A Game Won Is A Debt Owed (Legendary – A Book Review)

Legendary (Caraval #2)
Author: Stephanie Garber
Published: 2018

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My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

Rated F for dangerous fates, both the real deals and destiny itself.

 

A heart to protect.

A debt to repay.

A game to win.

Caraval swept Scarlett and Tella away from their father. Having won the game, they should be celebrating, but while Scarlett is off with Julian, falling in love with him, Tella isn’t quite free. She has a debt to pay for saving Scarlett. She must retrieve Legend’s true name and. This time, Caraval, being held in the city of Valenda, is more magical and more dangerous than ever and could cost Tella her life, for real.

It’s not just Legend and his players that Tella must be careful of, but the Fates as well. They are returning to the world of Caraval and Scarlett is unsure of what’s real and what’s just an act. Though it appears that Legend is trying to help, Tella will discover whether or not Legend really is the villain he’s made out to be.

 

Caraval

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Caraval Review

I was bewitched with Caraval and Legendary has captured me just the same. Utterly imaginative and magical, this book ups the stakes of Caraval. The dangers are bigger and more life-threatening and this time it’s Tella, Scarlett’s sister, that is playing. She plays not only to protect her sister but to pay off a debt and save her mother. She’ll have to win and if she does, she’ll finally meet Legend, the game master himself. However, if the bloody, heart-stopping curse on her by the dastardly Prince of Hearts, a Fate, kills first that’ll never happen.

Everybody has secrets. Tella, Scarlett, Julian, everyone. Good to see that hasn’t changed and that I’m continuously obsessed with figuring them out. Getting even deeper with the characters that I only got a taste of in Caraval, like Dante, was so cool. I love when minor characters get a spotlight or turn out to be the spotlight. It’s such a twist and I live for minor things turning out to be major. Romance twists its vines through this book too and it squeezes tight, wringing my heart a good one.

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The Fates, only briefly mentioned in the first book get a much larger part to play and that was exciting! More so, so was discovering that even though I was following Scarlett during Caraval, the main character of this trilogy is actually Tella. It’s not until this book that I actually figured that out. I can’t complain about the misdirection. It’s brilliant! The plot twists and surprises are mind-bending and breathtaking. I’m totally in love with this trilogy. The magic of the first book became real in this one. And discovering who Legend was…Holy shit! I had many guesses throughout the book, and while it was predictable, it was still incredible.

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The city of Valenda really splits down the middle of gorgeous and mystifying, and treacherous and secretive. Garber really showed many different shades of this vast city and it was enriching to explore it with Tella. The temples were the most terrifying yet beguiling for me as I imagined them in my mind. This places nooks and crannies really shed truths on Tella and the sisters’ mother.

 

Overall

So completely in love and taken by this one just like I was with Caraval. I’m desperate to see how it ends, especially after that ending! Sadly, I’m one of those weird people who really like to have their books in one format and for the Caraval trilogy, it’s paperback. So, I’m waiting a little while for Finale. That gives me time to recover my emotions though. Without a doubt, I recommend this series and though Legend doesn’t recommend getting swept away I do.

 

Quotables:

“Your future can be whatever you wish. We all have the power to choose our own destiny…” (Paloma to Tella, p. 6)

“She’s once bet her life on her sister’s love. She’d kissed the Prince of Hearts and still lived. These Fates would not kill her tonight.” (Tella, p. 273)

“Fate is only an idea, but I think by believing in it we turn it into something more. You just said you’ve avoided love because you’ve believed it wasn’t in your future, and so it hasn’t been.” (Dante to Tella, p. 352)

 

More to come soon…                                                                                                

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? Black Black Heart by David Usher.

 

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All Ye Who Leaves the Underworld Are Lost (Abandon – A Book Reveiw)

Abandon
Author: Meg Cabot
Published: 2011
On Goodreads
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My Rating: Full boltHalf bolt

Rated T for tense, teen drama, and defiance against a broody grim reaper.

 

She knows what it’s like to die…

Now Death wants her back.

Pierce knows what it’s like to die because she’s died before. That doesn’t mean she’s over it or that talking about it is easy. More so, she’s being followed by Death, the Grim Reaper himself. He doesn’t like that she’s gotten away. The two share a strange, complicated bond.

