Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

Today’s Burn Book entry..

Genre: YA Fantasy, Retelling

My Rating: DNF @ ch.8 ⭐️⭐️

The story started off really well..just like a fairytale. I was very intrigued by Soraya and her curse of being poisonous. But somewhere along the way, it started to go downhill for me. It was slow with very little happening. I grew bored and a little frustrated with Soraya. Did we really need an entire chapter describing Soraya’s need to talk to her brother during the Nog Roz celebration. She’s gifted with this power/curse and could have been a fierce MC, yet cowers and lets Ramin treat her like shit. Umm.. aside from her power, isn’t she royalty?!! It was infuriating. And don’t even get me started on the instalove/love interest! It felt forced.

It’ll come down to personal taste (doesn’t it always?), but I really wanted more action and evil! I would have been more interested in seeing Soraya become evil or killing someone. But that’s just me. Maybe the story picks up later on? I don’t know, and really didn’t care to find out.

Have you read this one? If so, did you like it more than I did?

There was and there was not, as all stories begin, a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch. But for Soraya, who has lived her life hidden away, apart from her family, safe only in her gardens, it’s not just a story. 

As the day of her twin brother’s wedding approaches, Soraya must decide if she’s willing to step outside of the shadows for the first time. Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isn’t afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison. 

Soraya thought she knew her place in the world, but when her choices lead to consequences she never imagined, she begins to question who she is and who she is becoming…human or demon. Princess or monster.

Buddy Read: Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Sorry, but this one’s going in the burn book! Today’s rant: Renegades by Marissa Meyer

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies — humans with extraordinary abilities — who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone… except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice — and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

For some, third time’s a charm..but in this case, not so much!

This is the 3rd book by Marissa Meyer I’ve now attempted to read, and have come to the conclusion that her storytelling and writing is just not for me.

Jonny @ Jaunts & Haunts and I buddy read this one, and both of us threw in the towel..he actually lasted much longer than I did. He made it to chapter 15. I only made it to chapter 5 🤦‍♀️.

Here’s how our convo went down:

Jonny:

*stomps into digital room pouting* Gigi, I’m so disappointed! I wasn’t able to finish this book. You know I love me some superheroes (and hate hate hate not finishing books), but I just couldn’t get through it.

Gigi:

Ugh. You too? I didn’t like it either! I DNF’d at ch. 5 😭

Jonny:

Well, at least I’m not alone in that.

I actually bought a print copy back in April at the beginning of the pandemic and was really looking forward to it. Now I kind of regret it. I had issues after the prologue, but somehow managed to last until Chapter 15 before calling it quits.

What was the main thing that killed it for you?

For me there was just way too much detail packed in each page. I don’t need to know what color the wallpaper is (that’s not an actual example from the book but a comparison) in the room, just what is important to the story. At first that didn’t bug me too much, but once it was clear that wasn’t going to change I got a bit miffed.

Gigi:

I bought my hardcover from Book Depot a few years ago and was hoping that 3rd time would be a charm for me. I’ve tried to read 2 other books written by Marissa Meyer and wasn’t feeling them. I should have known better! Marissa Meyer just isn’t for me.

The descriptions killed it for me too. Too much effort was spent describing the scene and setting in my opinion. There wasn’t enough character building, which was a shame. There was potential for some really great characters, but none of them really stood out.

To be honest, at times I felt like I was reading a reimagining of Teen Titans Go. It was cheesy.

Jonny:

Oh wow, that’s awful! I’m sorry this author isn’t for you. I probably won’t be trying anything by this author anytime soon to be honest.

The sad thing was that it could’ve been great with some simple tweaks and cutting out of unnecessary bits. Editing sucks (I would know!), but it’s a necessary part of being a writer.

I agree with you that the characters didn’t really wow me. I did like Adrian and his powers, but there wasn’t enough there to warrant me continuing. I understood where Nova was coming from but kind of wish there was more behind her overall goal than revenge. I feel like the author would probably try to gear Nova and Adrian towards each other in a romantic way, but I didn’t get that far.

