This Is Not a Ghost Story by Andrea Portes (Book Review)

Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count
: 288

CW: suicidal ideation, depression, mental health decline, grief

When I hear the phrase “this is not a ghost story”, my mind immediately goes to the latest installment of the Haunting series – Bly Manor. So, it came as no surprise when this book was recommended to me as the perfect complimentary read. However, once I started I more and more got Hill House vibes from it (a menacing house working against you, rapidly declining mental health). Then again, it doesn’t seem like either one and yet would fit into the series really well … that is, if you were focusing on just one 17-year-old girl instead of a large ensemble cast. But I digress.

This Is Not a Ghost Story is written in a stream of consciousness/inner monologue style that immediately made Daffodil (the main character and our narrator) endearing to me. She is chaotic, daydreaming, binges conspiracy theory documentaries on Netflix all day and manages to not move from her bed unless strictly necessary. Human contact? Who needs that!?
While I adored her voice, because it helped lighten some of the creepier scenes with a tinge of humour, I could also see a couple people struggling with it. The way I see it is that it’s one of those things that’s either totally your thing or not at all.

As you all well know, I don’t really do horror. OR I mostly only do horror light, so, this worked really well for me. The title already says it, it is not a ghost story. It sure feels like one at times, but there’s a lot more to it that just keeps unraveling and tricking you. This book is for all the people who hear a creepy noise and deliberately ignore it until no longer possible. It’s for all of us who will try to explain away the most illogical and impossible things like there is any kind of rationale to it.

The only thing I am kind of grapple with is the end. It’s not that it doesn’t make sense. It really does, but I am not sure if it feels right? Some have described it as lackluster, which isn’t even my issue with it. I am just uncertain about the involvement of a certain someone in getting Daffodil into this situation in the first place. It just does not sit right with me entirely, but maybe … maybe that is just not for me to understand. As Daffodil said, there’s not yet words for some things you want to say.

In the end, I did pick up a horror-esque book on purpose and … I enjoyed myself! A LOT! I have really ventured out of my comfort zone a little bit this year and I am really proud of that. Maybe this book isn’t perfect, but I am basing this rating on how much it entertained me and I more or less inhaled This Is Not a Ghost Story.

Fazit: 4.5/5 stars! Still trying to come to terms with the ending, but overall I really enjoyed this!


What are we thinking? Would you pick up this book? Let’s talk in the comments!

This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar/Max Gladstone (Book Review)

Publisher: Saga Press
Page Count
: 209

I went into this book pretty naive. I thought that if I could grasp movies like Inception (not that it thematically has anything to do with this particular book, I was more thinking in terms of complexity), I’d surely be able to understand This Is How You Lose the Time War. Oh, how foolish a thought of mine!

From the get go, you get plunged into a world or multiple complex interweaving time strings you are not going to be able to comprehend. There is no explanation of this universe. There is no easing you into the matter of Red and Blue (the main characters who tell the stories, partly through letters but also just as you follow their path) and their unique rivalry turned deep connection. You just have to accept prompts such as:

Burn before reading.
Bubble to read.
Every seed is a letter.

When you start out, none of this makes sense. How do you burn a letter and THEN read it? But you soon come to accept that there are words on the page you know, that are familiar, but that don’t make sense in this constellation or context to you. It’s a process that took some time for me to come to terms with and just read like I understood what was going on. But then, Red and Blue aren’t “normal” people/humans. You cannot expect them to operate the way you would and to be confined to our meager options. They are agents of the Garden and the Agency respectively and that means something entirely new and complex again.

But as you go on, dive deeper, it doesn’t have to all seem logical to you. Maybe there is no universal logic that will ever be able to be applied to this novella and that is okay too. It works in its own unique way. I can see a lot of people struggling with it though and it is something to be aware of when you pick up This Is How You Lose the Time War.

What “saved” this book is the sapphic longing that oozed off the pages. It was beautiful and gave this confusing mess a purpose. There is really no other way to put it.

“I love you. I love you. I love you. I’ll write it in waves. In skies. In my heart. You’ll never see, but you will know. I’ll be all the poets, I’ll kill them all and take each one’s place in turn, and every time love’s written in all the strands it will be to you.”

Fazit: 3/5 stars! It makes more sense towards the end, but it’s still utterly confusing in its lyrical beauty.

What is the last read that had you all confused? How important is worldbuilding to you when the focus of the story lies on emotions? Let’s talk!

