Book Reviews of May 2019

Legendary Caraval Book 2 by Stephanie Garber

Book Review: 10 Fantastical Things about FINALE by Stephanie Garber


Caraval #3

by Stephanie Garber

Nikki’s Rating: 10 out of 10

Summary: They are all playing a very dangerous game and not even Legend knows the ending. The Fates, immortal beings with supernatural powers, have been released from the Deck of Destiny and are staging the way to take over Valedna. Sisters Scarlett and Tella are dragged further and further into the lives of the immortals as they realize that their mother’s disappearance is connected to the Deck of Destiny. But the girls are not just trying to save their lives but also their hearts. Scarlett finds herself torn between Julian, the boy she fell in love with, and Nicolas, her once betrothed. While Tella is being pursued by two powerful immortals, both who have already deceived her and broken her heart. Regardless, Scarlett and Tella must find a way to destroy the Fates once and for all or risk losing everything.

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10 Fantastical Things about FINALE by Stephanie Garber

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. The Magic

Stephanie Garber has an amazing, fantastical imagination and she lets it run wild in her Caraval series. Fantasy dresses and desserts, hidden places unlocked by blood, magical items that can teleport you or change appearance, places that time runs faster/slower. It is all just so magical!

2. Descriptions

“The intoxicating scents of honeycomb castles, cinnamon bark pies, carmelite clusters, and peach shine floated through Tell’s cracked window when she woke, filling the tiny apartment with sugar and dreams” (Finale p.21) That tantalizing sentence is a prime example of Stephanie Garber’s exceptional descriptives.

3. Twists and Turns

As with “Caraval” and “Legendary”, Stephanie Garber kept me on my toes throughout “Finale”! Anything could be an illusion or a dream. You would be constantly questioning characters motivations and you could never ever truly trust any of them.

4. Characters

Specifically, Scarlett and Tella are very lovable. Yes, Legend, Jacks, and Julian are all attractive, seductive, and irresitable but it is the female protagonists that really shine in the Caraval series. Both Scarlett and Tella are strong, loving, forgiving, sassy, independent and their own heroes while still making mistakes and being silly.

5. Storyline

Stephanie Garber created a magical land with a compelling story that I could not put down. All 3 books in the Caraval series had slightly different focuses but they all tied in seamlessly with each other and made for an fascinating story arc.

6. The Fates

Immortals with supernatural powers are nothing new but Stephanie Garber included an interesting element of having them trapped in a Deck of Destiny, a deck of cards in the Caraval universe that is similar to out Tarot. Also, when a Fate gives up their immortality for love and eventually dies, their magic creates a magical item.

7. Fantasy Dresses

Her Majesty’s Gown, a Fated object, a gown that changes according to the wearer’s mood (or the dresses), a magical dress that I wish I had! Every gown Stephanie Garber describes in the Caraval series I want. “Finale” even features a gown covered in real butterflies!

8. Romance

As always, I’m a sucker for romance and I appreciate that both Scarlett and Tella have found their loves.

9. Legend

By far one the most intriguing fictional characters I’ve come across. While it was a rollercoaster in “Legendary” trying to figure out if Dante was really Legend or not, in “Finale” it was a rollercoaster trying to determine if he was a deceptive, selfish scoundrel, or a lost soul in need of saving who actually deserved Tella’s love. Not gonna lie that regardless of all he has done, I’m a huge fan and so glad that he and Tella ended up together.

10. More???

While “Finale” was a very satisfying conclusion of Tella and Scarlett’s story, I still want more from Caraval! I would love to hear more about the Fates and their backstories, I want to know if Scarlett and Tella lived happily-ever-after, etc. While I have no idea if Stephanie Garber has any intentions of writing more about the Caraval characters, there is mention in “Finale” of Tella returning to the Vanished Market in the future. I hope we get to revisit the Caraval universe again very soon!

As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

Book Review: 9 Legendary Things About LEGENDARY by Stephanie Garber


Caraval #2

by Stephanie Garber

Nikki’s Rating: 9 out of 10

Summary: Scarlett and Tella find themselves in another game, this time to find out the true identity of the elusive and magical Legend. If Tella wins the game, she may lose Legend and possibly her heart forever; if she doesn’t win, she loses her life. But as always, the edges of reality and the magic of Caraval are beginning to blur together.

