Author: Chelsea (Peril Please) (page 1 of 98)

BOOK REVIEW: Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

BOOK REVIEW: Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret RogersonSorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
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Synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author of An Enchantment of Ravens comes an imaginative fantasy about an apprentice at a magical library who must battle a powerful sorcerer to save her kingdom.

All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.

**ARC provided by Publisher-I have SO MANY QUOTES I WANT TO SHARE-but I love getting ARCs more. SO hopefully I’ll have the time to come back and add quotes in the future when it releases! 😊 **

You have no idea-no idea-what it means to me to have received this ARC. An Enchantment of Ravens was my favorite book of 2017 after Rook stole my heart completely and Isobel fought her way through my crusty exterior, as well. It would belittle my love for this author to say her writing and stories are anything less than extraordinary as she has proved not once, but twice, that she is an amazingly fierce story-teller. No, it wasn’t just a fluke, her first book-It’s clear she has much to say and will continue to do so with her hauntingly beautiful YA fantasies.

I’ll admit that the first bit of this book scared me a little because it didn’t start out in a way that appealed to me as quickly as her first work did…but those apprehensive thoughts were quickly shattered when the first grimoire burst onto the scene and put our MC into an absolutely irredeemable situation. And perhaps the most charming thing about this book is the vulnerability and innocence of our main character-bound by duty, but without the slightest clue as to what she was up against-and the unbending will she has to remain loyal, even as everything is spiraling into madness around her.

She knows what she saw, but what she doesn’t know is who to trust. She has a deadly secret, one that may get her killed, or worse, forgotten-sent to an insane asylum where no one ever remembers the inhabitants that reside there. But there is someone who seems to at least care about her well-being a teensy bit, for the most part, and that’s the sorcerer (sorcerers-with which she grew up being told not to trust) who she met when he visited the library before an unlikely chain of events made her the most wanted girl by the most powerful man.

And this is where I just…fell in love. Yes, the danger-of course-but the bond between Silas and Nathaniel, and then with Nathaniel and Elisabeth. And, even, Silas with Elisabeth. I think, in some part, Silas is what makes this book possible. You’ll see what I mean if you read, naturally, but it shows from the beginning just how powerful his bond is with Nathaniel, what he’d do to make him happy, how he helps unflinchingly when most other demon servants don’t care one way or another what happens to their masters. And I understand that this sounds like dribble if you haven’t read the book, but just know that Nathaniel trusts Silas while no one else trusts the demons in their household…because Silas cared for him when there was no one else.

It might come as shocking, as well, that Nathaniel is actually a supremely tortured hero-during the day he’s witty, funny, snarky, protective, and he keeps Eliasabeth at arm’s length, though we have no clue why. Being naïve, she REALLY has no idea-we as readers know he’s just trying to protect her. But, besides the imminent danger she’s in, from what is he protecting her from? And this is a layer in the story that truly seized my soul, because we all know I love a hero who hides scars beneath, who has a story we don’t know or understand that makes them feel inadequate or dangerous. I love these story-lines, and adding Silas’s snark on the matter only adds more heart to the story.

And, naturally, this is a wonderfully addictive slow-burn romance, though it never once took the spotlight in the story. The author warned that, while AEOR was a Fairy-Tale Fantasy, this would only be a YA fantasy, with a-wait for it-smidgen of romance.

Yes…just. Yes. And, even with all of that warning, I still felt like the romance soared onto the pages like a raging inferno…and straight into my heart. That’s TWICE this author has written a romance that knocked me on my feels out of nowhere, and, it’s a gift, really, a talent. I love romance, I really do, but I truly only fall for the fantasies that have a spattering of it in the story, hidden behind a compelling plot and dangerous, high-stakes moments. Which, obviously, that was the case here, so I need not look any further.

And, even more than that…this book made me sob, at the end. I really don’t cry often in books, even though I always seem like an emotional mess, it’s truly not the case. I rarely cry. But, for some reason (just GUESS, UGH, Shoot me in my HEART already), the end hit me harder than I thought possible. The friendship between these three, the loyalty, the unrequited love (so they think) between Nathaniel and Elisabeth, the vulnerability, the humor, and the sense of a girl (and, really, a boy) never quite being able to find a home or a place they feel like they belong, misfits of a sort, until they found each other-it all just built up into a crashing crescendo of feels and the end finally knocked me out. I was depleted. I was hopeful. My soul was pieced together then ripped apart violently…and then there was hope. Again.

I can’t even begin to explain all the feelings I experienced while reading this coveted ARC, but I can try. And I hope that this review shed a positive light on how wonderful this book made me feel after becoming depleted and depressed after a totally random appendix ER situation (which, in turn, is why this review is JUST NOW being written) where I wasn’t able to do anything I normally do, rendering me lazy, without exercise, and somewhat helpless and at other’s will…so, yes. This book was a saving grace, and I will abso-lutely be pre-ordering the hardback so it can sit next to my other favorite, featuring a stubborn fae and another fierce and inspiring heroine. I just cannot wait until I can read it again. I hope you’ll read it, too.

*************************

My God did this book make me bawl like a baby-I was an utter mess. That hasn’t happened in FOREVER!

RTC.

