BOOK REVIEW: Magician’s Workshop by Christopher Hansen and J.R. Fehr!

The Magician's Workshop, Volume One

SUMMARY

Everyone in the islands of O’Ceea has a magical ability: whatever they imagine can be brought into existence. Whoever becomes a master over these powers is awarded the title of magician and given fame, power, riches, and glory. Journey with a group of kids as they strive to rise to the top and become members of the Magician’s Workshop.

Layauna desperately wants to create beautiful things with her magical powers, but all she can seem to do is make horrible, savage monsters. For years she has tried to hide her creations, but when her power is at last discovered by a great magician, she realizes that what she’s tried to hide might actually be of tremendous value.

Kai just wants to use his powers to have fun and play with his friends. Unfortunately, nearly everyone on his island sees him as a bad influence, so he’s forced to meet them in secret. When one of the creatures they create gets out of control and starts flinging fireballs at their town, Kai is tempted to believe that he is as nefarious as people say. However, his prospects change when two mysterious visitors arrive, praising his ability and making extraordinary promises about his future.

Follow the adventures of Kai, Layauna, and a boatload of other characters as they struggle to grow up well in this fantastical world.

 

Christopher HansenABOUT THE AUTHORS

Christopher Hansen

The first glimmering Chris Hansen had that there was far more to reality than he had ever imagined occurred six days after his ninth birthday. “Christopher!” cried a wise, old sage. “Life is full of deep magic. Miraculous things happen all around us.” Chris looked around him and asked, “Where? I don’t see anything spectacular.” The man held out a pair of glasses. “Here, put these on.” The boy placed them over his eyes and—“Whoa!” He was gobsmacked by the Wonder he saw. But it lasted only a moment. The man vanished in a flash of starlight and the lenses melted and trickled down his cheeks.  Then a message was sung into his ear, “Go and seek what you have seen.” Full of expectation and childlike optimism, Chris set out. To his great joy, this quest has led him to discover many more glimmerings of this miraculous Wonder, often in the most unexpected of places.

J.R. Fehr

J.R. Fehr

When J.R. Fehr popped out of the womb, he knew there was more to the world than the

four boring hospital walls that he was seeing. “Zango!” his newborn mind exclaimed as

he saw people appear and disappear through a mysterious portal in the wall. As a child he found life wowtazzling, but as he grew older the cold water of reality hit him, and the magic he once knew vanished. After spending some wet and shivering years lost in a joyless wasteland, he once again began to see magic in the world. He writes because the Wonder of true life is far grander than anything he ever thought possible.

Find them on Goodreads:

Christopher Hansen

J.R. Jehr 

ON TO THE REVIEW

A 5 Star

This book has sucked me in. By the way it moves from character to character, how every character has his or her own unique and personality, it’s a train ride all the way to the end. I talked Chris Hansen before reading this story and this is what he had to say that clarifies a lot of how this book goes down:

“I think it may be a bit like going to a party where there are a bunch of people you don’t know. As you walk in the door you’re a bit unsure about things. Is thee going to be anyone here that you’ll enjoy and become friends with? But then the person who invited you to the party sees you and waves. They come over to you and say, “Hey, I’m glad you came. Here, let me introduce you to a few people.”

Then they take you over to meet one of their friends. It’s a nice conversation and you start to get a sense of who this person is. But then your host says, “Come on, there’s someone else I want you to get to know,” and they lead you to another person. You talk with them for awhile, but then before you know it you’re whisked off to greet a third person. This happens again and again until you’ve been introduced to most of the people in the room. Some people love this sort of thing while others don’t.”

Hansen sets of a perfect example of this first volume. I discussed with Kester and Kelsey how it just seemed like a huge prologue to the next book. Of course there was a lot of action, a lot of dialogue, a lot of good stuff, but by the time I was looking forward to the Color Ceremony (a huge ceremony that has been anticipated by all the characters throughout the book), the book was over. Luckily, I have the chance to get the second book. If I didn’t, I’ll forever be left in the dark about who got a Color and who didn’t.

