I’m Really Bad at Finishing Series

Magic is everywhere.

Over the years I have accumulated a number of books, some could say too many books- although I don’t think there is such a thing-, and a big portion of them belong to series. I don’t usually go for stand-alone books solely because one book is never enough for me. I’m always left with the need to spend more time in that universe and of course, with a series – especially in fantasy- the world is often established much better throughout the course of a number of books.

And that’s good and all, a lot of people prefer series to stand-alones for the exact same reasons as me. But I have a problem…I’m also really bad at finishing them. This, I’ve figured, happens to me for a couple of reasons; sometimes, I prolong to read the last book as I’m not ready to say goodbye to the world and the characters just yet (I’m sentimental that way), others I want to continue on with the series but I don’t necessarily feel the pull towards the next book just yet. And sometimes, I guiltily have to admit, I’ve forgotten about or lost my immediate interest towards that particular series. So here’s my List of Shame, as I call it, to farther prove this embarrassing habit of mine:

Only 1 Book Read

 

2 Books Read

 

Well, this is an embarrassingly long list… I’d actually forgotten half the books in that list before completing it *blushes*  Unfortunately, certain books in there I know I’m probably never going to get to. Some of these series, like TID, I’m definitely going to be reading in the near future while, others, like Rebel Belle, I know I’ve lost interest a long time ago.

Since I’ve started being a reader, I’ve always had a difficulty finishing the series I started; either I got excited about something new or just forgetful. This is a trait I still have to this day but, now, I also feel a pull to finish a story in order to know what the ending is and where the characters end up. So, I’m definitely planning to shrink that List of Shame with time. This is the type of post to guilt me into doing that. Feel free to do the same in the comments!

Which of these series you think I’m missing out on? Should I prioritize reading any?

Review: Caraval (Caraval #1) by Stephanie Garber

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  • Title: Caraval ( Caraval #1)
  • Author: Stephanie Garber
  • Publishing Company: Flatiron Books
  • Publication Date: January 31st 2017
  • Pages: 407
  • Rating: 3/5
  • Goodreads / Amazon / Waterstones

Remember, it’s only a game…

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her 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 faraway, 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. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

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

 

My Thoughts

I went into Caraval with high expectations waiting to be blown away like so many others were by the book’s content. Despite some good elements of the book though, unfortunately, for me, it ended up being another dreaded case of hyped-up books. Despite having an enjoyable reading experience with Caraval and the whimsical world Stephanie Garber created, I also had key problems with the book that greatly took away from my enjoyment.

The writing was a perfect match to the book’s atmosphere. Garber had a rich and vivid way of telling the story of Caraval and giving life to the world; the description really focused on colors and shades when it came both to the world and people’s emotions which, to my mind, added to the storytelling, giving the tale a more enchanting aura. Stephanie’s tendency to spotlight the color in her world made everything that more lush and animated in my head while also accomplishing the mystifying and magical atmosphere that the story needed.

However, that same focus on colors confused me at times. It is worth noting that the main character, Scarlett, is also able to view her emotions as colors. Initially, I thought this was part of the writing style which I appreciated considering it a lyrical addition. But, later on in the book, there is a scene where Scarlett, after drinking a strange punch that is supposed to make her see things more clearly is, for a moment, able to see Julian’s emotions as well in the form of colors. It gave the impression that she was also magical and that her powers intensified but it was never touched upon again and I was just left confused. I realized it was never clarified if colors were the way she viewed emotions or if she could really see them. The author blurred that line at times throughout the book without giving an explanation. That, for me, left a gap in the story that shouldn’t have been there.

Still, if there is one reason I would want to come back to this story when the sequel Legendary comes out is the world. Isle de los Suenos, as well as Caraval, were full of mystery, peculiar places, magic tricks and questionable strangers. I truly loved every minute I got exploring this unusual world. There is so much more to uncover about Caraval and Legend that I feel we’ve only scraped the surface of what’s really underneath. With that in mind, I can’t wait to revisit this lavish world full of mischief and magic; strangers that tell you what you seek based on which tattoos on their body your eyes linger on, where buying things comes in exchange for answers or days, people go to sleep at sunrise and dresses transform depending on the hour.

Unfortunately, it felt like Gerber spent so much time envisioning the world that she forgot to spare enough for the characters. Scarlett was, to say the least, a disappointing main character. She had wanted to join the Caraval since she was 10 years old and had heard a number of stories about it from her grandmother. And yet, despite the knowledge she had, she was so naïve and trusting during the entire game. She did incredibly stupid things, like sleep in a stranger’s room or trust a person who she knew only 3 days. It was one stupid and rush decision after the other. She also never stopped to enjoy the game. Everyone kept saying it’s a game, a show, and nothing is real but she never acknowledged that.

Adding to that, a character that felt superficial and only there to add to the plot was the sisters’ father. He was portrayed as a strict and overbearing father, a child abuser but his character had no real depth. There was never a reason given for his behavior nor a purpose for it. He was just a necessary villain to help the plot move along and make the sisters more likable while excusing some of their actions.

I would love to actually say that I loved the bond between the sisters but I didn’t really feel it. There was caring and love between them but they lacked in understanding. For example, in the end, Scarlet was left confused and hurt but Tella wasn’t really there for her, it felt like her confusion was brushed off. It also felt sometimes that Scarlett didn’t think that highly of Tella, from the way she was describing her personality. Yet this is not something that I really focused on, there wasn’t much interaction between them during Caraval. I’m hoping that sister bond I was looking for will finally show in Legendary.

Concerning the storytelling, the book had some serious plot holes. We didn’t get answers to a lot of things. Halfway through the book Scarlett heard a woman screaming under the tombs and after a while, she was completely forgotten. We never got an answer to what happened there; if it was one of the ‘props’ or not, and she never asked. At the same time, Caraval was supposed to be a competition between parties, a treasure hunt. Again, while we followed Julian and Scarlett around we only got glimpses of the other competitors; there was never any real mention of them or interaction with them unless they were all in the same room. The competition was non-existent, which was sad because it could have really added to the story. And, at the end, the climax of the story was a bit of a whirlwind; we were just given a bunch of information altogether with no time to really soak it in and then expected to move on from that smoothly.

Lastly, I could have done without the romance. First of all, in the span of just a week full of activity, anxiousness, and mysteries to solve there is no time for a proper romance to develop. The relationship between Julian and Scarlett was completely insta-love, one of my most hated tropes. Scarlett almost immediately showed an attraction towards him even though she had caught him making out with her sister. But even if we ignored that, throughout a book, he continuously proved to be the most untrustworthy person out of all; but she kept trusting him, falling in love with a person she barely knew, who kept disappearing. Their love story left me completely baffled and unsatisfied to be honest.

Overall, Caraval was an enjoyable read and a fascinating idea for a story but it lacked in execution. I think it’s one of those cases that the book needed a bit more work as the world was well developed but the plot and the characters lacked greatly.

CWW #4: A Thousand Beginnings and Endings

Can't Wait Wednesday

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Generally, they’re books that have yet to be released. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine.

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  • Title: A Thousand Beginnings and Endings
  • Author: Various
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books
  • Publication Date: June 26th 2018

Star-crossed lovers, meddling immortals, feigned identities, battles of wits, and dire warnings. These are the stuff of fairy tale, myth, and folklore that have drawn us in for centuries.

Fifteen bestselling and acclaimed authors reimagine the folklore and mythology of East and South Asia in short stories that are by turns enchanting, heartbreaking, romantic, and passionate.

Compiled by We Need Diverse Books’s Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman, the authors included in this exquisite collection are: Renee Ahdieh, Sona Charaipotra, Preeti Chhibber, Roshani Chokshi, Aliette de Bodard, Melissa de la Cruz, Julie Kagawa, Rahul Kanakia, Lori M. Lee, E. C. Myers, Cindy Pon, Aisha Saeed, Shveta Thakrar, and Alyssa Wong.

A mountain loses her heart. Two sisters transform into birds to escape captivity. A young man learns the true meaning of sacrifice. A young woman takes up her mother’s mantle and leads the dead to their final resting place. From fantasy to science fiction to contemporary, from romance to tales of revenge, these stories will beguile readers from start to finish. For fans of Neil Gaiman’s Unnatural Creatures and Ameriie’s New York Times–bestselling Because You Love to Hate Me

I Can’t Wait For This Book Because

I’ve never read any book that centers around Asian mythology and I really need to remedy that since it’s such a broad and interesting subject. We always hear about books coming out with Roman, Greek or Norse mythology in them but there are so many other mythologies we need to delve into more! Also, this book contains stories from authors like Renee Ahdieh and Julie Kagawa whom I love!

TTT #4: Books I Would Slay a Lion To Get Early

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010 and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This feature is dedicated to making bookish lists of our- weekly themed- top ten (or more/ less) books! 

This also marks the first post of May and of my attempt to upload every day for a month! 