***

MY LIFE IS MADE. I will be starting this, oh, immediately!!!! Who needs an appendix when you get early Christmas presents like these! *heart eyes emoji*

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BOOK REVIEW: The Wicked King (Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black

BOOK REVIEW: The Wicked King (Folk of the Air #2) by Holly BlackThe Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2)
by Holly Black
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

I wonder if there’s a limit to what I will let them do, if there is something that would make me fight back, even if it dooms me.
If there is, that makes me a fool.
But maybe if there isn’t, that makes me a monster.

I guess that’s the thing about being in love with a series. You love the first, you anticipate the second, and then wonder what’s to come with the third-but you can’t ever really know if that author is going to do what you want. Do things that make sense to you while also coming off as exciting and better than you possibly could have anticipated. If that author will make you happy while also crushing your soul, like the best possible twist of the knife and manipulation of your heart. This never happens. Yes, I have MANY favorites. YES, lots of things happen that I like and that placate me. But rarely-VERY RARELY-does an author do every maniacal thing I could possibly imagine-and even take it farther than I could even fathom. And this is what Black did. She came. She wrote. She F****** conquered.


“Power,” he said. “Power is the ability to get what you want. Power is the ability to be the one making the decisions. And how do we get power?”
“We learn how to fight well?”
“We get power by taking it.”

I just…this NEVER HAPPENS. Yeah, there might be one little thing I wish wasn’t a part of the end. But, like, that is nothing in the way of how excellent, how thorough, how utterly magnificent she wrote this book. The scheming. The lies. The betrayals. The heat. The ROMANCE. There was not one thing that I love about a fantasy book that was not in this story. There really and truly wasn’t. In fact, this book taught me far more about myself than I’ve learned in a long time.

“It seems I have a singular taste for women who threaten me.”

If you recall, or care at all, I read Outlander and The Diviners (how could you forget?) last year and they were so far out of my comfort zone that I read them YEARS after I was told to. A big mistake, I’ll admit. And they consumed me-I’ll just say it. Especially the prior, making the month of October a big waste of a TBR because all I read was the three books available in that series. But Outlander did something to my being, too, that possessed me for quite some time around the holidays. To say I was possessed in body, mind, and soul a few times last year would be an understatement. I even found Mariana Zapata and was a big ‘ol mess when I read her books, too. Let’s just say that 2018 was interesting, to say the least.

“The three of you have one solution to every problem. Murder. No key fits every lock.” Cardan gives us all a stern look, holding up a long-fingered hand with my stolen ruby ring still on one finger. “Someone tries to betray the High King, murder. Someone gives you a harsh look, murder. Someone disrespects you, murder. Someone ruins your laundry, murder.

But then this. THIS masterpiece. The thing is, I’ll be frank, that I hate middle books. I LOATHE THEM. They never go right. Ever. And I actually have started to hate final books, too, because authors just don’t have what it takes to end things right, to wrap them up nicely, and, I’ll say it again, rarely do they meet the expectations I’ve upheld through the series and give me what I am craving, needing, wanting to put the series down wholly satisfied. And-I always try not to have any expectations, to not fangirl too much before a release, and to not expect much. Sadly, I still always fail. My entire being always wants more, whether I try to keep it chill or not, and I end up with a broken heart. Always.

He smelled like smoke and dried blood, and Jude let herself sag against him. It was good to be hugged. Even by a monster.

But here’s the thing, and my entire point: I didn’t, not once, doubt Holly Black or her writing before the release, so I anticipated and fangirled freely. I’ve read her White Cat series, and it was nothing short of all consuming, even if not many talk about it. I loved it. Cassel was my first thief and conman, and he lead me to Kaz from SOC. So, to say Holly Black can finish a series with a bang, wrap things up neatly and how I love and expect is, again, an understatement. I legitimately, for the first time in as long as I can remember, wasn’t the least bit worried that I would be bored, unhappy, or underwhelmed. I had that much confidence in this author. I had no worries at all. Well…except for what was to come. But that’s a different beast entirely.

“Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold on to.”

What came with this story wasn’t a fairy tale romance, nor an underhanded, leisurely stroll in politics (following the first book’s end). No, it wasn’t action every minute…but there wasn’t a chapter that didn’t steal my breath away. This book was pulse-pounding, heart-stopping, butterfly inducing panic and mayhem, wrapped in sexual tension and explosive….erm….developments. It was underhanded, dirty, and altogether a total mind bender that never let you have your guard down, your mind not spinning, and your soul not entirely invested. It was a home run, triple play, and home base stealing ride-you could never take your eyes off the page for reality and day to day activities because you couldn’t ever possibly get enough.

“For a moment,” he says, “I wondered if it wasn’t you shooting bolts at me.”
I make a face at him. “And what made you decide it wasn’t?”
He grins up at me. “They missed.”

I read both too fast and too slow, a perfect symphony of chaos and calm, and I never wanted it to end-But I had to know what was coming next. Where it was going…and what predicament my darlings would inevitably get themselves into, in the end. And I couldn’t be happier with the absolutely soul-crushing finish.

My body has acclimated, and now it craves what it should revile.
An apt metaphor for other things.

And, before I can wrap this up, I have to embark on the journey that is Cardan and Jude. I can’t say much, and I promise I won’t (though it kills me slowly not to), but you must know that any feels that overcame you, possessed you, enraptured you in TCP…they are tenfold…and you just cannot be prepared. I don’t believe in overhyping-in fact, I discourage it. But here, I am confident that even if you don’t love this, you will feel something when it comes to the sexual tension between these two. I am THAT confident. And I would never do that to you, unless I believed it with my very being.