Overall the plot was very interesting. Hansen and Fehr did EXCELLENT at creating their own little world. There were cultures and different provinces. Orphans were called Blanks, last names were not really a thing. They went by clan name or status. “is-a Blank,” “is-a Leaf” “is-a Wave.” Stuff like that, and I found it super catchy. I thought that was so unique.

I am so excited to read the second book, which I believe is the only next book. I’ve been reassured that the second book does carry on the plot a lot farther than introductions. I honestly can’t wait.

If you haven’t gotten your hands on this book, and you love a good fantasy that’s silly and full of characters, pick this book up now! You won’t regret it. I had so much fun, and you will too!

E-ARC Review: Ballad of the the Beanstalk by Amy McNulty – An Interesting Prequel for Jack and the Beanstalk

Hi guys! I got another review for you, and today’s book is Ballad of the the Beanstalk by Amy McNulty! Now first, I want to make a few announcements.

  1. We have an Instagram now, which is going to be 100% controlled by Cayli. Go follow us @LILbooKlovers (and make sure you also follow our Twitter where you can find my latest ramblings about stuff). She’s going to provide some pretty photos and updates there, so you don’t want to miss it!
  2. I am suspending Weekly Quote-Flection for the summer because I have so many author guests on the blog from Summer of Authors and I’m limiting myself to post 2-3 times a week (Monday, Friday, and Sunday). I know, I did one, and I stopped. But by then, I’ll have a ton of quotes to pick from and write about once the school year’s here!

Hope you enjoy the review!


About the BookBallad and the Beanstalk

As her fingers move across the strings of her family’s heirloom harp, sixteen-year-old Clarion can forget. She doesn’t dwell on the recent passing of her beloved father or the fact that her mother has just sold everything they owned, including that very same instrument that gives Clarion life. She doesn’t think about how her friends treat her like a feeble, brittle thing to be protected. She doesn’t worry about how to tell the elegant Elena, her best friend and first love, that she doesn’t want to be her sweetheart anymore. She becomes the melody and loses herself in the song.

When Mack, a lord’s dashing young son, rides into town so his father and Elena’s can arrange a marriage between the two youth, Clarion finds herself falling in love with a boy for the first time. Drawn to Clarion’s music, Mack puts Clarion and Elena’s relationship to the test, but he soon vanishes by climbing up a giant beanstalk that only Clarion has seen. When even the town witch won’t help, Clarion is determined to rescue Mack herself and prove once and for all that she doesn’t need protecting. But while she fancied herself a savior, she couldn’t have imagined the enormous world of danger that awaits her in the kingdom of the clouds.

A prequel to the fairy tale Jack and the Beanstalk that reveals the true story behind the magical singing harp.



Disclaimer: I received a free electronic ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Overall Thoughts: I really liked the premise of the book. How did the Harp in Jack and the Beanstalk get there? It was a very interesting and unique “prequel” to Jack and the Beanstalk, and I finished it in two days. It was a quick read that keeps you hooked from the beginning! I stayed up one night just to finish the book, and I couldn’t put it down until the end. I remember I was reading another book as I was starting this one, and I was like “I just want to read this one.” Now was this a 4- or 5-star book for me? Not really; I didn’t like it and I wasn’t as emotionally connected to it as I wanted, but fairy tale lovers will like this book!

Continue reading “E-ARC Review: Ballad of the the Beanstalk by Amy McNulty – An Interesting Prequel for Jack and the Beanstalk”

Girl on the Verge Blog Tour: Review – A Dark, Thrilling, and Shocking Surprise

Hi guys! I have another review for you all, and today it is part of the Girl on the Verge Blog Tour! I’m seriously now wanting to read Forget Tomorrow now (which is also by Pintip Dunn) because the author wowed me with this book! Go read my review below!


Girl on the Verge
Pintip Dunn
Published by: Kensington
Publication date: June 27th 2017
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult

From the author of The Darkest Lie comes a compelling, provocative story for fans of I Was Here and Vanishing Girls, about a high school senior straddling two worlds, unsure how she fits in either—and the journey of self-discovery that leads her to surprising truths.

