Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Series Review: The Diviners by Libba Bray

Series: The Diviners 

Publication of book 1, The Diviners:September 18th 2012 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Goodreads Description of book 1, The Diviners:
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.

My Thoughts:
The Diviners is a new all time favourite series of mine (that's right it is not a trilogy! There are more books to come out so don't do what I did and read the three thinking it is a completed story!) I marathoner the first three books back to back and had the best time. I loved every minute of it and as soon as I finished one book I jumped right into the next!

This review is broken down into three sections and I have warnings before spoilers so don't worry!

The Diviners 
The Diviners was not at all what I was expecting and I loved it! It was such a unique read that was complete different to anything else I've ever read!

The atmosphere and setting were so good. Libba Bray did an excellent job making me feel like I was in New York in the 1920s. She just captured the vibe so well. I was even reading in a Gatsby-esque accent. All the parties and glitz and glam really made the it feel real. 

The Diviners has a huge cast of characters which I loved! I haven't read a book with loads of characters in ages (last one I can think of is Lord of Shadows). I really grew to love a lot of them, especially Evie, Sam, Theta and Memphis. Because the book is so long we really get to spend a lot of time getting to know the characters and connecting with them. I also loved how all the storylines crossed paths at some stage and all the friendships that started developing between the characters.

The plot was very engaging for the most part. It is a mystery thriller but the reader knows who did it so it took a little bit away from the story because I was getting annoyed they were taking so long to figure it out! It wasn't too bad though I was still very invested in the story and couldn't stop reading. 

Speaking of the mystery thriller aspect Libba Bray nailed it at creating such a creepy haunting eerie atmosphere in some scenes. I was genuinely freaked out at points.

I was surprised at how emotionally invested I was, I was getting freaked out and stressed for the characters it was so intense at parts and I loved it! 

I was hesitant to pick up The Diviners because I wasn't the biggest fan of Libba Bray's other series, Gemma Doyle, and I didn't want to commit to a series with such long books but I was so glad I did! It was such a unique read and as soon as I finished book 1 I started book 2, Lair of Dreams!

*Spoilers for book 1, The Diviners ahead!*
Lair of Dreams
I absolutely adored reading Lair of Dreams! There was so much going on and I loved it!

We get to see a good bit of Sam in Lair of Dreams and I loved it! Sam quickly became one of my all time favourite characters, he is just so funny and enjoyable to read about! I wheels anticipated getting a chapter from his POV. 

Speaking of POV, both Jericho and Mabel had POVs in this book too. They were pretty prevalent at the start but then they disappeared for what felt like ages and when they popped up I was surprised- I'd forgotten about them. I wasn't the biggest fan of their stories but I was still engaged while reading from them.

We get introduced to a new character- Ling. Ling is very different from the other character and I loved it! She is half Chinese and has a physical disability. It was great getting that kind of rep in a historical fiction book! Usually it's all the contemporary books that have diverse cast of character but The Diviners has so many different types of people and it's great!

The plot was excellent I never felt like it dragged even though it was a long book. There were a good few storylines going on at once and while I definitely had my favourites (Sam and Evie and Memphis and Theta) I enjoyed all of them. I will say this book is not as big on the thriller mystery stuff as book 1 though. We do get more into the government side of things and I had lots of questions and was constantly theorising what things meant as I was reading.

The ships were sailing in this one and it was so much fun to read about! I had so much fun reading about one in particular, won't say who because spoilers!

I had just as an amazing and surprise reading experience reading Lair of Dreams as I did The Diviners! It was a fantastic sequel and just like with book 1 I had to jump into the next one immediately!

*Spoilers for book 2, Lair of Dreams ahead!*
Before the Devil Breaks You

Before the Devil Breaks You is probably my least favourite of the three books out but it was still great! 

I was frustrated at Evie a good bit in this one which hindered my enjoyment. She was just making stupid decisions I didn't agree with which was annoying. I still love her but she got on my nerves at times.

There was a lot of Jericho in this book which I wasn't that happy about. I wasn't a fan of him going in but then he kind of grew on me and then he did something and I didn't like him again. I was all over the place with him.

There was a good bit of Mabel too which also effected my reading experience. I was never a fan of her, she just wasn't as interesting as the others but in this book she was just stupid I couldn't stand her! She was constantly doing stupid things that had me rolling my eyes and I felt no sympathy or empathy towards her. 

We do get some lovely character development for Theta though which I lived for. She is such a strong young woman and I could read about her all day every day!

