Ever since reading the synopsis for BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA by ApriOriginally posted at Escape Through the Pages with the same rating.
Ever since reading the synopsis for BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA by April Genevieve Tucholke I had wanted to get my hands on it. I finally decided to purchase it – and went with audiobook. I am so glad I did! I’m becoming a bigger and bigger fan of audiobook and this one certainly helped! I listened to BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA fully in my car while commuting back and forth to two jobs, and finished it quickly. Thank goodness, too, because this book is full of moments that hook you and drag you in.
Violet and her brother Luke are living alone in their big, old gothic-like mansion when our story opens. Though their parents are off traveling, Violet (our narrator) does not often concern herself with them. Instead, it is her late grandmother Freddie she thinks of, and her warnings about the Devil. It seems like good luck that when Violet and Luke are in need of money, River West sees Violet’s aid for a border and comes to apply. Since this is a YA book, billed as gothic-romance/horror, you know right away that River West is going to be bad news. Or very good bad news, if you get my meaning. And really, it’s a bit of both. Along with River comes a whole host of problems for Violet, Luke and Violet’s best friend Sunshine (who I found rather over-the-top). Some of these problems are River’s fault – others, are not.
Along with the horror aspect of the novel, which is done exceedingly well, full of deaths and visions and mind-control, is a small mystery involving Violet’s grandmother and family. It’s melded very well with the horror of the book, and surprisingly lends quiet moments to the story. I am a big fan of April Genevieve Tucholke’s writing – the plot unfolds both quickly and quietly at the same time. Small moments give way to bigger ones, and new revelations lead up to crazy ones in the end. I wasn’t always the biggest fan of Violet, or Luke or Sunshine or River but then again…I don’t think we’re supposed to be? They all had their moments in which I went “really??” and “so stupid” and “of course!” but they also all had moments of “awww” and “oh geez!” and yes. What I’m saying is that the characters are refreshingly flawed. I didn’t even mind the insta-love, since it’s kind of explained!
BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA was both what I was expecting, and no where near what I was expecting. I was looking for gothic romance/horror and I was given gothic romance/horror. I was also given flawed, human, relatable (surprisingly) characters that changed and matured, or were broken and carefully pieced back together. River’s story and grandmother Freddie’s mystery mesh and blend beautifully together. This is definitely a book outside my usual fare, but one I thouroughly enjoyed experiencing. I’m excited for the sequel, and will definitely be purchasing it on audiobook. I hope it’s the same narrator!...more
As some of you may remember, I loved The Raven Boys by Maggie Stievfater. I couldOriginally posted at Escape Through the Pages with a 4.5 star rating.
As some of you may remember, I loved The Raven Boys by Maggie Stievfater. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on THE DREAM THIEVES – which I did, at BEA 2013 and later from Scholastic Canada. I was pumped! I sat down to read it…and couldn’t. Now wait! That doesn’t mean it was because it was horrible (obviously not, I gave it 4.5 stars) but because I could only hear Will Patton’s voice in my head while I was reading! So I bought the audiobook and listened to it in my car to and from work every day.
This second book introduces the reader to a couple intriguing new characters – Kavinsky and they Greyman. I loved the fact we got more Ronan and Adam point of view, and Calla is still my favourite of the ladies from 300 Fox Way (besides Blue!). THE DREAM THIEVES builds wonderfully on the story from the first book and takes us deeper into Ronan’s dreaming abilities, and his family history. He and Kavinsky get into some major issues that result in an epic blowout at the end of the book. Blue has some boy troubles between Adam and Gansey (Gansey all the way!) and honestly, she just needs to TELL Adam about her “prophecy”.
THE DREAM THIEVES is an awesome sequel to an awesome book! The boys are ridiculous in that “oh geez” kind of way. I love how driven Gansey is, and how protective they are of Blue (even Ronan, though he doesn’t admit or show it). The introduction of the Greyman gives an air of suspense to the in-your-face crazyness that is Kavinsky and Ronan. There’s something going on with the Greyman and Maura and he is definitely going to be around for book 3 (which I have finally read). I can honestly say I think this is Maggie Stievfater at her best. ...more
Not going to lie, a big reason I purchased this audio book is because James MarsterOriginally posted at Escape Through the Pages with the same rating.
Not going to lie, a big reason I purchased this audio book is because James Marsters narrates. And because I’d always heard good things about the series and had been meaning to try it for a while now. James Marsters was just that last little push I needed. STORM FRONT by Jim Butcher is the first book in a series following Harry Dresden, wizard, as he gets himself into the worst possible situations by helping solve murders and mysteries in Chicago.
