Caraval by Stephanie Garber | Book Review

 RATING: magical read (5) // AMAZON

PAGES: 407 PAGES | PUBLISHER: Flatiron Books



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.


Cover Thoughts I already thought this cover was gorgeous, but gosh it’s even prettier in person! I love how the cover manages to seem mystical and mysterious at the same time. It has a very simplistic yet eye-catching design. I would totally recommend buying the hardback, since it’s super glossy in person making it even cooler.

Ever since The Night Circus, I’ve been scouring around for another thrilling and magical circus read. It’s one of my favorite books that completely transformed time and space while I was reading it. So I was really looking forward to Caraval, but this book went above my expectations. Caraval did NOT disappoint, and it ended up becoming one of my top reads of 2017.

Caraval was a magical, gripping read with a story and characters that immediately drew me in. We follow Scarlett, who runs away from an arranged marriage and her abusive father with her twin sister Tella to the magical game of Caraval. Unknowingly she becomes trapped in a dangerous game where she has to learn to fight and trick her way into finding her sister before any of the other competitors.  Continue reading

February 2018 Bullet Journal Setup | PLAN WITH ME

Hi y’all! Happy February! I can’t believe we’re already done with the first month of 2018. I’m so pleased with how this month’s spreads turned out, and I hope you enjoy!

Usually for February I’ll do a Valentine’s theme, but I wanted to do something different this year. This time I decided to go with a pink and red flower theme inspired by AmandaRachLee. While this theme isn’t about hearts, it still has that Valentine’s Day vibe with the red and pink flowers. Not exactly sure what kind of flowers these are, but I still love how my February cover page turned out! I had so much fun with it, and I like how it’s simple yet busy at the same time.

This is my monthly habit tracker. I decided to bring back the habit tracker for February because I’m starting the second semester and I want to make sure I’m living a healthier lifestyle. Although I haven’t been the best about using this in the past, I’m hoping my new goal of becoming a more active planner will make it easier to keep track of my habits. This will help me hit all the things I want to on a daily basis—like getting enough sleep, eating healthy, drinking water, exercising, studying, reading, and blogging.

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January 2018 Bullet Journal Setup | PLAN WITH ME

Hi y’all! I apologize for the lack of posts lately. I was terrible at reading during the first semester, and before I knew it 2017 had flown by me. But it’s a new year, and I’m determined to get back into the swing of things. The second semester is always the busiest time of year for me, since I’m also in lacrosse season. Even though I have a lot going on, I’ve got my trusty bullet journal and I’ve been working on becoming a more active planner. I read A LOVE over winter break, and I honestly regret missing so many amazing releases that came out in 2017. Hopefully my bullet journal will make it easier for me to find time to read throughout this semester!

For the new year I decided to make a 2018 goals page, which was inspired by Jamie Paige. This is a big year for me. I need to declare my concentration before the end of this semester. I want to find a summer internship that will help me figure out what I want to do for the rest of my life. It’s a year of a lot of important decisions and events. I have so much I want to accomplish this year, and I believe this goals page will help remind me of my goals and motivate me to achieve them throughout the year.

This is my 2018 year at a glance spread, which was inspired by PlanningWithKay. Although it’s nice to see all the months in one place, I haven’t really used this spread in the past. I was hesitant about including this spread, but it’s usually in most planners and I really liked the grid layout for the months. It’s simplistic and easy to look at. Also I like that this layout is two pages instead of the typical one. It’s big enough to easily read, and there’s plenty of space for me to write down important dates.

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My Life in Books Tag

Hi y’all,  I saw the My Life in Books Tag on Bookmark Lit, and I thought it’d be fun to do! I find book tags to be entertaining, and I think it adds some variety to my blog. For all the questions, I tried to pick books that I’ve read before and enjoyed.

Find a book for each of your initials.


A: All Fall Down by Ally Carter | Book Review | Book Talk

E: Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas | Book Review

K: Kiss of Frost by Jennifer Estep

I’m a huge Ally Carter Fan from her Gallagher Girls series to her Heist Society series. She just has a way with creating amazing books about spies and thieves with a captivating cast of characters. And I’ve been enjoying her Embassy Row series almost just as much. And I had to include a Sarah J. Maas book! It was actually much harder than I expected to find a book that I had read that starts with a K, and Kiss of Frost was the only one I could find. I do love the Mythos Academy books, and the mythology Estep uses in them!