The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams (Book Review)

Publisher: Berkley
Page Count
: 352

A couple of my friends liked this book series and since it kept coming up on my feed, I thought I’d take a look at it as well. This year in general, I came a bit out of my reading comfort zone and tried more romance novels. I’m not sure it’s really my genre, but I found some real gems (thank you Talia Hibbert) and really hoped I’d be able to count the Bromance Book Club among them as well. Unfortunately, the book wasn’t really what I thought it would be.

To make this easier on me (and you?), I decided to just divide this post into two simple lists – what I enjoyed and what I didn’t like about the book!

What I Liked About the Book

  • I generally like settings in the professional sports world, even when it’s just a small component of the world. As much as I avoid all physical activities in real life, there’s just something so enticing to me when it’s in a fictional context. So, Gavin being a professional baseball player was intriguing in my book.
  • This book has some really funny moments! As much as it’s dealing with some serious topics in terms of potential divorce and childhood trauma, it never felt too heavy and knew how to crack those jokes.
  • Gavin has a stutter and I liked that no one tried to cover it up and that his wife was never ashamed of it.
  • Lastly, I adore the actual bromance book club. Those dudes are ridiculous, but they really made me wonder if I, as a woman, could be broken down by the simple guidelines of a romance novel. It was so funny.

What I Didn’t Enjoy About the Book

  • I was so very frustrated with the main characters. I just wanted to shake Thea and yell at her to give her husband a second chance, because he was really trying. And yes, he had hurt her and I understood that her childhood added to the betrayal she felt, but what he did wasn’t that unforgivable … like not even one bit. But not to say that Gavin is perfect, far from it, because the dude needs to learn how to chill and not be so full on all the time … then again, Thea seemed to really like it.
  • It’s a pretty fast paced book, but it still took me until almost the halfway point to really get into it. If I take a break from a story for more than a month and still didn’t really look forward to continuing it, it’s often not the best of signs.

I very much realise that my pros outweigh the cons in number, but while it was an entertaining book in part, the annoyance at the characters (especially Thea) overshadowed it all. As mentioned above, I loved the actual bromance book club part of it and really think there shouldn’t be as much of a stigma on romance books and men should have the support system to talk about their feelings and problems with their friends without judgment.

So, it could be fun for readers who aren’t me, but I also heard that the other books are mostly received better than this one …

Fazit: 2.5/5 stars! Mildly entertaining but not amazing either.


Have you read a book in the Bromance Book Club series too? Would you like me to continue with the books? Let’s talk!

Mind the Gap, Dash & Lily by Rachel Cohn/David Levithan (eARC Review, Dash & Lily #3)

Publisher: Random House Children’s Books
Page Count
: 256

*I was provided with an eARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!*

CW: depiction of anxiety/panic attacks

I’ve currently really been on a roll when it comes to Dash & Lily, reigniting my love for the characters by binging the Netflix show (several times) and following it up by reading the sequel and now this book that places them in London. It’s as if the authors allow you to watch them grow up a little more with each book and I appreciated that the most in Mind the Gap.

There was much I loved, but also a couple things that bothered me. A lot of it came down to one of my biggest pet peeves – bad communication. Despite being miles and miles apart, Dash and Lily really make the long distance thing work. They seemed so solid in their relationship that their troubles once they reunited felt … strange to me. Obviously, they were busy living their lives and struggling or thriving (depending on who you’re looking at) and didn’t talk about every little detail that happened while they were apart. Where Dash got disappointed by his own ambitions, Lily was turning into a little dog mogul without her family or friends noticing. All of that is understandable and just warrants a bit of time to talk it all out, catch up on the things you missed, but what does Lily Bear do? Once again she runs away. I was so frustrated with her, because poor Dashiell was just too overwhelmed.

Lily went to London surprising Dash without his knowledge. While he was glad to see her (because he is always glad to see her), it was also really bad timing. He didn’t want her to see him in this state of despair he found himself in. Oxford had drained him to the last drop and only his previously estranged grandmother, Gem, could raise his spirits. Instead of being glad that Dash had finally found a family member to connect with, Lily was jealous. She was legit jealous of Dash’ grandmother, a woman who is basically a slightly British version of Mrs. Basil E.

