TL; DR | May Speed Reviews

Check out Read By Dev’s mini reviews of her May 2019 reads!

Hey, look – I actually remembered to post my monthly wrap up! 10 points for Gryffindor! I spent a lot of May reading NetGalley Arcs to bump up my review score and then the rest of the month binging my highly anticipated releases. It was definitely a good few weeks of books. (Yet, how I’m still 2 books behind on my 2019 reading goal, I cannot figure out.)

Sorcery of Thorns 71AuWgN2H7L

By: Margaret Rogerson

Overall Rating: ★★★★

The Verdict

If you enjoyed Margaret Rogerson’s first novel, An Enchantment of Ravens, you will LOVE Sorcery of Thorns. There are magical books, evil (and not-so-evil) demons, sassy sorcerers, and a strong-willed heroine. The feminist themes, slow burn romances, and unlikely friendships will leave you bewitched and wanting more.

Aurora Rising IMG_4644

By: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Overall Rating: ★★★★★ (ALL THE GOLD STARS)

The Verdict

When it comes to modern sci-fi stories, I didn’t think I would find anything that I loved as much as The Illuminae Files, but guess what? Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman knocked my socks off with Aurora Rising, and it’s my favorite read of the year so far. It’s sassy, humorous, fast-paced, full of amazing characters, and just 100% SPACE-TASTIC. If you love any of the following, you’re sure to love Aurora: The Breakfast Club, The Guardians of the Galaxy, Dramas/Soap Operas (BUT IN SPACE). Do yourself a favor and read this book as soon as humanly possible. And then recommend it to everyone you know!

The First Girl Child 43078423

By: Amy Harmon

Overall Rating: ★★★★

The Verdict

If you enjoy epics, Norse mythology, magic, and rich world building, you’ll definitely want to pick up The First Girl Child! Spanning 30ish years, the novel is centered around Dagmar & his nephew Bayr. Bayr’s mother is a woman scorned, and places a curse upon the land of Saylok. There won’t be any baby girls born to the men of Saylok and Bayr will be the land’s savior. There’s an evil king, a precious princess, and strong supporting characters you’ll love.

Finale (Caraval #3) IMG_4676

By: Stephanie Garber

Overall Rating: ★★★★

The Verdict

Ooookay, so Finale wasn’t the best series ending that I’ve ever read, but it was definitely a solid book. There were twists, turns, high-stakes gambles, love, hate, magic, gods, and even a Legend POV! While I’m still salty about that Legend reveal, I can say that I 110% love Jacks and he needs his own story ASAP. The world of Caraval is mystical, fun and you won’t ever want to leave. If you decide to start the series be sure you have all the book in hand, because you won’t want to stop reading!

Broken Throne (Red Queen #4.5) FullSizeR-4

By: Victoria Aveyar

Overall Rating: ★★★

The Verdict

In all honesty, I pretty much only read this for the Cal/Mare and Maven stories. The Barnes & Noble special edition has a family tree in the back and information on Cal and Maven, too, which I love. Did I find out that Cal’s favorite song is come on Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners? Yes. Does that make me love him even more and realize he is the f*ckboy of my dreams? 100% YES. Was this entire book worth the read? No, which is why I skipped through and read the bits and pieces I wanted. If you’re looking for some Red Queen in your life after finishing up War Storm, definitely pick this up. It’s fun, light, and you don’t have to read in order!

Furyborn Furyborn

By: Claire Legrand

Overall Rating: ★★★★★

The Verdict

Excuse me while I go cry in a corner over this book. This feminist fantasy is filled with magic, time travel, multiple POVs, and some of the most intriguing characters I’ve ever met. It starts of with a bang and only gets more intense as it progresses. If you aren’t a fan of switching between character chapters or having multiple storylines happening at once, you may want to put this aside. But, I promise you if you give it a try you will fall in love. The main characters are broken, vulnerable and you won’t be able to stop yourself from rooting for their redemption. The second book in the series, Kingsbane, is out now. So, if you do decide to pick this up, know that you can keep continue the story as soon as you want!

