Tag Archives: Courtney C. Stevens

Audiobook Review: The June Boys

18 Jan

I read a lot of different genres, but YA is not one I usually pick up. A FB book club prompted me to read outside the box with The June Boys by Court Stevens. The fresh writing style and puzzling mystery kept me listening. See all the details below.

 

The Gemini Thief is a serial kidnapper who takes three boys and holds them captive from June 1st to June 30th of the following year. The June Boys endure thirteen months of being stolen, hidden, observed, and fed before they are released, unharmed, by their masked captor. The Thief is a pro, having eluded authorities for nearly a decade and taken at least twelve boys.

Now Thea Delacroix has reason to believe the Gemini Thief has taken a thirteenth victim: her cousin, Aulus McClaghen.

But the game changes when one of the kidnapped boys turns up dead. Together with her boyfriend, Nick, and her best friends, Thea is determined to find the Gemini Thief and the remaining boys before it’s too late. Only she’s beginning to wonder something sinister, something repulsive, something unbelievable, and yet, not impossible:

What if her father is the Gemini Thief?

Courtney “Court” Stevens grew up among rivers, cornfields, churches, and gossip in the small town south. She is a former adjunct professor, youth minister, Olympic torchbearer, and bookseller at Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN. These days she writes coming-of-truth fiction and is the community outreach manager for Warren County Public Library in Bowling Green, KY. She has a pet whale named Herman, a bandsaw named Rex, and several novels with her name on the spine.

Court is a rare bird online, but you might spot her occasionally

Twitter – @quartland
Tumblr -http://courtneycstevens.tumblr.com/
Instagram – quartland
Facebook –  https://www.facebook.com/CourtneyCStevens
Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/anabels/courtney-c-stevens-books/

 

 

My Impressions:

I have to admit I was surprised by The June Boys. This novel is multi-layered and complexly-written, something I just wasn’t expecting from a YA mystery/thriller/suspense. Perhaps my view of the genre is too narrow. After reading Stevens novel it isn’t anymore. The June Boys is a highly recommended read.

The story is told through the first person voice of Thea, a high school senior whose life was upended when her cousin was abducted by the Gemini Thief. For 10 years boys of varying ages have been abducted and held for a year and then released unharmed. Thea is on a mission to find Aulus and enlists three friends in the investigation. The second point of view is shared through letters that Aulus is writing from his captivity. Both give the reader a good sense of what is going on, but not the whole picture. The pace of the book is urgent and the reader is kept on tenterhooks hoping that the book will not end in tragedy. I found the writing intense, some of the scenes cringe-inducing, and the whole story kept me listening well past the time I needed to move on to other things in my day. The book does have a YA vibe with its language and characters. I would say this one is for older youths, high school at least, because of its subject matter. There is a wrap-up at the end that helps bring the story closure, but created more to ponder. I think The June Boys would make an excellent choice for families to read or listen to together or for a youth book club. The spiritual questions that arise deserve good conversation. Specific to the audiobook: the multiple narrators make each voice clear.

All in all, I found The June Boys to be a riveting read. If you like thrillers, YA lit, or are looking for a book that will engage your older teenagers, I highly recommend it.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: older teenagers to adults.

(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

What I’m Reading — Genre Variety

13 Jan

In an effort to stay away from social media, but still engage in bookish conversations, I am kicking off a What I’m Reading post that I hope will become a regular thing here at By The Book. Today I am talking genres.

I am a very eclectic reader, loving a wide variety of genres and subjects. I do seem to read a preponderance of mystery/suspense, but find myself designating other genres as my yearly favorites. (See my best of the best of 2020 HERE.) As per my reading resolutions, I want to expand my reading horizons this year, especially getting back to my TBR and checking out international and classic literature.

