Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Caraval , By Stephanie Garber



“WELCOME, WELCOME TO CARAVAL! The grandest show on land or by sea. Inside you’ll experience more wonders than most people see in a lifetime. You can sip magic from a cup and buy dreams in a bottle. But before you fully enter into our world, YOU MUST REMEMBER IT’S ALL A GAME.”

Aesthetically, this book is BEAUTIFUL. The cover pictured to the left is the US edition of Caraval, with beautiful colors of red and teal blue, however the UK version (pictured below) is just as beautiful sporting a shimmering gold color on its outer jacket. For both versions however, the hardback book has a gorgeous design printed into the cover itself (also pictured below). These designs vary from a tear drop to a circus tent, a rose, a clock and a beautifully detailed dress. 

Other than the physical appearance of the book, it’s structure and it’s words are also breathtaking and endearing. I spent my time reading this book consistently on the edge of my seat. Stephanie Garber has a beautiful writing style that has a magical way of keeping you hooked the entire time. Garber creates her characters to  be relatable, and mysterious all in one fair swoop. It’s just so good. 

This novel plays with the reader so well. When Scarlett enters the Caraval game, we as the readers enter the game as well. I felt every bit of excitement on the journey to, and through, Caraval as if I was doing so myself. It’s not only Scarlett who risks her life to win the game, it’s also us who are risking our lives. I felt as I were a player of Caraval myself. 

Many times I find that characters are clueless in stories and don’t see what is in front of them, while we as readers scream our heads off trying to make them SEE. I can honestly say that this never happens in this book. Because whenever Scarlett learns something, we learn it too. I LOVED this aspect, the absolute page turning agony of needing to know what happens next. Did I trust a character? Did I trust myself? I had so many fantastic emotions throughout this novel. 

My only qualm with this book is the massive info dump found at the end of the novel. This is controversial to me because without this, I think the parts of the book that I loved the most could not have eased through as well as they had, but also I just wanted the book to go on and on for longer and have all of the information shown to me, rather than told in the final pages. Maybe this was just me wanting MORE, as I already have a craving for book two (which she's still writing!!!). 

       Overall, I was so pleasantly surprised with this book. I waited so long to read it, and hyped it up in my head more and more as it’s release date dawned closer and closer, so for this book to meet all of my expectations could not have made reading this a more magical experience. I highly recommend this book for any fantasy reader fans, as well as any fans of YA literature in general. 10 out of 10 for a great rating.  Though I’ve said it many times throughout, magical is the best way to describe this book overall. 

Want to buy Caraval? It’s available on all booksellers websites, and I’ve seen it in my local Barnes and Nobel as well. 

Want to check out the author ? View her website here.

xoxo, 
J


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Aquaman Vol. 1 : The Drowning (Rebirth)

When DC announced that they would start a new chapter for all of their ongoing comics entitled Rebirth MANY fans were over the moon. Our favorite comic book heroes (and villains) would be getting a facelift for not only their artwork but their stories as well. 

For me personally, Aquaman was never a comic book character that I picked up immediately. And as a newfound lover of comics in general, Aquaman sparked my interests as a character I was excited to get to know. Also as I am a new reader, I decided to start with the brand new "chapter" of comics with the Rebirth marking.  

As this is not Dan Abnett’s first time writing Aquaman, DC’s Rebirth now gives him the freedom to do as he wants with the character. In this first volume of Aquaman’s new story, Abnett dives right into the politics of Atlantis, as well as the relationship between Arthur and Mera, plus some Black Manta stuff for good measure. 
As a first time Aquaman reader with this volume I can't say that I will actively seek out a follow up volume. Aquaman himself is funny, and enticing. The character is seemingly in depth and Abnett really took the time to fully explore everything that his characters were before writing them into this storyline. However, the storyline itself is almost set up for a reader that has been previously well versed in Aquaman’s history for the last 70 or so years. 

One very high point for me in this entire volume was the artwork! The artwork is split between artists Brad Walker, Phil Brionnes, and Scot Eaton, who blend their own beautiful and unique art styles together from issue to issue very nicely. Though I went back and looked for the subtle changes and styles from artist and issue to issue, it is not completely noticeable to the average reader. This is important to me, because an issue for me when reading comics or any piece of ongoing literature is the consistency of the piece. Although it is common for different writers, and artists to all work on projects together whether it be in the same issue or alternating in the comic world, I personally find it distracting and was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't a distracting feature, but a welcome one in this volume of Aquaman. 

Another great feature of the artwork here is the hyper colorful pages. You can see even on the cover art pictured above the bright orange and coral colors, and the many pop out shades of blue. 

Also, a defining point of this volume that I do appreciate is at the end (SPOILER ALERT) where Abnett gives us a short Justice League tie in with the appearance of Superman. If you’re like me and appreciate the crossovers from comic series’ alike then you will enjoy this last issue in the volume! 

Overall, I can give this volume of Aquaman 4 out of 5 stars. The artwork and colors really took the cake on this one over the storyline itself. But maybe if you’re an avid Aquaman fan, or just a super-fan of DC comics in general you will find that aspect more enticing! 

You can view this book at Goodreads here , and as of January 17th 2017 this book should be available at retailers around the country!

Also, I would like to thank NetGally & DC Comics publishing for sending me a copy of this Trade Paperback Volume of Aquaman by Dan Abnett for review! Happy Reading :) 

xoxo,

J

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The City Bakers Guide to Country Living

"This book, about a pastry chef running from her mistakes until she runs smack into a place she can call home, is a confection. And I mean that in the best possible way: it's sweet with just the right hints of tartness and salt, and, like a great dessert, it leaves you wanting more." said author Heather Young, and she could not be more correct about this book. 


The City Bakers Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller is a quick and wonderful read that I found myself unable to put away. This month I listened to this book courtesy of Random House Publishing, and it was a great start to my goal for my reading year of 2017. 

Miller has written a fun, easy, and escapist reading in this novel. We find ourselves in New England, mainly Vermont with bits of Boston thrown in, so if you're like me and are familiar with this area, that's a huge bonus. Often I read novels that take place in areas I am unfamiliar with, so to read a novel based in my area of the country gave me an even bigger sense of home-ieness than this novel was already trying to give you! 


Above all else, this novel is truly meant to make you feel like a baker. The scenes describing baking, and centered mainly around the main characters love for baking are the truest and most powerful scenes throughout. (And Miller even adds a killer pie recipe at the end!) I especially appreciated this detail, and the detailed descriptions of baking and cooking throughout the entire novel. 



I think my favorite part of this book is our main character Livvy. 


Livvy is a famous pastry chef in Boston, flees a love (and cooking) scandal and heads to Vermont where she is offered a temporary job at a bed and breakfast. She is the most eccentric, among a vast lineup of interesting characters, and amazingly lovely settings to a story that truly was able to keep my ever changing interest. 


This novel truly is "A full-hearted novel about a big-city baker who discovers the true meaning of home—and that sometimes the best things are found when you didn’t even know you were looking" and thats a direct quote from the excerpt of the book for fans to see! 


This novel was engaging, and kept me wanting more and more each time I put it down. Livvy is relatable, and radiant and I felt at many points that I was reading a story that could have easily been of my own.  


Louise Miller is a first time author with The City Girls Guide to Country Living and I am VERY hopeful that she continues her writing career, and encounters the success that she truly deserves! If you want to view her website you can go here and view her page, where she posts recipes she's tried and information about her book! 


All in all, I am highly recommending this novel for fans of contemporary fiction, and chick-lit. I have found this to be a wonderful and easy read that will stay with me for days to come! 



xoxo, 




"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."