The Diviners (The Diviners #1) by Libba Bray

Goodreads | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

“The Diviners must stand, or all shall fall.”

The Diviners is a historical, paranormal fantasy set in 1920s New York City! And in this alternative history, there are people called Diviners who have magical abilities that are hidden from the world. And these powers will come in handy as a demon like being who was summoned from a Ouija board starts ritualistically killing people, while also bringing upon the apocalypse.

Evie O’Neill – Sent to NY to stay with her uncle after causing too much of a scene back home. And she has the magical ability to read objects.

Memphis Campell – Black, extremely charming and good looking, taking care of his little brother with his aunt after the loss of his mother, and in the past he had a healing ability.

Sam Lloyd – Rakish Russian Pickpocket who can make it so others do not notice him, but he is looking for answers about what happened to his mother and the project she was working on.

Theta Knight – A Dancer who ran away from a terrible past and is trying to make a new life for herself were she is in charge of her own fate.

Henry DeBois – Theta’s roommate, queer, and a musician. Henry has the magical ability to dream walk, but you do not learn a lot about it in this book.

Mabel Rose – Evie’s best friend and pen pal, who has the biggest of all crushes.

Jericho Jones – Works for Evie’s uncle Will, but may be keeping a big secret of his own.

Naughty John – Does his work with the apron on. I’ll see myself out, bye.

But we follow all of these characters, while they are slowing pieces together the clues about Naughty John’s killing, while also trying to figure everything out before it is too late. And friends? I’m going to be straight up with you, this book was pretty scary. Full disclosure, I am a big baby, but I legit read this book with the light on, during the daytime, every single day. But following along and trying to figure out what is happening, while also trying to learn about these characters and what they are able to do? It surely made for a fun reading experience.

I really loved the cast completely. All of them, truly. But Memphis really won me over very early on. First off, I am such a sucker for anything with healing powers, so he and his mystery just stole my heart. Also, he is such a good brother, and seeing him protect Isaiah really was everything to me. Also, Isaiah having the wildest powers of them all? Yeah, that’s a thing. Also, I really loved his development with Theta. We stan a power couple in this house, always and forever.

Besides the characters, I think the thing I liked most about reading The Diviners, as sad and heartbreaking as it is to say, is that we are almost in the year 2020 and not a lot has changed. From racism, and people hiding their hateful ideas behind the cover of God, to sexism, and the idea that a silent woman is the only women worth hearing, to being pure, and the pedestal that white men are willing to put their bloodline on, this is all very much a thing in 2020, even if it is not as loud. I think Libba Bray really did something so impressive with this story, and even though this book is almost a decade old and the parallels are still rampant, I still really respect her putting so much into this book.

Overall, this really did blow me away. I had my doubts going in that I wouldn’t like it, or that it wouldn’t hold up, but it truly did, and it truly made for an amazing reading experience. I can’t wait to see what the next book has in store, and I can’t wait to meet a character named Ling Chan that everyone promises me I’m going to fall in love with.

Instagram | Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads | Twitch | Wishlist | Youtube

Content and Trigger Warnings: brief animal cruelty and death, talk of domestic abuse and sexual assault in the past, abortion, loss of a loved one in the past, drugging, grief depiction, abandonment, talk of slavery, racism (always in a negative light), slaughter house setting/scene, death, murder, and ritualistic killings.

Buddy read with MadalynJane, & Chelsea! ❤

 

Blog Tour: Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Goodreads | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

ARC provided by Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review.

“Knowledge always has the potential to be dangerous. It is a more powerful weapon than any sword or spell.”

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’ve been looking for a story all about someone living in a library, surrounded by magical books, while also going on adventure after adventure, for my entire life. And I truly believe that not only did Margaret Rogerson give me that, she is giving the YA literature community a gift from above. I feel like when An Enchantment of Ravens came out most people loved it, but it did seem a little bit polarizing, while I liked it but I never was in love with it. But Sorcery of Thorns captivated me from page one, and I adored it so very much that there was never a moment that I wanted to shut this very magical book and stop reading.

And like I said above, this is a story all about a girl named Elisabeth who has grown up in a library all of her life. She wants to eventually be a Warden, who is a person who protects the library, the people, and the books, because some books in this world are very much alive and are capable of doing some very bad things. But one night, when there is an attack at the library and the surrounding town, she takes it upon herself to defend the only home she has ever known. Yet, this act ends up making her the only suspect in the crime.

