What We Devour by Linsey Miller

Book Cover

Publisher: Sourcebooks, Sourcebooks Fire

Date of publication: July 6th, 2021

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, LGBTQIA

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | B&N | WorldCat

Format Read: Unedited ARC

Received From: Publisher

Goodreads Synopsis:

Lorena Adler has a secret—she holds the power of the banished gods, the Noble and the Vile, inside her. She has spent her entire life hiding from the world and her past. She’s content to spend her days as an undertaker in a small town, marry her best friend, Julian, and live an unfulfilling life so long as no one uncovers her true nature.

But when the notoriously bloodthirsty and equally Vile crown prince comes to arrest Julian’s father, he immediately recognizes Lorena for what she is. So she makes a deal—a fair trial for her betrothed’s father in exchange for her service to the crown.

The prince is desperate for her help. He’s spent years trying to repair the weakening Door that holds back the Vile…and he’s losing the battle. As Lorena learns more about the Door and the horrifying price it takes to keep it closed, she’ll have to embrace both parts of herself to survive.

First Line:

It was an honor to work with the dead, but Rylan Hunt – four stone, fifty two inches, eviscerated, my notes read – had died two days before his thirteenth birthday, and no funeral rites would fix that.

What We Devour by Linsey Miller

I had to take a couple of days to process What We Devour before I wrote the review for it. Normally, I don’t do that. I can sit down and write my review and be on my way. But with this book, I had to let everything that happened process before I could even entertain writing this review.

What We Devour is a dark fantasy. Before this book, when I thought of dark fantasy, I thought of Anne Bishop’s The Black Jewel series. I went into reading What We Devour, thinking it would be somewhat like those books. I was wrong, very wrong. This book took dark fantasy and ran with it.

There are several trigger warnings that I am going to address upfront. Trigger warnings are taken directly from Goodreads: self-harm (mainly cutting), murder (mass and child), sacrifices, executions, factory-related accidents and death, child neglect and abuse, filicide, references to siblings’ death, multiple scenes with death, mass suicide, violence, and blood.

What We Devour is a fast-paced book. From the beginning scenes, where Lorena is prepping a burial body, this book doesn’t stop at those frantic last scenes. The author doesn’t sugarcoat what Lorena is or what she can do. She also doesn’t sugarcoat The Heir, his mother, or anyone else in the book. I read through the book believing that 90% of the people introduced were psychopaths. I mean, if you could create or destroy, wouldn’t you be? Wouldn’t your abilities drive you mad, even with the bindings? I know it would for me.

The world that What We Devour is set in is a bleak, brutal world. Children, more often than not, outlived parents. If you were a wrought (noble or vile), you were often bound, against your will, to the court. You could also be brought up on false charges and sacrificed to The Door. As I said, it was a brutal, terrible world to live in.

I felt terrible for Lorena. All she wanted was a quiet life in Fellhollow, being the town’s undertaker. Instead, she is forced to reveal that she is a dual wrought and then forced to research for The Heir. She is forced to make terrible decisions and face some very uncomfortable truths about people she loved. By the end of the book, though, she did what she thought was right…what she thought would protect the people of her country. She couldn’t stop the inevitable, but she could save as many lives as she could.

The Heir was 100% a psychopath. But I don’t think he was a natural-born psycho. Instead, he was a made one through the abuse of his father and mother and by the power of his Vile wrought. I did have sympathy for him, though. He wanted, in the worse way, to close The Door so that the sacrifices would stop. He wanted someone to understand him.

What We Devour kept me on my toes reading. There were several twists in turns in the plotline that took me by surprise. Just a warning, don’t get too close to any of the characters (except Lorena). They are all expendable.

I loved the fantasy angle of the book. The author created a world that repulsed me, but at the same time, it intrigued me. Her explanation of Vile and Noble, how the wroughts were made, The Door, and what would happen when The Door was opened had me hooked.

The end of What We Devour left me sitting with my mouth open. Everything that happened took me 100% by surprise. The author didn’t resolve any storylines. Instead, she left me wanting to read book 2.

What We Devour is a dark fantasy that had me hooked from page 1. I enjoyed reading it!!

I would recommend What We Devour for anyone over the age of 21. There are violence, blood, murder, and suicide references. See above for a complete list of triggers.

Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris

Sold on a Monday

4 Stars

Publisher: Sourcebooks, Landmark

Date of publication: August 28th, 2018

Genre: Historical Fiction

Where you can find Sold on a Monday: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

From New York Times bestselling author Kristina McMorris comes another unforgettable novel inspired by a stunning piece of history.


The scrawled sign, peddling young siblings on a farmhouse porch, captures the desperation sweeping the country in 1931. It’s an era of breadlines, bank runs, and impossible choices. 