Oh no, I do not like Teen Titans Go, but the original cartoon? Yes, yes, yes!

I’m definitely not giving up on superhero novels. Dreadnought was phenomenal. This one just didn’t work.

Gigi:

I feel like Nova could have been a great character. I actually liked the revenge angle. I just wish the story was executed better.

Lol. My kids love Teen Titans Go! I find it a bit annoying. 😂

Most of the superheroes I read about are pretty much in graphic novel form. So when you find another one in novel format, let me know!!

I can’t wait to read Skyward with you!!

Jonny:

I can see the appeal with Nova. I did like her power if that’s any consolation, and there were redeeming qualities about this book I enjoyed. The concept and world it’s set in was seductive. I love the idea of a world where superpowers are rather common.

Oh, I hear ya! The new show I found very annoying. You are not alone!

Graphic novels and comics are great! I grew up reading Xmen comic books. I just prefer books a bit more these days. Haha, I have a list of superpowered novels I have yet to try. I’ll definitely be sharing that with you soon!

I’m looking forward to it too! Thanks for giving this one a chance with me. 🙂

Gigi:

No problem! It’s always fun reading with you! Especially when we both go on a rant. 🤣🤣

Looking forward to our next buddy read ❤

What did you think? Have you read it? Did you like it?

Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer

On this week’s episode of My Burn Book, I present to you..

Genre: YA

My Rating: DNF @ch. 4

Womp. Womp.

I’m sorry guys, but I’m about to go full on Regina George today and light this shit on fiyah!

Just for the record, I frikkin LOVED Twilight! But this…was eye roll central for me.

“Hate and irritation. Impatience. Would the hour never pass?”

Omg Edward. My thoughts exactly!

By the way, I was Team Edward all the way until I read this book! 🤦‍♀️ So for those of you who have held off on this one cause you’re unsure, let me save you some time! DON’T. DO. IT!!

“Ignorance was bliss to the human mind.”

Oh, Edward you fool. How right you are!

The idea of wanting to hear Edward’s POV was enticing, but now that I’ve read it, I can’t unread it! And quite frankly, he was totally annoying. I seriously thought the first chapter would never end!

It does pick up and get a tad better, but it wasn’t enough to keep me invested.

Have you read it? Thinkin about reading it?

Were you Team Edward? Or Jacob?

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

This week’s episode of My Burn Book

Genre: Horror

My Rating: ⭐⭐ – DNF

I walked into this one knowing it would be slow burn with low expectations, yet I still somehow managed to walk out disappointed. How does that even happen?!!

WARNING: I’m about to be a total buzz kill and point out all the things that didn’t work for me:

– In chapter 3, there was akward conversation between Noemi & Howard Doyle. I get what the author was trying to achieve, but it just felt completely left field for me.

Detail overload! I felt like there was a lot of unnecessary details, from what Noemi was doing, to what she was eating and drinking during her stay at High Place.

Setting. I was hoping that the 1950’s setting was going to have me on a high note, but even that was disappointing for me.

It felt very present day and like I was reading a YA novel.

Horror/thrill factor. This will be different for everyone, but 1) it wasn’t scary or creepy for me, and 2) the suspense dragged on for waay too long.

The Reveal. Don’t worry, I’m not gonna spoil it, but I thought it was stupid.

So is it worth reading?

There’s a story for everyone. I’d say..support your library on this one!

Have you read it? Did you enjoy it?

After receiving a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find – her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.

Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.

Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.

And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.

The Bone Garden by Heather Kassner

On this week’s episode of My Burn Book, I present…

Genre: Middle Grade Fiction

My Rating: ⭐⭐ – DNF @ chapter 10

I haven’t read any middle grade horror since I was a kid, so I was really looking forward to reading this with Jonny from Jaunts & Haunts.

It’s always a blast chatting with Jonny, but we both agreed that this book was a dud.

Here’s how our convo went down:

Jonny: So, that book just happened. *cringe* Thanks for chatting it up with me on Insta and making me feel less crazy when I started not liking it. I had to really push to finish this one.