Count your age along your bookshelf. What book is it?

My bookshelf is a bit of a mess right now, so it was a bit hard to find a starting point to count from. It turns out the 20th book on my shelf is A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. I own all her books, so it isn’t much of a shocker that one of her books was chosen for a bookshelf question.

Pick a book set in your city/state.

I’m a Texan at heart, but I had a hard time finding a book set in Texas. I read a lot of fantasy, so it’s no surprise that I had a hard time. But then I remembered Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream by H.G. Bissinger. This book could not be more perfect! It’s so fitting for the Lonestar state!

Pick a book that represents a destination you’d love to visit.

I have so many places that I want to visit around the world. I love to travel, and my list of dream destinations is never-ending. Although I’ve been to a lot of countries in Europe, I’ve never been to France. Anna & the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins is such a cute read, and the idea of going to school in Paris and falling in love is so romantic. Plus I’m obsessed with the new covers!

Pick a book that’s your favorite color.

Divergent by Veronica Roth was the book that really got me into book blogging, and it reignited my love of reading in middle school. It’s my favorite book in the series, and I was lucky enough to meet Veronica Roth and get it signed! Also it’s only fitting that one of my favorite books is also my favorite color!

Which book do you have the fondest memories of?


I used to hate reading with a fiery passion, but The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan is the book that turned it all around for me and I haven’t looked back since. I’ve been an avid reader ever since, and I’m so thankful to Rick Riordan for creating the Percy Jackson and the Olympians world!

Which book did you have the most difficulty reading?

I had to read The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck going into my junior year of high school. I’ve always had a bit of trouble with required reading for school, but this book was definitely the worst. It was beyond slow, and NOTHING ever happened! I’m still amazed at myself for managing to actually finish this book.


Which book on your TBR pile will give you the biggest sense of accomplishment when you finish it?

I’ve been dying to read Carry On by Rainbow Rowell for the longest time. I immediately ran out to get it went it came out because Fangirl  is one of my all time favorite books. But somehow I never got to it. Maybe it had to do with its humungous size or the hype. Once I do finally read it, I know I’ll be blown away and I’ll be happy to mark it off my TBR list!




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Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter | Book Review

 RATING: creepy Bizarre Read (2) // AMAZON




In the enchanted kingdom of Brooklyn, the fashionable people put on cute shoes, go to parties in warehouses, drink on rooftops at sunset, and tell themselves they’ve arrived. A whole lot of Brooklyn is like that now—but not Vassa’s working-class neighborhood.

In Vassa’s neighborhood, where she lives with her stepmother and bickering stepsisters, one might stumble onto magic, but stumbling away again could become an issue. Babs Yagg, the owner of the local convenience store, has a policy of beheading shoplifters—and sometimes innocent shoppers as well. So when Vassa’s stepsister sends her out for light bulbs in the middle of night, she knows it could easily become a suicide mission.

But Vassa has a bit of luck hidden in her pocket, a gift from her dead mother. Erg is a tough-talking wooden doll with sticky fingers, a bottomless stomach, and a ferocious cunning. With Erg’s help, Vassa just might be able to break the witch’s curse and free her Brooklyn neighborhood. But Babs won’t be playing fair…


Cover Thoughts The cover is eye-catching online, and in person it’s even prettier. Night plays an important aspect in the book, and I love how prevalent it is on the cover. I like how the silhouette of the Brooklyn skyline and bridge manage to almost blend into the night sky if you don’t pause to take a closer look. The red is a nice pop against the black, and it’s always interesting to see how many little details can be hidden in a cover, like the swan reference.

I really wanted to like Vassa in the Night. It’s a retelling of the Russian folktale Vasilisa the Beautiful, which I hadn’t heard before, so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. I love retellings, and I’d never read one based on a Russian myth. I was intrigued by the magic in Porter’s Brooklyn, but unfortunately I was disappointed by Vassa in the Night.  

