Caraval (Caraval #1) by Stephanie Garber + First Ever In Love & Words Podcast Review!

This is a very special book review brought to you both by myself and my Teen Reader/Niece Kayla!

The two of us recently read Caraval and we thought we’d give podcasting a try!

We sat down and recorded our discussion and duel reviews for this book, so if you’re up for it, take a listen!

Please note: There are definitely spoilers in the podcast review!

 

Otherwise, my written review is below.

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

5-stars

Caraval (Caraval #1) by Stephanie Garber

[Hard Cover Purchased from Local Library Bookstore]

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.

Synopsis from Goodreads

 

Review

”Beware of getting swept too far away,” the synopsis warns. Well… I couldn’t heed that advice. I most certainly got swept away with this book.

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Porn Star (P*rn Star, #1) by Laurelin Paige and Sarina Bowen

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

5-stars

Porn Star (P*rn Star, #1) by Laurelin Paige and Sarina Bowen

[Audiobook Purchased from Audible]

Come on, you know you do.

Maybe you pretend you don’t. Maybe you clear your browser history religiously. Maybe you pretend to be aghast whenever someone even mentions the word porn in your presence.

But the truth is that you do know me.

Everybody knows Logan O’Toole, world famous porn star.

Except then Devi Dare pops into my world, and pretty soon I’m doing things that aren’t like me–like texting her with flirty banter and creating an entire web porn series just so I can get to star in her bed. Again. And again.

With Devi, my entire universe shifts, and the more time I spend with her, the more I realize that Logan O’Toole isn’t the guy I thought he was.

So maybe I’m not the guy you thought I was either.

Synopsis from Goodreads

 

Review

For some reason I didn’t have high hopes for this one, but man, I was totally proven wrong.

Maybe it is because I didn’t think any porny story (LOL) could be better than Lingus by Mariana Zapata, but this story was so different than that one. Lingus was a slow burn (of course) and this certainly wasn’t. The steam level was on red alert pretty much the entire time.

I freaking loved Devi. Loved her. I adored her parents and I loved how confident and comfortable she was in her body. I liked her reasons for being in The Business and felt like I completely understood her choices throughout the entire book (even when I wouldn’t necessarily have made the same choices) and that goes back to how well the authors wrote her character. I never (and shouldn’t) expect to agree with all of a main character’s decisions, but I should understand why they made them.

I felt like this book gave such an interesting, unique, and believable peek inside The Industry. I would say “honest,” but as I am not a porn star nor do I know anyone personally who is (I don’t think), I have no idea if it is an accurate portrayal, but I think all who have read this book can agree it’s gotta be pretty close.

It is worth mentioning quickly here that the writing is FANTASTIC. For such a seemingly shallow title and subject matter, it is written beautifully. Kudos!

 

Audiobook Performance: 5 Stars

5-stars
All the stars in the known and unknown universe to Jacob Morgan. As for CJ Bloom, I thought that I recognized her voice, but when I looked at her previous work, I didn’t recognize any titles. Anyway, she was great. I didn’t love her male voices, but it wasn’t horrible. I’ve heard so much worse (I’m looking at you, chick who narrated 50 Shades of Grey ::ultra cringe::)

 

Butterfly Rating: 4 Stars

4-stars
Logan and Dev are so freaking perfect for each other, I loved it.

 

Re-read Worthiness: Maybe

I don’t see myself rereading this in the near future, but I won’t discount it completely. This is part of a series and I may just fall in love with it!

 

Bookshelf Placement: Yes

Who wouldn’t want an extremely embarrassingly titled book out on display?

 

Book Boyfriend Rating: 4 stars

4-stars
Like I mentioned, Logan was perfect for Devi. Whereas I totally would have fallen for Tristan from Lingus despite him being a porn star, Logan was a little too porn starry for me, personally. But I still really liked his character!

 

”Free” Reading Availability

Kindle Unlimited
Prime Reading
Audible Romance Package
(As of 1.10.19)

 

Book Hangover: The Hating Game

One of the worst things about reading a great book is that you can never read it for the first time again.