Gigi: Jonny (side note: do you prefer Jonny?), you were way nicer than I was. I’ll be honest, since it was our first time reading together. I was treading lightly at first. But let’s be real. The book was boring! Hats off to you for seeing it through. I only made it to chapter 10 before DNF-ing. Womp womp.

Jonny: Yeah, I go by Jonny. Only my mom calls me Jonathan, and that’s usually when she’s upset with me.

I try to see the best in the books I read, but sometimes even that’s a stretch. This is definitely one of those times.
I can’t agree with you more. Through the whole thing, I never really felt anything. Usually, certain things in a book will move me, will inspire some kind of emotion, but I was just flatlined the whole time. Do not resuscitate! I don’t blame you for DNF’ing, I almost did several times, like where is this all going?

Is there anything that worked for you despite dropping it?

Gigi: Actually, there were a few things I liked a out the book:

– Loved the setting! The cemetery, the skeletons, that’s a winner right there.

-The characters. Irrelle & Miss Vesper were great characters in the making. Just the actual storytelling fell flat.

-The premise. I loved the whole idea of Irrelle being created from bone dust. The synopsis made it sound like Irrelle becomes defiant and destroys Miss Vesper’s new creation on purpose. But that’s not what actually happened. Or did I miss something?

*sigh* this one had so much potential.

Jonny: Good points. I really enjoyed the ambience too. Anything spooky is right up my alley, and the magic aspect was interesting. Bone magic? Very cool! Unfortunately it really didn’t pan out well. Setting and concept can only get you so far if it isn’t cohesive and executed well.
Oh, Irreele kind of ‘tried’ to be defiant, but she was really meek and rarely followed through on her thoughts. While she was abused and that was definitely a deterrent for her to lash out, in much of the book there’s nothing really stopping her from acting out, just her cowardice. I wasn’t buying it.

What character would you say was most believable?

I liked Guy because his personality stood out. He was emotional, didn’t like Miss Vesper, and didn’t hide it in his actions either. I wish Irreele would’ve taken bravery from him as well as Lass and step up for herself.

Gigi: Because I DNF’d, I never really had a chance to meet Guy or Lass. I completely agree on following through on Irreele’s thoughts. I kept wanting her to grow some balls so to speak.

I actually thought Miss Vesper’s character was done very well. For me, she was very believable and a good villain in my opinion.

Jonny: Oh, that’s right. I forgot exactly how slow the beginning was. Goodness!

I agree with you. For the most part, Miss Vesper’s character was stable throughout. Cold, merciless, two-faced. Definitely a good villain, though in spots later she did betray her character a bit (trying to keep it spoiler free is so hard!).

Well, I’m sorry this one didn’t pan out as we’d hoped, but there’s plenty of books out there, and I’m excited about the next ones we’re considering. Thanks so much for being my reading buddy. We have a lot of great stories ahead of us!

Gigi: I know. I had high hopes walking into this one! Too bad it didn’t work out. Oh well… there will be others and I’m looking forward to reading more books with you!! Xo.

Survivor Song by Paul Tremblay

On this week’s episode of ‘My Burn Book‘, I present..

Genre: Horror, Thriller

My Rating: DNF (⭐⭐)

“We’ve been quarantined. Nice knowing everybody.”

This sounded so good and was one of my most anticipated reads this summer! But was a complete letdown!

I thought it was slow and read more like a play/script…written by Joey Tribbiani! Remember that episode of Friends where Ross tells Joey to write a play? Well, this is what it reminded me of.

It goes a little something like this:

Natalie said..

Paul says..

Something happens..

The man shouts…

Yeah. Not good! This is my first Tremblay read and a horrible start. I’m hoping his other book, Growing Things and Other Stories is better!

** Thank you Harper Collins Canada for providing me an ARC **

Have you read this one yet? Is it on your TBR? Have you read any of his other books?

In a matter of weeks, Massachusetts has been overrun by an insidious rabies-like virus that is spread by saliva. But unlike rabies, the disease has a terrifyingly short incubation period of an hour or less. Those infected quickly lose their minds and are driven to bite and infect as many others as they can before they inevitably succumb. Hospitals are inundated with the sick and dying, and hysteria has taken hold. To try to limit its spread, the commonwealth is under quarantine and curfew. But society is breaking down and the government’s emergency protocols are faltering.