I also really liked Ling in this book. I felt like she had a bigger role than she did in Lair of Dreams and it was interesting getting to know her better it is also confirmed that she is ace so yay!

We do get a good few answers about things from previous books about Diviners but I still had questions when I finished reading.

There was a good bit of relationship drama in this one- won't say who but some couples need to learn to communicate!

There was definitely some very emotional parts in Before the Devil Breaks You compared to book 1 and 2. I was surprised at how emotional my response was to some stuff going down.

The ending of this one is absolutely mad so I'd recommend waiting until book 4 is out or closer to its release date before picking up Before the Devil Breaks You because the ending will leave you wanting more!

Beyond excited for the next book! I need it asap! Really hoping we don't have to wait years for it! I had so much fun reading these first three books and can't wait to jump back into this world soon!

Thanks for reading,

A :)

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

The Silver Mask by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Short review today guys!

*Warning this post contains spoilers for the first 3 books in the Magisterium series.*
Read my review of book 2, The Copper Gauntlet here!
Read my review of book 3, The Bronze Key here!

Series: Magisterium, #4

Publication:October 10th 2017 by Scholastic Press 

Goodreads Description:
A generation ago, Constantine Madden came close to achieving what no magician had ever achieved: the ability to bring back the dead. He didn't succeed . . . but he did find a way to keep himself alive, inside a young child named Callum Hunt. Now Call is one of the most feared and reviled students in the history of the Magisterium, thought to be responsible for a devastating death and an ever-present threat of war. As a result, Call has been imprisoned and interrogated. Everyone wants to know what Constantine was up to-and how he lives on. But Call has no idea. It is only when he's broken out of prison that the full potential of Constantine's plan is suddenly in his hands . . . and he must decide what to do with his power. In this spellbinding fourth book of Magisterium, bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare take us beyond the realm of the living and into the dangers of the dead.

My Thoughts:

The Silver Mask is my favourite book in the Magisterium series; I absolutely loved it. I had so much fun reading this one. I wasn't a huge fan of the Bronze Key so I was hesitant going it and I was blown away by how much I enjoyed The Silver Mask. I think the characters being 15 in this one made it a lot easier for me to read.

I love how the characters are getting older! It was very amusing seeing them dealing with growing up and dealing with relationships and whatnot.

Call is so funny, I loved how blunt and honest he is in this book; he says exactly what he's thinking and it is hilarious at times. I loved it.

The plot was pretty predictable but it's middle grade so that is to be expected but what I wasn't expecting was how dark it would get. There was also some great action scenes at the end which I loved.

Jasper had a good amount of page time in this book which I liked, he brings a comedic element to the story and I liked how he is slowly becoming friends with the others.

The Silver Mask is by far my favourite book in the series and I can't wait for the next one! My only complaint was it was too short, why are middle grade books always so short?! I wanted more, I cannot believe we have to wait months for the next one.

Thanks for reading,
A :)

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Brave by Jennifer L Armentrout

*Warning this review contains spoilers for the first two books in the series, Wicked and Torn.*

Read my review of book 2: Torn here!

Series: The Wicked Trilogy, #3

Publication:  December 11th 2017 by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Goodreads Description:
Ivy Morgan hasn't been feeling like herself lately. Not like anyone can blame her. After all, being held captive by a psychotic fae prince hell-bent on permanently opening the gates to the Otherworld is bound to leave some mental scars. 

It’s more than that, though. Something dark and insidious is spreading throughout Ivy, more powerful than she could ever imagine... and it’s coming between her and the man she’s fallen deeply in love with, elite Order member Ren Owens. 

Ren would do anything to keep Ivy safe. Anything. But when he makes a life altering choice for her, the fallout of his act has far reaching consequences that threaten to tear their lives apart. 

If Ivy is going to have any hope of surviving this, she must put aside the hurt and betrayal she feels, and work with not only those she loves, but with an enemy she would rather kill than ever trust. War is coming, and it soon becomes clear that what Ivy and Ren thought they knew about the Order, themselves, and even their enemies, has been nothing but a cluster of dangerous, deadly lies. 

Ivy knows she must be more than just brave to save those she loves--and, ultimately, to save herself. 

Because behind every evil fae Prince, there’s a Queen…. 

My thoughts: 
I didn't enjoy Brave as much as books one and two. I had a bit of a weird reading experience and that might have been what hindered my enjoyment- I read the book in small chunks over a month. I don't know if that was because I read it over such a long period of time or what but it was definitely  my least favourite in the series. I still had fun reading just not as much as I did with Wicked and Torn.

