December Countdown, Day 5 : Chocolates

December book meme (details here).  Chocolates : a book that was simply delicious.



Can’t Wait Wednesday : Finale (Caraval #3) by Stephanie Garber

Can't Wait Wednesday

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is : Finale (Caraval #3) by Stephanie Garber.  This is the final book in the Caraval series and I’m really looking forward to reading it to see how this all concludes:

FinaleWelcome, welcome to Caraval…all games must come to an end.

It’s been two months since the last Caraval concluded, two months since the Fates have been freed from an enchanted deck of cards, two months since Tella has seen Legend, and two months since Legend claimed the empire’s throne as his own. Now, Legend is preparing for his official coronation and Tella is determined to stop it. She believes her own mother, who still remains in an enchanted sleep, is the rightful heir to the throne.

Meanwhile, Scarlett has started a game of her own. She’s challenged Julian and her former fiancé, Count Nicolas d’Arcy, to a competition where the winner will receive her hand in marriage. Finally, Scarlett feels as if she is in complete control over her life and future. She is unaware that her mother’s past has put her in the greatest danger of all.

Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun―with lives, empires, and hearts all at stake. There are no spectators this time: only those who will win…and those who will lose everything. . .

Due for publication May 2019

Legendary (Caraval #2) by Stephanie Garber

legendaryLegendary is the second instalment of Stephanie Garber’s Caraval Trilogy.  It’s another colourful confection with sumptuous descriptions of balls, palaces and tricky games played out following a trail of cookie crumbs.

I think it’s probably safe to say that if you liked Caraval you’ll almost certainly like Legendary.  I admit that I enjoyed both books although on balance I probably liked the first the most. I found myself having reservations along the way and both books definitely led to a feeling of indulgence – which, I think stems from the fact that I’m aware of the issues that I have and yet I still can’t help reading in fairly short order and just plain enjoying the read.

To the plot.  The story this time around is told from Tella’s POV.  Tella has her own reasons for wanting to succeed and it seems that she’s made a pact with an unknown man who seems to be of a risky persuasion.  Tella and Scarlett’s mother disappeared from their lives many years ago and until now her whereabouts have been a mystery.  Winning Caraval could change all of that.  Names are powerful things and it seems that somebody is very keen to have Legend’s true name.  Can Tella succeed in finding out about the man behind the spectacle.

The characters.  Well, as mentioned, this time the story is told from Tella’s pov.  She’s playing the game and although Scarlett wanted to join in she seems indisposed for the majority of the story.  We do have the addition of two extra characters.  One called Dante who seems determined to follow in Tella’s footsteps.  Dark of hair and of nature Dante is a conundrum and yet somehow he feels fair rather than foul.  The other character, Jack, has a more dangerous feel.  Both of them are mysteries when it comes to their identities.  Of course we have other secondary characters who are there as props of the game and we of also have a few flashbacks to Tella’s mother.

The writing is again lush and although I can see how some might find Garber’s flowery prose a bit too much I find myself wallowing in it.  I just like her style and find it very easy to read.  It’s sugary sweet and uses all sorts of colours, feelings and food to pull together descriptions.

My criticisms are probably similar to the first book.  I don’t really buy into the strength of feelings between the two sisters – which might be simply because they barely spend any time together in either of the books.  I thought Legendary lost some of the fun of the game itself – but again, I think that’s because the author is taking things down a slightly darker route – the potential outcomes certainly seemed a lot more dangerous, in fact when I really think about it there was very little of the actual game involved this time.  And, there is a romance taking place – not really a criticism to be honest just thought it worth mentioning.

In terms of what I really enjoyed.  I liked the introduction of the Tarot cards and the fates all being intertwined.  As with the first I loved the creativity and magic around Caraval itself.  I thought we had a real opportunity to find out more about Tella and her strengths and weaknesses.  And, can’t tell a lie – I enjoyed the romance elements and I think plenty of other readers probably will do so as well.  The conclusion leaves the way open to a number of possibilities and I’m certainly intrigued to see what comes next – not least of all who the POV of the third instalment will be.

Overall, I had issues with this book but at the same time I found myself completely unperturbed by them.  This was an easy read for me and an enjoyable one in spite of any quibbles I picked up along the way.

I received a copy through Netgalley courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber – Giveaway

Posted On 11 January 2017

Filed under Book Reviews
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This week I finished Caraval by Stephanie Garber and I must say that this is a book that really lives up to the hype!  Without doubt a 4.5 star read for me – I loved it and my review will follow soon.  In the meantime I would like to give my book away so that somebody else can enjoy it too.  So, I’m giving away my ARC.  If you’re interested in chucking your hat into the ring then please leave me a comment to that effect.  The book is due out at the end of January 31st and the synopsis is below:

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.

Don’t forget to leave me a comment if you’re interested in taking part.  As I said above, this is not the finished version but an advanced reader copy – and obviously it is used as I’ve read it!  It’s in great condition though.

This is open to the UK only.

Waiting on Wednesday: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.  Every Wednesday we get to highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  My book this week is : Caraval by Stephanie Garber which looks absolutely fantastic.  Check out the description!  Due out January 2017:

caravallTwo sisters bound by love and a father they fear escape their tiny, secluded island for the wondrous performance of Caraval, where the audience plays along in a mysterious and magical game of determining what’s real and what’s fantasy. And where only one sister might be brave enough to win the ultimate prize of ‘an impossible wish’…

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny isle of Trisda, pining from afar for the wonder of Caraval, a once-a-year week-long performance where the audience participates in the show.

Caraval is Magic. Mystery. Adventure. And for lonely Scarlett, it represents freedom, an escape from her abusive father and from her own dark past.

Still, Scarlett is too scared of her father to leave Trisda. Until she is kidnapped by her wild younger sister Donatella and a dangerous yet oh-so-seductive sailor named Julian and taken to the mystical Isla de los Suenos, the site of this year’s Caraval. When they arrive, her sister immediately disappears. Since protecting Tella is all she knows, Scarlett is forced to join forces with Julian and find her before the evil Master of Caraval does…