But once they got over those initial hick-ups, however annoying I might have found them, especially on Lily’s part, the book was really fantastic. I felt Dash’ state of being lost to the core. The way his world seemed to close in on him and he just did not know what to do now that what he had always envisioned for himself wasn’t as fulfilling as he thought it would be. I think that’s something a lot of young adults have to face. Their expectations of college/university aren’t always going to match up with reality and it takes a whole lot of strength to muster up the courage to find a new path.

Simultaneously, you have Lily’s own struggle with what the future holds. I think I found it a bit harder to connect to her here, because she is so much larger than life sometimes. Where Dash is relatable in his quiet despair, Lily has suddenly made mountains of cash (without her very meddling family knowing?) and has become a dog influencer who is even recognised on the street outside of New York City. I always knew her happy demeanor was contagious, but she basically had become a celebrity without the people in her life realising it. Maybe because she didn’t communicate clearly what she was doing and just how successful she was with it, her family kept pressuring her to go down a more traditional academic route. I enjoyed that she stood her ground in the end, but I never really had to worry about her not being okay. She was doing great for herself, Dash was much more worrisome.

The book ended with their relationship stronger than ever. While the story as a whole was not as fluffy and cutesy as the previous ones, it still filled my heart with a certain warmth that only Dash and Lily can provide. Those kids are not kids anymore and you just know they’re going to find their way.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars! It was lovely to see them grow up like this.


Do you want to continue on with Dash and Lily’s epic love story? Does it convey the holiday spirit to you as well? Let’s talk!

The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily by Rachel Cohn/David Levithan (Book Review, Dash & Lily #2)

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Page Count
: 226

**This is the second book in the Dash & Lily series. Please proceed with caution if you haven’t read the first one yet!**

I feel like I should start this review with a little disclaimer. I have read almost every single Rachel Cohn-David Levithan-collaboration there is. Honestly, I think there’s only one book missing, and I have enjoyed all of them. However, Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares was always my very favourite one. Now that Netflix released it’s series adaptation of the material, I realised just how much I had forgotten about the book though. I watched and I adored the show, but I couldn’t remember much more than the general premise it turned out. Still, I wanted more, so, I turned to this little sequel, that I never actually intended to read, because I was quite fond of whatever the first book gave me. So, what I am trying to say is, my knowledge from the first book is basically non-existent at this point (am I getting old?) and I completely based off my feelings for the characters etc. on what I had seen on the show.

Here’s a look at what Netflix has done. I can really only recommend it to get you into the spirit:

Now on to the actual bookish thoughts for The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily!

When I learned what the sequel was going to be about, I actually thought it sounded like a neat idea. Adding an element of angst that would lead to the characters having to grow up a bit as well as giving them a chance to repeat the formula from the previous book sounded promising, but it wasn’t delivered in the right.

I feel like the book could have been a lot more clear cut in its timeline. Albeit maybe a bit formulaic, I would have loved to actually see them embrace the twelve days of Christmas theme, but it was abandoned after day one in favour of lots and lots of miscommunication and sulking. Dash and Lily were on the brink of breaking up so many times that, at some point, I actually wanted them to take a break in order to see clearly again. While I do understand that they are teens and maybe have some misconstrued ideas about love, it was ridiculous how Lily expected Dash to read her mind and say all the right things, when everyone else could see that he was trying his very best to DO the right thing at all times.

The grand gestures felt a bit strangely placed this time around and often ended in disaster, but I will give them that they really made it work in the end. The message came through clear and that’s something that saved the book for me. It was right then that I felt like we were finally at a place that was interesting and where the characters were more themselves again, but that’s also right when the story ended. (And how cruel it did end, they are SUCH a tease!) Dash and Lily really do have that annoying habit of making you want more of their cutesy love, so, on to Mind the Gap I go.

Rating: 2.5/5 stars! The ideas were all there, but the execution wasn’t it for me.


Have you read this sequel? Do you want to? How about watching the show? Feel free to chat in the comments!

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert (Book Review)

Publisher: Piatkus
Page Count
: 384

All my friends, and I really mean all of them, who have read this book (be it in physical form or via audiobook) have raved about it and loved it with all their hearts. Not going to lie, that set the standard for this book pretty high, but I am glad it didn’t disappoint in the end.

Chloe Brown, a chronically-ill Black woman, and Redford “Red” Morgan, a tattooed rough-looking whtie ginger guy, do not fall in love at first sight. In fact, they are so convinced that the other one doesn’t like them, that they end up not liking each other. It all perfectly makes sense, because once they actually take some steps towards each other and open up, they learn just how different their true feelings are. The fact that it really starts going because of a floof monster of a cat just makes it a plus point for me!