I was kind of fed up with Ivy in this book, she made some stupid decisions and I felt like she was missing that fire in her that I loved in the previous books. She was a bit annoying and I get that she is going through PTSD after the events of the last book but I just didn't care about her like I used to.

I absolutely adored Tink, he is just such a fun character and to be honest he was one of the main reasons I kept reading. I loved any time he has page time.

I am not head over heels in love with Ren but he did have some great one liners in this one; not as much as in the previous books but enough to be entertaining.

I found myself not caring about the whole plot with the prince and the order. I was getting bored at times and found myself skimming some parts which never usually happens with Jennifer L Armentrout books for me. There was a few plot twists here and there but I didn't care enough to be shocked over them.

Overall Brave is an okay read and I would recommend the series overall if you are looking for something funny and dramatic with a paranormal romance in it.

Thanks for reading,
A :)

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Catching Stars by Cayla Keenan

Publication: May 8th 2018 by Oftomes Publishing

Goodreads Description:
Witch. Betrayal. Hunted.

Jayin Ijaad is in hiding. A witch with powerful abilities, she carves out a life for herself in the slums of Pavaal, a city rotting from the inside out. When an old acquaintance tracks her down, Jayin is dragged back into a world she tried to escape -- and is determined to escape again.

Maddix Kell is on the run. After two years in prison for crimes he did not commit, Maddix escapes and seeks out a legendary order of witchhunters who are his only chance to find justice.

But all is not as it seems and Maddix soon finds himself on the run from the people he sought as allies. When their paths collide, Jayin and Maddix must put aside their prejudices and forge an uneasy alliance that could crumble at any moment. But if they want to survive in Aestos -- a brutal kingdom where magic and corruption lie hand in hand and enemies lurk around every corner -- they must first survive each other.

My thoughts:
While I enjoyed parts of Catching Stars for the most part I just thought it was okay. It has been a few weeks since I read the book and I can hardly remember anything about it; it just didn't leave a lasting impression on me at all. All I have to go off for this review is notes I took while I was reading it.

I found Catching Stars very hard to get into, I often felt my mind wandering because of the very slow start. I will say the plot did pick up a bit later in the book but I really struggled through the first few chapters.

I also wasn't a fan of Jayin and Maddix individually. They both felt very meh to me. I did like them together though- they had an interesting dynamic that kept me engaged for the most part. I liked how they had prejudices about each other that were being challenged throughout their relationship.

At times the writing was great, it was flowery but not too flowery but then at other times, particularly action scenes I found it hard to comprehend what was happening. 

There's not much else I can say. My reading experience was a bit of a weird one too because I was reading the book in few pages chunks over 2 weeks whereas I usually read a book in a few days so that might have affected my enjoyment. 

Thanks for reading,
A :)

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

Hey guys! Short review today as I am super busy with college at the moment!

Publication:September 5th 2017 by HarperTeen

Goodreads Description:
Adam Silvera reminds us that there’s no life without death and no love without loss in this devastating yet uplifting story about two people whose lives change over the course of one unforgettable day.

On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today.

Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day.

My thoughts:
The hype surrounding They Both Die at the End is huge so I went in with high expectations and I am sad to say I was very disappointed. Was it thought provoking? Yes. Was it fun to read? No. I didn't enjoy the story at all because I didn't care enough about the characters and because I knew what was going to happen at the end.

I found it very difficult to focus in the beginning. I wasn't hooked straight away it took a while to get going. I found my mind wandering and was easily distracted while reading.

I liked Mateo because he is such a hufflepuff; he is very sweet and empathetic and easy to like and relate to. Rufus on the other hand I could not stand. He was just so rough around the edges and I think this is a big reason I didn't enjoy the book. I just found him so hard to like in the beginning

The story is told through multiple perspectives which I don't think was necessary. It is mostly Rufus and Mateo and I definitely preferred Mateo but there was also a few chapters scattered here and there from other people who got the call and it felt weird and not really necessary to the story.

I was a bit underwhelmed with the ending. I finished the book and just moved onto the next book on my TBR. It didn't carry that emotional punch I was expecting when I picked the book up. I just wasn't emotionally invested in the characters.

It was an interesting concept and definitely thought provoking though. It really made me think about what I'd do on my end day and about taking life for granted.

I have read 2 of Adam Silvera's books now and haven't been blown away, I just don't think his stories are for me. Who knows I might give him another chance in the future.

Thanks for reading,
A :)