There is absolutely nothing like reading an amazing book for the very first time. It leaves you just a bit melancholy when you turn that final page.

It is the feeling you get after those moments when tackling your TBR list for something similar seems daunting and impossible that I like to call a Book Hangover.

My remedy is usually to either listen to the book on audio if I read the hard copy or read it if I listened to it on audio. I also force my sisters and mom to read the book, then stalk them as they do so … asking for updates every 4 seconds.

If there is a fandom associated with the book, you’d better believe I look for that, too.

And then, there is the difficult journey of trying to find a book similar enough to the book I just read so that I can start the process all over again.

I am here today for all those The Hating Game fans who have gone through this process. I’ve gathered a few books that I’ve read that are fantastic remedies for the book hangover you might be experiencing at the hands of Sally Thorne.

 

6 Book Recommendations for The Hating Game by Sally Thorne Fans

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Hooking Up (Shaking Up #2) by Helena Hunting

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

5-stars

Hooking Up (Shaking Up #2) by Helena Hunting

[Audiobook Purchased from Audible]

Amalie Whitfield is the picture of a blushing bride during her wedding reception–but for all the wrong reasons. Instead of proclaiming his undying love, her husband can be heard, by Amalie and their guests, getting off with someone else. She has every reason to freak out, and in a moment of insanity, she throws herself at the first hot-blooded male she sees. But he’s not interested in becoming her revenge screw.

Mortified and desperate to escape the post-wedding drama, Amalie decides to go on her honeymoon alone, only to find the man who rejected her also heading to the same tiny island for work. But this time he isn’t holding back. She should know better than to sleep with someone she knows, but she can’t seem to resist him. They might agree that what happens on the island should stay on the island, but neither one can deny that their attraction is more than just physical.

Filled with hilariously scandalous situations and enough sexual chemistry to power an airplane from New York City to the South Pacific, Hooking Up is the next standalone, laugh-out-loud romantic comedy from Helena Hunting, the New York Times bestselling author of the Pucked series and Shacking Up.

Synopsis from Goodreads

 

Review

I didn’t freaking know this was part of a series, and worse, the second book in a series! That’s what I get for seeing Helena Hunting’s name and immediately grabbing it from The Romance Package without even reading the synopsis or anything.

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Favorites from Audible’s Start a New Adventure Sale

Yay! Another Audible sale! This one is pretty awesome: first books in series are on sale.

As has become tradition, I have gathered a list for you with all of my recommendations. I broke it down into four sections: books I LOVED, books I’ve read and enjoyed, books I own, but haven’t read yet, and books that I want to read.

You guys, this sale is massive.

I went through hundreds of pages to find the best picks (in my opinion). My wallet is going to hate me.

Not all of the books mentioned here are romance, but most of them are. 🙂

Here are the details I know about the sale

  • You must be a member to participate
  • Ends Feb. 25

I’m not sure if this sale is going on outside the US, if someone else knows, please let me know so I can update this post!

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A Bargain in Silver (Solis Invicti: Book One) by Josie Jaffrey

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

4-stars

A Bargain in Silver (Solis Invicti: Book One)

[Paperback Received from Author]

If the price of safety is slavery, would you bargain your life?

A Bargain in Silver is book one of Josie Jaffrey’s Solis Invicti paranormal romance series, set in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic London.

A deadly infection threatens to wipe out humanity. The only people who can stem its advance are the Silver, a vampiric race who offer a simple exchange: protection in return for blood and subservience. It’s not a deal that Emmy’s willing to make, but as her world burns around her she finds herself in the arms of the enemy and the line between oppressor and saviour begins to blur.

After an attack by the infected, Emmy is rescued by the handsome Drew who introduces her to the world of the Silver. Desperate to escape subjugation and confused by her attraction to him, she gathers what remains of her surrogate family and plans to make a break for freedom.

But despite her efforts to resist, she is drawn further into the intrigues of the mysterious Silver through the agency of their ruler, the Primus: Solomon. Emmy refuses to submit to the cold and detached Primus and an attempt on her life makes it clear that he is unable to protect her from the political machinations of his race.

