Lair of Dreams by Libby Bray

Details: 624pp, Little Brown Books for Young Readers hardcover. (I was provided with a Netgalley e-ARC free for review — thank you, Little Brown!)
Release date: August 25, 2015
Series: The Diviners, book 2
Rating: 4/5
Buy: BN.comBooks-a-MillionBook Depository

Summary (from Goodreads): After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O’Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. With her uncanny ability to read people’s secrets, she’s become a media darling, earning the title “America’s Sweetheart Seer.” Everyone’s in love with the city’s newest It Girl…everyone except the other Diviners.

Piano-playing Henry DuBois and Chinatown resident Ling Chan are two Diviners struggling to keep their powers a secret—for they can walk in dreams. And while Evie is living the high life, victims of a mysterious sleeping sickness are turning up across New York City.

As Henry searches for a lost love and Ling strives to succeed in a world that shuns her, a malevolent force infects their dreams. And at the edges of it all lurks a man in a stovepipe hat who has plans that extend farther than anyone can guess…As the sickness spreads, can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld to save the city?

My thoughts: Ms Libba Bray knows how to craft her series. The Diviners (book one) pulled me in just enough, but this second installment really kept me enthralled! Lair of Dreams goes one step further in that this time, we get more character diversity.

     The Good

More characters, first of all. I really like how Ling Chen and Henry get on together and play off of each other’s energy. And how they share an ability was another plus, that way we see their growth in tandem and they can be buddies through their evolution! (The worst is when there’s a character or two you really like as people and you have to watch them suffer.)

In The Diviners it took more time than I liked to get used to the flapper speech and colloquialisms, which is partly my fault for not exposing myself to enough literature of the flapper age. But there were also several uses that felt entirely too jarring and over-the-top. In this second book, every use appeared fluid and well-fitting with the motion of events. Something that tied in well with this was one or two uses of historical events that were woven into the fiction. That’s right, there actually was a sleeping sickness pandemic in the 1920s! I had to google it to be sure, but it sounded vaguely similar to historical events.

The mystery! Almost above all else, I love it when series string us along a theme thoughout all the books. So far, Libba Bray is doing just that with The Diviners what with the history of Evie and James and then Sam’s mom’s disappearance. We learn just a tad bit more in both instances to keep us drooling for more!

     The Meh

This could be just me, but I couldn’t remember the finer details of the first book! It’s been so long since I’ve read it, and I wasn’t even among the first people who bought the book in hardcover — I waited till paperback! I think that’s a huge drawback with having to wait so long between books — you forget things….

Please please please, if you felt at least lukewarm (but hopefully better than lukewarm) about The Diviners, stay tuned for Lair of Dreams! I think you’ll love it. 4/5

A note on #NatBookFest15!


This past Saturday, the 5th of September, was Washington D.C.’s National Book Festival hosted at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. After my experience at the Texas Teen Book Festival last year, I was hopeful but still kept my expectations low. And what do you know, IT WAS A BLAST.

The authors. Michael Buckley and Libba Bray. They were, I believe, the only two authors in attendance who’d written books I’ve read. Maybe you remember my review of Undertow in which I swooned and raved over subject matter that really sounded like it was meant for more than just teens to read. (Read: political undertones.) Mr. Buckley actually touched on this in his presentation which I LOVED. I’ve been (somewhat overly) analytical of books ever since AP English (or maybe it’s just in my nature?) and it’s so great to have my theories affirmed. Also, I just really like Buckley’s personality.

And then Ms. Bray??? I really want to be her best friend. She has a super-vibrant personality, even on stage, and her presentation felt more like an intimate “getting to know you” session. Listening to her speak today has made me want to purchase her Gemma Doyle trilogy so I can reread it over and over and reread what exists so far of The Diviners. And look into everything else she’s written, but I already know I liked those series before knowing Libba so I’m bound to LOVE them after knowing her, yes??? My logic is sound. As a side note, did you know that she was in a major car accident after graduating high school?? I didn’t.

The book sales. Separate tables with big signs denoting what each table was. Twenty cashiers, maybe more, to move through a twisty-turny line in under eight minutes. Politics and Prose knows how it’s done and needs to share their wisdom with The Book People. I really just love P&P. I probably shouldn’t have spent the money buying two books I’ve already read, but see the paragraphs above? I love these authors, especially after today, that I will revisit them enough to make the full-priced (now SIGNED) hardcovers worth it!!! Also, did I mention they’re SIGNED?? I love signed books.

The book signing. This is the only area on which I think the book festival could improve. As a reader of fiction, and mostly YA, I don’t understand the logic of having the YA author signings overlap by half an hour, when each author only gets a slot of an hour. Maybe it’s just my logic, but it seems like fans of one YA author are more likely to be fans of another YA author, so why have them overlap so much? Am I missing something?  Thank goodness I made a friend who happily got my Buckley book signed for me while I did the same with her Bray book, otherwise I would NOT have had the time to get both signed! Also, Libba Bray is a goddess because she stayed even after her allotted time just to finish her line.


