Review: The Diviners

Title: The Diviners (The Diviners #1) 7728889

Author: Libba Bray

Publication Date: September 18, 2012

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Summary: Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.

 

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For some reason, I thought this was a book that came out recently, apparently I was wrong, so now I’m horrified that it’s taking so long for the second book to come out. Seriously, what’s up with that?

This book had a rocky start, that’s for sure. Evie is getting shipped off to live in New York City with her uncle, because her parents just can’t handle her bad behavior anymore. The thing that got me was that I immediately did not like Evie on bit. Not one teensy little bit. She was snotty and snooty and annoying and she thought she was just the best thing in this whole damn world. I just knew that she was going to ruin this book for me. So I pushed through and dealt with her obnoxious attitude, then about a third of the way through the book, I realized that she was starting to grow on me. Yep, I don’t know how Libba Bray managed to pull this one off, but by the end of the book, I actually liked Evie. Sure, I still wanted to punch her in her pretty face like every five minutes, but she felt live and real and fun. She was spunky and sassy and brave (if a little stupid sometimes) and I just liked her life. I was surprised, trust me.

This book has a few different characters in it. Evie is obviously the main character, but some chapter has other people’s points of view, since there are several storylines running together as one. And I really liked all of them. Theta and Henry’s relationship was perfect, I loved how he picked her up from her sad past and gave her a new life and they were sticking together no matter what. Even if Theta’s past was absolutely horrifying. Memphis was super intriguing, and I liked the different perspective we got from him, since he lives in Harlem. The only character that I felt a little blah about was Mabel. She is just kind of the plain, boring best friend that hangs around just to offer a sulky, depressed perspective on what Evie finds fun and exciting. But I’m hoping that in the next book, she is going to grow and be more of her own person. Sam was hilarious. I loved how charming he was and the witty banter between him and Evie had me constantly cracking up.

Jericho was probably my favorite secondary character. He was interesting and once we found out his secret, my jaw dropped. I honestly wasn’t expecting that, and I really want to know more. But I love how the first impression you get of him is that he is just some dull guy that works at the museum, but he ends up playing a bigger part. And I like the sort of character he is, the strong, steady, silent rock sort, who just provides comfort and support.  This author can seriously write. Most authors have a hard time giving life and personality and depth to one character, Libba Bray just successfully did it with like ten. Not to sound like I’m gushing, but she is an inspiration and lots of authors could take some pointers from her.

Obviously there is romance in this book, but I’m not going to say between who, because I don’t want to spoil anything. However, it was great. The best thing about it was that it didn’t, at any point in time, take away from the story. That’s right, this YA book was not completely centered around some sappy love story. I could kiss Libba Bray right now. I love that it took me by surprise instead of going to the way I was completely expecting it too, it was very refreshing and I found it to be more realistic.

The mystery was definitely spooky and intriguing enough that it kept me interested, I was legitimately getting goose bumps at some parts. I was really fascinated with all of the cult stuff involved in this book, it was one of those things that was so disturbing to the point where you just want to know more. The storyline and the mystery both had so much depth to it, between the past and the present and everyone point of views, it was wonderfully written. The whole book was wonderfully written. This book had such great world building and Libba Bray brought so much life to this time period, I felt like I could close my eyes and see everything. I don’t know how she did it, she isn’t old enough to have been alive during that time, but I’m wondering if she isn’t hiding a time machine somewhere. I understand this was a horrible time period and things sucked, and she showed that in a dark, gritty way, but she also managed to write it in a way that makes me just want to go there, just for a day. The city had such life.

The one thing I was disappointed about was the ending. Not to spoil anything, but it felt a bit anticlimactic to me. I realize that nothing about the ending or what Evie had to go through with inevitably facing Naughty John was easy, but the solution, while creative, seemed… I don’t know, almost cheesy. That’s not really the word I’m looking for, and maybe the bad ass in me just wanted to see an ultimate showdown, but when you read it, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

The ending ending (after the face off with Naughty John) left me wanting the second book so bad. Stupid Evie made stupid, silly, selfish decisions again, and in the next book, it is going to hopefully bite her in the butt. There is just so much mystery that still needs to be solved, so much more character development and twisty plotlines that I need right now!

Libba Bray, if you ever read this, PLEASE SEND ME AN ARC OF LAIR OF DREAMS! PLEASE!

RATING:

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New Series by Leigh Bardugo

Leigh Bardugo, author of The Grisha trilogy, just got a new two book deal.

Read the full article here: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/shadow-bone-author-gets-two-706656?mobile_redirect=false

The new literary project, titled “The Dregs,” is set up in the same story universe as her Grisha Trilogy.

