Review: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

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Synopsis:

You stop fearing the devil when you’re holding his hand…

Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town… until River West comes along. River rents the guest house 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?

Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery… who makes you want to kiss back.

Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it.

Review:

I was incredibly excited to read Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea from the get-go. It has a beautiful cover that drew me in immediately and the first line of the synopsis “You stop fearing the devil when you’re holding his hand” made me think, put this book in my hands right now.  The idea of falling for the Devil, or someone evil is fascinating to me. But I had reservations about this book shortly after Chapter 1 ended.

I know, River West is mysterious, creepy, and hot but Violet immediately falls in love with him. After reading the entire book, I can understand why that might of happened, but insta-love is a huge turn off for me and there was no lead-in to it, which I found really odd. That being said, I was fascinated by River and the things that happened around him. He was my favorite character in the book even though he did some unsavory (and very weird) things.

I had two issues with this book, the biggest being Violet herself.  Violet was quirky to the point of being pretentious. She was knowledgeable about art and literature, she wore her deceased grandmother’s clothing, and the whole town thinks that although poor, that she is a snob. She bored me and while reading I wanted to find one interesting to pop out about Violet’s personality, but she was flat and didn’t change much the course of the book. Even if I don’t like the main female character in a novel, I like her to be interesting at the very least.

The second was the end. I’m not going to go into detail, but it felt out of place for me.

During one point in the book (fairly early on), the entire town’s worth of children got a mob mentality and were running around a cemetery with sharpened stakes. Creepy? Yes. I would have loved to see more things like this in the book. The creepy factor is what kept me reading and engaged and wanting more and Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea had plenty of creepy moments.. After the book was over I still wanted to read about more creepy and off the wall things, which made this a decent read in my book.

3.5 / 5 Stars

Review: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

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Synopsis:

Aria has lived her whole life in the protected dome of Reverie. Her entire world confined to its spaces, she’s never thought to dream of what lies beyond its doors. So when her mother goes missing, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland long enough to find her are slim.

Then Aria meets an outsider named Perry. He’s searching for someone too. He’s also wild – a savage – but might be her best hope at staying alive.

If they can survive, they are each other’s best hope for finding answers.

 

Review:

I read Under the Never Sky a couple of weeks ago and I keep putting off writing and posting a review. Why? Because *cringe* I was less than thrilled with the book.

I hate writing reviews when I can’t give the book 4 or 5 stars. This one barely pulled off a 3 for me.

There were definitely things I liked about the book. It was a quick and fairly engaging read.  The concept sucked me in and kept me interested, even when other things fell flat for me. Under the Never Sky had a great premise. I loved the idea of  the world created by Veronica Rossi. The idea of Dwellers who live under domes to protect them from the elements vs. Outsiders (those who live outside of the domes and the society the Dwellers have created). I think that this world could have been developed a bit more, but I won’t hold that against it too much because it might be further developed in the 2nd and 3rd novels.

I love that the Outsiders have developed super senses that some of them have. Perry is a Scire (he has the sense of super smell) and is able to see incredibly well in the dark. I have no idea how these abilities developed (it’s never really explained), but I can assume that they are mutations that are passed through genetics. I would have liked to learn more about these abilities and where they come from. I would have even liked to see more of them in action.

The biggest thing that was lacking for me was the characters and their development. Roar was easily my favorite character and while he was only in a fraction of the novel I feel like we know and understand more about him than we do either Aria or Perry. I loved his friendships with the other characters and his humor brought a nice bit of relief to the book. Aria bored the hell out of me. I understood that she was from a very sheltered and controlled society, but she was unable to do anything for herself throughout the majority of the book. While I was less annoyed with her by the end, her character didn’t develop nearly enough to keep me interested. I didn’t mind Perry as a character, but the romance between him and Aria was forced and awkward to say the least. It seemed as if he went from disliking her intensely to having feelings for her at the drop of a hat. And there is that being able to smell when she is on her period thing… weird and gross.

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(Did anyone else picture Brick from Anchorman here?)

Was Under the Never Sky a bad book? Not at all. There were definitely things I liked about it. It just didn’t live up to the hype for me. I was disappointed.

Will I pick up the second and third books? Maybe. But I’m not in a rush to read them.

3/5 stars

Reasons Why I'm Glad Eleanor & Park Won a Printz Honor Award

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1. Inter-racial romance:

  • We seldom see an inter-racial romance in YA literature.

2. Eleanor is NOT  a skinny girl. Nor does she become skinny over the course of the novel.

  • Eleanor isn’t “fat” but a point is made that she’s not a thin girl. She has curves and pudge. She is made fun of for her weight and for the clothing that she wears.  But her weight is not the main focus of the novel, she just is, and that is a beautiful thing.
  • In a lot of YA the “chubby” character is a secondary character. Or that character becomes thin over the course of the novel. I love that Eleanor is front and center and doesn’t change who or what she is.

3. Romance, but not insta-love or even insta-lust.

  • The relationship between Eleanor & Park is natural and we can see it develop. The two characters didn’t even really like one another in the beginning. Park thought she was weird because of the clothing that she wore, but such an incredible friendship & relationship develops between the two main characters.
  • They fight. They are frustrated with one another a good portion of the time. But they care about and love one another.

