Review: Finale(Caraval #3) by Stephanie Garber

I don’t think my heart could be safer than in your hands.”

I’m pretty sure Stephanie Garber is related to Legend. She is full of magic and I was swept away by her storytelling. This trilogy is now one of my most recommended series. From the moment I finished Legendary, I knew I needed more. There were so many secrets that needed to be uncovered. Finale did just that.

Finale takes place about two months after Legendary ends. Scarlett and Donatella’s stories aren’t finished yet. They must choose how they wish to live their lives. Will they settle for what they’ve been given or will they fight for what they truly want?

I was so torn while reading Tella’s chapters. Her heart was being pulled in opposite directions. As a 17 yr old, that was a lot to put on her. Her heart was telling her one thing but her mind was pushing her in the other direction. I got whiplash right along with her. Her journey was one of self discovery and who did she really want to be. And I believe she chose correctly, even as her heart was squeezed a few times. She was definitely stronger than most people would be.

He didn’t kiss her as if he’d simply come back to life. He kissed her as if he’d died, been buried, and clawed his way out of the grave and through the dirt just to get to her.

Scarlett’s story took a complete different route than I thought it would. I wanted to shake her a few times. I wanted her to be with Julian and leave everything else alone, but she just couldn’t. As it turns out, her story took a drastic turn that I never saw coming. She had to dig down deep and find the strength to be able to stay on top of everything that was thrown at her. I’m glad she worked through it and made the choices she did in the end.

Now it wasn’t all trials and tribulations, there was also love. So much love. These girls’ hearts were being fought over and it was a battle to the death. AND I LOVED IT. So many swoony moments that had me grinning like a fool. I just love this book and I can’t wait to have it on my shelf!

~Melpomene

Dive into this magical trilogy! Click pic to buy

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Review: The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

Vivid, magical and EPIC!! That was the best way to end this most amazing trilogy. My heart was racing all throughout this entire book.

Vasya is determined to save her country by uniting them and showing them that there is way to be together and allow everyone their own religious freedoms. When we thought she was strong in the previous books, this is nothing compared to those.

She lives up to the prophecy. She makes allies with those who wouldn’t normally work together. As it’s said in the book, she’s a bridge between men and chyerti. The magic is failing as those stop believing in spirits. I loved watching her. She has the power to change things and she does.

No spoilers but this book was probably 10 times as exciting as the first two books. I couldn’t put it down. As I type this out, I’m awaiting Urania’s excited reactions. It’s her influence that gave me the nudge to dive into these books. I owe her.

There is a smidgen more of romance in this one but it’s very much on the back burner. I actually find myself not even looking for it. It’s just a bonus. But love, familial or romantic, is definitely a strong motivator to get things accomplished. But I will say that I’ve had my eye on Morozko since the first book and I’m happy to see him live up to my expectations.

“Love is for those who know the griefs of time, for it goes hand in hand with loss. An eternity, so burdened, would be a torment.”

Let the book hangover begin…

~Melpomene
Buy The Winter of the Witch https://amzn.to/2QksNlT

Quick Review(again): The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Magical, enchanting and fantastical!

I’ve heard lots of people talking about this book since it released last year, especially Urania. And I know it’s already been reviewed, but I just had to shout it’s praises for myself. To be honest, The Bear and the Nightingale didn’t seem like something I’d like, since I mostly read romance, but it was always in the back of my mind. When I decided to start a book club, this book was one of the books I was hoping we’d get to read this winter. So for our December book we chose this. I just finished reading it and I can’t believe I waited so long. Seriously.

“All my life, I have been told to ‘go’ and ‘come’. I am told how I will live, and I am told how I must die. I must be a man’s servant and a mare for his pleasure, or I must hide myself behind walls and surrender my flesh to a cold, silent god. I would walk into the jaws of hell itself, if it were a path of my own choosing. I would rather die tomorrow in the forest than live a hundred years of the life appointed to me.”

That quote pretty much sums up the reason I loved Vasya. She is done waiting and sets out to do something for herself.

I can’t put my finger on why I loved this book. Perhaps it’s the Russian folklore aspect. Or maybe the odd characters. Or it may be that I can tell that there’s more epicness coming and that’s what made it such a page turner. Not sure, but this is definitely in my top 10 of this year. I can’t recommend it enough.

And now I need to read book two. I need to know what happens next!!

~Melpomene

Buy The Bear and the Nightingale https://amzn.to/2L6qBbL

Review: Legendary by Stephanie Garber


Seriously‽‽ Now what am I supposed to do‽‽ This is not how I expected this story to go at all. If you read Caraval, you know how it ended. It wasn’t cut and dry. There was still more fun to be had.

Legendary was an experience. Definitely one of a kind. Magical and mysterious with more jaw dropping scenes than I ever expected. The game has changed. This time, everything is real…or is it…

Romance played a bigger role in Legendary than in Caraval. But while it was still familial, there was way more romantic love throughout it. In fact that’s probably why I enjoyed this one more. Lots of swoony scenes that had me all twitterpated.

Dante had my heart fluttering. I know he was the typical bad boy before, and he had his moments here, but he definitely showed his true colors in this one. Pleasantly surprised by him. And then just plain, downright surprised at him.

Jacks left me with a lot of unanswered questions. There’s so much more to him that we didn’t get to see. But since he’s a master at trickery, I fell under his spell.

Many times I forgot that Tella was only 16 years old. Sometimes she can act like the flighty school girl but most of the time she made difficult decisions that would give us mature adults pause. I really liked her. I think more than her sister even. My heart felt what she felt. It raced when her was racing. It hurt when hers hurt. Part of me hopes we eventually get more from her. Even a little short story. I feel like her story isn’t done yet. She has a lot of life to live.

The conclusion was way more open ended than I was expecting. In fact, it left me reeling. I can honestly say that I’m not sure how I feel. I think I wanted a definitive ending. I wanted a choice to be made…and yet there was. Gah!! I want more!! My head is still spinning.

And I’m editing this now because the author just announced that we WILL be getting a third book! Holy moly. I am so excited now. I need more.

~Melpomene

Grab both books:
Caraval https://amzn.to/2GkC7kG
Legendary https://amzn.to/2pUnTMA

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

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