…and the single last thing in my head: that I like him better than I’ve ever liked anyone and that of all the things he’s ever done to me, making me like him so much is by far the worst.

The heat, the tension, the pure and utter HATE they have for one another…it’s so intoxicating. Sick. Depraved. Wrong. Yet you can’t not ship them. You can’t not love them. And, inevitably, you can’t not hope for them to just do it already. He loves her. I know it. And she loves him. I know that, too. THEY HAVE TO. I just….I can’t say anything. But, I will say this: I got everything I could ever want and more-without getting everything I want….and more.

It occurs to me that maybe desire isn’t something overindulging helps. Maybe it is not unlike mithridatism; maybe I took a killing dose when I should have been poisoning myself slowly, one kiss at a time.

So, to say I didn’t love this and that another book will pass by my love for it this year would be a lie-so I just won’t say it. What I will say is this: If you didn’t love the first, I don’t know that you will love the second. But maybe you will. It has even more lies. Deceit. Chaos. Heartbreak. Longing. If you dig that, this is for you. It has it all. And it doesn’t just come from the human in a faerie world. Just. F’in. Sayin’.

********************


I am angry editing my Instagram pictures right now. My nerves are shot, my stomach is a mass of nervous butterflies. When, only moments before, they were butterflies of hope and romance and so much more. So, I guess what I’m saying in a nutshell is: Holly Black got me. She got me fucking GOOD. I am not alright. I am not okay. And I just don’t know if I can pick up the pieces of my fractured heart off the floor for this one-And I don’t think I’ve ever said that. Well played, Black-You own my soul.

**************

OMG JUST GOT MY EXCLUSIVE OWLCRATE VERSION BOX EARLY SO GUESS WHO IS STARTING THIS OMG THIS IS THE FIRST OWLCRATE BOOK IVE TAKEN OUT OF THE PROTECTIVE PLASTIC TO READ OMGGGG I CANT EVEN

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BOOK REVIEW: A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

BOOK REVIEW: A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid KemmererA Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Synopsis:

Fall in love, break the curse.

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper Lacy. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

 

*ARC Provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review*

Rhen puts his hands on my arms and leans in. When he speaks, his voice is very low, very quiet, just for me. “My father is dead, my lady. My whole family is dead.” He pulls back, meeting my gaze, but his voice doesn’t change. “That monster killed them all.”

This book is everything I knew I wanted and needed in my life. And, also, this book is everything I didn’t know I wanted and needed in my life. Yes, it’s a Beauty and the Beast re-telling (the most used and, in my opinion, most successful Fairy Tale retelling) but it was far different than anything I could have hoped for or anticipated.

This is the most reckless thing I’ve ever done.
Wait. No. The most reckless thing I’ve ever done was attack a guy on the street with a tire iron. So I guess this is fine.

In many ways I did long for the more traditional approach, such as hanging out in the castle together, etc., but, from what I can tell, the author was trying to accomplish something far greater for our two heroes and I think it would have came off as boring, comparatively. Now, that doesn’t mean I didn’t want them to have more time together, because I felt that, sometimes, we lacked that. But, as a whole, this book made my feels go crazy and I was on the edge of my seat the entire story.

This feels like the cruelest season of all, to present me with a girl with the fierceness to stand at my side—yet with a home and family she needs to return to so badly.

Every moment was just so beyond addicting, such as it always is with Kemmerer’s writing, but there was something just so cool about her writing a fantasy-a fairy-tale retelling from the woman who creates the most deliciously tortured male leads, like, ever. Declan is a BBF I will NEVER forget, and now Rhen is way up there for me, as well. He was just so alone. My poor lonely soul *tear*

I give her a nod and turn for the door.
“Rhen,” she calls after me.
I pause in the doorway and face her.
“I’m not going to fall in love with you,” she says. Her words are not a surprise.
I sigh. “You won’t be the first.”

And the dynamics between Rhen, Grey, and Harper? Oh my gosh, words cannot even describe how strongly I fell for this trio. My heart, my soul, and my entire being longed for this story to never end because there could never be enough of their story. For real, though-my biggest complaint with this story??? I. NEEDED. MORE.

More Rhen and Harper. More Rhen and Grey. More Grey and Harper. More. More. MOAR. I cannot stress that fact enough-I’m starting another book tonight, but my heart remains with these characters, this curse, and the love that might or might not have blossomed between Rhen and Harper. And this is really hard for me to talk about, because I don’t want to spoil anything…so I can’t say why I wanted more. It just….I need it.

Rhen has made it to his feet. “You cannot harm her,” he says. “You swore.”
“I swore not to kill them,” Lilith says. “I swore not to interfere with your attempts at courtship.” She steps closer to me. “That,” she says, “is all I swore.”

And can we talk about that torturous storyline? I’m not exaggerating. I absolutely ADORED when Lilith (I hate her but loved what she brought to the table) came around to bother Rhen. Many of you will call me a sicko, but I was a sucker for the struggles Rhen faced and how Lilith tested his limits and went over his boundaries. There’s something about a character in the worst moments of their life that make a story more candid-and I lived for these moments…for better or worse. And why couldn’t I have gotten that oneeee thingggg I realllyyyyyyyy wanted at the end?! GRR. I kind of did…but it was toned down and boo.

