The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston (ARC Review)

The cover image of the book "The Dead Romantics" by Ashley Poston, showing two figures lying horizontally on the letters of the title, both reading a book. Also, the description for the book: A disillusioned millennial ghostwriter who, quite literally, has some ghosts of her own, has to find her way back home in this sparkling adult debut from national bestselling author Ashley Poston.  Florence Day is the ghostwriter for one of the most prolific romance authors in the industry, and she has a problem—after a terrible breakup, she no longer believes in love. It’s as good as dead.   When her new editor, a too-handsome mountain of a man, won't give her an extension on her book deadline, Florence prepares to kiss her career goodbye. But then she gets a phone call she never wanted to receive, and she must return home for the first time in a decade to help her family bury her beloved father.   For ten years, she's run from the town that never understood her, and even though she misses the sound of a warm Southern night and her eccentric, loving family and their funeral parlor, she can’t bring herself to stay. Even with her father gone, it feels like nothing in this town has changed. And she hates it.   Until she finds a ghost standing at the funeral parlor’s front door, just as broad and infuriatingly handsome as ever, and he’s just as confused about why he’s there as she is.   Romance is most certainly dead . . . but so is her new editor, and his unfinished business will have her second-guessing everything she’s ever known about love stories.

PublisherA button to add a book to the platform "The Storygraph"A button that says "Add book to Goodreads": Berkley Publishing Group
Page Count
: 368
Release Date: June 28, 2022

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

CW: loss of a loved one

The Dead Romantics has been on my radar, and frankly on my “most anticipated releases of 2022”-list, for the longest time now – so, when I was presented with the opportunity to read an advanced copy, I jumped at the chance! The official release is still a month away, but I just couldn’t stop myself from reading it and now you will all have to contend with me screaming about my love for it for eternity.

Sometimes, books just find you at the exact right moment in your life and I would say that The Dead Romantics is a prime example of exactly that happening. I’ve had the most fun with a romance in a while, but at the same time, there were instances where I just bawled my eyes out. This isn’t simply a story about love, but also grief and family and we all know I’m drawn to grief-books like moths to light. But at the same time, nothing about this book left me sad. I’d even go so far as to argue and say that it brought me hope, all the warm feelings inside and a whimsical smile on my face once I turned the last page.

THE CHARACTERS 

Florence Day – our narrator throughout the story – is the typical small bean but mighty and messy tornado of a person that I think many of us can relate to. She’s into fan fiction, buying books despite having a massive TBR already and she loves a good love story. In fact, she used to believe in the big love, in finding that one person who might be the exception to the rule, until she got disappointed in the worst ways. And you just understand her reluctance, her despair, and then life just knocks her down some more.
Enter – Benji Andor! He’s meticulous and tall as a tree (one would like to climb) and seemingly stoic, while actually being very kind and considerate once you get to know him a little bit and he definitely wants a happy ending for Florence. I loved him as a counterpart for Florence, although I would have loved it even more if we had gotten to spend some more time with him. I feel like, we, the readers, didn’t get to know him that much, but even Florence acknowledges that several times throughout the story. Their connection is based more on vibes and actions rather than exchanging hobbies and favorite songs, which is fine, but I just enjoyed his character and would have loved to learn even more about him. It really seemed like he had quite the story of his own.

Lee Pace entering the room with one hand on the door frame looking tall and sexy while doing absolutely nothing.
This is Benji Andor for me and I have a feeling Ashley Poston would be okay with that.

Aside from our two leads, there was an array of formidable side characters, many of which were also part of the LGBT+ community. We had supportive best friends, authentic sibling relationships and the despicable ex. A stand-out for me was Florence’s dad though, because his presence could be felt on nearly every page and that stuck with me. It very much reminded me of someone I lost and how sometimes a whole town can show up for that person and their family, when things get tough.

THE SETTING

First things first, I loved the supernatural twist to it all. It never felt forced or out of place, but just like something that naturally fit the story.

But the settings in general were so special and intriguing. On the one hand, you have the funeral home and something that usually holds a lot of sadness for people filled with so much life. A thing of beauty really! And then there’s just something so fun about reading a book that takes place within the publishing industry. I don’t know how accurate it is, but it felt like an inside look and gave way to a lot of references to real life publications, which I loved.
Parts of it are in the big city, parts of it are in a small town and it all just made sense?