In her small Kansas town, at her predominantly white school, Kanchana doesn’t look like anyone else. But at home, her Thai grandmother chides her for being too westernized. Only through the clothing Kan designs in secret can she find a way to fuse both cultures into something distinctly her own.

When her mother agrees to provide a home for a teenage girl named Shelly, Kan sees a chance to prove herself useful. Making Shelly feel comfortable is easy at first—her new friend is eager to please, embraces the family’s Thai traditions, and clearly looks up to Kan. Perhaps too much. Shelly seems to want everything Kanchana has, even the blond, blue-eyed boy she has a crush on. As Kan’s growing discomfort compels her to investigate Shelly’s past, she’s shocked to find how much it intersects with her own—and just how far Shelly will go to belong…

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iBooks

Continue reading “Girl on the Verge Blog Tour: Review – A Dark, Thrilling, and Shocking Surprise”

Review: Emerge by Tobie Easton – Magical Twist on a Classic Tale

Hello! So this review is almost two months overdue because I read it back in March and finished it the day before SE-YA. I had the wonderful opportunity to meet the author, Tobie, and she was amazing! I loved it! Although this was a book I bought and got signed, I want to share it with y’all! I hope you enjoy!


About Emerge27882492

Lia Nautilus may be a Mermaid but she’s never lived in the ocean. Ever since the infamous Little Mermaid unleashed a curse that stripped Mer of their immortality, war has ravaged the Seven Seas. Now Lia lives in a secret community of land-dwelling Mer hidden among Malibu’s seaside mansions and attends high school with humans. To protect everyone around her, she must limit her contact with non-Mer. No exceptions. But when the new girl sets her sights on Lia’s crush, she will risk exposing her deadly secret to stop Clay from falling in love with the wrong girl.


 

A 4 Star

Overall Thoughts: I know this review is like a month and a half overdue, but I really want to review this book because I think it’s one that needs to be shared… plus I planned this review for a while and I need to get to it. I remembered I finished this book the day before SE-YA, and I couldn’t put it down at the end because I was like “What will happen next?” so much!

Continue reading “Review: Emerge by Tobie Easton – Magical Twist on a Classic Tale”

Review: Pigeon Blood Red by Ed Duncan! With an EXCERPT from the story!

Disclaimer: I have been given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Eek! Another review! I’m so excited.

Duncan’s website for more information: https://eduncan.net/

“It’s always been said that you should write what you know. I am a lawyer – as is a pivotal character in the novel who is being pursued by a hit man – and I’m excited to be able to use my legal training creatively as well as professionally.” – Ed Duncan

28223259

SYNOPSIS:

For underworld enforcer Richard “Rico” Sanders, it seemed like an ordinary job. Retrieve his gangster boss’s priceless pigeon-blood red ruby necklace and teach the double-dealing cheat who stole it a lesson. A job like a hundred before it. But the chase quickly goes sideways and takes Rico from the mean streets of Chicago to sunny Honolulu, where the hardened hit man finds himself in uncharted territory when a couple of innocent bystanders are accidentally embroiled in the crime.

As Rico pursues his new targets, the hunter and his prey develop an unlikely respect for one another and Rico is faced with a momentous decision: follow his orders to kill the couple whose courage and character have won his admiration, or refuse and endanger the life of the woman he loves?

“In a novel with as much action as love, it is sure to be a story that will fulfill the desires of readers of all ages, genders, and areas of interest.”4 Stars, Red City Review

“Pigeon Blood Red at 238 pages, is not particularly long as books go, but Duncan packs a lot of story into those pages. Readers in search of a tight, well written, good guy versus bad guy, crime/action/adventure will find Pigeon Blood Red by Ed E. Duncan, an engrossing story that will keep them involved to the end. And like me, they will find themselves eagerly awaiting the next installment.”  Mike Siedschlag

“This charming, classically-told crime thriller is a must for noir fans… refreshingly old-school pulp, inhabited by a familiar cast of gamblers, con men and hustlers found in Dennis Lehane and Elmore Leonard novels.”5 Stars, Best Thrillers

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ed is a graduate of Oberlin College and Northwestern University Law School. He was a partner at a national law firm in Cleveland, Ohio for many years. He is the original author of a highly regarded legal treatise entitled “Ohio Insurance Coverage,” for which he provided annual editions from 2008 through 2012.