I adored Harry Dresden. The books are written in first person, so the reader really gets to see inside Harry’s head and learn who he is and what makes him tick. While not always the nicest or best of people, Harry has a pretty good moral code going on. He’s a generally and genuinely decent person who uses his skills as a wizard to act as a Private Investigator and help out the Chicago PD in any cases that seem to be because of supernatural means. Karrin Murphy is the head of the Special Investigation unit and kick-ass. It’s nice to see a strong female cop leading the way. Harry’s got a great wit to him, and there’s just something about the way he views himself and the world that I really liked. It helps that Jim Butcher’s writing style plays to the old type PI storyline and characters very well. Throw in a mix of vampires, the White Council that governs magic, and some pretty crazed magic users causing gruesome murders and STORM FRONT is an intense first book.
Trying to figure out how all the characters and pieces fit together was great. Jim Butcher drops hints throughout the book and we solve the case as Harry himself is solving the case. There are some bloody fights and even bloodier deaths, a very cool introduction to the background of magic in Harry Dresden’s version of the world, and hints as to a darker past for Harry. Also a wee bit of romance, which you know is going to show up again in later books (hopefully, at least). Harry gets beat around quite a bit but he always bounces back and kicks major butt. STORM FRONT by Jim Butcher is a great start to a series, and James Marsters voice does wonderful things for bringing Harry Dresden to life!...more
Maggie Stiefvater has done it again with THE RAVEN BOYS and completely drawn me inOriginally posted at Escape Through the Pages with the same rating.
Maggie Stiefvater has done it again with THE RAVEN BOYS and completely drawn me in to this amazing world of magic, psychics, boarding school boys and a sleeping Welsh king. And orange cars. We can’t forget the orange car! Despite owning a physical copy of the book, I listened to the audiobook (offered by audiobooksync this summer as a free download) and I loved it. Bill Patton is the narrator and he does an amazing job.
Blue comes from a family of psychics, but she isn’t one. Rather, she helps amplify their own seeing abilities. After seeing her first spirit on Saint Mark’s Eve (a person who will die in the next year), Blue finds herself swept up in a mystery involving four boys (Gansey, Adam, Noah and Ronan) from the local private school, an old murder, a sleeping Welsh king who Gansey is determined to find, an aunt visiting from out of town, magic and sacrifices. The book alternates points of view between Blue, Gansey, Adam and a teacher, Whelk. Through their eyes we see the mystery unfold. Blue and Gansey have the most screen time, and I loved their voices. Blue is a girl comfortable in her own skin. She knows who she is and is self-assured and intelligent, if still a bit unsure of her future at times and seems a little lost every now and then. Gansey is supremely confident and while he comes across as arrogant sometimes, he’s really not. Their first meeting is an awesome scene and I couldn’t help chuckling at it – since you as the reader know more about how tied together Gansey and Blue will be in the near future.
Outside of some awesome characterization – each of our Raven Boys and Blue are extremely well developed. It is easy to see them and get into their voices and histories – the plot in THE RAVEN BOYS is pretty wonderful. There’s this potential for a love triangle that stays up in the air so you don’t even know if any of them will get together, but it works and is perfect for the plot. There are some crazy twists that I did not see coming, at all, but in hindsight I want to facepalm because I should have. It’s one of those deals where the clues for the twists are so subtly hidden throughout the text that when everything finally does come together and get revealed you’re like “holy crap!” followed by “oohhhhh.” There is also some set up for the next book that gets thrown at you at the ending and just leaves your jaw dropped and you scrambling for the sequel – but it’s not out yet!
I was enthralled with THE RAVEN BOYS by Maggie Stiefvater from the get go. The matter-of-fact way that psychics and magic are incorporated into the world is wonderful, and the characters are all so well written. The mystery, will-it-be/won’t-it-be romance, threat of future happenings, crazy twists and reveals, and even some emotional upheaval for a character dealing with abuse all contribute to a nicely paced, engaging, hold-your-breath plot – that, while it does wrap up in the end, also dive bombs right into the next book and leaves you wanting more. I greatly enjoy Maggie Stiefvater’s writing and highly recommend THE RAVEN BOYS!...more
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers had me hooked and entranced right from the beginninOriginally posted at Escape Through the Pages with a 4.5 star rating.
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers had me hooked and entranced right from the beginning. Robin LaFevers has managed to evoke a strong since of the time period and place that she is writing about, to the extent that I felt as if I myself was embroiled in the court politics and romance.
