Book Reviews

Book Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Happy Monday bookish people! Today I am bringing you the book review for one of my favorite books that I have read – Caraval by Stephanie Garber! I can’t wait to share my thoughts with you all.

In this book review I will give star ratings to four categories and I will write a little bit about each one. I will try to keep it as spoiler free as possible. I hope you enjoy my book review.

Caraval Plot:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I happened to pick this book up in a WhSmith in one of those service stations on the motorway while on a long car journey because I liked the sound of a circus-y themed competition story. I didn’t know then that this book would start an obsession with all things circus, particularly books with that setting. I love the plot of this book, it is filled to the brim with magic and escapism and one of the things I always love in books – not knowing who or what you can trust. This book completely messes with your head while at the same time being joyously beautiful and whimsical, dashed with danger. I could not put this book down.

Caraval Characters:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Scarlett Dragna is one of two sisters, Scarlett and Tella, and in Caraval we follow Scarlett after Tella goes missing and Scarlett must compete in Caraval to find her. She is headstrong and fierce, especially in her loyalty to her sister. Scarlett is the character that I wish I could be (and who I will be dressing up as for YALC next year). The other character who features heavily in this book is Julian de Santos, he’s a cheeky, charming, mysterious man often described as looking like a rogue/pirate. As soon as I read that I knew I was going to love him, he’s definitely in my top five male book characters.

Caraval Writing and Dialogue:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Stephanie Garber is an exceptionally good writer who has such talent that she drew me in from the very first sentence of the book and has captured my interest ever since. I have read the first and second book in the series so far and I find myself thinking on it all the time.

Caraval Overall:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I had to give this book five stars because as I said, it is one of my favourite books I have ever read.

Blurb/Synopsis:

A legendary competition.
A mesmerizing romance.
An unbreakable bond
between two sisters.

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.

That’s it for this book review, I hope you all enjoyed it!

Book Reviews

Book Review: Crescent City by Sarah J Maas

Happy Monday bookish people! It’s Monday which means it’s time for another book review post.

In this book review I will give star ratings to four categories and I will write a little about each one. I will try to keep it as spoiler free as possible. I hope you enjoy my book review.

Crescent City Plot:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

To begin with I was undecided if I was going to buy this book or not because I owned the whole Throne of Glass series and the whole A Court of Thorns and Roses series but I hadn’t read any of them yet – plus this book is huge! It actually didn’t take me as long to get around to this book as I thought it would. I wanted some good fantasy and that is exactly what I got. One of the things that I loved about this book was how information and secrets was weaved throughout the book. The mystery it self had so many parts to it, and there was a lot of things that were a cause and effect. The tension in this book was so good, I didn’t know which characters were lying and telling the truth.

Crescent City Characters:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I loved the main characters in this book. Bryce is a very fiery female lead, I loved her wit and personality. I loved that she had flaws, and they were explored properly – they had consequences and this isn’t often shown in books. Then there’s Hunt who I think balanced out Bryce’s character well although he also got under her skin.

Crescent City Writing and Dialogue:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book convinced me to read some of Sarah J Maas’ other books because I enjoyed the writing style. I especially loved the dialogue between Bryce and Hunt, dialogue is one of my favourite parts of books usually.

Crescent City Overall:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I gave this book five stars overall because I loved my reading experience and I really enjoyed getting to know the characters.

Blurb/Synopsis:

Bound by blood.
Tempted by desire.
Unleashed by destiny.

Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.

With unforgettable characters, sizzling romance, and page-turning suspense, this richly inventive new fantasy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas delves into the heartache of loss, the price of freedom—and the power of love.

Book Reviews

Book Review: Lirael by Garth Nix

Happy Monday bookish people! This is book review three of seven for today and is for Lirael by Garth Nix.

I got this book while in a bookshop with my partner and he suggested that I read it. Originally, he picked it up and handed it to me to read the blurb and I put it back on the shelf saying that I’d pick it up another time. Instead, my partner bought it for me so I read it on the drive up to Hampshire last weekend.

