Children of Blood & Bone (Legacy of Orisha, #1) – Tomi Adeyemi

cobab.jpgRating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.

Now we rise.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.

REVIEW (Spoiler Free):

WOW! Children of Blood & Bone was spectacular!! I was a little nervous before starting CoB&B because there was so much hype. I didn’t want to be let down. But DAMN! I WAS NOT LET DOWN AT ALL. Children of Blood & Bone absolutely lived up to the hype. I was blown away. CoB&B is an epic high fantasy done beautifully. Tomi Adeyemi’s writing is exceptional. It pulls you in from the first page and doesn’t let go! Despite the length, the pacing was well done and kept me on the edge of my seat. The action was non-stop. Adeyemi created a fast-paced, spectacular world and story. It was just so good and imaginative.

This world is a masterpiece. The story takes place in Orïsha, a fictional world based on/inspired by West African culture and mythology. I have never read a world like it! The history of Orïsha and its magic was extensive, but not overwhelming. Adeyemi thought through every detail and it shows in her creative and beautiful writing. The world is vibrant and captivating. One of my favorite parts is the magic system. It was incredibly unique. The magic system is inspired by West African mythology.  There are twelve clans that each have their own set of powers and characteristics. There are “traditional” powers like manipulating water (Tiders) or air (Winders), but there are also crazy ones like the ability to infect people (Cancers). There’s a list of each clan and their power at the beginning of the book. This is such a cool detail and shows how well Adeyemi thought through CoB&B. I can’t wait to learn more about all of the clans and their magic.

The characters were also fantastically done. Zelíe and Amari are two badass women who have an incredible, strong friendship. The whole cast of characters was epic. Even the villains were so well done. The King was just the right amount of cruel and evil without being cheesy and overdone. I also loved that Adeyemi included the King’s backstory and showed why he is the way he is. I also have a lot of thoughts on Inan, but I am keeping this review spoiler free. I truly felt like I was there in Orïsha with the characters on their journey. I was on the adventure with Zelíe, Amari, Inan, and Tzain. I normally don’t love more than 2 POVs, but I loved all 3 in this. I thought all 3 POVs added depth to the story and the character development was excellent.

One of the major themes of this book is that we all have the power to fight back and to create change. This is shown through the divide between those with magic (low-class, inferior, mistreated, abused) and without (high-class, superior, privileged, nobles), which is meant to represent the racial divide in our society today. I thought this was beautifully done in a way where everyone can understand the hardship and brutality involved. Even though CoB&B is a fantasy, it was able to relate it to our society. It really got me thinking…which made me love it even more. I highly recommend everyone read the author’s note at the end. She talks about this much more eloquently than I am able to.

Tomi Adeyemi has created one of my favorite books and also inspired me.
And that ending?!? Are you kidding!? I can’t cope with the wait for the sequel!

I cannot wait to continue this story and return to Orïsha


  • Action packed, fast paced high fantasy!
  • Original world inspired by West African culture and mythology.
  • Awesome and unique magic system.
  • Fantastic cast of characters, especially the badass women!
  • The divide between the diviners/maji & the kosidán (those without magic) is one of the major themes of this book.
  • Fantasy, but also highly relates to our society
  • HUGE cliffhanger! My jaw dropped and I WANT THE SEQUEL NOW! This wait is going to be killer!

Legendary (Caraval, #2) – Stephanie Garber



Stephanie Garber’s limitless imagination takes flight once more in the colorful, mesmerizing, and immersive sequel to the bestselling breakout debut Caraval

A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.

After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.

The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more—and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister’s. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice. But now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about—maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…the games have only just begun.

REVIEW (Spoiler Free):

Welcome back to the world of Caraval! I have been eagerly waiting Legendary since I finished Caraval. I actually bought two copies! The US edition (cover pictured above) and the U.K. edition with the mystery covers (I got the Aracle and it’s beautiful!).

Our story picks up the morning after the end of Caraval party. Tella wakes up with her letter and coin from her “friend”. Tella needs to repay her “friend” for helping her contact Legend for the previous game. To repay him, Tella must learn Legend’s true name. We discover that there is going to be another Caraval right away. It will be in the city of Valenda to celebrate the Empress Elantine’s birthday. On the boat ride to Valenda, Tella learns that she must participate in the upcoming Caraval and win to learn Legend’s name. I won’t include anything else from the plot to avoid spoilers!

