Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Book Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Book: Caraval
Series: Caraval series book 1
Author: Stephanie Garber
Genres: YA, fantasy

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 . . .

Welcome, welcome to Caraval―Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.
Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved 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 far-away, 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. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever. - Quoted from Goodreads

My Rating: 4/5 STARS
My Review:
A lot of people have been talking about Caraval lately, it's got a lot of hype surrounding it.  Before reading the book I'd read some mixed reviews of it and I'm glad I read those mixed reviews because it made me lower my expectations of it (which were pretty high to begin with because of the hype).  And because of that I enjoyed the book a lot more.

One of the things I liked about Caraval was how fast paced it was.  I liked how the author just threw us right into the story and into Caraval itself without feeling like we were missing something in the story.  Before I started the book I thought most of it would be the characters talking about Caraval itself without actually going there until near the end but I was really happy the author decided to just let us experience Caraval without the needless build up of explaining it.  I liked how almost all of the book took place in Caraval itself. 
I also liked how Caraval was described, it was very weird and twisted which made it exciting to read.  I was always trying to guess what was real or not along with the main character.  

What I disliked about this book was the characters.  I thought they were okay characters but they didn't really stand out.  And I thought the main character, Scarlett, acted and thought in a very childlike way.  Not in an immature childish/ acting out kind of way but just in a way where it felt like she was a lot younger than she was.  Her thoughts and her way of thinking made her seem like she was around ten years old.  Like I said before, it wasn't because she acted childish it was just that she had an almost childlike kind of quality to her personality that would've felt natural if this was a children's book and not young adult. And because of this I found the romance in this story hard to connect with.  

I did like how the main theme of this book was about sisters and their love for each other but I felt Scarlett and Tella's relationship with each other was missing some emotion.

Overall I think Caraval is a good read if you don't go into it with high expectations.  I liked how Caraval itself was described and I liked how mysterious it was.  I was disappointed in the characters but the overall mystery of Caraval made up for it.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Book Review: History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

Book: History Is All You Left Me
Author: Adam Silvera
Genre: YA Contemporary

You’re still alive in alternate universes, Theo, but I live in the real world where this morning you’re having an open casket funeral. I know you’re out there, listening. And you should know I’m really pissed because you swore you would never die and yet here we are. It hurts even more because this isn’t the first promise you’ve broken. OCD-afflicted seventeen-year-old, Griffin, has just lost his first love – his best friend, ex-boyfriend and the boy he believed to be his ultimate life partner – in a drowning accident. In a desperate attempt to hold onto every last piece of the past, a broken Griffin forges a friendship with Theo’s new college boyfriend, Jackson. And Griffin will stop at nothing to learn every detail of Theo’s new college life, and ultimate death. But as the grieving pair grows closer, readers will question Griffin's own version of the truth – both in terms of what he’s willing to hide, and what true love ultimately means...- Quoted from Goodreads

My Rating: 5/5 STARS

My Review:
I read Adam Silvera's debut book, More Happy Than Not, last year and I loved it so much I knew I was definitely going to read his next book.  I was so excited for History Is All You Left Me and I'm so glad I ended up loving it.

History Is All You Left Me is about Griffin who is trying to deal with the loss of his first love (and who was also his best friend), Theo.  The book is told in alternating chapters between the present where Griffin is trying to deal with his grief, and between the past where it shows how his relationship with Theo began and how it came to be how it is in the present. 

I was not prepared for how emotional and heartbreaking this book was, it just felt so raw and it was written so well that I could almost feel Griffins pain and grief. 

Although Griffin and Theo had been friends for years History Is All You Left Me focuses on when they began dating (which is told in the history chapters) and continues until the present where Theo is dead.  It is only two/three years but it felt like a long time and because of that I felt so much more attached to the characters.

Throughout the book I was very curious to see how their relationship, which began so happily in the past chapters, came to the point of the present chapters where Griffin and Theo were no longer in a relationship before his death.  In the present Griffin is trying to deal with his feelings on Jackson, who was Theo's boyfriend when he died.  Although I felt sad for Jackson, I didn't feel as attached to his character as I did with the others.    

Like I said before, the focus of History Is All You Left Me is Griffin and Theo's relationship but there was also other relationships it focused on and those relationships grew more complex as the book went on and secrets were revealed, it felt like such an emotional roller coaster. 
Griffin has OCD and I liked how Adam Silvera wrote about the illness.  He didn't shy away from it and it didn't miraculously go away or disappear, it was always at the forefront of Griffins mindset.    

Overall I loved this book.  It was such an emotional and heart wrenching read and I loved the way it was told (in both the past and present chapters). I thought the writing was very well done and can't wait to read more books by Adam Silvera in the future. 

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Top Ten Tuesday - Books On My Spring TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
This week's topic is: Top Ten Books On My Spring TBR.

Here are six books that I've been meaning to read for a while now and so I'm planning on reading them within the next few months.

The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and The Dawn book 1) by Renee Ahdieh

The Final Empire (Mistborn book 1) by Brandon Sanderson

Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

Magic Binds (Kate Daniels book 9) by Ilona Andrews

The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North

A Promise of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles book 1) by Amanda Bouchet

I also recently made a post on books that I've recently added to my TBR list.  I'm planning on reading a lot of books on that list in spring. You can find the link to that here.