Talk To Me

What did you think of my reads this month? Will you be adding any to your TBR? Have you read any of these already?

Book Tag | Wonderstruck

Thanks to Jess from Fiction No Chaser for tagging me in this! Do yourself a favor and check out her blog. She’s snarky and amazing and full of spoiler-free reviews!


  • Link back to the creator (Olivia)
  • Answer as many or as few of the questions as you’d like.
  • Feel free to use any of the graphics in this post. 🙂
  • Tag however many people you’d like at the end!

You’re Not Sorry: A book that un-apologetically broke your heart

The ending still keeps me up at night.

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Back to December: A book you still think about even after you are finished

Does Harry Potter count? Because I’m pretty sure I think about something Harry Potter related at least once a day.


If This Was a Movie: A book you really want to become a movie



Gorgeous: A book with the most beautiful cover

The 10th Anniversary Edition of City of Bones will forever be the most amazing cover.


Shake it Off: A book that gets hate but you still love

The Red Queen series gets a lot of hate – for the characters, plot, etc. – but I love it!


Never Grow Up: A book that gives you childhood nostalgia

I started reading A Series of Unfortunate Events in elementary school and I haven’t been able to find anything better.


Sparks Fly: A book you instantly clicked with

Aurora Rising is a book I INSTANTLY fell in love with. Squad 312, Fin, Tyler, Auri, SPACE, aliens, humor. It’s totally my kind of book and I need the sequel ASAP.


Style: A classic that will never get old

The Picture of Dorian Gray is dark, moody, and I love it.


End Game: A book with romance you love

Mary E Pearson knows how to WRITE. I loved the entire Remnant Chronicles series and the romance weaved into it.


I Knew You Were Trouble: A book you couldn’t help but become obsessed with

The Raven Cycle series is one that I was instantly obsessed with. The characters, the magic, the atmosphere, the writing. It’s all so good.


Bad Blood: A book where you loved the first one and hated the sequel

I don’t think I have a series where the first book was amazing but I hated the second book, BUT I do have plenty of series where the first book was amazing and the second book didn’t live up to my expectations. One said series, Caraval. Legendary wasn’t as good as book 1 (though I still loved it).




Kal | Arin | Jessica | Anyone else!


Book Tag | It’s Only A Game

FINALE IS HERE. So, obvi we need to hype it up as much as possible and play book tags to  keep the games going.

This tag was created by Jessica over at Booked J and Loretta @ Laughing Listener tagged me, so yes. I had to add this to my weekly content ASAP.


  1. Tag anyone you think would enjoy this tag.
  2. Link back to Booked J. Or tag me in your post on Twitter (@bookedj). I want to see everyone’s answers!
  3. If you are tagged by someone else, link back to their blog as well!
  4. Remember, it’s only a game…

1. Performer, participant, or watcher?

I’m totally stealing Loretta’s logic here and comparing my Hogwarts house with what I’d do. I’m a Gryffindor, so that means I’d want all the honor and glory of participating and winning. I also have Ravenclaw tendencies and I would need to gather all the clues. I’d probably end up selling a week worth of my life to someone and sleeping the entire game though.


2. Which one of the fates would you rather not cross paths with? Which would you want to cross paths with? Why?

*Spoilers if you haven’t read Legendary yet – you’ve ben warned. (For a list of all the fates click here)

I LOVE JACKS. With that being said, I would definitely want to cross paths with The Prince of Hearts, even if his kiss is deadly. I. Don’t. Care. He is the best. I don’t think I’d want to cross paths with The Undead Queen, because, you know, she tries to kill people and all.

Me: Getting ready to meet The Prince of Hearts

3. The Luckless Coin—Do you believe in bad omens?

I TOTALLY BELIEVE IN SIGNS FROM THE UNIVERSE. This comes from my love of the movie Can’t Hardly Wait and the scene where Preston hears the song Mandy and says “Mandy…Amanda. It’s a sign.” And continues to attempt to talk to her the entire night. Also, I’m just a typical LA girl who is super into horoscopes.


4. The Sisters—Which one do you see yourself in the most? Do you find it difficult knowing when to walk away from something? AND/OR: Do you have a sister or friend who you’d love or protect like they do each other?

