Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

The introduction is perfectly written with its foreboding and ominous tale that happens to be true.
Soraya and Sorush are twins. Soraya is hidden away because her touch is fatal. Sorush is the heir next in line to rule the kingdom.
On the day of Sorush and Laleh’s wedding announcement, Soraya meets Azad. He’s been awarded by Sorush for his bravery and for saving his life. Azad is immediately taken with Soraya even after he finds out about her fatal touch. The two of them sneak through secret passages to get into the dungeon so they can ask the prisoner div for help in breaking Soraya’s curse. A div is what gave her mother the curse years ago. The div tells her not to believe her mother’s story. As Soraya discovers the truth about her curse, her family becomes endangered and she has to do some clever thinking to save them. Soraya searches for allies and truths throughout the story as everything changes for her. Beautifully written and based on Persian mythology to give us this unique fantasy, 4 stars!

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

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Mysterious happenings in the past!
Thanks to NetGalley and Flatiron Books for the opportunity to read and review The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert!
Alice and her mom have led a transient lifestyle and they’re the only people that they trust and feel close to. That changes when Ella, Alice’s mom goes missing. Alice needs help finding her, so she asks rich boy, Ellery Finch, for help. Little by little, Alice confides in Ellery and he’s there for her one hundred percent. Ellery is a huge fan of Althea Proserpine, Alice’s grandmother and famous, mysterious author. So Ellery helps as a friend but also out of curiosity and awe. Together they discover the danger surrounding Althea’s writings and the truth behind them. The closer Alice and Ellery get to the Hazel Wood, the more the stories come to life. Both of them get sucked in to the Hinterland and its tales, changing their lives and who they are. The Hazel Wood weaves a mysterious, fantastic story, 4 stars!

Legendary by Stephanie Garber

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Anticipating the next book already!
Legendary by Stephanie Garber shows us that Tella and Scarlett are once again playing a Caraval game. Tella thinks their mother is alive and wants information to find her, while Scarlett just wants some fun and excitement. Tella’s discovery of who her pen pal friend is floors her and she’s reeling from the revelation and its complications. Once again, the game may or may not be real, in all or parts, and the characters may or may not be trustworthy. Tella is shown an unkind memory of her mother and feels as though her mother didn’t love her at all. Her push and pull relationship with Dante is another matter she’s unsure of, but that’s just the way Caraval is. As the story concludes, it’s clear that a third book is in Caraval’s future. The enticing ending of Legendary makes me vested in this series. 4 stars!

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Flatiron Books for the opportunity to read and review Caraval by Stephanie Garber!  Scarlett and Donatella are treated harshly by their father. They have both always wanted to see Caraval since their grandmother told them stories about it years ago. They plan on running away to see Caraval and never coming back to their father. He has threatened them with harm if they ever leave and he has even gone to the extreme lengths of committing murder to keep Scarlett and Donatella on the island with him. Tella left their rooms a mess to make their father believe they were kidnapped while they sailed with Julian to Caraval, Legend’s private island. The game on Caraval that Legend controls is adventurous, daring, mysterious and frightening. Scarlett never knows, from beginning to end, what is real and what is just the game. I grew to care about Scarlett and I wanted her to finally find happiness. I also admire her for the bravery and love she demonstrates to help her sister, Tella. Their father is selfish and violent and I wanted the sisters to be free of him. I also like the setting and time the story takes place in. It was familiar but also new at the same time because of Stephanie Garber’s clever writing. 5 stars for the magical mystery of the game and all of its characters!