The Diviners

The Diviners

by Libba Bray

17899351

Do you believe there are ghosts and demons and Diviners among us?
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 unfurl in the city that never sleeps. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened….

Better late than never this week! It’s been a tad crazy lately, so I’m sorry this post didn’t make it up on Tuesday. But The Diviners it the perfect book to start off this creepy Halloween weekend!

Evie is destined to be a star, but is unfortunately stuck in small town Ohio. Until a small stunt leaves her in trouble and on the first train to her uncle’s in New York City. It’s not long before she is next deep investigating a series of murders that shock the city. But there is more to this murder, and Evie, and the young heroine must embrace her paranormal side to save the day. 

I enjoyed The Diviners! Evie is a relatable character with just enough moxy to make up for her flaws. The diverse cast of characters keep the plot moving at a fast pace and Bray expertly weaves these storylines together. I love how Bray makes you feel like you are standing in New York in the 1920s watching these events. The language, the clothing, the atmosphere; you get it all and it flows together seamlessly. The mystery was twisted and interesting and I was excited to see how the sacrificial stages would play out. The book is an enjoyable paranormal historical mystery and perfect for a lazy Halloween weekend. 

Surprisingly, the language is very telling and there are parts where the prose is essentially ‘and this happened.’ It didn’t make me dislike The Diviners, but I felt more showing language would have intensified the 1920s feel. It is also why the mystery just wasn’t scary for me on the same level that many others have mentioned. Otherwise, it was pretty good!

The end left me curious and needing to know more. So, I will definitely be picking up Lair of Dreams, the next book in the series. What spooky reads are you enjoying this weekend?

Happy Halloween!

Lindsay

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Ghostwalk

Ghostwalk

by Rebecca Stott

668608

A Cambridge historian, Elizabeth Vogelsang, is found drowned, clutching a glass prism in her hand. The book she was writing about Isaac Newton’s involvement with alchemy — the culmination of her lifelong obsession with the seventeenth century — remains unfinished. When her son, Cameron, asks his former lover, Lydia Brooke, to ghostwrite the missing final chapters of his mother’s book, Lydia agrees and moves into Elizabeth’s house — a studio in an orchard where the light moves restlessly across the walls.

Soon Lydia discovers that the shadow of violence that has fallen across present-day Cambridge, which escalates to a series of murders, may have its origins in the troubling evidence that Elizabeth’s research has unearthed. As Lydia becomes ensnared in a dangerous conspiracy that reawakens ghosts of the past, the seventeenth century slowly seeps into the twenty-first, with the city of Cambridge the bridge between them.

Filled with evocative descriptions of Cambridge, past and present, Ghostwalk centers around a real historical mystery that Rebecca Stott has uncovered involving Newton’s alchemy. In it, time and relationships are entangled — the present with the seventeenth century, and figures from the past with the love-torn twenty-first-century woman who is trying to discover their secrets.

A stunningly original display of scholarship and imagination, and a gripping story of desire and obsession, Ghostwalk is a rare debut that will change the way most of us think about scientific innovation, the force of history, and time itself.

I picked up the audio version of Ghostwalk from my local library. My initial though was “hmmmm Newton…why not?” The good thing is that I learned a ton of interesting information about Newton’s studies at Cambridge, but unfortunately, I was not impressed by the modern fiction plot line.

I’m going to start with all the things I enjoyed about Ghostwalk. I love the information about Newton. I found his experiments with light fascinating and wish there had been more details on the early production of glass. I like how Stott wove together the intricate murder mysteries of the past, and these events alone have me wanting to do my own research. And I enjoy the focus on alchemy; Stott’s research was impressive. I enjoyed how Elizabeth teaches Lydia how to visualize the past through smells and stories. And I even like the journal style format.

And now for the bad…I had a hard time connecting with Lydia, which isn’t good as she is the main character. Basically, she chooses to be in a relationship with a married man and her constant focus on this relationship bogged down the story. We all know it’s going to end…badly! And I had a difficult time even caring for Cameron as everything he said and did felt overly manipulative and arrogant. Not my type of guy and his very few redeeming qualities only diminished as the novel progressed. But it wasn’t just the crap relationship that left me feeling ‘eh’ about Ghostwalk. The plot was bogged down by the rough melding of Lydia’s timeline, the animal research activists, and the ghostly resurgence of Newton’s past. It was hard to enjoy over my annoyance at Lydia and the jumpy plot.

Ghostwalk wasn’t a bad story but not one that I would ever read again. I was impressed by Stott’s research and presentation of historic information, but not by the plot development. It was interesting to learn about Newton and his experiments, and I wouldn’t mind learning more. Next time I may pick up a nonfiction instead of a historical fiction novel.

Do you enjoy learning about Newton and alchemy? Have you read Ghostwalk? Tell me what you think.

Lindsay

 

Twenties Girl

Twenties Girl

by Sophie Kinsella

Twenties Girl

Lara Lington has always had an overactive imagination, but suddenly that imagination seems to be in overdrive.  Normal professional twenty-something young women don’t get visited by ghosts.  Or do they?

