All Boys Aren’t Blue | Book Review

Title: All Boys Aren’t Blue: A Memoir-Manifesto
Author: George M. Johnson
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux
Publish Date: April 28, 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Memoir
Pages: 304
Format: eBook

Both a primer for teens eager to be allies as well as a reassuring testimony for young queer men of color, All Boys Aren’t Blue covers topics such as gender identity, toxic masculinity, brotherhood, family, structural marginalization, consent, and Black joy.

In a series of personal essays, prominent journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson explores his childhood, adolescence, and college years in New Jersey and Virginia. From the memories of getting his teeth kicked out by bullies at age five, to flea marketing with his loving grandmother, to his first sexual relationships, this young-adult memoir weaves together the trials and triumphs faced by Black queer boys.

Johnson’s emotionally frank style of writing will appeal directly to young adults

I haven’t read a memoir in forever, and wow did I forget how much I enjoy them. I just wanted to preface this review by stating that I think there’s a lot to be learned from memoirs, a lot of lives and stories to be shared through these works. We all have our own experiences and journeys, and having the honor and privilege to read them is wonderful.

With that said, I highly enjoyed this memoir. Within the first two chapters I found myself reflecting on my own life, upbringing, past traumas, childhood, etc. to see what happened in my own life. Getting to read about Johnson’s was a journey, for sure.

One important aspect about this memoir is that (almost) every chapter is filled with love. He expressed that numerous times about how his family was so full of unconditional love for one another, which I think is a truly beautiful thing. I love seeing it in fiction, but love hearing about it more in real life. He expresses how even though his family knew his secret from the time he was young, they never forced him to be anything other than himself, and they accepted him regardless of anything. I loved seeing that dynamic, for sure.

Johnson talks a lot about being Black in this book, and it was another prime example for me as a white woman to understand another part of the Black experience, if I may call it that. I think that Johnson connecting so heavily to his heritage and culture was something that was inspiring to see, and once again allowed me to reflect on my own dynamics not just in my family, but of the environment around me. I will say that even though I don’t understand on a fundamental level what his experience of being Black was like, I still appreciate being able to have a glimpse into what it was like – and continues to be – for him.

He also talked about what being queer and his sexual identity was like as a young Black boy growing up in New Jersey, and he stated multiple times that he hoped other young, queer Black kids would also be able to see themselves in his words. I think seeing his journey of identity was eye opening. As an adult, I’ve been struggling with “labeling” my own sexuality, even though I hate labeling myself for that specific category. This book is giving me a lot to think about and to understand that it’s okay if you don’t get it right away.

I think it’s also important to note that he talks about some traumatic times, including sexual abuse, so please be aware of that going into this novel (it’s not until much later on in the manifesto). I definitely felt uncomfortable, but only in the sense that I knew he was opening up a dark portion of his past that I feel I was not meant to see or know. If it helped him, though, I’m glad it was in there, and if it helps others work through their own traumas, I’m glad it’s in their for them (and you), too.

From family, to friendships, to sexual identity, to Blackness, to much more, I found myself captivated by this memoir. I have been reflecting a lot on myself, and how I’m digesting the memoir to understand what it’s like for Black LGBTQIAP+ people out there.

The writing is very straightforward, and he gives a lot of stories into his background to give weight to the words he shares with you as the reader. I think that’s part of what drew me in so steadily is because I could definitely feel his voice through the pages.

Overall, I think it’s a great book for anyone to read, understand, listen, and reflect on themselves and their own identities and such.

I’m conflicted on rating a memoir, given it’s about a person’s life, but for the purposes of this review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Books/Series I Plan on Rereading | Top Ten Tuesday

So I know it’s Thursday, but I meant to do a post for TTT this week, I just completely forgot what day it was, so here we are!

If you don’t know what Top Ten Tuesday is, it’s a weekly meme hosted by Jana of That Artsy Reader Girl where you talk about your top ten ____ for that week. This week’s topic was a freebie, so we could create our own or go through the archives of TTT and pick one from there.

Today I wanted to talk about ten books/series I hope to reread over time for either nostalgia reasons, because I want to, or because I’m horrible at finishing series and need to reread because I forgot everything that happened.

