… written by Libba Bray



Libba Bray @ The Scholastic Store in SoHo


After reading the Gemma Doyle trilogy, I was absolutely enthralled with Libba Bray‘s storytelling style. It was imaginative, it was magical, it sucked me in and made me struggle to take my time to savour the tale because I wanted, so badly, to devour it.

Later, I picked up her Going Bovine standalone and was both impressed and perplexed. Perplexed with the surrealness of the story itself (what’s real/what’s in his head), and impressed by her ability to string the absolutely absurd together in such a way that makes you want to keep on reading.

Then, Beauty Queens was released by Scholastic and I was privileged to attend a signing done at the Scholastic Store (pictured above). Beauty Queens was satire and wit. There are a lot of characters, but they never felt flat. It’s definitely absurd, but that absurdity helps to expose the reader to a thoughtful narrative on popular culture, and modern society.

From this point, I pretty much vowed to buy everything Libba released, so when The Diviners came out, I was ready for anything. The Diviners had a lot of things I loved; the roaring 20s, mystery and a touch of the supernatural. Ok, a lot of the supernatural, so much so that I stopped reading this book before I went to bed because it was hard to turn off my imaginings. The main protagonist (Evie) was self-centered, and while I am not a fan of books with main characters like that, she didn’t annoy me as much as I thought she would (though she tried to really hard in the end).

So, after reading an 1800s fantasy series set in England, a surreal dark comedy set in NOLA, an absurd satire, and a 1920s paranormal/historical series set in New York, I think it’s safe to say that Libba Bray is a versatile author; and I’m probably still going to read everything she publishes.


InstaReview: Poison Study

[Caption] Poison Study, by Maria V. Snyder, was a thrilling fantasy novel. It’s got mystery, a brilliant assassin and a protagonist who is witty, loyal and just trying to stay alive. While it was long, it was never boring.

Yelena was a strong female lead, capable of looking after herself. Valek, a complex and brilliant partner to Yelena. He was ruthless until the end and completely loyal to his Captain and cause. Absolutely no insta-love, no love triangle, no hyper-focus on romance while Yelena is fighting (often times, literally) to survive. Which left ample room for character development and world-building.

My only complaint is General Brazell. As an antagonist he was cartoonish, and I’m still puzzled why he bothered educating his orphans, especially after we see how he got away with a few other incidences that I cannot get into because, spoilers! I have my theories, but I’d be curious what other readers think. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


InstaReview: Emmy and Oliver

I’ve started a new thing on my Instagram where I write short reviews about books to which I would give 4 or 5 stars. I started this mostly because I didn’t want to write long reviews (read, I’m lazy), but I also wanted to share the books I really enjoyed reading with as many people as possible, and for me, Instagram is one of those social platforms that I use the most, publicly.

[Caption] Emmy & Oliver 👫  is a story about family, friendship and how a town is affected by a shocking crime.

Emmy and Oliver were neighbours and best friends when Oliver was kidnapped by his dad. Ten years after the incident, Oliver is found in New York and brought back home, but things cannot go back to the way they were because in ten years a lot has changed.

Robin Benway did a fantastic job showing the way the main characters were affected by the incident. Emmy’s family became overprotective, Oliver’s mom hysterical, and Oliver himself had a completely different perspective on the incident. I was pleased with the friendships (outside of Emmy and Oliver) but, I wished we saw more. When Oliver reappeared it was as though Emmy’s other friends took a backseat.

After reading this book I did listen to a few more Beatles songs. (Hello, Goodbye anyone?) It’s a quick and sweet read but grab some tissues, just in case. ⭐⭐⭐⭐ .