This week I stepped out of the box and read a YA mystery/thriller. I have been reluctant to read YA, because, well, I am a woman of a certain age and not sure I can relate. But because a FB group I am in is reading The June Boys by Courtney C. Stevens this month, I downloaded the audiobook and dove in. I’m not going to review the book here — you’ll have to come back later for that 😉 — but I am going to say that Stevens’ opened up a new genre for me. Yes, the book has a definite YA vibe, but with a complex plot and format and thought-provoking themes, this book was a 5-star!

 

Do you read outside your comfort zone?

The June Boys really took me away from my regular reading. It is intense and in some places made me cringe and force myself to continue. But I appreciate the stretching this book did to my attitude and thinking. And I need stretching. I never want to quit learning about the world and myself.

 

As I said mystery/suspense is my regular go to, but I do enjoy historical fiction as well. I love learning how people of the past lived, especially how they lived without the conveniences a modern world offers. This week I am also reading Tidewater Bride by Laura Frantz. I discovered Frantz in 2020. The Lacemaker and An Uncommon Woman were two great books I read last year. Set in the 1630s in the Virginia colony, this novel has already given me information and insight into a world I thought I knew pretty well.

When reading historical fiction, I keep an eye out for social and cultural differences. A woman’s place is one of the things that Frantz explored. Main character, Selah, is a very independent woman, as defined by the 17th century. I think that helps the modern reader identify with her story.

 

Do you find new things to love in your favorite genres?

 

 

 

 

Now it’s your turn.

What are you reading?

What’s your go-to genre?

And do you have any plans to stretch your bookish horizons?

Let’s talk!

Top 10 Tuesday — Reading Resolutions

12 Jan

A new year with new hopes, that’s what 2021 represents to me. If I can pick a word to describe 2020, it would be distraction. Anxious about many things described this Martha very well. Distraction over health issues, the lockdowns and other restrictions, civil unrest, the unrelenting political squabbling — you name it and I was everything but focused. Of course, 2020 also brought reasons to celebrate. My daughter got engaged, my son’s family was able to spend weeks at a time visiting due to work at home, and my cancer prognosis is excellent! But my reading life suffered the most. Now to most non-bookworms that would earn a shrug. But I know you know what I mean. 😉

This year I aim to be more intentional and that goes for my reading resolutions as well. I am joining other bloggers for a Top 10 Tuesday list of resolutions. I certainly don’t have 10, but I do have a few that I hope ramp up my reading enjoyment. For more bloggers’ lists, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

 

2021 Reading Resolutions

 

Read More

This actually doesn’t mean more books, although I would like to beat the number of books I read last year (103). What I need to do is put down the time wasters — FB, Instagram, and Twitter come to mind — and pick up a book. My time wasted while staying at home more is astronomical. I’m hoping by intentionally getting off social media, I will spend more time in reading pursuits.

 

Read Intentionally

There’s that word again. I have a hard time turning down bright and shiny new books. Hence my towering TBR stack. Part of the problem comes from saying yes to a lot of review requests. I pared that down some last year. This year I resolve to think and think again before accepting reviews.

 

Read from The TBR Pile

All those bright and shiny books get a bit dusty waiting impatiently on the shelf. I recently downloaded Libby and can access lots of audiobooks. I have been reluctant to use Audible credits for books I already own, but with Libby I can check off some worthy reads without feeling guilty. My husband and my budget will be happy! (Below are two notables from my TBR shelf that I want to have read this year.)

 

Read More Widely

I plan to look for books that I would not generally choose either because they are general market or a genre I don’t usually read. I am part of a FB book club that reads mystery/suspense and have been introduced to books I have never heard of, yet enjoyed immensely. This month I am listening to The June Boys by Courtney C. Stevens. It is a YA mystery/thriller. I have found it intriguing even as I have cringed at some of the scenes. This novel is really expanding my horizons.

 

I would also like to add international and classic novels to my reading this year. Libby is a great resource for this extracurricular reading. I also have many physical copies that I need to read.

 

What are some of your reading resolutions?