Reviewed ♠ Caraval (Caraval #1) by Stephanie Garber

Goodreads Blurb

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.

My Review

Friendly advice: Do not read this book before going to bed, because you will simply end up neglecting your sleep, unable to let this book and this story out of your grasp, not even for a few hours.

In fact, in my case, I was in such a constant state of anxiousness, I kept turning the pages until I regretfully reached the end of this book, without even realizing it.

This story was so well-thought and well-written, the characters so truthful, some being so lovely and some others so loathsome, it was incredible. And, the book, of course, soon became one of the best I've read all year, seemingly effortlessly.
Meaning that everything took place so fast and the turns and plot twists were always around the corner, taking you by complete surprise, even if you were already suspicious of the ever-changing nature of Caraval and its players.
And, towards the end, when everything starts being slowly explained and things become clearer, it gets even more intriguing to go back and read the book from the beginning, seeing in new light all that took place and finally starting to make sense of it all.

As for the characters, Scarlett is amazing! She is who most people would be under similar circumstances. Confused, distrustful but brave and intelligent enough to keep going and trying to solve one riddle at a time, no matter how hard the situation. She is definitely my favorite of the two sisters, despite the fact that their strong bond makes me deeply envious of their relationship, and the fact that this is the kind of love I have never experienced and, sadly, do not expect to do so, anymore.

Concerning Julian, the mysterious sailor that whisks Tella and Scar away from their small isle, and introduces them to the mysterious and thrilling world of Caraval, all I can say is this:
I think I found myself a brand new book boyfriend.
One that made me feel all the things the heroine was feeling (yes, it is that much of a well-written book), and one that possibly even won me over even before we reached the half of the book.

And, of course, I couldn't not mention that ending. So mysterious and yet so revealing, and making me crave the second book in the series long before it is published.

From what the author herself has said, this is not the first book she has ever written.
However, after that introduction to the book industry, I am definitely going to be hooked and faithfully read everything she writes from now on.

All in all, there is nothing better than to be so immersed in a book, and read it so fast because the pages and the story are flowing so smoothly, that you find yourself unable to put it down. How not to give all the stars in such a book? Or, more accurately, a tear drop inside a star inside a sun!

Reviewed ♠ Confessions of a Shopaholic (Shopaholic, #1) by Sophie Kinsella

Confessions of a Shopaholic (Shopaholic, #1) 
Meet Rebecca Bloomwood.

She’s a journalist. She spends her working life telling others how to manage their money.
She spends her leisure time … shopping.

Retail therapy is the answer to all her problems. She knows she should stop, but she can’t. She tries Cutting Back, she tries Making More Money. But neither seems to work. The stories she concocts become more and more fantastic as she tries to untangle her increasingly dire financial difficulties. Her only comfort is to buy herself something – just a little something…

Can Becky ever escape from this dream world, find true love, and regain the use of her Switch card?

My Review

I found out about this book while searching for novels taking place in London, but I never expected just how awesomely British it would turn out to be!

There was quite a lot of British slang, which I immensely enjoyed, as I am not particularly used to it (yet), and the humor flawed in abundance in every single page. But not pointlessly, let me tell you.
In fact, some of the situations Rebecca (a name I looove, too) was throwing herself into were down-right hilarious, some really embarrassing, most of them had me sighing in exasperation and there was a point that I actually wanted to cry and also felt really proud of our heroine.

But, first things first. In the beginning of the novel, Rebecca Bloomwood is a spoiled young woman, working for a secondary financial newspaper, and having constantly only one thing in mind. Shopping. In a continuous circle of clothes-shoes-makeup-clothes. Despite her debt. Which is getting worse and worse with every mindless purchase she makes.
The banks and the various companies, whose debit cards have got way over the limit, are trying to contact her and how does she deal with it? Throw away their letters in numerous creative ways and go out for more shopping!

Really, as a person who doesn't like shopping all that much, reading about a character that is practically and utterly addicted to it, was hilarious, and just a little bit irritated by her complete lack of self-control. But, all these intense feelings only served to intensify my interest to see just how far could she go with that kind of behavior.

I found this novel completely addicting and just couldn't help but be completely absorbed by it and turning each page with more anticipation than the last one.
It was the kind of read I needed to enjoy on a quiet rainy afternoon, thinking of London's biggest and fanciest roads and the lives the different people living on them, lead.

