Book Review · Books

The Devil Aspect by Craig Russell [BOOK REVIEW]

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The Devil Aspect by Craig Russell was a very pleasant read for me for many reasons! I am so glad I got the chance to read it!

The Plot

A terrifying novel set in Czechoslovakia in 1935, in which a brilliant young psychiatrist takes his new post at an asylum for the criminally insane that houses only six inmates–the country’s most depraved murderers–while, in Prague, a detective struggles to understand a brutal serial killer who has spread fear through the city, and who may have ties to the asylum.

Psychiatrist Victor is starting a new job in the Asylum where the Devil’s Six are – Czech Republic’s most dangerous murderers. Victor has a theory by the name of the Devil Aspect, where he believes that is manifested in these six murderers. He believes it comes out in certain circumstances, making these people commit crimes, but not being aware they have done it. Something similar to a split personality, but in this case, the murderers think that the Devil is next to them, and he is making them do all these things.

My thoughts

This book was such a pleasurable roller coaster. I wasn’t able to put it down and I read it in only a few days. The writing is unbelievable and I am going to be picking up other books from this author, for the sole reason of his writing. The Devil’s Aspect was so intriguing and it kept me on my toes at all times. I found it extremely enjoyable.

The blend of mythology, culture and psychology is perfectly put together, and having lived in the Balkan countries, I can easily relate to many of the culture aspects. It was perfectly described and I felt as if I am in 1935 together with the characters. The time and place are wonderfully written, with incredible accuracy.

The ending was the most pleasurable, and without spoiling anything, I will only say a few things… Be ready for everything to happen. This book has many twists and many scenes where dangerous things are happening. A lot of intensity which I devoured with great pleasure. If you are coming for an adventure, you will get even more that you bargained for.

Proceed at your own risk! And good luck!

Thank you to the team at LoveReading UK and the author, Craig Russell, for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review · Books

Reverie by Ryan La Sala [BOOK REVIEW]

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I wanted to love Reverie by Ryan La Sala so much!

Reverie has a wonderful cover that draws you in immediately. The plot mentions a boy and a fantasy world that revolves around dreams. Everything I hoped this book would be – it wasn’t.

Kane is a gay teenager who is trying to pick up the pieces of his life back together after an attack leaves him with no memories of the past. He is in the search of who he is and who he was, and he discovers an alternate reality that he was involved in.

Reveries are worlds born from a person’s private fantasies, and once they manifest they can only be unraveled by bringing their conflicts to a resolution. Reveries have rules and plots, magic and monsters – anything you could wish for. And one wrong step can twist the entire thing into a lethal nightmare maze.

Sounds complicated already?

What if I told you that this is only from the blurb and the book doesn’t really explain these things at all?

Kane is an unraveler, together with The Others. Or at least he was, until one of The Others purged Kane of his memories. And here we are now, with Kane trying to solve the mystery and fight against evil.

I jumped into this book very eagerly, and was disappointing immediately, within the first couple of pages. The reveries and their whole concept were quite confusing, to the point of me not knowing whether the characters are now in a reverie, or in their real world.

Reverie had an amazing concept and it could’ve been done way better than this. I am just disappointed. It all seemed a bit messy and felt like it wasn’t thought through…

I didn’t connect with any of the characters, except for Kane, for the below reasons. And that was it… I didn’t care about any of the others, and there were quite a few characters.

One thing that annoyed me about Reverie, was the exaggeration of the #OwnVoices.

I am not against it, on the contrary! I love equality and I love diversity, and I share love everywhere and to everyone, and if you know me in real life, you will know this about me. We are all equal and different at the same time, and that is the unique thing that connects us all.

However, this book keeps mentioning that Kane is gay. And Kane is a lovely character. He is smart and he is brave. His memories were lost and is desperately trying to find out who he is, who he was, who are his true friends, who is good and who is evil. He doesn’t take for granted on what people tell him. He is AMAZING. Kane was so much more than just gay. But the author kept trying so hard to put an #OwnVoices hashtag on this book, that is was quite aggressive and off-putting. I love books that feature #OwnVoices, but Ryan, please – a little bit of modesty would’ve been nice.

I keep feeling this pressure of trying to write a book review that will not offend anyone, and I don’t mean to offend anyone, but I need to say that sometimes, there can be such a thing as “too much OwnVoicing” in a book. And we shouldn’t be afraid to point it out!

I am really sad about this one, guys. Honestly, I expected it to love it so bad, and now I feel down. I wouldn’t recommend it, but if you think you will love it, please pick it up. You are valid!

Thank you to the team at Netgalley and the publisher, Sourcebooks Fire, for sending me an ARC e-copy of this book, in exchange for my honest review.

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Book Review · Books

Blood Shadow by Dianna Hardy [BOOK REVIEW]

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Blood Shadow (Blood Never Lies #1) is a companion novel for An Eye of The Storm Series.

Blood Shadow can be read without reading the previous books. At the beginning, the author has included a recap of everything you need to know about the main character, before you start reading this book.

Blood Shadow was an interesting read, that is for certain. At the beginning I felt a bit lost in time and it took me  awhile to understand what is going on, despite the recap that was provided by the author.

A woman wakes up in a hospital and can’t remember anything. Some anonymous person saved her life and gives her the name Jennifer, alongside with a whole new life.

She knows her real name is Selena. She also knows she was a werewolf but is not anymore. It seems she is human now, because her wounds are not healing as they usually would. Selena/Jennifer also remembers all the sexual abuse she went through before. Being tortured and raped and even persuaded to kill her brother. It feels like that was a lifetime ago.

