Monday, 7 January 2013

Book Reviews: The Diviners by Libba Bray, The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan & The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin.


1920’s New York roars to life in The Diviners – the first in a new series by Libba Bray.

Combining history, mystery, spine-chilling horror, a dash of heartwarming friendship and just a sprinkling of romance, The Diviners follows the journey of the exuberant Miss Evie O’ Neill who has been unceremoniously uprooted from her small-town Ohio life and transported to the bright lights of New York City via a party trick gone wrong.  Of course, New York is where it’s at, and it’s where Evie wants to be, so really things couldn’t be more right in her life.  Evie envisages a whirlwind party-filled jazz age lifestyle, but in a book that opens with an unsettling séance, we know that Evie’s time in New York is not going to be all about dancing the night away at speakeasies.

Soon Evie finds herself involved in a murder mystery to which she may hold the key.  Along with a motley crew of characters, including her uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition and The Occult a.k.a The Museum of Creepy Crawlies, and his mysterious assistant Jericho, Evie must uncover clues before the murder strikes again. Who might his next victim be?

The Diviners is a meticulously researched book – 1920’s New York in all its flapper finery pos-i-tute-ly comes to life on its pages which contain a wealth of characters, all with their own secrets never to tell.  I must say that none of the characters quite held my attention the way Evie did – she shines like a star here – but I am looking forward to finding out more about aspiring actress Theta,  her best friend Henry, and Memphis, the poet of the piece, in future books.

For readalikes I recommend The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman – the books are not similar in setting or theme, but both have a similarly foreboding vibe and cross-mix of genres, while the level of research in both books is nothing short of astounding.


The Diviners by Libba BrayPublisher: Atom.  Release date: Sept. 18th 2012.  Ages: 14+
My Rating: 4/5.  Source: Received from publisher for review.

------------


Last year Tim and Vanessa spent eighteen hours together snowed in at an airport hotel, where they had breakfast for dinner and built an igloo.  The feelings that developed between them during that time would go on to affect the rest of their time at the prestigious Irving school, and maybe even their whole lives too…

When Duncan arrives back at Irving for his senior year, the events of the previous year still play on his mind, as do his feelings for Daisy, his crush with whom he messed things up royally months before.  Duncan doesn’t explain to us what happened between Tim and Vanessa the year before, nor does he offer any clues as to why things went so wrong with him and Daisy,  that’s for us to figure out as The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan unfolds. 

We find ourselves quickly immersed in the story when Duncan inherits Tim’s old room, where its former occupant has left a stack of CD’s for Duncan.  As he listens to the CD’s, Duncan uncovers the truth behind last years events at the Irving school and also finds himself equipped with the all the tools he needs to write his Tragedy Paper, Irving’s take on a senior thesis.

 The Tragedy Paper is a compulsively readable tale that takes a ‘story within a story’ form. Tim, a thoughtful, self-conscious albino, who never thought he’d have a chance with popular girl Vanessa, tells a poignant tale of self-doubt and missed opportunities, which Duncan can take valuable lessons from in his own life.  A slow burn of a book, The Tragedy Paper is an accomplished debut and well worth a read, but for me, the ending failed to pack a punch.


The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBanPublisher: Random House.  Release date: Jan. 8th 2013.  Ages: 12+.   My Rating: 3.5/5.  Source: Received from publisher for review.

------------


+ Contains spoilers for The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer.

See that warning right there? Don’t read this review unless you’ve read the first book!

So, we all remember that killer cliffhanger in The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, right? Turns out that Jude, Mara’s very shady ex, and the guy she thought she killed is very much alive.  According to Mara, that is.  But nobody else believes her, nobody but lover boy Noah that is, who believes in Mara no matter what.  Noah is painted as a reckless bad boy in the first book, but here he never falters. He’s steady as a rock for Mara, even though the romance of their relationship is often overshadowed by the mysterious goings on in Mara’s life.

So, who is Mara Dyer? After all this time, we still don’t really know, but we’re getting there as little by little Michelle Hodkin feeds us tiny morsels of clues that may or may not help us discover what exactly is up with Mara.  I loved The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer – did I know what was going on? Heck, no, but I loved it anyway.  Atmospheric and eerie, MARA creeped me out and kept me reading late into the night.  This one is a page-turner too, but for me, it wasn’t as haunting as the first book, maybe because everything isn’t so unknown anymore.  The Evolution of Mara Dyer provides us with some answers, but there’s still a lot of mystery surrounding Mara, Noah and Co.  Oh, and this one also ends on a killer cliffhanger, which may or may not have made me just about cry.

Also, you need to know about the beach scene in this book which features Noah Shaw in a tux. I know I’ve mentioned this before, way too many times, but, oh, that is such a hot scene!