Let’s jump into it! These are in no particular order.

10. Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her … but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead … quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the ToG series, and I recently started rereading the series because I never finished the last two books due to life a few years ago. And let me tell you, I want to punch Celaena in the face to get rid of some of that arrogance she has, but I also know the series will pick up and evolve as it goes. It’s really interesting to reread this and see how I view it now versus then. But I hope to continue with and actually finish the series this time!

9. A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy by Sarah J. Maas

Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

Much like ToG, I never finished the last book in this trilogy because it came out right around the time where life really sucked and my reading habits plummeted, so I want to reread the first two books in order to read the third (and the novella). I’m also rereading these series because, well, they were some of my favorites when I read them, and also because I want to read them before reading Crescent City. I’ll get there eventually!

8. The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth – that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil, no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

I started these a millennia ago, and, like every series on here, I am horrible at finishing reading the last book. I LOVED the first two books with all my heart when I read them, and I got through part of The Iron Queen before putting it down and never picking it back up. It wasn’t bad; my interest at the time just shifted and changed. So I hope to reread this trilogy (and the other novellas and others in this series eventually), and finally know what happens! Seriously, if you like fey, read these books. They’re quite good!

7. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

The first book in the Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer! See where the futuristic YA fairytale saga all began, with the tale of a teenage cyborg who must fight for Earth’s survival against villains from outer space.

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

With high-stakes action and a smart, resourceful heroine, Cinder is a Cinderella retelling that is at once classic and strikingly original.

Do I even need to say by now that I never finished this series? However, unlike the previous series I’ve mentioned where I never read the final book, this series in particular is one where I never finished the last TWO books. Ugh, I’m horrible. This was a series that was so hyped, and I remember not liking Cinder a lot (it was good, just not my favorite), loving Scarlet, and really enjoying Cress, but I just. Never. Continued. I think this was, again, around the same time where things in life got hard so I just didn’t finish. But I want to! I really do! One day~ *shakes fist determinedly*

6. The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

At his coming-of-age party, Matteo Alacrán asks El Patrón’s bodyguard, “How old am I?…I know I don’t have a birthday like humans, but I was born.”

“You were harvested,” Tam Lin reminds him. “You were grown in that poor cow for nine months and then you were cut out of her.”

To most people around him, Matt is not a boy, but a beast. A room full of chicken litter with roaches for friends and old chicken bones for toys is considered good enough for him. But for El Patrón, lord of a country called Opium—a strip of poppy fields lying between the U.S. and what was once called Mexico—Matt is a guarantee of eternal life. El Patrón loves Matt as he loves himself for Matt is himself. They share identical DNA.

I read this book (for fun, I think) way back in my early-mid high school days and remember loving it SO so much. It made me creeped out, angry, shocked, and just a whole lot of emotions. I’ve been meaning to reread this one for years, and I hope to get to it soon. I mean, if you can remember how a book made you feel almost 15 years later, I’d say it’s in need of a reread, right? I wonder if I’ll still feel the same way or not.

5. The Unicorns of Balinor series by Mary Stanton

Introducing a new fantasy series about a girl, her unicorn, and her quest to restore peace in Balinor. After a terrible riding accident, Ari cannot remember anything of her past and is sent to live on a farm with foster parents. What Ari doesn’t know is that she is not from our world, but from Balinor, a land of sorcerers and unicorns! Her parents, the King and Queen, sent her to Earth to protect her from a raging war before they were banished from their homeland. Now Ari–Princess Arianna–has found the road back to Balinor. As she struggles to remember her heritage, she must face the challenge of restoring peace to Balinor.

This is purely for nostalgic reasons (and because I never read the last book. Shocker.) but this kids story about a girl and her unicorn friend were magical when I read them as a teenager (I had owned them for years and never read them until my teens). They’re super short books – about 120-ish pages each – with big font, and there’s eight of them, so I think these will be super fast nostalgia reads that I can’t wait to get to!