I have 3 sisters and I’m the second oldest, so I grew up taking care of and protecting my sisters. It’s just second nature at this point. I’m pretty sure I’m a Scarlett. I’m skeptic, responsible, and I don’t make rash decisions.

5. The closest you’ll ever find to magic in this world… What is the closest thing to magic in our world, for you? 

DISNEYLAND. It’s such a magical place and I love spending all my free time there. Also, nature. Spend some time in a national park where everything’s been created by a force of nature and tell me you don’t feel some special connection with the earth.

6. No longer dull shades of bland, the dress was now a rich cerise… If you were to put on an enchanted item of clothing, what color would it become?

LOL. Definitely black. #EmoNiteIsEveryNite


7. Wishes were things of wonder that took a certain amount of faith and Julian seemed the type to trust only what he saw… Do you believe in the impossible? Or are you a skeptic?

I mean, I believe in ghosts and some mystical things, but I’m not sure I can give into “anything” being possible. Can I randomly wake up one day and be taller than the measly 5 feet I currently am? Probs not.

8. Impractical dreams and untethered imagination… What was something you fiercely believed in as a child?


9. The Characters—Who’s your favorite in the Caraval series?

DID I ALREADY MENTION JACKS IS THE BEST THING TO HAPPEN TO CARAVAL? I love him so much, I don’t even care if he might be a villain. But at this point, what is “evil”?

10. Truth or adventure? How would you play the game? Are you a seeker of truth or breathless adrenaline? 

Definitely a seeker of truther. I don’t mind the feeling of breathless adrenaline BUT I would try to be the “smart” player and pull a Scarlett in book one and not a Tella is book 2.

11. Give away a day of your life, or sleep? Which would you rather give up? Or are you unwilling to sacrifice either?

This is tough, because I love to sleep. But I also don’t want to give up any days of my life. If I absolutely had to choose one or the other, I’d probably give away sleep. If the prize wasn’t worth it, I’d keep both.

12. Hopeful and magical… Scarlett loves the color gold because it feels hopeful and magical. What gives you hope?

Random Acts of Kindness!

13. The Words—What is your favorite quote from Caraval?

“Do you always focus on what you’re giving up, rather than what you’ll be gaining? Some things are worth pursuit regardless of the cost.”

14. Safe and guarded… What is your happy place? Is it a person? A place? Something nestled away in fiction?

My happy place is definitely Yosemite. I love escaping to a place with fresh air, campfires, trees, and no connection to electronics or humans.


15. Two halves of the same heart… Do you ship anything in Caraval? If so, who? If not, pick any relationship from any fandom.

I love Julian and Scarlett. I did like Tella and Dante until the big twist at the end of Legendary, then I was kind of over them. SO, Julian and Scarlett better work our their differences AND MAKE IT WORK.

16. The bad and the morally gray… What is your favorite archetype when it comes to the characters of Caraval? Who do you think fits the title of “villain” best of all? Is there one?

This is one of those series that doesn’t have a true “villain” because everyone has their own motives and does some pretty messed up stuff to get what they want. (But since we’re on the topic…Jacks, you’re still my fave villain.)

17. Would the game bring out the most selfish of selfless parts of you? Whether you’re a performer or participant or watcher.

I want to say I would be selfless, but I think my desire to win would make me do some pretty crazy and selfish things.


18. Spells cast aren’t easily shaken off… What books have been nearly impossible for you to shake off or forget through the years?

Lord of Shadows, A Court of Mist and Fury and Gemina are a few that I just cannot get over after all this time. THEY GIVE ME ALL THE FEELS.


19. What do you wish to see in Finale?

Okay – so two things.

  1. I NEED Tella and Scarlett to not act DUMB AF and actually work together and communicate.
  2. The person who is revealed as Legend CANNOT BE LEGEND. I’m just not feeling that reveal. If there isn’t some type of twist involving the “real” legend, I’m going to be salty AF.

Talk To Me

What did you think of my answers? Are you going to play along?

