Friday, October 24, 2014

Book Review: The Diviners

Title: The Diviners (The Diviners #1)
Author: Libba Bray
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult // Supernatural // Paranormal 
Format: Physical Copy
Source: Library
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 (goodreads).

I don't know why it took me so long to read this, I was FOOLISH. The Diviners was everything I wanted AND needed!

Plot: Oh. Me. Gee. The book had me HOOKED at the first page I swear. The story opens with a bunch of bored kids playing with a Oujia board and it all goes down hill for there. The atmosphere is downright creepy and fun when it needs to be and it kept me glued until the very last page (and then I ran to Goodreads to see when the second book was coming out). It's no surprise who the killer is, he's pretty much introduced to you by the third or fourth chapter, the question is why and how that kept my attention all 578 pages of it. The only reason why I gave this novel 4.5 stars instead of a full 5 stars is because sometimes the 500 pages could feel daunting. While I enjoyed this novel immensely, there were times where I questioned if anything was happening. The novel moved at all times, but some chapters moved slower than others. 

Characters: Our main character Evie is a downright riot and I adored her! She's got sass, talent, and adults just don't understand her flapper ways- and she's okay with that. I loved peeling back Evie's layers, it became clear that her "happy go lucky" persona was just the tip of the iceberg and that she had a lot more to offer as a character.The secondary characters are all well developed and lend themselves marvelously to the story's plot. And for a book set in the 1920s, this book is DIVERSE. We have black characters, we have gay characters, and they're all REAL, not just caricatures. I swear, this book has more diversity than some contemporary novels that are set in present day, but I won't go there. There is a tad bit of a love triangle - sort of. But it plays a very small role in the plot and is only acknowledged in the final chapters. I must say, I am happy with Evie's choice in romantic partner. I'm pleasantly surprised because when we are first introduced to Evie and the mystery guy I thought that this was going to follow a played out trope and I was not interested, but little by little, they both took my breath away and I started cheering for them. 

World Building: The Diviners straight up TRANSPORTED me to 1920s New York, I felt the glitz and glam of  Manhattan, and I felt the poetry and blues echoing from Harlem. Bray impressed me the most by her dedication to learn and appropriately use 1920s slang, not only did I learn some more fun catchphrases, but it really help me understand that this is a completely different time and culture with different values. Each setting was perfectly painted in my imagination, be it the Museum of Creepy Crawlies or the crime site of a recent murder. 

Short N Sweet: The Diviners was a breath of fresh air with unforgettable characters and a mystery that kept me rapt with attention. I can't wait to see how this story is developed further in The Lair of Dreams.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Book Review: Scandal

Title: Scandal (The Ivy #4)
Author: Lauren Kunze with Rina Onur
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Genre: New Adult // Drama // Contemporary // Romance
Format: eBook
Source: Library 

You know you're not the author of the "Ivy Insider" articles.But how are you going to prove it?
Callie Andrews returns from spring break to find herself facing expulsion. Someone has framed her as the author of a series of anonymous articles vilifying an elite social club and now, unless she can prove her innocence, she can kiss her college education good-bye. So who is the Ivy Insider?
ALEXISthe girl who has had it out for Callie since day one
GREGORYthe guy who told her he loved her (at least she thought she heard that) but then he vanished in the middle of the night
MATThis friendship supersedes his hatred for social clubs—right?
or VANESSA Callie's best frenemy
. . . or is it someone else entirely? Callie's made more than a few enemies during her freshman year, but can she count on her true friends—and the (missing, just-maybe-meant-to-be) love of her life—to pull through (goodreads)?

Scandal marks the end of my guilty pleasure/ crack series. I don't know how to go on without this cast of remarkable characters!

Plot: Scandal picks up where Rivals left off and we are met another another big misunderstanding that will keep my dream couple apart. Besides romance, Callie has to clear her name from The Ivy Reader mix up and still pass finals! While I liked this book, I didn't think that a lot happened. The main drama of the final installment is The Ivy Reader mix up, but that isn't even fleshed out. Everything seems to come together at the end with very little work on Callie's half. While the action disappointed me, the conclusion put a smile on my face. 

Characters: This novel's biggest downfall is its lack of Gregory. I LIVE for Gregory and it hurt me that he was absent for about 95% of the book. The rest of the cast was still there and still made me chuckle, and we even got a better look at other characters who had just made their debut in Rivals.
World Building: By the fourth novel, the setting has been pretty much established. There aren't too many areas of Harvard to explore. 

