Tea & Book Chat: The Diviners by Libba Bray (The Diviners #1)

I thought it was finally time to post my review of the first book in The Diviners series by Libba Bray since the long awaited follow up will be hitting shelves this August (finally, finally, finally.  Anyone who has read and preordered the second books knows how many years we’ve been waiting for this one!).  The story is a historical fantasy and it follows the outspoken Evie O’Neill who is kicked out of her hometown and goes to live with her uncle in New York City.  The Diviners falls on the spectrum of larger sized YA books but the high page count did not deter me or cause me to read it at a slower pace.  I finished reading within two days because 1) I couldn’t put it down, and 2) when I could, I was usually too creeped out to go to sleep so I ended up reading later and later each night.

There are several different narrators throughout the novel, but Evie is clearly the lead and in my opinion, the most intriguing of the bunch.  Evie might seem like your average trouble maker, but there is a lot more to her character than you can glimpse on the surface.  Beneath her tough exterior, Evie is ripe with the typical insecurities of most teenage girls and on top of that, she is blessed with a unique supernatural ability which she puts to good use when her uncle Will is asked to help solve the mystery surrounding the Pentacle Killer.  This may seem unusual, but Will runs an Occult museum and there are interesting circumstances surrounding the murders.

The Diviners

Did I mention that this series takes place in the 1920’s?  A major reason why I loved this book so much is because of its historical aspect and with each turn of the page, the Jazz Age seemed to come more alive.  Flappers ruled the town and Libba Bray really did her research in painting a complete and accurate picture of the time period.  The 20’s slang words that Evie uses to communicate are so catchy and fun (some favorites include pie face and posi-tute-ly)!  Libba Bray even tackles the Harlem Renaissance through her character Memphis who wishes to be a poet.  Now that I’ve gotten by hands on the second book in the trilogy, I cannot wait to delve back in for more.

Final Thoughts:  The Diviners by Libba Bray chronicles the exciting adventures of a progressive female protagonist named Evie living in New York City in the 1920’s.  It offers an immersive look into the Jazz Age in New York City and if you’re a fan of supernatural and/or historical novels, you’ll fall just as much in love with The Diviners in the first installment of the trilogy as I did.  Warning: the story can be VERY creepy at times and I was up late thinking that every noise in my house was the Pentacle Killer.

Rating 5

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. (via Goodreads)

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Kristin

Tea & Book Chat: The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss (The Kingkiller Chronicles #2)

**Warning! If you haven’t read The Name of the Wind which is the first book in the trilogy by Patrick Rothfuss, there will be mild spoilers ahead.  You can read my review of the first book instead if you haven’t started the series yet!**

After reading The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss I was so immediately enthralled with Kvothe’s world and Rothfuss’ fierce storytelling skills that I knew The Wise Man’s Fear would be another instant favorite of mine and I was 100% correct.  The story is structured the same way as the first, with Kvothe recounting his adventures to a chronicler inside the tavern he now resides in.  His story is being told over the course of three days, so book two covers his second day with the chronicler.

Overall, I loved The Wise Man’s Fear so much, particularly because of the turn of events that Kvothe faces.  Since The Name of the Wind we have been hearing these legendary stories about Kvothe and in the second installment, Rothfuss satiates some of our curiosity with adventures Kvothe’s had outside of the university.  He doesn’t even come close to explaining half of the things we have been promised (which leads me to believe that book 3 will be larger than an Oxford dictionary), but I look forward to dedicating a huge chunk of time to them once they’re available.  I am still theorizing about Kvothe’s current age versus his age in the stories he tells but I feel like I have a much better handle on the possibilities now.  There’s a thing that keeps being hinted at which is my prediction for where the story will go, but I’m going to post it here in case anyone considers it spoilery (although I would be happy to tell you on another platform if you’re interested)

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One of the aspects I loved most about The Wise Man’s Fear is that Kvothe’s relationships with others develop further.  After losing his entire family to the Chandrian, Kvothe has always had issues trusting other people but he engages in much stronger friendships during the course of the book.  I also just have to give a shoutout to Elodin because he is one of the greatest characters ever written.  He comes off as nonsensical and a little bit nuts but if you pay close attention to his words, you’ll be able to see that there is a definitive method to his madness.  Kvothe’s struggle to understand Elodin enriches the story and provides an excellent lesson about gaining knowledge.

While The Wise Man’s Fear is damn near perfect, there is one big chunk of the book that I took issue with.  Again, I do not want to go into spoilers, but in talking with some other people who have also read the book, we’ve all agreed that it came across as Patrick Rothfuss basically publishing fanfic about his own character.  And it’s over 100 pages long.  It took me longer to get through this small section of the book than it did for me to read the other 800+ pages combined.  I understand why it adds to Kvothe’s legend, but I could’ve enjoyed it more if it were shorter.