I stay close to Rhen and keep my voice low. “Do people always do everything you want?
“Not always.” He turns to look at me, his expression inscrutable. “Clearly.”

I’ll leave most of the story alone so as not to spoil it, but I want to draw the comparisons between the Fairytale and this book, because I actually found them wonderful. Rhen was the beast, obviously. Grey, I believe, was Lumiere. Lilith had to be a mix of the witch/the mirror. Harper’s brother and mother were Belle’s life (the mother was the father in this case, but she had a true sickness, she wasn’t mad as they said the father was). There was dancing!

Adorable. Harper was clearly Belle (I know, Captain Obvious), and the curse was the same-to find true love to break the curse….but with a HUGE, nasty twist for poor Rhen: Instead of being a beast full-time, at the end of every failed season, he turns into a beast (a different one every time) that ravages those around him and all his people, only to come to after the fact with blood staining his clothes and hands…and everything resets for the next season. Rinse. Repeat. For eternity. Yikes. But no library. That sucked haha.

This story was about Harper making him see what he can do to save his people. It was about finding who you were meant to be, no matter the cost, and it was about a Prince who never could find true love…until a girl called him on his games and demanded more. Sincerity. Love. Kindness.

This early in the season, the other girls would sit by the hearth and gaze at me over crystal goblets, while I’d pour wine and tell stories with just enough devilishness to make them blush.
If I put a crystal goblet in this one’s hand, she’d likely smash it and use the shards to cut me.

I loved this book. So much. Is that not clear? There were a few moments that got to me, though, and the one that sticks out the most is this trigger: View Spoiler » And that was the only specific moment it showed-what purpose did this serve? To make me madder? Well, it succeeded. Other than that, I loved what Rhen had to go through, but that bothered me.

A sound chokes out of my throat. I want to weep for an entirely new reason. The burning pain has reached my head, and my eyes begin to cloud with stars.
“You are responsible,” she says, her terrible voice fading away. “You, Rhen. You alone will destroy them all.”

I sometimes thought that Grey and Harper’s relationship got more time developing than her and Rhen’s…and I’m not sure that was ever not true. But his relationship with Rhen was also a big part of the story, and it just showed how truly wonderful Grey was in every way

-he was such a comedic relief that I lapped up in every moment. I wondered if this was going to be a love triangle…and it wasn’t? As time passed nothing arose that worried me in that way, but, in the end, I was thinking-so…was I right?? Did he like her?? That was a bit odd, as well, I will say. And I fear people will say she had more chemistry with Grey, but I am ride or die for Rhen and Harper and it didn’t effect me one bit-I just know how fickle we readers are and I fear this is a reaction I will see from many of my friends or other reviewers. I’ll deny them wholeheartedly, of course, but that doesn’t make it true for anyone other than me.

I step closer, until her skirts brush my legs, and I rest a hand on her waist. “I am inviting you to dance, not dragging you behind a horse.” I sigh dramatically. “Must you look so tortured?”

Okay. This review was not what I wanted it to be at all-this is in part because I wrote my review at work and people kept interrupting me and it made me severely scatter-brained…and partly because I am a bit confused on my feelings toward the end. I. WANTED. MORE. Lol. Clearly.

And this is totally Rhen-Sorry not sorry.

**********

Okay. Okay. So….I pos-i-tute-ly LOVED THIS….but that end??? Like-I don’t-What?

Tell me there’s more? Because my thirst cannot be quenched when it comes to my baby Prince Rhen and my baby Grey!!!!!!!!!! I NEED MORE!

RTC.

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BOOK REVIEW: Before the Devil Breaks You (The Diviners #3) by Libba Bray

BOOK REVIEW: Before the Devil Breaks You (The Diviners #3) by Libba BrayBefore the Devil Breaks You (The Diviners #3)
by Libba Bray
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

New York City.
1927.
Lights are bright.
Jazz is king.
Parties are wild.
And the dead are coming...

After battling a supernatural sleeping sickness that early claimed two of their own, the Diviners have had enough of lies. They're more determined than ever to uncover the mystery behind their extraordinary powers, even as they face off against an all-new terror. Out on Ward's Island, far from the city's bustle, sits a mental hospital haunted by the lost souls of people long forgotten--ghosts who have unusual and dangerous ties to the man in the stovepipe hat, also known as the King of Crows.

With terrible accounts of murder and possession flooding in from all over, and New York City on the verge of panic, the Diviners must band together and brave the sinister ghosts invading the asylum, a fight that will bring them fact-to-face with the King of Crows. But as the explosive secrets of the past come to light, loyalties and friendships will be tested, love will hang in the balance, and the Diviners will question all that they've ever known. All the while, malevolent forces gather from every corner in a battle for the very soul of a nation--a fight that could claim the Diviners themselves.

