If It’s Not A Rant, It’s A Rave: Review of Legendary by Stephanie Garber

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Title:
 Legendary
Author: Stephanie Garber
Publisher:
Flatiron Books
Release Date: May 29, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

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Synopsis:

Stephanie Garber’s limitless imagination takes flight once more in the colorful, mesmerizing, and immersive sequel to the bestselling breakout debut Caraval

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.


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Hello, again! Yes, I am back to gush and rave about the world of Caraval (RAVING REVIEW HERE), but more importantly its sequel: Legendary. As some of you already know, I am a huge Caraval fanatic. I’ve read the book three times, and each time it gets better and better. So when Legendary was announced, I knew I had to get my hands on it, and of course buy all the copies: US edition, special editions, Goldsboro’s edition, Waterstone’s edition, and all the UK editions. I’m a mess, you guys! I know it’s the same book with the same exact words with the same story, but I need all the editions. And finally, after much . . . and I mean so much contemplation, and trying to accept that my raving review would have to be sufficient enough to explain how much I LOVED Legendary, here are a few of my raving thoughts on the book.

Once again Stephanie Garber, creates a world filled with magic, romance, mystery, enchantment, and the most beautiful darkness. I adore Stephanie’s richly descriptive writing style. Each of her sentences are like shimmering swirls of an enchanting spell. Stephanie’s storytelling is very atmospheric, metaphoric ,and spellbinding; it has that hint of pulling at the heart and the aching emotion that true magic encompasses the world of Caraval.

Legendary is Tella’s story (Scarlett’s sister). I will admit, at first, I was not 100% on board for Tella’s story, because I wanted more Scarlett, but WHOA! I am so glad I gave Tella and her story a chance. Tella acts so fierce and determined on the outside. But behind her fire, Tella bottles up her loneliness, the motivation to protect her sister, and the emotional effects of being abandoned by her mother at such a young age. Even though everyone seems to underestimate Tella, she is definitely a fighter. What I like about Tella is that she doesn’t hold back any attitude or motivation to do what she believes is right. There is a darker aura that surrounds Tella compared to Scarlett, but I enjoyed watching Tella mature throughout the novel.

I also found Legendary to be much more darker than Caraval, and the darker atmosphere definitely adds a lot of intrigue and mystery to the novel. Death and loneliness tend be constant entities that litter Tella’s story, and you just cannot look away from the action that ensues. I highly recommend that you read Legendary NOW! Not only will you discover the true identity of Legend, but you will also be swept up into a new game of Caraval with deadly kisses, the power of the fates, and sacrifice. 

star rating

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Note: Thank you to Flatiron Books for providing me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own.
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If It’s Not A Rant, It’s A Rave: Review of Song of Blood & Stone by L. Penelope

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Title:
Song of Blood & Stone
Author: L. Penelope
Publisher:
St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, New Adult, Romance Fantasy

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Synopsis:

A treacherous, thrilling, epic fantasy about an outcast drawn into a war between two powerful rulers. 

Orphaned and alone, Jasminda lives in a land where cold whispers of invasion and war linger on the wind. Jasminda herself is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira, where her gift of Earthsong is feared. When ruthless soldiers seek refuge in her isolated cabin, they bring with them a captive–an injured spy who threatens to steal her heart. 

Jack’s mission behind enemy lines to prove that the Mantle between Elsira and Lagamiri is about to fall nearly cost him his life, but he is saved by the healing Song of a mysterious young woman. Now he must do whatever it takes to save Elsira and it’s people from the True Father and he needs Jasminda’s Earthsong to do it. They escape their ruthless captors and together they embark on a perilous journey to save Elsira and to uncover the secrets of The Queen Who Sleeps. 

Thrust into a hostile society, Jasminda and Jack must rely on one another even as secrets jeopardize their bond. As an ancient evil gains power, Jasminda races to unlock a mystery that promises salvation. 