There’s much to like about Get a Life, Chloe Brown. The characters are well rounded and feel real. They have pasts that have created insecurities, they have lives that are complex and filled with people they have history with. So often, I feel like the baggage everyone carries isn’t addressed so much in the woes of new love, but Chloe and Red really had some interesting hurdles to master and it was nice to see that neither of them was perfect, but they were perfect for each other.

“So I’m doing it for you because that’s how people should behave; they should fill in each other’s gaps.”

To simply Talia Hibbert’s writing style in saying that it is merely funny would be a grave disservice to her. She manages to capture so many different emotions and really makes you feel in the moment! It was so easy to understand the thought process of the characters, be it in their pain or joy or lust, that you might have been in their heads just as easily.

I honestly don’t care much for the sexual and very physical parts. It’s not my thing or something I pay a lot of attention to, but I did find the writing very sensual and not unappealing? I really don’t know what more to say to that, because I do understand the physical attraction between the two and how it seemed to be amplified by the fact that they fit each other like two missing puzzle pieces in terms of characteristics and personality – like, it was sizzling – but also … I care more about the conversations they had? They really were so compatible on all fronts, it was just a joy to see them try to make this work.

“Life hurts,” he said fiercely. “It’s unavoidable. But I know the difference between torture and growing pains.”

Still, in the end, there’s really nothing not to like about this book! The conflict made sense in terms of character development, without suddenly disliking anyone for the choices they made to protect themselves. I had a blast with this one!

“Love is certainly never safe, but it’s absolutely worth it.”

Fazit: 5/5 stars! Already looking forward to diving into the rest of the Brown Sisters’ books in the near future!

Have you read a book by Talia Hibbert? Did you enjoy it? Do you plan to read one? Let’s talk!

Lowest Rated Books (According to GR) I’ve Read

I thought it was very interesting to dig into my Goodreads archives last week to take a look at some of the highest rated books I’ve read according to the average star rating on the site. Now, this week, I’d like to try the reverse and see if I disliked the lowest rated books as much as the general public! I’m usually more on the generous side with my ratings, so this will be interesting, at least for me. (But hopefully also you!)

**Disclaimer: I chose to focus on novels here and exclude comics and graphic novels again. Last time I went from highest to lowest rating and I will do so here as well (aka the lowest of the lowest rated book is the last one) **

Anything You Want

Anything You WantAverage rating: 3.35
My rating: 5 (click here for my review)
Thoughts: Woah! First one and the opinions already differ. I remember how I knew a lot of people that didn’t enjoy it as much, but I had a great time with my buddy-reading-group. Maybe I wouldn’t feel as enthusiastic about it now, but back then, it struck a chord.

Snow White & the Huntsman

Snow White & the HuntsmanAverage rating: 3.34
My rating: 3
Thoughts: Hear me out! This is a screen-to-book-adaptation and not the other way round. I was really in love with the aesthetic and soundtrack of that movie back in the day and was intrigued by the idea of learning more about the characters in the book. That didn’t happen, it was super mediocre, BUT unlike in the first movie, Chris Hemsworth’s character has a name in the book.

Find Me

Find MeAverage rating: 3.34
My rating: 1 (click here for my review)
Thoughts: Do you know how often I give 1-star-ratings? The answer is: close to never. I was so in love with Call Me By Your Name (I do realise it has its flaws and I found out about the author being a weirdo very late, but I loved the writing) and was so excited but I HATE Find Me with a passion. Hate it! I wish it had an even lower average rating …

The Colorado Kid

The Colorado KidAverage rating: 3.32
My rating: 3
Thoughts: I don’t read Stephen King books, because 1) a lot of them are massive and I’m not feeling that and 2) I don’t enjoy being scared. However, I was a huge fan of the TV show “Haven” (still am) and it’s based on that book. It’s so loosely based on it that I didn’t really find much enjoyment in the book at all. I do realise that it’s not representative of King’s work in general.

Almost Adulting

Almost Adulting: All You Need to Know to Get It Together (Sort Of)Average rating: 3.32
My rating: 3.5 (click here for my review)
Thoughts: Books by YouTubers are always tricky! I didn’t hate this one, but I found that it wasn’t exactly what it advertised to be. It felt more like an autobiography than a fun self-help book about how to adult.