4. So many tough subjects are addressed in E&P that teenagers and adults alike will be able to relate to.

So I’m not surprised that it won a Printz Honor Award. Eleanor & Park was my favorite book of 2013. It made me laugh. It broke my heart. It was one of those books that left me with a book hangover for days, but the story was just so beautiful. The writing and dual-narrative was spectacular and showed the story from the points of view of both the main characters.

I highly recommend Eleanor & Park to any young adult or adult readers, but beware it’s not for the faint of heart.

excitedminionsCongrats Rainbow Rowell!!!

What I'm Reading Wednesday!

So last week I read Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, and this week my pick is….

imagesBetween the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke! I only have a couple of chapters left to go before I am finished, but there were a couple of reasons why I  bought this book.

  • That cover!!! I know, I know, don’t judge a book by it’s cover but damn! It’s beautiful, creepy, and intriguing! I’m hoping with a cover like that the book will be just as dark and creepy.
  • I haven’t read an engaging, creepy book in a while and was hoping that this is what that would be for me.

 

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Since I knew that I didn’t have enough in Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea to take up my whole lunch hour, I grabbed The Raven Boys and figured that I would give that a shot on my break.

 

Coming Soon from Amanda’s Nose in a Book:

– The Impossible Knife of Memory feature with Chrissi Reads

– Review: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

– Review: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

– What I’m Up to this week: update

Crochet Mood Blanket 2014- Week 2

Last week was kind of iffy for me crocheting-wise. I am enjoying making this blanket because it’s really easy to find time to make a square at least every other day. However when it comes to making other projects I’ve put that on the backburner, which I shouldn’t because I have a craft show coming up. But after that I think it’s time I took a break from most things crafty (except for my blanket) and begin to really focus on revising my novel.  Here are all of the squares I made this week and a photo of all of the squares I have made thus far. I can’t wait until I have a cozy warm blanket to curl up with.

 

Anyway. I need to start revising my book from NaNoWriMo. I’m really struggling to get the motivation to sit down and look at it scene-by-scene and get to the major plot/character/theme issues. It doesn’t help that once again I don’t have a computer at home. But the library is always a productive place for me to get some work done.

See ya later, friends. Stay tuned for more crafty posts!

What I'm Reading Wednesday

My other books were delivered in the mail the day after I posted about my frustrations about not receiving them yet. So I had quite a few books to choose from for this week’s read, but I chose…. (dundundunnn).

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Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi. I began it on Sunday evening and am about 80 pages in at the moment. The idea of people being forced to live in domes because of outside conditions (terrible Aether storms that scorch the Earth) and the society that develops within these domes because of their reliance on technology to keep them alive/entertained, etc.

They call the people who live outside of a domed society Outsiders or Savages and try to keep them from entering their own society. These Outsiders are hunters/gatherers and do whatever they can to keep their family and society alive and safe from the outside conditions.

It’s a cool idea and premise so far, and I like the characters Aria and Perry, so I am excited to see where it goes! I found a great book trailer for Under the Never Sky that makes me just want to keep reading and find out what happens!

What are you reading right now?

Any suggestions for what I should read next?

Review: The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

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Synopsis (Goodreads):

For the past five years, Hayley Kincaid and her father, Andy, have been on the road, never staying long in one place as he struggles to escape the demons that have tortured him since his return from Iraq. Now they are back in the town where he grew up so Hayley can attend school. Perhaps, for the first time, Hayley can have a normal life, put aside her own painful memories, even have a relationship with Finn, the hot guy who obviously likes her but is hiding secrets of his own.

Will being back home help Andy’s PTSD, or will his terrible memories drag him to the edge of hell, and drugs push him over? The Impossible Knife of Memory is Laurie Halse Anderson at her finest: compelling, surprising, and impossible to put down.

Review:

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson is a gripping and heart-wrenching journey through the effects of PTSD on a man, Andy, and his 17 year old daughter, Hayley. Andy loves his daughter, but is haunted by ghosts of his past. As a result he relies on alcohol and drugs to try to combat the memories that are tearing him apart on a daily basis, leaving Hayley to care for him as if she was the parent.

Hayley, the narrator of the book finds herself torn between having a “normal” teenage life, taking care and worrying about her war-torn father, and memories of her own past. She does so with dignity and courage, despite her inability to trust anyone around her, not even her closest friends. She often pushes the people who care about her the most away in order to self-preserve and take care of her father, to try to keep his illness a secret from her schoolmates and teachers.

I love how raw The Impossible Knife of Memory is. Laurie Halse Anderson writes in such a realistic manner that I often found myself staring at the page at the end of a chapter with my mouth open in utter shock and disbelief. Both Hayley  and Andy’s lives are difficult, they are both teetering on the edge and are barely able to hold themselves and one another up. This is especially apparent in the chapters written from Andy’s perspective, where we get a peek at the horrifying things that he experienced during his tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

While the book itself has heavy themes and material, I love the hope that Laurie Halse Anderson brings into her storytelling. Hayley desperately needs hope, and finds it through her new friend, Finn as romance blossoms between them. While his life is also troubled, Finn tries to crack Hayley’s tough exterior to get to know her and show her that there is hope for her and for her father.

