Evie and the Upside-Down World of Nevermore by Birgitte Margen

Evie and the Upside-Down World of Nevermore (A Twisted Fairy Tale: A Young Adult Fantasy) by [Märgen, Birgitte]

4 Stars


Date of publication: January 4th, 2019

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Where you can find Evie and the Upside-Down World of Nevermore: Amazon

Book Synopsis:

A trailer park Alice. A hole that traps souls. The white rabbit’s a tricky hare. And the world is upside down. This fairy tale just got twisty . . .

Rule One: Don’t eat or drink.
Rule Two: Never, ever tell anyone your name.
If ya do – your soul will be lost there forever.

How do I know? I been there myself. This is my story.

There was a full moon brimmin’ that night, and that meant strange things could happen. As I walked through the woods, I reckon I shoulda known by the way my hair stood up on end like Uncle Red’s toupee —that I shoulda coulda stayed home. I call it the willies, but grandpappy calls it premonition. One thing I can tell ya as a girl from the wrong side of the tracks: If you’re fix’n to wander way over yonder —it’s important to know the right direction.

What direction ya ask? Well, ya have to read the story to find that one out.

* * *

AFTER FALLING INTO a dark hole when she was running through the forest, Evie finds herself trapped in a strange new world that mirrors our own. Her only guide is a compass stick given to her by an angry gnome who lives in an ancient knobby tree. As she travels through the lands of this upside-down world she happens upon creatures that are twisted versions of fairytale folklore. A place where fairies bite, unicorns charge, mermaids are menacing, and nightmares are more than dreams. A world where the souls of those who could not follow the unspoken rules are trapped forever.

As a southern girl born on the wrong side of the tracks, Evie relies on the wisdom passed down by her grandpappy and the haunting memories of her mama to teach her perseverance of the soul. She learns that things are rarely what they seem as her world is turned upside down.

First Line:

It was a peculiarly frigid October night, and a nippy chill was in the air.

Evie and the Upside-Down World of Nevermore

My Review:

Evie and the Upside-Down World of Nevermore is the story about Evie and the journey she takes through the world of Nevermore. Evie was at a bonfire with her best friend and three boys, one which is Evie’s crush. Towards the end of the fire, Evie hears her best friend and crush talking about her in a hurtful way. That upset Evie, and she takes off running through the woods. Tripping on a root, Evie hits her head and wakes up in a small cave. Seeing light, Evie digs until she falls through the hole she made. She ends up in Nevermore, a place where everything good is evil, and everything evil is good. With a compass stick, the warning of a friend, and the wisdom of her Grandpappy to guide her, Evie needs to navigate this dangerous world. Will she escape?

I didn’t know what to think when I started reading Evie and the Upside-Down World of Nevermore. I did see the comparison of Alice and Wonderland from the beginning. But, the deeper I got into the book, the more I started to like it. It was so much like Alice in Wonderland, but at the same time, there were such glaring differences. It was those differences that I loved and made the book for me.

The flow of Evie and the Upside-Down World of Nevermore was alright. I say alright because there were several times where I felt that it was interrupted by Evie’s flashbacks. Evie’s flashback to her Grandpappy’s words of wisdom was essential to the book. I believe that it could have been done a little better.

There are no dropped storylines in Evie and the Upside-Down World of Nevermore. There were several storylines that I wish had more clarification (like the goat boy). Other than that, I was happy with it. Dropped storylines ruin the storyline for me.

The majority of the book takes place in the world of Nevermore. Nevermore was an unusual and scary place to read about. What I loved about it is that things were flipped. People/objects that are considered to be good were evil (the mermaids, the fairies). On the flip side, people/objects that are considered to be evil were good (the dragon, the goat boy). It made for an enjoyable read.

I liked how the world was broken up. To get to the next section, Evie had to go through the first one. She needed to use the compass stick to get through different areas. I loved it. By doing that, the author allowed me, as a reader, to get the full scope of what Nevermore was like.

I liked Evie. She adjusted to being in Nevermore better than I would have. I would have freaked out. Instead, she set out to find her way home. She used her mind to get herself out of situations. I did feel bad for her too. She didn’t have the best life back at home. She was looked down upon for living in a trailer; her father wasn’t around and other things. I wanted to hug her. Mainly for reasons revealed later on in the book.

I didn’t care for Evie’sfriends.” Her best friend was a witch with a b for talking about her like that. And her crush was a tool.

The characters in Nevermore were interesting. The hedgehog that kept showing up was cute. I was also intrigued by the white and black rabbits. I was surprised at what they meant and what they turned into. Talk about interesting!!

