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.
The Lucky List
Author: Rachael Lippincott
Published: June 1, 2021
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars
Emily and her mum were always lucky.
But Emily’s mum’s luck ran out three years ago when she succumbed to cancer, and nothing has felt right since.
Now, the summer before her senior year, things are worse than ever – Emily has wrecked things with her boyfriend, Matt, and her dad is selling the house she grew up in and giving her mum’s belongings away. The only person she has to talk to is Blake, a girl she barely knows since she and her dad moved back to town five seconds ago.
But that’s when Emily finds the list – her mum’s senior year summer bucket list – buried in the back of her closet. When Blake suggests that Emily take it on as a challenge, the two set off on a journey to tick each box and help Emily face her fears over losing her connection to her mum. As she starts to feel closer to her mother, so too does Emily’s bond with Blake deepen into something she wasn’t expecting.
And suddenly Emily must face another fear: accepting the secret part of herself she never got a chance to share with the person who knew her best.
I do love Rachael Lippincott. I loved her first two books that she co-wrote and I was so excited when I saw this new book sitting on the shelf. Unfortunately, it doesn’t live up to the first two. It started out confusing so I felt lost from the beginning. I don’t want to give away the twist but it just felt so inconsequential to me. I think it would have been so much better if it hadn’t been YA. All that teen drama just brought everything down! And of course the high school, “oh I’ll love you forever! We’ll always be together!” automatically indicates that you won’t. Teen romance very rarely works out and it annoys me that everybody keeps believing it! It just killed this story for me. It had so much potential to be deep and emotional and it just all fell flat. I think Rachael needs to break out of YA because she has the potential to go full on Me Before You and be awesome at it … but not in YA. The teenagers ruined her book.
The Taking of Jake Livingston
Author: Ryan Douglass
To Be Published: July 13, 2021
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: June 10-17, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
Sixteen-year-old Jake Livingston sees dead people everywhere. But he can’t decide what’s worse: being a medium forced to watch the dead play out their last moments on a loop or being at the mercy of racist teachers as one of the few Black students at St. Clair Prep. Both are a living nightmare he wishes he could wake up from. But things at St. Clair start looking up with the arrival of another Black student—the handsome Allister—and for the first time, romance is on the horizon for Jake.
Unfortunately, life as a medium is getting worse. Though most ghosts are harmless and Jake is always happy to help them move on to the next place, Sawyer Doon wants much more from Jake. In life, Sawyer was a troubled teen who shot and killed six kids at a local high school before taking his own life. Now he’s a powerful, vengeful ghost and he has plans for Jake. Suddenly, everything Jake knows about dead world goes out the window as Sawyer begins to haunt him. High school soon becomes a different kind of survival game—one Jake is not sure he can win
As a part of June’s prompt for #Diverseathon2021I read The Taking of Jake Livingston which features a main character that is LQBTQ+. My copy was also an arc copy, the book will be released on July 13, 2021. This is a YA novel but more so of a horror novel. We have a main character that is gay and I read this novel for #Diverseathon for the month of June as the prompt is a main character who is LQBTQ. I also liked that the novel takes place in Georgia and the author is from the state. Places are mentioned that I know of which made the novel more enjoyable for me.
Our main character Jake is different in several ways: He is one of just a few black students at his private school, one of those students being his brother. Jake is also gay and in the closet. Jake also has a unique ability that he does not enjoy: He sees ghosts and they constantly replay their last moments before death. Eventually these ghosts do completely disappear. Eventually these ghosts do completely disappear, until Jake comes across one particular ghost named Sawyer who was a school shooter. And this ghost has plans for Jake.
This is a short novel, just over 250 pages and it packs quite the punch in those few pages. The last third of the novel really picks up the pace and I could not put it down: I had to know what was going to happen to Jake! There is a horror element that was a bit intense as Sawyer is a frightening and evil ghost! Sawyer is a Michael Myers type of ghost. Both Jake and Sawyer are our narrators (Sawyer through his diary). We learn about Sawyer’s difficult life and in some ways have a little bit of empathy for him.
There is a little bit of a romance that tries to develop when Allister arrives to the school, but Jake fears for Allister’s safety.
I enjoyed this novel and will be on the lookout for what comes next from Ryan Douglass. After all, he’s from Georgia too!
I received an arc copy from the publisher via Bookish First.
June’s host is Danyel at dany.alvey over at Instagram. She is having a giveaway of $15 to Book Depository (or Amazon for a US winner) for your choice of a book. This is an international giveaway! Be sure to check out her Instagram for full details on that giveaway.