Rating: 5 STARS!!
Genre: Paranormal Romance/LGBT
Standalone/Series: Green Creek #1
How I got this book: Bought
Ox was twelve when his daddy taught him a very valuable lesson. He said that Ox wasn’t worth anything and people would never understand him. Then he left.
Ox was sixteen when he met the boy on the road, the boy who talked and talked and talked. Ox found out later the boy hadn’t spoken in almost two years before that day, and that the boy belonged to a family who had moved into the house at the end of the lane.
Ox was seventeen when he found out the boy’s secret, and it painted the world around him in colors of red and orange and violet, of Alpha and Beta and Omega.
Ox was twenty-three when murder came to town and tore a hole in his head and heart. The boy chased after the monster with revenge in his bloodred eyes, leaving Ox behind to pick up the pieces.
It’s been three years since that fateful day—and the boy is back. Except now he’s a man, and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them.
Trigger warnings: Mental/physical/child abuse.
If you've been reading my blog for a while or you're following me on Twitter, you'll know that TJ Klune has quickly become one of my favourite writers. I can't get enough of his immersive writing style and I absolutely love how diverse his characters and the genres he writes in are. I've only read two other books of his so far, one being a SCI-Fi whilst the other is a more epic fantasy.
So far, I've loved everything I've read by this author and Wolfsong is no exception.
It all starts with Ox. Sweet, beautiful Ox who's unlike anyone else. He's plagued by the words of his father. Telling him he's too stupid, too dumb, too slow. He's kind. He's strong. He's brave. He's so loving. He's the cornerstone of this whole book and I am in awe of who he is and who he becomes.
TJ writes characters that are vivid and diverse. His dialogue is so real that you can just hear it in your head without any effort. Each character is unique and I love the development arcs for each and every one.
What's great is that even though Ox is the narrator of this book, you still see so much growth from the others that they all feel like main characters.
The romance in this book is a scorching slow burn, friends-to-lovers relationship that builds steadily throughout the book until it consumes you.
The plot line is seriously epic, the action is fantastic, the creatures and backstory are so detailed and full of pain, love and ALL THE FEELS that I'm so not over it. Not even a little bit.
I love that, whilst there are a lot of darker, tense moments, there's still plenty of humour and there are so many fantastic, complex relationships to explore; friends, brothers, parents, family, pack.
I mixed things up a little on this read, sometimes reading the eBook, other times listening to the audio-book and the narration by Kirt Graves was brilliant and so very immersive.
Wolfsong draws you in, grabs hold of your heart, tears it apart, repairs the fragments and leaves you not quite whole but wanting more.
This is a paranormal shifter novel done absolutely right!
Rating: 5 STARS!!
How I got this book: ARC from the author
In the spring of 1995, Nate Cartwright has lost everything: his parents are dead, his older brother wants nothing to do with him, and he's been fired from his job as a journalist in Washington DC. With nothing left to lose, he returns to his family's summer cabin outside the small mountain town of Roseland, Oregon to try and find some sense of direction.
The cabin should be empty.
Inside is a man named Alex. And with him is an extraordinary little girl who calls herself Artemis Darth Vader.
Artemis, who isn't exactly as she appears.
Soon it becomes clear that Nate must make a choice: let himself drown in the memories of his past, or fight for a future he never thought possible.
Because the girl is special. And forces are descending upon them who want nothing more than to control her.
You're going to have to forgive me if this review turns out to be incoherent because sometimes there just aren't words to describe how amazing a book is, but I'll do my best!
I want to start by saying that the only other book I've read by TJ Klune so far is The Lightning Struck Heart which is a hilarious, outrageous m/m fantasy romance that I adored. This book is NOTHING LIKE THAT BOOK - but that's in no way a bad thing! From the synopsis, I expected a romantic suspense novel and so I was not prepared for all of the awesome shit that goes down in this book.