Dr. Ramola “Rams” Sherman, a soft-spoken pediatrician in her mid-thirties, receives a frantic phone call from Natalie, a friend who is eight months pregnant. Natalie’s husband has been killed—viciously attacked by an infected neighbor—and in a failed attempt to save him, Natalie, too, was bitten. Natalie’s only chance of survival is to get to a hospital as quickly as possible to receive a rabies vaccine. The clock is ticking for her and for her unborn child.

Natalie’s fight for life becomes a desperate odyssey as she and Rams make their way through a hostile landscape filled with dangers beyond their worst nightmares—terrifying, strange, and sometimes deadly challenges that push them to the brink

[#BookReview] If It Bleeds by Stephen King

** Minor spoilers up ahead **

Genre: Horror, Occult Fiction, Thriller, Suspense

My Overall Rating: ⭐⭐ 1/2

If it bleeds, it leads. That’s because the stories people are most interested in are bad news stories.

Mr.Harrigan’s Phone

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

I’m so glad I buddy read this one! Otherwise, I would’ve been more disappointed with this story than I was. I kept waiting for ‘the moment’, but there never really was one. Sorry..but the rest of the book doesn’t get any better either!

I did enjoy the relationship between Craig & Mr. Harrigan, along with the creepy texts, which is why I gave this one a 3.

Life With Chuck

Rating: ⭐⭐

The ending of this one was my only favourite part, and wish the story were lead with this idea instead of an apocalyptic one.

It was just weird and didn’t quite mesh well for me.

If It Bleeds

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

I LOVED The Outsider and this was my most anticipated story! Unfortunately, it was mostly underwhelming and slow at first. Very much like the show..slow and boring.

About halfway through it picked up and I was enjoying revisiting the idea of an Outsider.

I liked Holly Gibney more in this story, even though I have a love/hate relationship with her. So if you already don’t like her, you’ll hate this story cause it’s all about Holly here.

Rat

Rating: ⭐⭐1/2

This story had a lot of potential with missed opportunities in my opinion.

I kept thinking it was going to be a pandemic story and trying to see where he was going with the whole flu thing. But it never really went anywhere.

I’m not a fan of rats, so the scritch scratching of a rat at the door in the middle of a stormy night, in a cabin, in the woods was creepy and cringeworthy for me.

There was a small unexpected twist, but that was about as good as the story got.

What I wanted to see was Drew go a little Jack Torrance while he was out in the cabin alone. Instead, not much happened and I just wanted to be done already.

Overall, this was probably my most disappointing King book I’ve read and own so far.

Have you read it? What did you think?

[#BookReview] Crave by Tracy Wolffe

Any fans of Mean Girls??🙋‍♀️ Remember that pink book Regina George had? The Burn Book?

Well, I’m starting my version of the Burn Book here on my blog by roasting books I DNF’d, thought were overhyped and hated.

First up..Crave by Tracy Wolffe

Genre: YA

My Rating: ⭐ – DNF @chapter 7

Vampires are making a comeback this year, and I’ve been in the mood for a good blood-sucking read..

This. Was soo not it!

How bad is it when you’re the one who makes the book selection for a buddy read, and is the first to DNF it??! 🤦‍♀️⁣

This book was a disaster from the get-go. I’m sorry if you loved it. But I hated it!

I know this is supposed to be YA, but the MC spoke like a 12 year old valley girl. And frankly, it was fucking annoying.

I went from the physical book to audio, thinking it would be better. NOPE. It was worse. And it wasn’t even the narrator’s fault. It was the book. ⁣

⁣Sorry (not sorry)..but this was pure dumpster fire.

Loved the 30 day return/exchange with Amazon, cause that was my favourite part! 😜😆

Have you read it? Did you love it? Or did you trash it?

