Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas Review

Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses, book one
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

Sarah J. Maas, how could you do this to me?! I haven't even finished the Throne of Glass series, and I finally get my hands on this book, and.. How could you do this to me?! Do you enjoy stomping on your readers' hearts and then simultaneously gutting them? The feels of this book! How am I supposed to read my next book after this? How am I supposed to wait until May for the second book?

What have you done?

Me, after reading this book:

I literally just sat with this book, hugging it, a complete mess. In fact, as I'm struggling to clean up the various viscera that used to be my heart, I told my husband that I need my own copy of this book, come Christmas. I'll admit that I was really nervous, as some of my reviewer friends had said that they were disappointed.

I'm happy to say that I wasn't. I was really, really nervous. Beauty and the Beast is one of my very favorite fairy tales, if not the favorite. But Sarah J. Maas captivated me with Throne of Glass, so I'm so glad I picked this up when I did. I loved her writing before, but this probably takes the spot of my favorite Sarah J. Maas novel.

I'm struggling to gather my thoughts into anything close to coherent. This book has crept into my heart and soul, and I'm pretty sure that I'll be ordering the second book come May. (Arrgh, how in the world am I supposed to wait that long?!) This book was just fantastic. Honestly. Every single heartbreaking, terrifying, beautiful bit of it.

I loved everything about this novel. (I know, I know. Get it together, there had to be something bad about this!) Everything. The world-building was excellent, well-thought out, easy to understand, and believable. I loved the way Maas took a fairy tale I thought I knew and gave it a dark spin that reminded me of the old Grimm tales

 But what really made me fall in love with A Court of Thorns and Roses weren't even its characters, though those certainly helped: icy, cold Feyre, mysterious, seductive Tamlin, the terrifying and yet coldly beautifully Rhysand, it was the love story that really made me treasure this story. I may not seem it, but I'm quite the hopeless romantic, and stories like this make me believe that love can be found for all--even in the darkest, most unlikely places.

The prose, too, was beautiful, and at times I felt like shriveling up in jealousy at how Maas seems to seduce with her words. (Bonus points for Feyre and her artistic mind--so pretty!) I loved the journey; Feyre and Tamlin will always and forever be one of my very favorite literary couples. 5 stars. 5 stars, completely won and well-earned. I will be looking forward to more in this series. (Psst--I can't wait to finish the Throne of Glass series! Eeeeeee!) The bottom line: A love story wrapped in an old story I thought I knew, A Court of Thorns and Roses is a sweeping fairy tale of epic proportions, as well as a story I will hold in my heart forever! Next on deck: The Cage by Megan Shepherd!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins Review

Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Romance
Series: Anna and the French Kiss, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

I'll be honest, you guys: I'm so confused right now. I thought I had mixed feelings about a book before, but that's nothing compared to how I feel at this moment. I've just finished Anna and the French Kiss, and, with rave reviews on Goodreads as well as Tumblr, I was nervous.

I was expecting a romance. And darn it if I didn't get one, because I did. But said romance was so confusing. This whole relationship was incredibly confusing. On one hand, I loved both characters involved, and was rooting for them, but I didn't like the whole cheating business. Now, even as it was resolved at the end of the novel, I am so confused. If there were other people in the equation, said cheating never should've happened..

Okay, I'm sorry. Getting ahead of myself here, so I'll just start from the beginning. As I said in the paragraph above, I've heard both good and bad things from all quarters about this book, so when I was able to pick out a new library book, I just said to heck with it and went for it.

First of all: Love the setting. I mean, a romance novel set in bright, beautiful Paris, the City of Light? Bonus points for Perkins for describing the city so beautifully--I really felt like I was really there. It was so wonderful, and it only deepened my desire to travel to said city and experience it for myself.

I'll move on to the characters: Anna, who at turns drove me crazy and made me laugh out loud. Anna, funny and sweet and utterly herself. I loved her, for the most part, but at times it felt like she was thinking with her hormones rather than her brain, and her reaction to things had me nearly tearing my hair out. (Communication, people! Learn it!) St. Clair, Anna's best friend in this huge city, funny and infuriating, and naturally, adorable. (And of course he's British!) And then there are Josh, the artist, Rashmi, the caustic overachiever, sweet Mer, who loves hot chocolate and sports.