Ed currently lives outside of Cleveland, OH. He is at work on the second installment in the Pigeon-Blood Red trilogy.

MY RATING…

A 4 Star

Coming in an easy read for anyone, Duncan’s story connects to the mysterious world of people who get themselves in tough situations, forced to do unthinkable measures. One person’s mistakes affect all those around him or her, even his/her very own life.

We meet Robert, who is the person who is responsible for the mess that the other character get into. He’s not a very kind man… perhaps more of a cheater and liar and a thief. As you can see, I did not like his character very much on the “Will I Befriend Him?” scale. Even so, Robert is the reason there is even a story. As his gambling gets worse and he ends up having to steal a precious jewel, he ends up leaving his ex-wife and wife’s “friend” to settle with the aftermath.

This story brings in a lot of characters with interesting backstories. So many of them are so diverse as in where they grew up, their personalities, and so forth. You don’t just see Rico (as said in the summary), but you also see in the eyes of many other characters.

It was really fascinating to find that this book contains a lot of character flaws. To be realistic, not all characters needs to be absolutely incredible and morally right. Duncan’s characters all have their own flaws. Rico, Robert, Evelyn… In this way, while I loved a lot of characters, I also saw them as actual people, realistic people.

I’ll be honest: I have seen a plot similar to this one in other cases. I did-however- appreciate everything else that came with this novel. The tensity, the relationships, the settings… There was a lot of moving around, a lot of point of views switching in chapters. There were some characters I did not care about all that much about as far as their back-story goes; but I did love reading about the actual main characters.

I think Paul would have been my favorite overall. His main concern was protecting Evelyn, and for that I thought that was so adorable. I loved Rico too, mostly because his character was so quiet outwardly, but when looking into his thoughts, you understood his motives and his emotions. Their characters really stood out to me, which is weird because they were almost complete opposites. Paul, the caring and loving guy who is a lawyer and a proper man… then you have Rico who is a hit man, paid to take people out and struggles a lot at showing how much he cares.

Romance? Eh, not that much, but then again this is only the first book.

Comedy? Little bit, most of it was just for smiles.

Getting into? A little confusing at first, but once it gradually sped up I understood what everything was.

Language? Very easy.

Excerpt!

If you’re interested in giving Pigeon Blood-Red a chance, take a look at this excerpt! 🙂

Pigeon Blood-Red Excerpt

Note: You do have to download this link. I apologize, but it was the only way I could get it posted. If it doesn’t work, comment and tell me so I can attempt to fix it or get a different version to post.  

Review: Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves – A Compelling Combination of Fantasy and History

Hi guys! Yesterday was my last day of school, so I’m officially free! Sweet, sweet freedom! To celebrate the start of my summer vacation, I have here my newest review for Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves. Let me tell you why I wanted to read it: Magic + 1847 Hungary. I mean, this is basically trying to get me to like the fantasy genre even more since it takes place in Austria-Hungary! Now here’s my review!


About Blood Rose Rebellion31020402

The thrilling first book in a YA fantasy trilogy for fans of Red Queen. In a world where social prestige derives from a trifecta of blood, money, and magic, one girl has the ability to break the spell that holds the social order in place.

Sixteen-year-old Anna Arden is barred from society by a defect of blood. Though her family is part of the Luminate, powerful users of magic, she is Barren, unable to perform the simplest spells. Anna would do anything to belong. But her fate takes another course when, after inadvertently breaking her sister’s debutante spell—an important chance for a highborn young woman to show her prowess with magic—Anna finds herself exiled to her family’s once powerful but now crumbling native Hungary.

