Jo Talks Books: On Rediscovering Audiobooks

Hi everyone! I’m back with another discussion post for you this month, which I had intended to post in October, but sadly I just didn’t have the time, so I saved it up for this month instead. One of my resolutions I made for the year, back in January was to read more audiobooks, and though I put off on starting it until July, I’ve really enjoyed my adventure into audio and definitely plan on continuing reading audiobooks for the foreseeable future.

I actually have kind of a strange history with audiobooks, because I did used to love them when I was a kid. This is really going to age me, but when I was a kid, I used to listen to audio books on cassette tape (yes, I know, when I was young cassettes were still a thing), and I really enjoyed them. I remember I used to have the physical book, and the cassette and I’d read along whilst listening and it was something I always used to enjoy, I especially loved listening to the Sophie books by Dick King Smith.

But then I stopped. I can’t even remember when and I don’t know why but I just stopped listening to audiobooks. Maybe because cassettes weren’t really a thing anymore, maybe  I didn’t know where to get them from, maybe it was just easier to get my hands on physical books from the library? Honestly I don’t know, but past the age of about 8 or 9, I didn’t really read audiobooks anymore, and the years passed and they kind of fell off my radar.

When I joined Book Twitter in 2015, and in the years since, I noticed that a lot of people were talking about audiobooks, audiobooks that they’d enjoyed, whether audiobooks counted as reading or not (they do) and various other things. I wanted to get involved in the discussions, but at the time, I wasn’t having the greatest reading year & I didn’t really want to try and dive into a whole new format.

Flash forward to four years later and I still hadn’t tried any audiobooks, despite my friend Nicola, and the entirety of Book Twitter talking about how much they enjoy audio as a format. I don’t know if the fact that I like to listen to music whilst reading meant that I put off trying audiobooks, because obviously you can’t listen to two things at once, or if it was just my natural procrastinating instincts, but either way, I still hadn’t tried them. Finally after a post-Christmas meal with some family friends, where someone once again told me how much they enjoy audio, I decided to make it a resolution for this year to try some, and see if I enjoyed them.

I’d already asked Twitter to recommend me some audiobooks, as I had no idea where to start, so armed with my list, I finally took the plunge and subscribed to Audible in June. I wasn’t really sure what to pick as my first book, but thankfully, a Goodreads book group I’m part of (YA Addicted Book Club) were planning to read Priory of The Orange Tree in July, and as I wasn’t entirely sure about lugging the 800+ page hardback around with me, I thought that book would be a great way to kickstart my audio experience.

And it was! The narrator for Priory, Liyah Summers, was great and it definitely helped diving into audio again after such a long time away from it with a book from an author I already knew I liked. Whilst I had always read physical books on public transport, audio actually worked even better for me for this purpose because the chapters are all split into 20-40 minute chunks (some are more, some are less, but generally this seems to be the case), so I could listen to them without having to leave off in the middle of a chapter, because they usually lasted the length of my bus journey.

I’ve also mentioned in these discussion posts that I’m not the most visual reader. Now, reading audiobooks hasn’t meant that I picture things in my head more, but I have found that it has enhanced my reading experience, I feel even more immersed in the worlds, and the characters through hearing the stories as opposed to reading them myself. This is not to say that I don’t still love physical books, because of course I do, but there’s something about listening to the story that just makes it feel even more alive for me. This is particularly true in the case of The Diviners audiobooks, January LaVoy is such a good narrator that you really do feel the creepy, supernatural, 1920’s atmosphere of the books come to life.

I’ve found that I can get through audiobooks a lot quicker than I can read physical books, I’m not entirely sure why that is, maybe the narrators just speak faster than I read, but I can get through a good 3 or 4 chapters on the bus on the way to work listening to the audio, where before, with a very similar commute, I would have only got through one chapter of a physical book.

As I mentioned with Priory, the audio split what was a incredibly large book into much more manageable chunks, so I definitely think for people who are intimidated by large books (like me), audio is a really great option. I’ve done the same thing to finish Kingdom of Ash, I was really struggling with the physical book, because it was just SO LONG, and switching to the audio made it far, far easier to get through.