Fear not, you know this is a spoiler-free review site, so I'm going to give you my reactions, without giving anything away because honestly, this book is one of the best books I've ever read and I want you all to read it without knowing what to expect!
The plot is fantastic, I absolutely love the authors writing style and was instantly swept up into the story and into Nate's head, seeing this story through his eyes was perfect! I love Nate, and Alex and Art, three completely individual characters who's pain, suffering and love was so vivid that I felt connected to them, desperate for things to work out.
"...somehow we're all made of dust and stars."
Nate is sweet, kind and haunted by his past, Alex appears tough and strong but has a much deeper core, and Art...well, I'll let you discover how amazing Art is by yourself.
I love everything about The Bones Beneath My Skin, the way it makes me smile and laugh, the way it warms my heart, the way it sends my heart racing or just stops it dead, the way it has me holding my breath and even the way it has me on the verge of tears, afraid to keep reading but unable to stop. The pacing, the writing, the realistic dialogue, the genuine, evolving connections be they romantic, sexual, friendly or familial, were all perfectly portrayed.
The enemies-to-lovers style romance itself is such a fantastic, realistic portrayal of an m/m romance, focusing less on the sex and mostly on the chemistry, tension and bond between these two complex characters.
To try and sum this up simply, I couldn't get enough of this book, I read and read for hours, never wanting to put it down and whether you like romance, action, or adventure, I urge you to read this incredible story about oppression, standing up for what matters, appreciating the smaller things in life, and dreaming of an impossible future.
"You can fear what you don't understand, but in the end, you can still be brave. You can still stand up for what's right."
It's a story of laughter, love, caring, anger, pain, suffering, denial, belief, and a whole shed load of bacon.
"Are we going on an adventure?"
Trigger Warnings: There are some dark topics that are explored in this book including; suicide, mental illness, grief and homophobia.
Rating: 5 STARS
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
Standalone/Series: Signs of Love #4
How I got this book: Bought
It’s a time for searching, and a time for finding, Pisces: keep casting your line and you will hook what you’re looking for.
Zane has it all planned out: land the perfect Meet Cute, fall in love, and live happily ever after.
Should be simple enough if he put his mind to it. A little creativity and some thinking outside of the box, and voila, he’d be married to the woman of his dreams.
It would be perfect.
And it would be before his visa ran out.
But why are his feelings running wild now that the pressure’s on? Why is his picture-perfect plan turning into a muddled mess of morphed metaphors he can’t make sense of anymore?
Just as well he’s met an English professor to help. And even though their first meet is anything but cute, this down-to-earth teacher may just be the realist Zane needs to ground him and give him a shot at love after all.
Don’t cast your line too wide, Pisces. Your perfect catch may already have bitten.
Okay, so you might already know that Anyta Sunday is one of my absolute favourite romance authors, and her Signs of Love series is just AMAZING!!
When I saw her new release, I just had to one-click and I couldn't be happier, if a little sleep deprived (I bought this book at around 10pm last night and I didn't finish reading until 4 this morning!!) It's THAT GOOD, not to mention crazy adorable!
My favourite thing about Anyta's writing is definitely the slow-burn. These are easily my favourites, the tension she builds is so perfect that it's practically fizzing off the page and I LITERALLY cannot stop myself from reading.
The 'Signs of Love' series is all about bringing together two people who are pretty opposite in terms of their star signs and their personalities. Pisces Hooks Taurus is no exception and it's so much fun to see these two characters who seem at first to have almost nothing in common, grow so close.
As a word lover, I found this book particularly enjoyable as one of the characters is an English professor, whilst the other is intrigued by intelligence and so there's lots of cute and very fun wordplay and book appreciation to be found in Pisces Hooks Taurus.
Both Beckett and Zane are complex characters with unique personalities, challenges and character development arcs. They each have their own goals and obstacles to overcome and the two of them together provide plenty of laughs, especially when aided by a meddling, goodhearted elderly neighbour.