My main problem with this book was that I honestly had no idea what was going on for most of it. Vassa in the Night is a weird and bizarre story, but that’s also one of its selling points. Unfortunately it might have been a read that was too out there for me. I was never able to fully grasp the story, so it felt like I was missing out on multiple important parts throughout the book. It seemed like I was running blindly in a never-ending maze and somehow barely managed to stumble upon the exit.  Continue reading

August 2017 Wrap Up

monthly wrap up



follow me at @vivalabooks

EVENTS IN august

  1. JOHN MAYER CONCERT… I was unexpectedly invited to the John Mayer concert, and it was so much fun! Although I don’t know a lot of his songs, he did play a few of his hits, like Gravity, Free Fallin’, and Daughters. But to my friends and mine’s disappointment, he didn’t play Your Body is a Wonderland.
  2. FRIENDS… August consisted of lots of goodbyes. I tried to squeeze as much time as possible with my friends, but most of them left even earlier than last year for work week.
  3. WORK… I got a summer job as a hostess, and I’ve been working there for the summer. It’s a chill restaurant and I love my co-wokers. A lot of girls left to go back to school, so August was filled with work.



August was a pretty good reading month considering the massive reading slump I had been in most of the summer. Although I didn’t read quite as much as I would have liked to, I think I read a good amount of books.

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September 2017 Bullet Journal Setup | Plan With Me

Hi, sorry this is a few days late, but hope you enjoy! I started bullet journaling about a year ago, and I got really into it over the summer. Unfortunately during the school year I’m not going to have as much time as I’d like to for bullet journaling, so I decided to go with simpler layouts that won’t take too long to do.

For September I decided to go with a back to school theme, since I’m going back to college this month. Although I’m sad summer is over, I’m so excited to see all my college friends! This is my August cover page, and I googled back to school in order to get some inspiration for my doodles. I wasn’t exactly sure on a color scheme while coloring in my doodles, but I decided to mainly focus on the primary colors. I usually use my Zebra Mildliners, but I decided to use colored pencils for this month’s cover page.

This is my monthly habit tracker. I was much better about using my habit tracker in August, and I’m hoping to regularly use it during the school year. I believe the habit tracker will help me get into a good routine for college. Also it’ll help me make sure I’m being healthy, doing my school work, and managing my blogging habits. I was still unsure about my color scheme for this month, but the red apple helped me narrow it down to red for this month’s main color.

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Fall 2017 Releases I’m Excited For


SEP 5 | Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

I recently got approved for this one on Netgalley & I’m so excited to read it! It’s a Snow White retelling, but it has an interesting twist. Instead of the usual “evil stepmother” vs Snow White trope, the daughter Lynet surprisingly wants to be like her stepmother. It sounds like a magical retelling focusing on the dynamic between these intricate women,  and I’ve been hearing great things about this book!

SEP 5 | A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland 

A family cursed by death that is doomed to have one big fear in their life that eventually kills them. Can this be out already? Add in a girl with a list of fears, who meets a boy determined to conquer each fear on her list in an attempt to break the curse. YES PLEASE! I can already tell I’m going to enjoy this story & the characters!


SEP 5 | Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

It’s about time we get another Throne of Glass book (check out my review)! Chaol was one of my favorite characters in book one, but he went MIA in Empire of Storms (check out my review). I’m excited to see what Chaol has been up to, but mainly I’m just excited for more Throne of Glass!

Sidenote: Is anyone else confused about if this is a book or novella? I thought it was supposed to be a novella, but with 600+ words I don’t think one can categorize it as a novella…

SEP 12 | Warcross by Marie Lu

YES! Another Marie Lu book! I AM SO BEYOND EXCITED FOR THIS BOOK! WORDS CANNOT EVEN BEGIN TO CONVEY MY EMOTIONS! Online gaming, bounty hunters, spying, Tokyo! Do I even need to say more?? Also the MC is Asian. YAY for diversity! Oh, and if you’re still not convinced, the people are LOVING it!


SEP 19 | One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake 

The ending of Three Dark Crowns was a HUGE cliffhanger (check out my review!). And I have literally been counting down the days till its sequel because I desperately need to know what happens. I am so excited for the epicness that is awaiting us in book 2! Don’t want to spoil anything, but Katharine?!?!

SEP 19 | Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore

Kristin Cashore is one of my favorite authors. Her book Graceling is one of my favorite books of ALL TIME. And I’ve been eagerly waiting for her to come out with a new book for what seems to be like forever. The premise is quite amigious and mysterious, but I’m pumped to read whatever this woman writes!