I think the snobbery around audiobooks is somewhat strange, because in addition to the fact that its ableism, don’t we all start out our lives being read to? Before we learn to read, we are read to, when I was younger one of my favourite things was my dad reading me stories. How are audiobooks really any different? It’s literally just someone reading you a story, the same as many of us experienced when we younger, and it’s been great to come back to that, listening to audiobooks has definitely made me really nostalgic for that!

Audiobooks have also allowed me read books that I might not necessarily have considered buying physical copies of, like You or the Diviners, books that I’ve wanted to try but didn’t necessarily want to sacrifice the shelf space for, and since I obviously have limited shelf space, it just generally is another way for me to read MORE.

Blogging has really helped me in terms of diving into formats that I wouldn’t necessarily have considered before, both with e-books, and now with audiobooks (though I have to say, I actually do prefer audio to e-books, as I’m not a massive fan of reading on a screen, I spend so much time doing that anyway, it’s quite nice to get a break) and this has definitely expanded my reading horizons. I can’t wait to hopefully discover more amazing audiobooks in the near future!

So what do you think? Do you love audiobooks? Do you have any favourite narrators? Did you take a while to fall in love with audio like I did? Let me know in the comments!

I doubt I will have another one of these up this month, given my work schedule, but hopefully I will have another one up next month, talking about the second year of my Bechdel Test reading experiment. In the meantime, my next post will be my regularly scheduled Top Ten Tuesday post.

Top Ten Tuesday #236

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Hi guys, I hope you’ve all had a good past week. I was at a Fireworks Night event in Cambridge tonight, hence the later than usual post, for those of you who are outside the UK and maybe not as a familiar as fireworks night, basically it’s meant to commemorate the foiling of a plot to blow up our Parliament (The Gunpowder Plot) in 1605, though that’s less the focus now than it was 400 odd years ago, now it’s more about watching pretty fireworks and eating overpriced junk food.

Since it’s Tuesday, I have another Top Ten Tuesday for you all, courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week, we’re talking Books That Give Off Autumn Vibes, in whatever context you want to interpret that, so I’m going with books that feel autumnal in their content, be they spooky, or atmospheric or the kind that make you want to curl up in front of a fire, with a mug of hot chocolate. So here we go, the books that I think have an autumnal feel:

  1. The Raven Cycle-Maggie Stiefvater

To be honest, I think all of Maggie Stiefvater’s books have somewhat of an autumnal feel, but this one has always reminded me of autumn, it has a very eerie atmosphere with all of the psychics and spirits and magical forests.

2. Stalking Jack The Ripper-Keri Maniscalco

This book largely takes place through the Autumn and it feels very autumnal with the characters searching for a killer through dark Victorian London streets and all the macabre descriptions of dead bodies.

3. City of Ghosts-Victoria Schwab

Victoria Schwab’s colour palate especially the dark reds that her cover designers tend to like, leans towards the autumnal and this book definitely seems like a spooky autumn read, with the main character being a girl who is able to see ghosts and the setting in a haunted Edinburgh.

4. The Hazel Wood-Melissa Albert

There’s just something about spooky forests that screams Autumn to me and this book definitely has spooky forests in spades. It also has spooky fairytales, which adds to the autumnal feeling for me.

5. House of Ash-Hope Cook

Again, another book that makes it onto this list because of spooky vibes. I think October is so linked with Halloween, that spooky books automatically feel autumnal to me. I mean it’s set in a Gothic Victorian manor house that can shift through time, and the house almost feels like a character of itself and it follows the main character as he tries to solve the mystery of a girl trapped in a mirror and a fire that occurred at the manor house over a 100 years prior.

6. Skulduggery Pleasant-Derek Landy

I mean pretty much everything about these books screams autumn, the covers are all in quite autumnal colours, one of the main characters is a walking, talking, skeleton detective, it has generous helpings of creepy and the Irish setting is very atmospheric.

7. The Archived-Victoria Schwab

Once again, a Schwab book makes the list, this book definitely because of the creep factor and the eerie atmosphere. The premise of this book is that the dead are stored on the shelves of a Library and they are known as “Histories”, they can only be “read” by Librarians and the main character has to stop especially violent Histories from escaping. The whole story is mysterious and dark and gives off a kind of dark Autumn night vibe which makes it perfect for this list.

8. The Gilded Wolves-Roshani Chokshi

Okay, so this one I have to admit mostly made the list because of its cover, which gives off quite autumnal vibes. The leaves do look more spring like as they’re green, but the intricate gold pattern and the purple flowers just feels quite autumnal to me and I don’t know why!