I loved all the characters, but as I said before, the cheating and constant misunderstandings had me really confused. I loved most of this book--I mean, the setting, the characters, the first love--but some aspects of the romance really threw me off, and even now, I still don't quite know how I feel.. Regardless, I'm glad I read it finally! The bottom line: A novel of Paris, falling in love, friendship, and self-discovery, despite the confusing messages, Anna and the French Kiss is a sweet, romantic read--wonderful! Next on deck: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler Review

Title: What We Saw
Author: Aaron Hartzler
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Harperteen, through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review--thank you so much!

Me, after reading this book:

How do I explain my feelings on this novel? I'm pretty much emotionally exhausted after reading What We Saw. I'll start off with the most basic of my thoughts: this book is a searing exploration of what it means to be raped in today's day and age--and the often life shattering effects it has on the victim, as well as what it means for boys that 'will be boys'.

Obviously, rape is never, ever, okay, but this book hit me even harder because it was based in part on the Steubenville rape case. I remember when the case first hit the airwaves: I was disgusted, horrified, sickened. Not only had this horrible thing happened, it had been covered up, and social media only made the backlash worse for the victim. It happened here in Ohio, in my state, probably forty or fifty minutes from here. (For more information, visit this link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/steubenville-rape-case/)

Aaron Hartzler's What We Saw was amazing, but it was also dark, terrifying, and often sickening. More often than not as the book went on, my stomach was turning, or I had to put it down to avoid screaming. I liked the way Hartzler used Kate, a fictional character at the catalyst of it all, to tell both sides of the story: the rapists, and the victim. It was utterly heartwrenching.

Kate has just found a niche, thanks to her best friend turned boyfriend, Ben, and she is thrilled to be included--that is, until she gets word of something terrible happening at the party she left the night before. A former friend and fellow student, Stacy, has just filed charges against their classmates, who just happen to also be basketball stars. The whole town explodes from the impact of this awful, inexcusable crime, and soon, everyone starts taking sides.

Despite the heavy subject matter, I loved it, and it brought up the more frightening points of what makes rape culture: She was asking for it. She was drunk. She took her top off. She's been a slut since seventh grade. It brings to mind, for me, that rape culture, even in 2015, is still raging and prevalent, and it needs to stop. But while making his points, the author doesn't come off as at all preachy.

This book needs to be read by all. Everyone. Teens and adults. It is eye-opening and dark, horrifying and sickening, but it is nothing less than a necessary, grim triumph. An amazing work of fiction, rooted deeply in fact. The bottom line: A necessary story rooted in fact, unafraid to go deep to speak the truth, What We Saw was a dark, essential story that should be read by all. Next on deck: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Unteachable by Leah Raeder Review

Title: Unteachable
Author: Leah Raeder
Age Group:New Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/New Adult
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

I'd first like to start off this review with this simple confession: I've been repeatedly tempted to dip my toe into the new adult waters. And I've read one or two before this one, with an urban fantasy spin. I've never read a book like Unteachable before. But I was craving a romance. And boy, did I get one. But it wasn't just that. It was also a coming of age story, a story ripped straight from grim, glaring newspaper headlines. Before I really get into the meat of the review, let's break the tension, shall we? The entire time I was reading this book, 'Bad for Teacher' was playing in my head the entire time:

All silliness aside, this book was absolutely groundbreaking, and even now, sitting in my empty living room, typing these words, it's still quite hard for me to sum up the depths of the emotions I am still experiencing upon finally closing this book. I'm going to say this now: I'm pretty sure Leah Raeder has converted me entirely to the new adult genre. If that's what new adult fiction has to offer me, I'll gladly read it forever, and I feel like I've found a new favorite subgenre.

Unteachable begins the summer before Maise O'Malley's senior year of high school. I loved Maise. Rough around the edges, incredibly screwed up, raw and real, talented and hard and more than a little bit terrifying. Her gorgeous prose and gritty narration kept me absolutely spellbound from the first paragraph. Honestly. And she's a beautiful eighteen year old whose favorite hobby is sex.

And she's up to no good, as per usual, and ends up sleeping with a gorgeous, slightly shy older man who sees through the armor of her seduction and bravado and confidence.

