Every Heart a Doorway (Seanan McGuire)

Every Heart a Doorway (Seanan McGuire)Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children, #1) by Seanan McGuire
Published by Tor.com on April 5th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 173
Format: audio
Source: Scribd
Goodreads

Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward ChildrenNo SolicitationsNo VisitorsNo Quests

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere... else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced... they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost.

Plot: ★★★★
Characters: ★★★★
Readability: ★★★★★

 

It’s no secret by now that I’m a big fan of Mira Grant’s books, but having pretty much exhausted all of her works recently, I decided to start on the series she’s written under the name Seanan McGuire instead.  One of the first I’ve picked up is Every Heart a Doorway, which I chose for a couple of reasons – I saw Ellie’s review of Down Among the Sticks & Bones (another book in the series), I loved the sound of the premise, and it happened to be available as an audiobook on Scribd at the moment I went looking.  Seemed a bit like fate really!  Every Heart a Doorway tells the story of Nancy, who travelled to another world but has ended up stuck back in ours, desperately wishing she could go back.  Driven to desperation, her parents send her to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children, where she meets other kids just like her, who’ve been to other places but now find themselves stuck where they started.  All of the students at Miss Eleanor West’s home want to travel back through their doors more than anything, but when a student is killed they get drawn into the mystery and wondering if they might be next.

“Her parents loved her, there was no question of that, but their love was the sort that filled her suitcase with colors and kept trying to set her up in dates with local boys. Their love wanted to fix her, and refused to see that she wasn’t broken.”

Students have travelled to worlds that are so unlike our own, but also so unlike each other’s, and each of them is changed by the experience.  They’ve also been affected by OUR world too though – for whatever reason, most of them felt they just didn’t fit until they found their door and what lay on the other side.  The cast of characters is great; each feels unique, and well-developed, and as is often the case with Grant/McGuire books, they’re wonderfully diverse.  For some characters, their diversity is crucial to their plot and story, and for others it’s just an incidental background fact, which is great.  I liked the characters, and I especially loved Jack and Jill, so I knew I’d definitely want to follow this up with Down Among the Sticks and Bones, which explores their backstory.

 “Nobody gets to tell me how my story ends but me.”

The story is quite dark and twisted, and if you’re a fan of Christina Henry, I imagine you’ll like this.  The premise is great, the cast are great, and the murder mystery is intriguing, but I didn’t love it quite as much as I wanted to, or as I felt like I should.  There’s a lot crammed in, and the reflection on our world gives you plenty to think about and dwell on all on it’s own – but it’s a very short story.  I would have happily spent a lot longer with these characters and their world, so I do wish this was a full-length novel.  It’s definitely worth a read though, and you can bet I’ll be picking up every additional story McGuire gives us in this world.

“Real’ is a four-letter word, and I’ll thank you to use it as little as possible while you live under my roof.”

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

[Series Snapshot] The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan

by Rick Riordan
Published by Disney-Hyperion, Hyperion Books, Hyperion Books for Children Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy, Middle Grade
Format: audio
Source: Scribd

[Series Snapshot] The Kane Chronicles by Rick RiordanThe Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
Published by Disney-Hyperion on May 4th 2010
Pages: 516
Goodreads

Since their mother's death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane.

One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a "research experiment" at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives.

Soon, Sadie and Carter discover that the gods of Egypt are waking, and the worst of them —Set— has his sights on the Kanes. To stop him, the siblings embark on a dangerous journey across the globe - a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family and their links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.



Series stats

Author: Rick Riordan
Number of books: 3
Total number of pages: 1404


Opening line:

We only have a few hours, so listen carefully.


Status on my shelves:

I borrowed all three from Scribd as audiobooks.


Why I picked this series up:

I’ve been catching up with Rick Riordan’s books, because I have several friends who are fans.  Having finished Percy Jackson & The Olympians and The Heroes of Olympus series, the Kane Chronicles seemed like the next logical step! I was nervous about new characters and new mythology, but I decided to give it a go anyway.


Overall thoughts:

The first thing to say is that these work excellently as audiobooks.  The books are written as if they’re typed transcripts of an audio recording which has been left by Sadie and Carter, so they’re the ideal format for audio.  I listened to the unabridged BrillianceAudio editions, narrated by Katherine Kellgren (for Sadie’s chapters) and Kevin R. Free (for Carter’s chapters) and I thought both did a great job!  The story begins when Sadie and Carter watch their Egyptologist father summon something in the British Museum before disappearing.  Sadie and Carter have been raised separately – Carter by his father, travelling the world and homeschooling, and Sadie by her grandparents in London.  These two relative strangers are forced to work together as they get caught up in a world they never knew existed.