9. Daughter of The Burning City-Amanda Foody

Again, this one has quite an eerie atmosphere, with the sinister murder mystery, the illusions, the smoke filled carnival, everything about it is very fitting for reading on a dark autumn night.

10. The Devouring Gray-Christine Lynn Herman

The cover of this, with the mist shrouded woods definitely screams autumn, as does the synopsis as it’s set in a small town where a dark monster lurks in the woods, and comes out to start killing kids and four teenagers who are the children of the town’s founders, have to solve the mystery.

So they we go, Books With Autumnal Vibes. Do you agree with my choices? Have you read any of this books? What books do you think give off autumn vibes? Let me know in the comments!

Next week’s topic is Favourite Bookmarks, which I am twisting slightly, to share my Favourite Fandom Bookmarks from Etsy.

In the meantime, I will probably have a post for you over the weekend, though I’m not sure what it’s going to be yet.

#RockMyTBR October Update (2019)

Hi everyone! I hope you had a nice October, mine was once again largely work, but I did do some cool things, including a holiday to France with my friends, a trip to see Waitress in London with my parents and a dinner out with my friends this week for my friend Hannah’s birthday.

Reading wise, October was a little slow for me, I thought my #RockMyTBR book would take a lot less time than it did, but I was stuck with it through the entire month which was a shame as I was hoping to read more. For any of you who are new to the blog, #RockMyTBR is a challenge created by Sarah K over at The YA Book Traveler and I’ve borrowed it for my own blog over the past few years. The challenge is relatively simple, you just pick a list of books from your TBR and read them over the course of the year. I always do 12, one for each month of the year, and I have Twitter decide them for me as I am terrible at making decisions! I only read two books this month, but that has brought my total for the year so far to 37, only 3 away from my challenge of 40 and two more than last year already, so I’m really happy with that! Here is what I read in October:

Before the Devil Breaks You

Before The Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray:

My favourite book of October, this was my audiobook read of the month and I loved it so much. I can’t believe that I’ve caught up with this series already, I’m so excited for King of Crows to come out in February, though I am slightly heartbroken by some of the events of this book! I read this one from 1st-24th October. Here is my review of it:

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/10/31/before-the-devil-breaks-you-the-diviners-3-review-audiobook/

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The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli:

This was my #RockMyTBR for October. I was actually quite disappointed by this one, the concept was great and I loved all the mythology of the world, but I thought it was poorly executed in terms of plot and pacing! I know I was busy this month, but it shouldn’t have taken me a whole month to read a 400+ page book. I read this one from 2nd-28th October. Here is my review of it:

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/11/01/the-last-namsara-iskari-1-review/

So that’s what I read in October, here’s what I have coming up in November:

An Enchantment of Ravens-Margaret Rogerson

My #RockMyTBR book for this month. I honestly haven’t really heard much about this one, so I’m not sure what to expect, but the only experience of faeries that I’ve had are the alpha male ones in Sarah J Maas books so I’m hoping for slightly less toxic masculinity in this book!

Ninth House-Leigh Bardugo

I’ve just started this one, so I’m not really sure how I feel about it yet, I’m intrigued and it’s certainly very different to any of her other books. I really hope I enjoy it as it was one of my most anticipated books of the year!

Kingdom of Ash-Sarah J Maas

Yes, I know I’ve included this on several challenge updates and never actually finished it, but I am actually making a concerted effort this time! I’m using the audio to finish it and that’s definitely helping, I can make much more progress this way and it’s actually getting good now, so I’m glad I made the switch.

The Fowl Twins-Eoin Colfer

My Netgalley read for this month, the sequel series to Artemis Fowl, following his twin brothers this time. I’m not very far through this either, but I’m enjoying it so far, I love Colfer’s writing style for these books.

As I mentioned at the start of this post, I’m doing really well on my reading challenge, only 3 books to go before I beat it, I might even manage to do it before the end of December. How did your October reading go? Let me know in the comments!

 

The Last Namsara (Iskari #1) Review

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Book: The Last Namsara

Author: Kristen Ciccarelli

BECHDEL TEST: FAIL-None of the conversations Asha has with other female characters revolve around anything other than men.

