In which I become a Senior…

Back to the Books

Hi everyone! It’s been awhile since I’ve written a post that has been something other than a book review, and while book reviews are GREAT, I wanted to share what’s been happening in my life. In less than two weeks I’ll be going back to school as a senior (!!!), hence I’m taking the time now to write a post before I get waterlogged with work. The summer has been a nice break from the hectic school schedule, but I’m gearing up for college apps, AP classes, and lots of work once more.

This summer I tried to focus my time on blogging, but other than writing reviews, I felt like I was having a hint of the dreaded blogger burnout. I wasn’t coming up with any good ideas to write about, and therefore I just didn’t write posts at all (which helped a lot actually).

While I have been reading tons of YA this summer, I’ve also been doing my summer work for my AP Lit class. You may have noticed if you’re friends with me on Goodreads that I read early on in the summer How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster. I really liked it a lot, and enjoyed his entertaining view on the sometimes dry subject of analyzing lit. Then I continued on to reading Genesis (yes, the Bible), which I have to say lacked the same entertaining flair as Foster’s writing did (haha). You could say I procrastinated a little, but I only just started reading my next book East of Eden by John Steinbeck last week, and am a little more than halfway through it. I read The Grapes of Wrath last summer for another class, and am so happy to find that East of Eden is actually very entertaining and thought provoking. I really am just loving reading to see what other evils Cathy does next (I’m not evil, I promise). After I finish venturing to Eden I’ll move on to The Poisonwood Bible. That’s code for: Emily won’t be reading many more (if any more) books for pleasure this summer.

I have a bunch of September ARCs that I’m hoping to get through amongst the craziness that is life, so keep a look out for more reviews in the near future.

Along with school comes time for college applications. I’m applying to only art schools, which means that I’m still working really hard to get my portfolio together to the best that it can be. Wish me luck! I don’t think there’ll ever be a time in my life that will be as busy as it is right now, but I know it will all pay off in the end!

Thanks for staying with me, and talk soon!xo


Review: Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: August 25th, 2015
Series: The Diviners, #2 | The Diviners
Pages: 624
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre(s): Historical Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal
Synopsis from Goodreads:

After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O’Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. Now that the world knows of her ability to “read” objects, and therefore, read the past, she has become a media darling, earning the title, “America’s Sweetheart Seer.” But not everyone is so accepting of the Diviners’ abilities…

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

my rambles

Special thanks to Little, Brown BYR and NetGalley for providing me with an advance copy of the book for review!

The long wait for Lair of Dreams is (almost) over! Although I hopped on The Diviners bandwagon late, and didn’t have to wait nearly as long as some of you dedicated fans to see what happened next, I was probably just as excited as you to dive back into this world.

While Lair of Dreams had a different kind of feel than book one, it still had Libba Bray’s amazing, atmospheric writing that brings you into the roaring 20s, and of course, the paranormal world of Diviners. In great contrast to the horror and gore of The Diviners, this one brings on the eerie mystery of dream worlds.

Some new characters are introduced, but the old gang returns for more, but some (like Evie) fall more to the background. Henry’s past gets explained, and the book focuses mostly on him and his abilities. The new character, Ling, is also at the forefront of the story. More Diviners come out of the woodwork, and lead the story in the direction of not only solving the current dream problem, but trying to understand what to make of all the paranormal coming into their world.

I was a bit disappointed to find that Evie gets dragged into a predictable love triangle in Lair of Dreams. But, I will say that it didn’t take over the book, which was a relief. While Evie, Sam, and Jericho are going through heartache, the romance between Henry and his childhood sweetheart was refreshing!

This one was a little slower paced than its predecessor, but with Libba Bray writing the story, you can’t help but be entranced to continue reading.

The ending hinted that the next book will possibly dig deeper into the world of the paranormal in general, and get to the bottom of what’s been causing all the mayhem. What I got from the book was that the next book will maybe have Theta, Sam, and possibly Jericho back on center stage as each of them tackle the new(ish) problems that they’ve been facing in Lair of Dreams.

While I still thoroughly enjoyed Lair of Dreams, it fell a bit short when comparing to The Diviners. Libba Bray’s iconic writing was enough to keep me pulled under to “dream with her.”


Review: Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman

Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: August 18th, 2015
Series: Blood of Gods and Royals, #1
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre(s): Alternate History, High Fantasy, Historical Fiction/Fantasy
Synopsis from Goodreads:

Imagine a time when the gods turn a blind eye to the agony of men, when the last of the hellions roam the plains and evil stirs beyond the edges of the map. A time when cities burn, and in their ashes, empires rise.

Alexander, Macedonia’s sixteen-year-old heir, is on the brink of discovering his fated role in conquering the known world but finds himself drawn to newcomer Katerina, who must navigate the dark secrets of court life while hiding her own mission: kill the Queen. But Kat’s first love, Jacob, will go to unthinkable lengths to win her, even if it means competing for her heart with Hephaestion, a murderer sheltered by the prince. And far across the sea, Zofia, a Persian princess and Alexander’s unmet fiancée, wants to alter her destiny by seeking the famed and deadly Spirit Eaters.