For struggling reporter Ellis Reed, the gut-wrenching scene evokes memories of his family’s dark past. He snaps a photograph of the children, not meant for publication. But when the image leads to his big break, the consequences are devastating in ways he never imagined.

Haunted by secrets of her own, secretary Lillian Palmer sees more in the picture than a good story and is soon drawn into the fray. Together, the two set out to right a wrongdoing and mend a fractured family, at the risk of everything they value. 

Inspired by an actual newspaper photo that stunned readers across the nation, this touching novel explores the tale within the frame and behind the lens—a journey of ambition, love, and the far-reaching effects of our actions.

My Review:

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I know I have mentioned this before but I tend to stay away from reading historical fiction. I don’t have anything against historical fiction, I don’t like to read it. In my experience, I have found that fictional retellings of famous events aren’t as good as I want them to be. There is always something left out. I liken it to books made into movies/TV series. 99% of them do not follow the book but there’s that 1% that not only follows it but is fantastic.  Sold on a Monday is that 1% for me.

Sold on a Monday is based on a real-life photograph that was taken during the Great Depression. If you have followed the story of the 4 children in that photograph, you know that they didn’t have a happy ending. That they were abused by the people who bought them. The author played the “what if” angle of that photograph. What if the mother had second thoughts? What if the photographer had remorse over publishing the picture? She also explored the reasons why a parent would choose to do something like that. The story that she created out of that photograph was heartbreaking.

What I liked about this book is that the main characters, Ellis and Lilly, were not perfect. Ellis had a strained relationship with his parents. His father was disappointed with the career choice that Ellis chose. Ellis believed that his father didn’t love him. That it should have been Ellis that died instead of his brother. Lilly was an unwed mother. If you know anything from that time, unwed mothers were not accepted by society. Jobs were not made available to them. Those women and their children were shunned, by family and strangers alike. Lilly couldn’t mention her son. If her boss found out, he would have fired her.

The main storyline was fantastic. That picture was not supposed to be published. When Lilly (yes, Lilly) saw it in the darkroom, she knew that it was something. She turned it into her boss, who in turn told Ellis to write the story about it. I was a little miffed at Lilly at that point. I was thinking to myself “Why can’t she mind her own business!!“. But, she knew it was something and that could push Ellis’s career into the spotlight.

I felt awful that Ellis had so much guilt over the children being bought. So much guilt that he tracked them down to make sure that they were alright. He earned hero status in my eyes when he rescued Calvin from that farm. It made me angry to think that children were treated like that back then. But in hindsight, they were considered property….like the women were. So, I shouldn’t have been so surprised.

The storyline with Lilly, her parents and Samuel were sweet. It was refreshing to read a book where the daughter was loved regardless of what she did. I liked that her parents 100% stood behind her with keeping Samuel. For that era, they were an anomaly. How Lilly was with Samuel touched my heart also. She loved her son and would do anything for him. That meant weeks working in the city and weekends home with him. Everything she did was for him.

The storyline with Ellis and his family annoyed me, to be honest. Ellis came across as a petulant little boy, not a grown man. The whole dinner scene left a bad taste in my mouth. Instead of reaching out, Ellis thought it was because his father thought Ellis should be dead instead of his brother. When his father finally told Ellis the true reason why he didn’t like his career choice, Ellis was like “Oh, ok“. He did apologize but it came across as insincere.

I was surprised that there was romance in this book. I was even more surprised when there was an implied love triangle. I thought the book could have done without romance. While it did add some depth to the plotline, I didn’t see the need for it.

The end of Sold on a Monday is heartbreaking. There is a twist in the plot that I saw coming. I was still surprised by the outcome. It forced a reconciliation between Ellis and his parents. I wouldn’t say that it was a happy ending because of what happened to Ruby’sadoptive” mother. I also didn’t see Lilly making the choice that she did.

I enjoyed the afterward that the author note at the end of the book. I agreed with everything that she wrote.

What I liked about Sold on a Monday:

A) Main characters were not perfect

B) The main storyline

C) Lilly’s parents

What I disliked about Sold on a Monday:

A) Ellis. He annoyed me

B) Lilly showing the photo to the chief

C) The romance angle of the book

I gave Sold on a Monday a 4-star rating. This was a great book that was set during the Great Depression. This book was historically accurate. I did get annoyed with Ellis during the book. I also got annoyed with Lily. But overall a great book.

I gave Sold on a Monday an Older Teen rating. There is no sex (some kissing, though). There is no language. There is some mild violence. I would suggest that no one under 16 read this book.

I would reread Sold on a Monday. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank Sourcebooks, Landmark, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Sold on a Monday.

All opinions stated in this review of Sold on a Monday are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**