VERDICT

I don’t know why writing reviews for books I absolutely adore is the hardest thing ever. It might be, because I just want to do a key smash and thrust the book into people’s hands for them to read it, but that wouldn’t be very informative now, would it? I hope this gave you a bit of a clearer idea of just how charming yet quirky I found The Dead Romantics! I genuinely hope that many people will pick it up, because it filled my heart to the brink and I would without a doubt just read sequels where they help different ghosts together. I’m greedy and just want more, please!

Fazit: 5/5 stars! There’s something so incredibly satisfying when an anticipated read turns out as amazing as you had hoped.


My other reviews of Ashley Poston’s work:


Do you plan on reading The Dead Romantics? Let’s talk about that!

Moon Knight: Episode 6/Finale Review

It’s Marvel Wednesday and it’s already time for the season finale of Moon Knight Spoilers ahead for episode 6, which is rumored to be titled “Gods and Monsters”, although my Disney+ accounts just shows it as “Episode 6”!

Moon Knight in his traditional costume
credit: Marvel Studios

What was it about?

Layla has to find a way to stop Harrow, while Marc has to make a decision about his afterlife.

Read More »

Moon Knight: Episode 2 “Summon the Suit” Review

Yes, it’s Marvel Wednesday and I’m kind of late to the party and almost forgot this was happening, but here we are! Without further ado, let’s get talk about Moon Knight Spoilers ahead for episode 2 “Summon the Suit”!

credit: Marvel Studios

What was it about?

Steven Grant has to face the consequences of digging into the reasons behind his crumbling life. Will this newfound information free him or trap him even more?

Read More »

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Book Review)

Publisher: Washington Square Press
Page Count
: 302

CW: loss of a loved one, suppressed trauma

I’m slowly making my way through Taylor Jenkins Reid’s bibliography, albeit in reverse order. I just wanted to make sure that I read everything before their respective adaptations released (yes, that means The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is next. I will actually get to it. Don’t worry!) and I haven’t been mad at any of her books yet. Quite the opposite – I found everything I’ve read by TJR really human and easy to relate to – even if I did enjoy some stories more than others.
So far, I think I might like One True Loves best!? Malibu Rising hit some great notes for me and you all know that Daisy Jones & The Six won’t ever be my favorite, but I felt strangely connected to Emma’s struggle in this book, despite never having been in anything even remotely similar to her situation.

One True Loves is told with a Before and After, with POV shifts and at quite a fast pace. In the beginning, I worried that I wouldn’t be able to connect to some of the more emotional parts, simply because we were rushing through her love stories at an exorbitant speed, but I massively enjoyed the pace and never felt like I missed out on anything important. When we started, I thought that this woman was faced with an impossible choice and I had no idea who she was going to pick, if she was going to pick any of them, but the conclusion made sense and I loved that for her. This was just a simple “love triangle”, but rather an emotional tornado that held so much truth, honesty and vulnerability. I was in awe of the communication skills of the characters, because bad communication is a pet peeve of mine, but they articulated their needs, wants and fears so well. Of course, sometimes that wasn’t easy and/or well received, but the openness with which this hardship was approached was beautiful and heart-breaking at the same time.

“It’s a scary thought, isn’t it? That every single person on this planet could lose their one true love and live to love again? It means the one you love could love again if they lost you.”

It’s difficult for me to put into words what this book accomplished to evoke in me. It asks the question: What is true love? Something so slippery and hard to define, but something that felt so clear and easy here. It also dealt with change, how we don’t stay the same and therefore our partners and surroundings don’t either. Nothing, if you really think about it, ever does stay the same and this book made it okay. It doesn’t mean that what happened before has to be tarnished or bad somehow, you can still love and cherish it and appreciate it for getting you to where you are and who you are now. Even at the danger of repeating myself, that was such a beautiful gift from this book!

“I have changed over time. That’s what people do. People aren’t stagnant. We evolve in reaction to our pleasures and our pains.”

Lastly, you know how I am when it comes to grief – I seek these books like a bloodhound, relishing in the tears I’m about to shed and One True Loves? Such great grief rep. Obviously losing a loved one is different for everyone and not even my own approach is the same every time something devastating happens, but I felt this was such a good approach to the topic and I really enjoyed the pain that came with diving into the matter.

Big shout out to the family in this book especially, because they did the best they could, which is so hard sometimes.