The Movie Version

The Movie VersionAverage rating: 3.30
My rating: 2 (click here for my review)
Thoughts: First of all, the book advertised something completely different and made you go into it believing it was going to be cute and fun, when in fact, it was about a serious topic such as mental health. The representation was terrible and the main character insufferable. It’s a real shame.

Sweetbitter

SweetbitterAverage rating: 3.29
My rating: 2 (click here for my review)
Thoughts: Oh wow, did I have things to say about that book. I did a very detailed comparison to the TV show (which went on for two seasons) and couldn’t find much love for either. There was just something toxic about it all.

Her Fearful Symmetry

Her Fearful SymmetryAverage rating: 3.25
My rating: 2
Thoughts: I blocked out a lot of what happened in this book, but after liking The Time Traveler’s Wife so much, this book felt like an utter disappointment in comparison. The premise of this one was so absurd, I don’t even want to talk about it.

The Pisces

The PiscesAverage rating: 3.22
My rating: 1 (click here for my review)
Thoughts: Look, I knew in the opening chapters that it wasn’t for me and because I’m a super stubborn person, was determined to finish it anyway. I know a lot of people actually liked it a lot, but I wanted something far less crass and more traditionally merman-esque. I was blinded by the cover …

The Film Club

The Film ClubAverage rating: 3.18
My rating: 4
Thoughts: I actually quite enjoy slowly told family stories without much plot. You want to reconnect with your son through movies and write about it? Sure, I’m here for it.

This Song Is (Not) For You

This Song Is (Not) for YouAverage rating: 3.13
My rating: 3.6 (click here for my review)
Thoughts: It sure wasn’t perfect, but I found a poly-amorous relationship with an asexual partner explored in a rather positive light to be rather interesting. The characters are often still judgy hypocrites, but yeah … it wasn’t the worst.

Anne & Henry

Anne & HenryAverage rating: 3.03
My rating: 2 (click here for my review)
Thoughts: This book had so much potential, being a modern day teen retelling of Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII, but they completely blew it. If you are a fan of Tudor history, spare yourself!

Stealing Candy

Stealing CandyAverage rating: 2.86
My rating: 2.5 (click here for my review)
Thoughts: This book … the main character … basically, it’s about a girl who falls in love with her kidnapper. It’s not the first time that story is told and it probably could be done well? But Candy, she fell in love THE MOMENT he abducted her but had a nice jawline … come on!

Gone Wild

Gone WildAverage rating: 2.73
My rating: 2.5 (click here for my review)
Thoughts: I have a hard remembering much about the book other than that it was very short. I think the characters were relatable enough, but there just wasn’t much time to see any development and that irked me.

 

 


What are your thoughts? I feel like I mostly went with the trend again? Were you surprised to see some books have such low ratings? Did you find you didn’t know as many of these books as you did in the highest rated list? Let’s chat!

Highest Rated Books (according to GR) I’ve Read!

I was inspired by my friend The Orang-utan Librarian, who wrote a fantastic post, which was in turn inspired by something they saw on Thoughts of a Reader. So, I really hope no one will mind that I am going to take a look at some of the highest rated books (according to Goodreads) that I’ve read and how I saw them in turn. It should be a fun exercise to see if my taste goes against the grain or not! Let’s go!

**Disclaimer: I chose to focus on novels here and exclude comics and graphic novels. That’s a topic for another day maybe? Also, whenever the list was dominated by a series, I just picked the highest rated part instead of all the separate books.**

Fleabag Scriptures

Fleabag: ScripturesAverage rating: 4.83
My rating: 5
Thoughts: I think Phoebe Waller-Bridge is one of the great script writers we get to enjoy this decade, so I absolutely loved getting the opportunity to relive the Fleabag series in written format. It gives you a great insight into how she writes and what television scripts look like. Also, I’m not surprised by the high rating, as I suspect only fans will even check it out.

A Court of Mist and Fury

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)Average rating: 4.65
My rating: 5 (click here for my review)
Thoughts: I don’t like Maas writing and her books as much as I used to, but I was in love with the way it defied my expectations of how this sequel would turn out. I really liked the switch of who was the bad guy in the scenario.

Crooked Kingdom

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2)Average rating: 4.60
My rating: 5 (click here for my review)
Thoughts: I loved my heist gang and know that many, many Leigh Bardugo fans do too. I think we’re all pumped for the Shadow and Bone Netflix series.