The Evolution of Mara Dyer provided me with some answers and left me in total suspense. I can’t wait to see how this all plays out when the third and final book in the series, The Retribution of Mara Dyer, releases later this year.
 

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #2) by Michelle HodkinPublisher: Simon & Schuster.  Release date: Oct. 23th 2012.  Ages: 14+.   My Rating: 4/5.  Source: Purchased.

------------

20 comments :

  1. I'm looking forward to reading all three of these books. But especially Mara Dyer and The Tragedy Paper!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Looking forward to reading the evolution of mara dyer myself now :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. The Diviners sounds really good and I need to get started in the first book from Mara Dyer. Great reviews :)

    Mel@thedailyprophecy.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh I loved the Diviners too and yes it was so well researched I feel like I was literally IN that era! I  didn't love Mara as much as you did but the sequel was really good! Which I didn't expect haha.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I really want to read all three! S&SUK publishes MARA in March, I can't believe Ive waited this long for it but I may as well wait the rest of it now :P The Tragedy Paper sounds really good as well, I don't think it's being published over here? I will just wait for the pb release

    Cait x

    ReplyDelete
  6.  It's a good one. We finally get some answers! :)

    ReplyDelete
  7.  I've been craving more books set in the 1920's ever since I read The Diviners -- love reading about that era! :)

    ReplyDelete
  8.  I couldn't wait until March -- I just had to have it!! Can't wait to hear what you think of it.  Random House are publishing The Tragedy Paper over here --  it's out tomorrow! :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. So glad you enjoyed The Evolution of Mara Dyer and The Diviners too Leanna! I'm really looking forward to the second book in the Diviners series, there was a lot going on in this first book and I want to see how everything is going to come together. And don't even get me started on that beach scene with Noah. *swoon* I love him:)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh I'm so glad that you loved The Diviners too, Libba Bray did a fantastic job, despite it not being my typical sort of read, I was immediately hooked! And The Tragedy Paper I have seen that everywhere lately I must definitely give it a try! :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. I felt the same way about The Tragedy Paper-- definitely a slow burn of a read, but half-way decent. Evolution of Mara Dyer was awesome. I agree about the beach scene--- hot! :)  The ending was crazy. Can't wait for book three. I also just got The Diviners...can't wait to read it since I love Libba Bray -- hoping it doesn't freak me out though! 

    ReplyDelete
  12. I stumbled across your blog through another book blogs comment and I am sure glad I did! It's always nice to meet fellow bibliophiles! 

    I love Libba Bray, but have yet to read this book so it looks like I have another one to add to my list!





    I just subscribed to your blog and cant wait to see more updates and reviews to add to my ever growing need to read list.



    -Stacy at Longtime Lover Of Literature

    ReplyDelete
  13. EEEEEEEEEEEE! The beach scene in Evolution! Noah in tux! SWOON! I loved Evolution so much but the ending left me desperate for the sequel. So looking forward to read Retribution ;)

    The Diviners! Love the 1920s New York setting. I didn't quite enjoyed it as much as I thought I would but I still can't wait to read the next book :D

    Awesome reviews, Leanna ♥ So glad you enjoyed all of them!

    ReplyDelete
  14. EEEEEEEEEEEE! The beach scene in Evolution! Noah in tux! SWOON! I loved Evolution so much but the ending left me desperate for the sequel. So looking forward to read Retribution ;)
    The Diviners! Love the 1920s New York setting. I didn't quite enjoyed it as much as I thought I would but I still can't wait to read the next book :D
    Awesome reviews, Leanna ♥ So glad you enjoyed all of them!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I have heard a lot about Mara, and glad that you enjoyed the 2nd. I need to get caught up. 
    Happy reading,

    Brandi from Blkosiner’s
    Book Blog

    ReplyDelete
  16.  Oh, me too. He's so yum! :)

    ReplyDelete
  17.  Can't wait to see what you think of The Tragedy Paper. I've seen mixed reviews around. For me it was a pretty good read - I liked the writing style etc, but I needed something a bit more from the ending.

    ReplyDelete
  18.  I think The Diviners might freak you out just a little - I can't wait to see what you think! I loved your review of The Tragedy Paper! : )

    ReplyDelete
  19.  Thanks, Stacy - I'll be sure to check out your blog too! HOpe you enjoy The Diviners when you get around to it! :)

    ReplyDelete
  20.  Thanks, Celine. Oh my, that beach scene. I loved it. The end of the book was crazy! Can't wait to see how it all turns out!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I really appreciate it!

If you are a book blogger and have taken the time to comment, I will make sure to come visit your blog and return the favour. :)

Please note: This blog is now an award free zone. Thanks to everyone who has awarded the blog in the past.

Related Posts with Thumbnails