TBR Friday: The D’evil Diaries…

4

TBR Friday

Welcome to my new feature for this year: TBR Fridays!  I’ve decided to include one read from my TBR shelf on the blog per month; partly to whittle down the ridiculous amount of books that I bought because I had to have right that second and have then ignored (in some cases for longer than a year – eep!), and partly to ensure that I succeed with the Mount TBR Challenge that I am participating in at Pike’s Peak level (12 books).  If you want to know more about the Mount TBR Challenge, just click on this attractive button:

Mount TBR 2016

Now let’s get on, shall we?

Today’s book is The D’evil Diaries by Tatum Flynn, a middle grade fantasy adventure set in Hell.

devil diaries

Ten Second Synopsis:

Jinx, Lucifer’s youngest son, sucks at being evil.  Tommy is a young girl who shouldn’t even be in Hell to begin with (because children are NEVER sent to Hell. Ever).  When Jinx meets Tommy after running away from his father’s plan to send him to Hell’s military school, the two discover a plot that could tear apart the world as they know it.  Against all odds, the two must work together to beat the saboteurs at their own game before all hell (and Heaven) breaks loose.

Time on the TBR Shelf:

Since October 2015

Acquired:

From the Book Depository, because I saw the sequel was due to be released, so obviously had to immediately buy both books.  I have the second one on pre-order.  It’s due to be released this month.

Reason I Haven’t Read it Yet:

Other newer, shinier books have taken my fancy.

Best Bits:

  • This was a bit of a slow starter but by the end of the book I was invested in the characters and the outcome
  • Illustrations!  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Middle grade books are ALWAYS better with illustrations.  These ones are interspersed throughout, but they add to the reading experience.
  • One of Jinx’s closest friends is a sloth.  The quintessential Sloth from the list of seven deadly sins, in fact.
  • Jinx’s clever trick toward the end of the book to neutralise the main saboteur is definitely worth a round of applause
  • Flynn’s world-building is pretty slick.  There are lots of different sections to Hell, reserved for different types of sinners, and each has its own creatures and landscape, which added interest to the journey of the main characters.
Less impressive bits:
  • The first few chapters seem to be comprised mostly of telling, rather than showing.  I was a little worried that the whole book would be like this, but once Jinx decides to run away, the style seems to lean more towards showing.
  • This isn’t a complaint about the book per se, but the book cover says “Perfect for fans of David Walliams”. This seems inexplicable to me because the humour and narrative style are completely different to Walliams’ work.  The only similarity I can see is that the books are pitched at the same age group.  Overall, I think this effort outstrips Walliams’ works (excluding, of course, Mr Stink and The Boy in the Dress, which are right crackers).

On reflection, was it worth buying?

While I did end up enjoying the book, I probably could have just got this one from the library and been equally satisfied.

Where to now for this tome?

It will make the move to my permanent shelf because I’ve got the sequel coming.

So that’s the first handhold on Pike’s Peak gripped with a fist of stone!  What a cracking start I’ve got off to!  I’m pumped to continue climbing my enormous pile of unread books!
Until next time,
Bruce

A Graphic Novel Double-Dip: Megalomaniacal Cats and the Highschool from Hell…

4

image

Grab your savoury carbohydrate-based snack of choice and get ready to double-dip into the spicy relish of graphic noveldom, for today I have two of the same for your viewing pleasure.  The first is for the grown-ups, while the second is aimed at a YA audience.  Let’s get dipping!

I Was the Cat by Paul Tobin and Benjamin Dewey opens with protagonist Allison Breaking, investigative journalist and owner of the site Breaking News, being contracted to ghost-write the memoirs of someone that she has been assured is very unusual.  Enter Burma, a talking orange moggy, who is on the last of his allocated nine lives and wishes to record all the drama and excitement of his previous eight.  Once Allison gets over the shock of working for a talking cat, she begins to take down all of the fantastical claims that Burma asserts are true – for you see, it seems that Burma, in each of his previous lives, had a damn good crack at taking over the world.  Various circumstances managed to get in the way every time however, leaving Burma to recount his glory days to Allison in the comfort of his mansion-like apartment.  But as Burma’s tales become more outlandish and maniacal, and strange events start to occur around Allison, the question is begged: has Burma put his plans for world domination behind him, or is this just the start of a new Cat Empire?

I was the catDip into it for….

content that you wouldn’t normally find in a graphic novel.  This was an odd reading experience for me because the subject matter and storyline didn’t seem to suit the illustrated format, or rather, were not what I expected based on the graphic novels I usually read.  Admittedly, I only read graphic novels occasionally, but I normally like them to be at least mildly humorous, with a decent smattering of quirky oddness.   This didn’t really fit either of those categories and seemed to me that it would work better as a novella.

