ARC REVIEW: Christine Lynn Herman “The Devouring Gray”

51oeEQFtk7L._SX336_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Devouring Gray

Author: Christine Lynn Herman

Genre: Fantasy

My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Release Date: April 2, 2019

 

What a strange book. Not in a bad way necessarily, but with some definite haunting, atmospheric vibes.

The premise is intriguing: Violet, our MC, moves to a new town called Four Paths where she discovers herself to be the descendant of one of the four founders. What’s more, the founders possessed special abilities that allowed them to keep a vicious beast prisoner in a mysterious place called the Gray.

So down the line, the children of Four Paths’ founders are tasked with protecting the town and keeping the monster imprisoned. Except now the founder families are struggling to contain the Gray and its beast, and the town’s death count is rising fast.

I’d compare this book to How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather, another story in which a girl moves to a town where she’s the descendant of the man responsible for witch trials in their city. I also saw that another reviewer compared this to a CW show, and I think feel like that’s the perfect way to describe it. It’s just got the feel of a supernatural teen drama.

There’s nothing wrong with CW shows, per se! And if you like them, I’m sure you’ll find The Devouring Gray entertaining.

The way the author introduced each of the characters was very deliberate, and I appreciated the time she took to help us get to know the cast instead of just throwing a bunch of names out there. All of the founder children were complex and fascinating, shocking us with secrets and causing us to feel their pain along with them.

It took me a bit to understand what was happening and for the author to explain what exactly the Gray was. As I’m writing this review, I still don’t know if I quite understand it, but I get the gist. The magic system here was interesting; Herman kept it fresh and original.

The Grey itself and the beast within were both rightfully creepy. I’m home alone and reading some of these scenes caused me to actually shudder, and I had to continue the book with my back to the wall. Don’t judge me.

Overall, I think many people will enjoy this. The Devouring Gray was too weak for my taste, but I bet you Herman has many more stories to tell; I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

An e-arc of this book was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Pre-order here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Meet the Author: Goodreads | Website | Instagram | Twitter

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BOOK REVIEW: Jenna Fischer “The Actor’s Life: A Survival Guide”

51lpLheLJeL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Actor’s Life: A Survival Guide

Author: Jenna Fischer

Genre: Memoir/How-To/Self-Help

My Rating: 4/5 stars

 

While I’m not an aspiring actor and therefore not the intended audience of this book, I still found it incredibly interesting.

Less memoir and more “how to make it as an actor”, there were still plenty of really cool tid-bits and stories from the filming of The Office and some of Jenna’s other projects. I immediately watched the Casino Night episode upon completion since I now have some of the “behind the scenes” knowledge.

So while this might appeal to fans of Pam and The Office for some special insights and stories, I also found this read informative. This is the perfect book for someone who is looking to become an actor, and would highly recommend that every wanna-be check this book out. Fischer shares some great pointers and advice, making this both a fun and educational read.

In conclusion: this book is meant for aspiring actors, but can also be enjoyed by some die-hard fans of The Office. I happened to find it highly entertaining!

PS: if you listen to the audiobook, the foreword (written by Steve Carell) is read by Rainn Wilson and is hilarious. If nothing else, listen to it for that reason.

ARC REVIEW: Christine Riccio “Again, But Better”

81kW7J18kvLTitle: Again, But Better

Author: Christine Riccio

Genre: Contemporary/Romance

My Rating: 2/5 stars

Release Date: May 7, 2019

 

Oh boy. Where to begin.

I don’t mind Christine Riccio. I’ve watched her Booktube videos and I think she can be very funny sometimes. I wanted to read this because I was curious to see how someone who is forced to be critical about the books she reviews would write a book of her own. She can be insightful sometimes, so I hoped that Riccio would learn from other author’s mistakes and publish a good debut.

Unfortunately, I was disappointed.

Let’s start with the things I liked: Again, But Better has a great setting. Stories in Europe are great, and I love being able to live vicariously through the characters since I’ve never been able to experience any of these great locations. Riccio infuses lots of fun, nerdy things and makes references to shows, movies, books: Lost, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Vampire Academy, etc. Some of the dialogue was also very clever and sharp, and I appreciated some of the banter between characters, particularly Shane and Pilot.

Which brings me to things I didn’t like. You see I mentioned a character named “Pilot” above? That’s his actual, given name. One of Shane’s roommates is named Babe. Again, not a nickname. And there wasn’t even a cool story as to why they had these strange, unique names? Oh, and then there was the guy that Babe had a crush on, “Chad”, who’s your stereotypical jerk who says “yo” a lot.

While I did enjoy some of the dialogue and banter, there were other parts that felt clunky and awkward. Some of Riccio’s phrasing was weird to me and didn’t make for a flowing, easy read. I had to reread a few paragraphs to understand what exactly was being said.

I’m not even going to get into the odd subplot with the spirit guide? This didn’t add to the story and frankly, made this book so much more cringe-y.

I feel I would have liked this book more had the characters acted their age. These were supposed to be college students studying abroad in Europe, but they read like 14 year old brats. I hoped this would feel less like YA given the age of the characters, yet there was really no change in the way they spoke or acted.

I do hope that Riccio takes some of the criticism of her debut novel and uses that to improve, because I’d love to see her succeed. Again, But Better just wasn’t imaginative or polished enough.

An e-copy of this book was provided by the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Well, Hello There…

My bad.

I haven’t updated my blog in quite some time. To most people, this hasn’t made a single difference to them, so go about your business! Don’t mind me! I’m just gonna live in my bubble and pretend y’all missed me.

There’s been a lot going on in my personal life. Well, a lot and a little. You know how it is, when life just feels overwhelming enough to crush you, so you do nothing and just watched everything crumble around you.

That’s been me for the last few months. I’ve just sort of… let life happen, while I sit in bed, watching Netflix thinking, “Huh, everything sucks.”

I’m trying to fight it, but it sucks. Maybe it’s depression, maybe it’s laziness, maybe it’s crippling self-doubt, maybe it’s all three combined, but for whatever reason, I’ve stagnated as a person. I see things in myself that I hate, that I want to change, that I wish for all that is good I could change, but to no avail. At least not yet.

I’m trying to fight the voices in my head telling me I’m not good enough. I want to be better. I want to be healthy, mentally and physically.

Hah, you thought this blog post was gonna be about books.

If you came here disappointed to find another post about mental health, I’m sorry! It’s just that this is the thing that I’m struggling with the most at this point in my life. Reading does help though, so I’ll also continue to post and talk about books.

So this is me, promising to try and be better, and not just about posting on my blog. I want to be a better wife, sister, daughter, friend, person.