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Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Caraval by Stephanie GarberCaraval (Caraval, #1) by Stephanie Garber
Published by Flatiron Books on January 31st 2017
Pages: 407

Remember, it’s only a game…

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.

There’s just a sad love… deep in your eyes… a kind of pale jewel….

That’s the lyrics to As the World Falls Down, my favorite song from my all time favorite movie, Labyrinth. Why am I type-humming it? Because my brain thought of Labyrinth so many times while reading Caraval! EXCELLENT.

The gist of Labyrinth: A sister, trying desperately to rescue their younger sibling, is forced into a beautiful, yet terrible magical place, that plays tricks on you, and forces you to make hard decisions. A ticking clock, a handful of characters that you don’t know if you can trust, and a very possible tragic ending.

Caraval reminded me of Labyrinth often, but it also was so completely its own thing. It was colorful, deadly, romantic, full of lies and promises and nightmares. I didn’t think I’d like this book, so I waited nearly a year after it was released to read it, and now I’m irritated with myself that I didn’t read it sooner. It was phenomenal!

Scarlet is racing against the clock, taking leaps of faiths, and reaping the benefits and consequences of those decisions. She’s often questioning her own sanity while trying to save her little sister Tella. Scarlet is so strong and brave, and full of so much love to risk everything to save her sister. But, this book is not just about Scarlet saving her sister, it’s also about her saving herself. Scarlet is forced to work through her own deep seated fears and unrealistic expectations, and has to question who she is, and who she wants to be.

There’s so many twists and secrets in this book, and I would never wish to spoil anyone, so I’m not going to go into any more details about the plot. Honestly, most of the time I didn’t really understand what was going on, because like Scarlet, everything was an illusion, lies mixed in with some truths, and I didn’t know what to believe. All of this was definitely purposeful though – so yay! The author succeeded in confusing me, not giving anything away, and making me so enraptured that I stayed up to 3am reading. #shameless

Garber’s writing is vigorous and vivid. This book is scary and beautiful. Part of me really wants a movie adaptation, but then the other part, really doesn’t. I’m conflicted, because I’d love to see the magic and dark beauty brought to life on the big screen, but also totally scared that the adaptation will be a failure like so many book-to-movie adaptations end up being.

Has anyone else fallen in love with Caraval? What do you think about a movie adaption?

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The Traitor’s Kiss (The Traitor’s Circle #1) by Erin Beaty

The Traitor’s Kiss (The Traitor’s Circle #1) by Erin BeatyThe Traitor's Kiss (The Traitor's Circle, #1) by Erin Beaty
Published by Imprint on May 9th 2017
Pages: 352

An obstinate girl who will not be married. A soldier desperate to prove himself. A kingdom on the brink of war.

With a sharp tongue and an unruly temper, Sage Fowler is not what they’d call a lady―which is perfectly fine with her. Deemed unfit for marriage, Sage is apprenticed to a matchmaker and tasked with wrangling other young ladies to be married off for political alliances. She spies on the girls―and on the soldiers escorting them.

As the girls' military escort senses a political uprising, Sage is recruited by a handsome soldier to infiltrate the enemy ranks. The more she discovers as a spy, the less certain she becomes about whom to trust―and Sage becomes caught in a dangerous balancing act that will determine the fate of her kingdom.


I keep thinking to myself “stupid, stupid girl! Why did you wait so long to read this exceptional book?!!”

About 3/4 of the way through The Traitor’s Kiss, I was determined that this book was definitely going to be a 4 Stars read, then all the sudden this amazing twist occurred, a new, exciting and daring revelation that blew me away. I truly didn’t see it coming! It catapulted my love for this book to 5 stars. The rest of the book was just as awesome with more twists and a lot of action, so of course that 5 stars stuck.

Sage starts out as an easy girl to like, and then she quickly becomes someone you love. She’s incredibly smart, book and street-wise. She’s very stubborn and has a bit of a temper, but when the shit hits the fan, I’d definitely want her on my team. Sage thinks herself to be plain and unremarkable, but that’s so far from the truth. She’s charming and perceptive, and easily blends into different crowds, something that the matchmaker instantly notices and respects. The soldiers who were chosen to escort the matchmaker’s group of brides-to-be across the country, are also wowed by Sage, because she’s magnetizing, quick-thinking, and overall an incredible asset. She’s a kick ass spy for the matchmaker and the soldiers.