SEP 26 | There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

Stephanie Perkins is the queen of contemporaries, so I’m excited to see how she tackles horror. It’s been described as “Scream meets YA,” and I absolutely LOVE the Scream movies. They’re not the scariest movies and can be cheesy, but I still love them regardless. I’m a huge fan of horror movies, so I’m looking forward to what Stephanie has in store for us. I’m sure it’ll be plenty of horror with a cute twist!


SEP 26 | An Enchanment of Ravens by  Margaret Rogerson

I’ve been loving books about faeries, and I’m always interested to see how each author interprets the fey world. I’m obsessed with the premise: fair folk, who are cannot feel and are obsessed with human craft, like art or baking. We follow Isobel, who is an exceptional painter, and makes the mistake of painting a royal fey with human emotion. This leads to a huge mess as Isobel tries to navigate the fairy courts, and I am beyond PUMPED to find out what happens!


OCT 3 | Devils & Thieves by Jennifer Rush 

I love a good magical book, and I’ve read tons of them. Yet I haven’t read a single one about a motorcycle gang consisting of magic-users. YES PLEASE!!! Plus someone’s using forbidden magic and people are disappearing left & right. Although it does sound a little cliche with the MC unable to use any magic but potentially becomes the most powerful one. Regardless I love the title (books with thieves are x10 better) and I’m excited to see an interesting & different take on magic.

OCT 3 | Ally by Anna Banks

Nemesis was an unexpected book that ended up surprising me in a good way (check out my review!). I mainly picked it up because I was a fan of Anna Banks’ The Syrena Legacy trilogy, and I stayed because of the entertaining characters. I’m excited to see how Sepora and Tarik’s relationship will progress with that ending in Nemesis. There were a lot of things left unanswered and unexplored. Plus we might get to see more of Sepora’s dad. Yikes!

OCT 3 | Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

This book sounds like a dream. It has a whimsical nature to it, and I love the cover. The premise makes the book seem mysterious and beautiful and enthralling. If any women from this family falls too deeply in love, then their lovers will disappear. WHY?!?! But then a mysterious boy with amnesia shows up, who could lead to unraveling dangerous secrets. YES! YES! YES!

OCT 24 | The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano

Lauren DeStefano’s books are a hit or miss for me. I was a fan of her Chemical Garden trilogy, but couldn’t get into her The Internment Chronicles trilogy. The premise of her new book drew me in with a daughter kept hidden by her king father in order to be a spy, who then discovers her touch can turn people into gemstone. The idea for the story is intriguing, and I’m interested to see how it’ll turn out.

OCT 24 | The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

This book is basically about a female version of Scrooge! Holly was a Scrooge and got a visit from the 3 ghosts of Christmas, but didn’t change her ways afterwards. She soon dies and is stuck working as the latest ghost of Christmas past. But she’s decided she’s sick of saving others like her every year and wants to change things. But how?!?!!

OCT 31 | Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi  

YAY for another diverse book! This one has Nigerian influences, and I’m excited to read this unique story. The idea behind this book is fascinating: mages who draw out sin from a person in the form of sin-beasts, which are beasts creating from a sinner’s guilt. Aki, who are sin-eaters indentured by mages to kill sin-beasts. Once an aki has killed a sin-beast, they gain a tattoo of the beast and they feel the same guilt of the sinner. We get to follow an aki, who ends up eating the sin of a royal. This world sounds absolutely insane!

OCT 31 | My New Crush Gave to Me by Shani Petroff

To be honest, the cover was the first thing that caught my eye. I know Christmas is months away, but it’s my favorite holiday and I love a good ugly Christmas sweater. A girl hopes to win over the guy of her dreams through a secret santa pairing, but has to enlist his cousin’s help, who is the opposite of her type. I can already tell where this book is going, but it sounds like such a cute read that is perfect for the Christmas season!


nov 7 | Renegades by Marissa Meyer

I’ve only read the first 3 books in Marissa Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles series (I know, I need to fix that), but I really enjoyed what I’ve read of her so far. The renegades are a group of humans with extraordinary powers, which makes me think of like super human strength or speed maybe. I’m interested to learn what kind of powers these humans have. I heard it’s anti-hero story, which I’ve been loving lately, and I can’t wait to see how this one turns out.

nov 7 | The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin

OK, I’ll admit that I haven’t finished the Mara Dyer series yet, but NOAH SHAW! HE IS GETTING HIS OWN BOOK/SERIES!!! Do I even need to say anything else?

