Remember It’s Only a Game

5/5

“Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find yourself to magic in this world.”

This book was on my radar for several months before it’s release; I mean, after reading Night Circus, I absolutely adored the whole concept of these magical circuses/ performances. When I saw that Owlcrate’s theme was “Night at the Circus” right around this book’s release, I knew that this was the book that would be included and it killed me waiting to buy the book from stores. And now, after finally reading the book, I’m kicking myself for not having read it sooner.

I fell in love with this book pretty much from day one when I read the premise, and I definitely was not disappointed when actually reading the book. Talk about some amazing world-building! It was even more incredible than I could have ever hoped for it to be.

“Hope is a powerful thing. Some say it’s a different breed of magic altogether. Elusive, difficult to hold onto. But not much is needed.”

Without giving too much away, I will say that I loved all the characters. I loved the storyline. I loved the twists. I loved the world. I. Loved. Caraval.

I’m not sure that I can ever recall a time that I read a book with as many unexpected twists as this book. I know the whole tag line, “Remember it’s only a game” and Scarlett being told constantly to not believe anything that she sees or hears as truth, I should’ve expected more than I did; but no matter how much I guessed at, there was always something new right around the corner. It definitely held my interest and left me guessing at what certain things could possibly mean- like those damn clues! Every single time I thought I’d figured something out, a new twist came about or something big arose that made you realize you were wrong the whole time. After finishing, I realized something that left me both endlessly pleased and frustrated: the whole book was written with the intent of subtly misdirecting the audience… just like a real magic show.

Pretty sure that this book is, and will remain, among one of my top reads for the whole year. If you’re on the fence about reading this book at all, give it a shot. It’s definitely worth the read.

Waiting for the next book to come out is going to be a whole new breed of torture. With that damn cliffhanger ending, I’m sure I’m not the only one chomping at the bit for the sequel.

“Some things are worth persuit regardless of the cost.”

_______

-Lauren

Currently Reading:

-Dream a Little Dream (Kerstin Geir): page 40

-Novice (BR with boyfriend): page 104

Curses, Swords, and Magic, Oh My!


5/5! Loved this.

 “…your greatest enemy isn’t what you fight but what you fear.” 

In all honesty, I bought this duology out of order and without having the tiniest clue what they were about. I’ve had them just sitting on my shelf for at least a year now- this seems to be a common occurrence for me. Though, I know I’m not alone in that problem. In fact, as many of you know, Ash and I even created a whole reading challenge for the year in order to tackle some of the ones we’ve got. 

Definitely glad to have finally picked this one up!! I absolutely loved this book from start to finish. I’ve always been a sucker for things that involve witch hunting (such a horribly tragic time in human history) and when one like this includes actual witchcraft and an interesting take on Magic and everything that goes along with it, I can’t help but love it. Ugh.

The storyline was super unique but very easy to follow, though not without its twists. And the book as a whole flowed so seamlessly. I was hooked while reading this entire book- there was so much depth to all aspects of the storyline and the characters. 
I loved watching Elizabeth develop as a character throughout this book. Her growth was amazing and seeing how she worked through her fear(s) was such an incredible thing to witness. Such a good book!
_______

Lauren 

It’s the End(game) of the World as we know it.


5/5

First of all, a big thank you to my lovely boyfriend Matt for picking this book out and for being willing to read it with me. Being able to hear your thoughts as you read, seeing who you liked first hand as I formed my own opinions and finishing the book within ten minutes of you just proves all over again that I’m lucky to have found you. Thank you for being willing to put up with my craziness and doing a buddy read with me. (:

REVIEW TIME! 

“This is Endgame, bitch. Best get used to it.” 

Oh, man. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Despite there being periods of time I didn’t touch it at all, picking it back up I was always thoroughly immersed in the story and the characters and everything else that was going on. This one hooked me from the first page and kept me hooked until the very end. 

Given the premise and everything, I definitely anticipated enjoying this book, but I didn’t realize how much I would enjoy it. 

One qualm I’d have, given the premise, is that there really wasn’t enough death. Albeit, the deaths that did occur were quite brutal and I felt like that was true to the aim of the book, but I’m anticipating a lot more death in the future books or I’ll be quite sad…. sounds weird, I know. But it’s a book about the impending doom of the planet and I can count the number of deaths we witnessed on one hand- aside from one exception. 

I don’t want to give too much away because this book was like a puzzle at times and I loved being fed little bits of information at a time. It really did make me want to continue reading. I absolutely cannot wait to pick the next book in this series up!!