Fazit: 4/5 stars! Highly recommend this if you are into complex love stories and just really human explorations of relationships (not even just romantic ones).


As I’ve mentioned previously, One True Loves has been adapted as a movie, starring Phillipa Soo, Luke Bracey and Simu Liu in the lead roles. There’s unfortunately no trailer yet, but I can already see everything unfold before my inner eye with these cast members. I’m genuinely excited for it and hope that the film will capture the same emotions, vulnerability and torn feeling. Not much more can be said for now, especially since there’s no official release date other than it being in 2022 and only one still has made it onto my timeline so far. I’m genuinely excited though! The cast seems fantastic either way.

One True Loves movie still of Phillipa Soo as Emma and Simu Liu as Sam


Have you read this TJR book? Do you want to? Where would it fall in your ranking? Let’s chat!

Moon Knight: Episode 1 “The Goldfish Problem” Review

Yes, that’s right! Marvel Wednesdays are back, at least for the release window of its latest show Moon Knight! I will strive to release my reviews/recaps on the release day of the episode each week, but won’t always be able to do so right away. As you can see today, it might take me a bit longer from time to time. Anyway, let’s get started – Spoilers ahead for “The Goldfish Problem”!

Oscar Isaac in Moon Knight
credit: Marvel Studios

What was it about?

Steven Grant works in a gift shop and doesn’t sleep so well, but that’s just the beginning of a world of problems heading his way.

Read More »

Something Different: Mask of the Rose (Game)

You know how rare this feature is, because I’ve only done it ONCE before! However, everyone seemed to enjoy my rambly thoughts on Duskwood (which should be releasing its final chapter soon-ish – I cannot wait!), so I figured I’d give this another shot.

*I have not been asked to talk about this game by the developers! I am sharing these views of my own accord.*

Mask of the Rose: a Fallen London romance is a visual novel about romance, mystery and redefining society after a fundamental change. It will release to console platforms as well as PC, Mac and Linux later this year, however, you can try your hand at a free demo via Steam at the moment.

Originally, the project went to kickstarter for funding, which I’ve sadly missed out on. I’ve enjoyed previous backed projects a lot, so I could have easily seen myself support this game, but nonetheless, I somehow came across the demo and gave it a shot.

A marvelous romance with a hint of murder. Lose your heart to a stolen city in this game of amorous intrigue! Seek love, for yourself or your friends. Help a murdered man find justice. And watch out for the bats.

I was unaware of the 2009 Fallen London game and the fanbase it already had, but the little demo I got to play through has me very intrigued about the original game and I can see myself checking it out as well. Basically, London has fallen into a crater in the midst of Earth. No one knows the bounds of the cavern, no one knows a way back up, everyone is trapped – and there’s a lot of bats! It’s such a fascinating world and here you are, collecting love stories from its inhabitants. 

Why Do I Like It So Much?

  • I’m generally a fan of story-based games and don’t mind if there’s a lot of text involved, but Mask of the Rose really combined some amazing visuals with the story and I was head over heels. I’ve learned a while ago that I’m quite superficial and don’t like to check out games that don’t appeal to me on an aesthetic level, but this one intrigued me from the get go.
  • In only 1-2 chapters, you meet so many interesting characters. They definitely got me hooked with the demo, because they managed to have me sitting here wanting more – immediately!
  • As a complete newbie to this world, I obviously had no frame of reference, but I enjoyed the mix activities. On the one hand, you get to play detective (always fun!), but you’re also a matchmaker for yourself and others. It might sound silly, but I adore uncovering other peoples relationships and bringing people together. Also, you don’t have to find a romantic match for yourself, if that’s not something you’re interested in!
  • While I obviously didn’t have any background information on the characters, I quickly realized that Mr Pages is a fan favorite in terms of the Neaths new Masters, so I’m happy for all those people that he’s in the game. Still, I never felt lost or like I was lacking information. Instead, I felt myself getting eased into the story in a natural way.
  • While options are fairly limited at the moment, I enjoyed the customization options for my own character!

Downsides?

  • Since I only got a glimpse at the game for now, I can’t tell if there’s any bugs or storyline issues on the long run. The only downside that I can think of is that we have to wait until October/November 2022 for the actual release.
  • I cannot comment on the price point of the full game. However, Fallen London is a free browser game.