Leigh Bardugo, the author of Shadow and Bone and the rest of the Grisha trilogy, has made a two-book deal for her latest literary endeavor, The Dregs.

The project, described as a blend of Ocean’s 11 and Game of Thrones, is set in Kerch, a small island nation in the “Grishaverse” (meaning the same universe as her Shadow and Bone books) with tremendous economic power, the hub of all international trade and a country rich in art and culture, but also home to a teeming criminal underworld. A crew of dangerous misfits face impossible odds when they are pulled together to break into one of the most guarded places in the world.

The first novel is currently scheduled for publication in fall 2015.

Kiersten White New Book Deal!

Read the full story here: http://kierstenwrites.blogspot.com/2014/05/new-books-new-books-hooray.html

Kiersten White, author of Paranormalcy and Mind Games, is writing a new series, called the Conquers Saga. The first book is titled Daughter of the Dragon.

She and her husband visited Romania a few years ago and fell in love with the country and it’s history, along with stories of Vlad the Impaler (the man Dracula is based off of).

“And then I listened to Noah telling my mom the familiar histories of Vlad the Impaler and his ties to history. Vlad had grown up a political prisoner in the Ottoman courts, a peer and contemporary of Mehmed the Conqueror, the sultan who sacked Constantinople as a young man. Vlad’s own brother, Radu the Handsome (let’s all pick our historical names now, okay? Mine will be Kiersten the Effortlessly Charming, or maybe Kiersten the Fustigator if I’m feeling cranky), converted to Islam and joined Mehmed’s courts—and was even rumored to have been part of Mehmed’s secret male harem.

The Ottomans put Vlad on the throne, thinking he was loyal to them. He showed them just what he thought of their loyalty, on the end of a stick. Actually, on the end of many, many sticks. 20,000 impaled soldiers, if history is to be believed.

But I already knew all of this. It wasn’t my story.

And then—and then—that magic moment my fellow writers know so well happened, where suddenly something shifted, falling into place with a sharp snick and my mind was off and running and I knew I had to tell a story and I knew exactly what it would be.

Because what if Vlad the Impaler, the brutal prince, had been Lada the Impaler, the brutal princess? And what if Lada, Radu, and Mehmed had been locked in a poisonous triangle, with their ruthless ambitions second only to their love for each other?

Heads will roll. Bodies will be impaled. And hearts will be broken.

Daughter of the Dragon, coming in 2016.”

Review: Alienated

Tit13574417le: Alienated

Author: Melissa Landers

Publication Date: February 4th, 2014

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Summary: Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara’s classmates get swept up by anti-L’eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn’t safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara’s locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class.

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she’s fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.

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Oh, the shame. Yes, I actually did read this book. But before you guys start judging, let’s get one thing straight… I came home from a long day at work and wanted a sappy, fluffy, guilty pleasure read. Which is exactly what I got.

Alienated is about a girl named Cara who apparently really likes winning and she gets chosen to have an alien exchange student live with her. But he isn’t really an alien. I mean, he comes from a different planet and doesn’t have a belly button because he is a clone and wasn’t actually born, but in reality, those are the only things that makes him technically an alien. His race, his planet, their foods and customs, nothing was really that creative or different from earth. His “strange behavior” is basically acting like every other guy in the YA genre. That’s right, you guessed it… He is cold and distant and untrustworthy, but with a soft gooey center he only reveals at certain times to the girl he secretly loves and of course, he is completely swoony. So really, there was nothing special or different about him, besides the fact that the author makes him an alien. Which was pretty disappointing. But I suppose no one would want to read a book about a human girl falling in love with a big alien blob with tentacles. The make out scenes would be awkward.

The plot line of this book was pretty blah. While everyone freaking out and forming alien hate groups was interesting enough, the main focus was the romance. Big surprise there. I’m such a loser for saying this, but I am always honest in my reviews, so here it goes… I actually kind of enjoyed this romance. I know, trust me, I know. But the author actually did a better job than I had expected, at least as far as the build up went. They spent a lot of time actually learning about each other and spending time together, and it wasn’t a love at first sight sort of thing. I enjoyed their friendship and seeing it evolve into more. However, once the suddenly realized their undying love for each other, it because cheesy and almost unbearable. She makes some really irrational decisions in the name of love, and it was just really overdone in the last chunk of the book.