Review | Legendary Lives Up To Its Name

Legendary IMG_3988

By: Stephanie Garber

Overall Rating: ★★★★

Tella just survived her first Caraval but she made some dumb deals and now has to play the game AGAIN if she wants to survive. Panic, paranoia, and plenty of magic happen. Meanwhile, Scarlett is off keeping secrets from literally everyone. Julian is being dumb somewhere, and we see a whole lotta Dante, which I am NOT complaining about. Legend is still a mystery, but throw in some magical tarot cards, a sassy Queen that I love and some new characters and you’ll forget that Legend even exists.

Theme Song


Legendary was an epic sequel to Caraval and I was again taken on a rollercoaster of WTFs and OMGs – but it did come with a few underwhelming elements. I’m hoping Finale can solve some of my saltiness, but until the day comes – I’ll settle for an okay book 2.

The Good

The Setting

I thought the vibes from book one were great, but a magical castle town filled with flying carriages, starry magical night shows and vengeful gods definitely outdid Carval. I was so obsessed.

The Male Characters

The male characters are LIFE. Jacks is amazing, Dante is amazing. You’ll love them. Jacks takes pure and simple to a new level. It’s probably why I love him so much. In a world where you are constantly wondering what people are up to, it was refreshing to have one person as the constant (at least when you find out who he really is -mwahaha). For some reason the guys in this series just seems so much more sensible and relatable than the main ladies.


The Magic and Mythology

If you know me, you know that I’m a sucker for magic, mythical creatures, mythology that involves gods and goddess or all of the above. SO, when Legendary introduced some vicious, bitter gods I was hyped. It adds an unexpected element to the story beyond just winning Caraval and I’m excited to see where this goes in the final book.

The Bad

The Female Characters

…Well they’re kind of annoying AF. Tella and Scarlett need to get their priorities straight and also learn to be as smart as they think they are. Tella all of book 2 is like: “I’m more clever than people think. I’m always underestimated” BUT SHE SPENDS THE ENTIRE THING BEING DUPED. And Scarlett is all about protecting everyone and wanting love – but then keeps tons of secrets and almost gets people killed. I just can’t with them.


The “Big” Reveal

OOOOKAY. Without going into too much of a rage BUT ARE YOU SERIOUS WITH THAT LEGEND REVEAL?!?!? I spent two books waiting for the plot twist, and it definitely wasn’t what I expected…and not in a good way. I’m HOPING that this is the “almost-ending” and I’m being duped just like I was during book 2, but if this said person is, in fact, Legend, I am seriously going to die from all my exasperated gasps.


The Ugly Truth

I was definitely underwhelmed with a very particular plot twist and if Finale doesn’t fix this I will be dead, but other than that, Legendary is a good sequel! I really just can’t wait for Finale.

Talk To Me

Have you read this book? If so, what did you think of it?

TL; DR | January Speed Reviews

It’s the end of January already?! I managed to get through 6 books this month and I’m still 1 book behind schedule for my Goodreads 2019 reading challenge (LOL. Dead.) This was a month of unfinished series for me. I read the first book in 4 different series and now patiently wait to have time to catch up on them all. Everything I read this month was surprisingly solid, though. I made good life decisions with these, apparently.

The Rook img_3866

By: Daniel O’Malley

Overall Rating: ★★★★

The Verdict

This is an amazing fantasy/sci-fi read. There’s a rich world, strong characters, and enough mystery to go around. I can’t wait to get my hands on the second book, Stiletto!

Full Review Here


Blue Lily, Lily Blue (Reread)

By: Maggie Stiefvater

Overall Rating: ★★★★

The Verdict

This isn’t my favorite book in the series – that would go to The Raven Boys or The Dream Thieves depending on my mood – but it’s still amazing in it’s own right. The dark, rich urban fantasy world that is Henrietta, Virgina speaks to my soul. Everyone should read The Raven Cycle series!

Roar img_3755

By: Cora Carmack

Overall Rating: ★★★★

The Verdict

Read Roar! The magical world of Pavan is fresh, intriguing and Aurora will draw you in with her attitude and wit.