This story had me grinning from ear to ear, my toes curled in all the right places and the whole thing was just perfection, made even more so by the quotes from romance novels (mostly by Austen) separating each chapter.
"In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you."
I'm a mood reader, and when I picked up this book I wanted something that would cheer me up, and make me feel, this book swept me off my feet and I'm already contemplating re-reading the whole series.
Prepare yourself to meet Beckett and Zane, and brace your heart for an agonising slow-burn romance that will melt your heart.
'Beckett cast his gaze upward and muttered toward the stars, "Slow burn."'
Note: This book can be read as a standalone but honestly, this entire series is too good to be missed!
Welcome to my stop on the To Be Honest blog tour!
I'm so excited to share my review with you all! I've had my eye on this book for ages because I'm always looking for more body positive rep and I was thrilled at the chance to read it, so huge thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for allowing me to participate in the tour!
Rating: 5 STARS!
Genre: Contemporary YA
How I got this book: ARC from Xpresso Book Tours
Savannah is dreading being home alone with her overbearing mother after her sister goes off to college. But if she can just get through senior year, she’ll be able to escape to college, too. What she doesn’t count on is that her mother’s obsession with weight has only grown deeper since her appearance on an extreme weight-loss show, and now Savvy’s mom is pressuring her even harder to be constantly mindful of what she eats.
Between her mom’s diet-helicoptering, missing her sister, and worrying about her collegiate future, Savvy has enough to worry about. And then she meets George, the cute new kid at school who has insecurities of his own. As Savvy and George grow closer, they help each other discover how to live in the moment and enjoy the here and now before it disappears.
I just want to jump up and down and rave about this amazing book, so you'll have to bear with me here! First of all, here's a quick summary of what I LOVE most about this book:
This book was impossible to put down from the moment I started reading, and I flew through it so quickly that I could honestly read it again.
I love Savannah, I love her confidence, her positive outlook and attitude, her loyalty and her compassion.
"News flash: fat isn't a bad word, Mom."
I also love that she's completely relatable. She has principles that she stands by, she has her own insecurities, and she has anxiety (something I feel is portrayed exceptionally well by the author, especially since not one single person treats it as a problem or a burden they have to deal with or as something that she should just 'get over').
"It suddenly felt like all the air had been pushed out of my lungs. I swayed on my feet as the ringing in my ears began. No matter how many panic attacks I had, my body always believed that it was dying."
I also found Savannah likeable and truly funny, this book had me chuckling so many times, especially when she's around George and her thoughts take a turn for the amusing.
"My mouth watered (for multiple reasons, mostly the pizza, though, to be honest) and I invited him inside."
Parts of this book were a little tough for me personally. I've "struggled" with my body image my entire life, and truthfully, a lot of that stems from people close to me telling me that they're worried for me, that I should try to be more healthy to the point where I no longer felt comfortable in my own skin.
The way Savannah's mum treats her perfectly illustrates the things I've gone through in my own life and honestly, there were moments that were so real they had me close to tears.
"You'd be a lot happier if you could just make the choice to lead a healthier life."
One thing that Savannah has that I didn't is an amazing, supportive friend. I absolutely adore Grace, Savannah's best friend, who is always in Savannah's corner.
Then there's George; sweet, naive, blushing George. The romance in this book is completely adorable, especially as both George and Savannah are a little clueless when it comes to expressing their feelings.
If you're looking for more body positivity in your life, if you're sick and tired of body shaming and reading books with toxic friendships, I urge you to read To Be Honest. I especially recommend to fans of Becky Albertalli who I think will adore Maggie Ann Martin's writing style!
I'm so thankful to Maggie Ann Martin for writing this fantastic book and to Swoon Reads for publishing it! We need more body positive YA. I feel certain that if I'd read more books like this when I was younger, I wouldn't have spent most of my teenage life feeling so insecure.
"There's no expiration date on acceptance."