All of us have a mental (or maybe written) list of books we cannot wait to have in our hands. Those are the books we agonize over when fleeting thoughts of them pass through our minds; books that are not just new releases we just heard about or stumbled upon on Goodreads. Noooooo these ones we had an eye on for a while. We’ve been eagerly anticipating them, and you bet we’ll be one of the first people in the bookstore to get them when they come out. For me, these are the books (in no particular order) I’d fight every kind of real or mythical creature to get my hands on. (Funny thing is…only three of them have covers xD)

Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

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As I mentioned in a previous post, I have not read the TDA trilogy yet *hides in shame*. I am planning to marathon the first two books during summer so I can read this one when it comes out though! But I’m also impatiently waiting for it because apparently the fate of some of the original characters from TMI is going to be determined in this one and I need my babies to be okay! They’ve been through enough!

Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson

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This was a CWW pick of mine in February so you can go check that post out and see why I’m dying to have it on my hands *wink*

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

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This post is actually incredibly on time since the cover for King of Scars was announced yesterday and it is gorgeous!! I’ve only met Nikolai through his brief appearance in Crooked Kingdom but he really made an impression on me. He was witty, sharp and disguised as a legendary flying pirate…enough said. I’m really intrigued by his story and I’m even more excited to delve back into the Grisha world. We also are getting a PoV from one of the characters from Six of Crows (I’m betting on Nina) so I’m literally counting down the days for this book!!

Chain of Gold (The Last Hours #1) by Cassandra Clare

This is my most anticipated book by Cassandra Clare. I’ve been dying to read about the TID’s character’s children since it was announced that there would be a trilogy for them too. I’m actually already ridiculously attached to the characters and have my ships ready to sail…it’s that bad.

Doors of Stone by Patrick Rothfuss

Can this be out already?! Literally bring me the lion right now! Bring me a den of them! I’ll take ’em down!

Again, But Better by Christine Riccio

I’m not sure if this is the official title but I’m going to be reading this book whatever the name or synopsis. Christine was one of the first booktubers I started watching and I’ve followed her entire writing journey of this book through her videos on Youtube so I’m very eager for it to be a physically existent product! If it matches her personality at all it’s going to be amazing!

What If It’s Us by Adam Silvera and Becki

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Both these authors have made books that have made me cry and laugh on various occasions, so a collaboration between them…I just know it’s a masterpiece waiting to be unleashed into the world.

Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pan Preto

Pitched as Eragon meets The Winner’s Curse, in which a teenage girl runs away from her controlling sister and disguises herself as a boy to join a secret group of nearly extinct warriors who ride into battle on the backs of phoenixes, as the ruling Empire sets out to destroy them.

This one is a gem I happened to stumble upon a few months back and, oh my, am I excited to dive right into it! Seriously, just read the synopsis. If reading that doesn’t at least intrigue you, I don’t know what will.

The Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare

And last, but certainly not least, a book about Malec! A whole trilogy about one of my all-time favorite literary couples! I shamelessly joined fangirled with all my might when I found that out. Just give me it! *grabby hands*

What books would you battle lions for? 

 

 

Stacking the Shelves #1: aka I Bought One Book And Then Emptied Out My Local Library

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Stacking The Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and Reading Reality. It’s all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

 

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Books I Bought

This is a book I knew I had to have and not just borrow from the library. It’s inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and I have heard nothing but fantastic things about it since it came out.

From Library

I’ve been a bit nostalgic lately so I decided to start rereading the PJO books in e-format. But, for some reason, it didn’t feel quite as right as reading the physical books so I borrowed them from the library since my copies are a few countries away at the moment.

Genuine Fraud is a book I’ve been dying to read since it came out! I’ve been a huge fan of E. Lockhart and her writing from reading We Were Liars back in 2014! Her writing style is very unique and lyrical and she has a certain magnificent way of ripping your heart out while also making you appreciate the process.

Lastly, The Wicked Deep and Rebel of the Sands are books that I’ve been gravitating towards lately but I’m not sure if I’m going to love. So, I took the safe way and decided to read them from the library first!

What Books Did You Get This Week?

 

Review: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

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  • Title: The Name of the Wind
  • Author: Patrick Rothfuss
  • Page: 662 pages
  • Publication: Gollancz
  • Date Published: March 27th 2007

‘I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep. 

My name is Kvothe.
You may have heard of me’

 

My thoughts

 

I admit I am a bit late to the party when it comes to The Name of the Wind; well, late is an understatement as it was first published in 2007…but, to my defense, I was only 8 then. It also took me a while to finally pick it up because of its intimidating size and my unfamiliarity with the Epic Fantasy genre. Admittedly, it did prove to be a long read but it was its longevity that allowed me to really fall in love with the story and Kvothe. The Name of the Wind was an absolutely brilliant book and I was in awe of both the writing, the unveiling of the plot and Kvothe’s character throughout the book.