I loved how this book is like a re-imagined version of Disney’s Mulan. During the beginning of the book when Sage is getting cleaned up to meet the matchmaker, I couldn’t stop singing “bring honor to us all”.


And then when the matchmaker is examining Sage and noticing her shortcomings, I pictured the plump, miserable character from Mulan saying, in her nasally bitchy tone, “too skinny”.


Sage is definitely like Mulan, the girl everyone takes for granted. They think Sage’s impossible to tame, but then she stuns then all by being a force of nature, throwing on her britches and getting her hands dirty. If you love Mulan, you’ll definitely love Sage!

Sage’s foil ends up being a particularly attractive soldier who is charged with monitoring her for suspicious activities. These “suspicious” activities are basically just her collecting intel on attractive bachelors for her job as an apprentice matchmaker. Sage also suspects that this handsome soldier is hiding secrets, and it’s so funny watching the two of them spying on each other, while also trying not to fall for each other.

Seriously, read this book! If not just for Sage, then also for a hot, slow brewing romance that you don’t want to miss.

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The Book Slayer’s YA book giveaway – 2 winners!

It’s so great to be back on a steady reading and blogging schedule! I totally equate part of my revived passion to the awesome books that have been released this year, and the rest that will be coming out in 2018!

I’m so giddy about my return to blogging, and I want to share this excitement with all my fellow readers, so I’m holding a YA book giveaway!!

I am giving away not one, but two, 2018 YA books! These books can be ones that have already been published like: The Cruel Prince (totally recommend!), How to Kill a Kingdom, Restore Me, Children of Blood and Bone.

OR the books can be pre-orders for upcoming releases like: A Court of Frost and Starlight (I’ve already pre-ordered this for myself!!), Legendary, Furyborn, Sea Witch – totally your choice as long as it’s 1. A YA and 2. A 2018 release.

How do you enter? You can do it two different ways!

Follow my Twitter @slayingbooks or Follow my Instagram slayingbooks  

Although you’re definitely going to want to do both because… I will be collecting the entries from both, and you’ll have double the chance to win!! GIVEAWAY ENDS APRIL 9th!

Please note: the giveaway is only open to individuals who can receive deliveries from Book Depository. Click here to see if BD delivers to your country. Also – please note that you can’t win twice.

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Cover Gushing – ‘The Wicked King’

EW just shared the cover for Holly Black’s book, The Wicked King, the second in The Folk of the Air book series.

Loook at it. It’s STUNNING. I needed to share it, because I am gushing with love, obsession and want for this sure-to-be amazing sequel to one of my favorite 2018 books, The Cruel Prince.

I loved TCP’s cover, but The Wicked King is just a whole new level of amazing. The water is beautiful and I NEED to know why it’s playing such a big part in this second book. Selkies? Mermaids? Kelpies? All of the above?! I need to know – ahhhh!

I don’t want to spoil The Cruel Prince for those who haven’t read it, so if you want to read the awesome excerpt for The Wicked King, click here to be brought to the EW article.

Check out the covers below. Which do you like better?


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The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. SmithThe Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
Published by Poppy/Little Brown on January 2nd 2012
Pages: 236

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. Having missed her flight, she's stuck at JFK airport and late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's sitting in her row.

A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?

Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.

Here’s a  quick and sweet review of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight.

This book has been around for a few years now, and I meant to read it long ago, but I kind of forgot it existed. I’m so glad I finally remembered, and went ahead and borrowed the audio book from my library, because it was just as good as fellow readers have said.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is an emotional story full of humor and heartbreak.

I got especially emotional when it tackled the strained relationship between Hadley and her father. I’ve got my own issues with my father, and because of how raw the author could describe feelings, I felt my own memories and emotions rising up. It was kind of painful. but so worth it. Jennifer E. Smith really understands despair, and it shows in her writing.

But don’t worry – this book isn’t all gloom and doom. Oliver and Hadley are so cute together!  I loved their witty banter, and how they slowly helped each other work through their own deep-seated issues. Sometimes when everything seems to be going wrong, those wrong things can end up leading you towards something very right. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is very much about the old saying “everything happens for a reason”.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is such a quick read/listen. I didn’t mean to finish it in one day, I was only going to listen to it during my work commute, but then I ended up falling in love too easily and quickly, and I listened at home. I actually did extra household chores after work just for an excuse to listen to the story more *ha ha*.

I don’t listen to many audio books so I can’t really remark on the quality of this one, but I was happy with the female narrator. Never once did I doubt that I was following the story through Hadley’s eyes and thoughts.