What do you think? Remember that you can click on the cover photo above to add To Be Honest to your Goodreads TBR!
Thanks again for stopping by and joining me on my leg of the tour! Click here to follow the rest of the tour!
You can also enter below for your chance to win a print copy of To Be Honest (US/CAN only - giveaway hosted by Xpresso Book Tours)!
Rating: 5 STARS!!
Standalone/Series: The Nevernight Chronicle #1
How I got this book: Bought
Mia Covere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death.
Destined to destroy empires, the child raised in shadows made a promise on the day she lost everything: to avenge herself on those that shattered her world.
But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, and Mia must become a weapon without equal. Before she seeks vengeance, she must seek training among the infamous assassins of the Red Church of Itreya.
Inside the Church's halls, mia must prove herself against the deadliest of opponents and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and demons at the heart of a murder cult.
The Church is no ordinary school, but Mia is no ordinary student.
I'm going to start by pointing out that I've marked this book as a Fantasy novel, not a YA Fantasy (as shown on Goodreads) because there is no way in hell that this book is a YA...and by no means is that a bad thing!
I absolutely LOVE it when books live up to their hype, and I admit that I was a little sceptical over Nevernight, because I'd tried to read this book about three times over the past year, and I just kept re-reading the first two chapters and then stopping. My biggest issue was with the footnotes which I struggled with to begin with, I just felt that they detracted from the story a bit and pulled me out of the 'zone'.
You might be wondering why then that I decided to rate this as a 5 star read. Simply put, some of the footnotes aside, this is one of the most incredible books I've ever had the pleasure of reading.
This is my second Jay Kristoff novel, Illuminae being the first, and I can only say that the man is both ingenious and insane. He clearly hates standard formatting, but it works so well that I honestly can't complain, and his character and world development are phenomenal!
Mia is a fantastic character, I love her strength, her pain, her courage and her fear. Nevernight surprised me by having a really fantastic feminist undertone, alongside some brilliant quotes.
"Beauty you are born with, but brains you earn."
After struggling with the first three chapters, I suddenly fell face first into the story during chapter 4 and it dragged me along for an amazing ride.
To be honest, I'm not sure what to talk about first and I really don't want to give much away, but here's a quick run-down of some of my favourite things: Mia (and her shadows), Mr. Kindly (and his sass), the sand krackens, the librarian, the bookworms, the library itself, the blood walk, Naev, Adonaii, Marielle, Hush, Tric (and his impressive skills 😉), Lord Cassius, Mouser, Spiderkiller, AAlea...aaand there's so much more that I can't think of right now.
Surprisingly, this book is packed full of witty humour which comes through in the footnotes, the characters (mostly the 'teachers') and Mr. Kindly.
"She crushed what was left of her smoke out, grimacing.
'Maw's teeth, I've got to cut down.'
'....there are more dangerous things around here to put in your mouth...'
Mister Kindly peered at her through the grey pall.
'....dweymeri boys, for example....'"
The Red Church made me think of a cross between the house of black and white and Hogwarts, if run by Death Eaters, and I'm really sorry, but I think I've found my new favourite potions master because Spiderkiller is incredible and terrifying! It's bloody, brutal, graphic and I loved every bit of it.
The characters, the plot twists, the shock moments (yeah, I'm looking at you Solis!! 😱😱😱), the violence, the 'romance' - arrrggh! I can't get over how perfect it was!!
I am so ready for book two, and if you haven't read Nevernight yet, I'd highly recommend that you do!
Rating: 5 STARS!!
Standalone/Series: The Xenith Trilogy #1
How I got this book: Bought
Delaney’s entire world is thrown into chaos after she is mistaken for Lissa Olena, an alien princess hiding out on Earth in order to escape an arranged marriage.
Kidnapped by the princess’s head bodyguard, Ruckus, and imprisoned in an alien palace, Delaney is forced to impersonate the princess until Olena can be found. If she fails, it will lead to an alien war and the eventual enslavement of the entire human race.