In terms of graphic novel-ish elements that one might normally expect, the art is reasonably traditional in style, there’s a fair bit of violence and there’s quite a bit of interesting stuff happening in the background of frames of scenes when Allison is out of doors.  But there’s a lot more story here than I would generally expect and the plot moves reasonably slowly, as Burma recounts each of his eight previous lives (with the same end result each time).

Don’t Dip If…

…you’re looking for a standard, fast-paced story with lots of action and unpredictable twists.  This one unfolds at languid, cat-lying-in-the-sun sort of a pace.

Overall Dip Factor:

Give it a go if you like cats, and need some tips on how to rise up the ranks to Overlord’s Favourite Pet when the inevitable Catpocalypse happens.  Otherwise, if you don’t mind a graphic novel that places the emphasis firmly on the “novel” part, this may be something you’d like to try.

Satan’s Prep by Gabe Guarente and Dave Fox follows unfortunate, young Trevor Loomis who has been sent to a high school in the bowels of Hell due to a clerical error after his untimely (and somewhat embarrassing) death.  As he moves through classes that are by turns humiliating, painful and painfully humiliating, and faces the attentions of demonic bullies, his only hope of release is through earning grades good enough to have him transferred to Purgatory.  After meeting the alluring Persephone Plumm, however, some things, at least are looking up for Trevor.  Torn between his own conversations with Persephone, and his friends insistence that she is a succubus sent to torment him further, Trevor doesn’t know how to proceed.  But sometimes, as Trevor learns, you’ve got to rise against the authority holding you down and become the posthumous hero you were born to be – even if it is only in your own lunch hour.

Dip into it for…

Stan's prep

confirmation that school, no matter where in the greater frame of reality it exists, can sometimes be hell.  This is a funny, fast-paced take on all the staples of school life that reek of horror and suffering including, but not limited to, icky science experiments, rejection by cliques with varying degrees of unsightliness, and dodgeball.  You can’t help but feel sorry for Trevor as he ploughs on through adversity, trying to make the best out of a bad business,  while simultaneously minding his own.  Some of the characterisations are quite clever and nicely reflect the bureaucracy and red-tape for that is present for those still living.  There’s even a feel-good ending that was quite unexpected and tied up the loose ends in a very satisfying fashion.

Don’t Dip If…

…tales featuring hell don’t float your boat.  Also, this is a comical sort of a comic, so if you’re looking for the real-life sort of violence and torment, you won’t find it here.

Overall Dip Factor:

This is going to be a hit with readers in the young adult age bracket.  It’s the kind of story that places a well-worn plot into a setting that has great mileage for putting quirky new twists on a familiar theme.  Trevor is also a very relateable anti-hero and will no doubt become the poster boy for those who just want to get through school with a minimum of fuss – demonic or otherwise.

 

Until next time, my art-loving double dippers,

Bruce

 

*I received I Was the Cat in digital form from the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review*

* I received Satan’s Prep in digital form from the publisher via Edelweiss in return for an honest review*

twitter button Follow on Bloglovin Bruce Gargoyle's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

//

Fi50 January Challenge: The Best of Intentions….

19

imageMorning all – the Fiction in 50 January Challenge is open for contributions! If you’d like to play along, simply write a piece of fiction or poetry or anything that isn’t factual, based on the prompt below and link it up to the linky or share it in the comments.  For more detailed info and for prompts for challenges further down the track, simply click on the Fi50 button on the right.

This month’s prompt is…….

fi50 jan button

I feel like I’ve outdone myself this month, and I hope you agree.  This is certainly my favourite piece so far!  Although, admittedly, it is 51 words long and therefore fails the challenge, but I could not decide on another word to cull. Editing suggestions are most welcome.  I have titled this piece….

Bob’s Big Break

“What’s your best price Bob?” asks St. Peter.

”We’ll replace this path with patented Good Intentions Pavers, plus eternity-length warranty on cracking and fading, for $9 million per square metre!”

“How much?”

“Okay, $8m. Mate’s rates.”

 “Go to Hell!” sputters Peter.

Bob considers. It’s the break he’s been looking for.

So there you have it.  Join in with your links here:

The linky will remain open for a whole month, so you’ve got plenty of time to play along (and cull that 51st word).  New players welcome! Old players in disguise welcome!

The prompt for February is….

love in the time of button

You get to fill in the blank.  How exciting! How diverse! How democratic!

I look forward to reading your efforts this month challenge buddies.  Oh, and if you are hankering after some more short and sweet poetry, obscure proverbs and hilarious picture-y, check out my tumblr feed – it’s good for what ails you!

Until next time,

Bruce

TumblrButton

Follow on Bloglovin

my read shelf:
Bruce Gargoyle's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)