Clockwork Princess

Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3)Average rating: 4.58
My rating: 5
Thoughts: The Infernal Devices is my favourite series in the Shadowhunter universe so far/out of all the ones I’ve read. I found the end here weirdly satisfying and even got to love a love triangle.

A Storm of Swords

A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, #3)Average rating: 4.54
My rating: 5
Thoughts: I’ve definitely struggled with the Song of Ice and Fire books and just straight gave up somewhere in the fifth, but this was a good one. Maybe the best of the series, so it makes sense.

Obsidio

Obsidio (The Illuminae Files, #3)Average rating: 4.53
My rating: 4.5 (click here for my review)
Thoughts: According to my rating on Goodreads, I liked this more than Gemina … and yet, in my brain I liked Gemina best. Memory is a weird thing, but maybe I deducted points for Gemina because some of the later pages were almost illegible due to dark font on dark paper.

The Hate U Give

The Hate U GiveAverage rating: 4.51
My rating: 5
Thoughts: Hands down, I think this book was so necessary and important and I loved the impact it has had. I would also love for Dear Martin and All American Boys and similar reads to get equal attention, because I’ve seen so many people have their eyes opened due to them.

Morning Star

Morning Star (Red Rising, #3)Average rating: 4.49
My rating: 5 (click here for my review)
Thoughts: I’m offended on behalf of the Red Rising series that it hasn’t shown up before and with a higher average rating. Literally one of my favourite series in this world. I’m not sure Morning Star was my favourite installment, but they are all fairly equal.

Born a Crime

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African ChildhoodAverage rating: 4.46
My rating: 5 (click here for my review)
Thoughts: As an equal fan of Trevor Noah as a person and him as an autobiographical writer, I’m all for him showing up on this list! Born a crime was a feast in my eyes.

Hamilton: The Revolution

Hamilton: The RevolutionAverage rating: 4.46
My rating: 5
Thoughts: I took this book everywhere with me for weeks and it’s not small. Also, it’s perefection. PERFECTION!!!

We Should All Be Feminists

We Should All Be FeministsAverage rating: 4.45
My rating: 5
Thoughts: I found this to be such a valuable read! Enough said.

Ignite Me

Ignite Me (Shatter Me, #3)Average rating: 4.41
My rating: 4
Thoughts: I liked this series a lot and would have been fine with this book being the end of it all. Not as fond of the continuation to be honest.

It Ends with Us

It Ends with UsAverage rating: 4.40
My rating: 4 (click here for my review)
Thoughts: This was a tough read for me, but I know how big of a fanbase Colleen Hoover has.

The Martian

The MartianAverage rating: 4.40
My rating: 5 (click here for my review)
Thoughts: Mark Watney is only one of THE best fictional characters. I’m not biased at all.


Are you surprised by me going with the flow so much? I always found that I was rather generous with my ratings, so it’s not that much of a shock to me. Although, I really thought that there would have been at least one or two books with a completely different rating from me. Oh well … did you miss any big books or series here?

Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan (Book Review)

Publisher: Wednesday Books
Page Count
: 385

**TW: Self harm (blood mages need to cut themselves to use magic), parental abuse, war, torture and gore**

I’ve wanted to read this book for so, so long! And I know that it divides people, because so many hate it, a lot of people think of it only as “meh” but then there’s people like me who absolutely 100% LOVED this journey. It’s honestly not often that I see a book where I could throw my last name in and it would just blend in nicely with the others, also, if I am not mistaken entirely, there’s going to be a Katya in the sequel and that’s just one letter away from my name, so I am going to take it! All those minor details aside, monsters, gods and mortals with major morality quarrels are the way to my heart.

“There was madness in his black eyes – madness and something terribly close to divinity.
Which was, in essence, the same as madness.”

You don’t get much time to adjust to this very rich world before you are thrown into a war that has lasted centuries already. The different viewpoints are clear, but you uncover so much more to it all throughout the story, it’s hard to explain where you find yourself and your allegiances at the end of it all. Our three main characters all grew up within certain belief systems and it has shaped them into the people that are presented to us at the beginning of the tale. Especially Nadya’s religion plays a huge part of her self image and it’s understandable that she meets people who portray everything she was taught to hate with hostility. I thought I would be more annoyed at them for being so stubborn and unwilling to see the other person’s point of view, but ultimately, it just made for all the better tension when they all ultimately meet and have to team up. None of these characters are saints, even if some might believe differently, because they all have done terrible and selfish things at one point or another, but for me it was easy to see how (at least most of them) came to be that person. I did not hold their past against them, which made some betrayals sting all the more. But honestly, it’s not just the main three characters you find yourself easily attached to, I also found myself drawn to the fiercely loyal companions and was worried about their well being by the end just as much as the others. I am not exaggerating when I say I screamed “MY POOR CINNAMON ROLLS OF STEEL!!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO MY BABIES?!?” during the final pages.