I got The Last Namsara in Fairyloot’s November 2017 box, Ladies Who Slay, specifically because it was said to be a book about dragons with a badass female character, and finally got around to reading it this year, as my October #RockMyTBR book. Sadly, I was somewhat disappointed by the book, it was slow paced, I found it hard to connect to the main character, and the world building, aside from the mythology and stories, was lacking. Here is a short synopsis of the book:

In the beginning, there was the Namsara: the child of sky and spirit, who carried love and laughter wherever he went. But where there is light, there must be darkness—and so there was also the Iskari. The child of blood and moonlight. The destroyer. The death-bringer.

These are the legends that Asha, daughter of the king of Firgaard, has grown up learning in hushed whispers, drawn to the forbidden figures of the past. But it isn’t until she becomes the fiercest, most feared dragon slayer in the land that she takes on the role of the next Iskari—a lonely destiny that leaves her feeling more like a weapon than a girl.

Asha conquers each dragon and brings its head to the king, but no kill can free her from the shackles that await at home: her betrothal to the cruel commandant, a man who holds the truth about her nature in his palm. When she’s offered the chance to gain her freedom in exchange for the life of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard, she finds that there may be more truth to the ancient stories than she ever could have expected. With the help of a secret friend—a slave boy from her betrothed’s household—Asha must shed the layers of her Iskari bondage and open her heart to love, light, and a truth that has been kept from her. 

I’m kind of unsure how I feel about this book. The concept was so brilliant, I loved the idea of a world built on stories, and of course dragons are absolute catnip for me so this should have been a slam dunk. And there were parts I liked, I really liked the stories and the mythology of the world, I thought that was really great and honestly, I could have read an entire book of those. I also really enjoyed the dragons, though I think if you’re going to market yourself as a “dragon book”, you kind of need to have more than two!

The pace of the book was extremely slow as well, for the first 200-300 pages there wasn’t really all that much happening, honestly, it could have been a much shorter book than it was. It doesn’t usually take me an entire month to finish one book, and though I was quite busy this month, I also think the slow pace of the book had something to do with it.

The writing was decent, if not particularly memorable, though the author did have a problem with repetition, she used a lot of the same phrases over and over again throughout the book. And whilst I know that “breath they didn’t know they were holding” is a legitimate thing that happens to people with anxiety, I wish authors could find a different way to express it because it’s such an overused phrase!

Asha was an okay MC, I found it hard to connect to her in the beginning, because she was just so mean and whilst I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, it took a while to connect with her because I didn’t understand why she was being so awful. She was also incredibly dumb, there were a lot of things that she could have worked out a lot earlier if she’d just thought to ask her brother! I think the problem was that the author told us a lot about Asha’s personality and skills without really showing them in action, it was hard to believe that she was as evil as she was leading us to believe, she just came off as kind of bratty.

The side characters were hardly developed at all, it felt like they had a name and maybe a few key characteristics, but no real depth to them at all, which made it hard to care. Torwin, Dax and Safire all had the potential to be interesting, but they just weren’t developed enough, if I’d known more about them, then I might have cared about their stories more. Safire in particular just seemed to be used as a plot device to motivate Asha.

There were several things that made absolutely no sense within the world building: the entire world being afraid of Asha since she was an eight year old girl, when by all accounts, she was the one severely burned by a dragon? And the whole regicide rule, like if you kill the King, you are sentenced to death? Surely people plotting to kill the King are wanting to take the throne (as was the case here), and so if you are successful and become King or Queen, then you then have to sentence yourself to death? That makes no sense at all. Asha also changes her mind awfully quickly about slaves and dragons for someone who has been indoctrinated her entire life to hate them, and for a great dragon slayer, she doesn’t seem to do a very good job of it in the book, as she is injured in pretty much every fight she has with a dragon.

The gender dynamics of the world were also difficult to pin down, as there is clearly no male/female preference in terms of inheritance of the throne, Firgaard has had both kings and queens and there’s nothing that seems to hint that their society considers women as lesser, but then no one seems to bat an eye at Asha’s fiance being abusive and its implied that marital rape is legal, so clearly they don’t care about women that much.

