believe that, or at least wish they could believe in magic?

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen