Caraval (Caraval #1) by Stephanie Garber

Book Description:

Published: January 31, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

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.

Review –

Last year I received this Post-It Note holder in a subscription box(I forget which one) but hadn’t read Caraval yet, so really didn’t appreciate it’s meaning until later.

 

The world of Caraval is one part amusement park, one part Venice, and one part game show, painted in all the colors of a gothic circus. Girls in gowns rustle their way down dark hallways, searching for clues that will win them a wish — but some girls have more need of wishes than others.

Scarlett has led a life made small by abuse. She and her sister Tella dwell in constant fear of their cruel and violent father. Tella beats against the bars of their golden cage, but Scarlett keeps the peace as best she can, desperate to protect them both. She has given up on her childhood dream of attending Caraval, a magical performance that blends theatre with an adventure game, resigning herself to an arranged marriage that will offer her — and Tella — a true escape from their father.

When an invitation arrives from Legend himself, the mastermind creator of Caraval, beckoning the sisters to a mysterious island and offering them a place in the game, Tella forces Scarlett to abandon her plans of calculated safety in favor of an adventure. But it soon becomes clear that Legend has other ideas. He steals Tella away and makes her the prize of Caraval, leaving Scarlett no choice but to win the game.

Scarlett knows that everything she experiences in Caraval is a part of the performance, but the line between fantasy and reality starts to blur, especially when it comes to Julian, a sailor boy who has joined the game. Like everyone she encounters in Caraval, he isn’t what he seems — and she can’t resist his help or his company. As the nights of the game progress, she sinks deeper and deeper into a story that grows ever darker, and gets further and further from the safe future that was almost within her grasp.

Caraval delights the senses: beautiful and scary, described in luscious prose, this is a show readers will wish they could enter. Dresses can be purchased for secrets or days of life; clocks can become doors; bridges move: this is an inventive and original circus, laced with an edge of horror. A double love story, one sensual romance and the other sisterly loyalty, anchors the plot, but the real star here is Caraval and its secrets. For you see, Caraval is the world of the game, which feels like a journey into a dark branch of Disneyland, where the animatronics have feelings and don’t like you very much, and the expensive cupcakes may have poison in them.

Loved this book and am looking forward to reading the next installment in the series, Legendary, which comes out in May of this year, because what appears to be a happy ending isn’t at all what it seems.

 

The Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher

Book Description:

Published: October 3, 2013

Format: Audio/Library Book

Emily’s dad is accused of murdering a teenage girl, Ashlee Parker. Emily is sure he is innocent, but what happened that night in the woods behind their house where she used to play as a child? Determined to find out, she seeks out Damon Hillary, the enigmatic boyfriend of the murdered girl. He also knows these woods. Maybe they could help each other. But he’s got secrets of his own about games that are played in the dark.

Review –

This book  is told from the alternating points of view of Emily and Damon, either of whom could have everything to lose depending upon the outcome of the mystery.

Emily’s father suffers from PTSD after a horrifying incident during his military service, and is rendered largely unable to assist in his own defense, leaving her to try to prove his innocence. Damon was the last person to see Ashlee alive, but suffered from either a drug- or stress-induced memory loss that evening and doesn’t know what happened. Emily and Damon each feel that the other is the key to finding the answers they need. Their interaction begins with each steadfastly convinced of their side of the story, but as bits and pieces emerge their paths both become clouded with doubt, creating an interesting tension between them–they are drawn to one another as a source of information, though wariness prevails. 

The author does a fantastic job of turning the woods behind Emily’s house into a character in and of itself thus adding more intensity to the plot.

Damon and his friends play a Game( which was never fully explained) in the woods and Ashlee asks to join and so the rules blur and there are sexual fantasies involved as well as drugs and alcohol. I won’t say what happens but there is a hea for some while not for others.

 I enjoyed this book very much and while it is supposedly a YA book but I would recommend it for a very mature young adult.

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Dead of Winter (The Arcana Chronicles #3) by Kresley Cole

Book Description

January 6, 2015
Can Evie convince her rival loves to work together? Their survival depends on it in this third book of #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole’s Arcana Chronicles, a nonstop action tale of rescue, redemption, and a revenge most wicked.Heartbreaking decisions
Evie was almost seduced by the life of comfort that Death offered her–until Jack was threatened by two of the most horrific Arcana, The Lovers. She will do anything to save him, even escape Death’s uncanny prison, full of beautiful objects, material comforts . . . and stolen glances from a former love.

Uncertain victory
Despite leaving a part of her heart behind with Death, Evie sets out into a perilous post-apocalyptic wasteland to meet up with her allies and launch an attack on The Lovers. Such formidable enemies require a battle plan, and the only way to kill them may mean Evie, Jack, and Death allying. Evie doesn’t know what will prove more impossible: surviving slavers, plague, Bagmen and other Arcana–or convincing Jack and Death to work together.

Two heroes returned
There’s a thin line between love and hate, and Evie just doesn’t know where she stands with either Jack or Death. Will this unlikely trio be able to defeat The Lovers without killing one another first . . .?

Review –
I just finshed reading this book and I feel like I’ve been punched in the gut. I had thought the ending of Book 2 was a cliff hanger but the ending of Book three has it beat. Maybe it’s my fault. I thought this would be the end of the series, The Arcana Chronicles,so I kept telling myself that certain  things had better start happening, like ending the game and finding Evie’s grandmother, but now I see that should have been a clue.  There are too many loose ends to tie up so all can say is : Kresley Cole, you’d better write fast, but in reality I know if will be at least a year before she releases the fourth book. Darn!!!!!!
I rated this book 5 stars *****
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