Dog Days Review

Dog Days Review | Ericka Waller

I’ve been reading some deep fantasy lately, and wanted a change of pace. I thought Dog Days would be a light-hearted, feel-good sort of book where you’re left with the feeling that everything is right with the world. It didn’t quite work out like that though – check out my review.

*External links below are affiliate links, meaning at no extra cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase

Publisher: Random House | Date: 2021 | Genre: General Fiction | Buy it here*

Plot: George is very angry. His wife has upped and died on him, and all he wants to do is sit in his underpants and shout at the cricket. The last thing he needs is his cake-baking neighbour Betty trying to rescue him. And then there’s the dog, a dachshund puppy called Poppy. George doesn’t want a dog – he wants a fight.

Dan is a counsellor with OCD who is great at helping other people – if only he were better at helping himself. His most meaningful relationship so far is with his labrador Fitz. But then comes a therapy session that will change his life.

Lizzie is living in a women’s refuge with her son Lenny. Her body is covered in scars and she has shut herself off from everyone around her. But when she is forced to walk the refuge’s fat terrier, Maud, a new life beckons – if she can keep her secret just a while longer…

Dog Days is a novel about those small but life-changing moments that only come when we pause to let the light in. It is about three people learning to make connections and find joy in living life off the leash.

I received Dog Days from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Dog Days Review

TW: Suicide, Domestic Abuse

Dog Days Review

I was under the impression I knew what kind of book I was getting into with Dog Days. While it was hard to warm to the characters, I assumed that was the point. The book took a turn I wasn’t expecting, however, and it left me unsettled.


Lizzie is living in a shelter with her son. It was hard to connect to her; her emotions and actions didn’t align, and you try to give her the benefit of the doubt, but those suspicions aren’t misplaced.

I felt for George, but he’s so difficult to like. He’s rude, obnoxious and goes out of his way to be cruel to people. He mellows, but his attitude annoyed me before long.

Dan is a definite favourite. Dealing with OCD and coming out, Dan’s world is shaken up, but you can empathise with his problems. He’s likeable, and wants to grow.

It was the first thing she had ever done without consulting George first. And then she died, which was the second.


Most of the plot is watching these characters collide, and the way they influence each other’s lives. The lack of development in their behaviour and attitude made the pace feel slow at times, and I wasn’t sure where it was going.

I would never have guessed, though. For expecting a charming book, Dog Days takes a dark turn. It’s a shocking twist of events, but also left me feeling… cheated? There’s growth by the end, but no resolution. I guess that’s the point, but it threw me off.

The dark themes felt sudden and abrupt. It made them powerful, but needed some warning. It jolted me from the story and the unexpected direction left me feeling out of sorts.


I can’t deny the writing is strong throughout Dog Days. There’s change in the characters and their relationships, even if not always in a positive direction. You find yourself intrigued by what is going to come next, and whether the characters will get their happy ending.

Perhaps it’s the time I’m reading this – in a pandemic, you want a book full of feel-good feelings. There’s hope here, but only if you stay until the end.

Final Thoughts

I wouldn’t recommend this book if you’re after something to lift your spirits. It’s an interesting premise, with hard-to-like characters and a dark plot. It could work effectively, but only if you’re expecting it.

Taken off guard and left unsettled, this wasn’t the right one for me at this time.

Grab your own copy!

Have you ever experienced a book going in a wildly different direction to what you were anticipating?

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53 thoughts on “Dog Days Review | Ericka Waller

  1. I loved your review about the book because it’s very honest. At first, judging by the title, I thought it would be about a different story and I love dogs. But you’re definitely right. It doesn’t look suitable to lift up your mood. Thank you for sharing.


    • I honestly think a lot of it was because it just wasn’t what I expecting at the time – the writing is pretty solid. It does have some cute dogs in it for what that’s worth.


  2. I definitely wouldn’t have expected such a dark plot from this cover and blurb. It sounds like it deals with some heavy stuff but without that resolution? Sounds like a bit of an odd read tbh!


  3. Wow, this book definitely doesn’t sound like the feel-good story the synopsis and cover makes it out to be and I’m kinda disappointed to hear that! 😅 I was ready to add this one to my TBR but it definitely doesn’t sound like something I want/need to be reading right now. Great review!


    • It’s not a bad book by any stretch of the imagination, it just totally wasn’t what I was expecting which threw me off? Not quite the happy book I hoped it would be.


  4. Thank you for being honest about this book. On the surface it sounds good but I am really in need of something to lift my spirits and make me feel happier. I might leave this one for another time!



  5. Maybe not the light read I am after for now, but the synopsis sounds intriguing nonetheless. Will maybe read it during the year, thank you for sharing your opinion on it x


    • I hope you like it if you do. I definitely feel like I just read it at the wrong time for me personally because it didn’t go where I expected, even though the writing was solid.


  6. It was really interesting to hear your perspective on this book and how it wasn’t what you expected. From the premise, I like the sound of it but think it’s one you need to be in the right frame of mind for!

    Tash – A Girl with a View


    • Oh definitely. It was an enjoyable read, but I think most of my problem was just how much it took me off guard when I wasn’t expecting it to go the route that it went.


  7. Oof. This sounds like a seriously tough book to read – especially right now. Aside from my go-to genre – fantasy – I really only pick up contemporary romances because I need lighter stories in between the magic systems and fights in my fantastical novels. I probably won’t be reading this one after seeing your review. I appreciate your honesty!


  8. This sounded like it had so much potential at the start of your review, it’s such a shame that it took a turn and wasn’t what you were expecting. I’m not sure if I’d like how it turned out either but it’s great that it’s well written.


  9. How disappointing! I’ve definitely had this happen to me before – looking for a light read and turns into something incredibly heavy. I hope your next read is something you’re looking for. Thanks for sharing.


    • It was possibly just a case of wrong timing for me with it not being quite the book I thought it would be. I’d love to hear your thoughts if you do get around to it.


  10. Its always strange when a book isn’t quite what you were expecting going in (I think that’s how I felt about get a life chloe brown). My favourite lighthearted read of late was today tonight tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon so i definitely recommend checking it out if you haven’t already!


  11. I guess don’t judge a book by it’s cover had the opposite effect here. It’s such a shame that the characters were so unlikeable and the story didn’t flow well. Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts!


  12. This is clearly not one of the fluffy, feel-good reads. However it does lend well to the title as ‘Dog Days’ are the days you are at your worst.


    • It’s good, it just came to me at the wrong time which threw me off. I’m glad to hear you’re intrigued – you’ll have to let me know if you pick it up.


  13. Unfortunate that this wasn’t what you expected! I totally understand how it feels to expect something and feel cheated when it suddenly turns. That happened to me with Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything recently.


    • Oh for sure, especially as there was some solid writing etc in this, it just didn’t go the way I expected and because it threw me off, it meant that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I perhaps would have done.


  14. I feel you! I just finished reading Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire and I was expecting a whimsical story about travelling into different worlds but it turned out to be a murder mystery.


  15. When I clicked onto your review, I was like “oh I’ve seen this book around a lot recently and it looks like a nice enough book”… I guess it’s one of those appearances can be deceiving type books, haha.

    I think I would have felt cheated too and hate going into a book expecting to enjoy it only to find that it’s nothing like you expected. Still, I really enjoyed your review so thank you for sharing. 🙂


    • Thank you so much! Yeah maybe it was just my headspace at the time of reading because I know a lot of people seem to be really enjoying it, but it just really tripped me up.


    • It does make me intrigued if I’d come to it at a different time – I’ve seen people rave about this one but I just couldn’t quite connect with it.


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