ARC/Book Review: Caraval – Stephanie Garber

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Title: Caraval (2017)
Series: Untitled – Book #1
Author: Stephanie Garber
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Extent: 416 pages
Release Date: January 31, 2017
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Goodreads Description

Scarlett has never left the tiny isle of Trisda, pining from afar for the wonder of Caraval, a once-a-year week-long performance where the audience participates in the show.

Caraval is Magic. Mystery. Adventure. And for Scarlett and her beloved sister Tella it represents freedom and an escape from their ruthless, abusive father.

When the sisters’ long-awaited invitations to Caraval finally arrive, it seems their dreams have come true. But no sooner have they arrived than Tella vanishes, kidnapped by the show’s mastermind organiser, Legend.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But nonetheless she quickly becomes enmeshed in a dangerous game of love, magic and heartbreak. And real or not, she must find Tella before the game is over, and her sister disappears forever.

Review

Well, where to begin? Caraval is on many, and I mean many, people’s most anticipated lists for 2017, and it was… well, it was good (in fact pretty damn great at some parts) but it was not as good as I wanted, and those two are very, very different things. Let’s get to it. 🙏

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Book Review: The Diabolic – S. J. Kincaid

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Title: The Diabolic (2016)
Author: S. J. Kincaid
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Extent: 416 pages
Release Date: November 1, 2016
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Goodreads Description

Nemesis is a Diabolic, a humanoid teenager created to protect a galactic senator’s daughter, Sidonia. The two have grown up side by side, but are in no way sisters. Nemesis is expected to give her life for Sidonia, and she would do so gladly. She would also take as many lives as necessary to keep Sidonia safe.

When the power-mad Emperor learns Sidonia’s father is participating in a rebellion, he summons Sidonia to the Galactic court. She is to serve as a hostage. Now, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia. She must become her. Nemesis travels to the court disguised as Sidonia—a killing machine masquerading in a world of corrupt politicians and two-faced senators’ children. It’s a nest of vipers with threats on every side, but Nemesis must keep her true abilities a secret or risk everything.

Review

The Diabolic is the story of Nemesis, an artificial creature created specifically to the person she is chemically bonded with. Her entire life is devoted to Sidonia, a senator’s daughter, and when she has to impersonate Sidonia as the Emperor’s hostage to protect her, she does so completely willingly, even knowing that she might be walking straight into her death.

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ARC/Book Review: Heartless – Marissa Meyer

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Title: Heartless (2016)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Extent: 464 pages
Release Date: November 8, 2016
Rating: ★★★★☆

Goodreads Description

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king’s marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship.

Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

Review

Heartless is my first Marissa Meyer book, and boy, was I excited to get to it! I originally wanted to read The Lunar Chronicles first but decided against it because of its representation problems, but this book, being loosely related to Alice in Wonderland, takes the cake for me. 😍

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Book Review: Zac and Mia – A. J. Betts

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Title: Zac and Mia (2013)
Author: A. J. Betts
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Extent: 310 pages
Release Date: July 24, 2013
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Goodreads Description

“When I was little I believed in Jesus and Santa, spontaneous combustion, and the Loch Ness monster. Now I believe in science, statistics, and antibiotics.”

So says seventeen-year-old Zac Meier during a long, grueling leukemia treatment in Perth, Australia. A loud blast of Lady Gaga alerts him to the presence of Mia, the angry, not-at-all-stoic cancer patient in the room next door. Once released, the two near-strangers can’t forget each other, even as they desperately try to resume normal lives. The story of their mysterious connection drives this unflinchingly tough, tender novel told in two voices.

Review

Plenty of people compared this to John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. I didn’t really get that feel, but I could certainly see the similarities: two kids with cancer fall in love. The characters and personalities in Zac and Mia are different, though, so I’d say the story is quite different.

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Book Review: It Ends With Us – Colleen Hoover

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Title: It Ends With Us (2016)
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: New Adult
Extent: 376 pages
Release Date: August 2, 2016
Rating: ★★★★☆

Goodreads Description

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up — she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, and maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily, but Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan – her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

Review

I wasn’t really expecting to pick up any of Colleen Hoover’s works — I’ve been warned multiple times before that she writes stuff I usually wouldn’t like (insta-love, over-angst, etc.), so I steered clear and abided by people’s recommendation… until, well, It Ends With Us. I read a couple of positive reviews, saw that it’s different to her usual stuff, and decided to take a dip. The result? Well… this is an interesting one. This review might contain spoilers, so tread with caution. 🙂

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