The writing was simply phenomenal. One of the best books I’ve ever read in my time as a reader, it managed to convey Kvothe’s mentality and the severity of the situation he was in such a way that I was completely in sync with the story. I was not simply an observer but it felt like I experienced (for lack of a better word) it too. I had the same emotions that coursed through Kvothe, the same anxiety or fear that run through him when dealing with a dangerous situation. The handling of the plot was also incredible. It unveiled slowly but with a purpose. No scene felt unnecessary and every experience felt like it shaped Kvothe more as a character. When he was living in Tarbean, Rothfuss didn’t shy away when describing the cruelty and suffering of an orphan living in the streets or the ugliness of the poverty that prospered in the city. Those were some of the most gruesome and impactful scenes in the book.

I also loved how intricate and complicated the magic system was, if you can even consider it a magic system. In Rothfuss’ universe, people aren’t born with ‘magic’ but have to work and study hard, as well as have a strong and endurable mind, in order to achieve what is considered to be ‘magic’. An Arcanist is as close to a warlock as one can get and the practice and skills needed for the job were fascinating to read about. One of the practices was trying to mentally split their mind into two or three pieces in order to connect an object with something else… how is that not awesome? Everything had a logic behind it, and it was what made more believable and real. The University was a place were people came to learn basically almost everything concerning science; from math to crafting and healing, herbs and names. But it all came down to hard work and dedication (and money), not chosen ones.

Lately, it seems I’m also really into anti-heroes and Kvothe is what started my obsession. He is not a villain, has committed no villainous deed but he is also no hero, at least not for now. He is merely a kid with a smart mouth and a sharp mind trying to survive. For most of the book, we see him struggling to stay on his feet; from the streets of Tarbean to his time in the University. He is also brilliant. I’m not sure whether it was his cleverness or his sharp wit that first drew me to this character but, nonetheless, they made an intriguing combination. Kvothe is a boy both educated and street smart, has the ability to learn things faster than anyone else and can think fast on his feet; it was fascinating seeing him get out of dangerous situations with a certain grace and cunningness that I’d seen in no other character (except Kaz Brekker). But, what I loved most, were his faults. He was rush, reckless, arrogant, and he didn’t always get away with his antics. He took risks but that didn’t mean he didn’t also meet the fitting punishment when it was due. That made him more approachable and real as a character to me.

At the same time, Kvothe is the narrator of the story; a very intriguing way to tell a story, to let the character recount it for you. I’ve heard people call him an unreliable narrator and, in a way, it’s true because the entire story is told from his eyes and some things could be exaggerated or minimized. Some of the teachers were especially cruel but it’s not sure if that’s an objective opinion or just Kvothe’s view of them; the girls that showed interest in him were also described as especially beautiful.

Denna falls into that category too. From their first meeting, Kvothe becomes enamored with her, continuously pointing out her beauty and grace while others are quick to mention that she, in fact, is not the most beautiful. Yet to Kvothe she is everything. This is a point where Kvothe’s exaggeration of a character’s appearance or personality is visible as we are introduced to them solely from his view; the view of a boy with a crush.

But, mostly, I was completely taken by the worldbuilding. A world with its own myths, songs, gods, and demons. Rothfuss created a captivating, yet strangely familiar world that is begging to be explored. There are demons such as the Chandrian and the Encanis that I’m really hoping we’ll get to learn more about in the Wise Man’s Fear. Throughout the book, a lot of characters took the time to recall myths about monsters and gods that were fascinating to hear about. I loved piecing together the story of this intricate world and didn’t once mind the halt in the storyline. Actually, I would very much read a companion book full of them; Patrick, make it happen, pal. Pretty please.

It is slow paced, yes. But this is not a book to be rushed. There is so much to learn in order to really understand, not only Kvothe’s drive and his character but also the world he lives in. I enjoyed every page, not just because Kvothe’s life is an alluring tale to read but also because Rothfuss’ writing was just as compelling, pulling me in for hours at a time without me even noticing.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

TTT #3: Books That Take Place in Another Country

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010 and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This feature is dedicated to making bookish lists of our- weekly themed- top ten (or more/ less) books! 

 

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  1. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (France)
  2. City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare (France)
  3. Arcadia Awakens by Kai Meyer (Italy)
  4. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (Prague, Czech Republic)

 

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  1. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden (Russia)
  2. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Barcelona, Spain)
  3. Inferno by Dan Brown (Italy)
  4. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (Russia)

 

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  1. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami (Japan)
  2. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (Scotland)