Full Review Here


The Traitor’s Kiss img_3857

By: Erin Beaty

Overall Rating: ★★★★

The Verdict

I didn’t know I could appreciate a fantasy world without magic, but Erin Beaty did the trick. I loved Sage and Quinn’s dynamic, and even though some of this was predictable, I still really loved the dangerous atmosphere brought on by impending war. I picked up book 2 immediately (see below).

The Traitor’s Ruin

By: Erin Beaty

Overall Rating: ★★★★

The Verdict

Book two wasn’t as great as book one, but Sage and I have some type of connection. I also loved that Alex managed to be kind of a jerk (like almost Chaol-level status for my TOG fans) but he didn’t cross the line and I still adore him. Please be the captain of my heart, Alex Quinn.

Caraval img_3942

By: Stephanie Garber

Overall Rating: ★★★★

The Verdict

Okay, what in the actual F*** just happened? I loved this book so, so much. It reminded me of all great magic movies – picture having all these concrete conclusions in your mind and everything being ripped away at the last minute. A total mind-trick and a great magical, mystery worth reading.

Full Review Here

Talk To Me

What did you think of my reads this month? Will you be adding any to your TBR? Have you read any of these already?

Review | Caraval Took Me On A Magical Mystery Journey

Caraval img_3942

By: Stephanie Garber

Overall Rating: ★★★★

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance…but is it? In order to save her sister she becomes tangled in the game – realizing magic, love, lies, and danger are around every corner (and not everything is as it seems).

Where is Tella? Who is Legend? And how is she going to get out of this mess safely. Panic ensures, madness creeps in and you won’t know what to believe.

Theme Song


Caraval was a rollercoaster of WTFs and OMGs. Imagine every amazing magician movie mixed with some fairy tale fantasy vibes. Nothing is what it seems and I couldn’t guess any of the twists, which always makes for a great story for me. I still don’t know who to trust or what is real. Now I need Legendary and Finale in my life STAT.

The Good

The Atmosphere

Caraval is a mood. I felt like I was in the Golden Age of Piracy on an island in the Caribbean, where everyone is called lovelies, dukes and counts exist (and they sell rum), and characters wear top hats and petticoats. Then, I was on a magical island version of Diagon Alley, where watches are magical and people trade in secrets. Caraval has it’s own living, breathing environment and you’ll want to get lost in it.


The Plot Twists & Reveals

Okay, bare with me here. But I am OBSESSED with movies about magic, and all I could think about while reading this was that it was a mix of The Prestige, Now You See Me, and The Illusionist. There’s a quote from The Prestige that speaks to this book so well and I had to share it because it captures my feelings so perfectly.

“Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts….Now you’re looking for the secret… but you won’t find it, because of course you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to know…making something disappear isn’t enough; you have to bring it back. That’s why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call “The Prestige”.”

THIS BOOK HAS THE BEST PRESTIGE. I was in shock at the end and none of my guesses (save for maybe one) were correct. I LOVE a book that keeps me guessing until the very end. Garber was meant to be a magician IRL. She put on a SHOW.


That Epilogue

Okay, seriously. I felt so tortured by that last note, but it was the ONLY thing I guessed right the entire time (or did I? I still don’t even know!). It set up book two perfectly while opening the door for an entirely new Caraval adventure.

The Bad

The Character Growth

The characters could have used some revamping. Scarlett and Tella are crazy in their own ways and I found myself bouncing back and forth when deciding if I liked them or not. As of now, I love Julian (but he has some things to make up for), Scarlett redeemed her timid ways, and Tella is still just crazy AF.


Scarlett’s Struggle

The entire time Scarlett is looking for her sister I found myself not caring…at all. We don’t see enough of Tella in the beginning of the book to actually worry for her safety – at least in my mind – so I found it a void point in the plot. I cared more about Scarlett and hoping she didn’t die before finding out the truth (whatever “truth” actually is at this point. LOL.)

The Ugly Truth

This book was so good. If you’re into dark Harry Potter-vibe magic, pirate-esque characters, and a good mystery – read this!

Talk To Me

Have you read this book? If so, what did you think of it?