Short N Sweet: While Scandal seemed to tone down the drama that I had grown accustomed to in the three previous works, it was still a cute ending for a fun series!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

[Meme]Waiting on Wednesday [#47]

Book two of the dazzling Winner's Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love.

The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement…if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.

As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them (goodreads).

I really don't think I have to explain this one. Did you NOT read my glowing review for The Winner's Curse?? I can't wait to see where Kestrel and Arin go from here. SO MUCH BETRAYAL. SO MUCH. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

[Meme]Teaser Tuesday [#42]

Hosted by Should Be Reading

 "That's it? No sage words? No dire warnings?"
"Saints, Alina. I hope you weren't looking to me to be the voice of reason. I keep a strict diet of ill-advised enthusiasm and heartfelt regret."

Page 132
Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Monday, October 20, 2014

Discussion: Continuing a Series

In the book world, series have become almost expected when a new book comes out. When a standalone book comes out every now and then I actually rejoice! Why? Because that means that the book will actually be wrapped up and I don't have to spend 2 years trying to get answers! With so many new series popping up out of the woodwork, it's hard to decide which series I want to start.

I'm an extremely picky reader, if I am not 100% invested in this book won't have any motivation to continue the series. The first book in a series is kind of an extended job interview for me.

Source: SecEd

I've had this happen to me for a number of books. If I like a book (like, not love) I probably won't be motivated to continue the series ASAP. This basically means that any 3 star or 3.5 star books. See, I told you I was picky. I can probably count the number the series that I have finished from beginning to end on one finger. In fact, let's list them below. 

7. I HAVE COMPLETED 7 SERIES IN MY ADULTish LIFE TIME. You want to know how many series I have started? 68!!!! I actually counted on GoodReads and I kind of felt sick to my stomach as the number kept increasing. o.O

Now granted, some of these are series that are still coming out say for instance: 

but still, 6 series titles does not make up for the other 62 series that I have started reading. A lot of them are series that I have no interest in continuing because the first installment didn't pass the "interview." 

And on the flip side, some of these unfinished series are from titles that I absolutely adore. "So Amber, what's your excuse for not reading them?" You may ask me. That's easy, I suffer from Book ADHD. This usually happens when the series surpasses three books and it has been five years or more since the initial installment. I get distracted, easily. There are so many new books to get excited about, these books kind of get neglected. 

 I love you Dark Hunters and Chicagoland Vampires,  but I'm already like four books behind and I don't think I can make it back on this wagon. ):

My attention span can only take so many books. Seriously, I have been reading Dark Hunters since I was 15. THAT'S OVER 10 YEARS OF BOOKS. I JUST CAN'T. I also started The Chicago Vampires series about six years ago, well before I discovered book blogging and got to interact with fellow bloggers and authors about upcoming books. AND THERE ARE SO MANY. 

What about you? Do you have to finish any series that you start? What are some series that you are anxious to finish? Let me know below!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Weekly Wrap Up: October 12-18, 2014

Tuesday: Teaser Tuesday

NOTE: Check out my Guest Post over at Fiction State of Mind. You could win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!


(Audio Book)

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas [GoodReads]
Made for You by Melissa Marr [GoodReads]

I Want it That Way by Ann Aguirre [GoodReads]


My goodness this has been a crazy week. I woke up on Wednesday morning to texts from my parents telling me that my grandfather on my stepdad's side had passed. Initially, I was pretty okay with the news. He had been fighting Kidney Cancer for ten months now and when I spoke to hi on his birthday, he told me how he had his good days and bad days. I was very practical about the whole situation. It wasn't until about 10AM when I logged on facebook and saw all the pictures of him that my family members had posted, then I lost it. Completely broke down, couldn't read, couldn't focus,  and on top of that, I had to go to work. Teaching for five hours when you don't really have a lot of positive energy was probably one the hardest things I've ever done. ): I don't mean to depress you all, I just needed to get it out. I've always been told that I'm terrible at expressing myself, it's even cost me some friendships in the past. The funeral was on Saturday, so I think I'm done mourning. Let's celebrate his life instead. :)

In much happier news, I have an interview for an internship tomorrow so cross your fingers that I get it! I'm getting my master's degree in teaching this December but I think I want to change my focus already. Haha. So I'm getting an internship in international education to give myself some more experience outside of the classroom. 

I hope you're all doing well! Have a great week!