No pressure or anything.
Factor in Trystan, the princess’s terrifying betrothed who is intent on unraveling all her secrets, and her own growing feelings for Ruckus, and Delaney is in way over her head.
Get lost Amid Stars and Darkness, in this YA sci-fi romance from debut author Chani Lynn Feener.
I've been a HUGE fan of Chani Lynn Feener ever since I discovered her Underworld series last year - if you love Greek mythology, strong heroines, swoon-worthy boys and three-headed dogs, go check it out!
When I read Amid Stars and Darkness for the first time it was the first sci-fi I'd ever actually made it through, let alone enjoyed. It was so much fun and definitely a 5-star read! Book two, Between Frost and Fury, is coming out next month and it's one of my most anticipated reads this year, that's why I decided to re-read book one to refresh my memory.
Side note: I have a shocking long-term memory. It really is awful and in all aspects of life it really bothers me, except when it comes to reading books. Forgetting the details helps to make a re-read much more special.
This story is so easy to fall into, one second you're on page one, meeting Delaney and Olena, and the next you're almost finished. The pace is fantastic and I read the entire book in just a few short sittings. I just couldn't put it down and was hooked from the very beginning.
I instantly loved Delaney who's an amazingly strong, resilient and witty character whilst still handling her situation realistically, she's definitely braver than me, I'd have been curled up in a corner panicking the entire time!
The imagery and world-building in this book are fantastic, I love the comparisons between Earth and the aliens, especially the pool room which is simply magical. I hope there's more of this amazing world to explore in book 2.
What I love most is that this book isn't just a typical romance, it's full of action and dastardly plots that keep your eyes glued to the page.
I won't say too much about the other characters in this book as I really don't want to give too much away. Just know that I had so much fun with all of the characters. Ruckus is strong, loyal, sweet and HOT. Trystan is big, brooding and pretty malicious for the most part, so why is he my favourite?!?
Prepare yourself for one hell of a cliffhanger ending! That ending has had me hanging on so long for the sequel. I luckily managed to snag an ARC of Between Frost and Fury from the lovely team at Swoon Reads, so I'm reading it next!! I can't wait! I'm desperate to get jump back into this fantastic world!
If you're a fan of 'enemies/friends to lovers', strong-willed heroines, drop-dead gorgeous heroes & villains, and action-filled plots, you'll love Amid Stars and Darkness!
Rating: 5 STARS!!
Standalone/Series: Caraval #2
How I got this book: Bought
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.
I can't tell you how EXCITED I've been for Legendary!!
If you haven't read book one in the series, feel free to check out my review of Caraval!
This book is 😍🤯😱 - it's EVERYTHING!!
The most amazing thing about Stephanie Garber's writing is that it completely sweeps me away. I get so lost in her incredible world that I never want to leave.
The magic, deception and mystery of Legendary drew me in so fully that I became fully immersed in it. Legendary, like Caraval, is one of those rare books that you find yourself flying through whilst at the same time wishing that it could last forever.
I absolutely loved Tella in this book. In Caraval, I wasn't too sure how I felt about her as a character, but in Legendary, she really comes into her own. She's fierce, brave, loyal, committed and bursting with conviction, seeing things from her point of view completely flipped my original opinion of her....I can't get enough of her sass and her propensity to tell things as they are.
"Tella had kissed enough young men to know that anything said by a boy right before or directly after she kissed him could not be believed at all."
There's a fantastic undercurrent of feminism in this book and I'm so glad of it!
"Tella might have been many things, but she was far from silly or worthless or whatever labels people liked to affix because a person was young and female."
The romance in Legendary, for me at least, felt much bigger and more swoon-worthy than in Caraval. Whilst I loved the slow-burn between Scarlett and Julian, I absolutely loved the back and forth between two certain characters in Legendary and often found myself grinning madly whilst reading their scenes, and I love that Stephanie Garber completely changed my opinion of these two characters in the course of just a few chapters.