4. Fushigi Yuugi by Yuu Watase

When best friends Miaka and Yui open the pages of an ancient Chinese book, they are transported into the Universe of the Four Gods, a parallel world to ancient China. Now, to escape schoolwork and family problems, Miaka flees to the parallel world, only to find a lot more danger and romance than she bargained for.

A series I’ve actually finished before! Wow! This manga series is one I read in my teen years and fell in love with. I’ve been slowly rereading it for the last year or so maybe, and wow did I forget a lot, but also wow, is it cheesy lol But I love it because it brings back a lot of great memories I have with this series. There’s 18 volumes total and I’ve reread the first five already, so I’ll continue my reread over time.

3. The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the worst thing she’d ever been through. That was before her planet was invaded. Now, with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra are forced to fight their way onto one of the evacuating craft, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But the warship could be the least of their problems. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their biggest threat; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady plunges into a web of data hacking to get to the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: Ezra.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

I. Love. This. Trilogy. So. Much. I love the mixed media of story telling, and as a visual learner type of person, seeing the different forms of media really engaged me while I was reading. I thought each book held its own unique magic in this otherwise very stressful and scary situation that everyone went through. I want to reread this trilogy just for the pure pleasure of it.

2. The Daughter of Smoke and Bones trilogy by Laini Taylor

Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

This trilogy was everything to me when I read it. I love Laini Taylor’s writing and how she can make sentences so beautiful. But this trilogy had a great love story of star-crossed lovers, of an age-old war, of finding oneself, and so much more. I want to reread it just for the sheer joy of it, and I hope to do it soon (after I read Muse of Nightmares, of course).

1 . The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson

In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight—but she doesn’t—and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom—to a prince she has never met.

On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love.

Again…never finished this trilogy. I think when I read the first book on audio, and then the second book physically, I lost the magic of it. I remember not feeling engaged or intrigued enough in the story, but I think I can remedy this by reading all of the books on audio the second time around.


And there you have it! There’s some of the series/books I want to reread! I’ve mentioned a lot of these in pasts posts similar to this one, but since I have yet to reread them, this still rings true.

What are some books or series you want to reread? Do you reread books at all? If you do, is it purely for nostalgia or something else?

Songs That Remind Me of Books | Top 5 Wednesday

Hey, back with another one that I haven’t posted in a million years: it’s Top 5 Wednesday!

Top 5 Wednesday is a fun meme hosted by Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes, where you discuss five books/bookish topics related to the prompt given for that day.

Today’s prompt: “Songs that remind you of your books! Explain why a specific song reminds you of a book. You can do five songs for five books or five songs for a single book, do what y’all feel.”

This one sounded like a lot of fun, so here we go~

5. Merry Go Round of Life by Joe Hisashi from/for Howl’s Moving Castle by Diane Wynne Jones

Okay, this is totally cheating, but I don’t care. Howl’s Moving Castle is one of my favorite Ghibli movies, and the song Merry Go Round of Life is so beautiful. I recently started reading the novel version for the first time (at the behest of my best friend who’s read it and loved it more than the film, which is saying something), and I got to say that even though I’m not very far into it, it’s already so different from the movie! In a good way, though. But of course, this song is obviously playing in my head while reading it, because how could it not be? Honestly, the whole soundtrack for the movie is, so yeah lol

4. Songs composed by Jeremy Soule for The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

Movie and video game scores are seriously inspiring when it comes to, well, anything, let’s be real. This particular compilation of songs are from various games such as Skyrim and Oblivion. I love listening to instrumental music a lot, and I can say that I often get lost in my own world when listening to tracks such as these because they allow your mind to really craft its own world to their sounds. I think that this mix really speaks to The Way of Kings because it’s an epic fantasy with many ups and downs, twists and turns, glory and defeat, and I think the varying music really speaks to that.

3. LION by (G)I-DLE for Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

I love this song LION by (G)I-DLE. It’s so powerful and sultry and makes me feel strong and like I can kick ass. The first thought that came to my mind was Celaena and her journey to get to where she is, and I thought that it was an appropriate song for her.

