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
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.
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.
Book Review: All the Impossible Things by Lindsay Lackey
All the Impossible Things
Author: Lindsay Lackey
Published: September 3, 2019
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: June 14-17, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars
A middle-grade novel about a young girl navigating the foster care system in search of where she belongs.
Red’s inexplicable power over the wind comes from her mother. Whenever Ruby “Red” Byrd is scared or angry, the wind picks up. And being placed in foster care, moving from family to family, tends to keep her skies stormy. Red knows she has to learn to control it, but can’t figure out how.
This time, the wind blows Red into the home of the Grooves, a quirky couple who run a petting zoo, complete with a dancing donkey and a giant tortoise. With their own curious gifts, Celine and Jackson Groove seem to fit like a puzzle piece into Red’s heart.
But just when Red starts to settle into her new life, a fresh storm rolls in, one she knows all too well: her mother. For so long, Red has longed to have her mom back in her life, and she’s quickly swept up in the vortex of her mother’s chaos. Now Red must discover the possible in the impossible if she wants to overcome her own tornadoes and find the family she needs.
All the Impossible Things just did not work for me. I did not connect with Red, so that was that for me. And I am not a fantasy reader, so I think the magical ability just didn’t work for me. I did know about Red’s ability before reading, and had a couple of friends who read this novel and loved it so I gave it a shot despite knowing it might not be for me.
Red is in foster care and goes from home to home. She is just waiting for her mother to be released from prison so she can be reunited with her: she even has a countdown. Red is moved to another foster family who run a petting zoo, which provides a different sort of environment and adventures all on their own.
The ending is a bit realistic and I enjoyed it. Red finally found where she needed to be.
It may be that the audiobook is not the best format for this novel as one of my friends said she tried the audio and stopped it and ended up reading it and enjoyed it. Maybe this will be a book I give another chance to and pick up and actually read it. Maybe then I will love it. It is a pity as the cover is gorgeous!
**A few days after I wrote this review previously mentioned friend (Beccie) mailed me a copy of this book! She was the one who tried the audiobook and DNF’d is that way, but picked up a physical copy and loved it. Hopefully I will have the same reaction to it with another read!**
A Monster Calls
Author: Patrick Ness
Inspired by: An idea from Siobhan Dowd
Published: May 5, 2011
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars
The bestselling novel about love, loss and hope from the twice Carnegie Medal-winning Patrick Ness.
Conor has the same dream every night, ever since his mother first fell ill, ever since she started the treatments that don’t quite seem to be working. But tonight is different. Tonight, when he wakes, there’s a visitor at his window. It’s ancient, elemental, a force of nature. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth.
From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd — whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself — Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.
I have read many books that have made me cry. Some made my eyes wet, some made fat tear drops roll down my cheeks, some made me ugly cry . . . but only two books have ever made me ugly cry with sobs that I couldn’t stop: A Monster Calls is one of those books. I had seen it on shelves and on book sites, but I found it for super cheap at Ollie’s one day, so I snatched it up. I decided to read it two years ago when I was looking to fill time between books with something short and easy. Easy, my sweet aunt!
My mother-in-law had come for a visit and Ivan was about to get ready to go to work when I finished it. They both had to get up and leave the room, I was crying so hard. Poor Ivan never knows what to do when I cry and all Meemaw wanted was to say hi and see the flowers in our backyard! I wasn’t expecting to react so dramatically to this book. It broke my heart. But this was before I started reviewing for Jessica’s Reading Room so I decided to read it again so I could write a review: Bad idea. There are some things that I’ll have strong reactions to when I read or watch or experience it the first time, but then try again and handle it better the second time . . . yeah, not with this book! Ivan is just sitting there working on his Legos when he looks up and sees me break down completely. Poor guy just puts his head down and keeps working! ? When I finally get control of myself he asks if this is good kinda sad or bad kinda sad and the only way I can describe it is that it’s a feeling kinda sad. Y’all know how shallow I am.
I’ve always considered myself to be relatively unfeeling and emotionally stunted. Then between, Gerda Weissman Klein’s book All But My Life and The Book Thief, I’ve discovered that I’m waaaaaaaay too feeling! And this book brought out so many feelings, it’s not even funny. I can’t even talk too much about the story because it needs to be experienced. I don’t want to give away information that y’all need to read and feel for yourselves and I don’t want to ruin this book in any way. All I can say is that this book is perfect for a dreary day. If you feel emotional, but it’s all pent up inside, this book will help get it all out! I’d recommend this book for slightly older kids who have suffered. Had I known about this book when I was teaching, there are several kids I would have gotten copies for! Rainy days, moody days, PMS-y days, difficult days, days when you need perspective, days when you need to remind yourself that annoying people could be suffering, this book is perfect for them all! I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone!