069_devildeepblueseaTITLE: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (Between, #1)

AUTHOR: April Genevieve Tucholke

GENRE: YA Fantasy/Paranormal

PUBLISHED: 2013, Penguin Young Readers Group

SOURCE: Digital ARC via Netgalley

Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town…until River West comes along. River rents the guesthouse behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard. Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more? (via Goodreads)

Violet has a complicated relationship with the enigmatic stranger who calls himself River West, and I have a complicated relationship with this book. On the one hand, I can’t help but praise the genuine creepiness — these are some of the most well-crafted chills I’ve experienced in a while. But on the other hand, I have all these underlying issues with the characters and with the big plot twist that just leave me equal parts enraged and confused. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea was on my list of highly anticipated releases this year, but now that I’ve finished reading I have to admit I was a bit disappointed.

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Emma: A Latter-day Tale

August 17th, 2013 | Posted by Alix in Chick Lit | Review - (6 Comments)

emmaalatterdaytale

TITLE: Emma: A Latter-Day Tale

AUTHOR: Rebecca H. Jamison

GENRE: Chick lit

FORMAT: Digital ARC, 258 pages (Bonneville)

RELEASE DATE: August 13th, 2013

Emma isn’t so good at the whole life-coaching thing. Her first client ended up with a broken heart and is threatening to relapse into bad habits. Now Emma has problems of her own to deal with, and they all start with one name: Justin. Justin is her best friend, so it’s hard for Emma not to feel betrayed when she suspects he’s falling for her childhood rival. And she knows she’s losing him despite her best efforts. How is she supposed to help other people when she’s drowning in her own failures? (taken from NetGalley)

I was so excited to see an adaption of Jane Austen’s Emma that I completely missed the “Latter-day” double entendre in the title. Yes it is a reference to the Church of Latter-day Saints (Mormon). I think the fact that I am also from a non-religious background (and only read non-fiction based books about religion) might have played a role in my lack of recognition. Either way, I was quite surprised when I realized this connection.

The references to Mormonism (church attending, calling each other “Brother”, “Sister”) and probably a bunch of other things that passed over my head from my lack of knowledge about it didn’t bother me. It ended up being just part of the larger context of the story. I wasn’t into it but it didn’t turn me off the book either. What I did struggle with was towards the end of the story, after Emma creates conflict with her friends and wants to change, the book took a turn into relying heavily on religious elements (praying, following the path of Christ, God’s plan, etc). I just can’t relate to it and for me, it disconnected me completely from Emma and the story.
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The Boy Who Could See Demons

August 16th, 2013 | Posted by Paola in Fiction | Review - (4 Comments)

seedemonsTITLE: The Boy Who Could See Demons

AUTHOR: Carolyn Jess-Cooke

GENRE: Fiction/Literature (Adult)

RELEASE DATE: August 13, 2013, Delacorte Press

SOURCE: Digital ARC (Netgalley)

As a child psychiatrist, Anya Molokova is familiar with the demons that can plague an unstable mind. She even has firsthand experience, having suffered the death of her own daughter from mental illness. But when she meets a small boy named Alex, she takes on the most baffling, disturbing case of her career. For Alex, demons are real. They congregate in the corners of his room, speak to him in broad daylight, and can manifest at any time. He tells Anya that his best friend is one such demon called Ruen, but he doesn’t tell her that Ruen wants him to do terrible things. Things like hurting other people, and hurting himself. Is Ruen a product of the child’s psychosis, or something else entirely?

I seldom venture into adult lit these days, but I’m always interested in books that deal with child psychology because I work with kids on a daily basis. Of course, there was also the possible occult angle, which made me want to read this one even more. The Boy Who Could See Demons was a relatively short read that covered a number of tough subjects — from the tumultuous history of Northern Ireland to the debilitating effects of mental illness. While at times it had the tendency to sound like an academic paper or someone’s doctoral dissertation, it also unfolded with excellent pacing that kept me guessing until the very end.

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A-Z Bookish Survey

August 15th, 2013 | Posted by Paola in Features - (9 Comments)

AtoZsurveyWe’re a little late to the party, but this A-Z Bookish Survey from Jamie @ The Perpetual Page-Turner was just too fun to miss out on! In the spirit of all those good old-fashioned Xanga/MySpace surveys that were so popular in the days of our youth, here’s an (alphabetical) account of our reading habits :) If you did the survey too, please leave us a link so we can come read your post!

Author you’ve read the most books from:

Paola - Laura Ingalls Wilder. I’ve been a Little House fan since childhood and own multiple dog-eared, practically-falling-apart copies of the books in the series. Close contenders would be Robin McKinley, J.K. Rowling, Diana Wynne Jones and Sarah Dessen.

Alix - I would it’s Jane Austen since I read all of her novels (from first published to last!) back-to-back after receiving the Complete Works compilation book in high school! Closely followed by Henning Mankel (excellent Swedish crime novels!), Meg Cabot (I’ll basically read anything by her and practically have), J.K. Rowling (just missing her pen name book to have read all her works!), Ann M. Martin (The Baby-Sitters Club!),

Best sequel ever:

Paola - Oh man, this is a tough question. I don’t usually like sequels at all, especially not the ones that are Book 2 in a trilogy. I guess I’d have to say Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta, because going back to Lumatere could never be wrong. Err, except I never actually left…

Alix - Catching Fire is one of those rare 2nd-in-a-series books that outdid the first and final book for me. It is my favourite book in the series. I devoured it and for me, it was best the written, most powerful and feeling causing book in the Hunger Games series.

Currently reading:

Paola - Um, like 12 books at once? I’m incapable of selecting one book to read at a time. Right now I’m juggling Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott (AMAZING), Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (ALSO AMAZING) and Of Beast & Beauty by Stacey Jay (a truly unique take on the Beauty and the Beast fairytale).

Alix - Nothing… I KNOW! My life has been so crazy for the 2 weeks that I didn’t start another book after finished my last. Since I’m always reading a bunch of books at once I’m technically reading The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima and A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin but haven’t touched them in the last couple of weeks. I’m super looking forward to starting Fangirl this week though!

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