Legendary contains some truly fantastic characters, most of whom we already met in Caraval, but there's also the introduction of some new faces, my favourites being The Fates. The Fates are incredible, I love how dark and twisted they are!
This book sees Tella swept away in a completely new game, one that seems vividly more real than the last. She faces difficult paths, dark temptations and it's a joy to travel with her as she discovers more about who she is, and who she wants to be.
To me, Legendary feels a touch darker than Caraval, and I love that about this book. There's danger, trials, mystery and so much confusion that I'm tempted to re-read it again even now! I honestly cannot wait for the final book in the series, the aptly named Finale as my jaw was hanging wide as the ending of Legendary played out!
I was so drawn in by the glorious imagery and magic of Legendary that I sped through this book without realising it and at times even tried to slow myself down to make it last longer. I will most definitely be re-reading this series before Finale is released.
5/5 shimmering stars for what's shaping up to be one of my favourite book series' of all time!
This book is so beautiful! Here's a quick photo I took of my hidden cover for the Fairy Loot 'May' challenge!
Which of the four secret covers is your favourite?
Rating: 5 STARS!
Standalone/Series: Tales from Verania #1
How I got this book: Bought
Once upon a time, in an alleyway in the slums of the City of Lockes, a young and somewhat lonely boy named Sam Haversford turns a group of teenage douchebags into stone completely by accident.
Of course, this catches the attention of a higher power, and Sam's pulled from the only world he knows to become an apprentice to the King's Wizard, Morgan of Shadows.
When Sam is fourteen, he enters the Dark Woods and returns with Gary, the hornless gay unicorn, and a half-giant named Tiggy, earning the moniker Sam of Wilds.
At fifteen, Sam learns what love truly is when a new knight arrives at the castle. Sir Ryan Foxheart, the dreamiest dream to have ever been dreamed.
Naturally, it all goes to hell through the years when Ryan dates the reprehensible Prince Justin, Sam can't control his magic, a sexually aggressive dragon kidnaps the prince, and the King sends them on an epic quest to save Ryan's boyfriend, all while Sam falls more in love with someone he can never have.
Or so he thinks.
Disclosure: Due to the explicit nature of this book, this review includes some mature content and is intended for readers aged 18+. You have been warned.
I’m gonna be honest, it was the prospect of the ‘gay, hornless unicorn’ that really made me click ‘buy’ when I read the synopsis, and Gary does not disappoint. He’s overflowing with glitter, sass and a serious case of potty mouth, and he’s fantastic!
I want to start by saying how disappointed in myself I am that I’d never heard of T.J. Klune, or read any of his books until stumbling across this one on BookBub, and so on that note, I want to thank BookBub (check them out for discounted and free ebooks!) for making me aware of one of the most outrageously funny books I have ever had the pleasure of reading.
I really don’t know where to start with this book, I finished it last night (read: early hours this morning) and I can’t get over how AMAZING it was. I don’t even have the right words to sum up how amazing this book is, I’m still so overwhelmed by it all, so I hope this review makes some sense.
From the moment I started reading, I fell in love with Sam, his friends and his world, and I was never once bored along the way. I was fully immersed in the world of Verania and its colourful characters from the very first page.
Sam is an incredible narrator, he’s sweet, caring, loyal to a fault, sincere, good, helplessly naïve and hysterically funny. Oh, he also does some pretty cool magic!
Even amongst all the sass, I found myself tearing up in certain parts for my beautiful, sweet Sam.
I love that this book isn’t a regular historical romance. It’s an epic fantasy adventure filled with magic, wizards (both good and bad), castles, knights, giants and dragons. It has literally everything you could want from an epic fantasy whilst also featuring a slow-burn, sizzling, pining M/M romance and more LGBT characters than I’ve ever seen in a single book.
There’s even a fairy drag mother, yeah, you heard me!
