Grey Sister takes place about 4 years after everything happened in Red Sister and Nona is now around 15 years of age and has just entered Grey Class. The Church Inquisitor descends upon the Convent of Sweet Mercy with alliances being formed and friendships strained.
It’s like Mark Lawrence has just pushed everything through to another level. I like that we started on familiar grounds at the Convent with Nona attending classes with some of her friends but also some new faces that prove to be not quite fond of her. But then there is also a huge change with Nona being forced out of the Convent by the Inquisitors and having to make her way out in the Empire all alone.
Nona is such an enigmatic character. She is super interesting and very unpredictable, which makes her so entertaining. I am very much invested in her as a character and I have loved to see her grow up over the course of the series so far, but still have so much to learn. I thought the addition of Keot was a fascinating touch. I liked how he sort of made Nona think hard about what is right and wrong and how far she would go in regards to killing people. He contrasted very well with her character and I enjoyed the banter between them.
I am intrigued by Zole still. She really played a minor role in this book but was still very much present throughout the course of the plot. She essentially lied for Nona during the trial with the Nuns about what happened with Joeli and she seemed to form a closer bond with Nona whilst still kind of maintaining her distance and neutrality. I immediately knew from those scenes that Zole would venture out after Nona when they forced her out.
The political machinations that are going on in the Empire, especially where Sherzal is concerned kind of bores me a little. I am not a huge fan of politically centered fantasy; though I appreciate how it furthers the plot I am much more interested in the magical, mysterious, adventurous side of the story. Though let me say Abbess Glass never fails to disappoint me in her political maneuverings!
The stakes were always very high, keeping me on the edge of my seat during my read. I loved every moment of this book and I am so ready to dive right into Holy Sister ASAP!
⭐️5/5 That cliffhanger OMG!!!
A unique twist on the classic Rumpelstiltskin tale!
Miryem is the daughter and grand-daughter of moneylenders. Her grandfather is very successful in this business but her father unfortunately isn’t so much. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has loaned out most of his wife’s dowry and left the family on the edge of poverty–until Miryem steps in. She quickly turns their troubles around and makes a reputation for herself. One day she boasts of being able to turn silver into gold and is overheard by a Staryk, one of the magical men who live in the forest and who rape and plunder for gold.
This was very immersive! I could see the foundations of the original story there but it was completely turned on its head which made me more invested. I didn’t quite know where the story was going to go next or how it would circle back to the original but boy did it!
Miryem was a little forgetful as a main female protagonist to be quite honest. I liked her initiative and her ability to trade up and earn more money for her family but there wasn’t much other than that that really swayed me to her. I much preferred Irina’s drive and her cunning as opposed to Miryem. Though I thought the two contrasted well with each other.
I like the way the story unfolded. It took me a minute to get situated into the plot, I was a little bored at first, but the action and the intrigue definitely picks up and kept me engaged. The whole storyline with Irina & Mirnatius was so very compelling. I loved the banter between the two and to see Irina evolve as a character from the forgotten daughter of a Duke to a Tsarina was wonderful to read. I really dismissed her as an insignificant character at the start of the book but she really bloomed and caught me off guard with her calculating ways.
I didn’t really know what to expect from this book but it took me by surprise. It was a bit of a slow start but I was ended up really enjoying the storyline and the setting. The Staryk’s and their magic was very unique and I liked the fact that there was the Chernobog to oppose their might. You didn’t quite know who to barrack for in the situation and it made it a lot more interesting because of it!
⭐️4/5 Slow build into a fantastical tale!
This was so engaging and entertaining from the start! I absolutely loved it!
Olive’s twin sister Ami has just gotten married to her boyfriend Dane and Olive couldn’t be happier for her, except the fact that she has to put up with Dane’s older brother Ethan who hates Olive for some unknown reason. So when the whole wedding party and guests get massive food poisoning and only Olive and Ethan don’t get sick and Ami insists that they should go away on their honeymoon instead Olive doesn’t know if they will make it out alive.
I love that Olive is so honest and upfront with Ethan from the start, and how that honesty becomes such a focal point in the relationship in the future. I love how confident and proud of herself she is and doesn’t shy away from her curves. She is super endearing and I loved the witty banter she shares with Ethan throughout the storyline.