In this book review I will give star ratings for four categories and I will write a little about each one. I will try to keep it as spoiler free as possible. I hope you enjoy my book review.

Lirael Plot:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book was so easy to fall into. The story, the world, the characters, everything about it kept me engaged in what was happening. I haven’t read the first book in this series yet but I definitely plan on getting the whole series now. I read this book extremely fast, even by my standards, it only took me three hours or just over and it’s a 500 page book. I couldn’t wait to see where each chapter would take me. I enjoyed getting to see a different viewpoint in some chapters when it changed between Lirael and Sameth but I was hoping to see more of Sameth’s viewpoint.

Lirael Characters:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The character of Lirael is one of the best female reads in any books that I have read, she is emotionally strong and it was nice to see this develop throughout the book. Plus, she is in the library a lot of the time and I couldn’t relate to that more. Sameth, now what can I say about him, to be honest I found him a little annoying and he complained a lot but I also saw a lot of qualities in him that I can see developing and creating a very strong male lead.

Lirael Writing and Dialogue:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I love Garth Nix’s writing, I read another of his books last year and loved it so much, he has a way of writing effortlessly clever, humorous and heartwarming fantasy novels. I am looking forward to reading many more of his books.

Lirael Overall:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Originally I gave this book four stars but I could not stop thinking about this book so I had to change it to five stars, it’s now one of my favourite books of all time.

Blurb/Synopsis:

Lirael has never felt like a true daughter of the Clayr. Now, two years past the time when she should have received the Sight that is the Clayr’s birthright, she feels alone, abandoned, unsure of who she is. Nevertheless, the fate of the Old Kingdom lies in her hands. With only her faithful companion, the Disreputable Dog, Lirael must undertake a desperate mission under the growing shadow of an ancient evil.

In this sequel to Sabriel, winner of the Aurealis Award for Excellence in Australian Science Fiction, New York Times best-selling author Garth Nix weaves a spellbinding tale of discovery, destiny, and danger.

That’s it for this book review, I hope you all enjoyed it.

Book Reviews

Book Review: The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

Happy Monday bookish people! Today I’m bringing you two book reviews, of which this is the first, and I ended up reading both of these books in June.

In this book review I will give star ratings to four categories and I will write a little bit about each one. I will try to keep it as spoiler free as possible. I hope you enjoy my book review.

The Lost Apothecary Plot:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

One of my favourite things about this book was the worldbuilding, for both the past and the present tense. I felt like I was walking the streets with the characters. This book is told through the interwoven stories of two, technically three but I won’t spoil anything there, women – one from the past and one in the present discovering what happened in the past while dealing with all the things happening in her life. The way the stories are interwoven is incredible, it was smooth and clear where we were and when and I loved being able to see both sides of the apothecary. This plot was very different to anything I’ve read before, it’s a combination between mystery and historical fiction. It’s actually the book that made me realise I really love historical mystery books (then I bought up a few of them…).

The Lost Apothecary Characters:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Both of the women that you follow within this book have many layers that are constantly being explored and challenged throughout the novel. One of the things I liked the most about them was that they had flaws, and these flaws are part of the catalysts that set events in motion. The way the women led this story was a great thing to see, they are strong in different ways and it shows them taking control of their own lives. I won’t spoil anything about the ending but the characters never stray from their personalities and this is what leads eventually to the ending – which by the way ended perfectly for me.

The Lost Apothecary Writing and Dialogue:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

It did take me a few chapters to get comfortable with the writing style in this book however once I got past that I began to enjoy how it was written and how the writing style fit with both time periods and the characters within them.

The Lost Apothecary Overall:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I gave this book five stars overall because I just couldn’t give it anything less. The world building, the mystery, the strong female leads – everything about this book was amazing and I couldn’t put it down.