Aside from the stories, the world building was lacking. There are no descriptions of the characters, or the world, and though there are names of a few places thrown about, we don’t really learn much about them. I’m not a visual reader, so I don’t need lengthy descriptions, but I do want to have an idea about what the world and characters are meant to look like and I don’t think I got that here.

Torwin and Asha’s romance made me quite uncomfortable because of the master/slave dynamic. I just don’t think that there is any good way to write that, the power dynamics are so unbalanced that it feels wrong and so I can’t root for the couple. In addition to that, the romance in general was just weak, it wasn’t developed enough, I didn’t really feel the chemistry between the two characters and in general just felt quite insta-lovey to me.

There were some twists through the book, a lot of the major ones I guessed though, because the author pretty much spelled them out for you. I don’t mind authors leaving clues for the readers to work the twists out for themselves, but I don’t want them to be in your face obvious.

The book was quite light on dialogue, it was mostly Asha’s stream of consciousness, and the dialogue that was there wasn’t done all that well. I think if there had been slightly more dialogue and interactions between characters, not just Asha’s internal thoughts and feelings, then we would have had a better sense of the characters’ dynamics and relationships.

The ending didn’t feel earned, it all wrapped up a little too easily for my liking, the characters didn’t really have to struggle to achieve their goal and they weren’t really any sacrifices made by them. There’s nothing wrong with a standalone being wrapped up in a neat bow and a happy ever after, but it has to feel earned, and it didn’t here.

Overall, this book had a lot of potential, but it didn’t really live up to it, with weak characters and lacklustre worldbuilding. I don’t think I will be reading the companion novels.

My Rating: 3/5

My next review will be of the final book in the Throne of Glass series, Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J Maas, which I’m hoping to finally finish soon after almost a year of reading it!

Before The Devil Breaks You (The Diviners #3) Review (Audiobook)

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Book: Before The Devil Breaks You (The Diviners #3)

Author: Libba Bray

Format: Audiobook

Narrator: January LaVoy

BECHDEL TEST: Uncertain, honestly I didn’t keep very good track, I was so engrossed in the book and it’s not as easy to flick back through audio as it is in a physical book!

This series has just got better and better with each book. What started as a promising but relatively shaky first book, progressed into an exciting series with a brilliant and sprawling cast of diverse characters, with each book upping the stakes more and more. This book is the most high stakes yet, as all the Diviners come together to save America from the onslaught of ghosts, caused by the mysterious King of Crows. After the events of this book, I’m very excited to see what will happen in the conclusion next year. Here is a short synopsis of the book:

After battling a sleeping sickness, The Diviners are up against a group of new and malevolent foes–ghosts! Out in Ward’s Island sits a mental hospital full of lost souls from people long forgotten. Ghosts who have unusual and dangerous ties to the Man in the Stovepipe Hat also known as the King of Crows.

With terrible accounts of murder and possession flooding in from all over New York City, the Diviners must band together and brave the ghosts haunting the asylum to bring down the King of Crows.

Heart-pounding action and terrifying moments will leave you breathless in the third book of the four-book Diviners series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Libba Bray.

Beforre we start, there are a lot of trigger warnings for this book, including: sexual assault, eugenics, medical abuse, body horror, Holocaust imagery, murder, mentions of paedophilia, homophobia, racism, many of which will be touched on in this review.

Once again, the narration of this book was just brilliant. January LaVoy has definitely been my favourite narrator in my admittedly short so far foray into audiobooks, the way she does such distinct voices for all the characters, she really throws herself into her performance, even singing at points during the story, which all adds to the creepy atmosphere of the book and really enhances your reading experience.

I loved that the Diviners were all working together in this book, in the last two books, the cast has felt somewhat disparate, each one working towards their own thing but in this book, the whole group came together. I loved the dynamics between them, and this book explores different combinations of characters as well, so you truly get to see how every one of the characters interacts with the others. I found it much easier to keep track of all the characters in this book, I think in large part because they were together a lot more and their stories were more intertwined.

Speaking of character dynamics, the dialogue in this is just brilliant. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that dialogue is one of the things that I really love in books and this book has witty banter in spades, which really adds some levity, especially when things are starting to get quite dark in the story.

I said in my review of Lair of Dreams that I hoped Theta got more of her own plot in this book, unrelated to Memphis and Henry and boy did Libba Bray deliver on that front! Theta is a survivor of sexual assault and an abusive marriage, and this book really explores her journey of healing and coming into her own power and realising that she doesn’t have to be held back by her abuser any more. It was a really powerful story and I think Bray handled it with care and consideration.