“Once upon a time in the Kingdom of Verania, there was a kickass boy born in the slums of the City of Lockes. His parents were hardworking, and at times, life could be difficult, but they were alive and had all their teeth. Which was important.”
Even more so, beneath all of that, this is a story with emotional depth spanning friendships, family bonds and true love.
Reading ‘The Lightning Struck Heart’ was no easy feat since I was reading mostly at night and having to smother my laughter at the sheer amount of sass and bitching from all the characters.
“’Horse?’ Gary snarled. The pretty unicorn act dropped immediately. Red sparks shot from his nose. ‘Did you just call me a horse? Listen here, you two-legged bag of shit. I’m not a motherfucking horse. I am a unicorn, and I am magic and a beautiful creature made of fucking sunshine and rainbows and good feelings.’”
“’Nicole,’ Tina hissed. ‘Keep your comments to yourself! Be a respectable fucking lady, for fuck’s sake!’”
“’Don’t marry Dimitri,’ he said. ‘You’re not meant to be a fairy queen. Not in the literal sense, anyway.’”
Somebody, stop me!
Sam of Wilds is such a fantastic protagonist. His inner monologue is perfect and from the very beginning, all I wanted was for him to succeed, to get what he wants, especially since he always puts everyone else first. He wears his heart on his sleeve and hides behind his words and I have everything crossed that he’s just as amazing in book two!
So, if you’re looking to be swept away on a magical, epic adventure with a love struck, oblivious wizard in training, a dashingly stupid night, a vengeful prince, a kind-hearted King, a loving family, a sassy, fabulous unicorn with a penchant for bondage, a half-giant trying to learn sarcasm, an overly sexual dragon-god, a bemused wizard, dick noses, almost gay fairy marriage, boys with ‘ears’, dark wizards, monologuing, fairy drag mothers, a corn cult, and cheesy dicks and candlesticks, then this is the book for you! Phew!
Recommended for anyone with a love for the ridiculous and preferably a room you can read in that's far away from people so that you won't startle anyone with your hysterical outbursts.
P.S: HaveHeart forever!
Rating: 5 STARS!
Standalone/Series: Caraval #1
How I got this book: Bought
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.
Whilst I am normally a one book at a time kind of girl, this past week I found myself reading four books; the most I’ve ever attempted at once. My sister (hi Sophie!) was horrified by the idea of reading more than one book at a time, but since all four are so different and unique, I was really pleased that I didn’t get the storylines confused.
One of the books that I read this week was Caraval by Stephanie Garber. It’s the second time that I’ve read this book, I desperately wanted to refresh my memory before Legendary arrives later this month, so I teamed up with my pal Craig on Goodreads for a buddy read.
I previously rated this book 5 stars and unlike some of the other re-read reviews of this book, my star rating is staying the same.
Caraval is an incredible work of fantasy, magic, mystery, and mind-bending deception that blew me away on this re-read maybe more than it did the first time.
Before starting my re-read I remembered falling in love with the storytelling and imagery that Stephanie Garber executes perfectly through her use of colour when illuminating Scarlett’s feelings and to reveal certain aspects of the game. I was also really intrigued by the tunnels and their very unique magic.
I’d already read, and loved, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern a few years back and I felt the same glorious wonder and awe whilst exploring the world of Caraval.
The characters in Caraval are fantastic. Scarlett is brilliant. She’s compelling, fierce, protective, and driven, but at the same time she’s terribly confused, hurt and we see so much from her; so many colours of emotions from fear, horror and grief to wonder, hope and love.
I love her utter devotion to her sister, and that they are both willing to do whatever it takes to protect the other.
My sympathy for Scarlett just continued to grow as I travelled through this book due to the cruelty and torment that she is subjected to throughout the entirety of her story.
I won’t say anything about any of the other characters (although I really, really want to), for fear of giving anything away, so I’ll just leave you with this little snippet from two of the central characters.