The fates of two nations hang in the balance as Jasminda and Jack must choose between love and duty to fulfill their destinies and end the war.


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From the very beginning, Song of Blood & Stone sucked me in. There is so much mystery and action that fills the first chapter, and I definitely wanted to know what was going on. Additionally, the book contains such elegant world-building, a unique magic called Earthsong, and, of course, the most intriguing characters. And with so many secrets and intrigue littering every page, I was on the edge of my seat to see how the story unfolded. 

In addition to the magic and beautiful world-building in Song of Blood & Stone, I really loved the two main characters, Jasminda and Jack. Jasminda is powerful, independent, caring, and has so much heart. And I found Jack to also be bold, mysterious, and kindhearted. The chemistry between these characters is a slow burn, but near the middle and end of the book, their relationship sizzles in the best possible ways. 

If you are fan of fantasy books with great world-building, a dash of swoons, and unique magic, you need to pick up Song of Blood & Stone. This book surprised me in the best possible ways. Every page held my attention, and I strongly wanted to know what was going to happen from beginning to end. I am very much looking forward to continuing this series.

4 star rating

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Penelope, L._CREDIT Valerie Bey
About the Author

Leslye Penelope has been writing since she could hold a pen and loves getting lost in the worlds in her head. She is an award-winning author of new adult, fantasy, and paranormal romance. She lives in Maryland with her husband and their furry dependents: an eighty-pound lap dog and an aspiring feral cat.

 

 

Note: Thank you to Wednesday Books/St. Martin’s for providing me an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own.

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Review of Airports, Exes, and Other Things I’m Over

Title: Airports, Exes, and Other Things I’m Over
Author: Shani Petroff
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: May 15th 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Synopsis:

A bad storm, two canceled flights, stuck in an airport with a hot stranger and the guy who broke her heart… what could go wrong?

After Sari caught her boyfriend Zev cheating on her, their romantic Florida vacation was ruined. She can’t get back to NYC soon enough. Unfortunately, mother nature may have different plans. A huge storm is brewing in the Northeast, and flights all over the country are getting canceled—including Sari’s. She winds up stuck at the airport for hours. With Zev!

When another stranded passenger (a hot NYU guy) suggests a connecting flight to Boston, Sari jumps at the chance. But when her mom freaks out about her traveling alone, she has no choice—she has to include Zev, and somehow survive being trapped with the guy who broke her heart!

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo


 

Wow! I found this book to be a super quick and engaging read. Even though Airports, Exes, and Other Things I’m Over spans over a week, Sari and Zev’s story definitely encompasses so much to unravel. And you know that saying, “when it rains it pours”? Well, when it came to Sari’s spring break and her one shot to sing at a local club, anything and everything seems to go wrong in the span of a few days. 

One of my favorite characters in the book was Zev. I loved that his goal was to explain any misconstrued situation, so Sari knew the facts and the truth. Sari tended to overthink everything and failed to see that there are several sides to a story. It’s smart for Sari to protect herself first, but I knew there were some holes in her observations. Throughout the story, Zev is always trying to open communication between him and Sari, and it’s so adorable how he always tries to make sure that she is okay and comfortable. I liked that Zev gave Sari room to think and breathe when anything dramatic blew up, but he was also determined to fight for the truth, their friendship, and ultimately love. 

The plot of Airports, Exes, and Other Things I’m Over relies heavily on lack of communication and misunderstood situations. I’m not a huge fan of books that have so much “lack of communication,” but this plot devise definitely keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. If you love A LOT  of drama in your stories, which definitely keeps the story rolling, give Airports, Exes, and Other Things I’m Over a try. This book is such a fast read and the ending is so swoony. 

3 star rating

about the author

Author Bio:

Shani Petroff is a writer living in New York City. She’s the author of the “Bedeviled” series, which includes Daddy’s Little Angel, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Dress, Careful What You Wish For, and Love Struck, and is the co-author of the “Destined” series which includes Ash and Ultraviolet. She also writes for television news programs and several other venues. When she’s not locked in her apartment typing away, she spends a whole lot of time on books, boys, TV, daydreaming, and shopping online.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

GIVEAWAY!