I was also glad that Mabel, who was largely sidelined in the first two books, finally got more of a story in this one, and really came into her own in terms of figuring out who she wanted to be and how she wanted to fight for her cause.

As with the other books, the diversity in this book is amazing, we have POC characters, with Memphis, and Isaiah, and Ling and now Theta confirmed to be biracial (her birth mother was Cherokee), we have LGBTQ+ characters with Henry being gay and Ling being homoromantic asexual, we have Jewish characters in Sam and Mabel, we have Ling with her disability & Evie being confirmed to have depression. These characters come from all different backgrounds and it’s wonderful to see that in a historical novel, because so often authors take the easy way out and have only white, straight characters because it’s “accurate to history” (History graduate here, it’s not).

Then we come to the romance in this book. Memphis and Theta’s relationship continues to face obstacles, especially when she pulls away from him because of Roy and of course because of the opinions of interracial romance in society in the 1920s. Their relationship is really sweet though, they are both so supportive of each other and given all of Evie’s relationship drama, it was nice to see a relationship that faces it’s troubles, but both people love and support each other and know that they want to be together.

Okay so Evie. The love triangle of the first two books is still alive and well for most of this book, and it does get a little tiresome seeing her go back and forth, especially when the chemistry between her and Sam is so damn obvious! I was glad that the love triangle was resolved, but I wasn’t really happy with the way Bray did it. This might get slightly spoilery, but I think it’s important to talk about: essentially, Jericho attempts to sexually assault Evie, whilst under the influence of serum given to him by Jake Marlowe. Sexual assault SHOULD NOT be used to resolve a love triangle, and I was really disappointed that Bray went there, considering how carefully she handled Theta’s story. I’ve genuinely never felt so uncomfortable reading something in my life, I think the audio element definitely heightened that for me, as I don’t picture things very well in my head, but hearing Evie’s struggles…….I actually out loud said “No, No, No” when I was listening and almost switched the audio off, so I wanted to warn about that scene to other readers, because I didn’t see it coming and it really threw me.

We also had Mabel and her new beau Arthur, and I have to admit, I didn’t really care too much for their romance, mostly because we didn’t really know Arthur, so it’s kind of hard to root for and see chemistry in a relationship when you barely know one of the characters.

I liked Evie a lot more in this book than the others, I feel like she really developed as a character and the fact that she knows her friends are more important to her than fame is definitely a big step in the right direction, she developed a lot as a character through this book, which I appreciated, especially after her downward spiral in Lair of Dreams.

I did like that during the few sex scenes that we had in this book (not fade to black, but not overly explicit) that consent was featured in all of them, which is another thing that makes me so annoyed about the whole Evie/Jericho thing because Bray is so careful to include consent in all her sex scenes (not something that you always see with YA authors) that it seems odd she would think it was okay to use sexual assault as a way to resolve her love triangle. I can’t really go into details without being spoilery, but I liked that there was an instance with two characters in the book where the girl is slightly unsure, her partner asks if she wants to stop and she agrees, but then changes her mind, and he again clarifies whether she is sure. Quite often in books, the “Yes” is seen as the be all end all, and this book showed that consent can be withdrawn or regiven even once sex has started and I liked that a lot.

I appreciated that the chapters in this book were organised a lot better than in the other audiobooks in the series, each chapter is largely self contained, and it was much easier to follow from one chapter to the next. I also found the pace much better in this book, Lair of Dreams was somewhat meandering, in this book, the goal is clear, the characters were more streamlined, it all came together for a much faster paced book.

The scenes in the asylum were definitely creepy, though I was expecting from the synopsis for the asylum to play more of a role, but it was actually only featured for a few chapters. I did appreciate that this book highlighted mental health, and the treatment of patients with mental illnesses in the 1920s. I knew a little about eugenics and the sterilisation programme for people in asylums from other books I’ve read but it was great to see Libba Bray touch on it here as well, as I feel like America’s role in eugenics isn’t widely known? It’s largely seen as a phenomenon of Nazi Germany, but actually goes all the way back to Ancient Greece. In fact, the modern field of eugenics was developed by a British scientist Francis Galton, something I didn’t know until writing this post. Nazism was actually the beginning of the end of eugenics rather than the origin of it.

