Published by Tor (3.16.2020)
Genres: Contemporary, Fantasy
Format: Audiobook, 394 pages
Length: 12 hours, 12 minutes
Narrator: Daniel Henning
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.
I don’t have much to say about this one other than I loved it to pieces! The narration is FANTASTIC, and I loved the characters and the sense of found family. There’s something about Klune’s quirky prose and almost sardonic humor that just draws me in. I really adore his writing – it’s magical, SUPER quotable, and also very poignant. There were some passages that were just so beautiful and spoke to me in a way I can’t describe – so much so that I actually teared up at times. And other times I was laughing out loud! I cherish a book that can make me feel like this one did.
And if you’re looking for warm fuzzies, look no further. This is such a feel-good book! It was compared to Up, and that’s a very apt comparison. Grumpy MC and plucky kid(s) included. I loved the group of misfits at orphanage and the bond they had. It was so endearing to watch as they all grew on Linus!
If you haven’t read it yet, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! Ya’ll know I’m a black sheep but they hype for this one is so, so deserved.
Writing style: 4.5/5
Overall rating: 4.5/5
Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune
Published by Tor (9.21.2021)
Genres: Contemporary, Fantasy
Format: Audiobook, 373 pages
Length: 14 hours, 54 minutes
Narrator: Kirt Graves
When a reaper comes to collect Wallace Price from his own funeral, Wallace suspects he really might be dead.
Instead of leading him directly to the afterlife, the reaper takes him to a small village. On the outskirts, off the path through the woods, tucked between mountains, is a particular tea shop, run by a man named Hugo. Hugo is the tea shop's owner to locals and the ferryman to souls who need to cross over.
But Wallace isn't ready to abandon the life he barely lived. With Hugo's help he finally starts to learn about all the things he missed in life.
When the Manager, a curious and powerful being, arrives at the tea shop and gives Wallace one week to cross over, Wallace sets about living a lifetime in seven days.
I’m sad that I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much as Cerulean Sea. But it was still good! I enjoyed the narration in this book, too, but again, it wasn’t as lovely as CS. I wish I’d read this one first, because I couldn’t help but compare it to that!
It still had the same quirky prose that I adored in CS, though, and Klune’s writing is just SO QUOTABLE. This book felt very poignant to me, with the subject matter being death and grief. I lost my dad in 2020, so there were so many quotes that hit really hard for me. I’m gonna drop a few of them here!
“It’s never enough, is it? Time. We always think we have so much of it. But when it really counts, we don’t have enough at all.”
“It’s easy to let yourself spiral and fall.”
“It is,” Nelson agreed. “But it’s what you do to pull yourself out of it that matters most.”
“It’s your life. It’s what you make of it. No, it’s not always fair. No, it’s not always good. It burns and tears, and there are times where it crushes you beyond recognition. Some people fight against it. Others…can’t, though I don’t think they can be blamed for that. Giving up is easy, picking yourself up isn’t. But we have to believe if we do, we can take another step.”
“I can’t wait to see them again. To hold my son’s face in my hands, and tell him how proud I am of him. We think we have time for such things, but there’s never enough for all we should have said.”
Honestly though, I was a little disappointed in the ending. Which is why this is 3.5/5 instead of 4/5. View Spoiler »The WHOLE BOOK harps about how it’s not possible to bring someone back to life, that it’s just not done…I hate when a book breaks its own rules. I wanted Wallace and Hugo to be together, but that is sooo not what I was thinking. And honestly? Part of me kind of WANTED heartbreak. I enjoy HEAs, but give me a realistic, heartbreaking ending that will crush me so badly I’ll never forget it over a HEA any day. (I’m a masochist, what can I say…it’s why Jay Kristoff is my fave author *shrugs*) « Hide Spoiler
Also side note: I LOVE MEI.
Writing style: 4.5/5
Overall rating: 3.5/5