Final Thoughts: The Wise Man’s Fear is the near perfect follow up to The Name of the Wind.  I love it for all of the reasons I loved the first book (a scientific and attainable description of magic, some of the best worldbuilding I’ve ever read, and of course, a narrator that I am fascinated by and care about deeply) and for even more such as getting to see Kvothe’s adventures outside of university.

Rating 6

There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man.”

My name is Kvothe.
I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trehon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
You may have heard of me.

So begins the tale of a hero told from his own point of view — a story unequaled in fantasy literature. Now in The Wise Man’s Fear, an escalating rivalry with a powerful member of the nobility forces Kvothe to leave the University and seek his fortune abroad. Adrift, penniless, and alone, he travels to Vintas, where he quickly becomes entangled in the politics of courtly society. While attempting to curry favor with a powerful noble, Kvothe uncovers an assassination attempt, comes into conflict with a rival arcanist, and leads a group of mercenaries into the wild, in an attempt to solve the mystery of who (or what) is waylaying travelers on the King’s Road.

All the while, Kvothe searches for answers, attempting to uncover the truth about the mysterious Amyr, the Chandrian, and the death of his parents. Along the way, Kvothe is put on trial by the legendary Adem mercenaries, is forced to reclaim the honor of the Edema Ruh, and travels into the Fae realm. There he meets Felurian, the faerie woman no man can resist, and who no man has ever survived…until Kvothe.

In The Wise Man’s Fear, Kvothe takes his first steps on the path of the hero and learns how difficult life can be when a man becomes a legend in his own time. (via Goodreads)

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Kristin

BookTube: The Avengers Book Tag [Original Tag]

Hello everyone! I’m so excited to be posting my own original book tag today via BookTube!  Since it’s my first time creating an original tag, I decided to base it on something near and dear to my heart, Marvel’s The Avengers.  Basically, if you choose to do the tag, each question is based on a different character in the first film (I still have not yet seen the second one and I feel awful about that).  In addition to tagging a bunch of YouTubers, I’m also going to be tagging some bloggers in case you’d rather create a blog post instead of a video (but if I haven’t tagged you and you like to create your own, please do and leave me a link in the comments below!).  All of the questions can be found in the description box of my YouTube video.  I hope you enjoy it and I’m really looking forward to creating some more original tag videos soon!

Bloggers I tag:

My Life as a Teacup

Sincerely Sara

A Nudge in the Right Direction

Sparklegirl

Bookworms in Dresses

Travis the Grimm

You Fancy Me Mad

The Book Nosher

Joie Fatale

Le Fancy Geek

The Nerdy Girlie

Darling Stewie

#obsessivegirlfan

Cateaclysmic

Comics and Cookies

Cuteek

Kendall Ashley

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Kristin

Tea & Book Chat: Paper Towns by John Green

I have very conflicted feelings about John Green’s Paper Towns.  This is the third John Green novel I have ever read and after owning it for several year, I finally chose to read it now because the film is scheduled to debut in theaters this summer.  I have heard such rave reviews about it from Amanda of Junebugs and Georgia Peaches but some of the other reviews I’ve heard have been mixed, which is ultimately where I fall.

I really enjoyed the first two thirds of the book.  The characters are very John Green in that Quentin, the male lead, is a quiet but intelligent and the main female, Margo is the equivalent of a manic pixie dream girl.  After spending an incredible all-nighter together and exacting revenge on all of the people who Margo felt wronged her, Quentin keeps up his perfect attendance record and goes to school in the hopes that things will be different for them.  Technically, they are but not in the way Quentin expects because he learns that Margo has run away.  He spends the remainder of the novel on a wild goose chase, following the cryptic clues he believes she left behind for him.

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Quentin is an enjoyable character to read and I appreciate his constant analysis and contemplation of every situation.  While he believes that he has a strong sense of himself, he is not stubborn enough to turn down new opportunities.  I appreciate the obvious comparison to Ahab from Moby Dick because Quentin’s singular obsession becomes finding Margo which leads to small issues between him and his two best friends, Radar and Ben.  The lives of his friends also change due to Margo’s disappearance and their proximity to Quentin and I love the friendship between the boys.

I had such a hard time rating this book because, without giving spoilers, I really enjoyed it until the end.  I struggled with Margo’s character because of all the similarities there are between she and Alaska and overall, I just really liked Looking for Alaska a whole lot more.  I was surprised to see that Paper Towns was published afterward and it actually made me like the book even less.  I would have been more forgiving if it were published earlier when John Green was still progressing as an author.