One of Riordan’s strengths is his character cast, and while I didn’t find anyone to top Leo (my favourite character so far!) or Nico, Riordan’s characters are as always well-rounded and relatable.  As I’ve come to expect from Riordan now, we also get characters who are diverse but who’s diversity isn’t a driving plot point: it’s just a reflection of the world, and I love that.  Sadie and Carter are both likeable, relatable characters.  Sadie is witty, and sarcastic and generally made me laugh the whole way through. She’s also very believable: she has both friends and people she doesn’t get along with, she isn’t a character who’s astoundingly smart and perfect and does no wrong, or sounds like she’s much more mature than she truly is.  While I didn’t love Carter as much, he too has a convincing, authentic voice throughout the series; older, feeling burdened with responsibility for his younger sister, but still ultimately a teen at heart.  The supporting characters – Anubis, Walt, Bes, Bast and the others – are also interesting and likeable.

The first book picks up quickly, and this series doesn’t suffer from middle-book-syndrome: it keeps up the pace from book 1 right through to the end of book 3.   I won’t say too much for fear of spoilers, but I really enjoyed the way Riordan worked the Gods into this series – it feels fresh and interesting, and it makes for some really interesting twists and the occasional ethical dilemma.  Having said that, the mythology feels shallower in this series than the Greek mythology in the Olympians/Heroes of Olympus.  That’s obviously to be expected when there are only three books to play with here, compared to 10 for the Greeks, but this series does somehow feel a little less in-depth generally, a little less mature, certainly in comparison to the Heroes of Olympus series.  The series is quick and enjoyable though – I finished all three books within about two weeks, which doesn’t sound fast but is pretty much unprecedented pace for me and audiobooks.  All in all, I didn’t love it as much as his other series so far, but if you’re a fan of the other series, you’ll almost certainly enjoy this one too.

One StarOne StarOne Star

Looking Ahead: April 2018

What’s on in April?

This month I am: going away for a few days, going to see Nashville in concert, doing lots of wedding planning (<6 months now!), taking some serious steps towards the career change I mentioned in my 2018 goals and taking part in Camp NaNoWriMo!

April’s TBR list

 

Beneath The Sugar Sky (174) | Scribd
Authority (341) | Scribd (started)
City of Brass (544) | ARC
Our Dark Duet (510) | Scribd
The Well of Ascension (781) | From my shelves

Target pages = 2350

This is below my total target pages for the month, but because we’re a bit all over the place this month, I know it’s likely that I’ll finish a book somewhere away from home and not have something pre-planned lined up. Plus, I’m a definite mood reader, so if I plan out my reading in too much detail, I get frustrated by not being able to add in whatever I fancy at that precise moment 😉

April Goals

  • -8.5 lbs: an ambitious goal, but this would take me into the next stone bracket so I’m going to try! Less than 6 months until our wedding now so I’m feeling pretty focussed.
  • 8 blog posts
  • Camp NaNoWriMo – 20k words. I have no plan for this, and I don’t mind if it’s all one story, a bunch of short stories, fanfiction, anything. I just want to get into a bit of a writing habit!

What do you have planned for April?

March Wrap-Up

Reading


Indexing | Deathnote #10 | Into the Drowning Deep | Harry Potter & The Cursed Child | Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine | A Thousand Perfect Notes | Indulgence in Death | Renegades | The Blood of Olympus | Other Minds

Books read: 11 (1 more than Februrary)
Pages read: 3444 (47 more than February)
Average pages per day: 111 (10 less than February)
Average book length: 313 pages (27 less than February)
Favourite: Every Heart a Doorway/Down Among the Sticks & Bones

Watching

Tomb Raider – I had pretty low expectations but this was just generally a fun adventure.
The Greatest Showman (again) – Yeah I know.  This is time number 3… But what can I say, I liked it!
Ready Player One – I’m actually seeing this tonight, so I can’t comment yet on whether I enjoyed it…

So apparently this month I watched ALL the TV…
Altered Carbon (1 x 7-10) – I didn’t love this – a bit bleak and gruesome for me, though I really liked the concept. Okay, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I expected.
Grey’s Anatomy (14 x 10-13) – I’ve been watching Grey’s for over a year, catching up, and now I’m finally up to date I’m hating having to wait each week!
Nashville (5 x 1-2) – LOVE. So gutted this is ending.
Jessica Jones (2 x 1-8) – I love Malcolm, Jess is just a bit of a bitch though. Enjoyable despite wanting to punch a lot of the characters at times.
Arrow (2 x 1-23 & 3 x 1-4) –
Felicity is my favourite person ever. I mean I’m basically just sticking with it for her, and for the fact that eventually, somewhere in the DC universe, I know Tom Felton appears…. Hahaha no I am actually enjoying it, I’m just not as emotionally invested as I expected to be. I’m excited that I get to start watching some of the Flash now though!