I'm also going to be reading some new releases when they come out, like Lord of Shadows (Dark Artifices book 2) by Cassandra Clare and A Court of Wings and Ruin (ACOTAR book 3) by Sarah J Maas.

What books are you planning on reading in spring?  

Saturday, 11 March 2017

My TBR List: Recently Added - 11/03/17

We all have that list we just keep adding books to. I don't know when I'll actually get around to reading these but here are some books I've added to my list within the last few months.

Remix by Non Pratt
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard
Lies We Tell Ourselves and Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne
We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
Nana Vol 1 by Ai Yazawa
Behind the Scenes!! Vol 1 by Bisco Hatori

What books have you recently added to your TBR list?

Friday, 10 March 2017

Book Review: This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

Book: This Savage Song
Series: Monsters of Verity book 1
Author: Victoria Schwab
Genres: YA, Fantasy/Paranormal

Kate Harker and August Flynn's families rule opposite ends of Verity, a grisly metropolis where violent acts summon real monsters: bloodsucking Malchai; clawing Corsai; and soul-stealing Sunai. The truce that keeps the families at peace is crumbling, and August is sent to spy on Kate. But when Harker's men try to kill her and pin it on the Flynns, August and Kate find themselves running from both sides, in a city where monsters are real... - Quoted from Goodreads

My Rating: 3/5 STARS

My Review:
I loved the world of this book and thought it was interesting.  It's a world where violence breeds monsters and they actually manifest at the crime scenes.  The city of Verity felt vivid in my mind, I could really picture how dark and deadly the streets were.  And I liked how the two sides of the city were shown.  When I think about this book the thing that immediately comes to mind is the world.

I disliked the main female character and I'm glad This Savage Song had a dual perspective so I could take a break from her pov.  She wasn't the worst character I've ever read but from the very start of the book I thought her actions were childish and selfish.  I wasn't overly fond of the main male character either but I thought the family dynamic in his pov made it fun to read.  I liked reading about his different family members and their relationships with each other.

I felt the main plot was a bit boring, especially compared to the exciting world the author created.  I definitely think more could have been done so that the storyline wouldn't feel as generic as it did.  That was what I was most disappointed in, the lost potential of it.  I would've liked to have seen more of the history between the rulers of the North and South side of Verity.

Overall the main thing I liked about this book was the world that was created but unfortunately the characters and plot didn't live up to it but I am interested in reading the next one when it comes out.  

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

February 2017 Wrap Up

In February I read four books and one manga volume but I also ended up DNFing two books.  Here's a list of the books I read and some of my thoughts on them.

Archangel's Heart (Guild Hunter book 9) by Nalini Singh - 4/5 STARS
I really love this series.  It's an adult urban fantasy/paranormal romance series and each book centres on different characters but they still feature a lot of the characters from the other books.  I really liked this book and can't wait to read the next in the series. 


Storm Glass (Glass series book 1/ Chronicles of Ixia book 4) by Maria V Snyder - 3/5 STARS
I read the Poison Study trilogy a few years ago and really liked them and I kept meaning to continue with this series.  The Glass trilogy is set in the same world as Poison Study but has a different main character.  I didn't like this one as much as Poison Study.  I didn't like the main character and thought the overall story was a bit disjointed.  I thought Storm Glass was boring in parts but I still think this series can be interesting at times.

The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick - 2/5 STARS
Just like with Marcus Sedgwick's other books I thought the storytelling in this book was interesting but, unlike his other books, I felt the plot of it fell short.  I was really disappointed in this book. This book is split into four parts, each part is set in a different time with a different plot and characters.  I didn't feel connected to any characters or parts of the story/stories despite them all being different and so I ended up not really caring about what happened in it.

Horimiya Vol 1 by Hero and Daisuke Hagiwara - 3/5 STARS
This manga was fun to read but I didn't like it as much as I've liked other manga series. I'll probably continue with the series but right now I'm not in a rush to do so.

This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity book 1) by Victoria Schwab/ V.E. Schwab - 3/5 STARS
I thought the world of this book, a world where violence breeds monsters, was really exciting to read.  The world the author created in this book was the thing I liked the most about it.  I didn't like the main female character and I thought the general plot, and how the story went, to be very generic. 


The books I DNFed were:
Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel- I DNFed this book at around the halfway point. - I was interested in the beginning of this book by the whole mystery of the outbreak but after that, when the book went forward to how the world was now, I got bored of it.  There were character flashbacks that took up a lot of the book and I thought they weren't really needed. 

Dragon Marked (Supernatural Prison book 1) by Jaymin Eve  - I also DNFed this book when I was about halfway through it. - I read a lot of paranormal books with many supernatural creatures in them because it's one of my favourite genres to read so when I read the premise of this book I was really intrigued.  I ended up really disliking the main character and as the story went on I was less excited about it.

February was kind of a bad reading month for me since most of the books I read I ended up rating 3 stars or under and then I DNFed two books so I thought I'd talk about some non bookish things I enjoyed in February. I finally watched a new K-Drama series, I watched School 2013 in February and IT WAS SO GOOD.  There was so much emotion and the BROMANCE was one of my favourite bromances in a K-drama (HEUNGSOON!!), they went through so much together! :').
I also watched season 3 of Haikyuu! What an intense season, I loved it and can't wait for season 4! Also BTS' comeback was in February and seriously I've just been listening to Spring Day and Not Today nonstop!

What did you read in the month of February?