I could almost say it was a fluffy read, but I wouldn't do it justice, considering it was so much more.

It was interesting, funny, with a witty and very clever protagonist, and a lot of unexpected courses of events that could inspire even the most hopeless of shopaholics.

Reviewed ♠ Maestra (Maestra #1) by L.S. Hilton

Maestra (Maestra #1)
Goodreads blurb

A shockingly original thriller - the launch title of Zaffre, the new fiction imprint of Bonnier Publishing Fiction

My Review

I have to admit that I had very high expectations when I picked this book.
I was actually ogling it in physical and online bookstores for several months.

However, when I actually got the chance to acquire it, and started reading it, the verdict didn't end up being so positive.
The opposite, in fact.

At first, it was okay, our heroine (whose name I have to think very hard about, in order to remember, after all those different ones she has used) was just a hardworking girl, who had made her life entirely on her own, with no help whatsoever from anyone else. And, (at first, let me emphasise) I actually admired her for it.

But, then, she just became power-money-fashion-sex hungry, interested only in herself, setting up dangerous tricks and even ending up killing people that didn't fill into her plans.

Somewhere around that point I had started being fed up of her whole attitude and her character in general, and the constant extremely detailed descriptions of every single piece of outfit she was wearing.

All in all, I'm disappointed to say, and try hard to avoid any strong verbs or nouns, that this book deeply tired me and almost forced me to drop it and never pick it up again, but I kept going just because I was curious as to how many more people would the heroine get rid of and play around like they were nothing.

BOOK BLAST | Returned by Kimberley Griffiths Little

Returned Trilogy


Returned by Kimberley Griffiths Little
 After tragedy strikes on the day they were to wed, Jayden must support Kadesh as he ascends the throne and becomes king of Sariba. But with the dark priestess Aliyah conspiring to control the crown, and the arrival of Horeb, Jayden’s former betrothed, Kadesh’s kingdom, as well as his status as king, is at stake. Jayden knows that the time to be merciful has come and gone, and that some enemies can only be halted by death. Now she and Kadesh must prepare to fight not only for their love, but also for their kingdom. This is the final book in the epic trilogy that began with Forbidden and Banished. Jayden and Kadesh’s love will be put to the ultimate test as they fight a war to save their kingdom.   amazon

  Praise for the Book   Booklist (starred review)
 “At its core, this is a romance, with all the push and pull that goes along with impossible love, and Little elevates the story by creating a perilous landscape, both outward and inward, as Jayden must deal with the hardship of desert life as well as her own desires. . . descriptions of the landscape are evocative in both desolation and in beauty. Just as good is the pacing, which gets the blood pumping for both characters and readers. This will heighten anticipation for a no-doubt exciting conclusion.”   Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books “Rich historical details are deftly woven into Jayden’s narration, and the dynamics of Jayden’s tribe are vividly drawn. Jayden’s story becomes as much about finding herself as it is about finding love.”   Reader: “This book took my breath away. I loved the immersive story and the rich setting of ancient Mesopotamia. The customs, traditions, and beliefs of the desert people were captivating and every time I set the book down I couldn't wait to pick it up again. I've never read anything like this before.”   Reader: “Forbidden was so captivating that I awoke early in the morning, while my family was still sleeping, so I could finish the last pages of this beautifully haunting tale.”   add to goodreads   SONY DSC

Author Kimberley Griffiths Little
 Kimberley Griffiths Little is the author of ten award-winning Middle-Grade and Young Adult novels with Knopf, Scholastic and Harpercollins, including the Whitney Award, the Arizona/New Mexico Book Award, the SCBWI Crystal Kite, the Southwest Book Award, and others. ALA BOOKLIST named FORBIDDEN, the first book in her Ancient Mesopotamian historical fantasy a Young Adult Top 10 novel for the Historical category, Romance category, and Religious/Inspirational. Kimberley adores anything old and musty with a secret story to tell. She once stayed in the haunted tower room at Borthwick Castle in Scotland and didn’t sleep a wink; sailed the Seine in Paris; ridden a camel in Petra, Jordan; shopped the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul; and spent the night in an old Communist hotel in Bulgaria. She was born in San Francisco but now lives on the banks of the Rio Grande with her husband and three sons.  
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