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9 Legendary Things About LEGENDARY by Stephanie Garber

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. That dress…

The mood-changing dress is still around. Super jealous!

2. Didn’t see that coming…

Never did it ever occur to me that Scarlett’s “betrothed” in Book 1 could be part of “the game.” Well played Garber, well played. 

3. Carnival Setting

As in the first book, I enjoy the more unusual setting of a carnival. Thankfully Garber leaves out the evil clowns. 

4. Another Game

I was a little concerned about “Legendary” featuring another “game” mostly because I didn’t want it to be too similar to Book 1. However, I was very surprised and happy to find that “Legendary” and “Caraval” have very different games, settings, players, and objectives.

5. Anticipation

“Legendary” kept me on my toes as much as “Caraval” did! So many twists and turns, so many secrets and hidden doors behind hidden doors. 

6. Legend

As always, I’m a sucker for love and romance so I’m totally digging the Tella/Legend dynamic. And of course, I love the “tortured, misunderstood, moody” Byronic hero so Legend is an automatic favorite for me.

7. Overall Writing

Garber does it again with good pacing, an enchanting imagination, and great character development!

8. The Ending

Well, not exactly how I wanted things to end but all my favorite characters are still alive and mostly well so I’ll take it and call it a sorta happy ending. 

9. Finale

Thankfully there is a 3rd book: “Finale” Caraval Book 3 by Stephanie Garber!

As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

Owlcrate February 2017 Book Review: “Caraval”


Caraval Book 1

by Stephanie Garber

Nikki’s Rating: 9 out of 10

Summary: In one last daring plan to escape their abusive father, sisters Scarlett and Tella whisk off to Caraval, a show run by the powerful and mysterious magician, Legend, in which the audience can partake in the adventures. But the game suddenly becomes very real when Scarlett discovers that Tella is missing and has been kidnapped by Legend himself. Unable to know who or what to trust, Scarlett races to find her sister before their monstrous father does. 

Candescent Things About Stephanie Garber’s “Caraval”

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Carnival

I surprisingly enjoyed that the majority of the setting for this novel was a carnival. Typically I have stayed away from novels with carnival settings simply because I find carnivals creepy. It’s the clowns. Fuck clowns.

2. Game

Another huge thing that I loved about this novel is it mostly takes place in the “Caraval game.” So as the reader, I also didn’t know what was genuine or just part of “the game”. All characters introduced were more often lying about who they were, intentions/motivations were really hard to guess and universal laws didn’t necessarily apply during the game.

3. The Dress

Mood-changing dress?! Yes, please!!! Seriously, I want this so badly.

4. The Twists

This novel kept me on my toes! Seriously, there were so many twists that I did not see coming. I’m still reeling from Julian!

5. Imaginative

Stephanie Garber truly has an amazing imagination! The carnival, the game, the world, all the tiny little details. The smaller riddles throughout the story. The unique payments participants must give for different items/services in Caraval. The enchanting and magical items and/or services available in Caraval. So much fun!

6. Characters

While the characters in Caraval can be deceiving, I found most of them interesting and enjoyable. And always, kudos for having strong, independent females who end up saving each other instead of a man.

7. Writing

Stephanie Garber’s writing style is easy to follow and understand, she has good pacing and while including many twists, I never felt lost or confused. 

8. Happy-ish Ending

While not the Disney fairytale ending that I want every story to have, the ending was positive. Certain dead characters were revealed to be alive and well. The girls escape their abusive father and can live as they wish. Scarlett and Julian are together… sorta. I guess I can be content with this for now. 

9. Legendary 

There is a sequel! “Legendary” Caraval Book 2 by Stephanie Garber

What were favorite things about Stephanie Garber’s “Caraval”?

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. And if you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Book Reviews of 2018

Young Adult Books

Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas:

Empire of Storms

Tower of Dawn

Kingdom of Ash

Caraval Series by Stephanie Garber:


Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi:

Shatter Me

Unravel Me

Ignite Me

Restore Me

Self-Help Books

Romance Novels

Lords of the Underworld series by Gena Showalter:

Into the Dark

After Dark

The Darkest Torment

The Darkest Promise


Historical Fiction