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Finale (Caraval #3) by Stephanie Garber

Monday, June 24, 2019

A love worth fighting for. A dream worth dying for. An ending worth waiting for.

It’s been two months since the Fates were freed from a deck of cards, two months since Legend claimed the throne for his own, and two months since Tella discovered the boy she fell in love with doesn’t really exist.

With lives, empires, and hearts hanging in the balance, Tella must decide if she’s going to trust Legend or a former enemy. After uncovering a secret that upends her life, Scarlett will need to do the impossible. And Legend has a choice to make that will forever change and define him.

Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun. There are no spectators this time—only those who will win, and those who will lose everything.

Welcome, welcome to Finale. All games must come to an end…

Goodreads Summary

I was so excited when our library received this arc! I have loved the first two books in this series and regularly recommend this book to patrons from teens to adults. It's difficult to write a review without any accidental spoilers. I really enjoyed the world-building that Garber is so famous for. The scenery is vivid and the dialogue jumps off of the page. I was a little surprised that this book focused so much on Tella. I can't decide whether I prefer Tella's character over Scarlett's, but I was anticipating more of Scarlett's point of view. I would have preferred to see the sisters develop a deeper relationship throughout this book, but I was pretty happy with the relationships that continued to deepen. Tella and Legend are legendary in the book world (as far as relationships go) to me. Scarlett and Julian are an interesting twist. Donatella, who I regarded as a strong character, seemed to exist merely as part of a love triangle (which I admit to hating). 

The plot was fairly strong. I think I appreciated the first two books more, but I still enjoyed how fast-paced and easy it was to read through the lengthy novel. I had trouble putting this book down and even took it to the beach with me. I loved learning more about the Fates; they were such a dark and mysterious part of this trilogy for me and I finally felt more satisfied as this book was concluding. I wish the ending was a little more fleshed out. I have a lot of unanswered questions and I'm still hoping for a prequel or two.

4 Stars

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

HALLMARK LAUNCHES CHRISTMAS IN JULY WITH “CHRISTMAS CAMP" (Movie & novel both written by Karen Schaler)

The Breaking News We’ve Wanted to Share with You Since Last December:

Last winter, Karen Schaler first wrote the movie AND then the book CHRISTMAS CAMP – now, the CHRISTMAS CAMP movie is premiering as a Hallmark Original Christmas movie on July 11th, as part of a special “Christmas in July” celebration!

About the Book:
From Karen Schaler, screenwriter of the smash Netflix hit A Christmas Prince, comes CHRISTMAS CAMP, a heart-warming holiday novel about a woman’s journey to Christmas Camp, where she discovers her Christmas spirit…and a special someone to love.  Currently available as a trade paperback original, William Morrow will release CHRISTMAS CAMP as a mass market paperback on 9/24/19.  The new edition includes the bonus sequel novella CHRISTMAS CAMP WEDDING and exclusive Christmas Camp recipes and activities. 


Haley Hanson’s idea of the perfect Christmas is escaping to the Caribbean to work so she can avoid all the traditional Christmas distractions. Over the years, she’s sacrificed her personal life to climb the corporate ladder at a prestigious Boston advertising agency. Now she just needs to land a coveted Christmas toy company account to make partner. But first her boss thinks she needs a holiday attitude adjustment and ships her off to a Christmas Camp at Holly Peak Inn to help her find her Christmas spirit.

Arriving at the charming mountainside inn, Haley meets the owner’s handsome son, Jeff, and feels an instant spark, but resists the attraction, refusing to be distracted from her goal of doing all the required Christmas tasks as fast as possible so she can get back to work.

At first Haley struggles with all the traditional Christmas Camp activities. It’s not until she finally allows herself to slow down, live in the moment, and let Christmas back into her heart, that she begins to grow closer to Jeff. But when he finds out Haley’s come up with a plan to help his dad save the struggling inn while he’s been trying to convince his dad to sell it, their relationship takes a serious holiday hit. Now it will take the magic of the season to bring these two hearts together. 

Trade Paperback (available now) 9780062883698
Mass Market (on-sale 8.26.19) 9780062950239
eBook (available now) 9780062883681
Digital Audio (available now) 9780062909312

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

The Best Lies by Sarah Lyu

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Remy Tsai used to know how her story would turn out. But now, she doesn’t even know what tomorrow will look like.