Said sex toy also happens to be her new Film Studies teacher. Raeder has an unbelievable talent, like none I've ever seen. The sex was so hot, erotic and romantic and really quite screwed up, but, despite the taboo aspect of their relationship, I really felt for both Maise and the man she eventually falls for, so hard that she nearly gives up her future to be with him cleanly.

Was this book hard to get through? Most definitely. Was it scary, dark, flirting with the deepest, almost undetectable areas of the human mind, body, and soul? Yup. But nonetheless, I enjoyed the journey. I live for books like this: books that scare me, open my eyes, and make me care. (The fact that it was maddeningly hot (so much sexual tension!) didn't hurt either. This book was nothing less than a triumph in the art of fiction writing--a new favorite.

Maise herself was what really sold this book: this beautiful, cynical girl, having to deal with so much at so young, and, as a result, goes looking for love in all the wrong places. And then there's Evan, the hot teacher who offers Maise so much, and is hiding more than his own fair share of secrets. Their relationship was like watching a trainwreck: terrifying, bright, so bright that you cannot force yourself to look away, and you end up scorching your eyes as a result.

In short, I just loved this book, and I cannot wait for more from this genre, and this promising new author. More please! The bottom line: A frightening and thoughtful exploration of forbidden love and twisted relationships, Unteachable was absolutely exquisite--a dark, twisted treat that I will treasure forever! Next on deck: What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The O.Henry Prize Stories 2015 by Laura Furman Review

Title: The O. Henry Prize Stories 2015
Editor: Laura Furman
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Short Story Collection
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

This book was given to me by the publisher, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review--thank you so much!

Lately, though I love novels as much as the next girl, I've been craving collections of short stories. There's just something so lovely to me, about an author that can create a tiny world in the span of only a few pages. It's been a talent I've always craved and wanted, and it never fails to enthrall me entirely. Another bonus with short story collections such as this one? There's always an opportunity to find new authors, to read new work later. In short, this short story collection was absolutely fantastic, in fact, so much so that it deserves a gif of Jack Frost:

Overall, this collection is worth all five stars, but the OCD tendencies in me demand that I review and rate each story at a time, so here goes:

Finding Billy Whitefeather by Percival Everett: 3.5 out of 5 stars. The first story in the collection, this story was slightly confusing; the main character finds a mysterious note about a pair of horses for sale from the mysterious and elusive Billy Whitefeather. A serious musing about the threat of not knowing one's neighbors, I liked the story, even though it was slightly hard to follow.

The Seals by Lydia Davis: 5 out of 5 stars. A musing and thoughtful story on the impact of grief, from the point of view of a sister, mourning the loss of her sister, who more or less raised her, and remembering their sometimes tumultuous relationship. I really enjoyed this story--it was wistful, sad, and sweet, gentle and wonderful, as the narrator ponders if she ever really knew her sister at all.

Kilifi Creek by Lionel Shriver: 4 out of 5 stars. For the most part, I enjoyed this story. The writing was beautiful, if a little heavy-headed. There were a lot of big words that I didn't quite understand, but what made this story for me was the character, someone in her early twenties who makes a habit of flirting with disaster, and takes it too far. (I'd already been planning to look into We Need to Talk About Kevin, and this just spurs me further.)

The Happiest Girl in the Whole USA by Manuel Munoz: 5 out of 5 stars. This story was wonderful, both a rumination on the consequences and lives of being an immigrant in this country, even in this day and age. Two women, one old, one young, one weary with the routine and the other just coming in to the ways of this crazy life, in the middle of bustling Los Angeles. I really liked this story, but what really made it shine, for me, was the relationship between the two women central to the story.

A Permanent Member of the Family by Russell Banks: 5 out of 5 stars. This story, among others, vies for my favorite of the whole collection. A sad tale of a divorce, (well, actually, multiple divorces) the shattering of a family, and a loss that is nearly insurmountable. God, this story. It was brutal, beautiful, and tender, told with a gentle hand despite the heavy subject matter. Will be looking into this author's work immediately.

A Ride out of Phrao by Dina Nayeri: 4 out of 5 stars. This is one of the few authors that was familiar to me, and this tale, of travel, Thailand, the often tempestuous relationship between a mother and her daughter, was, at times, almost painful to read. Regardless, despite the narrative being slightly confusing at times, I really enjoyed it. Wonderful!