2. Scared of the Dark by Lil Wayne & Ty Dolla $ign for The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

As I was listening to this song, I was thinking about how much strife Starr went through, and how she was scared of many things after what happened to her friend, Khalil. The Hate U Give deals with a lot of topics of racism, police brutality, self-identity, family, gangs, and more. This song really talks about not being afraid, even if your environment and the people around you are against you. I think Starr really learns that in this book, so it fits.

Also, the whole Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse album is a bop, so go watch the movie, then go listen to the soundtrack.

1 . Paper Rings by Taylor Swift for Heartstopper by Alice Oseman

Alrighty, this series is probably one of the cutest, heartwarming, diverse LGBT+ reads I’ve ever read, and I love it so much. I also love the song Paper Rings, and I thought it was appropriate because it’s all about being content with the person you’re with, and how you want to be with them no matter the circumstance. I think it’s a cute song fitting for a cute series.


Alright, this was harder than I thought it would be haha! But I think that these songs fit these stories. Do you agree?

What song(s) do you think fit the current book you’re reading? Or what about a song that fits one of your favorite books? Let me know!

The Hate U Give | Book Review

Title: The Hate U Give
Author: Angie Thomas
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publish Date: February 28, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary
Pages: 444
Format: Hardcover

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.

I bought this book when it first came out and I didn’t read it until now. There was an incredible amount of hype behind it – and rightly so – but I just couldn’t bring myself to read it. A lot was going on in my personal life, but I knew I wanted to read it eventually.

And boy, am I finally glad I did. I started to read it at the height of the protests this past June, and I wanted to take it slow, so it wasn’t until almost a full month later that I started reading and couldn’t put it down. It’s such a fast, impactful read.

I’m just going to say it now: I really loved this book. It filled me with anger, sadness, relief, happiness, love, hope, disgust; pretty much a whole range of emotions. Let’s talk about my thoughts on the story itself:

First of all, the family aspect in this book is AMAZING! I never get to read a lot about family dynamics in any books I read, regardless if they’re YA, adult, middle grade, whatever. So being able to see such a strongly rooted family was so refreshing. I loved not just the relationship Starr has with her parents and siblings, but also her uncle and how he’s very much like a second father to her.

Of course, with this greatly tight-knit family comes the opposite for many of the other characters in Starr’s world, like her half-brother Seven’s mom and stepfather, or Khalil’s mom. There’s many sides to the dice, and I appreciated getting even just a glimpse into some of the other relationships some of the other characters had.

I felt sadness for Starr, not just because of what happened to Khalil right in front of her eyes (which is obviously tragic and horrible and no one should ever have to witness that), but also that she felt such a need to separate who she was depending on where she was: if she was in Garden Heights, she was one person; if she was at her school at Williamson, she was a completely different person, a held back version of herself. As the book goes through many ups and downs, Starr has many realizations about herself and the world and people around her, including one of her “friends.” I’m glad that she figures it out, to some degree, by the end as to who she is and where she fits in with all of it.

Reading about the gangs in the book kind of put in to perspective just how much gangs can be like a family to people, as well as how hard it can be to leave if you no longer want to be part of them. It can be scary, for sure, but it was also cool to see rival gangs come together for a similar purpose.

I felt that the whole journey that Starr took to reevaluate her stance on everything – her friend groups, her family, her race, everything – was handled really well and felt very real. I could see her struggle with it, especially when it came to opening up and being more vulnerable with her white boyfriend, Chris. I could see her struggle and how she really handled it with a lot of consideration and care for herself.

Of course, some of the hardest parts to read were her recounting the murder of her best friend. I almost cried at the very end of a chapter where she was recounting it in front of people and just her last sentence felt so impactful, so raw, so real, that I almost started to ball my eyes out because… wow. I’ll most likely never have to experience or think something like that ever in my life, and how she had to think that at 16? It hurts.

And how she had to call out one of her friends for having said several racist things over the years, and the white girl never admitted to it and would always play the victim. It was frustrating and I wanted to slap her, but I was also glad to see that there was also Chris, Starr’s boyfriend, who wanted to prove that he loves her for her, nothing else. It was nice to see.

Overall, this whole story is incredible. I’m not doing it justice by talking about it here (other than the fact that I’m rusty at these book reviews lol), but I can understand the hype, and I highly recommend you read this book – especially if you’re white – just to get a glimpse into the world Black people experience every day.