I really liked that this book showed an example of a friendship “break-up” between Mabel and Evie, because I feel like it was coming for a while, the two have been growing apart for some time and YA definitely does not touch on how painful these can be enough, so I liked seeing it here.

I didn’t find The King of Crows quite as compelling a villain as I’d have liked, he’s kind of this faceless Big Bad, which I don’t find particularly scary. I though Jake Marlowe was a much more compelling villain, because he’s the kind of evil that you can recognise from our own world, a guy who does bad things but truly thinks he’s doing them for the benefit of people, even when he hurts others in the process.

I actually read the synopsis for King of Crows before I read this one, so there was a particular event that I knew was going to happen for the whole book and I was basically just looking for it, and waiting for it to happen. I did end up being surprised though, as I wasn’t expecting the person or the circumstances surrounding the event!

There were lots of other twists and turns as well, lots of reveals about Project Buffalo, the 144, Evie’s brother, Sam’s mother and other things that have been hinted at throughout the series. If The Diviners and Lair of Dreams were the set up, Before The Devil Breaks You and King of Crows are the answers. I particularly loved the flashbacks to Will and Sister Walker’s time in Project Buffalo.

Overall, I really loved this third instalment of The Diviners series. We got so many more answers, in the first two books we only really got hints to what was going on, now everything is coming together, the whole gang is united and it’s all setting up for a massive conclusion in the next book. I am very glad King of Crows is out in early 2020 because I’m not sure how long I can wait for it!

My Rating: 5/5

My next review will be of my October #RockMyTBR book, The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli (and yes, I know I said that after my last review, but I finished BTDB first and I wanted to review in reading order).

 

Top Ten Tuesday #235

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Hi guys! I hope you’ve all had a good past week, I had a great time at Waitress with my parents on Friday, it was such a good show, both funny and emotional and the songs were brilliant, it’s definitely been a great year for theatre for me. I’m going to have dinner in London with my friends tomorrow which should be really fun.

Since it’s Tuesday, I have another Top Ten Tuesday for you all, courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week is a Halloween Freebie, and I have to admit, I did struggle coming up with a topic after four years of Halloween topics, but in the end I decided on Top Ten Dark/Spooky Books on My TBR. So here we go:

  1. Not Even Bones-Rebecca Schaeffer

This one sounds so good! It’s all about monsters and villains and supernatural body part harvesting, all of which sound right up my street. I meant to read this one this year, but alas, I just haven’t had the time. Definitely one I’m prioritising for next year.

2. The Bone Houses-Emily Lloyd-Jones

This book was practically made for Halloween, it’s all about gravediggers taking on risen corpses, so basically zombies I guess? It sounds really fun and creepy, and I can’t wait to read it.

3. Ninth House-Leigh Bardugo

I’m starting this one tonight and I’m SO EXCITED. A fantasy with characters who are in their twenties? Dark Yale secret societies who take part in creepy occult activities? YES, YES, YES. This is definitely a good book to be starting just before Halloween.

4. Anna Dressed in Blood-Kendare Blake

In all honesty, I kind of forgot this one was on my TBR! Still it fits the topic quite well, as it’s all about a boy who is a ghost hunter, who gets wrapped up with a ghost named Anna who was brutally murdered and has killed everyone to enter her house….until Cas. Seemed an appropriately spooky book to include on my Halloween freebie list.

5. The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding-Alexandra Bracken

This definitely has Halloween written all over it, the Redding family is cursed after Prosper’s several times great-grandfather made and broke a deal with a demon, who plans to collect in the form of enslaving Prosper for all eternity. Spooky, no?

6. The Devouring Gray-Christine Lynn Herman

A creepy wood, holding a dangerous beast? Bodies appearing in said woods? Four teenagers that are all descended from the founders of their small town have to solve the mystery in this book that seems pretty perfect for Halloween. Everything I’ve heard about this book has made it sound so good, so I’m hoping that I’ll enjoy it.

7. The Silence of Bones-June Hur

Okay so this one isn’t actually out until April of next year, but it is on my TBR, so it counts for the topic. It definitely sounds suitably spooky, set in the 1800s in Korea, Seol is indentured to the police bureau and when investigating the murder of a noblewoman, potentially risks her own life as her suspicions mount against the inspector she is working with.