My whole world changed when I stepped inside the academy. Nothing is right about this place or the other students in it. Here I am, a mere mortal among gods…or monsters. I still can’t decide which of these warring factions I belong to, if I belong at all. I only know the one thing that unites them is their hatred of me.

Then there’s Jaxon Vega. A vampire with deadly secrets who hasn’t felt anything for a hundred years. But there’s something about him that calls to me, something broken in him that somehow fits with what’s broken in me.

Which could spell death for us all.

Because Jaxon walled himself off for a reason. And now someone wants to wake a sleeping monster, and I’m wondering if I was brought here intentionally—as the bait.

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

** Thank you Netgalley & Berkley Publishing for my eARC in exchange for an honest review **

Genre: Thrillers, Psychological Thrillers

My Rating: DNF – ⭐⭐⭐

This was one of my most anticipated reads of the year!!

It’s like Haunting of hill house meets The Shining.

Had I not read or watched The Haunting Of House, I would have loved this more than I did, and possibly deemed it a favourite. However, this felt like a rewrite and just too similar for me to truly enjoy it the way it should be.

I hate it when books have the same storyline cause it literally feels like I’ve already read it.

Don’t get me wrong. This was not horrible by any means. It was a simple case of “it’s not you, it’s me.”

Having said that, if you:

1) Haven’t read The Haunting of Hill House

2) love a good ghost/haunted house story and

3) enjoy Riley Sager’s books like I do, you will definitely like this one.

What did you think? Have you read it yet? What’s your favourite Riley Sager book?

What was it like? Living in that house.

Maggie Holt is used to such questions. Twenty-five years ago, she and her parents, Ewan and Jess, moved into Baneberry Hall, a rambling Victorian estate in the Vermont woods. They spent three weeks there before fleeing in the dead of night, an ordeal Ewan later recounted in a nonfiction book called House of Horrors. His tale of ghostly happenings and encounters with malevolent spirits became a worldwide phenomenon, rivaling The Amityville Horror in popularity—and skepticism.

Today, Maggie is a restorer of old homes and too young to remember any of the events mentioned in her father’s book. But she also doesn’t believe a word of it. Ghosts, after all, don’t exist. When Maggie inherits Baneberry Hall after her father’s death, she returns to renovate the place to prepare it for sale. But her homecoming is anything but warm. People from the past, chronicled in House of Horrors, lurk in the shadows. And locals aren’t thrilled that their small town has been made infamous thanks to Maggie’s father. Even more unnerving is Baneberry Hall itself—a place filled with relics from another era that hint at a history of dark deeds. As Maggie experiences strange occurrences straight out of her father’s book, she starts to believe that what he wrote was more fact than fiction.

The Guest List by Lucy Foley @HarperCollinsCa

** Thank you Harper Collins Canada for gifting me and ARC in exchange for my honest opinion **

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

If you like:

✔ Agatha Christie-like murder mysteries
✔multiple POV’s
✔ slow burn build ups

✔ multiple twists

I’ve been very picky with my thrillers lately, and slow burn build ups aren’t my thing to begin with. Intially it actually worked for me, but then it started to lose steam, making it easy for me to put down and get distracted by another book.

What I enjoyed..

– I loved the opening scene! It felt very Agatha Christie like and had me hooked!

– I’m a fan of multiple POV’s. Each character had some sort of secret, making each one look guilty.

My Issues with it..

– It was a bit too coincidental that the groom was somehow connected to each MC.

– Because the pacing started slowing down around 80 pages or so, I almost lost interest in finishing it and came close to DNF-ing it.

Overall, some of it you could see it a mile away, but I didn’t see the final twist coming. I actually thought it was gonna be someone else!

Have you read it? Did you love it? Have you read The Hunting Party?

Set on a remote island off the Irish coast, this is one guest list no one would want to be on, just as no one would have wanted an invitation to the New Year’s Eve party in Foley’s previous novel, The Hunting Party . Lives unravel amid the revelry on an eerie and remote island as family and friends assemble for a glam wedding in an updated Murder on the Orient Express. Each of the principal characters has a reason to want one of their number dead, there are old secrets, and one of them is murdered.

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