“Dreadful things roam the shadows while the human world sleeps.”

So, Elisabeth gets sent away and is forced to travel alongside a nobleman and sorcerer named Nathaniel Thorn, who also has a companion named Silas who happens to be a demon. In this world, the old royal families have all made pacts with demons to give them magical powers, and these pacts are passed down from generation to generation, but at a cost. Also, Silas is easily my favorite character in this book and I would die for him this very instant.

But Elisabeth, Nathaniel, and Silas’s paths all continue to cross while Elisabeth is trying to prove her innocence, while also stumbling upon a conspiracy theory to end all other conspiracy theories about what is really happening to the libraries in this world. And the adventures they go on, the secrets they unfold, and the discoveries they make together, was nothing short of a treat to read.

The thing that I didn’t love about this book, and the reason I am giving it four stars, is because I didn’t love the very vague representation. Obviously, I want authors to write what they want to write and what they feel comfortable with, but this was a little too subtly done for me. Yes, we have a main character that does express attraction to more than one gender, which I am always going to be living for, but we get a very brushed off moment with a very minor character being on the ace spectrum. Also, I think another leading character could possibly also be on the ace spectrum, but the representation in this book is so quiet that you are constantly left second guessing yourself while reading, and it feels bad, even with the excuse that this story is set in a fantasy world because the mentions are so very brief, too.

Overall, I did love this story. It was so unique and so whimsical; I couldn’t resist getting completely swept off my feet. I loved all three characters and their dark backgrounds, while gaining so much hope for their futures. I loved the writing and all the twists and turns that this adventure packed story delivered. I loved the historical setting, which is very reminiscent of The Infernal Devices! I loved the romance even though it was such a slow-burn that I wanted to scream in the best way possible! I just loved it all, and I can’t wait to see what Margaret Rogerson does next! Especially because this is a standalone, but I could totally see more in this world after that last page.

Instagram | Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads | Twitch | WishlistYoutube

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Content and Trigger Warnings: anxiety depiction, anxiety attacks, talk of loss of a loved one, captivity, talk of forced institutionalization, and violence.

Buddy read with Sol, Alexa, Kristin, & Alana! ❤

The Kingdom of Copper (The Daevabad Trilogy, #2) by S.A. Chakraborty

Goodreads | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

1.) The City of Brass ★★★★★

“It is time we get some vengeance for what they have done.”

Friends, this was such a phenomenal installment that was such a treat to read. This is an own voices Muslim Fantasy series, and a historical setting of the early 1800s, which barely touches upon the Ottoman Empire. And The Kingdom of Copper picks up five years after the events of The City of Brass

This is a story about djinn, and magical cities, and people being able to harness powers that they don’t fully understand. This is also a story about oppression, and privilege, and the terrible things people are willing to do in the name of pure blood. The mixed bloods in this world, shafits, are treated horribly and without a second thought. This book very much mirrors present day and the refugee crisis; people are unable to get food and shelter, while others are dying of things that could be easily healed, all because of fear, prejudices, and hatred.

Our three main characters are all very separated and all living very different lives than when we last saw them in the first installment. But they all have also grown tremendously during the five years, and now all have very different goals.

“A threat to a loved one is a more effective method of control than weeks of torture.”

Nahri – gifted healer who is trapped in the royal court of Daevabad and trying to make the best out of an alliance that was forced upon her.

Ali – djinn prince exiled by his father, constantly in fear for his life, while also trying to learn his new abilities.

Dara – one of the best warriors, who is watching soldiers being rallied, who are willing to do terrible things in the name of peace.

“Everyone knew about Darayavahoush, Nahri. They just couldn’t agree if he was a monster or a hero.”

My biggest complaint about this second installment is how long it took for Dara and Nahri’s storylines to actually meet up. Obviously, I ship them pretty hard, so I was just really disappointed when it took forever for them to even interact with one another, especially with what Nahri believes. Also, as much as I love the queer side characters in this story, I’m not entirely sure how I liked how one of them was handled. Also, I very much thought Ali was going to give us some bisexual representation in this book, but it appears that we are just going to get a hetero love triangle, which makes me sad.

But this story was impossible to put down, because I was so enthralled on every page. I feel like this 600+ page book was just completely packed with action, and I never wanted it to end. I love S.A. Chakraborty’s writing, and I think she really expertly crafts three very different characters, with three very different perspectives, all of which I completely adored.

“You don’t stop fighting a war just because you’re losing battle”

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and the last line of this book will leave you utterly breathless. I have such high hopes for book three, and fully expect that it’s going to be a perfect conclusion with the way all the threads of this story leave off. This is such a beautiful Middle Eastern story, that ties in so much of the culture’s folklore in an absolutely beautiful and seamless way. I completely recommend this series with my whole heart.

Instagram | Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads | Twitch | WishlistYoutube

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Content and trigger warnings for graphic violence, torture, death, murder, slavery, human trafficking, talk of stillbirth, talk of past threat of rape, and war themes.

Buddy read with Jocelyn at Yogi with a Book! ❤

 

Now I Rise (The Conqueror’s Saga #2) by Kiersten White

Goodreads | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

“Hatred makes monsters of us all.”

Friends, I’ll be honest with you, I have been dreading writing this review. I don’t know what’s wrong with me or my reading tastes, but this series just isn’t the series for me. So many of my friends love this series more than anything and you should check out their reviews: Chaima (Muslim ownvoices), Elise, and Emily! But, sadly, I’m calling it quits and I’m not reading the third book. And if you want my honest opinion? Read The Traitor Baru Cormorant, because it’s a better version of (Radu’s storyline especially) this story.

I didn’t hate this book by any means, it’s just really a 2.5 star, middle of the road book for me. And I’m going to try to keep this review short, because I completely recognize that this series just doesn’t work for me! But this is a historical reimagining, starring two children during the fall of Constantinople, but one of those children is a genderbent Vlad the Impaler.

“The world will destroy her in the end. Too much spark leads to explosions. But your sister will destroy as much as she can before she goes out. She will go down in flames and blood.”

Lada is my favorite. She’s cutthroat, ruthless, and such a wonderful character to read about. She, to me, is the shining star of this book. Radu, is alright. I enjoyed his storyline in this book, but again, it was so reminiscent of The Traitor Baru Cormorant, but just done not as well.

I’ll be honest with you, and this might be a tiny bit spoilery so don’t read any further if you want to go into this tale completely unaware of anything, but I hate love triangles where both siblings like the same person. Maybe it is because I’m so close to my brother, and would never do that to him, but it just makes for a truly painful reading experience. And the character in the middle of it? I hate them with a fiery passion already.

But what I loved is Kiersten White’s writing. Every book I pick up by the author, blows me away with one-liner after one-liner. Such a beautiful and lyrical writing style, and I gobble it up every book. And it makes me even more excited to pick up Slayer.

“Perhaps she had never stopped being that girl lost in a place where she could never have power.”

Overall, I think most people would enjoy this series. Hell, I think most people do enjoy this series. And there really are so many good themes and a lot of representation. So, for sure take my review with a grain of salt. And, again, make sure you check out the reviews of the people I linked in the top paragraph. This series just isn’t for me, and that’s okay. Mehmed is legit the worst character in the history of YA. But Nazira and Fatima are worthy of five stars, though.

Instagram | Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads | Twitch | WishlistYoutube

 

The Duchess Deal (Girl Meets Duke, #1) by Tessa Dare

Goodreads | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

“Charming princes weren’t always what they seemed. Shining armor went out of fashion with the Crusades. And if fairy godmothers existed, hers was running several years late.”

Wow, The Duchess Deal single-handedly restored my faith in historical romances. Seriously, all of 2018 has been me being disappointed with every historical book I pick up, but this one? Friends, I was laughing out loud, I was clutching my pearls, I was melting into a puddle of goo on the ground. This book made me feel everything, and I can’t wait to read so much more by Tessa Dare in the new year!

The Duke of Ashbury – After coming back from the war, most of his body is completely burned and scarred. It has taken him a long while to recover, but when he does his engagement is broken off from his betrothed. Now, Ash keeps himself mostly locked away on his estate, but he is in desperate need to sire a son.

Emma Gladstone – Seamstress, who made the wedding dress for Ash’s fiancé. Yet, no one paid her once the wedding got canceled. But Emma has been living on her own, and is in desperate need of the money, so she marched right up to the Duke’s estate to ask for it.