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Review of The Game Can’t Love You Back

Title: The Game Can’t Love You Back
Author: Karole Cozzo
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication date: May 15th 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Synopsis:

Eve is used to being the odd woman out. As the only girl on her school’s baseball team, she knows exactly how to put sweaty, macho baseball players in their place, and she’s focused on one thing and one thing only—being the best pitcher she can be.

But when a freak accident forces her high school to be absorbed by the neighboring town, Eve has to contend with a new group of guys who aren’t used to having a woman on their team. And the new team’s star pitcher, Jamie, has no interest in being ousted from his throne. He can’t afford to give up his starting slot to a new pitcher—even worse, to a girl.

As the competition between Jamie and Eve starts to heat up, so does their attraction to each other. Can they keep their heads in the game, or will they end up getting played?

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo


my review

I love Karole Cozzo’s writing style and once again her storytelling did not disappoint. I really loved that The Game Can’t Love You Back has very honest and realistic characters. The two main characters, Jamie and Eve, are both competitive, independent, and are dealing with their own personal issues. But what I liked about Jamie and Eve is that they are both so authentic and don’t hold back their emotions. In some young adult novels, the lack of communication always causes the worst and most annoying drama, but when it comes to this book, these characters hold back very little and then burst with the most straightforward answers and opinions.

Additionally, I really enjoyed the romance that unfolds in The Game Can’t Love You Back. The story does have a “hate-to-love” feel, but once Jamie and Eve start connecting and interacting, there is no turning back from the heated chemistry between these two. The novel definitely reads like a teenage movie and I really enjoyed watching all the characters find their own paths. 

However, I do wish there was more focus on family dynamics in the book. We get some brief encounters with both characters’ families, but after the speech that Eve’s mom gives to Eve on Mother’s Day, I was craving more interaction. Plus, Jamie’s sister is shadowed in the background and I would have enjoyed some more scenes between the two siblings. Overall, I think The Game Can’t Love You Back is a hit. If you love baseball, girl power, playful rivalry, swoons, and romantic gestures, definitely give this book a read. 

3 star rating

about the author


Author Bio:

Karole lives outside of Philadelphia, PA with her loving husband, exuberant little girl, and smiley little boy. She adores YA Romance, because it would be awesome if life in general had a requisite feel-good happy ending rule. Vices include obscene Haribo gummy consumption, addiction to Starbucks NF vanilla lattes, and tendency to hoard Bath and Body Works 3-wick candles.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

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Note: Thank you to Macmillan and Xpresso Tours for having me on this blog tour and for providing me a review copy to read for free in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own. 

Blog Tour: A Playlist for THE STRANGE FASCINATIONS OF NOAH HYPNOTIK by David Arnold

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Title: The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik
Author: David Arnold
Publisher: Viking Children’s
Release Date: May 22, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction

Synopsis:

The New York Times bestselling author of Kids of Appetite and Mosquitoland brings a speculative twist to his latest novel. The result: an incisive and deeply humane story with the feel of Haruki Murakami for teens.

“An epic wonder”* from the bestselling author of Mosquitoland

This is Noah Oakman → sixteen, Bowie believer, concise historian, disillusioned swimmer, son, brother, friend.

Then Noah → gets hypnotized.

Now Noah → sees changes–inexplicable scars, odd behaviors, rewritten histories–in all those around him. All except his Strange Fascinations . . . 

A stunning surrealist portrait, The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik is a story about all the ways we hurt our friends without knowing it, and all the ways they stick around to save us.