 


A thin stream of tears trickled down his cheek. He tapped his head gently against the back of his chair: “The land is old, the land is vast, he has no future, he has no past, his coat is sewn with many woes, he’ll bring the dead, the King of Crows.… He’ll bring the dead, the King of Crows, King of Crows, King of Cr—”

Tell me. Tell me what’s next. Tell me what to do. Tell me what to do with my life. I spent a month reading this series, and it’s almost as if I’ve lost a family member now that I’m all caught up. And, more than that, I have no desire whatsoever to read. It’s as if food has lost its taste. As if the wind and the trees and the birds singing are nothing. Life has lost all meaning.

This was what Henry ran from. This was what the jokes masked. It wasn’t callousness. It was pain and loss so great he could only let it in a little at a time, filtered through the safety of melody and rhythm.

Okay. Whatever. I’m eating a home-baked cookie right now that defies all logic of deliciousness that I just found the recipe for BUT YOU GET MY POINT. I don’t know what to do with myself anymore.

I had a whole list planned for the month of October-no real set reading order, I just knew that I at least wanted to get Hidden Bodies and The Diviners read-I’d heard nothing but amazing things about the The Diviners, only that it was scary-ish and beyond addiciting, so I knew I had to save it for now, when I had an excuse to scare the living crap out of me. So I decided to start it first-seemed logical? Then I could read the second one in the middle of the month and the third at the end, for Halloween.

“Why would somebody put that here?” Memphis said. “It doesn’t look like the others. The others are hopeful. This…” He shuddered. “This is a nightmare.”
“Hey! Come see what I found,” Jericho called.
Sam turned to Memphis. “See, when somebody says that to me in a dirty, creepy hole of a cellar, my first inclination is to run.”

Well *bleep* sakes, I couldn’t wrap my head around any other book after I had put down the first and I just knew what I had to do-Binge read for the first time in YEARS. And see? SEE WHY I DON’T DO THIS?? Well, and, to be fair, no series has made me WANT to binge in this manner in forever. Like…WHY.

Jericho glared. “It’s more complicated than black and white, good and evil. Don’t forget: Jake Marlowe saved my life once upon a time.”
“And for that you owe him your blind loyalty?”
“Okay. You two crazy kids,” Sam said, laughing nervously. “Tell me the truth: What have you both got against fun? Was it a childhood trauma? There is no prohibition against fun. Yet.”

And here I am writing an incoherent review that really isn’t necessary but really is necessary because this is my last outlet for fangirling about my lovable and amazing FAMILY. Yeah. I’ve upgraded them. They are truly my life my love and my sole reason for living, atm. But then there are darker things that surround this series, such as the wait for the final book, the sadness at the end, and, once again, how scary it was and the many, many deaths.

A guard waited at the front gate. He frowned. “Only Miss Knight is expected.”
“Oh, but I’m her sister and her chaperone,” Evie bluffed, putting a hand to her chest as if the idea of Theta going into the Hollywood viper pit unaccompanied was unthinkable. “And this lovely lady is her secretary, Miss Ling Chan, and this is her personal seamstress, Miss Mabel Rose.”
“I’ve made all of Miss Knight’s costumes for the Follies,” Mabel said, falling right in. “I love to sew.”
The guard eyed Ling suspiciously. “And I love to… secretary.”

These are some dark books, and I think people should know that. It’s YA, but I think it pushes that envelope. I mean, it’s not TOO much, but it just is very dense and it covers a lot of topics. I never expected that-I never expected to care about so many things…yet here I am, loving every little thing about it-aside from the darkness of animals. I just do not like the mauling of innocent things. And perhaps I’m too tender-hearted, but I refuse to think any differently. If this was gotten rid of, and less child death (I don’t have any specifics for you, just know that it does happen and it is NOT shied away from), I really would have zero complaints besides wanting to sleep with all the lights on.

“You see him?” Sam asked as they peeked around a noisy boiler.
“Huh-uh. And I don’t like basements. Nothing good happens in basements. That’s where one-toothed murderers always live,” Evie whispered. “In basements.”
“Well, my mother used to put pickled herring in our basement,” Sam said, inching forward.
“See what I mean? If it’s not ghosts and one-toothed murderers, it’s pickled herring.”

And it’s no secret that I am in a legion of rabid fans who would DIE to see Sam and Evie together…but do we get to see that in this book? Or does she end up with Jericho? Or neither? And what the heck happens at the end that effected everyone so? These are the questions that should plague those who haven’t gotten around to this beauty yet (or so I think AHHAAHA).

He opened the door and held out the rose. “Welcome.”
“Aww, Freddy, you shouldn’t have,” Sam said, taking the rose and threading it through the buttonhole of his coat. “This is so sudden! I don’t know what to say. Oh, okay. You’ve won me over, you big brute. The answer is yes.”
With that, Sam jumped into Jericho’s arms.

I honestly was expecting something a bit…bigger. But, as always, I am a peril loving fiend and, though this was dark as dark gets, it wasn’t big enough to make me go crazy-though I did love it wholeheartedly all the same. I’m sorry, I’m just waiting for some hero saving the damsel in distress to happen, and I haven’t gotten that yet-and I don’t think I’m likely to…and it kind of bothers me. I don’t know why, but I just really expected that to happen, at least once. And the two opportunities where I expected it to happen, it didn’t. Poo.

But nothing was braver than letting somebody really know you, warts and all. Nothing was braver than trying to love and be loved.