Now, I understand if the romance in the book might not be everyone’s cup of tea. It worked for me, but then … I am also someone who wasn’t bother by the Rey and Kylo Ren pairing in Star Wars? I chose that specific example, because I know the author is like the number 1 Kylo Ren fan and there are certainly some Reylo similarities to be found here. Just like that didn’t work for everyone, I am guessing it also won’t work for every reader here. I, personally, felt the tension and was fine with it.

“When he stepped past her, a smile flickered at the edges of his lips. There was darkness at the corners, something evil just underneath the surface, sinister. He turned and grinned at her, monstrous but beatific, holding out his hand, darkness gone. Maybe she’d just imagined it. She took his hand.”

There’s also the diversity I enjoyed a lot. While you feel this world largely inspired by Slavic culture, the world ranges from deserts to snow regions, includes people of color, with disabilities and different sexualities. To me, those are all parts of what makes for good and enjoyable world-building. I was most fascinated by the supposed gods and the religious texts and accounts of saints though! There’s definitely a lot more to it than meets the eye and I wonder what we will discover about their origin and purpose as the series goes on.

I am glad I waited beyond the hype and checked out the book myself, because for me, this was an immediate hit. Also, even though I still have to wait a couple months, I am way closer to the release of Ruthless Gods (aka the sequel) than I would have been had I read the book upon its release. I still want it so bad right now … the sooner the better!

Fazit: 5/5 stars! Give me all the monsters, gods and mortals and the sequel while you’re at it!

Have you read the book? What are your thoughts on it? Let’s chat!

The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman (Book Review)

Publisher: Titan Books
Page Count
: 400

It has been a while since I posted a book review on here, or since I have read a book in general if we are being real. I remember the days when I, no matter how busy I was, could just gulp up one story after another, but somehow that has just not been possible these past couple of months. I don’t blame the books for it. They are still filled with all the magical words! However, something about me and how I spend my time has changed and made it increasingly hard to focus on all the writing and retain the information it tries to convey after a long day at work. Who know? Maybe it will change again soon, but for now I am afraid you are stuck with less output in that department.

I am not exactly sure what drew me to picking up the Devouring Gray. The neon pink on the cover with the misty mountains definitely helped, but the promise of it being beautiful yet also terrifying and filled with magic was probably what sealed the deal. Having now read the book, I kind of get why everyone kept comparing it to the Raven Boys. However flawed that series might have been, I still loved it a whole lot and while reading The Devouring Gray, it kept popping up in the back of my mind constantly. I think it has something to do with how the group is set up and how the relationships among the different members are portrayed. I am not saying it is all love, but there are deep ties with the main four characters that will very likely continue to intertwine and strengthen and change in the follow up books.

Overall though, I can’t say that loved this read. I have definitely had worse and would probably pick up a sequel, but something didn’t quite click with me. I am still torn whether it had to do with the way it was written (which sometimes felt a little clumsy to me) or with me not entirely connecting to the characters. Too often, I felt like I was told how the people feel towards each other and how their pasts shape them instead of letting me naturally discover it. Everything was very direct and on the nose, even the secrets didn’t feel like anything I had just found out and gotten surprised with but rather like I had known all along and therefore didn’t care much now.

“People could hurt each other without being monsters.
And they could love each other without being saints.”

Still, it has some interesting family dynamics and the overall mystery with the monster remains. If I had to ship anyone (I know that I don’t have to at all, but since almost every second character in this book is bi, I feel like I am allowed to), I’d want the two broken beings that are Violet and Isaac to mend each other. The spark that usually makes me adore a read just wasn’t here with this one, but as I have mentioned before, I would maybe pick up any follow up books just to see how this plays out.

Fazit: 3/5 stars! Intriguing but not quite there for me.

Have you read The Devouring Gray? Do you want to? What are your thoughts on it?