Sidenote: I’m going to binge-read the Mara Dyer series before this comes out, and then devour this book!

nov 14 | Whichwood by Tahereh Mafi

Wow, November seems to be a month where I’m looking forward to books from authors that I haven’t finished reading. Whoops! Although I did read Mafi’s Shatter Me series (btw who else is pumped for the new books?). I haven’t read Furthermore though… I’m not sure if I need to read it before Whichwood, but the premise just sounds so good. A girl who washes the bodies of the dead!!!! It just DRAGS you in!

nov 28 | The Chaos of Standing Still by Jessica Brody

First off, this cover is gorgeous! I love the font choice, and I’m a huge fan of minimalistic covers. Plus the premise sounds like a whirlwind of emotions. Ryn has one unread text message on her phone from her best friend, who died about a year ago. She hasn’t read the text, and she hasn’t dealt with her friend’s death. She accidentally mixes up her phone with a stranger, and this book is about the adventure that follows.


what fall 2017 releases are you excited for?


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This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab | Book Review

 RATING: dark beautiful breathtaking read (5) // AMAZON

PAGES: 427 PAGES | PUBLISHER: Greenwillow Books



There’s no such thing as safe.

Kate Harker wants to be as ruthless as her father. After five years and six boarding schools, she’s finally going home to prove that she can be.

August Flynn wants to be human. But he isn’t. He’s a monster, one that can steal souls with a song. He’s one of the three most powerful monsters in a city overrun with them. His own father’s secret weapon.

Their city is divided.

Their city is crumbling.

Kate and August are the only two who see both sides, the only two who could do something.

But how do you decide to be a hero or a villain when it’s hard to tell which is which?


Cover ThoughtsI’m a fan of this cover. I like the mysterious-yet-creepy vibes it gives off, and the red-orange-black color scheme goes well with the book. The silhouette of the violin that contains the sketchy alleyway is just perfect! And I love how the calligraphy of the title looks like chalk.


I have no idea how I was able to read and blog for this long without reading a Victoria Schwab book. Obviously I’ve been living under a rock or something. I seriously need to devour more of this woman’s words! This Savage Song blew my mind and left me unable to form coherent thoughts or words. It’s a complex and twisted and alluring read enhanced by Schwab’s beautiful and captivating writing. I did not want to put this book down.

This Savage Song is a character-driven book. There is a dual POV where we follow Kate Harker and August Flynn, who represent the two opposing sides of the city Verity. Kate does her best to be a “monster” by putting up a cruel facade in order to gain her father’s love and acknowledgement. August is an actual monster—a Sunai—who longs to be human. The irony and contradiction between these two made them the perfect characters to follow along in this story. Although Kate’s actions could be quite despicable, I still found myself rooting for this girl to break out of her father’s control and find a better version of herself. August is a boy with such a pure kind heart, who I just wanted to give a hug to throughout the entire book. I loved reading about his character growth, and he was definitely my favorite one. Schwab does a brilliant job at crafting intricate characters, who cause you to pause and think and feel all the emotions.  Continue reading

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller | Book Review

 RATING: fun sassy pirate read (3.5) // AMAZON

PAGES: 320 PAGES | PUBLISHER: Feiwel & Friends



There will be plenty of time for me to beat him soundly once I’ve gotten what I came for.

Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.

3.5 ratingratingrating

Cover ThoughtsTo be perfectly honest, I’m not the biggest fan of the cover. I think it fits the book really well, but it’s not the type of cover that would make me want to grab a book off the shelf. I do love how it features Alosa and her wild red hair, and I think the title font is on point.

There aren’t that many popular YA pirate books that I’m aware of (let me know if I’m just out of the loop), and I’m not quite sure why. Daughter of the Pirate King was my first pirate-focused read, and I’m so glad it was included in an OwlCrate box because I’m not sure if I would have not picked it up otherwise. It also didn’t hurt that the author was inspired by The Pirates of the Caribbean movies, which are my actual favorite. (Captain Jack Sparrow is the best!)

Daughter of the Pirate King was such a fun read with lively likeable characters, who just so happen to be pirates conquering the seas. Levenseller does a great job creating characters that seem to jump off the pages and take a life of their own. I loved reading the banter between Alosa, our leading gal, and all the other characters.  

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