Blurb/Synopsis:

A female apothecary secretly dispenses poisons to liberate women from the men who have wronged them—setting three lives across centuries on a dangerous collision course.Rule #1: The poison must never be used to harm another woman.
Rule #2: The names of the murderer and her victim must be recorded in the apothecary’s register.

One cold February evening in 1791, at the back of a dark London alley in a hidden apothecary shop, Nella awaits her newest customer. Once a respected healer, Nella now uses her knowledge for a darker purpose—selling well-disguised poisons to desperate women who would kill to be free of the men in their lives. But when her new patron turns out to be a precocious twelve-year-old named Eliza Fanning, an unexpected friendship sets in motion a string of events that jeopardizes Nella’s world and threatens to expose the many women whose names are written in her register.

In present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, reeling from the discovery of her husband’s infidelity. When she finds an old apothecary vial near the river Thames, she can’t resist investigating, only to realize she’s found a link to the unsolved “apothecary murders” that haunted London over two centuries ago. As she deepens her search, Caroline’s life collides with Nella’s and Eliza’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive. 

That’s it for this book review, I hope you all enjoyed it!

Book Reviews

Book Review: Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

Happy Monday bookish people! The second book review of today is for the second book in the series. Hunting Prince Dracula is the second book in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series by Kerri Maniscalco.

In this book review I will give star ratings to four categories and I will write a little bit about each one. I will try to keep it as spoiler free as possible. I hope you enjoy my book review.

Hunting Prince Dracula Plot:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I think you can tell from my star rating that I absolutely LOVED this book. Before reading it I was very intrigued by it being set at Dracula’s castle and how Kerri Maniscalco was going to weave in the mythology to this story – I won’t spoil anything but she did it so well! – and I have always been interested in vampire mythology. I thought that the way the story was told was such a unique take and kept the essence of the characters throughout it as well. I don’t have the words for how much i loved this book – at the beginning of the series if you’d asked me which I would have liked the most I would have said Stalking Jack the Ripper and I would have been wrong.

Hunting Prince Dracula Characters:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

As I said on my book review for Stalking Jack the Ripper Audrey Rose Wadsworth is the type of female protagonist I love to see in books. Strong willed, determined and always in the thick of trouble. She just gets even better in Hunting Prince Dracula, I didn’t think it was possible but she does. She’s out of her comfort zone, away from her family and making new friends who may or may not be people you should trust and it was enjoyable to see how she reacted to everything thrown at her in this book.

And Thomas Cresswell. What can I say, he is very dear to me. That’s probably weird because he’s fictional but never mind. In this book more secrets of his past are revealed and I was completely hooked on finding out what they were. There’s also another side to him that didn’t show very much in Stalking Jack the Ripper, his caring side. I love a character that has layers.

Hunting Prince Dracula Writing and Dialogue:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Same as the first book in the series Kerri Maniscalco’s writing is excellent. I’d even go as far as saying it’s almost the perfect writing style for me. There’s not much more I can say here other than the dialogue really makes this book – it’s one of the many, many, many things I love about Thomas Cresswell!

Hunting Prince Dracula Overall:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I couldn’t give this book anything but five stars. It was amazing, I basically blocked out everyone trying to talk to me until I’d finished it and yeah – read this book! It’s so good.

Blurb/Synopsis:

Following the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper’s true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the arrogant yet charming Thomas Cresswell, she journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe’s best schools of forensic medicine… and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend.

But her life’s dream is soon tainted by blood-soaked discoveries in the halls of the school’s forbidding castle, and Audrey Rose is compelled to investigate the strangely familiar murders. What she finds brings all her terrifying fears to life once again.

In this New York Times bestselling sequel to Kerri Maniscalco’s haunting #1 debut Stalking Jack the Ripper, bizarre murders are discovered in the castle of Prince Vlad the Impaler, otherwise known as Dracula. Could it be a copycat killer…or has the depraved prince been brought back to life?

That’s it for this book review I hope you all enjoyed it!