For some reason, he has her afraid. Yet, she’d drawn to him. It doesn’t help that he shows up in the unlikeliest places at the unlikeliest times. She begins to worry that he may have come back not because he’s angry but to take her back to the Underworld.

 

Pierce is recovering from her death. Her parents have divorced. Her Dad turns out to be a real jerk that can’t take any kind of responsibility. She’s in a new town, going to a new school after getting kicked out of her last school. To make things a little more complicated, Death is following her, though he insists he isn’t. And, what he wants is her.

This book…huh…yeah. You ever read those types of books? That’s just the feeling I got from it, or rather, I didn’t get much of any feeling about it. In fact, I couldn’t even get sucked in. I was so hopeful, but nothing about this book pulled me in. I was really intrigued because it was about a girl that came back from the dead with a broody stalker-crush of a grim reaper, but that wasn’t really the case.

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It was a struggle to keep tabs on what was happening. There were times that I had no idea what Pierce was going on about because she waited too long to reveal whatever it was she was going on about, like the special necklace she wears for example. More so, she bounced around so much that keeping track of the story took too much work to get enjoyment. It also didn’t help that there wasn’t much storytelling versus description. There was no advancement, no progression. Just loads of telling all of this stuff that previously happened and currently happened, but not with any real substance. It was a real bummer.

 

Overall

It’s never fun to be let down by a book, but it does happen on occasion. That was the case here. I’ve read Meg Cabot before—Pants on Fire, Avalon High—and I enjoy her work, but this one wasn’t one of them. It’s unfortunate. I love a great paranormal YA. They’re my jam. This one didn’t make the cut and will be donated.

 

Quotables:

“Check yourself before you wreck yourself.” (p. 153)

 

More to come soon…                                                                                                

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? Lullaby by Nickelback.

 

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From Beneath, It Devours…Yes, It Might Be A Hellmouth (Night Shift – A Book Review)

Night Shift (Midnight, Texas #3)
Author: Charlaine Harris
Published: 2016

On Goodreads

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My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull bolt

Rated D for an intriguing and curious build-up that only to lead to a disappointing delivery.

 

The first suicide arrives one early October night.

Midnight, a small town in Texas with only one stoplight, is facing strange times. Weapons in the local pawn shop, Midnight Pawn, are flying off the shelves only to be used in gruesome suicides right at the crossroad in the middle of town. Secrets and revelations come out into the open throwing Midnighters off balance. One thing is for sure, there’s a strong power rising in the small town and it’s threatening to destroy everything and everyone.

 

The Midnight, Texas trilogy is a part of my New Year’s resolution and this is 3 of 3.

 

Midnight Crossroad review – here

Day Shift review – here

 

It upsets me to say this, but this book was such a disappointment. GAH! No! I love the show. It inspired to read the books!!! I kept imagining that this final installment would put things into perspective and give some sort of fulfilling closure. Alas, not the case. Manfred is still being his crazy, work-driven self. Fiji is more tense than usual. Bobo is awkward. Olivia is on the precipice of losing her shit. Then, of course, there’s this great evil below the town.

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Where do I start? There was so much that was promising with this final book. I always felt like the final book of a trilogy or any series was meant to be significant and final and closing, and most importantly, satisfying on some level. I thought there’d be answers that would make sense, but everything from Olivia’s secrets about her life to the reason Manfred feels like he has to work constantly to Fiji’s family history is messy. While reading, it felt like it was all shoved together super fast with no clear rhyme or reason. There were no real answers to be had, and if there were, it wasn’t clear. Everything was left hanging in the air.

It’s been hard to feel anything for these characters. It still is. I was hoping to gain ground, but with the style of writing keeping the characters at arm’s length with the reader, I just didn’t find myself caring, EXCEPT for at the end with Fiji and Bobo. And at that part, I was utterly mortified. Like, what the holy balls of hell!? If you’ve read this trilogy and have gotten to this part maybe you understand where I’m coming from.

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The big bad? It wasn’t clear until about the middle of the book that there was one and who/what the big bad was is still a mystery because the book didn’t get into it. There just wasn’t much depth or interest paid to it. It felt very meh. Usually, there’s something dire about an evil that threatens to destroy you and your home. Not the case here. Bummer.