__________

-Lauren

Currently Reading:

-The Witch Hunter (just starting)

-Island of Exiles (just starting)

Make it Worth the Pain


5/5 

Okay, first of all, I really need to kick the habit of waiting ages to actually finish a book like this just because I’m sad that the series is ending or that I’ll have to wait for the next one. Gahhh
I’m so sad that this duology is finished already, I absolutely loved this world and the characters and the monsters and everything else.
I would have LOVED to see more of what happened in the other cities- I want to know what became of everything in Prosperity and I’m kinda keeping my fingers crossed now that there will be a spinoff or something. 
August is one of those characters that you just feel for page after page after page. I love that kid so much and my heart breaks for him in so many ways. I don’t think I’ve ever sympathized for a character so much. Especially when I sit and actually reflect on everything that’s happened. Ughh 
Finishing this only further solidified my previous statement: I will read everything this woman writes. She’s a phenomenal writer with a solid knack for world building. 
This duology will always come highly recommended by me- so if you’re looking for a good read, check these books out!
This book left me a mess last night when I finished though, I couldn’t bring myself to leave a review right away. I cried way too much.
Thank you, Schwab for ripping my heart out yet again. Ughhh

___________________

-Lauren 

Currently Reading: 

-My Lady Jane (page 67)

-Endgame (page 203)

We Each Have a Song


5/5. Hands down.

Yup, it’s official. I will read anything and everything this woman writes.
I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to read any of Schwab’s books, but after reading A Darker Shade of Magic and having this stare at me from my shelf I finally picked it up. So. Damn. Good.


Yet again, Schwab created this amazingly in-depth world without it being a major info dump like so many books seem to be. She gives you bits and pieces of characters and the world and the lore and it’s so freaking cool. You don’t feel overwhelmed, you get excited whenever you learn something, and it gets you hooked to want to just KEEP READING.


The couple times I actually had an hour or so to spare and sat down I flew through a couple hundred pages and I was constantly thinking about this book when I wasn’t reading.


The world is so freaking cool. I love all the different dystopian type worlds out there, but the monsters that rule this one- both human and other- are so well thought out and so intricate. Aghhhh. 
The twists were perfect in this book. Subtle enough to not be catastrophic but big enough to move the plot forward. I’m so excited to see what’s in store!
I literally told my boyfriend before I was even halfway done that as soon as I finished this I needed to go get the next one. I’m dying. I need more!!

__________

-Lauren

Currently Reading:

-Endgame- page 204

-Flashfall- page 100

-Strange the Dreamer

Parabatai

What better book to finish on National Best Friend’s Day than this one?

Solid 5/5 for me on this book, for sure.

Guys. I’m not gonna lie, I just finished this book and I’m kind of a wreck at the moment. People kept telling me the ending would get me but I can tell you I honestly did not see that coming. I mean… whyyyyy?!

I don’t want to give anything away, but I love that this book really did pick up right where the previous one left off. We’re given much back story to certain characters and events and we get to see more of some previous characters as well.

Clare really stepped up her game with this one and set things up so nicely for the final installment and I absolutely cannot wait (even though we’ve got a two year wait until that one). 

I love Julian and Emma. So freaking much. I love the Blackthorns with all my heart and my heart breaks for Julian really never having the chance to be a kid. He’s strong and resilient and a damn good person though, I’ll give him that. His loyalty to his family is immeasurable.

I stretched this book out for a ridiculous amount of time and I’m so sad that it’s over now. Can’t wait to enter the world again though, and a reread is definitely in store.

________________

Lauren 

Currently Reading: 

*Flashfall

*Endgame


In a Kingdom by the Sea


5/5


I tried. I tried so hard to make this book last and I think I did a pretty good job this second go around, but oh my gosh.
Cassandra Clare. I adore you and despise you all at once. You are a phenomenal writer who really, really, really knows how to fuck up your readers and mess with their hearts and their emotions. 


The characters in this book were absolutely amazing! Seriously, getting to really meet the Blackthorns and Emma, getting to know all the siblings and seeing the way they interact together, how Emma fits in, Christina and Perfect Diego, Diana, Malcolm Fade, Johnny and Kit Rook, and all the other characters in this book just made it so much better. I would love to be a part of the Blackthorn family, those kids are all so incredible in their own ways. I love the way they differ, their little quirks and their obscure interests. Emma was absolutely incredible- I love seeing a good, kick-ass heroine who, for once, is so beyond sure of herself and her skills and doesn’t let people talk down to her for being female. She’s amazing and I love the friendship between her and Christina. 


Then there’s the whole Emma and Julian thing. Ugh my babies, I feel so bad for them and my heart really does go out to them and all their suffering. This book was killer to get through at some points because all you want is for them to be happy together. 


This entire book really did fly by so quickly looking back. Everything progressed at a good pace, and nothing was dragged out too long. 
That ending though… with this reread I’m dying to read Lord of Shadows even more!


((Side note- for those who read the little bonus story at the end, WHAT WAS THAT LAST BIT ABOUT?!?!)


-Lauren

_________________
 Currently Reading: Flashfall