As far as secondary characters go, they were all stupid and jerks. Not to mention, they all perfectly fit into the expected stereotypes; the douchebag jock, the slutty cheerleader, stupid best friend, grabby lusty boyfriend, etc. Her best friend and boyfriend both treat her and Aelyx like shit, without bothering to give him a chance, and it’s awful. All of the people in her school, everyone in her community, they all treat her like a leper and riot and it’s just crazy and overdone. Maybe I’m a weirdo, but it really bothered me that no one in this book even gave Aelyx a chance or tried to get to know him. I find that unrealistic. Cara did, and she is honestly nothing really special, so why can’t other people?

But still, while reading this book, I tried to think about how the world would really react if aliens made contact with us. In the book, they brought a cure for cancer and save lots of people, but everyone still hated them. As I read the book and all of Cara’s friends and neighbors turned their backs on her and her family for supporting Aelyx, I thought it was very extreme. But, thinking about it now, we as people are violent and irrational and afraid of the unknown. Maybe the world really would react in this way. I couldn’t help but think about how everyday people reacted when African American’s started fighting for their rights and going to schools with whites. It seems silly now when we look back at how we treated them, but discrimination still goes on today, in many forms, and if we do that and treat our own kind the way that we do, why on earth wouldn’t we do the same, or worse, to an alien species?

The ending was anti-climatic and very rushed. The last fifty pages or so were like a huge messy rush after three hundred pages of slow romantic build up, and it didn’t really work that well. The whole thing about Cara having to save the earth, was honestly just kind of silly and definitely pushed into the background. However, the thing that surprised me most about this book was that I actually found myself laughing out loud at some of the parts.  But, that being said, I started this book wanting a stupid, relaxing, gooey read, and it was basically everything I had asked for.

RATING:

Review: Fire & Flood

16069167Title: Fire & Flood (Fire & Flood #1)

Author: Victoria Scott

Publication Date: February 25, 2014

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Summary:  Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can’t determine what’s wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She’s lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying—and she’s helpless to change anything.

Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It’s an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother’s illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there’s no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.

The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can’t trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?

Victoria Scott’s breathtaking novel grabs readers by the throat and doesn’t let go.

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Wow. Like, wow. I considered not even doing a review for this book because I felt vaguely embarrassed that I actually finished it. But here I am typing this out because I feel it’s my duty to warn everyone about this book. About this abomination of a book.

Okay, I apologize, that last sentence might have been a little extreme. But seriously, don’t read this book.

I’m sure you guys are getting tired of my constant ranting about the pathetic female protagonists, but holy shit… This one was the worst ever. EVER. I don’t even want to write about her because it’s going to make me feel physically ill.

So her name is Tella. Which I immediately found weird and annoying. She was just the worst ever. Let me give you a few examples of what sort of person she is. So she gets this ear piece thing, listens to some random voice telling her to go to some place to do something (she doesn’t know where this place is or what she is supposed to be doing) then just goes. That’s right, just gets up in the middle of the night, grabs her sparkly nail polish (no, I’m not kidding) then just goes. So she gets to this place and is supposed to grab an egg, stands there staring at them all like an idiot, while everyone else runs in and takes them all. Then she lays down and cries because she failed. But a mysterious serial killer guy (yes, she actually describes him continuously as looking like a serial killer) takes pity on her and shows her where someone dropped an egg. So she has an hour to get to some train and she is injured and bleeding. And what does she do? She goes to her car and fixes her make up then chops off all of her hair that she hates because she is just such a badass now. At this point, I put the book down and seriously considered just not even finishing it.

I just don’t understand what was going through the author’s mind when she made this character. I feel like she just tried to hard to make her cute and likable and bubbly, but it was just straight up ridiculous. And Tella was a straight up idiot. Through the whole book. For some reason, two guys become completely obsessed with her and talk about how special and unique and alive she is… The only thing unique about this girl is that she is literally the dumbest person to ever live. Not to mention, she is so vain and concentrated on her appearance, hating the more attractive girl for being hotter than her and constantly wishing for makeup to magically appear. She literally did nothing at all, except find people to mooch off of and take her through this competition without getting killed. Oh, did I mention that this “competition” is literally just a sad copy of The Hunger Games? Because it totally is. I feel like I’ve just really insulted Suzanna Collins by saying that. Sorry.

On top of everything else, there was just so much that was ridiculous in this book. First of all, the eggs hatch into all these different random animals. Foxes, lions, elephants, eagles, you name it. So the author wasn’t creative enough to come up with her own creatures, so she just took every animal and gave them some random super power. Yep, the lion, he breathes fire. The eagle, he can randomly turn invisible. And wait for this. Tella got the bestest one ever and she is super special because hers can turn into any of the other ones it wants. How super special.