Owl by Emily Ruskovich: 5 out of 5 stars. Yet another contender for my favorite story of the collection, this tale of shapeshifters, infidelity, a husband's suspicion, and thieving young men, with gorgeous prose and flesh and blood characters, this story of secrets and darkness completely captured my imagination. As with Banks, I will be looking into more of this author's work as soon as possible.

The Upside Down World by Becky Hagenston: 2 out of 5 stars. This story was confusing and hard to follow, and the plot and the moral of the story wasn't very clear. It was just 'meh'.

The Way Things are Going by Lynn Freed: 4 out of 5 stars. A thoughtful story on the power of change, as well as apathy. The two characters in this lovely, well-thought out story were ones that were flawed and I really related to them a lot.

The History of Happiness by Brenda Peynado: 3.5 out of 5 stars. Kind of confusing and odd, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

The Kingsley Drive Chorus by Naira Kuzmich: 5 out of 5 stars. This story, yet another contender for my favorite story of the collection, was an unabashed, glaringly honest portrait of the relationship between mothers and sons. This story took my heart and stomped on it. It was painful, beautiful, and real--a triumph of short fiction. Amazing!

Word of Mouth by Emma Torzs: 4 out of 5 stars. An entertaining, slightly scary romp about a barbeque restaurant doomed for failure, and a man who seeks out facts, despite the characters of the story being frightened of him. Beautiful prose, odd plot, but wonderful.

Cabins by Christopher Merkner: 5 out of 5 stars. A wonderfully entertaining and gentle story about the trials of marriage, and wanting to be a separate person from your spouse. The main character dreams of solitude and peace in a cabin in the woods, and, though thinking of them, discovers they are empty. A worthy musing of marriage, identity, and what peace and fulfillment really is. Wonderful!

My Grandmother Tells Me This Story by Molly Antopol: 5 out of 5 stars. This story was definitely one of my favorites, if not the favorite of the whole bunch. A granddaughter sits with her grandmother on a hot, sunny day, and learns of the other woman's sacrifices, as well as the beginning of her relationship with her grandfather, in war torn Poland. One of my very favorite pieces of fiction, of all time!

The Golden Rule by Lynne Sharon Schwartz: 4.5 out of 5 stars. A tale of neighbors, and what it really means to have respect, and love, for another person, even in times of trouble. I really enjoyed this story, not just because of its theme, the reverence with which we are expected to show to the older generation. But what happens when that person, who you counted on, disappears? Wonderful.

About My Aunt by Joan Silber: 5 out of 5 stars. The narrator's relationship with her aunt, at times rocky and fraught with problems, at others, full of love and understanding, takes the stage in this story of family bonds. It was at turns, funny and scary and deep, and I enjoyed it--really wonderful. I loved the characters!

Ba Baboon by Thomas Pierce: 4.5 out of 5 stars. This was really the most humorous piece of fiction in the collection. A pair of siblings break into an ex's home to retrieve a taboo sex tape, and the ex's fierce guard dogs collide with them: hilarity ensues, and in doing so, their familial bond deepens. I loved that the author took somewhat heavy subject matter and made it humorous.

Snow Blind by Elizabeth Strout: 5 out of 5 stars. God, this story was heavy. But it was also beautiful, and terrifying. A young girl finds peace and solitude in the forest, and ends up inadvertently revealing a secret that tears her entire family apart. I loved this story, and I honestly cannot wait until I can look into more of Strout's work!

I, Buffalo by Vauhini Vara: 4.5 out of 5 stars. I really liked this story, where the narrator is fascinated with the buffalo that frolic around the land on which she lives through college. I really liked this story because it was central to the narrator connecting with nature.

Birdsong from the Radio by Elizabeth McCracken: 5 out of 5 stars. Yet another contender for my favorite of the volume. This story tells the tale of a mother, Leonora, who wants nothing more than to gobble up her children. I really enjoyed this story, for its fairy tale elements, the ending, and the way monsters were handled. Amazing!