Final Thoughts:  Paper Towns by John Green is a contemporary novel that makes you think.  I love reading novels which force the reader to examine their own lives and open their minds to theories and possibilities they may have otherwise shut out.  It has the typical quirky guy and the manic pixie dream girl characters John Green’s novels are known for. I wish I could give this book more stars because I was completely on board until the ending but if you’re on the fence about this one, I would suggest checking out Looking for Alaska instead.

Rating 3

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew… (via Goodreads)

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Kristin

Waiting on Wednesday: The Mirror King (The Orphan Queen #2) by Jodi Meadows

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we’re eagerly anticipating.  This week I’m choosing The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows.  The Mirror King is the second book in The Orphan Queen duology (but there will also be 4 novellas!) and the cover was just released last week.  I wasn’t overly enthusiastic about the first book (you can read my review here), but now that the twist has been revealed I’m curious to see where the story goes from here.

The Mirror King - The Orphan Queen

Wilhelmina has a hundred enemies.

HER FRIENDS HAVE TURNED. After her identity is revealed during the Inundation, Princess Wilhelmina is kept prisoner by the Indigo Kingdom, with the Ospreys lost somewhere in the devastated city. When the Ospreys’ leader emerges at the worst possible moment, leaving Wil’s biggest ally on his deathbed, she must become Black Knife to set things right.

HER MAGIC IS UNCONTROLLABLE. Wil’s power is to animate, not to give true life, but in the wraithland she commanded a cloud of wraith mist to save herself, and later ordered it solid. Now there is a living boy made of wraith—destructive and deadly, and willing to do anything for her.

HER HEART IS TORN. Though she’s ready for her crown, declaring herself queen means war. Caught between what she wants and what is right, Wilhelmina realizes the throne might not even matter. Everyone thought the wraith was years off, but already it’s destroying Indigo Kingdom villages. If she can’t protect both kingdoms, soon there won’t be a land to rule.

In this stunning conclusion to THE ORPHAN QUEEN, Jodi Meadows follows Wilhelmina’s breathtaking and brave journey from orphaned criminal on the streets to magic-wielding queen. (via Goodreads)

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Kristin

Wish List Wednesday: Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette

I’m a huge fan of Urban Decay’s Naked palettes but particularly Naked 1 and Naked 3 because bronze and rose golds work the best for my skin tone. They’re the perfect shades of eyeshadow for daywear and for blending with darker colors at night, but sometimes a girl just wants to rock a smoky eye.  When I was browsing through instagram yesterday I saw that Urban Decay has just announced a new eye palette to be released on July 8th of this year called the Naked Smoky palette and OMG do I need it.  I love the range of colors offered which includes 9 new shades and 3 shades that are exclusive to the palette.  The way that the shades are grouped (darkest in the middle and lightest on the outsides) is exactly the way you would apply it for your desired result, plus there’s a double ended brush which will be fantastic for blending and smudging the shades!  I also must note that the packaging is so gorgeous!

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Kristin

BookTube: The Top 5 Series I Want to Start in 2015

One of the biggest benefits of getting into a series after it’s already been published in its entirety is binge reading!  I love not having to wait for the next book to be published when I’m really invested in a series.  I decided to make a video of my top 5 series that I have made it a goal to read (probably binge read) in 2015!  What series are you hoping to start (and possibly finish) this year?

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 Kristin

Tea & Book Chat: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1)

I’ve been told by numerous trustworthy book-friends that I should read Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy.  After finishing the first book I’m pleased to say how taken I am with the story.  Laini Taylor has created a story based on angel / demon mythology but has managed to make it her own.  The story follows the protagonist Karou as she runs errands collecting teeth for her adopted family of chimera, her father figure being Brimstone.  She gets mixed up in the politics of these otherworldly races until she can no longer hide her secret life from her best friend Zuzana.

Karou is a colorful character who we immediately learn has used a wish on having blue hair.  She covers this and other small bits of the magic she encounters in her everyday life by being snarky with other humans and telling the truth in a way that seems sarcastic but diffuses any further questions.  She’s a talented artist but the illustrations she creates are not just those of her imagination.  Karou is an intriguing female lead and the secret she is harboring is perfect.  At first I was a little iffy on the seemingly insta-love between Karou and Akiva, the angel who has been trained to kill chimera his entire life.  I grew to appreciate their story more as the book continued on but I wasn’t as invested in their romance as other readers I know have been.  Although, I do have to give Taylor extra points for not including a love triangle.

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Taylor does a fantastic job building the world that the chimera and the angels dwell in and I love the fantastical elements she added to enhance the story, such as the black handprints appearing on the doorways between worlds.  Taylor’s prose is so pretty and she manages to make both Prague in all its beauty and Ertz in its ruins sound like the most magical cities in existence.  The scenes she paints for the reader are a pleasure to devour and I couldn’t stop turning the pages.  My only issue was the pacing of the story after the big reveal.  We’re torn away from the characters we become most familiar with and we are left with a huge cliffhanger.  While I’m lucky enough to have the opportunity to binge read the series, I’m sure everyone who had to wait between books was not so thrilled.