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Told in first person point of view, The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik is a coming-of-age story that explores the strange and fascinating life of Noah Oakman. Noah is tired of figuratively wearing the same old sweater. After being hypnotized, Noah starts noticing all these crazy physical and personality changes with his family, friends, and even his dog. As Noah explores these odd occurrences, he also starts contemplating the definition of being alone versus alienation. Throughout the novel, Noah delves into his life choices while backpacking his favorite authors, books, musicians like David Bowie, and iconic songs along for the ride. Check out my 5-star RAVING review HERE

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Music and notable musicians play important roles in The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik, and throughout Noah’s mind-boggling life he highlights the most fantastic tunes. But what fascinated me the most is that Noah’s world is surrounded by great people who inspire the perfect playlist. Below, check out some of my favorite quotes which sparked an eclectic playlist of songs. 

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WEEK ONE

May 7 – The Blonde Bookworm – Review
May 8 – Confessions of a YA Reader – Review + My Strange Fascinations
May 9 – Forever Bookish – Review
May 10 – Rants and Raves of a Bibliophile – Playlist with Graphic Quotes
May 11 – Adventures in YA Publishing – Author Q&A

WEEK TWO

May 14 – The Nerdy Girl Express – Review
May 15 – A Court of Coffee and Books – Review + Graphic Quotes
May 16 – BookCrushin – Review + Playlist
May 17 – Mind of a Book Dragon – Review
May 18 – Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Author Guest Post:  What Would Your Strange Fascination Be?

WEEK THREE

May 21 – Pop! Goes the Reader – Wallpaper
May 22 – The Young Folks – Author Q&A
May 23 – Page Travels – Creative Instagram
May 24 – Bookfoolery – Review
May 25 – Dazzled by Books – Candle Creation Post + Review

WEEK FOUR

May 28 – Paper Trail YA – Author Q&A
May 29 – Snowandbooks – Review + Aesthetic Board
May 30 – Reading Writing and Me – Book Review
May 31 – The Radiant Reader – Playlist + Creative Instagram Picture
June 1 – We Live and Breathe Books – Review + Moodboard

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David Arnold lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with his (lovely) wife and (boisterous) son. He is the New York Times bestselling author of Kids of Appetite and Mosquitoland, and his books have been translated into a dozen languages.

 

 

WEBSITE   /   TWITTER  /   GOODREADS   /
FACEBOOK 
 /   
INSTAGRAM

 

 


Note: Thank you to Penguin Teen for having me on this blog tour and for providing me a review copy to read for free in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own. Please note that I do not own or have rights to any of the music, lyrics, quotes, or videos shown in this blog post. All quote images were created by me.

If It’s Not a Rant, It’s a Rave: Review of THE STRANGE FASCINATIONS OF NOAH HYPNOTIK by David Arnold

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Title: The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik
Author: David Arnold
Publisher: Viking Children’s
Release Date: May 22, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction

Synopsis:

The New York Times bestselling author of Kids of Appetite and Mosquitoland brings a speculative twist to his latest novel. The result: an incisive and deeply humane story with the feel of Haruki Murakami for teens.

“An epic wonder”* from the bestselling author of Mosquitoland

This is Noah Oakman → sixteen, Bowie believer, concise historian, disillusioned swimmer, son, brother, friend.

Then Noah → gets hypnotized.

Now Noah → sees changes–inexplicable scars, odd behaviors, rewritten histories–in all those around him. All except his Strange Fascinations . . . 

A stunning surrealist portrait, The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik is a story about all the ways we hurt our friends without knowing it, and all the ways they stick around to save us.


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First off . . . WHOA!

There is no one way to explain the profound literary oddities and beautiful complexities of The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik. But for me, this book was a combination of my favorite movie, one of my favorite books, and one of my favorite TV shows. Mix the quirks and cerebral explorations found in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, add in a dash of Holden Caulfield’s blunt honesty and independent drive and the uncensored monologues of Angela Chase in My So-Called Life, and you get the perfect tome called The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik.