Her life might well be over.

In Hungary, Anna discovers that nothing is quite as it seems. Not the people around her, from her aloof cousin Noémi to the fierce and handsome Romani Gábor. Not the society she’s known all her life, for discontent with the Luminate is sweeping the land. And not her lack of magic. Isolated from the only world she cares about, Anna still can’t seem to stop herself from breaking spells.

As rebellion spreads across the region, Anna’s unique ability becomes the catalyst everyone is seeking. In the company of nobles, revolutionaries, and Romanies, Anna must choose: deny her unique power and cling to the life she’s always wanted, or embrace her ability and change that world forever.


A 4 Star

Disclaimer: I received a free hardcover copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. I have also received swag from the author in a separate giveaway. These will not affect my review.

Overall Thoughts: Blood Rose Rebellion has been one of my most anticipated reads of 2017! When I saw that they were giving away free copies of this book in exchange for a review on Blogging for Books, I immediately jumped onto the offer. Let me say, this book did not disappoint! I loved how it infused both 1847 Hungary (which now has a special place in my heart because I loved the culture in the book) and fantastic magic! I definitely enjoyed reading it, and I couldn’t put it down at times! The strongest aspect of this book is the world-building, which is fascinating to think about! It definitely is a compelling combination of fantasy and history.

Continue reading “Review: Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves – A Compelling Combination of Fantasy and History”

Review: A Time to Speak by Nadine Brandes – Never Wanted the Book to End!

Hi guys! The end of school is nigh, and these last few weeks have been very hectic. I’m also very behind on reviews, so I’m trying my best to catch up! I need to adopt a better policy… How do you guys juggle reading and reviewing? I probably should review right after I read since I have a few books that it’s been over a month or two since I’ve finished it. Anyways, here’s another review of a new favorite book that I hope you will consider reading!


About A Time to Speak (Out of Time #2)24466484

What happens when you live longer than you wanted to?

Parvin Blackwater wanted to die, but now she’s being called to be a leader. The only problem is, no one wants to follow.

The Council is using Jude’s Clock-matching invention to force “new-and-improved” Clocks on the public. Those who can’t afford one are packed into boxcars like cattle and used for the Council’s purposes. Parvin and Solomon team up to rescue the people. Instead, they find themselves on a cargo ship of Radicals headed out to sea. What will the Council do to them? And why are people suddenly dying before their Clocks have zeroed-out?


A 5 Star

Disclaimer: I received a free electronic copy of this book from the author in exchange for a review. I have also received swag, and I am a part of the author’s street team. These will not affect my review.

Overall Thoughts: Just to start things off, I did not like the first book in the Out of Time series, A Time to Die. I was trying to rush the book since it was so long and it made me dislike the author’s writing style. I became very confused on what was going on, so this made me a bit hesitant about reading this. But let me say this, I am amazed by this book. Now I know why the Street Team geeks out about the series: this book right here. Let me tell you, it exceeded its predecessor in so many ways that I didn’t mind it was over 8000 on MOBI! You know that C. S. Lewis quote “There’s never a cup of tea or a book too big for me” or something like that? This is the first time I have read a book that I didn’t want to end. 

Story Development: This may seem like a long book, but it’s the right length for it because there’s so much that goes on. The author develops that plot so well that you can see ever clearly the progression of many of the characters, from Parvin becoming more brave an dependent on God to some unlikely people supporting her. I could not get enough of this book. Seriously, I loved how it panned out! I did not mind Parvin traveled all around the Western Hemisphere on her mission; in fact, I loved it. Nothing felt out of place. A Time to Speak was like a huge, soft blanket that has no holes and you just want to snuggle in it for a long time. There’s literally nothing wrong with this book plotwise!

Characters: Oh my goodness, I love this cast of characters so much! Now I want some of those character magnetic bookmarks because they are amazing! I love Parvin’s POV, and her relationship with Solomon. I really want Angelique (or Frenchie) to go home to France, and I still like Madame, too! Even characters that you would want to hate- like the Milkman (whose real name is Caprine), Dusten, and Kaphtor- you might end up rooting for at the end. The characters are so different yet they soon unite over a common cause and it’s so great!

