Month: August 2021

Audiobook Review: The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

The House in the Cerulean Sea
Author: TJ Klune
Narrator: Daniel Henning
Published: March 16, 2020

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read:  August 6-13, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars     

Book Description:

A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.

Jessica’s Review:

The House in the Cerulean Sea is one that people have been talking about and one several people selected to read in June for Diverseathon.  Two of my friends whose opinions I respect (Yami and Beccie) both read it and loved it so I decided to request the audiobook from my Libby app. It took two months for me to be able to get it, and I loved it as well! 

From the book description this book did not interest me.  But I decided to give it a try and I am glad I did listen to Beccie and Yami!  We have Linus who is a stickler for the rules and he has also worked at his government job as a case worker in the same position for many years (This sounds so familiar!!! ) He is summoned by those at the top of DICOMY (The Department in Charge Of Magical Youth) who are known as Extremely Upper Management (OMG! That is such a government title!) Linus is given a new assignment: He is to spend a month at the Marsyas Island Orphanage, where there are just 6 children, but these are not just any magical children as they are ‘extra special’. One of the children is even the Anti-Christ…..

Cerulean Sea is just so much fun!  You get attached to these children right away. My favorite child is Chauncey then followed very closely by Lucy. Everything is covered in this book, it is heart warming with some mystery in it with fabulous characters. Even Linus as our main character who is just an average nobody, he grows on you as he changes throughout the novel.  This novel is about belonging, family of a different sort, and not hating or fearing what you don’t understand.

I listened to the audiobook version and highly recommend it.  Narrated by Daniel Henning and he played each child with a distinct voice.  His portrayal of Linus sounded similar to Ryan Reynolds, so I pictured a very serious Ryan Reynolds with glasses and slicked back hair as I listened.  And I loved my picturing of Ryan Reynolds as Linus!  (Hint Hint Hollywood: Give Ryan Reynolds this role when it becomes a film/series!)

This is a novel that everyone should read and love and maybe even learn something too!

A home isn’t always the house we live in. It’s also the people we choose to surround ourselves with.”

The House in the Cerulean Sea is highly recommended.

Purchase Links
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Book Review: The Christmas Bell by L.A. Detwiler

The Christmas Bell
L.A. Detwiler

Published: November 10, 2020
160 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Some Christmas ornaments should be left in the attic.

When Candace Mills, 26, heads home for the holidays to visit her mother and ailing grandmother, she’s expecting a peaceful, dull Christmas. She has no idea, though, that a single Christmas ornament is about to send her into a whirling chasm of evil.

It starts with the Christmas bell, scratched and worn in one of Grandma Anne’s boxes in the attic. Once they put it on the tree, Grandma Anne starts to say terrifying things and act strangely. Candace and her mother assume it’s her dementia talking—until they start to have dangerous encounters with a fiendish being.

As the secrets of Anne’s past involving her twin sister rise to the surface, the women face sinister horrors from a dark force looking for revenge.

Will any of them be able to survive, or will they fall prey to the malevolent secret Grandma Anne is harboring from her past?

Kim’s Review:

This was a creepy series! I read Rachel’s Story first and I think that was a good idea. It gave some good background for The Christmas Bell that helped the story along. The Christmas Bell had some pretty terrifying stuff. The reason I took off a star was simply because I feel like some overreacting was happening and I had a hard time getting over it. Family members are often horrible and very few of us come back from the dead to haunt them in such an intense manner. So some suspension of disbelief is needed. Once you accept that, then the creepiness stars to seep in! Detwiler has a good handle on horror elements and uses them effectively. Rachel was flippin’ scary AF and I had a hard time putting both books down. Overall, this is a great series for horror lovers!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


Book Review: Falling by T.J. Newman

Author:  T.J. Newman

Published: July 6, 2021

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: July 26-29, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

You just boarded a flight to New York.

There are one hundred and forty-three other passengers onboard.
What you don’t know is that thirty minutes before the flight your pilot’s family was kidnapped.
For his family to live, everyone on your plane must die.
The only way the family will survive is if the pilot follows his orders and crashes the plane.

Enjoy the flight.

Jessica’s Review: 

Falling sets you up for an extremely fast paced read from the very beginning and you don’t know what will ultimately happen at the end!  Bill Hoffman is a pilot and will be flying a plane from LA to NYC and just 30 minutes ago his family was kidnapped.  He is told that if he does not crash the plane that his family will die.  What will Bill do?

This is not a book I would recommend reading on a flight!  It is nonstop suspense that is driven the whole novel!  The author was a flight attendant for 10 years and even wrote it while on the job.  She faced 41 rejections until it was finally accepted, and Falling is now a published novel! 

Falling is all about family: First, is the pilot’s family being held hostage. Second, is the flight crew and their closeness.  You can really see how Newman brought her experiences as a flight attendant into the novel.  

I give Falling 4 stars as a few things did not really work for me: How the FBI became involved and some of their actions were too convenient and the motives of the villain just did not really work for me.  I was still intensely involved as to what was going to happen with a hijacked plane in a post 9/11 world. And then we have a flight attendant whose nickname was “Daddy” /”Big Daddy”?  If that was meant as some comic relief, it did not work for me. 

Will Hoffman save his family by crashing the plane or will something else happen to the plane? 

Get ready for a wild ride as you read Falling. 

Falling is recommended.

Purchase Links: 
Amazon US 
Amazon UK