 

Overall

Well…it’s over. *Shrug* Anti-climactic. Just not what I expected. Harris is a great writer. I mean that. I enjoy her style and flare and how she gave normalcy to the supernatural rather than painting them as nothing but monsters. But, here’s the but(t). I felt like nothing really happened. Nothing exciting or liberating. Maybe a little past my comfort zone at the end there, but that’s about it. As you can tell when a book gears me up, whether, at one end of the spectrum or the other, I get to writing a lengthy review. This one will go up on my shelf. While it didn’t come out as a favorite it was still enjoyable.

 

Quotables:

“It might sound snobbish if being a real Midnight person were something anyone else in the world aspired to. That’s like saying someone doesn’t really fit in with the Weirdo Club.” (Manfred to Olivia, p. 108)

“‘I know a pair of angels. I talk to angels. I live on the same street as angels. And across from a talking cat and a witch.’ And yet, he admitted to himself, this didn’t feel strange at all. It felt quite normal.” (Manfred, p. 165)

 

More to come soon…                                                                                                

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? Taking Over Me by Evanescence.

 

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The Non-Refundable Type of Gifts (A Gift of Magic – A Book Review)

A Gift of Magic
Author: Lois Duncan
Published: 1999

On Goodreads

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My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull bolt Half bolt

Rated T for three kids inheriting shit from grandma they shouldn’t have.

 

Nancy can do things no one else can…

When grandma was dying she told Elizabeth that she had three gifts for her grandchildren. Now, after a divorce, Elizabeth and her children come back to her hometown to her grandmother’s house. While she’s struggling to find a sense of normalcy, her three kids are fully coming into the three gifts promised to them. One of them, specifically given to Nancy, is special and will turn her life upside down. It’s the gift of magic.

 

Lois Duncan always delivers. A master and classic writer of not only suspense that doesn’t put me to sleep but also supernatural and/or slasher-y. She really keeps my attention and her writing is engaging. This one is no different.

Norse Mythology

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There is a lot going on! Maybe too much. From dealing with the effects of Nancy dealing with her family splitting up, there’s also the pressures of childhood and the unique, scary, and supernatural themes that become obsessive. The book was good but there was too much happening to keep track of it all compared to the other Duncan books I’ve read. The focus was…well, there wasn’t much focus on anything. Each individual struggle seemed so separate, though it’s understood that the theme is the discovery of independence. But, trying to keep track of each character didn’t go well for me.

The setting was meant to be. Being in a beach town even though it seemed gray was beautiful. It just gave me some throwback time. Very nice and nostalgic and longing and perfect for the story itself, like (and I know this is cheesy) the place was made for it.

 

Overall

A bit all over, but a good story nonetheless. Duncan really went into the complication and construction of family and not just in the touchy-feely part but in the ways family works (if that makes sense). I also always appreciate that she makes her books quick reads. On the shelf you go!

 

Quotables:

“…You must learn if you accept it. A gift is nothing unless it’s used…” (grandma to Nancy, p. 135)

 

More to come soon…                                                                                                

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? Tomorrow Never Knows by Our Lady Peace.

 

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The Goblin From Outer Space (E. T. – A Book Review)

E. T. – The Extra-Terrestrial in his adventure on earth (E. T. #1)
Author: William Kotzwinkle
Published: 1982

On Goodreads

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My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull bolt

Rated S for silly and sneaky as a lost alien searches for a way home and discovers a new family.

 

He was alone and three million light-years from home.

Based on the screenplay for the groundbreaking film, this book brings the movie home with the personal journey and special connection of E. T., an alien botanist stranded on earth and Eliot, the boy he befriends.

 

Overall tagline? Don’t peek in windows. LOL. For E. T., getting too curious for his own good got him stranded on a planet he’s only visited to help find ways to protect plant-life. He’s such a character! Very funny. My favorite thing about him has to be how he crushes so hard on Eliot’s mum.

Side Note: Maybe it’ll pique your interest, who knows, but there are talking plants in this book and it was so effing adorable.

The characters are filled with the silliness they have in the movie. However, the mum irked me to no end! Mum’s are pains in the butt (with love), but Eliot’s mum was off the wall. There wasn’t a second she thought a loving thing. That’s just my opinion. It nearly comes off that she wished she never had kids. That and she has perverts on the brain LOL. Like, what?