No, Libba is more about the subtle chaos and mayhem and destruction of our souls-and this seems to really resonate with people. I don’t know, something about it being more realistic *mumbles to self* Hmph. That’s not to say I didn’t love the ending, though, because I did. Either way, this book is by far the darkest, and I suppose I never expected it to be so bleak.

And I really really really wouldn’t be me if I didn’t say something about my baby Sam-What?! I’ve been so so good, haven’t I? I love all my characters, I really do, but Sam and Evie just shine. They are my absolute favorites and they never cease to make me smile. And I think their character growth over the last three books has been wonderful-if not even separately, together.

They have the most wonderful relationship and it radiates warmth and glows like the sun, even as Evie rolls her eyes and acts as if she can’t be bothered by it all. She has her eyes set on Jericho this whole book…and it literally kills Sam. My heart. I LOVE IT SO HARD.

“Well, maybe you can give him a noodge?”
“A what?”
“A noodge. A little prodding,” Sam explained. “I’m getting antsy here.”
“Fine. I’ll send him an urgent letter.” At the door, she wrinkled her nose. “Noodge? Is that a real word?”
“It’s Yiddish. Like… Ikh hob dikh lib.”
Evie narrowed her eyes in suspicion. “What does that mean?”
Sam smiled. “Maybe one day I’ll tell you.”

Their friendship, despite the banter (or maybe because of it), is so strong and they clearly have a strong connection-something that has grown from the last book that they never wanted, needed, or anticipated. It just…it rings wonderfully authentic and precious and you can’t help but love them, even if they don’t end up together, and even more if they do. He will always support her no matter her horrible decisions, and he’ll always implore her to be herself, because who else should she be but the girl he thinks is just the best? And it’s for this reason I am ride or die, and I it really makes my love for this series infinite with it’s exponential growth-and don’t even get me started on how wonderful Evie is and how she has become someone to love and admire, even when she’s being silly (which I’ve always loved).

“But I got my own kind of smarts, from the streets, and when I go after something, well, just try’n shake me off. I’m an odd fella, but I know I’m an odd fella. What I can’t figure out is why you gotta make yourself crackers trying to be somebody you can’t ever be instead of just letting yourself be the one and only Evie O’Neill.”

And, lastly, I wanted to say that this one will be hard for some-there are a lot of deaths, and some I just didn’t expect-one for sure. I never would have guessed…because it’s such a BIG deal!! And man…it shook me. I am shooketh. Though….eh, I won’t say it. But I’m certainly thinking it lol. Sad as it may be! And another…like wtf? That was soooo not expected, but maybe because it was so out of left field-I don’t know! It was like oh lots of death la la la these people are off to the side, I’m sure they’re fine and then BAM!!! HE/SHE GONE! Like WHAT?! Libba, you devious Minx. And then…a couple were so grisly like….omg poor poor souls :/ Oh, and one death?! HAHAHA BRING IT ON. TAKE THAT, YOU-YOU-YOU WHATEVER YOU ARE!

AND DO NOT GET ME GOING ON THAT MENTAL ASYLUM OKAY?! I thought it was going to be the whole book, but turns out Libba wanted things to come to a head, to get darker…and oh boy, they so did. I did not expect that plot to change…but I’m glad it did, because that hospital killed me. IT WAS WAY TOO SCARY I COULDN’T EVEN READ IT! So, for those of you scared of the asylum…get past a certain point and you’re good! (I mean…kind of) lol

One minute, they were a group; the next, they were a mob. And that was what scared him about the dead things inside the fog: They were the blood-fever of those wild nights on the streets of Hell’s Kitchen. They were the dark corners of the refuge where the priests didn’t bother looking.

**

We wish you love. And dreams. And hope.
We wish we could keep you from making the same mistakes.
We wish we could extinguish your hate.
We wish we could walk among you just to be close to the living.
Sometimes, we do.

So yeah. This crazy review happened. I know it’s a little off the wall odd, but what review by me isn’t? When I love something, I love it with every fiber of my being…and this series deserves all the praise. I just hope I can last until that final book comes out…because Ms. Bray literally holds my heart in the palm in her hand.

We are the dead.
We are the keepers of the stories.
We hold the history of blood and promises.
We are speaking.
Are you listening?
Will you hear?

**********************

My heart. My poor damaged heart. My literal obsession and month long life is now over and my heart. There’s no release date for the fourth and my fucking heart. Now what?

RTC.

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BOOK REVIEW: Lair of Dreams (The Diviners #2) by Libba Bray

BOOK REVIEW: Lair of Dreams (The Diviners #2) by Libba BrayLair of Dreams (The Diviners)
by Libba Bray
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

The longing of dreams draws the dead, and this city holds many dreams.

After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O’Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. With her uncanny ability to read people’s secrets, she’s become a media darling, earning the title “America’s Sweetheart Seer.” Everyone’s in love with the city’s newest It Girl…everyone except the other Diviners.

Piano-playing Henry DuBois and Chinatown resident Ling Chan are two Diviners struggling to keep their powers a secret—for they can walk in dreams. And while Evie is living the high life, victims of a mysterious sleeping sickness are turning up across New York City.

As Henry searches for a lost love and Ling strives to succeed in a world that shuns her, a malevolent force infects their dreams. And at the edges of it all lurks a man in a stovepipe hat who has plans that extend farther than anyone can guess…As the sickness spreads, can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld to save the city?