As the connection between them deepens she must choose between her desire and her will to rebel, but can she trust his intentions when everyone is after her blood?

Synopsis from Goodreads

 

Review

This book was an absolute whirlwind of butterflies and emotion and confusion and disbelief for me.

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The Reclamation (The Club #2) by Lauren Rowe

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

4-stars

The Reclamation (The Club #2) by Lauren Rowe

[Audiobook Purchased from Audible]

Sarah: “My entire life has spiraled into chaos—and yet, all I can think about is my raging, thumping, insatiable addiction to Jonas’ magical touch. He’s unleashed an all-consuming hunger inside me that can only be satisfied when Jonas finally surrenders to me the same way I’ve surrendered to him—mind, body and soul.”

Jonas and Sarah’s addictive love story picks up right where the first book left off, hurtling to a heart-stopping conclusion that will leave readers breathless and screaming for the unforgettable final installment of The Club Trilogy.

Synopsis from Goodreads

 

Review

I dove head first into this book after reading the first, and since I read Captain and Ball Peen Hammer before The Club series, I expected (and hoped) this book would be more about Josh’s story, yet still continue with the storyline, if that makes sense. Obviously, I didn’t read the synopsis.

While I didn’t mind hearing more about Jonas and Sarah in this book, the thrill of falling in love has already taken place at this point, so that dimmed this book a bit for me. Luckily, I really enjoyed the story and the drama, which kept me reading.

I will say, I don’t know that this needed to be a series. I’m pretty sure the first two books in this story could have been edited down to one book. I haven’t had the urge to pick up the third book despite the cliffhanger in this one and I think it’s because I worry that I am going to get burnt out on Jonas and Sarah. That could also be because I already love Josh thanks to Captain and I want to hear more about him!

Anyway, LR continues to be one of my new favorite authors with her ability to artfully mix humor and steam. I will (eventually) read the third book, but I’m taking a short break for now.

 

Audiobook Performance: 5 Stars

5-stars
You know the drill here, LR reads her own books and is once again paired beautifully with John Lane.

 

Butterfly Rating: 3 Stars

3-stars
Very few butterflies in this one, guys. I believe it’s as I said before, the thrill of falling in love has passed and it’s those times that are always ripe with butterflies.

 

Re-read Worthiness: Maybe

We’ll see how the rest of the series pans out. If I love the next two books there is a good chance I’ll want to reread the entire thing!

 

Bookshelf Placement: Yes

Probably gonna need all of LR’s books on my shelf.

 

Book Boyfriend Rating: 5 stars

5-stars
I’ve already rated Jonas in the previous book and my rating hasn’t changed. I adore him!

 

”Free” Reading Availability

Kindle Unlimited
Prime Reading
Audible Romance Package
(As of 02.16.18)

 

Mystery Blogger Award

A million thank yous to one of my favorite bloggers, Peachy over at Book Dragon Lair for the nomination. You will absolutely love her and her blog, so go check her out!

What is the Mystery Blogger Award?

“Mystery Blogger Award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.

– Okoto Enigma

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Happy Valentine’s Day! Here Are 10 of My Favorite Book Boyfriends

I’m just going to say it: this blog post is a total cop out. Why? Because I couldn’t bring myself to say “Top 10 Favorite Book Boyfriends.”

I chickened out and instead went with “10 of my Favorite,” just in case I forgot someone or changed my mind or — even more crazy — felt I was being disloyal to one of my many book boyfriends.

In any case, here are 10 of my favorite book boyfriends on this wonderful Valentine’s Day!

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Things I Love: February 2018

Hey, friends! Things are a little crazy around here and although I’m dying to dig into the Reader’s Copy of A Bargain in Silver I’m reading right now (it’s at a REALLY good part and taking all my willpower not to ditch life and read it), I thought I’d stop by the blog to tell you about some things I’ve obsessing over this month.

Here’s my super random round-up of things I’ve been living for this month:

None of these are affiliate links because I’m too lazy to create them. LOL.

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