A Very Trippy, Shady, Addicting as Hell Debut // Thoughts on Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Caraval

Author: Stephanie Garber
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Release Date: January 31st 2017
Format: Physical ARC
Before you enter the world of Caraval, you must remember that it’s all a game... Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their ruthless father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the legendary, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over. Then, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation to Caraval finally arrives. So, Tella enlists a mysterious sailor’s help to whisk Scarlett away to this year’s show. But as soon as the trio arrives, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nonetheless soon becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with her sister, with Legend, and 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 of this book in exchange for an honest review. None of my thoughts are affected by that.

OH CARAVAL. This has been such a highly anticipated read for me. The moment I heard Stephanie got a book deal, I knew I wanted to read the book, despite the fact that the only thing known about this book was the title and a small description. So yes, I went into this book with a lot of high hopes which were definitely not let down. Let me tell you (and I certainly won't be the first) Caraval went way beyond my expectations and I loved it. It had a great plot, such interesting characters, and the whole concept of Caraval is so fun and very mysterious. This book has fantasy aspects, sooo much suspense, great character relationships and I really think it's a book everyone would enjoy.

First, let's talk about the event itself, Caraval. I love the concept and I applaud Stephanie for coming up with something so intriguing and it really reminds me of an escape room. If you don't know what an escape room is, it's basically where you and a group of people are locked in a room and the only way to exit is through solving clues. Caraval is kind of like that, but more extreme. The game lasts longer, people can watch the game, I'm pretty sure you can leave the game any day you want, but both escape room and Caraval have a similar concept; solve these clues within the given time and you get out. Having a book take place within Caraval made for such an awesome story, especially with Scarlett and the position she was put in.

Now, onto the actual book itself. Caraval had suspense, a lot of mystery, and the plot twists in this book, oooh! I think Stephanie did a great job with always keeping this book suspenseful and interesting which is something I might be looking forward to in her future works. If you're someone who loves to predict what happens next or try to solve the mystery, Caraval might even be more fun for you to read because this book constantly was surprising me. Alas, I am just a kind of "go with the flow" reader so I made no effort to try to figure things out and just went with the story. Of course, the book was still super enjoyable despite that.

The only tiny problem I had with this book was Scarlett and how she was a little irritating the beginning. It didn't affect my enjoyment of the book too much but her character was a little whiny at times, which irked me a little. However, I'm glad this issue didn't last long and didn't go on forever.

The "7 Asian Characters in YA" List but Stronger // Happy Chinese New Year!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Hi everyone and happy Chinese New Year (if you celebrate it)! If you remember, last year I wrote a post similar to this one. I really loved being able to compile a list of Asian characters so I decided to do it again this year. Last year, I really had the list limited to people of East Asia so this year, I expanded the characters a bit to cover more parts of Asia.

Sadly, Asians are still so under-represented in the YA community and I really hope that I can come back next year and be able to say something along the lines of "Wow, I had a lot of trouble choosing characters this year." Diversity is still such a fragile thing and we're still very much working on more diverse books. It's getting better but Asians are still definitely under-represented (and that's for shows and movies too *cough*). Anyway, I hope you enjoy this post, have yourself a nice Saturday (or Chinese New Year if you celebrate!) and find yourself a new diverse book from this post.


Mercy // Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee
Every time I think of books that include Asian or Chinese characters in a book, Outrun the Moon is the first book that comes into mind. I love Stacey Lee and this one has got to be my favorite book of hers. It's about a Chinese girl navigating her way through the 1906 earthquake of San Francisco and issues like discrimination play a pretty large part in Outrun the Moon. I think this book has such a great variety of ethnicities within its group of characters and Chinese characters are definitely involved.

The Internet Isn't Ready for Vika // The Tsar's Guard Spotlight Tour (Giveaway!)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Hello everyone and welcome to my post for The Tsar's Guard Spotlight Tour for The Crown's Fate! Super excited for this post because I am really looking forward to sharing with you guys what I did for the tour. The Crown's Game was a pretty highly anticipated book for me last year and I ended up really liking it. The Crown's Fate release is coming around soon so I was happy to help promote it.