She was happy once. Remy had her boyfriend Jack, and Elise, her best friend—her soulmate—who understood her better than anyone else in the world.

But now Jack is dead, shot through the chest—

And it was Elise who pulled the trigger.

Was it self-defense? Or something deeper, darker than anything Remy could have imagined? As the police investigate, Remy does the same, sifting through her own memories, looking for a scrap of truth that could save the friendship that means everything to her.

Told in alternating timelines, Thelma and Louise meets Gone Girl in this twisted psychological thriller about the dark side of obsessive friendship.

Goodreads Summary

I've noticed that in books (and probably life) that boys often get in the way of friendships. Remy and Elise were the best of friends, supporting each other through thick and thin. Remy doesn't have a perfect home life and Elise makes that bearable. When Jack enters her life she feels like things are looking up. He is a kind, sweet man who treats her well and seems very invested in her. I didn't get any bad or unusual vibes off of him and their romance seemed to develop normally. When Jack is shot through the chest and Elise is implicated as a suspect in his murder Remy doesn't know who to trust or what to believe.  

I liked how this book focused so much on female friendships. The author took a darker view on them for the purpose of the plot, but it felt more like the book was about friendship and that the romance was a side-plot. I loved the chilly atmosphere (especially during Elise's portion of the books). Although I could see where (in a sick, weird way) Elise may have been coming from I didn't really understand why she took it so far. Remy was a bit frustrating. There were points where I wanted to shake her. I think the author writes characters very cleanly and helps the reader connect to them. I could foresee the ending coming before it came, but that didn't make it any less satisfying. I am definitely looking forward to more from this author and can't wait for her next novel!

4 Stars

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

The Paragon Hotel by Lyndsay Faye

Friday, June 14, 2019
The new and exciting historial thriller by Lyndsay Faye, author of Edgar-nominated Jane Steele and Gods of Gotham, which follows Alice “Nobody” from Prohibition-era Harlem to Portland’s the Paragon Hotel.

The year is 1921, and “Nobody” Alice James is on a cross-country train, carrying a bullet wound and fleeing for her life following an illicit drug and liquor deal gone horribly wrong. Desperate to get as far away as possible from New York City and those who want her dead, she has her sights set on Oregon: a distant frontier that seems the end of the line.

She befriends Max, a black Pullman porter who reminds her achingly of Harlem, who leads Alice to the Paragon Hotel upon arrival in Portland. Her unlikely sanctuary turns out to be the only all-black hotel in the city, and its lodgers seem unduly terrified of a white woman on the premises. But as she meets the churlish Dr. Pendleton, the stately Mavereen, and the unforgettable club chanteuse Blossom Fontaine, she begins to understand the reason for their dread. The Ku Klux Klan has arrived in Portland in fearful numbers–burning crosses, inciting violence, electing officials, and brutalizing blacks. And only Alice, along with her new “family” of Paragon residents, are willing to search for a missing mulatto child who has mysteriously vanished into the Oregon woods.

Why was “Nobody” Alice James forced to escape Harlem? Why do the Paragon’s denizens live in fear–and what other sins are they hiding? Where did the orphaned child who went missing from the hotel, Davy Lee, come from in the first place? And, perhaps most important, why does Blossom DuBois seem to be at the very center of this tangled web?

Goodreads Summary

This book took me back to the 1920's Prohibition era. I felt immersed in our country's history from the first page until the intriguing ending. Faye has a way of crafting her diction and her characters' scenery so that the reader can easily picture each vivid event. This book contains a multitude of difficult subjects from racism, to prejudice, to violence, segregation, etc and handles them delicately and effectively. I feel like I know so much more about Harlem, New York and the importance of this time. Somehow, the book spanned America from New York to Oregon. I could tell that the author did extensive research prior to typing this book; I appreciated the many different perspectives and how they added different dimensions to already difficult subject matter. 