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All around a fun novel to read. Definitely one for the imagination. The storytelling makes for fast reading. I didn’t feel anything in the emotional department though. It was nifty and entertaining but not memorable.

 

Overall

Entertaining and cute. Not really a favorite, but I’m glad I got to read this. There was more to this than what was in the movie. Definitely going up on my classics shelf. Worth a read for sci-fi lovers and lovers of the movie and lovers of the cute, simple adventure.

 

Quotables:

“E. T. was in the whirling vortex of gravitational force. His dream of Earth-Life, and his dream of starshine, was over. His sun was the black sun now. And all because he couldn’t resist…peeking in windows…” (p. 209)

 

More to come soon…                                                                                                

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? Moonlight by Thriving Ivory.

 

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From Time Traveler to Devil’s Thief…That Escalated Quickly (The Devil’s Thief – A Book Review)

The Devil’s Thief (The Last Magician (#2)
Author: Lisa Maxwell
Published: 2018

On Goodreads

The Devil's Thief - Goodreads

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

Rated T for twistier betrayals that are for the greater good…right?

Hunt the stones.

Beware the thief.

Avenge the past.

Everything Esta has known is a lie. Her parents were murdered and those she trusted betrayed her. Now, she and Harte Darrigan must travel to the world fair in St. Louis to track down the magical artifacts that and help fix the brink that surrounds Manhattan. It gets complicated since Darrigan is struggling after taking in the magic of the Book of Mysteries. It wants Esta, but so does he. Not knowing if what he feels is real or not, he must learn to control the power within him or it may just rip the world apart.

Meanwhile, in Manhattan, Viola and Jianyu must defeat a traitor. The city is on the verge of chaos. With the help of unexpected allies, they may just save the city too. History has a chance to be rewritten, but will it be for better or worse?

 

First off, this review took way too damn long to get up. I apologize for that. Now, on to the review!

 

Scarlet Reader

Simon & Schuster

The Last Magician

Review – Here

 

I have no words. No, that’s not right. I don’t have enough words! Like The Last Magician, I was completely blown. Already excited to read this book, I was not let down when I plowed my way through it. Esta and Harte Darrigan broke free of Manhattan and are now on a mission to collect all of the magical artifacts he sent out of the city so that they may be able to save The Brink and everyone inside of it. The first stop is the extravagant world fair in St. Louis. Complications escalate quickly, just like they do back in Manhattan for Jianyu and Viola. There are more secrets! More danger! More adventure!

There are new characters! With the determined Ruby and Theo and the brave and courageous Cela, Viola and Jianyu find unexpected friendships. Esta and Harte meet Julien, Mother Ruth, and North and it’s unclear if they’re friend or foe. Nonetheless, they made this book even better! So much development and creativity in this series! Sophisticated and complex, I loved them so much. They opened up the main characters in so many ways. I really love how much they add to the story and that they seem like so much more than just side characters. I’m also hoping for more possible pairings because I can’t get enough of Esta and Harte. I’m totally up for Ruby/Viola and Jianyu/Cela. I love how they are together. Viola and Ruby are so hot and spicy together, like hot sauce and firecrackers. Jianyu and Cela are so strong and unbreakable like diamonds. They’re all precious and I appreciate all of them.

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The setting got so much bigger!! No longer held up in Manhattan, I’m excited to see so much more! I’m blown away at how vibrant and magical it is. I’m just so impressed with the world-building that Maxwell has done. Her vision is just superb. Major freaking kudos. And DAMA (Defense Against Magic Act) gave me some serious disturbing shivers because of how it relates to today.

Did I say I was addicted? Because I am! So much magic and tension and depth for these characters. So beautifully put together and did break my heart a few times. The writing is phenomenal. Sure, in some places, it felt a little drawn out, but it wasn’t so much that I was annoyed and felt the need to skim. There was so much purpose and perfect precision. And, the MAGIC! Oh. My. Gods. Legit. Utterly enamoring. I was swept away on a journey I didn’t expect.

It's so beautiful

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Overall

I’ve said this before, I’m pretty sure, but I’m not one to get into historical reads. I love history, not in the novel sense. Not all the time. But the magic that is interlaced between these pages is so enticing. This book is un-put-downable. I mean it! I’m addicted and desperate for the next one!