“Don’t look at me like that,” Scarlett said. “It doesn’t work on me.”
“That’s why it’s so fun.”
Every step through this book feels like a magical adventure, right from the first page. Entering Caraval is truly a wondrous experience.
Whilst this book does contain a fair amount of 'romance', although it's not as simple as it sounds, I love how dark and twisted the story gets and how that creates a much deeper story and connection with the characters.
What I loved the most about reading Caraval again was that, even though it was a re-read, it was so fresh and mysterious, it honestly felt as though I was reading it again for the first time, and unravelling an entirely new mystery, (and isn’t that every book lovers’ desire? To read a book for the second time and have it feel like it’s the first time…) it made me love it even more.
On a side note, the ‘dress shopping’ scene in this book really fortifies my deeply rooted loathing for clothes shopping. You’ll understand what I mean when/if you’ve read it.
The chapters in this book flew by so quickly, I found myself at the end wondering if I’d gotten so lost in the story that time itself really had been affected by the magic of Caraval.
Overall, this book is one of my absolute favourites and I would highly recommend it to everyone.
I am now even more excited for Legendary!! I have so many questions that need to be answered!!
Prepare yourself for unsolvable mystery, repugnant villains, sisters willing to risk it all for a new life and a world filled with characters who are never what they seem.
“Remember, it’s only a game.”
Trigger warning: this book does contain forms of physical and mental abuse/torment.
Can I also just highlight how gorgeous the shiny gold foiling is both on the dust jacket and the hidden rose image beneath?!?
You can't see in the photo but the dust jacket is double toned, with a white back and split toned spine, making it even more stunning to look at!
Rating: 5 STARS!
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Romantic Comedy
How I got this book: Bought
1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome
2) A person's undoing
3) Joshua Templeman
Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She prides herself on being loved by everyone at work - except for imposing, impeccably attired Joshua Templeman.
Trapped in a shared office, they've become entrenched in an addictive game of one-upmanship. There's the Staring Game, The Mirror Game, The HR Game. Lucy can't let Joshua beat her at anything - especially when a huge promotion is on offer.
If Lucy wins, she'll be Joshua's boss. If she loses, she'll resign. So why is she questioning herself? Maybe she doesn't hate him. And just maybe, he doesn't hate her either. Or is this just another game . . . ?
I added this book to my TBR last September and then promptly forgot all about it until I saw someone raving about it on Goodreads. Their review was so good (sadly I can't remember whose it was) that I just had to read it, and I'm so glad I did.
This book is amazing. It's an enemies to lovers style trope with a guaranteed HEA and it's laugh out loud funny throughout.
"They’re brothers in arms. Comrades who’ve seen some seriously painty shit go down in this barren wasteland."
I literally read this book in 6 hours straight. I started it and could not put it down, I honestly don't even think I went to the bathroom.
It was cute, sweet, downright hilarious and super steamy! Brace yourselves for a few cold showers with this read, and some ridiculously high expectations in men once you're finished.
I also love the characters. Lucy is a book-nerd; she's sweet, she has a hilarious inner monologue and is so relatable it hurts.
"Josh watches ER and yawns, not at all suspecting I’m trying to estimate how big his rib cage is like a meat-eating predator."
Josh is the ultimate book boyfriend. He's sexy, sweet and drives Lucy crazy in all the best ways.
There were amazing laugh out loud moments in this book and I loved Lucy's rants and revelations.
“I want to know what’s going on in your brain. I want to juice your head like a lemon.”
The story is heartwarming, the development is perfect (a fantastic pace) and the love story comes together beautifully. This is the author's debut novel and it's so good, I just can't get it out of my head.
Fans of Tara Sivec's romantic comedies will absolutely love The Hating Game!
5 big, soppy, strawberry flavour stars from me.
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Book addict, film mad, music lover, business owner, aspiring writer and mum (not necessarily in that order), living in the UK.
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