Caraval: score 3.5
Recommended if you like heavy romance, colorful prose & magical realism with a fast pace! This thrilling & enigmatic novel is full of suspense, deceptions & twist upon twists. However it sorely lacks world building & for a story centered in a carnival of magic, there really isn’t much exploration of its world.
So Ignore the hype & the Night Circus comparisons. Because it’s really about romance, treacherously deceitful characters & lots of dress descriptions. The heroine is ignorant, vain & frets the entire time… But she does eventually learn to stand up for herself! And the sequel from her sisters POV looks like it’ll be even more spellbinding than the first!
Beauty Queens: score 4.5
Recommended IF you like black humor, satire & an over the top parody. Keep in mind, this isn’t something you read for the plot, it’s cheesy, campy & rarely serious.
And even though it’s full of ridiculous coincidences, it’s still really fun, highly entertaining & very funny. It’s full of girl power & deals with some serious teen issues with grace (even though it’s heavy handed at times). I suggest listening to the audiobook, the voices are really well done & the jokes land so much better.
Nevernight: score 4
Recommended if you like dark fantasy, adventure, murderous revenge plots & a deadly (Hogwarts like) school of assassins! The heroine is a fierce, outspoken girl who’s a vicious killer but still tender-hearted.
Unfortunately the first few chaps are so heavy & the similes & metaphors are so overwhelming, that it’s hard to read! But if you make it through the beginning, it calms down. Also the world building is creative & in depth but includes too many wordy footnotes. But if you don’t mind that stuff, the story itself is epic, clever, brutal, thrilling & fully satisfying.
Blood of Wonderland
(Sequel to the Queen of Hearts): score 3
Recommended if you love fantasy & Wonderland retellings. Unfortunately this book suffers from a slow pace & middle book syndrom. It’s not nearly as magical as the 1st book & is severely lacking in dialogue (lots of monologues.)
However Dinah finally stops being a spoiled brat & starts growing into a stronger heroine (or Villain) that readers can truly sympathize with. IMO the best thing about this sequel is that so many questions are finally answered!!
Traitor To The Throne (Rebel of the Sands Sequel): score 4
Recommended if you like dangerous rebellions, magical, gutsy & snarky heroines & an evil sultan (whom you may start to root for). This sequel is just as good as the 1st! But it depends on what you liked about it… If you liked Amani’s recklessness & gunslinging, this may disappoint you. She’s not the same impulsive, shoot 1st & ask questions later type. Also there isn’t as much action or romance or wandering of desserts.
Instead it’s got a slow burn romance & is more about her as a spy in the Rebel Prince’s war. Also It’s longer, with more backstory & more dazzling myths. It’s really a thrilling & exciting adventure.
The Distance Between Us: score 4
Recommended if you like adorable RomCom’s and short & sweet contemporaries.
The heroine is a snarky, witty & sarcastic teen that will have you chuckling to yourself. The romance is sweet & endearing & doesn’t try too hard. This story is pretty much a wish fulfillment of dating a rich & handsome but totally sensitive guy. Even with its cliches, it still manages to be fresh, original & fun!
TruthWitch: score 4
Recommended if you like exciting adventure, high fantasy & fierce witches with intriguing elemental magic! The friendships & bromances are truly wonderful and loaded with banter 7 chemistry. But the world building (while creative) is underdeveloped. Also the 1st half is slow, but the 2nd half is full of action!
Windwitch: score 3.5
The world building in the sequel is so much more satisfying!! But once again there are way too many POV’s to keep straight. It’s got a slow pace & lacks the driving force that could have made this a page turner. (Although It gets better towards the end.) Also the chemistry between Safi, Merik & Isuelt aren’t in the sequel, because they’re all separated. However the books redeeming qualities are the marvelous chapters with Auden & Iseult!
HUNTED: score 4.5
Recommend if you like fantasy, Russian folktales & a Beauty & the Beast retelling.
Finally a Beauty and The Beast retelling without Stockholm syndrome! Captivating & magical this tale as old as time, is fresh & original! With a subtle romance built on friendship & a complex Beast who’s kind, terrifying, lovable & mysterious.
Although the pacing is off, it’s still an alluring & enchanting fairy tale. Even though the ending is rather anticlimactic.
13 Reasons Why: Score 3.5
“There are 13 sides to every story.”
Except not in this book. You only get 2 sides to this story.
Recommended if you like intriguing contemporary novels.
This is a fast paced & compelling page turner about why Hannah died. You’d think it would be mysterious & subtle but it’s not. The novel hints at a big reveal that never really comes. Because there isn’t one big, tragic reason why she dies… It’s more about her struggle with depression & being bullied & sexually assaulted & not knowing how to ask for help. Hannah makes 13 tapes where she records everything anyone’s ever done to wrong her and complains about how unfair her life is. She lets herself dissolve into despair and suicidal depression. She expects everyone to notice her suffering & rescue her. Then blames them for her suicide.
But it’s somewhat understandable, because she’s young, lonely, continually taken advantage of & has no idea how to communicate her struggles.
——This is now on Netflix! I recommend skipping the read & binging the show. It’s really well done and it’s better than the book! Also it’s suspenseful, the plot makes way more sense & actually takes the time to tell all the other characters stories! Also Hannah’s depression & struggles are much more justified & explained in the show.