Weaving fantasy with the salacious and fascinating details of real history, New York Times bestselling author Eleanor Herman reimagines the greatest emperor the world has ever known: Alexander the Great, in the first book of the Blood of Gods and Royals series.

my rambles

Special thanks to Harlequin Teen and NetGalley for providing me with an advance copy of the book for review!

First of all, can we take a moment to appreciate that incredible cover and amazing synopsis? Just from looking at the cover and then reading that blurb I had a feeling Legacy of Kings was going to be a new favorite of mine, and I was right! After reading this book I’m not going to lie, I’ve become significantly more interested in Alexander the Great and all of the history surrounding him and the other real historical characters that Eleanor Herman was sure to incorporate in the book.

Like many other historical fiction and fantasy books, Legacy of Kings is filled with clever, sly, intelligent and sometimes evil characters that lead to one of my favorite things lately in books: POLITICAL INTRIGUE! The book switches to the stories of many different characters, allowing the reader to view all sides of the action, and see how characters who haven’t even met will become intertwined. While there are many different characters’ stories happening throughout the course of the book, Eleanor Herman did a wonderful job of keeping them completely distinct and creating personalities for these characters that are entirely their own.

While I would have been totally happy with just the “normal” conflicts and action that ensues in a historical fiction book, Eleanor Herman adds fantasy and superstition which was the icing on the cake for me! Legacy of Kings begins to delve into the different kinds of Blood magic that some characters have been gifted with, but also the effects that the said magic has on everyone in the kingdom, and abroad. The main conflict of the book is a major result of magic, and I am eager to learn more about it and see how the battles will end in future books!

I can’t forget the romance, because there is definitely a complicated and tangled web of relationships. Just when you think you like a couple together — think again! But there are some super steamy scenes that I did enjoy!

When I got to the end of Legacy of Kings, I didn’t even realize it, which is my only complaint! I could have kept reading on and on. There are a bunch of characters who we don’t see as much toward the end of the book, which left me hanging and desperately wanting to know what happened to them!

I could go on gushing about just how detailed and incredible Legacy of Kings was. Fans of high fantasy and historical fiction will be extremely pleased by the action, intrigue, romance, and characters that Legacy of Kings brings to the table. A fantastic and must read!


Review: The Secrets of Lake Road by Karen Katchur

Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Release Date: August 4th, 2015
Series: N/A
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Genre(s): Adult, Contemporary, Mystery
Synopsis from Goodreads:

A haunting story about the destructive power of secrets, this accomplished and gripping suspenseful women’s fiction debut is perfect for fans of Lisa Scottoline and Heather Gudenkauf

Jo has been hiding the truth about her role in her high school boyfriend’s drowning for sixteen years. Every summer, she drops her children off with her mother at the lakeside community where she spent summers growing up, but cannot bear to stay herself; everything about the lake reminds her of the guilt she feels. For her daughter Caroline, however, the lake is a precious world apart; its familiarity and sameness comforts her every year despite the changes in her life outside its bounds. At twelve years old and caught between childhood and adolescence, she longs to win her mother’s love and doesn’t understand why Jo keeps running away.

Then seven-year-old Sara Starr goes missing from the community beach. Rescue workers fail to uncover any sign of her—but instead dredge up the bones Jo hoped would never be discovered, shattering the quiet lakeside community’s tranquility. Caroline was one of the last people to see Sara alive on the beach, and feels responsible for her disappearance. She takes it upon herself to figure out what happened to the little girl. As Caroline searches for Sara, she uncovers the secrets her mother has been hiding, unraveling the very foundation of everything she knows about herself and her family. The Secrets of Lake Road by Karen Katchur is a riveting novel that is impossible to put down and hard to forget.

my rambles

Special thanks to Thomas Dunne Books for providing me with a copy of the book for review!

The Secrets of Lake Road is a book that I thoroughly enjoyed! Every summer I go to the lake with family and friends, so the setting and basis for the story was something familiar, which just added to my enjoyment.

I found The Secrets of Lake Road to be unique in that it follows characters that are all different ages: from a grandmother, to mothers, to teens, and children young and old. For this reason I would classify the book as one that anyone would enjoy (young adults to grandmothers — in fact I’ve recommended that my own mom pick it up!).

And then of course there is the plot of the book — a mystery surrounding a main character’s parents from the past — which is suspenseful and emotional all at once. There are kind of two stories happening that become intertwined, one with the parents and one with the children.

But underneath the mystery, it’s largely about family and friendship, being young, and growing up.

The ending was kind of open which I wasn’t really expecting, but I still found it to be satisfying. Both the first and the last lines of the book will leave an impression on you, but for different reasons. It’s a perfect alternative to the typical beachy summer read, and I’d highly recommend it!


ARC August: Week One Update!

I can’t believe it, but August is already here and a week has passed already! I must admit I’m a sad (it means school will be starting soon), but I’m really excited to continue through the month as I have lots of amazing ARCs planned to read! I didn’t set a number goal for the books to read, but I do have a list of books I’m hoping to get through.

I’m happy with my progress so far for week one…
I read:

(review will be up tomorrow!)

Goals for next week:

I am currently reading Lair of Dreams and hope to finish the monster of a book! And I’m hoping to also breeze through Jennifer E. Smith’s upcoming contemp!

If you’re participating, how’s it going for you so far? What books are you planning on reading?