 

Quotables:

“The Thief turned her back on the city—on everything she had once been and on all the lies she had once believed. The ache of loss had honed her, and the weight of memory had pressed her into something new—hard and cold as diamond. The Thief carried the memory of those losses as a weapon against what was to come as she faced the span of the great bridge.” (p. 1)

“…a friend turned foe who would destroy the heart of magic if he held it in his hands. He was coming…” (p. 176)

“Americani and their guns. They all thought they were cowboys. Too bad cows had more brains than half of them.” (Viola, p. 307)

“…There’s an entire future coming, and Mageus won’t survive by being trapped on the city. Maybe they’d have a chance if things were different. Maybe that’s why we ended up here, so we could see what might be. So we could understand that things can be changed. That we can change them, only this time, we can change them for the better. Even if we can’t go back. We can start now.” (Esta, p. 374)

“You know, all this fuss over magic. People are so busy trying to keep it and control it that they’re willing to do all sorts of evil for it.” (Cela, p. 409)

“Her thoughts felt like birds taking flight, but she couldn’t tell if they were flying toward some new freedom or away from some unseen danger.” (p. 519)

“If it was her lot in life to always want and never have, so be it. She was strong and smart and could make her own way. And there were worse things than loneliness.” (Viola, p. 631)

 

More to come soon…

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? Home by Daughtry.

 

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Fires Everywhere (The Outsiders – A Book Review)

The Outsiders
Author: S. E. Hinton
Published: 1997

On Goodreads

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Wiki

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

Rated

 

A heroic story of friendship and belonging.

Ponyboy has been struggling of late between understanding right and wrong in a society that automatically decides it for him, his brothers, and friends: greasers. His thoughts pull him in one direction and his brothers and friends pull him in other directions. After Johnny saves him from being drowned by a soc, the result something dreadful. Murder. The two go on the lamb. Even doing the wrong thing for the right reason can have consequences, and they’ll stay with you for a very long time.

Ponyboy’s world crumbles around him and this not only affected him but everyone around him, and he soon learns that it doesn’t matter if you’re a greaser or a soc, pain hurts all the same.

 

This is a classic I’ve wanted to read for years. I don’t care that people usually read it back in middle school. For me, The Giver and The Cure were what was read. Classics are ageless and this a classic. It’s a dark and tragic story that proves that it doesn’t matter what social class you are put into, everyone bleeds the same and hurts the same.

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Actually, experiencing life from such an unexpected perspective is incredible and fresh. Greasers, like everyone else at the time, worked hard, fell in love, and felt heartbreak like everyone else, but because of where they live and what they look like they still get hassled horrendously. It made me fill pity, to be honest. Nobody understands what it’s like to struggle at the bottom unless they’ve been there and to have people that don’t understand or care add on to it is heavy. This book really gives readers a chance to experience that some. You fight for all that you have. In this case, it was for family, respect, and dignity.

The family dynamic is heart-wrenching. Sure, the decisions the boys make more often than not made me frown because they were quite the troublemakers but the way they supported each other was the true spirit of family. This book also reiterates that blood isn’t all that makes a family.

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The setting of the book really gives way to a time when society really was a bastard. Today, it’s still pretty bad and disturbing. What is so wrong with the human race that we beat each other because of status?

 

Overall

I’m really glad I read this. It really got me to think. No matter how old you are, a book doesn’t tell you that you can’t read it because you’re too old. They all have interesting lessons, stories, and/or emotions to give you, and for a reason. Now, I can’t wait to watch the movie to this and compare thoughts. This really is a valuable read.

 

Quotables:

“Suddenly, in the red glow and haze, I remembered wondering what it was like in a burning ember, and I thought: Now I know, it’s a red hell. Why aren’t I scared?” (Ponyboy, p. 92)

“I am a greaser. I am a JD and a hood. I blacken the name of our fair city. I beat up people. I rob gas stations. I am a menace to society. Man, do I have fun!” (Sodapop, p. 136)

“We’re greasers, but not hoods, and we don’t belong with this bunch of future convicts.” (Ponyboy, p. 141)

 

More to come soon…

  –K.

P.S. Song today? Surrender by Cheap Trick.

 

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