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?

With Malice by Eileen Cook (Book Review)

maliceEighteen-year-old Jill Charron’s senior trip to Italy was supposed to be the adventure of a lifetime. And then the accident happened. Waking up in a hospital room, her leg in a cast, stitches in her face, and a big blank canvas where the last 6 weeks should be, Jill comes to discover she was involved in a fatal accident in her travels abroad. She was jetted home by her affluent father in order to receive quality care. Care that includes a lawyer. And a press team. Because maybe the accident…wasn’t an accident. Wondering not just what happened but what she did, Jill tries to piece together the events of the past six weeks before she loses her thin hold on her once-perfect life.

Release Date: June 7, 2016
Publisher:
HMH Books
Page Count: 320 

**I was provided with an eArc from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**

If you’ve followed my blog, you know that I am not much of a thriller-reader, however, something about this book intrigued me and it wasn’t just my love for the cover. It was advertised as a mix between We Were Liars and The Girl on the Train, but I would actually call it something of a teen-version of Gone Girl.

Now you may wonder why I say that, right? Well, one of the biggest parts of Gone Girl was how the media twisted the public image of the MC and therefore branded him a murderer without actual proof. Well, Jill has to face a similar fate. Enhanced through her amnesia, it is truly a thrill to not know what is going to be thrown at her next. Some twists I could predict, others I didn’t have on my radar at all and I am glad for it!

Jill’s voice was really authentic. At first, I wasn’t sure I really liked her, she seemed a bit superficial at first, but as we got to know her, I found more and more similarities between us – it freaked me out! She’s the unassuming, quiet girl. The bookworm who is more interested in art and culture than boys. The one who is fiercely loyal to her friend and who backs down and apologizes, even if she knows it wasn’t her fault. Heck, she even has a blog (about feminism though, so that’s definitely not a topic I address on my blog). But something changed on the trip to Italy and she has no idea what happened. She doesn’t know who she is anymore and that scares her, especially since the people who should believe in her most start to crumble in their faith.

“Don’t you get it? Who we are is what comes out when shit goes bad. You can’t tell anything about a person when things are great. If you want to really know someone, be there when everything goes to hell.”

The ending wasn’t exactly what I would call satisfying, but it fit perfectly with the theme and vibe of the book. It is not so much about motive and execution of a possible crime, it’s about friendship and what drives people together or apart.

Fazit: 4/5 stars! If you want a book where you constantly wonder what is true and what possibly happened – this is the read for you!

4stars

Are you interested in reading this book? Are psychological thrillers your jam?

Hitman: Agent 47 Movie Review

To be completely honest here, I probably wouldn’t have watched Hitman: Agent 47 in the cinema if I hadn’t won tickets for the Austrian premiere. Since I am such a lucky person though, you’ll get a review for it! Win for everyone! (Please beware of Spoilers! I couldn’t tell you anything if I had to leave those out …)

Some main facts:

Genre: Action/Crime/Thriller

Length: 96  minutes

Cast: Rupert Friend, Hannah Ware, Zachary Quinto, Ciarám Hinds, Thomas Kretschmann, Angelbaby

Director: Aleksander Bach

I think I’ve seen the last Hitman movie with Timothy Olyphant and I say “think” because I can’t remember a single scene from it. That’s how much of an impression it left on me. However, the premise of Hitman: Agent 47 is pretty similar. The agent program modifies genes to create a faster, stronger, better human, who can turn off emotions like regret, fear but also love. Agent 47 teams up with a woman named Katia to find her father, the creator of the now shut-down Agent program before their enemies get their hands on him.

There is not much I can say about the movie. It is fairly predictable, but surprisingly funny at times. There are some gory scenes in the movie, but they don’t overshadow everything else. I think I liked the movie because the main character’s name was Katia and that’s my name (well, mine is Katja but that’s only details) and that’s not a name that’s often used in movies or shows. (Except for strippers … I’m looking at you Chicago Fire!) So, every time someone said her name, I involuntarily tensed up or paid more attention as if they were actually addressing me. I can’t imagine how people feel who’s names are always used in movies. Must be a great sensation!

My friend and I were most impressed with the fact that Katia van Dees actually meant quatre-vingt-dix which means 90 in French and makes her an agent as well. I mean that was pretty smart! Her dynamic with Agent 47 was really brilliant and I would actually like to see some more of them together. And just to be clear, they’re like brother and sister and not lovers or anything like that.

Speaking of a sequel: I guess it depends on how the movie will be doing in the box office, but the post-credit scene definitely set us up for a continuation of the story.

Fazit: somewhat entertaining but I have definitely seen better things out there!