Just Perfect! and Concluding Thoughts: I have nothing against this book at all. It’s really now one of my favorite books now because it was that amazing! I can finally fanboy over the series because I loved this novel a lot. I am so looking forward to finishing the series with A Time to Rise! Oh, I need to know what happens next! As a proud Ninja, I definitely recommend this book to you! You will not regret it! It definitely helped me shape my thinking, that I should live each day to the fullest, for I do not know when my last one will come.

On of My Favorite Quotes: “The promise of uncertainty changes how I live. It urges me to live . . . more, as if the very seconds prior to every sunset will be my last. That‘s the way it’s supposed to be.”


So I hoped you enjoyed that review! Happy Reading!

+ J.M.J.

~ Kester

Catch the Spark Within! Chapters 29 and 30 by Alex Abaz (Review!)

So happy to finally be able to post again. Over the past two weeks, I have been devoting my time on reading mostly. I am actually hooked on Pigeon Blood Red by Ed Duncan. And of course! The Trials of Apollo book two: The Dark Prophecy came out recently and I have been reading that also. I can’t wait to have Duncan’s review ready for you all to see 🙂


Click HERE to read Kester’s recent review on Caraval by Stephanie Garber.(I cannot wait to be able to read this book >.<)


Chapter 29: Selfishness and self-care are altogether different.

This one popped up as I was watching this anime Silver Spoon. I saw it on Netflix, and I decided I would give it a try. This chapter came into play as I was watching it, because the main character Hachi (I haven’t finished it yet, so I’m scared to look up his name to see how it is spelled… lol) is very much what Abaz describes in her chapter.

Constantly, Hachi is battling with himself. He thinks that he has to make everyone happy; he will do whatever he can to make others cheer up, even sacrifice his health. There was a time when he was so busy trying to get a million things done for a school festival, he fainted with fatigue as he went to go give his dog a walk. He woke up in the hospital, so scared that his friends were mad at him for leaving them to take care of the stuff he should have been there to do. He got back to school after the festival was over, and told his friends he didn’t mean to leave them, and that he didn’t deserve to go to the afterparty with them. His friends told him that he was an idiot for thinking he was going to skip the after party. They had used his very detailed notes to finish the festival which went without a hitch.

And this is what this chapter is talking about. It’s good to be selfless. It’s highly encouraged. But when is it too much? What if one day you work yourself so much you hurt yourself? Everyone needs time to care for themselves. No matter who you are.

“I have to continuously reminds myself that making me a priority is not the same thing as being selfish.”

I struggle with thinking that caring for myself is equal to being selfish. Mostly because I love helping people. I want everyone to understand that I love them, and that I’m here to help with anything they need. But I have had times when I had to say no because I just couldn’t do it. Next thing you know they quit asking me for help altogether. I don’t want people to doubt my will to help. I have been getting better at saying no lately, because I constantly tell myself I have to take care of myself.

And even on this blog, I do this. I talked with a couple friends about how I have a load of books to review. I was stressing over them. I couldn’t focus on a lot else other than getting these books read. I almost overpowered myself. I could have said no, but I didn’t. I still would have read them all, because I love to help authors with reviews and all of that, but I should have made it a note that I could not read five books at the same time. Instead, I should have said I would not get them done by this specific time more than likely. I learned my lesson.

“Nurturing ourselves makes life better… [I]t’s not either them or us; it’s them and us.”

Don’t be in a relationship where you’re constantly caring for one someone and you’re not getting anything in return. I talked with one of my friends. He told me he was always giving his friend money for gas and for other things he want, but he has not paid him back yet. That stuff makes me furious, because I have been working on myself to get out of the habit of giving to people who use me. I have to take care of myself, too, and I can’t let people run over me in that way. Make your friendship, boyfriend/girlfriend relationship and “them and us,” not a “them or us.”

