[Review] Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor


Title: Strange the Dreamer 
Author: Laini Taylor
Series: Strange the Dreamer #1 
Release Date: March 28th 2017
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young  Readers 

A new epic fantasy by National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author Laini Taylor of the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy.

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around— and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he's been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo's dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? and if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

In this sweeping and breathtaking new novel by National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor, author of the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, the shadow of the past is as real as the ghosts who haunt the citadel of murdered gods. Fall into a mythical world of dread and wonder, moths and nightmares, love and carnage.

Welcome to Weep.

[Review] The Valiant by Lesley Livingston


Title: The Valiant
Author: Lesley Livingston
Publisher: HarperCollins Canada
Release Date: February 17th 2017
Goodreads Page

The youngest daughter of a proud Celtic king, Fallon has always lived in the shadow of her older sister Sorcha's legendary reputation as a warrior. But when Fallon was a young child, the armies of Julius Caesar invaded the island of Britain and her beloved older sister was killed in battle.

On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is excited to follow in her sister's footsteps and earn her rightful place in her father's royal war band. But she never gets the chance. Instead, Fallon is captured by a band of ruthless brigands who sell her to an exclusive training school for female gladiators—and its most influential patron is none other than Julius Caesar himself. In a cruel twist of fate, Fallon's worst enemy, the man who destroyed her family, might be her only hope of survival.

Now, Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries, chilling threats and the dangerous attention of Caesar himself to survive the deadly fights that take place both in and out of the arena—and claim her place in history among the Valiant.

[Blog Tour] Caraval by Stephanie Garber


Title: Caraval
Author: Stephanie Garber
Series: Caraval #1
Release Date: January 31st 2017

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.

I received an ARC from the distributor as part of the blog tour and in exchange for an honest review.

While Caraval tells a tale of the sisterhood between Scarlett and Donatella Dragna, the novel mostly focuses on Scarlett. Scarlett grew up hearing stories of the magic and wonder of Caraval from her grandmother and wrote letters to the mysterious troupe leader, Legend. Scarlett is arranged to be married and she eagerly awaits it, since she dreams of escaping her father's abuse and bringing her beloved sister with her. However, a week before her marriage, she receives tickets to Caraval and she is whisked away by her sister and a sailor to attend. Tella, as Scarlett calls her sister, is kidnapped by Legend. Finding her sister is the key to winning the game.

Caraval creates a magical world to get lost in and just as Scarlett becomes more involved in the mystery of the game, so does the reader. I found myself wondering what would happen next and making guesses on the secrets of the characters and the games. While it surprised me that Scarlett came to the same conclusions as me, it was also proven wrong, which was nice for me.

Scarlett loves her sister more than anything in the world and would do anything for her. Finding her is what drives her to keep playing the game, even when it becomes darker and more sinister and the fear of her father still echoes within her. She also seems to have a type of synesthesia where colours are associated with feelings.

Julian is a mysterious and handsome sailor who helps Tella bring Scarlett to Caraval. He has many secrets and he seems to have played the game before, and is trying to win the game this time for the prize -- a wish. He is dashing and charming, but also seems to have a dark side. Who knows, you'll just have to read the book to find out his secrets. ;)

There's a warning given out by Julian, that not everything is as it seems in Caraval. Some things are real and some aren't. It's a point that's important to this novel and since we're reading through the eyes of Scarlett, we only know as much as she knows. There's a surreal magic to the Caraval we see through her eyes that is both fascinating and terrifying

I really enjoyed this gorgeous and darkly magical novel. The characters have depth and are interesting and I love the world created in this novel. There seems to be a sequel and I'm interested to see where Stephanie Garber will take this world next.

Click up there ^^^^ for an excerpt! 

Happy Reading!
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[Review] You Don't Know My Name by Kristen Orlando


Title: You Don't Know My Name 
Author: Kristen Orlando 
Series: The Black Angel Chronicles #1 
Release Date: January 10th 2017 

Fighter, Faker, Student, Spy.

Seventeen-year-old Reagan Elizabeth Hillis is used to changing identities overnight, lying to every friend she’s ever had, and pushing away anyone who gets too close. Trained in mortal combat and weaponry her entire life, Reagan is expected to follow in her parents’ footsteps and join the ranks of the most powerful top-secret agency in the world, the Black Angels. Falling in love with the boy next door was never part of the plan.

Now Reagan has to decide: Will she use her incredible talents and lead the dangerous life she was born into, or throw it all away to follow her heart and embrace the normal life she's always wanted? And does she even have a choice at all?

Find out if you are ready to join the Black Angels in the captivating and emotional page-turner, You Don't Know My Name, from debut novelist Kristen Orlando!

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