I loved being back in Stephanie Garber’s fantastical world of Caraval. Legendary starts off very different compared to Caraval. This time around the story is told from Tella’s point of view. We begin seven years ago, where we learn about the “Fates” and the “Decks of Destiny” which are used to predict the future. However, these decks are very dangerous because once a future is foretold it becomes a living thing and fights to bring itself about. Tella finds her mother’s (Paloma) deck and draws 3 cards…the Maiden Death, the Prince of Hearts, and the Aracle. I was immediately captured by this story. It was so ominous and creepy. This short prologue is our first introduction to one of the main plots in Legendary…the Fates. I absolutely loved learning about the Fates and their mythology. Garber put a lot of thought into each Fate, their history, and mythology. It was so interesting and unique!

In Legendary, the world of Caraval expands and we travel to a new city…Valenda. Stephanie Garber’s writing is absolutely beautiful. She truly has a gift when it comes to the way she describes everything. Valenda is a stunning city with so much detail. All of Garber’s imagery is so beautifully done. Some of my favorites were the Caraval symbols in the stars, the dresses, and the Fates. I started to get lost in the story as soon as the Caraval troupe and our protagonists arrived in Valenda. I instantly found myself asking, “Has Caraval started already?” and “Is this part of the game?”. I think that I had a harder time telling what was real and what was part of the game in Legendary than I did in Caraval. We are told multiple times that the game is different this year, and that added to the confusion! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (and again), Garber is able to create a captivating environment that leaves the reader guessing the whole time.

It’s no secret that I was not a fan of Tella in Caraval. I found her extraordinarily selfish and horrible to her sister, Scarlett. I started Legendary uneasy about Tella. She definitely began as the same selfish girl, but as the story progressed, I was able to watch as Tella grew and developed into a better person. I finished Legendary with a much higher opinion of Tella than when I started. One of my favorite quotes (page 441) is, “Tella had feared that was her true ending. But she was too young for endings. Her adventures were only beginning. They would be bigger than promises, and brighter than constellations. By the end of them, Tella would be the legendary one.” I really loved this quote and I think it shows how much Tella has grown throughout the series.

Now…as for the big reveal…we find out who Legend is in this book. This is a spoiler free review, so I will not give anything away. I will say that I’m a bit disappointed. I thought the reveal was kind of a let down. For the entire book (Caraval and Legendary), I was dying to know who Legend was. I was constantly theorizing and asking is it this person? or this person? I wanted to be shocked, but unfortunately I wasn’t. However, I am looking forward to learning more about Legend in the next book. We got a couple little snippets of his history in this book, but I am hungry for more! The book also ends with a new mystery about Legend. We once again don’t know what is real and what isn’t. I need answers!!

Overall, Legendary was a great story. I was drawn back into Garber’s magical and captivating world. The writing is beautiful and the characters are very well done. I once again got lost in Garber’s world and I can’t wait to continue Scarlett & Tella’s story in the next book.

I wanted to include a couple of other quotes that I loved…

“Glowing brighter than before, they danced into new constellations. She counted more than a dozen, all forming the same bewitching image – a sun with a starburst inside and a glittering teardrop inside of the star. The symbol of Caraval.” (page 104)

“…and Tella would be damned before she allowed any of them to use her like a pawn on a game board again.” (page 375)

“There are two types of endings because most people give up at the part of the story where things are the worst, where the situation feels hopeless. But that’s when hope is needed most. Only those who persevere can find their true ending.” (page 391)


  • I absolutely loved learning about the Fates! I love when authors create their own mythology and Garber’s Fates were no exception! I am hoping we get to explore more of them in the next book.
  • The story and the game are very different this time, but it still felt like the same magical, whimsical, and mysterious world.
  • I started this book not liking Tella, but her character development was fantastic and I can’t wait to hear more from her in the sequel.
  • Garber’s imagery and world building is stunning once again.
  • The Legend reveal was a let down for me. I am curious to see what other readers think! Post in the comments (spoiler free please!) or send me a message of what you thought!
  • Garber once again ended on a big cliffhanger. Many of my questions from Caraval were answered, but now I have even more unanswered questions!! I can’t wait to see what happens next!!

Caraval (Caraval, #1) – Stephanie Garber

caraval cover

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


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.

REVIEW (Spoiler Free):

“Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find to magic in this world.”

What a magical and enchanting world! When I received Caraval in my February 2017 “Run Away With The Circus” Owl Crate box I was thrilled! It was very high on my anticipated reads list. Caraval did not let me down at all! It grabbed my attention from the very beginning.

Caraval is a story of family, love, magic, and a mysterious quest. I loved following Scarlett on her journey and discovering clues and obstacles with her. I felt like I was right there with her in the game of Caraval.