Like last year, I made a blog for a character imagining as if that character were to have a blog. Last year, I made Nikolai a blog and this year, I decided to make Vika a blog, because why not! I'm really excited for this too because I love what I did for Vika's blog (more than Nikolai's oops).

and without further ado, here is the blog!

The image will take you to the blog!

My process

I went with a very minimalistic look for this blog. I tried to stay away from cursive, fancier fonts, and mainly relied on fonts that were Sans-Serif. If anything, I think this blog has a total of like 3 different fonts used on it, pretty impressive seeing as though I do tend to go font crazy sometimes. The font I used for the blog looked good in all capitals and lowercases so I had something to work with.

Following the minimalistic look, I knew that I didn't want the blog to be all white, hence the light purple. Originally I wanted a more purple-grey look but I think this purple looks really great, especially because I could play around with the darker purples to contrast the light purple background.

I also used basically the same design that I have for this blog for Vika's menu bar, which is a little repetitive with my blog as well because I think it goes very well with the site. And I didn't put it above the sidebar this time because there was so little things to go on the menu bar so I just went ahead and put it above the posts, which I am really liking. I was also able to whip up a few posts for the blog (thank you Sarah!) just so it wasn't as empty as Nikolai's last year.

So yeah, that is Vika's blog. I really love this one and I hope you do too. If you're interested in this template, email me! I would be happy to give it to you. :)

Historic England, Pirates, POC Characters. We've Got it All! // Thoughts on Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Blackhearts

Author: Nicole Castroman
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: February 9th 2016
Format: eARC
Blackbeard the pirate was known for striking fear in the hearts of the bravest of sailors. But once he was just a young man who dreamed of leaving his rigid life behind to chase adventure in faraway lands. Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would change everything. Edward "Teach" Drummond, son of one of Bristol's richest merchants, has just returned from a year-long journey on the high seas to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams only of returning to the vast ocean he’d begun to call home. There's just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back. Following her parents' deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless and soon to be homeless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne is forced to take a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to CuraƧao—where her mother was born—when she's stuck in England? From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn to each other, they’re trapped by society and their own circumstances. Faced with an impossible choice, they must decide to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay.

Goodreads

I recieved an eARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. None of my thoughts are effected by that.

This was such a fabulous read and I am definitely hitting myself for not reading it earlier. It’s a pirate historical fiction taking place in the 1800s, which is definitely something I hadn't heard of in previous books so I was intruiged. It doesn't seem like my type of read but I quickly fell in love with the world and characters and am now so head over heels for the universe Nicole has created. Nicole did such a fabulous job keeping readers captivated in her story of Anne and Teach. I am so excited to talk about this book today and I hope some of you decide to pick it up!

Oh, 2017! I Didn't See You There! // 2017 Goals aka My New Year's Resolutions

Friday, January 13, 2017

Hello and welcome to 2017! You can obviously see that I am up to a great start based on the fact that this post is 14 days late but I think I have a pretty good excuse. Anyway, I decided that I would post some of my goals this year just to have them out there so I can go back on them at the end of the year and so if anyone wants to, they can be my nagger of the year and nag me into achieving my goals. This is a pretty short post so I hope you enjoy it!
2017 Blog Goals
  • Manage my time better
  • Buy less books
  • Support more POC authors
  • Reading more diverse books
  • Post more consistently
  • Post on Instagram more consistently
  • Post more discussing posts
  • Further encourage and promotion of diversity
So I have a lot of goals this year because as a blogger, I definitely don't think I did my job well in 2016. I want to advocate more on diversity, support more POC, disabled, and LGBTQ+ authors and books that feature diverse characters, and talk more about diversity here and on my Twitter as well. As I POC blogger I definitely think the lack of diversity is an issue that the book community should constantly be talking about.

2016 was also the time where I completely bombed on posting here and on Instagram. I tend to really lazy out with Instagram so I am hoping to take more pictures for Instagram this year and also post at least 5 times a month during this year. Obviously, I would love to post more but I gotta set a realistic goal for myself with school. We shall see how that goes though!