This story collection is a must-have for those of you who love words and stories--a triumph in the fickle art of fiction writing! I loved almost every single one of these stories, meant to be savored and enjoyed bit by wonderful bit! Next on deck: Unteachable by Leah Raeder!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Blythewood by Carol Goodman Review

Title: Blythewood
Author: Carol Goodman
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Historical Fiction
Series: Blythewood, book one
Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

What do you guys think of when you think of fairies? Tinker Bell from Peter Pan? Merry, sparkling, tiny sprites with a more than healthy sense of mischief, a la Disney's Fantasia? How about the other kind? You know the ones I mean. The fairies of full size, beautiful, seductive, and more than a little bit scary? I think of all that and more. I love fairy stories, even now, at the ripe old age of 24. They never fail to enchant me, especially when I come across a telling of fairies that is unique.

Now, not since my Harry Potter days have I really read a boarding school book, and in reading Blythewood, I've forgotten how much I truly love them. Blythewood had elements of a lot of different books: Jane Eyre, Harry Potter, even the Diviners. But regardless, I really enjoyed it, because all of these familiar elements combined, made something new. (This book even has amazing feminist themes--yay!)

Ava Hall thinks, privately, that she may be going mad. Bells ring in her head at any sign of danger, and when she begins to see shadows possessing people, as well as handsome, beguiling men who have gigantic wings, she is whisked off to Blythewood, the school that her late mother loved--and ends up in a terrifying battle between good and evil. She must decide to turn her back on everything she has learned, or take her new skills and save her new life.

This book was lovely. The prose was beautiful, at times a little bit dense, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. And I really dug the way the author's feminist leanings showed throughout her writing, especially when you consider the time period in which the story is set. The pacing of it was breakneck, and when things really begin to roll, I couldn't put it down! I really enjoyed Ava; a girl who wants to fit in, who has powers far beyond her meager degree of control, but who finds the strength inside her to search for what is real and true.

The characters of this novel, Ava, Nathan, Helen, Daisy, and Sarah, in particular, were what really sold it for me, as well as the intrigue--I for the life of me couldn't figure out where anyone's loyalty lay, except for Ava. All of the characters were nuanced and exciting, almost real, and the fun spin on the angel/demon/fairy thing was really original. A fun, if a little heavy, start of a brand new series, Blythewood was nothing less than magical! The bottom line: Despite seemingly being made of different elements of familiar stories, all of these things come together to make something wholly original and enjoyable--an absolute delight! Next on deck: The O. Henry Prize Stories of 2015!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Violent Ends by Shaun David Hutchinson Review

Title: Violent Ends
Author: Shaun David Hutchinson
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars

This book was given to me by the publisher, Simon Pulse, through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review--thank you so much!

This book. This book. I'm sitting here, my heart in pieces, trying to gather my thoughts.

This book was quite unusual--part anthology, part novel, it tells the story of Kirby Matheson, the troubled young man who shot up his school and then killed himself. I'd never read a book about a school shooting, but that didn't matter. I was in first grade when Columbine happened, and I remember my grandmother crying, crushing me to her the minute I came home from school, no doubt imagining the horror that went on in that building that terrible day.

The book is a novel, with each chapter being told by a different author, each character in the story a different person, all with previous experiences with the shooter. Everyone always looks for someone to blame, for something to blame. But what happens if the shooter isn't a madman? Doesn't have some terrifying trigger that set them off?

What made this book so heartwrenching for me was not necessarily the event of the shooting itself. It was that with every chapter, Kirby, the demon that shed so much blood, had so much hate for everything in the world, was humanized. I couldn't hate him. I pitied him, loved him, hurt for him. Because where exactly does an outcast find solace? And what happens when the solace is so hard to find that all you long for is escape?

This book was heartbreaking, and terrifying, and dark, and gory. But it completely touched my heart, and I'm so glad that I read it. This is a book that needs to be read by all. Though the novel gets a little confusing and hard to keep up with, it should be in the hands of every person who wants to see first hand what happens when even the most quiet, solitary person seems to snap.