Ismae is whisked away from a brutal marriage (on her wedding night) and taken to the convent of Saint Mortain, a place where she – who is believed to be sired by the god of death himself – can be safe and serve her father, Mortain. How? Oh, assassination. Yupp, by being a handmaiden of death, Ismae will help serve. I found Ismae to be a compelling character. She starts off with a sense of strength, and while her time at the convent led her to believe that no man would ever hold her interest and that many deserved death if they acted against the court, and that her abbess is always correct in her orders, through the assignment she is given, Ismae slowly learns that there is more to being a daughter of Mortain than just inflicting death and that she can learn to stand on her own. Duval helps a lot in growing Ismae’s sense of self and purpose. I really enjoyed the slow burn romance, and that while we could tell it was coming, the mystery and politics took center stage.
Grave Mercy is a large book, and a long audiobook, but its length is supported by a rich cast of main and secondary characters, wonderfully woven plots and intrigue, a teasing bit of romance and absolutely fantastic character development and world building. Each introduced characters had a part to play and served in keeping the real traitor hidden until the ultimate climax of the book. I had my suspicions, but would not believe them to be true (until the were) due to the twisting way that Robin LeFevers gives us hints and then seems to contradict them – but not. It’s wicked. No one can be trusted. Ismae can rely only on herself in the end to try and figure out the best way to save the Duchess Anne and still serve Saint Mortain.
I listened to Grave Mercy during the many long and not-so-long car trips this summer (I spend a lot of time in my car…) and I am definitely glad I did. The narrator is simply awesome, lending voices and accents to the characters to help create a sense of the time and place. I was initially wary of this book (historical fiction with assassins from a convent?) and had moments in the beginning of wondering if I’d connect with Ismae, but as the story continues, this is one novel you can really sink your teeth into and get lost in the action. I definitely recommend it, and highly suggest the audiobook!...more
VARIANT by Robison Wells is a crazy boarding school story full of twists and turns like you wouldn’t believe. I’m not joking, I literally shouted at mVARIANT by Robison Wells is a crazy boarding school story full of twists and turns like you wouldn’t believe. I’m not joking, I literally shouted at my car stereo at the end of the book. Talk about a cliffhanger!! I’ve always thought it would be neat to go to a boarding school (yes, even before Harry Potter), but I would not want Benson’s experience, at all.
Benson thought he was lucking out by getting a scholarship to a boarding school but after he’s dropped off and met at the doors by Becky, everything goes wrong. There are no grownups. No teachers, custodians, cafeteria workers, no one. The only people present at Maxfield Academy are the students. Divided into gangs, the students are monitored by cameras and recording devices at every turn, work the jobs around the school, teach the classes, act as security and even maintenance. All while trying to study and participating in epic paint ball games. Oh and detention? You’re never seen or heard from again after being sent to detention. Harshest school ever.
Benson can’t understand why people aren’t trying to escape until he’s told about the students who used to be at the school, and those who died before the gangs were formed. But he never tries to stop finding a way past the wall and the fence, back to the real world with grownups and days that makes sense. Benson is a great character, determined and strong and a nice guy. He finds himself getting caught up in the people and the school sometimes, but in the end does what he thinks is best for himself and the others. Of course, the school and the hidden people that run have something going on behind the scenes, and it’s insane. Guys, I did not even see it coming. What I thought it was, it totally wasn’t. Just when you think Benson has it all figured out and is on his way to escape, Robison Wells throws in another twist and more information that makes your brain do back flips.
Although I found it a little weird that not one of the teens at the school had anyone who would miss them or want to check up on them, I guess it could happen (the States is a big and populated place), and it makes the book work. VARIANT has great characters, and Robison Wells writes so that you can get attached to not just your primary characters like Benson, Becky, Jane or Mason but also the secondary characters. And seriously, trust no one. The gangs these teens have split into are their world in Maxfield Academy and the Society seems to run the show. The bad guys of the book (besides the people who run the school, whom we never see) are other teens and even though they’re working against Benson, you still feel for them. Narrator Michael Goldstrom does a great job of separating voices and reading so that the tension and suspense is clearly heard and experienced.
VARIANT is a great mystery with so many different genre elements I don’t even want to say them in case I give something away. This is one book where spoilers would be so upsetting to the “holy shit” moments that Robison Wells gives you throughout the course of the book. All I can say, is I can’t get my hands on the sequel soon enough. Cliffhanger of all cliffhangers in this one, you’ve been warned!