Final Thoughts: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor is a beautifully written and beautifully crafted story which ends in a major cliffhanger.  This first installment in the trilogy will pull you in and leave you wanting more to read about the angels and demons of Ertz.  The world building is so vivid and the scenes set in Prague are stunning to imagine.  There is a slight pacing issue toward the end of the story but Karou and Akiva’s story is one that will linger with the reader for a long time after they’ve finished reading.

Rating 4

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages–not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When one of the strangers–beautiful, haunted Akiva–fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself? (via Goodreads)

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Kristin

Event Recap: BEA is Better than BookCon & How BookCon Improve

Last week I returned to Book Expo America (BEA) at the Javits Center for my second time attending the show since 2012.  For the most part, I knew what to expect from the event and I spent a ton of time beforehand making a list of all of the signings and giveaways that I knew I wanted to grab which was really helpful.  The most important thing about BEA is being organized and prioritizing what you cannot miss.  It’s the one convention where wandering around aimlessly will not work to your benefit.  On the first day of BEA, Kristina and I spent some time getting the lay of the land.  One the second day, we were much better about getting in specific lines and finding out what time ARCs were being dropped and by the third day we were PROS.  We were first or almost first in line for every single book we wanted that day (and we got them all!).  At BEA, all of the books you’re waiting in lines for are free so the waiting isn’t so bad.  From the last time I attended I had learned to be picky about the books I accept especially since I then become the one who’s responsible for carrying them for the rest of the day.  There were only about 3 books I ended up with this time that I hadn’t already planned on taking but I ended up leaving them because I couldn’t justify why I had accepted them.  Sometimes you just feel bad when someone is really trying to hand you their book and it’s easier to say okay and put it down somewhere else later.  All of the authors that I met, chatted with, and took photos with were at BEA (I’m much less interested in waiting in line for celebrity “authors” than I am in people like Patrick Ness and R.L. Stine).  We also had a beautiful sit down dinner with Quirk Books, and a really fun Epic Reads party to attend after BEA whereas I hadn’t heard of many events going on after BookCon.

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Since I was unable to attend last year due to various weddings and such, I missed the initial madness that is BookCon.  I have been hearing horror stories about it ever since and while they certainly made me cautious about what I was getting myself into, I was not going to miss the opportunity to see it with my own eyes.  For those who don’t know, BEA is an industry only event which is full of publishers, authors, press and literary agents while BookCon is open to the public.  While you can still win some free ARCs at BookCon, those in attendance are purchasing the majority of the books they take home.  Before BookCon started, half of the convention floor was dismantled and a temporary wall in the Javits Center sectioned off a small portion of what we had been walking around for the past three days.  It seemed strange to me to have a bigger event in a smaller amount of space.  I think BookCon could have utilized the other portion of the floor if they had added in vendors that the public would be likely to benefit from.  For instance, I think there is a HUGE missed opportunity for an Artist Alley (similar to comic conventions) to highlight artists who create bookish artwork, fan art and prints.  It would also be AWESOME to see Etsy vendors selling bookmarks and book inspired jewelry.  Plus, COSPLAY.  I think an event where readers cosplay as their favorite characters would be the coolest.  I could definitely see myself dressing as Celaena Sardothien, Luna Lovegood, or several other characters if that were to become a thing at BookCon. The one thing I did love was the platform at the Epic Reads booth where we were able to stand behind a cutout and take photos as if we were on the cover of Kiera Cass’s new spinoff book in the Selection series, The Heir.  I didn’t spend much of my time at BookCon because I felt as though I had gotten my fill during BEA.  I’m almost tempted to try to start my own book convention using my suggestions!

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Kristin

5 Fandom Friday: June Topics Announced!

Hi guys! First of all, I’m sorry for the delay in posting the June topics for  5 Fandom Friday.  I’ve been a zombie all week, expending all of my available energy on getting my most anticipated books from BEA and baking cupcakes, all on a supreme lack of sleep.  And second of all, look at the beautiful new logo that Leslie of Darling Stewie designed for us!  Also, thanks to everyone who sent us suggestions!  We love hearing your ideas and it’s been so much fun to see this community expand since we started.  So without further ado, here are the June topics!

June 5th – Comic Book Heroes You Would Like To See With Their Own Series Or Movie via @JaymFace

June 12th – Favorite Fictional Fathers

June 19th – Characters With My Favorite Fictional Fashion @1CuriousWriter

June 26th – Fandom Guilty Pleasures via @MeghanSaraK

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Kristin
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