In this heart-stopping sequel to The Diviners, Printz Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Libba Bray takes readers deeper into the mystical underbelly of New York City.

 

“I’ve spent the last two hours worried that you were bleeding to death in a ditch,” Evie continued. “Now that I know you’re okay, I just want you to be bleeding to death in a ditch.”
“Aww, Lamb Chop, you missed me.”

Annnnnd the hype is officially real. It’s not often I love a book as much as I did the first, but, here, I was a goner. At the beginning I was like eh, okay, LET’S GET TO SAM AND EVIE AND JERICHO AND WHAT’S UP WITH THAT DRAMA AGHHH BRING IT ON. But then, as the story progressed, I just…I died a little. All of a sudden I didn’t want to rush through everything (well…maybe the scary-more on that later) and I cared so deeply about dear Henry and even Ling, that you couldn’t pay me to put it down.

Yes, she liked this very much. She just had to get Sam on board.
The operator broke the silence. “I’ve got that call for you, Miss O’Neill.”
Sam’s voice crackled over the line, filled with smirk. “Well, if it isn’t the future Mrs. Lloyd.
“Daaarling,” she trilled. “I’ve missed you.”
There was a brief pause on the other end, then: “Uh-oh.”

And about that love-I loved it just as much as the first…but in a different way. It’s like, you can’t compare horror to romance, can you?


(joke lost on those who haven’t seen this episode/obsessed about Friends)

Hmm. Joey thinks so. But, my point is, aside from the fact that they are BOTH terrifying (albeit in different ways), it’s so much more than the mystery, to me. It’s the characters. It’s each new challenge they face. It’s everything that’s built up to that moment and why they feel the way they do and what they do together and how they become closer and start to become best friends and crime fighters, in their own way, yet they are all so different and come from all kinds of walks of life. Their motivations? All different. But, in the end, the goal comes down to one thing, and one thing only: Saving the world and keeping everyone they love safe.

Ordinary people were capable of extraordinary bravery. That was the only magic Sam knew or trusted.

***

…things you loved deeply could be lost in a second, and then there was no filling the hole left inside you. So she lived in the moment, as if her life were one long party that never had to stop as long as she kept the good times going.

Sure, Naughty John was one bad mother F*****. But this new ghost? Ummm Like. How. IN THE HELL. Am I. Supposed. To. SLEEP?! Like…gnashing teeth. Unhinged jaws. Glows in the tunnel. Flickering lights-ghastly and ghostly creatures there one minute, crouching low to the ground with their SHARP teeth chomping, and simply gone the next. A ghostly woman in a veil coming through the mist…and out of a tunnel? Again, I implore you, how the EFF am I supposed to sleep after that?

Argh this series, guys, this series will be the END of me.

“Nothing,” Jericho said, his brows sharpening. “Where are the Mystical Mediums?”
“The Third Eyes? I left ’em to play with the tarot cards.”
“You what?” Jericho said.
“Relax, Freddy. I told ’em the tarot cards can only be read by special people with special powers. Naturally, they think that’s them. Trust me: They’re as happy as clams.”
“That’s a ridiculous analogy. As if someone could gauge the happiness of a mollusk,” Will grumbled, pawing at his messy desk till he found his cigarettes.

What’s so baffling to me is, and it’s hard to explain, the layers and the depth written into these beautiful novels. They’re terrifying not only because of what’s coming, what’s watching, whatever, but the words haunt you almost as much as the picture they’re painting. It shows each and every murder, most times in great detail-or, in this case, each loss of life through DREAMS-and you just don’t realize how much that gets under your skin…not until the end.

Each moment seems insignificant. But, as each new death/murder happens, they become more and more intense until, at the very end, our tension level is so high we might burst without even realizing we had been so pent up-and at that point? It’s too late. Each moment builds up to make the ultimate moment-and it explodes and spreads the tingling fear from head to toe, into each finger and limb, until you’re numb and scared through every pore…and yet you can’t put the book down and stop reading so you can keep your sanity-and SLEEP.

But dreams can’t be contained for long. Their natural trajectory is forward. Out. Up. Away. Past all barriers and borders. Into the world.
This is true of nightmares, too.

Have I mentioned sleep a lot? Yes. Well. I’ve lost so much sleep reading this series-through both major feels and extreme fright-that I literally feel so bad today I don’t even have the will to do human things-I’m even skipping my workout. Like…this series has consumed my life. I’m not even joking. Even now, all I want to do is curl up with the book and read under a blanket on my soft and inviting couch. I’m so tired, and yet, I put reading above sleep. Talk about a sickness that could kill you. I might have a heart attack lol. Though, I’ve never said I’m not a wussy.

“Now is the only thing you can count on, Sam. It’s all we really get,” she said quietly, and felt that it was the truest thing she’d said in a long time.

Now, moving on from that, I finally got my Sam and Evie time. As I’ve said and will say many times over, I need more Sam and Evie, and I truly don’t think I could ever get my fill (fake relationships leading to true feelings for the WIN). And yet…..that ache? That hollowness that can only be filled when I get my every wish? It’s a vast craving that keeps me coming back for more like an addict-so the author must be doing something right because, even though I’m dying for more, I don’t want it.

“May I help you, sir?” he said, letting Sam know he’d worn out his sidewalk welcome.
“Pal,” Sam said, giving Evie one last, longing look, “I really wish you could.”

