Genre: Paranormal


Thursday, April 04, 2019

Atmospheric With Well-Written Characters: The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman

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Atmospheric With Well-Written Characters: The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman
The Devouring Gray
Christine Lynn Herman
Series: The Devouring Gray #2
Genre: Paranormal, Suspense, YA
Publication date: April 2nd, 2019
by Disney Hyperion

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Branches and stones, daggers and bones,
They locked the Beast away.


After the death of her sister, seventeen-year-old Violet Saunders finds herself dragged to Four Paths, New York. Violet may be a newcomer, but she soon learns her mother isn't: They belong to one of the revered founding families of the town, where stone bells hang above every doorway and danger lurks in the depths of the woods.

Justin Hawthorne's bloodline has protected Four Paths for generations from the Gray—a lifeless dimension that imprisons a brutal monster. After Justin fails to inherit his family's powers, his mother is determined to keep this humiliation a secret. But Justin can't let go of the future he was promised and the town he swore to protect.

Ever since Harper Carlisle lost her hand to an accident that left her stranded in the Gray for days, she has vowed revenge on the person who abandoned her: Justin Hawthorne. There are ripples of dissent in Four Paths, and Harper seizes an opportunity to take down the Hawthornes and change her destiny-to what extent, even she doesn't yet know.

The Gray is growing stronger every day, and its victims are piling up. When Violet accidentally unleashes the monster, all three must band together with the other Founders to unearth the dark truths behind their families' abilities—before the Gray devours them all. 
-A copy was provided by Disney-Hyperion for review-

The Devouring Gray is a book that requires patience. There is no getting around it. It’s slow, and for the first quarter of the book I could not tell you what the fuck was going on except that the kids were sad, felt betrayed, maybe were trying to take each other down, it was a mess. I stuck with it though because my friends loved it and it turned out to be absolutely worth it.

Violet is new in town, Justin and Harper used to be bffs but Justin betrayed Harper, Issac is a soft boy with a world of hurt inside him. Together, the four of them make up the new generation of the founding families of the Four Paths and are sworn to protect the town from the beast that lives in the gray. As with any stories involving creepy towns, there are secrets to be uncovered and hidden truths to be revealed.

I love how atmospheric this book is. Its gothic-y, creepy, horror-y with a shade of paranormal thrown in for good measure. It’s bizarre and terrifying at times but also WEIRD. But, while the atmosphere is great, the world building is a bit lacking and if you aren’t able to easily suspend your disbelief, the book unravels very quickly.

Like.. if there is a beast that’s been terrorizing the town for over a century, why don’t people leave? What about the town makes them choose to stay? What makes it so that some people ‘fail’ their tests and don’t get powers? Especially if powers are inherited?

We are offered some history about the town and its founders but again, not a whole lot. To really get invested in the book, I think you just need to let go for a bit and enjoy the plot and the atmosphere and the weird people in town whose motives you don’t truly know.

The biggest selling point of this book are the characters. They are SO PRECIOUS and so complicated and I just love them all. I love that Issac is not necessarily a happy kid but he isn’t ever mean (unless someone is goads him.) I love that while Justin is super friendly and loveable, his social position definitely goes to his head and he is capable of hurting people he also cares about deeply. I love that Harper, even though she wants revenge and needs to use Violet to get it, she also becomes Violet’s friend because she cares about Violet. AND I LOVE VIOLET. Who is angry and sad and confused but still finds ways to be a person.

They are all just well-written, well-rounded characters. I love the relationships that already exist (Issac and Justin BEST FRIENDS FOREVER AND EVER) but I also loved watching new friendships form and blossom. The interaction between the adults and the children was not really one-dimensional either which was great.

I am just upset that I have to wait a whole goddamn year for the sequel especially because there is still SO MUCH my children need to work through. If anyone wants to plan a heist and steal the manuscript for the sequel from Disney Headquarters HMU. In the meantime, I will wait to be reunited with my children. If you love atmospheric books with well rounded characters, The Devouring Gray is for you.

4 Stars
4 Hot Espressos

Old School YA PNR Vibes: Slayer by Kiersten White

Old School YA PNR Vibes: Slayer by Kiersten White

Posted by on 01/31/2019 • 1 Comment

While I’d heard a couple of things about Slayer, they were mostly about Buffy and how the book was set in the same world as Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I’ve seen less than half an episode of the show so I immediately checked out and assumed it would not appeal to me as someone who does not care about the show. Then I read the synopsis. I got old-school YA feels from the blurb and I’ve been craving old school YA for ages so I was immediately drawn in.