Ethan I was a little unsure of at the start, but I definitely warmed up to him! I like how realistic he is as a male character, hopelessly naïve in some ways. He is always willing to communicate how he feels to Olive and he isn’t afraid to apologize if he feels it is warranted. I think it was fair that he stuck by his brother and wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, though I figured he would try to understand Olive’s intentions a bit more thoroughly than to just dismiss her so quickly and assume she misinterpreted the situation. I am glad that he circled back to their earlier conversations and he went with the grand-gesture to try to win her back, I thought that was very well rounded and well very swoon-worthy lets be real!
I also enjoyed the fact that the book didn’t just finish at the end of the ‘unhoneymoon’. They had to go back to the real world and actually deal with a lot of the issues that sprung up during the trip that they didn’t want to focus on. Again I found the whole thing really realistic. All of the characters reacted to the situation within reason. A lot of times in adult romances I found situations are dealt with too quickly and things work out a little too conveniently and I’m not sold or find it too fictional if that makes sense!
I am a sucker for the hate to love trope and I thought this was a super unique take on it! The premise as a whole I found super intriguing and I was invested in the characters and the storyline from the start. I am for sure going to have to dip into Christina Lauren’s previous books and see how they compare!
⭐️5/5 I loved it!
Sawkill Girls is about a town that is located on an island called Sawkill Rock where for the last 120ish years girls have gone missing and none have ever been found. The book follows the perspectives of three girls who live in this town; Marion who has just relocated to Sawkill Rock after her father passed away in a car accident, Zoey who has lived here for a few years now with her father who is the police chief and Valerie whose family have always lived on Sawkill Rock.
This was actually pretty trippy. I was a little lost for around the first 100 or so pages. There wasn’t really a lot going on at the start but I found I wasn’t really engaged in the story until like the last quarter or so of the plot.
I loved Zoey’s character the most. I found her to be super relatable. I love that she already had this established idea of what had happened to Thora and she wouldn’t let anyone talk her out of it or accept that she just simply disappeared.
I didn’t really like Valerie a whole lot. She was a super bitch at the start and the fact that she is complicit but then is kind of given a redemption arc that I felt wasn’t really justified. I get that she was really held hostage by her family and their circumstances but I didn’t feel like she was empathetic at all until she started getting feelings for Marion.
Marion kind of got on my nerves as well. I mean her sister befriends this girl and two minutes later goes missing and your only real friend is telling you that she thinks this girl and her family is behind everything and you go on a walk with her through the woods by yourself late at night and then make out with her? Her reasoning for everything just didn’t sit right with me I guess.
Other than that I actually really enjoyed my experience reading this book. It was super unique and a little bizarre but I was definitely intrigued enough to read on. I loved how strange everything kind of was and it got really weird but I was into it and I liked not being able to predict what was going to happen next because I can honestly say I’ve never read anything close to this storyline at all.
⭐️4/5 Cool mix of fantasy and horror!
Was definitely very thrilling!
Vanessa’s husband of 7 years just recently left and divorced her already moving on to the next woman, who is like a younger version of herself.
I love how we are always misdirected in this book. It says it in the blurb to not make assumptions about this love triangle but of course I thought Vanessa was just another alcoholic housewife whose husband has left her and moved on to greener pastures. I was so invested in the storyline that I almost forgot that it was a thriller and when that first plot twist hit me I was thrown for a second. I connected more with Nellie than Vanessa initially when I started reading and then when I came to find out they are the same person it shocked me. It really made me stop and look back at what I had already read and see how it all pieced together.
All of the jumping between time periods was also very effective. I was easily able to follow along and again try to piece together Vanessa’s life and how everything managed to work out the way it did. The second half of the book really went in another direction that I wasn’t expecting. Seeing Vanessa’s motives shift quite suddenly from essentially sabotaging the wedding to wanting to save Emma and reading how almost manic she was really propelled the plot forward and made the book as a whole a lot more thrilling for me.
Vanessa’s arc over the course of the book was almost inspirational. There was already so much she had to overcome from her early twenties and everything that happened in college, then to seemingly find the man of your dreams and think that you are set for life only to have that fall through as well. I was happy that Vanessa decided to fight and not just give up and let Richard continue his ways with Emma.
I was very much engaged throughout the course of this book and all of the twists and turns kept me invested in the plot! I will definitely be reading An Anonymous Girl soon to see how it compares!
⭐️4/5 stars Fast paced, addictive, page turning!!