And now, five years after her new life begun, she lives quietly and has a normal job and a boyfriend. The only thing that reminds her of her werewolf days are the sweaty nightmares. And now Jennifer has received a new note – on of those that her anonymous friend leaves for her now and then, advising her when she is in danger. But this time, the note says something different: a Supermoon is coming, and with that, a total lunar eclipse.

This is the moment when things start to get confusing for me. There is an anonymous person, he sends her notes that have saved her life, he is always watching her, and now they need to meet, because she is in big danger and he has a secret to tell her. But he also doesn’t want to reveal his true identity yet.

[SPOILER ALERT]

Long story short, he is one of the people that were there during her sexual abuse period. And he didn’t do anything to help save her. Also, it turns out that she is also a mermaid, which is why she is able to do some things, but also doesn’t have full powers.

And things keep being more and more confusing. From a werewolf story, we jump onto mermaids. The title also made me think that vampires bight be involved, which isn’t the case. And we also might see dragons in the next book. I am not against having all these fantasy creatures into one place, but I felt that it needed to be explained better.

I felt for the girl – it must be extremely hard to live with such past and then to also have to constantly be hiding and never be truly happy. She tried to live a normal life as well, but just ended up hurting the people around her.

I am not sure that I connected enough with this book. The ending wasn’t a conclusive one – it seemed as if it only was an opening for yet another book of the many. It didn’t feel like any of the characters grew or learned from their past actions, which was slightly disappointing.

It is a nice chill book to read in your spare time, if you like these types of books. But it is nothing out of the ordinary. I don’t believe I will remember how it ended or what it was about in a few months.

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Book Review · Books

The Struggle (The Vampire Diaries #2) by L.J. Smith [BOOK REVIEW]

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The Struggle is the continuation of the Vampire Diaries Series by L.J. Smith. The second book that features the life of popular girl Elena Gilbert and her endeavors with the mysterious vampire brothers Stefan and Damon Salvatore.

The Struggle continues where The Awakening ends; Elena is looking to talk to Damon, knowing that he has something to do with Stefan’s disappearance.

I felt like there was more action in this book, compared to the first one. It made me more engrossed with the story and I was very excited for all the twists.

Elena was obviously the main character in this book, alongside Stefan and Damon. I am not sure how I felt about Elena in this book. She seemed to ignore everyone for a while and just be her selfish self – which resulted in getting people in trouble.

On the other hand, I really loved the history of Stefan and Damon. The memories from hundreds of years ago. The author manager to portray the time very well, and I was easily transported into another world, another time… I think these scenes were definitely the favourite part of this book.

I wish we saw more chapters with Bonnie and Meredith. Even though best friends, it didn’t feel like they were too involved in the story. We didn’t get to know them properly and it has already been two books. I really hope book three will let us meet these two characters better.

I am happy with the book in general.

The scenes, the plot, the twists – they were all very carefully put together. Elena’s love choices are opening up, letting us wonder which brother she might choose. Making us choose sides (team Damon here!). This battle between the love and hate of the two brothers definitely seems interesting.

The ending was everything I was hoping for and now I can’t wait for the next book. The Awakening and The Struggle were only an introduction and the real adventures are yet to begin!

I recommend it to all of you that love young-adult, teen romance and vampire stories. It will keep you on your toes for sure!

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Book Review · Books

The Awakening (The Vampire Diaries #1) by L.J. Smith [BOOK REVIEW]

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I had The Awakening and the Struggle (the first and second books from the Vampire Diaries series) on my shelf for years.

When I say years, I mean it. It all started when I was in high-school, around 6 years ago, and I was in love with the Vampire Diaries TV Show. When I found out there are books as well, I begged my mum to buy them for me. And once I had them, I never got to read them, because teenage logic…

I recently noticed the Vampire Diaries books sitting on my shelf, forgotten, and I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to read it in October, because of the whole spooky vibe. So there it is now – even thought the wheel didn’t choose it, I did, because it deserved the attention!

Elena Gilbert is a popular girl in high-school and she always gets what she wants. Boys want to be with her, girls hate her, or want to be her best friends. And when this new boy Stefan comes into town, all mysterious, Elena wants him. But Stefan is hiding a deadly secret that Elena might now be ready for just yet. And her life, as well as the life of everyone living in Fell’s Church is in grave danger… Elena finds herself between two brothers – one who came for a new life, and the other, who came for revenge…

Reading this book, while already knowing what the plot it, I thought I found find it boring. But no. I still enjoyed every single page of it, and I still devoured this book in one day.

From the first chapter, this book is intense and captures your attention. It is written in third person, but it also contains diary entries that belong to Elena and capture her deepest thoughts that she doesn’t dare share with anyone else.

I loved Elena!

Her character is exactly what I was expected and what I have known to love – brave and fierce, and also willing to sacrifice her own happiness and safety for the people she loves the most. 

Elena’s friends, Meredith and Bonnie are the friends every girl needs. Funny and caring. A few pages in, and you will get to love them too.

Stefan – the mysterious new guy in school. The guy that tries to stay away from the girl he really wants because he’s a danger to her. A little bit of Twilight vibes, but we can get past that. Because there is one thing that Twilight didn’t have, that you can find reading The Vampire Diaries…

DAMON

Even though we only get a glimpse of him in this book, we can feel his presence throughout the whole book. We can feel his connection with Elena, as weird and spooky as it may be. All that danger that he carries with him, we all want to see whether there’s anything good in him at all. His story is the most intriguing one, I think. His hunger for revenge makes you really understand both sides of the story and choose a side for yourself.

So, are you team Stefan, or team Damon?

I loved reading this – it was an amazing experience and it reminded me of my high-school days, of those innocent happy memories. My teenage life didn’t include vampires, but hey – it was still awesome!

Pick the Vampire Diaries up if you love Young Adult spooky books, if you loved Twilight and if you love vampire, love and mystery stories in general.

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