Take care of yourself, take care of others. Love on them, but also love on yourself.


Chapter 30: “Beluga is my Beethoven,” said the 90-year old Betty White to Anderson Cooper.

In this chapter, Abaz told the story about how she was stuck in a bad storm with her family. Popped in a Beethoven CD and everyone fell asleep through the storm.

And I related this to my faith, honestly. When things get horrible, and I have no idea what to do, I immediately turn to God. I ask him for help. I ask him to make the pain go away. I want to fall asleep and wake up to see everything fine again.

The problems don’t go away. They don’t just disappear into thin air, and I’m left all happy again, but I do feel a better joy in what I’m going through. Through putting my faith in the Lord, and just letting him guide me through, it makes me stronger. I feel myself growing a better confidence that I can get through it. I am not alone; God won’t just walk away.

So yeah, I guess God is my Beethoven. I encourage others to take him as your Beethoven as well. He’s gotten me through times in my life just by being there. He made the problems seem not so bad. Praise be to Him and His glory.

Who is your Beethoven as of right now? Who gets you through the storms, and distracts you from the scary noises? Bestfriend? Parents? Siblings? Actors? Singers?

“When we woke up, the storm had cleared and daylight had returned as if uninterrupted.”

 

 

Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber – A Magical Place I Didn’t Want to Leave

Hi guys! I do not have a Quote-flection of the Week because this week has been so busy for me. I had a few auditions and I have a concert and ceremony coming up soon, so it’s been crazy! The Quote-flection will be every week or so, so some weeks I will have one and others I won’t. But I decided to have a review today! In order to introduce you to my newest top favorite book, I have to give you this quote! Here it is:

“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. … But before you fully enter into our world, you must remember it’s all a game. So while we want you to get swept away, be careful of being swept too far away. Dreams that come true can be beautiful, but they can also turn into nightmares when people won’t wake up.”


About the Book:27883214

Remember, it’s only a 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.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval . . . beware of getting swept too far away.


A 5 Star

Disclaimer: I won a free copy of this book in a giveaway. This will not affect my thoughts.

Overall Thoughts: I’ve wanted to read Caraval for quite a while, and I was so excited while I was able to win this book in a giveaway! I was convinced to finally start it last week (as I write this) and it was the best decision ever. I mean, Caraval was a magical place I never wanted to leave! I can see why so many people are hyped about this book and want to buy every single version of it. I mean I amazed by it! This is probably one of the few books that I didn’t want to end! 

World-Building: The author creates such a magical and fantastic world! So much magic in the air makes my eyes glimmer with fascination! I want Legend to send me a ticket to Caraval! I don’t care if I win; I just want to roam around it! (I know I’m dropping so many exclamation points, but the world building is just amazing!) Garber certainly made Caraval one of the best fictional worlds and settings I have ever read. Could I please get a ticket? There’s also a gorgeous map of the setting in the book that definitey helps you, and it’s so pretty to just look at!

*I know this review is sounding so much like me fanboying, but these are literally my feelings right now. All I can type is excitement and joy. Gotta be more professional now.*

Plot: So I couldn’t put down this 400-page beauty. I finished it in two (or three) days! I mean this is almost record time! The plot sucks you in, like you’re actually in Caraval and you don’t want to get out. You encounter a lot and a lot of plot twists that make you want to keep going. I definitely found myself saying “Just one more chapter” so many times! Garber hooks you from the beginning all the way to the end. She throws at you so many unexpected twists and turns that you have to know what happens next!

Romance: I just have to cover the romance in the book. Scarlett and Julian is my favorite OTP ever! It’s such a great slow burn relationship that evolves from hate. But it’s so fun to watch Scarlett warming up to him. I won’t spoil what happens to their relationship at the story progresses, but it does go through a ton of different hurdles… I’ll just tell you that. But I love their relationship! I need some fan art and swag right now!