I think the best way to sum up my feelings about Slayer is that the first half was a solid 3 stars and the second half was a solid 4 stars. The first half is sort of slow and takes a…

Some Mystery and Bland Characters: The Lonely Dead by April Henry

Some Mystery and Bland Characters: The Lonely Dead by April Henry

Posted by on 12/14/2018 • 1 Comment

Ugh I don’t even know how to word as I write this review. I’ve written and deleted the first sentence about a 100 times. BUT. I guess. Here is the thing, I read an April Henry novel years ago, liked it, and read a BUNCH by her this year. Just looking at the books in the chronological order they were published, it seems that the books have gotten progressively worse? Which is to say, that her later books have lost that kick a lot of her earlier books had.

If you’ve been a fan for a while and coming to this book because you have come to expect some thrill and some mystery from April Henry, you should stay. If you want anything more than that, like character development and…

Ballad for a Mad Girl by Vikki Wakefield

Ballad for a Mad Girl by Vikki Wakefield

Posted by on 07/19/2018 • 0 Comments

For someone who has had Vikki Wakefield on her tbr for over half a decade, it has taken me a surprisingly long time to finally pick up a book by her. I went in with the expectation that I would at least like it but ended up being surprised in pleasant ways.

OZ YA, in my opinion, tends to be much grittier than US YA so its always refreshing to find myself lost within the pages of an OZ YA. Ballad for a Mad Girl is many things. Its partly a paranormal murder mystery, partly an exploration of mental health and partly a coming of age.

Grace Foley is a bit of a prankster. She takes risks few people are willing to take and has a whole lot of fun…

Cute But Not Much Else: Cast No Shadow by Nick Tapalansky & Anissa Espinosa

Cute But Not Much Else: Cast No Shadow by Nick Tapalansky & Anissa Espinosa

Posted by on 11/29/2017 • 1 Comment

Cast No Shadow was a surprise graphic novel I received but it looked really cute and I couldn’t help but read it right away. Of course, this was some time ago and I am only now getting around to writing the review for the book so forgive me.

Greg has no shadow and is kind of an outcast. One day, he discovers a haunted mansion and ends up falling in love with the resident ghost. Obviously, things get a little complicated and there is some good angst going on there too.

The graphic novel is as cute as it sounds but doesn’t necessarily leave a lasting impression. Not every book I read, or anyone reads, needs to be revolutionary but I think the premise is so unique that I would…

Playlist for The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman + Giveaway

Playlist for The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman + Giveaway

Posted by on 02/02/2017 • 6 Comments

Hello and welcome to Xpresso Reads’ tour stop for The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman AKA the book I created my goodreads OTP OF PAIN shelf for. I thoroughly enjoyed The Dark Days Club last year but fell head over heels for The Dark Days Pact. In this book, Goodman really upped the stakes and basically put me through hell :’) It was great. Basically, you need this series on your TBR and to help you do that, I put together a playlist that ~I~ think describes the book/series.

THE PLAYLIST

Feat angsty music + some songs that might not be the best fit BUT SINCE I AM MAKING THE PLAYLIST, you’re stuck with them 😉 Also making playlists is H.A.R.D. If you click on the little thing on…

ARC Review: Journey’s End by Rachel Hawkins

ARC Review: Journey’s End by Rachel Hawkins

Posted by on 10/27/2016 • 4 Comments

Are you looking for a spoopy read for the Halloween season? Have you considered picking up a delightful middle-grade Halloween-esque novel? If so, consider reading this charming novel. I am a huge fan of Rachel Hawkins’ Hex Hall and Rebel Belle series’ so I was all about this book but it wasn’t quite what I expected (not in a bad way.) It has a lot of the fun feel from her YA books but the characters don’t sound the exact same and I LOVE that. They aren’t just the same characters but a little younger and in a different setting.

Journey’s End is a small town located in the middle of nowhere Scotland but it is unlike most small towns because of the magical fog. I think we’ve seen enough scary movies to…

Review: A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith

Review: A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith

Posted by on 09/23/2016 • 9 Comments

I don’t write in books and have become too lazy to keep an actual notepad by my side while I am reading but recently I decided that I wanted to do a better job of keeping track of my feels so when I write a review two weeks after I’ve read the book, I have something to jog up my memory. Sticky Notes were the answer. And while I did not tab the shit out of this book (or really any book because I am more of a reader than a note taker), I did tab a scene in this book and write OMG!!!

You were probably wondering where I was going with the whole insight into my reading process thing weren’t you? I AM SORRY. I felt like backstory was…