The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik is a modern-day coming-of-age story that highlights and explores the emotional aspects of being alone versus loneliness. Told in first person point-of-view, Noah (the main character) explains to the reader that he is tired of figuratively wearing the same old sweater. He is tired of everyone expecting a traditional path for his future, when he honestly doesn’t even know what he wants. So after drinking the fruitiest of alcoholic beverages and ranting to a random stranger, Noah is hypnotized and wakes up noticing all these crazy physical and personality changes with his family, friends, and even his dog. The only constant in his life is his hilarious and good-hearted sister, Penny. For months, Noah unravels his own thoughts and exerts himself into the lives of lonely strangers. And in the end, Noah wakes up to a world of panic, concerns, heartache, but more importantly, love, compassion, and a triangular friendship.

David Arnold is one of my favorite young adult writers because his novels always encompass so much passion; his characters are so authentic and his storytelling always provides a realistic truth and the raw grittiness of teenage life. So when it comes to The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik, once again, David wrote a book that took my love for his work to the next level.

This contemporary book, with a sprinkle of science fiction, made me laugh so hard but also tear up in other scenes.  The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik made me want to listen to Bowie non-stop and watch my favorite episodes of Gilmore Girls. And oddly enough, this novel made me think about how much I love my younger brother and how I appreciate that he is that stable constant in my life. If you love humming to the theme song of Friends and following a eccentric character that takes you on an unbeaten path, pull up a chair and open the pages to Noah’s strange and fascinating life known as The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik.

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David Arnold lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with his (lovely) wife and (boisterous) son. He is the New York Times bestselling author of Kids of Appetite and Mosquitoland, and his books have been translated into a dozen languages.

 


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BSITE   /   TWITTER  /   GOODREADS   /
FACEBOOK   /   INSTAGRAM

 

 

Note: Thank you to Penguin Teen for providing me a review copy to read for free in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own.

Review of Royals by Rachel Hawkins

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Title:
Royals
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

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Synopsis:

Meet Daisy Winters. She’s an offbeat sixteen-year-old Floridian with mermaid-red hair; a part time job at a bootleg Walmart, and a perfect older sister who’s nearly engaged to the Crown Prince of Scotland. Daisy has no desire to live in the spotlight, but relentless tabloid attention forces her to join Ellie at the relative seclusion of the castle across the pond. 

While the dashing young Miles has been appointed to teach Daisy the ropes of being regal, the prince’s roguish younger brother kicks up scandal wherever he goes, and tries his best to take Daisy along for the ride. The crown–and the intriguing Miles–might be trying to make Daisy into a lady . . . but Daisy may just rewrite the royal rulebook to suit herself.


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Royals by Rachel Hawkins is a fun and fluffy read. This story has everything from cute princes, a snarky female lead, angst, and my favorite, all the swoons. Although the main character Daisy is forced to spend her summer in a new country and in the spotlight with royalty, I think she handles her situation very well. She is told what not to do, what to do, and is oftentimes forced to put on a show for society. I often felt like I was watching a 90s movie, where change is inevitable, but the female lead allows herself to rebel against society’s standards and be who she wants to be. 

I honestly felt sorry for Daisy throughout the book. She did not ask to be thrown into this world of royalty and proper etiquette. In one part of the book, her and her best friend had a whole trip planned out to meet their favorite author and I hated that her sister’s engagement to a prince ruins those plans. I had to grit my teeth because Daisy was forced to go with the flow and do what other people want. So not fair! But what I liked about Daisy is that even though she is forced to put on a show, she still puts her foot down when needed. She doesn’t allow herself to get lost in this royalty mess. 

Overall, I found Royals to a very quick and cute read. However, I felt like it was missing something–that spark that makes it different and “wows” me. I never felt that spark. I did, however, love the ending and I hope there is a lot more in store for Daisy and Miles. 

3 star rating

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Note: Thank you to Penguin Random House’s First to Read program for providing me an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own.