Fall Review: How to Get Away with Murder

The new ABC show How to Get Away with Murder will certainly be a show that polarizes. I will have a spoiler-free section and than a little more detailed summary of my thoughts including Spoilers!

Like all Shonda Rhimes shows, How to Get Away with Murder involves a lot of drama, sex and murder. This time it is about a group of law students who want to impress their very demanding criminal defense professor (Viola Davis) and do not shy away from going the extra mile for her. It’s definitely not a fact-based court drama like Law & Order, but much more in the realm of Scandal (big surprise there, considering that they were both created by Shonda). I think the actors are great (ranging from Alfred Enoch, Jack Falahee, Charlie Weber, Billy Brown, Liza Weil and Karla Souza to Aja Naomi King, Katie Findlay and Tom Verica), the show is fast paced and has some great music. I am usually not a huge fan of time jumps and flashbacks, but it really worked for me this time, because it added to the suspense so much. One problem I have with the show is that there is barely anyone likable. While most characters have their secrets and are interesting in one way or another, you don’t feel yourself sympathizing with any of them. To conclude my spoiler-free section I’d say that it’s definitely and interesting show that will make you question your morals and standards. I could see that not everyone will like it, but I will continue watching it!

Now here are some more specific thoughts of mine, which are basically for people who’ve already seen the pilot episode. Spoilers ahead!

  • I love the build-up of the mystery and suspense in the show! I kept wondering the entire time who the person was that the students killed, because I just couldn’t imagine that they killed Annalise Keating. It was a real shocker to me that they seem to have murdered her husband, which directly leads me to my next point.
  • Do you guys think that Sam Keating had something to do with the murder of that missing girl? Obviously, there is something going on with Wes’ neighbor Rebecca and the missing girl’s boyfriend, but I have a feeling that Sam was also involved.
  • I really like all the different characters, but especially Wes. He seems so naive and like he’s too nice for everything he got dragged into. That doesn’t mean that I don’t find the other students intriguing, because I do, but I feel like we could connect with him the most during the first episode.
  • There are some logic issues to the show, but I can usually overlook them in favour of being entertained. But why would first-year law students get a job offer at a prestigious law firm and not students who are about to graduate or who’ve already passed the bar? That’s just one of the things I was wondering about …

I’m interested to see how everything continues. All in all I thought it was a gripping start of the season, but we’ll need a lot of character development, while still keeping up the constant suspense to keep viewers glued to the screen for the long-term. What was your opinion of the pilot episode?

We Are The Night

we are the nightWe Are the Night is a vampire-thriller from Germany 2010. Since the market for vampire related movies and shows is pretty saturated, it is difficult to come up with something interesting yet still entertaining. We Are the Night has found a good balance between the emotional side of the story as well as the action-packed, cool side.

The movie revolves around a trio of female vampires on the one side and the relationship between a cop and a low-life criminal called Lena on the other side. When Lena unwillingly gets turned into a vampire as well, she has to deal with her new surroundings, powers and feelings.

I, personally, liked the story because it dealt with the different stages of lonliness and solitude every immortal being has to deal with, but didn’t just have the heavy emotional sides to it. Also, the dynamic between the actors is great, especially the one between Tom (Max Riemelt) and Lena (Karoline Herfurth). If you enjoy the general genre of vampire-stories, you should definitely check out We Are the Night. Further cast members are: Nina Hoss, Jennifer Ulrich and Anna Fischer.

Do you know the movie? Did you think it was a good take on vampirism or just another lame story?

Disturbing and Beautiful

I was not let down by Park-Chan Wook‘s (director of Oldboy) first English language film Stoker. The movie is a mystery thriller and a pure work of art: very intense, very hypnotic and very twisted. You certainly can’t call it a typical genre movie, but that didn’t make it any less intriguing. There was a definite focus on the visual and acoustic part of the film, with slow-storytelling which made it for me even more striking and gorgeous. But before I get ahead of myself, here a short plot-summary:

ImageIndia Stoker (Mia Wasikowska) loses her father (Dermot Mulroney) and has to deal with her unstable mother (Nicole Kidman) and the mysterious, strange and charming uncle (Matthew Goode) she never even knew she had.

I kept it extra-short to make sure I wouldn’t spoil anything, considering that the story is quite predictable once you start watching the film anyway. In general I would say, Stoker is effectively creepy and fascinating, very well acted and beautiful to watch. I think it could have been even more shoking and powerful in the ending, but it is nonetheless a great movie.

Did you enjoy watching Mia Wasikowska and Matthew Goode as much as I did? Or did you think the movie was a tad too slow and too focused on the visuals?