I was, of course, at the very back of Ms. Bray’s line.

One of my newly-found friends took this photo, since I didn't get to personally meet Mr. Buckley!

One of my newly-found friends took this photo, since I didn’t get to personally meet Mr. Buckley!

The other attendees. The bookish community is filled with some of the nicest, most beautiful people, and today proved that! It’s entirely possible that I was just overly happy and therefore overly talkative (there’s a trend between the two, I’ve noticed) but I met some lovely, fascinating people! Hopefully we’ll meet up again soon.





Sunday Update Again

Hey y’all!

Dropping a line to say that I’m still here, still trying to think up some reviews and posts — I’m not dead! I’ve been swamped with lots of things lately: flew home for a few days, then back to the daily grind, and that little devil called JOB SEARCHING. I’m starting to get stressed about that which is leading to more headaches.

I’m still here! Just very infrequently here, for now. National Book Festival is next Saturday and I will be going! Hopefully I’ll have something to say about that.

Happy reading!

Speaking of….why I sometimes find it hard to participate in my favorite bookish memes

There is one thing that I find annoying in any way, shape, or form, and that is sameness. I don’t necessarily hate it all the time, but I always notice it: when a parent dresses their young children in identical outfits even if they’re not twins/triplets, similar logic in arguments (I just like to hear different opinions, different points of view), same starred-reviews of books that touch on very similar points, etc. Much of the time when it comes to memes like Top Ten Tuesday I find choices in books and/or characters, depending on the week’s topic, all too similar from blogger to blogger. And then I become discouraged because I would’ve made the same picks! So what would I have added to the conversation by posting my own TTT? I guess that’s why some bloggers read the topics ahead of schedule and queue up their post, but for whatever reason I can’t bring myself to have that kind of foresight. Maybe I need to give it a harder shot because otherwise, I love memes! They make it easier to get a discussion going (as long as your readers comment occasionally) and, if you’re the kind of person who links up your meme post to the original post — I don’t usually because I constantly forget that this is actually a thing! — it will add to your blog’s visibility on the internet.

How do you guys feel about memes? In general? Do you queue posts or write them the day of?


Screen Shot 2014-06-27 at 5.21.34 PM


My last library haul was ginormous, by my standards, but I never posted it! Here it is in all its glory.

Haul 7:31:15


I’ve been so hesitant in the past to take out more than 3 (maybe 4) books at a time because I didn’t think I could possibly make it through any more. My neighborhood library in Arlington has a 3-week loan period (versus my Houston library’s 2-week period) and I took advantage of that. I’ve made it more than halfway through the stack (already read Sapphire BlueMr. Penumbra’s, and The Sun Also Rises; currently reading Stardust) and still have about 8 days left. A written list of the books:

  • Stardust by Neil Gaiman
  • Silver Bay by Jojo Moyes
  • The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
  • The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  • Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
  • Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier

Sunday Update

Weeks seem to be flying by and it’s making me feel that much older that much quicker… and I’m not ready for it! Luckily, the other day I still had the privilege of saying “I’ll probably be freaking over turning 25 in a couple of years” when all my co-workers were talking about their experiences turning 30. That was a plus. And Friday night was a whole different kind of feeling young! Everyone needs and has those every once in a while.

In my midst of highs and woes, I finished 3 books this week: an ARC of Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell, Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier, and just today I finished Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. I think I’m going to try out Hemingway next…. One of those authors I haven’t yet read and know I need to!

This week I posted….

  • a review of Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses
  • a discussion centering on new book “groups” (subgenres?) Help me figure out what to call these things!

A little bit of a slow week. I’m still trying to figure out how to balance blogging and working 5 days a week! Plus all that other real-life stuff in between. Do you guys have any secrets? What have you read this week?

Speaking of…. attaching the right genres/subgenres/age group suggestions (from now on I’ll just say “group”, okay?) onto a book

This stems from reading two discussion-type posts within a matter of minutes that both lumped Sarah J. Maas’ book A Court of Thorns and Roses in with “Young Adult” after literally every review I’ve read has said the book sits firmly within the “New Adult” group. For me, the “New Adult” descriptor fits perfectly: the book features younger characters (Feyre is 19) but contains content more mature than one would generally find in any YA book. When I came across these couple of discussions that describe it as “Young Adult”, I couldn’t help but become frustrated for the sake of teen readers. Personally, I think teens should be able to read what they like as long as it’s not harmful to them, but I do think that they deserve to know what they’re getting into, especially if there’s more explicit content than most books in the YA section. I’ve seen ACOTAR sitting on the YA shelves at B&N and almost wanted to explain why it might be a little better marketing to put it in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy section. Yes, Ms Maas has a teen series, but that’s all the more reason to separate the two to me. At least if that were to happen, readers might question the reasoning rather than stumble blindly into what might be uncomfortable content written by an author they liked.

I really don’t think that NA books should be sitting on YA shelves, but what do you guys think? Point out any holes in my logic! [But nicely, please (: ]