I know this wasn’t a very in depth review, but I just wanted to communicate my excitement for the actual game to release. I’m such a sucker for games like it and I didn’t want to give away too much from the demo, since it’s obviously just a glimpse at what’s to come. If you’re interested in a playthrough, there are several that can be found on YouTube!

Please do let me know if you end up checking out the game as well! What did you think of the post? Let’s chat!

Mini Reviews: Every Heart a Doorway, Take Me Home Tonight

As I’ve previously mentioned, I’m going to do mini reviews more often this year. Sometimes there’s just not enough to be said for a whole post, but some thoughts still want to be shared. Both books for today are in the YA age range, but the content couldn’t be more different!

*links to Goodreads and Storygraph will be provided after the ratings!*

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire (Wayward Children #1)

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuirePublisher desrciption:
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 things.
No matter the cost.

My Thoughts:

Even before I read a single word, I just had a feeling that I would like this series and – to no one’s surprise – I was right.

For some reason, I thought that these books would be much more childlike, but Every Heart a Doorway is actually quite dark, weird and gritty. All of that’s fantastic, at least for me! With each book being around 200 pages, the whole series honestly seems like such a great palette cleanser between heavier books, if only they weren’t so expensive. I looked into it and I don’t think I can afford them at the moment, even though I definitely want to continue with the Wayward Children books.

“For us, places we went were home. We didn’t care if they were good or evil or neutral or what. We cared about the fact that for the first time, we didn’t have to pretend to be something we weren’t. We just got to be. That made all the difference in the world.”

I was especially surprised by the fact that I was really emotionally touched in the end. Considering how short and not entirely in depth the world-building was, I was rooting for those kids to get their doors back, to escape to those strange and at time gruesome worlds they were missing so much. It also got me started on wondering where my door would have led to, which world would have seen something special in me.

“You’re nobody’s doorway but your own, and the only one who gets to tell you how your story ends is you.”

I’m so very glad I finally picked this up!

CW: death, gore, transphobia (not condoned), body horror

Fazit: 4/5 stars! I wish I could dive into the rest of the series immediately!

Goodreads | Storygraph

Take Me Home Tonight by Morgan Matson

Take Me Home Tonight by Morgan MatsonPublisher desrciption:
Two girls. One night. Zero phones.
Kat and Stevie—best friends, theater kids, polar opposites—have snuck away from the suburbs to spend a night in New York City. They have it all planned out. They’ll see a play, eat at the city’s hottest restaurant, and have the best. Night. Ever. What could go wrong?
Well. Kind of a lot?
They’re barely off the train before they’re dealing with destroyed phones, family drama, and unexpected Pomeranians. Over the next few hours, they’ll have to grapple with old flames, terrible theater, and unhelpful cab drivers. But there are also cute boys to kiss, parties to crash, dry cleaning to deliver (don’t ask), and the world’s best museum to explore.
Over the course of a wild night in the city that never sleeps, both Kat and Stevie will get a wake-up call about their friendship, their choices…and finally discover what they really want for their future.
That is, assuming they can make it to Grand Central before the clock strikes midnight.

My Thoughts:

This book was a gift from my lovely friend, Marie! I cannot thank her enough for her generosity. Check out her review of the book here.

I have come to the very sad realization that I’m growing out of contemporary YA and that likely also means Morgan Matson. I’ve read every single one of her books (there’s a ranking for those coming soon!), but I had a really hard time staying engaged with this one.

The story is told from the POV of Kat, Stevie and Teri, but I quickly realized that I was most invested in Stevie’s life. When I was a 15-year-old teen, I was certainly a mix of all those girls and even if they seems super dramatic at times, I can attest to that being the authentic teen experience.

“Why do people see a benefit in disowning the things we loved when we were little? Why are we always casting everything aside?”

What I appreciate about Morgan Matson’s books is that they often focus on family and friendship and put the romance a bit on the back burner. It’s still there, but not always in the forefront. Take Me Home Tonight is no exception and even features a new dog to fawn over (another typical Matson feature). However, the events take such a ridiculous and convenient turn at times, that I couldn’t help but role my eyes. With Teri especially, I just couldn’t deal anymore, because it was neither necessary for the story nor believable. All of that ended in me clinging to Stevie’s more grounded parts and that not being entirely enough.

This was fun, but a bit too over the top.

Fazit: 3/5 stars! Unfortunately, not a new Matson favorite.

Goodreads | Storygraph


Have you read either of those books? Do you want to? Let’s talk!