Book News: Libba Bray’s The Diviners #2 “Lair of Dreams” Cover Reveal

The cover is here and it looks intriguing!!!

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The cover of Lair of Dreams, the second book in Libba Bray‘s creepy series The Diviners, is out and everything is feeling jake. The cover features shadowy characters on a New York subway. We also get a synopsis,

“The second book in the New York Times bestselling series showcases a new evil descending on New York City. After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O’Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. Now that the world knows of her ability to “read” objects, and therefore, read the past, she has become a media darling, earning the title, “America’s Sweetheart Seer.” But not everyone is so accepting of the Diviners’ abilities…

Meanwhile, mysterious deaths have been turning up in the city, victims of an unknown sleeping sickness. Can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld and catch a killer?”

In the first book, we left protagonist Evie O’Neill absorbing the after-effects of her paranormal battle with Naughty John. With a babble of other characters who possible also are Diviners just like Evie, what’d you think will happen?  Anyway, we have to wait until April next year to find out.

Book Review: Libba Bray’s “The Diviners”

The Diviners - Libba Bray

Confession time. For someone trained to see blood and gore, I am one big yellow chicken. And so it goes, I try to avoid watching and/or reading about anything scary and creepy as much as I can. I’m still sane enough to want to sleep, thank you very much.

But a book about the occult written by Libba Bray just sounds too good to pass up. I had to give in.

The Diviners, the first book in a planned series, revolves around a series of mysterious murders to put it simply. It’s set in a bright and bustling 1926 New York City with all its speakeasies, theaters and movie palaces. Evie O’Neill is our main protagonist. After a party stunt that went awry, she gets booted out from her Ohio hometown and shipped to NYC to live with her bachelor uncle Will who’s obsessed with the occult. Evie quickly settles into her new life; everything’s  fun and exciting, and she’s enjoying it, that is before the body of a girl is found with a strange symbol branded upon her and Will is called to help with the investigation. As grisly murder follow one after the other, Evie realizes that her gift can help catch the serial killer but what she discovers when she throws herself deep into the investigation is so much more darker and powerful.

In true twenties fashion, I ab-so-tute-ly enjoyed reading this book. It is rich and vivid. Libba Bray’s engaging writing is the strongest asset of this new novel. She just has this way with words, she draws you in and puts you right there with her characters. This is a long book and with its almost 600 pages. It could look daunting but with the way the author wrote her prose, you nearly won’t realize you’re almost through with the story.

Another thing to love about The Diviners is its diverse set of characters. There’s many of them, and what a variety – immigrants, people of color, LGBT characters –  but Bray managed to give readers a chance to get to know each character by dishing out interesting backstories, and expertly going in and out of their lives throughout the story.

I love Evie. I love her audacity and boldness. She is flawed – self-centered, irrational, tackless, a mess-up – but deep inside she means well and truly cares for her family and friends. There’s so much room for her to grow in the next books.

Every so often, in every book there’s one or two side characters that simply draw you in. For this book, its Theta and Henry. They both present cool facades but their backstories are tragic. Also, I’m not quite sure what Henry’s special gift is, so that’s something I would love to find out in the next installment.

As for the creepy factor, it’s well up there. Not Stephen King scary but frightening enough to make you not want to read it at night for fear of dreaming about it especially if you are the highly-imaginative kind.

Perhaps the only thing I don’t like about The Diviners is its excessive historical background. Don’t get me wrong. I completely understand that Libba Bray‘s setting the mood for the whole series and I appreciate that she took time to thoroughly research about the twenties – she nailed it from the dresses to the language to the sights and scenes of the time period – but I think she could have shortened it to a few pages then got on with her narrative. The characters’ use of twenties slang was also excessive to the point of irritation. But it’s not really that big of a deal. The Diviners is a great read enough for people to get over the minor flaws. I will definitely grab the next book as soon as it’s out.

Rating: 4/5

Me, Fangirling and My Current Book Stack

I don’t usually get giddy over talking to or seeing famous people. Note, I said “not usually”, which means that there are some exceptional moments when I actually do get giddy and happy and cheery and whatever one may and should feel when someone you admire actually ACTUALLY replies to you.

I’ve just paid off the month’s bills and it goes to say that money’s a bit tight right now so I had to make some necessary cuts. I usually buy two, three books every pay day but this cut off I can only buy one, and I hate having to choose between books. It feels so much like a betrayal. I swear, if I become rich, I will buy one branch of my favorite bookstore. I will live there and I will turn it into a library of some sorts for those people who don’t have enough to buy new books.

It was a battle between Gayle Forman‘s If I Stay and Libba Bray‘s The Diviners. In the end, Libba Bray’s novel won out because it was the only copy left in the book store.

Then I tweeted this after I got the book:

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I sent out that tweet without expecting any replies back, so I really went all giddy when I received this:

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Talk about fangirling!!! Yes, I am. Gadh! That’s Libba Bray! I’m just so happy and surprised she even saw my tweet. (Please excuse me for fangirling again.)

I still have a few books to read before I can get to The Diviners. Here’s my reading stack right now:

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I have a couple of things coming up within the next two weeks. A couple of reviews for Debra Driza‘s debut Mila 2.0 and Neil Gaiman‘s (gasp) newest release in six years, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I may also finish the thing I’m writing about David Levithan‘s Every Day.

Well, that’s all for now. I hope you guys are doing great wherever you are. Happy reading!

XOXO

Rachel

Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens and Five Quotes about Identity and Self-love

I don’t know who you are or what you do but I’m sure we have at least one thing in common – being a teenager. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been through, going through or will go through it, what matters is that once in our lives we’ve been that young

Being a teenager is one heck of a ride. They don’t call it the “awkward years” for nothing. It is a period full of change. There’s, of course, the body changes all courtesy of your overly active pituitary gland and the hormones it stimulates into release. Then there’s the role changes, you know, bigger shoes to fill, higher expectations to reach, being more responsible, stuff like that. It should be a training ground for when you become an adult yourself but more often than not it turns out to be them, the “grown-ups”, expecting you to act more maturely while they treat (and, hell, still look at you) like a kid. It is beyond annoying.

But body and role changes aside, I think the hardest part of being a teen is defining yourself.

It’s just so hard to be who you want to be when you have so many people around telling you who you should be. Heck, you can’t even figure out what it is you want with all their blabbering.

I know, the search for one’s identity is one search that never ceases. With each day we live, we learn more and more about ourselves – things we didn’t know we like, things we thought we couldn’t do, the list goes on. But I think, and I hope you wouldn’t argue with me on this, that the highest point of that search is during the teenage years.

And that’s exactly what Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens is about. The novel revolves around teen beauty queens whose plane crashed on a supposedly deserted island. They are forced to choose which to put first, preparing for the pagent or fighting for their survival. Of course, there’s more to the story than the summary I just wrote but, as sort of a really short review, the book was smart, witty, funny and sarcastic with a very generous sprinkling of empowering thoughts.

Libba Bray

Speaking of thoughts, since I can’t tell you how to search for your own identity, I have picked five quotes from the book, excerpts which might inspire and help you keep going through your search. Well, alright, maybe it won’t help you with the search but whatever, who cares?! At the very least, I think you’ll be able to identify with these chosen lines from the novel’s protagonists. I did. So, yeah, here we go.

(1)

“Why do girls always feel like they have to apologize for giving an opinion or taking up space in the world? Have you ever noticed that? You go on websites and some girl leaves a post and if it’s longer than three sentences or she’s expressing her thoughts about some topic, she usually ends with, ‘Sorry for the rant’ or ‘That may be dumb, but that’s what I think.’” -Nicole

Everyone has an opinion and, so it goes, everyone also has the right to express that opinion. If you have something to say, say it. Some may agree with you, others won’t. That’s their opinion of your opinion and it is up to you how you’ll react to it – take it or ignore it. But I don’t believe in saying sorry for giving the world your two cent’s worth. Again, it is your right to say your piece on things.

Here’s the catch, though. All rights are not absolute thus we must exercise them with fairness in mind. We can all have our own opinions, we may express them but we must make sure that we do it the right way.  Respect is key here.

(2)

“Maybe girls need an island to find themselves. Maybe they need a place where no one’s watching them so they can be who they really are.” – Mary Lou

This quote does not only apply to girls but to boys as well. It’s just so hard to be yourself when you’re surrounded by so many people telling you who you should be, what you should do. Add that to the pressures the society and media put upon all of us. It’s almost suffocating.

But here’s what I’ve learned, sometimes you have to fight for the right to be the person you have to be. It takes courage, yes, but it also takes some self-awareness and a whole lot of love for one’s self.

(3)

“I don’t know about you but if I’m gonna be chained to a rock by the gods, I’d rather go out as the person who brought fire back from the mountain than as a pure princess who didn’t even have the sense to say to everyone, ‘Oh hell no, you are not sacrificing me to a sea monster.’ “- Mary Lou

This is my personal mantra. Well, at least close to it.

I’m used to winning. Hell! I love winning. I mean, who doesn’t? But sometimes things don’t go our way. Some fights we win, some we lose. I know it’s just so easy to throw your hands up and quit when things go shit side up. But would you rather lose and go out that way? Wouldn’t it be nicer to try and lose than not try at all? Think about it.

(4)

“I’ve learned that it takes a village to build a catapult, which is not a city in Mexico, and that uterus is not a dirty word or the name of a planet. I’ve learned that if a guy pretending to be a pirate tells you he’s nothing but trouble, he’s probably right. So you should find somebody else ‘cause there are some really cool guys – and girls – out there. I’ve learned that you can use an old evening gown to catch rainwater and that grubs taste a lot like chicken. I’ve learned how to build a good, strong hut and accesorize it just right. I’ve learned that feminism is for everybody and there’s nothing wrong with taking up space in the world, even if you have to fight for it a little bit, and that if you don’t feel like smiling or waving, that’s okay. You don’t have to, and you don’t have to say sorry. Mostly, I’ve learned that I don’t really care if you like these answers or not, because they’re the best, most honest ones I’ve got, and I just don’t feel like I can cheat myself enough to give you what you want me to say. No offense.” – Tiara

Phew! That was a long one but it’s pretty much self-explanatory so I won’t go babbling about it and you can’t really do anything about that because that’s what I want.

(5)

“I love myself. They make it so hard for us to love ourselves.” -Taylor

This I could relate to so much. I have a lot of insecurities when I was a teen, especially when I was in high school. Don’t get me wrong, of course I still I have some until now; it’s just that it has significantly lessened probably because I have found that many of my insecurities as a teen were baseless and/or I have learned to appreciate myself more.

I think that’s it, appreciate yourself more.

Some people can get to you; make you feel bad about yourself. That’s how it was for me then and it dragged me down. I don’t know when it happened but I somehow realized that if I won’t start appreciating myself, no one else will.

But yeah, those people who only tell you what’s wrong with you, they really suck. It may be hard but just ignore them. Don’t let them take over your life, you have a beautiful one and you must live it.

So there, I think that pretty much does it.  It may not be much but those are my thoughts. As for my own search for identity, well, it changes every day but I think I know myself more now than I did yesterday and the days before that. Our search for identity may never end, yes, but whatever it is that we discover about ourselves we must learn to either understand and appreciate, change if it needs changing. We only get one us to love after all.