8. Reign of The Fallen-Sarah Glenn Marsh

I mean a book all about necromancers and zombies, it’s pretty much tailor made for Halloween. I haven’t actually heard all that much about this one, but what I have heard has been pretty good, so I can’t wait to read it.

9. The Hollow Girl-Hilary Monahan

This definitely sounds like a very powerful read about a victim of sexual assault regaining her power, but it also sounds sufficiently spooky, as the main character intends to take the body parts of her attackers in order to save her friend, who is near death from the same attack.

10. The May Queen Murders-Sarah Jude

Nothing like a spooky mystery for Halloween, this book follows a teenage girl in small town Missouri who discovers long hidden secrets about her hometown as she searches for her missing best friend after a May Day celebration.

So there we have it, the spooky books on my TBR. Have you read any of these? Would you like to? Which ones should I prioritise?

Next week’s topic is Books Which Give off An Autumn Vibe, which does often seem to get conflated with Halloween, so I’ll be interested to see if any similar books appear next week!

In the meantime, I do have a couple of books to review, so my review of Before The Devil Breaks You should be up tomorrow, with my review of The Last Namsara to follow later on in the week.

Book Vs Movie: The Lightning Thief

Hi everyone! If you are new to the blog and unfamiliar with this feature, it does what it says on the tin: each month I take a movie that has been adapted from a book and try to answer the age old question, which was better, the book or the movie. This week, I’m talking about the first Percy Jackson book, The Lightning Thief and it’s movie adaptation. People who know me well will probably know how this one will go before they even get to the end, but if you don’t, then be prepared for a rant!

Book Thoughts:

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I read this book for the first time when I was 14, I had just changed schools, I didn’t really know anyone very well yet and another new girl in my class recommended this series to me. I borrowed the first one from the library, not really thinking too much about it, but from the very first line I was OBSESSED. The humour in this series is amazing, the characters were brilliant, the plot was pacy & the mix of Greek mythology and modern day America was done perfectly and made my Greek mythology loving heart incredibly happy.

I was so addicted, I sped through the rest of the series in about a month I think, borrowing the rest from my friend and by the time Heroes of Olympus came out that October, I was all caught up and ready to go. Percy Jackson was also how me and my friend Hannah (Books, Life and Other Oddities) first became friends because we were both addicted to these books, so to say this series means a lot to me would definitely be an understatement.

Movie Thoughts:

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Oh dear. Where to begin on this one? THEY CHANGED SO MUCH. Everyone got aged up from 12 to 16, and of course they’re being played by 20 somethings because Hollywood, so it’s even more ridiculous. Percy Jackson’s story is definitely a coming of age tale and it’s a very different story if you change it from a 12 year old kid growing up to a 16 year old. They added this weird subplot of looking for pearls all over America, when in the books, they just get given the pearls during their quest, which means that the focus is taken off the lightning bolt, the WHOLE PURPOSE OF THE QUEST.  They combined Annabeth and Clarisse into one character, so when Clarisse appears in Sea of Monsters, the basis for her rivalry with Percy is unclear. The whole rivalry with Ares is cut, Mr D isn’t in charge of the camp, it takes much longer for Percy to become aware of his parentage…….I could keep going, but basically, the film hardly resembles the book at all.

We deserved so much better than this terrible film, and the sequel was even worse, so we never actually got a proper Percy Jackson franchise, just two awful films. Had the first film followed the book a bit more, I reckon it could have done really well, because the cast actually wasn’t terrible (despite being the totally wrong ages) but alas, it wasn’t to be. Hopefully now that the film rights have gone to Disney, we might get a more faithful film one day, but I’m not holding my breath.

Movie or Book Judgement:

BOOK. There’s not even a competition here, the book is a million times better than the movie. The actors in the movie are pretty good, I liked Logan Lerman as Percy (even though the part really should have gone to someone much younger) but the script is so far from what the book is that it barely resembles it and as a book fan, that’s just not what you want when you see an adaptation.

That’s it for this month’s Book Vs Movie, I’ll be back next month, talking about the My Sister’s Keeper book and it’s movie adaptation. In the meantime, my next post will be my regularly scheduled Top Ten Tuesday post on Tuesday, so keep an eye out for that.