Oh, and remember serial killer guy? Yeah well apparently sweet little Tella has a thing for guys that want to kill her. She falls head over heels for this guy, for no reason. I mean, he is just suddenly paying attention to her and protecting her all the time, so they are totally in love. But he is so secretive and mysterious and what happens if they make it to the end if there can only be one winner? Poor Tella, life is just so hard for her right now. But the power of their love will get them through this competition and blah, blah, blah. Did I mention that she is supposed to be here to save her brother’s life? The brother she thinks about like twice. She is so focused on herself and her love story, I don’t even understand how her brother fits into anything, because she seems to genuinely not even care about him. All she thinks about is smooching serial killer guy and what his bedroom looks like.

So there is love interest serial killer guy (it’s funny ’cause his name is actually Guy in the book) then there is actual serial killer guy. I think his name was Titus or something, and he kills a bunch of people’s animal things and people and is basically bat shit crazy. But the thing that seriously pisses me off about this guy and Tella? He basically molests Tella like three times in this book, and she just does nothing… EVERY. SINGLE. GODDAMN. TIME. I can’t stand it. I mean, I’m all for love interest guys getting all overprotective and jumping in to get all threatening when another guy is all over their lady, whatever. But I’m sick and tired of girls just doing nothing to defend themselves against this and just taking it or letting the other man deal with it. It disgusts me.

This book was also just disorienting. It just between sickly silly and light hearted to dark and disturbing. Like one second, Tella is hoping she has some makeup in her bag and swooning over serial killer guy, the next minute, other serial killer guy has a bunch of animal things captured and he is torturing them and making them walk with their kneecaps sticking out and gutting them and it was just disturbing. Or some girl has to have her finger cut off, and some dude’s cheetah fights another animal for it and eats it, but everyone has a good laugh over it, because what an epic way for her finger to go. Are you kidding me? Please, just tell me that this whole book was one big joke? Please?

Characters? Stupid and bland and unbelievable. Storyline? Ridiculous and there was no story building. Every single thing about this book? Stupid and lame and unimaginative and nothing made any sense! Gah, I’m so angry right now!

RATING:

A-Z Challenge

I’ve been asked to do an A-Z post of all my favorite books, only one allowed per letter. I’m going to cheat a little bit and do series for some… It was much harder than it sounds.

A: Artemis Fowl Series: I loved these books as a kid and occasionally read them for giggles. Blast from the past, yo.

B: The Black Jewels Series… Definitely not for the faint of heart, but beautifully written and haunting. Left me thinking about them for days.

C: Clockwork Angel… Since I was already taken, I’m just going to put the first book of this series. Cassandra Clare is a goddess.

D: Daughter of Smoke and Bone… It’s a new one that I just read, but I love the book so much, it’s moved up to my favorites list.

E: Eragon… I can’t say the Inheritance Cycle since the last book is definitely not included in my favorites. Blech. But the rest are awesome.

F: Fahrenheit 451… I know, I know. I can’t help it, this books just gets me somewhere deep.

G: Graceling… Anyone who has read this book knows why I love it. Complex characters, dark storyline, and beautifully written.

H: Harry Potter… No explanation needed.

I: Inkworld Series… These books were some of my favorites as a child and helped spark my love of reading.

J:

K: Kate Daniels Series… Kate in one of the best heroines ever written and these books are so amazing, definitely an underappreciated series.

L: The Lunar Chronicles… Cinder, Cress, Scarlet, those are three fine ladies with equally fine men. These books are so fun and magical.

M: Mortal Instruments Series… Jace, Jace, Jace… Do I really need to say more?

N: Neverwhere… This book is pure magic and so fun but dark, I read it all the time on rainy days.

O: Oryx and Crake… This book is so beautiful and well written, one of my favorite post-apocalyptic books of all time.

P: Percy Jackson Series… Some of my favorite books of all time and Percy was one of my first fictional character crushes.

Q:

R: The Road… It doesn’t really fit in with the rest of my choices but this book is one of my all time favorites. It kills you inside.

S: Sevenwaters Series… The first book makes me cry every time I read it. Amazing stories, mythology, and romance.

T: Throne of Glass Series… Everything about these books are wonderful. Especially Chaol. Yummy.

U:

V: The Various… A cute little story that I read a million times as a child, but haven’t for many years, so it might actually suck.

W: Wicked Lovely… I actually love this book a lot, but I would honestly have a hard time telling you why. It’s just haunting.

X:

Y:

Z:

Sorry for the gaps, I honestly just couldn’t think of any for those letters. This actually look way more time than I thought, I hate having to pick favorites, especially when my favorites are constantly changing. Thanks for the challenge though!