THAT’S RIGHT, I SAID IT: I’m so insane that I LOVE the tortuous slow burn that this author has created and I’m a fiend for it. When we get one or two chapters from their POV, I literally…well…my life is made in those moments. And when she takes them away to talk about other characters? I die a little inside. And the pining begins again. You see, it’s a vicious cycle-a vicious cycle that works. I may think about it 24/7 (crazy crazy), but it’s because I can’t just have what I want. And even if I got what I want, what’s the point of pining? So yes, I’m crazy…but I love it. I’m here for it. I’m ready for large declarations of love that will make my heart pound and my eyes water and I am a true psychotic follower.

“Done,” Sam said. He stared up at her with big peepers and a lupine grin. “We’ll have to make the chumps believe it. Moonlight strolls. Staring into each other’s eyes. Sharing the same straw in our egg cream. Dreadful pet names.”
“Not Lamb Chop,” Evie protested. “That’s hideous.”
“You got it, Pork Chop.”

That being said, I didn’t realize how obsessively in love with this series I was until I finished book one, wanted a break, yet couldn’t concentrate on anything else. What a remarkable feeling. I haven’t felt this way for a series in FOREVER. I can’t even tell you the last time I binge-read a series in this fashion…so, here I am, exclaiming my love (a bit repetitively, but who’s keeping track?) for this scary and tremendously addicting series.

“Pos-i-tute-ly isn’t a real word,” she said.
“Why, it pos-i-tute-ly is! It’s in the dictionary, just before prob-a-lute-ly.”
“You’re doing that simply to annoy me.”
“Abso-tive-ly not.” Henry’s smile was pure innocence.

I love Henry. I love Theta. I love Jericho and Sam and Evie and Ling and Memphis and even his brother…I won’t go into it, but I HATE that dumb Uncle Bill. I want to stab him. I HATE HIM. I do NOT get his moments and I loathe manipulation in that manner.

I fear something dark is coming from his involvement and I do. Not. Like. IT. But, I digress. I love almost every character, so every chapter just seeps into my pores and I was made again as I blazed through this story.

“Theta, I’d feel a whole lot better if you stayed here,” Memphis said.
“Nothing doing. Henry’s my best friend, my only family. He’s all I got.”
“You’ve got me,” Memphis said softly.
“Poet, I didn’t mean it that way.…”
“Mabel shouldn’t go. Theta shouldn’t go. Why is no one being chival… chivaroos… how come none of you bums is looking out for me?” Evie pouted as she sprawled across her chair..
“I am,” Theta said. She yanked Evie to a sitting position, put a cup of coffee to her lips, and practically poured it down her throat.

And the banter? Again, it was off the charts hilarious. In fact, it was equal parts hilarious, sigh-inducing, eye-roll worthy, and HAWT. Depends who was bantering, haha, but every bit of it was worth your time. I am an avid fan of each person in this series and their banter makes me a permanent stalker in their lives. Yikes. I fit right in with the creepy crawlies! 😛 Oh, and, even I can’t believe it, but I had SIXTEEN ‘review highlights’ for this one!!! ‘twas agony choosing which to use *dramatic back of hand against forehead*.

Theta had been trying to figure out how to talk about this with Evie for weeks. She narrowed her eyes. “If you breathe a word of what I’m about to say, I swear I’ll hunt you for sport and wear your skin as a coat.” 
Evie opened one eye. “It would have a satin lining, though. Promise me it would.”

I feel like I could go on and on and on again….but the point is-if you didn’t catch it-this series is a winner. And I know I missed some things I was going to say by rambling on like I do, but it’s how I feel and I just think everyone should give this series a shot. I even tracked down the third book and found a SIGNED copy to order. #Obsession. So read it. Don’t read it. Either way, your loss. You’re either missing out….or you’re going down a path that I can’t pull you away from…and it’s terrifying (100th use of the word in my Diviner reviews HA).

**********

Oh Gahd, guys-it’s happened. I’ve been complaining for months that, while I’ve read plenty of excellent 4 or 5 star books this year, it’s been a while since a series has consumed my soul, made my heart pound, stolen my every waking thought-and now the time has come. And, wouldn’t ya know, it’s a fucking TERRIFYING series that, as mentioned above but in different, individual ways, makes my heart pound, steals my every waking thought, and consumed my soul…with evil.

That’s right. I am an obsessed love-sick puppy that craves this series (it’s crack) when I can’t be reading it. I think about it all day until I can pick it up again. I toss and turn long after I finish because I am completely obsessed and here for Evie and Sam and mayhem and peril, but also because I am terrified of ghosts and this series is f-ing with my head. I have lost more sleep since I started this series than when I just plain have a bad week of sleep.

These books? TERRIFYING. I don’t care what people say-they are scary. They are deep. They are romantic and addicting and so much fun. They. Are. EVIL.

I cannot wait for book three, but I don’t know if I can wait for book 4 when that day comes and I don’t have another book to jump to. I keep saying, oh I’m guna read another book inbetween, or two, and save these for near Halloween, yet I find my dumb ass running to the next book, curled up on the couch with every light on, absorbing my latest hit of adrenaline before attempting sleep again.

Dumb dumb dumb girl.

RTC. Yes, MORE review. I have LOTS to say.

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