Caraval is pure magic. Stephanie Garber does an exceptional job of building a stunning world. The writing is beautiful and lyrical. I was absolutely captivated. The game of Caraval is mystical, mysterious, and whimsical. At the beginning of the game, Scarlett is advised that Caraval is a performance and to be careful to not get too swept away. It was so difficult to remember that Caraval is just a game. Garber does an excellent job of creating an environment where the reader is unable to determine what is real and what isn’t. The twists were very clever and unexpected. I was holding my breath at each twist and turn.  My theories about Legend and the game changed multiple times while reading. It kept me on my toes throughout the entire story.

At the heart of Caraval is Scarlett’s relationship with her sister, Donatella (Tella). The have a beautiful relationship and have always protected each other from their abusive father. The truly love and care for one another. However, Scarlett and Tella are opposites. Scarlett craves stability and safety, but Tella is a dreamer and desires adventure. At times, both characters are difficult to like. Scarlett is naive and too trusting. She always puts Tella’s well-being before her own, and Tella seems to take advantage of this. Tella does have good intentions, but her methods are difficult to understand. I will not say any more to avoid spoilers!


  • Caraval is a beautiful, whimsical, and sensory world filled with magic, adventure, quests, and love.
  • All of the characters are flawed, but I loved going on this adventure with them. I can’t wait to learn more about their lives and worlds outside of the game.
  • Caraval ends on a cliffhanger and  I have so many questions! I am so excited to find out what happens next.
  • I cannot wait for the sequel, Legendary, to discover more about the game of Caraval and its master, Legend.

The Inquisition (Summoner, #2) – Taran Matharu




A year has passed since the Tournament.

Fletcher and Ignatius have been locked away in Pelt’s dungeons, but now they must face a trial at the hands of the Inquisition, a powerful institution controlled by those who would delight in Fletcher’s downfall.

The trial is haunted by ghosts from the past with shocking revelations about Fletcher’s origins, but he has little time to dwell on them; the graduating students of Vocans are to be sent deep into the orc jungles to complete a dangerous mission for the king and his council. If they fail, the orcish armies will rise to power beyond anything the Empire has ever seen.

With loyal friends Othello and Sylva by his side, Fletcher must battle his way to the heart of Orcdom and save Hominum from destruction…or die trying.

REVIEW (Spoiler Free):

I was so excited to start The Inquisition after the cliffhanger ending of The Novice! This book picked up exactly one year after the events of The Novice. Fletcher has spent the last year wasting away in jail in fear of what will happen to him.  Fletcher soon finds himself on trial facing those who want him dead. I absolutely loved the trial portion of The Inquisition. It’s probably because I love to watch Law & Order, but I was enthralled by the procedural aspects and listening to Arcturus defend Fletcher. The trial was also great because we get to discover Fletcher’s birth history and who his family was. I am keeping this review spoiler free so I will not go into details, but I thought it was a great reveal and woven excellently into the trial. I love watching Fletcher grow and develop. He is discovering himself and finding his way with us along for the ride.

The next part of the book is my favorite visual of the series so far. Fletcher travels to the Elvish land in the great forest. Taran Matharu did an excellent job writing this gorgeous setting. It shows how talented Matharu is. The world he has created in this series is amazing. I could visualize it perfectly in my head. It was absolutely beautiful and I am hoping that we get to spend more time there in future books.

My favorite part of The Inquisition (and really the whole Summoner series) is the demons. We are introduced to more species of demons and they are even cooler than the ones we’ve already met. Matharu does a brilliant job describing the demons so that I can picture them as I’m reading. The demon classification guide at the end is also so cool. We are also introduced to the other species that live in Fletcher’s world…orcs, gremlins, and goblins. I really enjoyed learning about these species (especially the gremlins), their culture, and their history. It was thrilling and so scary to enter the orc territory with Fletcher and his team. I was sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen.

Whenever I’m reading fantasy, I always ask myself if I would want to live in the book’s world. I definitely want to live in Fletcher’s world so that I can be a summoner! Although, I’d be terrified to fight in the war against the orcs!!

I do have a small criticism for The Inquisition (which is why I deducted one star). It started off very strong and pulled me in immediately, but the middle was slow. I did like reading it and meeting a couple new characters, but it wasn’t as good as the first and last parts. I understand that Fletcher’s mission had to be set up and this middle part was necessary to the story, but it seemed to drag a bit.  HOWEVER, when the story picked up again it did not hold back!! The action was non-stop! I couldn’t put it down! And that ending!?! Are you kidding!? So many twists!! I am so excited to see what happens next. Matharu has a gift (or a curse depending on how you look at it) of delivering great cliffhangers!


  • The Inquisition starts off strong, slows down a bit in the middle, and is non-stop in the last part.
  • We get to meet several new characters that add so much to the story! I especially liked Cress!
  • We meet even more super awesome species of demons. I stated in my review for The Novice that I wanted a salamander demon and a griffin. I am added a Gryphowl and all four elemental bird demons to my list!
  • I also want to be an elf and live in the great forest. It was so beautiful!
  • That ending!?! Such great twists and cliffhanger! I can’t wait to see what happens in The Battlemage!

BookCon 2018 Recap


This past weekend I attended BookCon in New York City with my good friend, Kelsea. We had previously attended BookCon when it came to Chicago in 2016. We’ve been dying to go again, so we decided to splurge this year and buy ourselves VIP tickets (I highly recommend VIP tickets if you are looking to go to BookCon).

We had an epic time! It was a fun-filled, exhausting, and a book lovers dream.

I had absolutely no idea what I was doing or what to expect when I went to BookCon back in 2016. This year I was able to prepare and plan out my day which is an absolute MUST DO if you plan to attend. I used the BookCon website and publisher websites/social media to plan out my days and find out when events are occurring. This is especially helpful to find out about advanced reader copy (ARC) drops. I also used twitter during the two days of the convention. I turned on the alert notifications for all of the publishers and authors I was interested in. For example, PenguinTeen tweeted out the “passwords” to receive certain ARCs. I wouldn’t have known this if I didn’t have their tweet notifications on.

IMG_9516One of my favorite parts of attending BookCon is getting to meet some of my favorite authors. It is amazing to be able to talk with them and express my appreciation for their writing. This year I got to meet (from top to bottom & left to right) Alexandra Bracken, Tomi Adeyemi, Abbi Jacobsen, Marissa Meyer, Laini Taylor, the Dear Evan Hansen guys, Stephanie Garber, and (not pictured) S.A. Chakraborty, R.F. Kuang, and James “Murr” Murray. FYI most of the authors at BookCon required a purchase for signing, but also signed items brought from home.

I always get nervous before meeting authors because I don’t know what to say! However, all of these authors (except the Dear Evan Hansen guys because it was extremely quick) were so easy to talk to! It sounds cliché, but they are book lovers just like us!

I unfortunately only attended one panel at BookCon this year due to scheduling conflicts. There were a lot I wanted to go to, but it just didn’t work out. I did attend Magic & Power with Tomi Adeyemi, Cassandra Clare, Marissa Meyer, and Brandon Sanderson which was super interesting and fun. I did get to attend a panel at Barnes & Noble the night before BookCon with Renee Ahdieh, Melissa de la Cruz, Marie Lu, Ransom Riggs, and Sabaa Tahir. It was awesome to be able to see some of the authors that I wouldn’t be seeing at BookCon.


Another huge aspect of the BookCon weekend is getting swag, free books, and advanced reader copies. It is so much fun to look at your haul at the end of the weekend. I added two pictures of my BookCon 2018 haul! I only brought 3 of those books with me to be signed and purchased 7 there. In total, I got 13 books (and 1 laptop skin) signed from 10 different authors.

I also received several highly anticipated ARCs that I am super pumped about – Rule by Ellen Goodlett, Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte, and The Devil’s Thief by Lisa Maxwell. I am extremely excited IMG_9511.JPGabout all three of these books. Rule was the first thing my friend and I did on Saturday morning…we went immediately to the NOVL booth to get it.

I did not know that ARCs of The Devil’s Thief would be available, but I was talking with the girls at the Simon Riveted booth and they let me know it would be a prize at their carnival game. I was thrilled!!! I was unable to get it on Saturday due to atrocious lines for the game, but I made sure to be at the booth at exactly 11:00 on Sunday. I was over the moon when I won The Devil’s Thief. For those of you who haven’t read the first book (The Last Magician) in this series by Lisa Maxwell, I highly recommend it! It has all of my favorite things…time travel, fantasy, historical elements, magic, and heists. Also the cover is GORGEOUS.

Four Dead Queens was probably the “biggest” ARC I was able to get at BookCon. Prior to the event, PenguinTeen announced they would be having a secret ARC drop of a highly anticipated 2019 release. I knew it would be a long shot, but I wanted to at least try to get one. I went to the PenguinTeen booth about 20 minutes before the designated drop time and it was a madhouse! There were swarms of people all waiting and a ton of security. I luckily ran into two girls, Ivy and Drew, that I had met the previous day in line. We decided to stick together, and that was the best decision I made. Drew decided to check out the other side of the booth while Ivy and I held our spots. Penguin announced they were moving the line and everyone scrambled to get there. Since Drew already went that way, she was able to get a great spot in line. Ivy and I joined her and all three of us were able to get copies of the secret ARC, Four Dead Queens. Huge shout out to Ivy and Drew because I would not have been able to get a copy if I hadn’t joined with them. Meeting people is one of the most fun parts of BookCon. There are a lot of lines involved, so it’s nice to talk with the people near you in line. And it can pay off in situations like this!

BookCon was a blast and a huge success! By the end of the weekend I was exhausted and so sore, but it was 100% worth it. It was so fun to be surrounded by authors, books, and book lovers. I can’t wait for next year!!

The Novice (Summoner, #1) – Taran Matharu


RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


When blacksmith apprentice Fletcher discovers that he has the ability to summon demons from another world, he travels to Adept Military Academy. There the gifted are trained in the art of summoning. Fletcher is put through grueling training as a battlemage to fight in the Hominum Empire’s war against orcs. He must tread carefully while training alongside children of powerful nobles. The power hungry, those seeking alliances, and the fear of betrayal surround him. Fletcher finds himself caught in the middle of powerful forces, with only his demon Ignatius for help.

As the pieces on the board maneuver for supremacy, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of an empire is in his hands…

REVIEW (Spoiler Free):

The Novice has been on my TBR for a very long time. It sounded interesting, but some new book or series always came up. That all changed when I attended the Fierce Reads Spring Tour which featured Taran Matharu as one of the guest authors. During the tour panel, Matharu described The Summoner Series as Harry Potter meets Lord of the Rings meets Pokemon. I was hooked immediately and I knew I had to read The Novice ASAP. And I am so glad I did! Matharu’s description of his series was spot on!

The Novice was a highly entertaining and original story. I don’t often read books with male protagonists as the only POV, but I really liked reading from Fletcher’s POV. I was very invested in his story and development. He is very mature despite his young age. I felt like I was with Fletcher during his journey. The other characters were also very well done, especially Othello. I enjoyed Fletcher’s and Othello’s friendship! It seemed so genuine.

The magic system of The Novice is so cool! Fletcher discovers that he is a summoner. This means that he is able to summon demons from a parallel world (the ether). These demons then become bonded to the summoner – both as their partner and a part of their consciousness. The bond between the summoner and demon is strong and allows the summoner to use magic, or “mana”. Fletcher’s demon is a rare salamander demon named Ignatius. Fletcher and Ignatius train together at the Academy and become adept at using mana and spells. The demons and magic system were fascinating. I would really like to have my own demon!

While The Novice mostly focuses on Fletcher and his training, we also discover a world filled with humans, elves, dwarves, and orcs. The war against the orcs, the nobles’ overreaching power, and the class divide between the humans and dwarves are the fundamental conflicts faced by this world. These conflicts are all addressed and contribute to Fletcher’s story. I feel like we only scratched the surface of the war against the orcs. Fletcher has not yet seen the war or been involved. I am looking forward to the next book to really delve into the war and how Fletcher responds.

The Novice ended on a big cliffhanger! I won’t give anything away! I am going to start the next book (The Inquisition) very soon because I can’t wait to find out what happens next!


  • Harry Potter meets Lord of the Rings meets Pokemon = very accurate description of The Novice. I highly recommend The Novice to fans of any of those fandoms.
  • Unique and extremely cool magic system!
  • Demons are awesome and I would like both a salamander demon and a griffin!
    • Make sure to check out the demon classification guide at the end of the book! Matharu definitely put a lot of thought and creativity into the demons.
  •  The first few pages were a tad slow, but as soon as Fletcher used the summoning scroll I was hooked! Matharu’s writing kept me interested and entertained throughout the entirety of The Novice.

Welcome to Tales of an Avid Reader!

Hello, my name is Lisa! I love to read, but I have never written my reviews down before. I recently started writing brief reviews on GoodReads, but I have decided that I wanted to make my own blog dedicated to my reviews and my love of reading.

I plan to gradually add my reviews from some of my favorite previous reads. I also just got back from BookCon and I received several highly anticipated advanced reader copies. I can’t wait to dive into those and post my reviews here!

I am really looking forward to sharing my reviews!

Please visit my ABOUT page if you’d like to learn more about me 🙂