Evie and the Upside-Down World of Evermore fit in perfectly in the middle-grade category. I could see my tween and early teenager (12 and 14) reading this book and enjoying it.

My attention was held by the book while reading it. If it could hold a middle-aged woman’s attention, I have no issue believing that it would hold a tween/teen’s attention.

I enjoyed reading Evie and the Upside-Down World of Nevermore. At first, I was afraid that it was too much like Alice in Wonderland. But, as I got into the book, my fears were put to rest.

Evie’s storyline was resolved in the book. I was surprised at how her storyline was resolved. It was magical!!

There are triggers in Evie and the Upside-Down World of Nevermore. There are a cutting scene and talk of suicide.

Evie’s character did evolve throughout the book. Each section of the world she was in showed her exactly what she was capable of and what she can overcome. By the end of the book, she was a strong young woman who knew she was going to be alright. I wish the author had written about the inevitable confrontation she was going to her with her “bestie.” Absolutely. But I am glad that it wasn’t written.

I would give Evie and the Upside-Down World of Nevermore an Older teen rating. There is no sex. There is mild language. There is mild violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

I would reread Evie and the Upside-Down World of Nevermore. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

The Red Death by Birgitte Margen

THE RED DEATH (A Pandemic Medical Thriller: Plague) by [Märgen, Birgitte]

4 Stars


Date of publication: September 25th, 2018

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Where you can find The Red Death: Amazon

Book synopsis:

AN ANCIENT DISEASE re-emerges in the heart of New York City—a deadly bacteria that gave rise to the Black Death. Maggie De Luca, an epidemiologist who is fighting her own demons, works to uncover clues to contain the disease, but is always one step behind—her fate determined by the flip of a coin. Microbiologist Michael Harbinger believes he can make a vaccine that can stop the disease, but to do so would require an elusive plant that only grows in a remote region of the Amazon. 

With the help of J.D. Stallings, a paleoanthropologist, and Samantha Boutroux, a bacteriologist, they set out to find the plant that holds the key before the Red Death pandemic grips the world—or has the First Horseman of the Apocalypse, Plague, already opened the gates to our final annihilation? 

The mother of all plagues is back . . . 
Let the death toll begin . . . 

ASHES . . . ASHES . . . 

First Line:

New York City is one of the most densely populated cities in the United States, encompassing a land area of approximately 302.6 square miles, and inhabited with over 8.5 million people.

The Red Death by Birgitte Marden

My Review:

It had been a while since I read a pandemic novel. When I read the blurb for The Red Death, I was intrigued and was eager to read the book. I wasn’t let down. The Red Death was a fantastic book to read.

The plotlines for The Red Death were super fast. From the first point of infection to the end, the author didn’t let the pace falter. I was impressed that she was able to convey the desperation behind the actions of the main characters.

The author also did something that I rarely see most authors do successfully. She took secondary storylines about the plague’s first victims and weaved them into the story. She was able to build a timeline with those victims. As I said, I haven’t seen it done successfully too often, and I loved that she was able to do it.

I loved Maggie. She tried hard to warn the CDC and the hospital about how contagious the disease was. Both times, she was brushed off. I was mad about the CDC brush off. They had a freaking vaccine, and they refused to do anything!! It made me wonder how often this does happen in real life. I also liked that Maggie was determined to find where the disease originated. She did some serious detective work. I was impressed with how she tracked the disease’s origin down.

I did like Michael, but I thought he was a pushover. He came across as too gentle. I didn’t believe that he would survive the Amazon trip. He was too soft. I mean, he took high tech gadgets into an area known not to be hospitable to people.

Stallings rubbed me the wrong way. His first impression was that he was a has-been who was hanging onto decades-old hurts. Plus, Stallings gambled, a lot. With his history with Michael, I didn’t think he would take him to the Amazon. But he did, which amazed me. Also, what surprised me was how his character grew. He turned into someone that Michael needed by his side in the Amazon. In the end, he was the real hero.

What scared me the most about this book was that it could happen in real life. There is always a threat of a pandemic sweeping the country and then the world — scary stuff. For the author to have ground zero be New York City was pure genius. In a city, that size, a disease like the Red Death could spread in days. It didn’t take much to start the spread of the disease.

The ending was great. I liked how the author chose to combine the two storylines. But the epilogue didn’t do it for me. If the author left it with New York City, then I would have liked it. But the whole Las Vegas part of it made me go “meh.”

I would give The Red Death an Adult rating. There is sex. There is no language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread The Red Death. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**