“Your days will be yours to do whatever you wish.” His voice darkened. “Your nights, however, will belong to me.”

Yet, the Duke is not only willing to pay Emma for her dress, he is also willing to make her an offer that is very hard to refuse; he asks her to marry him and allow him to make her a Duchess, even though she has been on her own and doesn’t have a name that holds any power. But the marriage offer isn’t because of romance, but convenience. Ash will expect Emma to wed him in name only, but he will come to her every night to try to conceive a child, and once she is pregnant, he will give her a house of her own to raise his heir in. And Emma’s friend secretly needs a place to lie low for a few months, and Emma also realizes that this is an opportunity that could change her world forever.

I only really have two negative things to say. First being that Ash would jump to conclusions a little too much for me. Emma does every single thing to prove she is being sincere, and I get that because of what happened to him that it would be hard to believe, but my good dude was being pretty dumb at times. The only other thing, that completely doesn’t impact this review, is that the cover of this book is a little not cool. I do think Ash’s burns are mostly on one side of his body, but I still think that whoever picked this cover could have done better and given us some really cool representation.

“You’re here…In my heart. Somehow you crashed your way into it when I wasn’t looking. The same way you barged into my library, I suppose. But you’re here now, inside.”

Overall, this was just a treat to read. Every scene with the cat had me giggling out loud. The entire staff that Ash employs are the real MVPs and them just wanting him to be happy really warmed my heart. The banter in this book was perfection! I loved Emma so very much, and she was easily a main protagonist that I just wanted to protect at all costs. And this book was hella steamy. Like, unexpectedly steamy. But your girl was living for it. I can’t wait to continue on with this series and to devour much, much more by Tessa Dare!

Instagram | Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads | Twitch | WishlistYoutube

Content and trigger warnings for abandonment, emotional abuse, talk of past war themes, and just for a main character that has very low self-esteem, who is constantly belittling himself.

Buddy read with Julie at Pages and Pens! ❤

And I read this for #smutathon, which is being hosted by Lainey and Riley! ❤

Enchantée by Gita Trelease

Goodreads | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

ARC provided by Flatiron in exchange for an honest review.

“Remember—magic is a cheater’s game, and everyone who sees it wants to play.”

Enchantée is a book that is set in historical Paris, during 1789, but this is a version of Paris unlike any other. Yes, the French Revolution is beginning, and the people are starving and rioting, while Marie Antoinette and other aristocrats ignore their pleas. But some people in this alternative history are able to wield magic to help make their lives a little easier.

In this world, there are three different types of magic:
Magie Ordinaire – changing things
Glamoire – changing oneself
Magie Bibelot – making objects sentient

This book stars Camille, a young girl able to wield magic, but is very scared to get caught because the stakes are so high. Yet, she still turns magic into scrap metal so that they have a little money to live off of. But her younger sister Sophie is not in the best of health, and both of their parents have just died to smallpox. The only person who is supposed to be looking out for them is their older brother, Alain, who is drinking and gambling away what little money they do have.

But when Camille helps out a couple hot air balloon makers, then she finds a magical dress that is hidden away in a secret trunk, and she ends up taking her and her sisters future into her own hands and will stop at nothing to ensure their health and safety. From there, she throws herself into a world of aristocracy, filled with nobles who do not even realize the food they are wasting while people in the streets are starving.

I wanted to love this so much, friends. But sadly, it just fell so very short for me. I felt like the author was trying to cram so many important things that happened in France in that time into this book, while also trying to write her own story, and both elements just made this entire story feel disjointed and left a lot to be desired. And honestly? Even my synopsis of this book sounds a lot better than the book actually is.

I was so bored throughout. I just kept waiting for something more exciting to happen, but it never did. The twists and turns were so predictable and so lackluster. And them ignoring the gross behavior that Alain displayed made me so angry. And their constant views on sex workers made my eyes almost roll out of my head completely. Oh, and the villain was straight up from a comic, twirling his mustache, I swear!

I will say that one of the main side characters, Lazare, is biracial (Indian and French) and he does have a really good discussion about how he feels like the French never let him forget that he isn’t white. I really appreciated that. I also appreciated that Camille was willing to do whatever it took to care for Sophie. You all know I’m always here for good sibling relationships. But besides these two elements? I really didn’t enjoy this one.