Also remember: Black Lives Matter, all day, every day.

★★★★★

Sorcery of Thorns | Book Review

Title: Sorcery of Thorns
Author: Margaret Rogerson
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books.
Publish Date: June 4, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 465
Format: Kindle eBook

All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery: magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught – about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.

Sorcery of Thorns is a standalone YA fantasy novel, which is not something that you often come by. It’s a story that began (and technically ended) in a library, with books that could talk, move, make noise, snore, etc. That part was super fascinating to imagine! Like, can you picture hundreds of grimoires just mumbling to themselves or trying to spit ink at you? It sounds fun, not gonna lie.

The main female protagonist, Elisabeth, grew up in one of the Great Libraries in the kingdom, as she was abandoned there as a baby. She grew up amongst the stacks and loved them very much. She was also very much trained in what it was that the librarians should expect of the novels: that they’re dangerous – especially those of higher class levels – and that they could kill people if they changed into Maleficts.

Also that sorcerer’s are evil and will kill you for the hell of it.

As she is thrust into a much different, much larger city than the one she grew up in due to tragic circumstances at the library she grew up in, she discovers that not everything that was taught is as it seems, and she slowly learns and grows from that over time.

However, I will say, I really didn’t like her character through 80% of the story. I found her to be just… too afraid of everything. She felt incredibly weak and not quite three-dimensional for a large portion of the story. It kind of felt like her growth was stunted for a while. As the story and the stakes grew, I saw more of her potential, but as a main character, there was a lot that I just wasn’t personally drawn to. Like, I felt like, especially in the beginning, that her biggest defining “trait” was her height, because it was pointed out so often. It was just very frustrating at times.

As for the secondary main character, Nathanial, who is a sorcerer, I really liked him! Quite the contrast to Elisabeth, I really liked his character. Yes, he has a dark past (that some parts weren’t explored too much or in too much detail, which is a shame), so sometimes he comes off as standoffish, but his humor genuinely made me laugh. I loved his sarcasm so much!

I also enjoyed seeing the magic and how it worked in this world from a couple of sorcerers. Nathanial’s magic was dark, much like his family’s past, and it was very powerful. I think the caveat of having a higher-demon being your patron in order for you to have magic was a great way to incorporate magic into the world – and one I don’t see often in stories!

I do wish, however, that there was more of him in the novel, and more interactions between him, Elisabeth, and Silas, who is Nathanial’s demon. When the two of them – and even the three of them, or just Silas and Elisabeth – were together, it felt like there was a lot more life added to the page, and I was just so curious about the two male protagonists and what they were going through.

Silas, the demon, is very forthright in his feelings towards humans, emotions, and other such things, and he really sticks to it through to the end. I can’t explain much more than that without spoiling it, but I really enjoyed how a high-born demon, in a bound pact with a human, is such a stickler for decorum as a butler. It’s a great juxtaposition, and one of the best highlights throughout the book.

I found myself often predicting a lot of what was going to happen next as I was reading, and then found myself becoming frustrated when it wasn’t obvious to Elisabeth for a bit after. I don’t know why it bugged me so much that she didn’t get it, but also I’m not the biggest fan of being able to predict things that are going to happen (I’m talking multiple times; once or twice is okay). And then when it did happen and Elisabeth would react the way she did just… didn’t help.

I found the plot to be interesting, though, especially with the lore behind the demons, the grimoires, the magic, and ancestors involved in the story. It was very intricate and I found it to be pretty enjoyable as a result.

The romance was both subtle and rushed all at once. I mean, I thought it was sweet and I enjoyed the scenes, but also, wow, they almost moved really fast and it caught me off guard. I do think, though, that they compliment each other well.

The epilogue, also, I enjoyed (and predicted, but I was glad I did), and found myself wanting more afterward.

Despite all that, I liked the book. I definitely think that if you’re interested in reading it, if you like books about books, magic, betrayal, and romance, that you’ll enjoy the story. Overall, it wasn’t bad, but it’s not something I’ll gravitate back towards anytime soon.

★★★☆☆