I also think that this novel really made a good point, in that, despite the blood, the violence, and the hatred, it was the pain, the yearning to belong to someone, to something, that really resonated with me, and I loved that it made a point not to demonize Kirby, to make him out as a monster, when few people in the book actually knew him. This book is a hard-hitter, often hard to get through, but it was absolutely necessary, and truthfully, I loved every messy moment of it. The bottom line: A strangely tender novel told in an unusual new format, Violent Ends really gets to the heart of the human condition, and despite being somewhat hard to follow, I loved every messy, emotional moment of it! Next on deck: Blythewood by Carol Goodman!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma Review

Title: Imaginary Girls
Author: Nova Ren Suma
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Magical Realism
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

Sisters. They love to push your buttons, but they're always there for you. (You know the old saying. 'No one gets to pick on my siblings but me!'. Lol.) They drive you crazy, but you love them. Who wouldn't love their sister? It's like you've basically got a built-in, God-given best bud. And sometimes, the love between sisters is so strong that it transcends almost everything.

I was first introduced to Nova Ren Suma's work when I received a copy of her latest book, The Walls Around Us, to review for Edelweiss, and I loved it, so when I started ordering library books again, I ordered it. I really quite enjoyed Imaginary Girls, but I liked The Walls Around Us better. Regardless, though, Imaginary Girls is told with her signature flair for all things creepy, terrifying, and really, really confusing.

Imaginary Girls begins with Chloe and her older, brighter, magnetic sister, Ruby, and.. wait for it! A dead body! (Did you guess a dead body?) Chloe begins to realize, as the book goes on, that despite Ruby raising her, loving her, being her best friend, her mischievous, adoring sister is hiding some dark, terrifying secrets, and, as deep as she begins to dig, some could shatter the already delicate foundation on which their relationship rests..

This book really spoke to me in a lot of ways. It was creepy, dark, more than a little scary, at times. But it was also tender, sharp, observant, and full of love, especially between Chloe and Ruby. Chloe is the quiet, almost passive narrator, standing in her older sister's gigantic shadow. And then, of course, there's Ruby herself: magnetic, charismatic, beautiful, unattainable, and strangely compelling, even when there were times that she scared the bajesus out of me.

I really enjoyed most of this book: the pacing, the plot and concept, the characters, the creepy, Gothic feel. But unfortunately, at times, in the muddle of Ruby's secrets, hiding behind closed doors, it got a little hard to follow. The bottom line: Nova Ren Suma's debut novel, Imaginary Girls is a dark, Gothic treat full of beautiful prose and frightening secrets--wonderful! Next on deck: Violent Ends by Schaun Hutchinson!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray Review

Title: Lair of Dreams
Author: Libba Bray
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy
Series: The Diviners, book two
Star Rating: 4.5 Out of 5 Stars

This book was given to me by the publisher, Little Brown Books for Young Readers, through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review--thank you so much!

Me, after finishing this huge, epic, heartbreaking, terrifying book:

Libba Bray. My God, woman. What in the world have you done to me? First the Gemma Doyle trilogy, and now this? What have you done? There better be a sequel! You can't do this to me and not write a sequel! I can't do this!

This book. If only every sequel could end like this one. I'm going to die if I don't get that sequel. Right now. It gave me everything I ever wanted in a sequel: background on characters, a new plot that kept in the vein of the first book, new, relatable characters, beautiful prose, and witty banter?

I. Can't. Do. This.

This book has slayed me entirely, in the best kind of way. The sleeping sickness has taken over New York, mysterious, silent, and deadly, where the most enticing dreams unfold in the minds of slumbering New Yorkers, only to turn into brutal, gruesome nightmares, and after the end of The Diviners, Evie is basking in the glow of her newfound fame, the 'Sweetheart Seer', when all the while, yet another evil is lurking in the night..

This book was a complete knockout. Honestly. I'd heard good things about it before reading it, but Libba Bray has done nothing less than stepped up her game. If I wasn't sold before, I definitely am now. New characters, new plots, new villains, a new backdrop, the glittering streets of New York City, the city that never sleeps, an enticing siren's song for anyone trying to make a name for themselves, and of course, new emotional knockouts and blows to the soul.

I loved this novel--a worthy, fitting sequel even more fabulous and exciting than the one before! There were times where the characters got caught up in the shuffle, and the dream sickness was hard to follow at times, but nonetheless, a beautiful, meaty sequel worth savoring (all six hundred three pages of it..). Amazing! The bottom line: The sequel to the smash hit of 2012, Lair of Dreams is a treat for all Bray's fans--the one thing wrong with it was that I need the sequel immediately! Next on deck: Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma!