ARC REVIEW: Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber

First things first: THANK YOU to Hodder for sending me an eARC of this amazing book in exchange for a review. I spent half a day screaming when my request got accepted, and then spent the rest of the day reading it so… thank you!

Evangeline has always believed in true love, fairytales and happily ever afters, but her world is turned completely upside down when she discovers that Luc, the love of her life, is engaged to someone else. Convinced that her love’s betrayal is the result of a curse or magic, she runs to the Prince of Hearts – the mysterious Jacks – and begs him to stop the wedding.

But Evangeline soon realises that you should never make a deal with a Fate, as one small agreement with Jacks sets her life on a whole new path, full of danger, betrayal and dark magic.

Caraval is one of my favourite series’ and I’ve had Once Upon a Broken Heart preordered since last year so my hopes were incredibly high, but it lived up to all of my expectations and more. Evangeline was a great protagonist, with a great combination of selflessness, determination and intelligence, without being needlessly reckless like a lot of YA fantasy protagonists are. She was so easy to root for all the way through and I really think she’s one of the most entertaining protagonists I’ve read this year. Jacks was, as expected, the fascinating character that I remember him being, although I definitely loved him more this time around. He was unpredictable all the time and so consistent with his character in Caraval that it was easy to get sucked back into his story almost immediately.

Stephanie Garber’s world-building is incredible, and her writing never fails to impress me. Every setting felt both real and magical, from the little trinket shop to Wolf Hall, and the story that combined them all was a fast-paced quest with elements of romance, fantasy and adventure that kept me hooked from the very first page. I read this entire book in one sitting because I genuinely couldn’t put it down, and even though I finished it over a month ago now, it’s still completely stuck in my head, in the same way that all of her books so far have been.

I genuinely loved every aspect of this book, from the protagonists, to the story, to the setting, and I’m already desperate to read the next book in the series. Once Upon a Broken Heart is absolutely a new favourite for me, and I’ll definitely be telling every fantasy-lover I know to read it.

Rating: 5/5

DECEMBER WRAP-UP

Happy New Year!

With just seven hours to go until 2021, I finally met my (recently increased) reading goal of sixty books! I’m so happy with how my reading went last year and am even happier that I’ve not really been able to stop reading for the last month- and that, as a result of that, my December Wrap Up is ten books, which is more than I have read in a single month for a long time. So. Here we go.

When Life Gives You Lemons Instead of Lattes by Rayna York – I don’t review books on my blog that I don’t particularly enjoy, so I didn’t share this one. This is a summery contemporary about a girl who is torn away from her wealthy lifestyle in California when her father is found to be embezzling company money and forced to adapt to life in rural Ohio. It was a cute book with lots of romance, but sadly was not for me. Still, it was a quick, easy read. 2/5

Good Girl, Bad Blood by Holly Jackson – I’m kind of mad that I didn’t read this as soon as I bought it, but at least I got round to it eventually. I really enjoyed this sequel to A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder and will absolutely be sure to keep up with book three when it is released. 4/5

Caraval, Legendary and Finale by Stephanie Garber – it has been years since I read an entire series in the space of a week (or even read an entire series full stop…) but this one was so beautiful and magical that I was completely unable to put it down. I loved the set of protagonists in book two just as much as I loved book one’s and found myself experiencing a severe book hangover when I realised that I was done with them at the end of Finale. I will be waiting desperately for Once Upon a Broken Heart. 5/5

The Last Girl by Goldy Moldavsky – review to come, but I really enjoyed this YA thriller about a girl whose coping mechanism after a home invasion is to turn to horror movies and gore in an attempt to feel safe once again. It had a fascinating set of characters, a very unique storyline, and an enjoyable series of twists that got me through the entire book in less than a day. 5/5

All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban – I’ve had this book on my radar since I first heard about it and decided this month to give the audiobook a try. It was a really gripping story with a troubled cast of characters, a high-tension situation and the romance expected of a high-school thriller. I wasn’t a huge fan of the ending, but I did enjoy this book and would fully recommend it as an audiobook, as the narrator was amazing! 3.5/5

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz – People on my twitter timeline have been talking about this book for centuries and I’m so mad that I didn’t read it sooner. Also mad because I didn’t realise that the audiobook was narrated by Lin Manuel-Miranda! It was such a sweet and gripping story about friendship and love, and I fell completely in love with both Aristotle and Dante. 5/5

Rent a Boyfriend by Gloria Chao – Apparently, this was a month of contemporaries for me. This is another book that I’ve been eyeing for months and finally gave in and bought last week. It was a super cute and easy read about a girl who develops complicated feelings for the boy pretending to be her boyfriend to get her parents off her back. It was pretty cliched and very typical for the genre, but it was quick to read and honestly pretty sweet. 4/5

A Girl Made of Air by Nydia Hetherington – which I finished a few hours ago in an attempt to complete my 60th book. I have mixed feelings about this one (again, review to come, when I’ve figured out my thoughts…) but it was a beautifully written, unique tale that combined historical fiction and magical realism. 4/5

And that’s it for the last month of the year. I hope you all had a wonderful year of reading (and a safe year in general) and wish you all the best for 2021!