Concluding Thoughts: This book was perfect, and I mean perfect! I loved every single part of it 100%! And this book is the first in series? I have to read the next book. It was so good that I just don’t want to ever leave it! I think that Caraval has to be on my favorite books of all time! It’s the perfect escape and vacation from reality! I recommend it to everyone! Please read this book! You won’t regret it! I might re-read it, which is extremely rare for me!
Have you read Caraval? Did you like it? Comment below your thoughts, and let’s chat!

One of My Favorite Quotes (There’s Too Many!): “Hope is a powerful thing. Some say it’s a different breed of magic altogether. Elusive, difficult to hold on to. But not much is needed.”


Don’t forget to enter our giveaway for Kym Brunner’s book Flip the Bird! It’s a great MG Contemporary Romance you don’t want to miss! Check it out here!

Happy Reading!

+ J.M.J.

~ Kester

ARC Review: Configured by Jenetta Penner – Danger and Death in Every Corner

Hi guys! It’s the first day of May! I am really behind on reviews, so that’s why I’m popping quite a few out in such a short time! I know… I’m going to have some nice discussions, tags, and memes in the future! But for now, I hope you enjoy this latest review on Configured by Jenetta Penner!


Goodreads Synopsis: In the future love will make you a traitor.32065903

120 years after a virus decimated earth’s population the survivors thrive in safety, away from the death and destruction of the Outerbounds. Divided into three levels of intellect, Citizens focus solely on duty.

Due to her advanced intelligence, seventeen-year-old Avlyn Lark is separated from her twin brother at birth and raised by adoptive parents. She gains privilege, the ideal future. He dies. Avlyn barely knows him yet remains linked to his memory.

But following a string of rebel intrusions on the city, Avlyn receives a cryptic message and begins seeing visions of her dead twin. The mysterious radical who urges Avlyn to join their fight becomes her link to answers. Freedom.

Opportunity awaits, but if she says yes will she lose it all?

Configured is the first novel in a trilogy YA dystopian/light romance that poses the question: does humanity need love for survival? Fans of Divergent, Matched, and the Maze Runner will love this world of dark secrets, intrigue and desire for a better tomorrow.


A 4 StarDisclaimer: I received a free e-ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This will not affect my review in anyway. All thoughts are mine and mine alone, and they are my honest thoughts.

Overall Thoughts: I’ve definitely heard a lot of great things about Configured, so I decided to take a shot at this YA Dystopian novel. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint. The more I got into it, the more I wanted to continue it! When I first saw this book, I was intrigued by the premise- a world where the government controls everything about you, where love is forbidden. I think I’d prefer this indie book to Divergent anyday!

Action-Packed Plot: There were many times when I just wanted to continue reading it. The action-packed, suspenseful plot will keep you on the edge of your seat! With the possibility of danger and death lurking around the corner, you’ll never know what will happen next! I know I didn’t! It surprised me in so many ways yet it fueled my fire to continue!

World-Building: I definitely was intrigued by the society of Elore, where Avlyn lives. Definitely, the author crafted the dystopian city very well. A government that doesn’t care for its lower citizens? Ooh… Citizens are classed by their intelligence levels, but there’s many secrets to the system? My interest is even more piqued. There’s rebels, and more than you think. Yes!

Details: Just like most books, I did get a tiny bit confused regarding technology, setting, etc. With the new VR technology that Avlyn and the rebels use, it wasn’t clear to me at times whether the characters were in a simulation or in reality. Sometimes I get mistaken and think they’re in a virtual meeting place when they’re actually in a real life room. But it’s nothing really major- so it won’t greatly affect your perception of the story. I think that regardless it is a great book to read!

Concluding Thoughts: Will I be on the lookout for book 2? Definitely! Usually with dystopian trilogies, I don’t plan on completing them (I am not going to continue to Catching Fire or finish the first book in Divergent… I got bored after Gathering Blue in The Giver Quartet), but I’m considering doing it with this one! I don’t normally continue series (I’m a big standalone fan… we can talk about this later) but this might be an exception!

Favorite Quote: “Avlyn, this world is both beautiful and broken. Make more beautiful moments than broken ones.”


Happy Reading!

+ J.M.J.

~ Kester