This book centered around two strong female characters who adapted to nearly every situation life threw at them. They worked hard and stuck to their ideals. It was easy to root for them and understand their belief systems. Alice/Nobody and Blossom took an already fantastic book to the next level. They added humor to a darker dialogue and undertone. The author took the time to extensively explore their characters and how they fit into (and don't fit into) this time. I spent time reading this book and even went back to reread certain passages I found especially crucial. This is a wonderful read for any historical fan or someone willing to read a fictitious work on an integral part in history.

5 Stars

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Every Moment After by Joseph Moldover

Friday, June 7, 2019

Best friends Matt and Cole grapple with their changing relationships during the summer after high school in this impactful, evocative story about growing up and moving on from a traumatic past.

Surviving was just the beginning. 

Eleven years after a shooting rocked the small town of East Ridge, New Jersey and left eighteen first graders in their classroom dead, survivors and recent high school graduates Matt Simpson and Cole Hewitt are still navigating their guilt and trying to move beyond the shadow of their town's grief. Will Cole and Matt ever be able to truly leave the ghosts of East Ridge behind? Do they even want to? 

As they grapple with changing relationships, falling in love, and growing apart, these two friends must face the question of how to move on—and truly begin living.

Goodreads Summary

I loved receiving this book because I enjoy books that are about current political and social events. I enjoyed that the author handled the topic sensitively and gently while still allowing reality to play a role.  One boy stayed home during the shooting and the other has no memory of it occurring. There aren't too many books concerning male friendships and I've always found that a shame. Matt and Cole are the main protagonists and two best friends. They've supported each other through growing up and many difficult times. When life inevitably pulls them in opposite directions they struggle with the idea of letting go. There were many poignant events that tugged on my heartstrings and made me wish that we could freeze our lives at one moment where we are happiest.

I liked the acknowledgement of mental illness and diabetes in this novel. Although both conditions affect so many people, I rarely find them a focus of any level in a young adult/teen book. I liked how the boys weren't perfect and both had their own struggles. In my line of work, it is rare to see people handling health conditions ideally (it's just difficult). I loved that they leaned on each other and were a stabilizing force in each others' lives. The ending was more or less what I expected, but still a reminder of what is to come for all of us. Not everything can stay the same. I love this author's writing style and realistic take on sad events.

4 Stars

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Endless Knight by Kresley Cole

Sunday, June 2, 2019
In this seductive follow-up to Poison Princess, #1 New York Timesbestselling author Kresley Cole takes us deeper into the dark world of the Arcana Chronicles.

Evie has fully come into her powers as the tarot Empress. And Jack was there to see it all. In the aftermath of killing Arthur, Evie realizes that there is a war brewing between the teens who’ve been given powers following the apocalypse, and it’s kill or be killed. When Evie meets Death, the gorgeous and dangerous Endless Knight, things get even more complicated. Somehow the Empress and Death share a romantic history. One that Evie can’t remember, but Death can’t forget. Evie is drawn to Death, but in love with Jack. She is determined to discover why she’s been granted these powers, and in the process, struggles to accept her place in the prophecy that will either save the world, or destroy it.

Goodreads Summary

Kresley Cole's ability to create a world that is so fascinating I had to finish the book in a single day is mind-boggling. I love Evie and Aric together. I hate love triangles and the only way I can stand for this to work out is if Evie gets to have two husbands (right, sister wives?). Evie and Jack and Aric are the only way this well end well for me. Evie was empathetic, intelligent, and brave. I liked how the author scattered remnants of her past, horrific lives throughout the book. It was fascinating to see who Evie was and who she has the potential to become. The scenes with her and Aric were so intense and felt so real. Her gradually building up a relationship built on trust and dedication was fascinating to watch (until she practically wrecked it). I am definitely Team Aric and I rarely am team anyone. 

I love the idea of the Major Arcana and the descriptions of their powers and fights. The book went by lightening fast for me. The beginning, middle, and end had no drag and left me running to the store for the next book (somewhat literally). I was a little surprised by what Matthew and Aric revealed to Evie. Jack was not exactly the man I thought he was. I still get a bit of a bad vibe from Matthew and I wonder if he's going to one day try to destroy them all. Selena, Finn, and Lark and wonderful supporting characters. I loved the dynamic of their relationships to each other and that "fly by the seat of your pants" thing most of them have going on. I absolutely can't wait for the last in the series (better be the last) to come out!

5 Stars

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