When the spirit of Lara’s great-aunt Sadie – a feisty, demanding girl with firm ideas about fashion, love, and the right way to dance – mysteriously appears, she has one request: Lara must find a missing necklace that had been in Sadie’s possession for more than seventy-five years, because Sadie cannot rest without it.

Lara and Sadie make a hilarious sparring duo, and at first it seems as though they have nothing in common.  But as the mission to find Sadie’s necklace leads to intrigue and a new romance for Lara, these very different “twenties” girls learn some surprising truths from and about each other.  Written with all the irrepressible charm and humor that have made Sophie Kinsella’s books beloved by millions, Twenties Girl is also a deeply moving testament to the transcendent bonds of friendship and family.

I tend to read novels that follow particular themes during certain months of the year.  October is usually reserved for supernatural and Halloween mysteries and I picked up Twenties Girl last October solely due to the ghostly mystery it promised.  October was not the right month for this book and it would have been a much more enjoyable read in the middle of summer on the beach.  So I thought now would be the perfect time to share my review!

I did not enjoy Twenties Girl for the first two-thirds of the novel.  This is the first Sophie Kinsella novel and I enjoy her writing style but both main characters, Lara and Sadie, were self-centered, obnoxious, whiny individuals that left me yelling at my cd player on multiple occasions.  Lara and Sadie are two selfish and stubborn women who must to respect each other which leaves readers struggling alongside them through pages of petty bickering.  I usually enjoy a flawed character but it was tough embracing Lara and Sadie.  I almost returned the book because I was so sick of Sadie’s demands and Lara constantly adding drama to her own life.

And then the last third of the book happened.  I was so glad I stuck it out because I completely forgot about the whining and bickering as Kinsella drew me along on the frantic search for the missing necklace.  The girls come together to right the wrongs of Sadie’s past and they finally start connecting with one another.  Sadie shows Lara the glamour of the 1920s and Lara gives Sadie a loving friendship.  Readers finally start learning the mystery behind Sadie’s demanding nature and the two women embrace and overcome their flaws to achieve success.  I even enjoyed Lara’s awkwardness in her budding relationship with Ed.

There is one scene that has stuck with me through the months and of course I cannot talk about it because of spoilers!  I find myself envisioning the details of the shock and joy experienced by both women and I delight in mentally reliving that moment over and over again.  That scene is why I truly enjoyed the book and I wish I could thank Kinsella for that one moment!

So who else has read Twenties Girl?

Lindsay

The Blue Girl

The Blue Girl

by Alex Grecian

The Blue Girl (Murder Squad, #2.5)

From the author of the nationally bestselling suspense novel The Yard and its sequel The Black Country, both novels of Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad, coves a short story of the Squad, a cautionary tale: Be careful what you wish for.

October 1889: Constable Colin Pringle is a man of few illusions, but there is something about the girl in the canal, her skin a delicate shade of blue, that bothers him more than he expected it would. Perhaps it’s because Dr. Kingsley’s forensic examination suggests that she was a just-married bride. Someone needs to find out just who she was and what happened to her, Pringle decides, and he sets out to do exactly that. But the answers will not be anything like what he expects. In fact, they will shake his view of the world to the core.

The Blue Girl is officially listed as #2.5 in Grecian’s Murder Squad series, but I decided to review it first because the story takes place before the opening novel in the series, The Yard. But, I suggest reading The Yard, which I will review tomorrow, before The Blue Girl. The Yard provides the detailed character development and established relationships that readers should know before jumping in to the short story. Also, Grecian should commend his cover artist because the covers for each book are amazing! This is my favorite; it is morbidly beautiful and it gives me chills each time I see it.

On to the review! The Blue Girl is told as an entry in Constable Colin Pringle’s personal journal. It is written from his POV and follows his investigation for the killer of the blue bride. The story needed to be longer. Grecian did not have the space to tell the story and include his usual flare and descriptive language. The Blue Girl starts out in Grecian’s normal style as he shows us selflessness of destitute Londoners retrieving the girl’s body, but such descriptive language diminishes as the story progresses. I know that Colin Pringle is a vain, but good man from The Yard; he comes across as stuck up and almost whiny in this short story. I also didn’t feel like Pringle’s view of the world was rocked to the core upon discovering the truth behind the blue girl’s death. I could tell that he was disturbed by the outcome of the investigation but nothing more. The latter half of the story was missing the vibrant ‘showing’ language that makes Grecian’s novels so enjoyable. Hopefully his next short story will be longer.

Grecian’s secondary female characters are rather flat, both in The Yard and The Blue Girl. I expect this to change as he continues writing and building his experience. I’ll discuss Grecian’s writing style further in my review of The Yard.

Overall it is a good short story and I definitely did not expect the ending! I love Grecian’s characters and I really enjoy the time period of the Murder Squad novels. I recommend The Blue Girl as a fun read but I suggest you start with The Yard to get a better feel for the characters and Grecian’s writing style. Has anyone else read The Blue Girl?

Lindsay