Blogging

Reviews:


Other posts:

NetGalley % change: +/- 0% (73%)

Challenge Updates

Sci-fi vs Fantasy Bingo
Immortal: Suicide Club
Undead: Boy on the Bridge
Bite Me: Down Among the Sticks & Bones
Haunted: A Torch Against the Night

Beat the Backlist (23/48)

Finishing the Series (3/15)
The Girl with All The Gifts

Goodreads (33/100)

Personal Goals

Lost 1.5lbs (8/ ~42)

How was your March?

An update on Scribd

I posted a few years ago about how much I was enjoying using Scribd, when I was getting through a lot of audiobooks as part of my commute.  I let it lapse once my commute changed, as I just didn’t have time for many audiobooks, and because I got a bit fed up with the bank cancelling my card every month because the payments were in dollars.  I saw Lauren’s post a while back about how much she was enjoying it, and having looked into it, I decided it was worth pausing my audible membership for a few months and seeing how the two compared now.

How it works:

  • The subscription reading service is $8.99 a month (about £6.40)
  • Unlimited audioooks and ebooks
  • You don’t own the books but borrow them

The Good:

  • Scribd is cheaper than audible, and I can listen to as many audiobooks as I want, as well as read e-books.  As long as I listen to one audiobook a month, I’m no worse off (in fact, I’m just over £1 better off) and of course I could listen to/read a lot more than that if I want to
  • I’ve found that being able to buy multiple books makes me a lot less picky: I’m no longer worrying that I need to get my ‘money’s worth’, so short stories are back on the menu.  I’d probably never get to these short-stories otherwise.
  • I don’t feel the same pressure to make sure I pick something I’ll really like – if I don’t get stuck into something, I can just start something else instead
  • Because I CAN listen to more than one audiobook each month, I’ve found that generally I do.  I always felt like one book a month was about right with audible, but actually now that I have the option to listen to more I find myself making excuses to listen more often and getting through more books.
  • The technical problems I had previously (download speeds, disappearing books) have all disappeared, and using PayPal has got round the fact the payments are in dollars.
  • You can save books for later – it doesn’t download them or take up space on your device, but means that I’ve got plenty of options lined up ready for when I finish a title.

The Things I’d improve:

  • Occasionally if I pause the app, when it starts playing again the volume has disappeared.  I’ve only noticed this on my phone, not on PC or iPad, so it’s probably a problem with my hardware, but a simple force-close has always resolved it.
  • The one thing I’d love Scribd to add would be a percentage/progress marker of some kind. Just because I’m a stats nerd and I’d like to be able to update Goodreads with my progress more easily than doing the maths to work out how far into the book I am.

What I’ve read so far (since February 1st):

  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
  • Indulgence in Death by J.D. Robb
  • The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
  • Other Minds by Peter Godfrey-Smith
  • The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
  • Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
  • Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan
  • The Serpent’s Shadow by Rick Riordan
  • Down Among The Sticks & Bones by Seanan McGuire
  • Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
  • A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir (still reading)

The selection isn’t as good as audible, and you have to be careful because some audiobooks are abridged, which I personally avoid.  The books available do change pretty regularly though, so there are a few books on there that have become unavailable since I saved them, but there are other titles I’ve saved because they’ll be available from the 1st of April.  The only potential issue I can see is if you got started on a long series, and later books ended up getting removed before you’d reached the end of the series.  Personally, I haven’t found it an issue yet, because I’ve got a long list of other things I want to listen to, so I’m more than happy to enjoy those and maybe the titles that expire will come back on in future months.

The cost for what you get is excellent value – about the same as 10 months of audible, so as long as I listen to at least one audiobook a month (or more accurately 10 audiobooks a year), I’m better off.  It hasn’t been at all hard to find at least one audiobook a month I wanted to listen to, and I’ve got 30+ audiobooks and another 25 ebooks saved for future months.

 

The Verdict: Definitely sticking with!

If you’re curious, you can get a two-month trial (no affiliate advantage as far as I can tell, just a nice perk for friends!)