Laurie Halse Anderson is one of the most influential authors in Young Adult literature for a reason. She writes about real issues faced by teens and she doesn’t sugar coat or talk down to her readers. She tackles the tough shit, issues that are “taboo,” ones that people don’t want to talk about, but that need to be brought to the forefront (yet does so in a sensitive manner). Her words can make you laugh out loud one minute (Hayley’s comparison of her classmates to zombies), punch you in the gut the next (the chapters written from Andy’s perspective), and shortly after have you in tears because of something that was written so beautifully or something that is so heart-wrenching that you can’t help but tear up.

I can’t give The Impossible Knife of Memory enough praise. Not only was it a beautiful and well-written book that tackled very difficult subjects, Laurie Halse Anderson has drawn from her own life experiences and what she saw her father go through as a veteran with PTSD. While reading it, it was almost impossible to find a decent place to stop reading and go back to work (go to bed, make/eat dinner, clean). Laurie Halse Anderson has written yet another masterpiece.

5/5 stars

Find The Impossible Knife of Memory at your local bookstore or online at

Barnes and Noble

Amazon

Find Laurie Halse Anderson Onlineindex

Website/blog

Facebook

Twitter

My friend Chrissi also read/reviewed this book! Check out what she thought here! And keep an eye out for our blog feature on The Impossible Knife of Memory!

Early January Book Haul!!!

So I caved and bought a bunch of books just because I am so unbelievably behind with books that have been released in the past year or so. (hides behind the pile in shame)

I thought I would share these awesome titles with you!

indexThe Impossible Knife of Memory by (the wonderful) Laurie Halse Anderson

This was one of my most anticipated books of 2014, so when it was released on Tuesday (1/7) I had to get it ASAP.  I am in the middle of reading it now and am having difficulty finding a place in it to put it down when I need to. Stay tuned for my review.

HouseofHadesThe House of Hades by Rick Riordan

I just have to finish re-reading the Heroes of Olympus series (I’m up to Mark of Athena at the moment) because I feel like I don’t remember enough of what happened in the first 3 books to just pick up the 4th one and go with it.

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Attachments: A Novel by Rainbow Rowell

I loved Fangirl and Eleanor & Park so much that I couldn’t resist Attachments when I was perusing through books online.

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The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

I’ve heard nothing but good things and the premise sounded fabulous. I think this might be the book that I start reading next 🙂

And then there are the books that (annoyingly) haven’t come yet.

I mean, come on Barnes and Noble. I ordered 5 books on the same day. You shipped them all the day after. In two separate packages. I got one the other day and have to wait a week longer for the next one??? What f*ckery is this?

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Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

I love dystopian YA, so I am definitely hoping that this novel lives up to all of the hype. I only bought the first book in the series because I have heard some mixed reviews and I’m genuinely hoping that I like it.

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Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

I’ve been wanting to read this one since it was released. I love gothic horror, so I hope it is as good as it promises.

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Under the never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Once again, I have heard such amazing things about this book that it was difficult to not buy it. I have been meaning to pick it up for a while, so I’m excited to read it.

*crosses my fingers in the hope the last 3 books get here soon*

What I've been up to so far in 2014

Oswego, NY has not been spared by the cold! We even made national news yesterday! 2014 has been very snowy and very cold thus far. We all know about that lovely polar vortex that has made all of the United States into one giant frozen UScicle.

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(Photo by Beth Clark Photography)

I’ve been spending my days at work and my evenings and weekends relaxing and crocheting. I have even started the beginning stages of revisions on my NaNo novel.

But I have started one awesome project that I am very excited to share with you. And a couple others that are just as awesome!

Crochet Mood Blanket 2014

I have chosen to crochet one granny square a day throughout the year of 2014 in colors that represent my mood for that day. Some people have made a grid for colors they feel represent their most common moods. I on the other hand, am just going with what I feel each particular day. Some squares have been inspired by the weather or a crochet WIP that I am working on, others by my mood for the day. Here is what I have created thus far!

I hope to be updating on my progress every week or so, but you can take a peek at my daily squares on Instagram. Click the icon below to find me on Instagram!

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Photo A Day 2014

I have also decided to try and take at least one photograph a day to chronicle my year, so that when I look back at the year I can better remember what happened! I will be sharing my favorites on here, but I will try to post each day’s photo on Instagram (sometimes a day late, but better late than never!)

Also, I have started revising my NaNoWriMo novel! Since this is the longest piece I have written, revising has been a daunting task thus far. I haven’t gotten very far before getting frustrated or discouraged with my novel. I have a couple of things that I know definitely need to be changed, but it is going to need a serious re-write before I can even consider it a first draft. My NaNo draft is just one very shitty rough draft.

I ordered a bunch of books the other day, and some of them were delivered yesterday. Not to mention I need to stop by the River’s End Bookstore today to pick up one very anticipated new release by the fabulous Laurie Halse Anderson. So some reviews, collaborations, and bookish posts will be up in the very near future!