I’m so sorry, friends! I do feel like I’ve been really not enjoying a lot of the historical stories I’ve read in 2018, so maybe you will enjoy this a lot more than I did. A lot of my friends have actually given this one really high praise, too. But I’m wishing you all happy reading, always.

Instagram | Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads | Twitch | Wishlist

The quote above was taken from an ARC and is subject to change upon publication.

Content and trigger warnings for degrading comments about women (I honestly feel like I read the word “whore” at least twenty times), slut shaming, physical abuse, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, illness of a loved one, alcoholism, gambling addiction, loss of a loved one, blood depictions.

Buddy read with Mia at Pens and Parchment, Amy at A Court of Crowns and Quills, & Kayla at Books and Blends! ❤

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

Goodreads | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

This was my pick for the September 2018 Book of the Month box!

“Looking back, it seemed to me I’d been trying to escape not just from the camp, but from Achilles’s story; and I’d failed. Because make no mistake, this was his story—his anger, his grief, his story. I was angry, I was grieving, but somehow that didn’t matter.”

Hi, my name is Melanie and 2018 has been the year that I constantly talk about my love for Greek mythos retellings. The Silence of the Girls is a feminist reimagining of Homer’s The Iliad, centering on the Trojan War, but is told in a completely different light than ever before. Yes, we get to see the Trojans and Greeks battle and Achilles be the hero the world knows and loves, but this tale is all about a voice that is never heard in other renditions.

Briseis is a woman that has lost everything; her family, her city, her freedom, but this story gives her an actual voice, unlike all the other tales, but also shows how much more she was able to lose after Achilles is at the gate of her city. This is a very brutal book. Major content and trigger warnings for graphic murder, slavery, pedophilia, cheating, war themes, loss of a loved one, a lot of detailed rape, suicide, self-harm, abuse, PTSD depictions, animal death, sacrificial rituals, the death of children and babies, and heavy war themes and battle depictions. Please use caution with this book and make sure you are in a safe and healthy mindset.

“Another successful raid, another city destroyed, men and boys killed, women and girls enslaved—all in all, a good day. And there was still the night to come.”

I also want to say that I just reread The Song of Achilles a couple weeks ago, and I’m not sure if that heightened or lowered my reading experience. I will say that Patroclus is a sweet angel in every retelling of The Iliad and that didn’t change in The Silence of the Girls. But Achilles? This book makes you truly dislike him and… I just wasn’t expecting it. This book really shows how the stories are always told from a man’s voice and view, and they are always something to be glorified. But Pat Barker gives a voice to the women who are just background noise in all then men’s stories, deemed unworthy.

This reading experience is so unique because the Greeks are hailed as the heroes the entire time, but in this book we get to see behind the heartbreak and devastation they cause on and off the battlefield. Meanwhile, women are just prizes of the war that they never asked to be a part of. And even though Briseis has it a better than a lot of the women taken and enslaved by the Greek, seen as nothing more than spoils of war, her pain is never subsided and never viewed as lesser. Yet, that doesn’t make seeing things from her perspective hurt less. This book truly is heartbreaking.

“Nobody wins a trophy and hides it at the back of a cupboard. You want it where it can be seen, so that other men will envy you.”

My favorite part of this book, as heartbreaking as it is, is how each generation of children (girls, boys, nonbinary) are learning and living in this broken cycle with these expectations and gender roles forced upon them. The cycle never stops; it is just continuously passed down. Yeah, this is a Greek retelling trying to make a statement, but the parallels to our world in 2018 are thought-provoking and leaves an even scarier statement.

And there is a big emphasis on how war will also be passed down from father to son, generation after generation, along with their prejudices, their hate, and their need for revenge. Again, it is never ending and will never be enough. The suffering will just continue and continue being passed down. Meanwhile, the pain and fear will never subside.

“Silence become a woman.”

Overall, I think this is a really important book and I feel very fortunate that I was able to read it. I’ve always loved reimaginings of Homer’s works, but I’ve never read one like this before. Again, this is a really hard book to read and it gets very dark at times. But it really shows how rape will always be about power, not lust. And how men that lust for that power are capable of the evilest of things. And how these men can already have immense power, but it still won’t be enough. How these men and be rich, how they can be good-looking, how they can be the hero of the story.


Instagram | Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads | Twitch| Wishlist

Buddy read with Imi at Imi Reviews Books! ❤