Dracula by Bram Stoker

Genre: Horror, Gothic Horror, Classic Horror

My Rating: 🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤

Denn die Todten reiten Schnell.” (“For the dead travel fast.”)

“Omnia Romae venalia sunt-Hell has its price.” – Dr. Seward’s Diary

Have you ever loved a book, eventhough it wasn’t perfect?

** minor spoilers up ahead **

Oh my goodness..I loved this story so much, despite some flaws and trouble with the dialogue. I’m a total amateur when it comes to classics, so I needed the help of Google to help navigate through some of the language.

One of my goals this year is to start reading some classic literature, and this was a good introduction for me.

Since I like to end on a positive note, lets start with:

The Flaws..

The ending. After such a strong buildup, the ending was very anticlimactic in my opinion. I literally went back and forth between the ebook and the physical copy, to see if I had missed something or if the two copies were different. Nope. They both ended the same way, which was a disappointment.

I was like “Wait. What? That’s it?!!”

Renefield. I quite enjoyed reading about him, so I was bummed to see his character go nowhere. I kept thinking his parts would lead somewhere, but it never really did. Unless I missed something?

Count Dracula. I didn’t know what to expect, but I did kinda think his character took a bit of back seat. We spend a lot of time between Dr. Seward, Van Helsing and Mina, but we don’t get to see much of the man himself..mostly just the things he’s is capable of.

Jonathan Harker

– While I enjoyed his account of his stay at the castle with the Count, I wanted to know how he managed to escape. All we know is that he is found at a hospital/chapel, but we don’t know how he got there or why Dracula lets him go.

What I Loved..

The Characters!

I can’t say there was one character I didn’t like!

Lucy

– I loved her! She’s like that adventurous friend you live vicariously through.

Dracula

– I was surprised by what I learned about him. 1) He has a moustache. I didn’t know that. Did you?

Ok, so truth be told. The mention of his bushy eyebrows, totally made me think of Count Chocula. You know..the chocolatey cereal?! 🤭🤭

2) He’s a shapeshifter! I knew he could turn into a bat, but who knew he could turn into wolf too? Let alone, control them. If I read it correctly, he was also able to turn into mist? Or fog?

So if you read it or know the story, you can see why I was disappointed with the ending.

Van Helsing

– The only Van Helsing I knew of before reading this book, was the one Hugh Jackman played on screen. (I know..I need to get out more.) 😜😄

He surprised me the most. Firstly, I didn’t know this is where he originated from. And secondly, he is so not Hugh Jackman. 🤣

Dr. John Seward

– He seemed like such a good, sweet guy. Picture Ross Gellar, but an actual doctor. 😜

Mina

I loved her sisterhood with Lucy. She was a good friend and in my opinion, a strong woman, given the time period.

Overall, I highly recommend reading this if you enjoy classic fiction or wanna dip your toes into Gothic horror (or both).

Have you read it? Do you like reading classics? Which ones are your fave?

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.

You Can’t Catch Me by Catherine McKenzie @SimonSchusterCa @CEMcKenzie1

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

Pub Date: June 9, 2020.

QOTD: Do you ever find the title while reading the book?

Jessica Two has texted me back.

You can’t catch me, her text says.

There’s no more sleep after that.

This was my first time reading about identity theft and cults, and it didn’t disappoint.

I literally yelled out “A-HA! I knew it!!”, when I got to part 3, while my 6 year old looked at me like I’d gone coo coo. 🤪
But of course, I was only half right!

Jessica Two’s twenty questions were kinda creepy, and really makes you think just how easy it is for someone to catfish you.

I really enjoyed the alternating timelines between Jess’ past and what was happening in the present. And the final twist..this will either work for some of you, or it won’t. But I loved it.

If anything, I kinda wanted more action. It’s hard for me to explain this part without giving anything away. But I would have liked to see this story go a little darker. But that’s just me.

Overall, it’s an A+ from me and would recommend it to anyone wanting to dip their toes into mystery & thrillers.

Trigger warnings: suicide, cult

** Thank you Simon & Schuster Canada for my advanced reader’s copy in exchange for my honest opinion. **

Do you want to play a game?

Twelve years ago Jessica Williams escaped a cult. Thanks to the private detective who rescued her, she reintegrated into society, endured an uncomfortable notoriety, and tried to put it all behind her. Then, at an airport bar, Jessica meets a woman with an identical name and birth date. It appears to be just an odd coincidence—until a week later, when Jessica finds her bank account drained and her personal information stolen.

Following a trail of the grifter’s victims, each with the same name, Jessica gathers players—one by one—for her own game. According to her plan, they’ll set a trap and wait for the impostor to strike again. But plans can go awry, and trust can fray, and as Jessica tries to escape the shadows of her childhood, the risks are greater than she imagined. Now, confronting the casualties of her past, Jessica can’t help but wonder…

Who will pay the price?

Shadow & Bone By Leigh Bardugo

Genre: YA

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I finally got around to reading this one! It’s been sitting on my shelf for over 2 years!! 🙈

I was definitely hooked in from the beginning and even thought I might like it more than Six Of Crows. However, I’m not obsessed. I can’t put my finger on it, but it feels like something is missing. Is it crazy that I wanted the heat turned up on some of the romance? It was actually a little too PG for me, to be honest. I also thought the book lost a bit of traction between chapter 9-13.

I do however, think Leigh Bardugo does a fantastic job when it comes to character and world building. I loved the Darkling & Genya. I didn’t care too much for Mal if you ask me. He could have been eaten by the volcra and I would’ve been ok with it. 😜 Now that..would have been a great revenge story!

Overall, it was a great story and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

Have you read it? Which did you like more? The Shadow & Bone series? Or Six of Crows?

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

The Southern Book Club’s Guide To Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

Genre: Horror

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

** Unpopular Opinion & Spoiler Alert **

Have you ever watched a movie trailer thinking it was gonna be epic, but then you watch the movie and think the trailer pretty much showed all the good parts? And the movie kinda sucked?? (Hello, The Last Jedi! I’m talking about you!)

Yeah..that was this book for me. There were sooo many times I wanted to chuck this book at the wall, but couldn’t cause I was reading it on my phone! Not to mention..I nearly DNF’d it twice!

I don’t know who’s head I wanted to drown in Miss Mary’s barrel of rabbit spit more! Carter or Patricia! I think maybe Carter! There wasn’t one character who didn’t annoy the crap outta me. Okay, maybe Mrs. Greene. But that wasn’t why I didn’t enjoy this book.

I expected more vampire than book club banter. Instead, this read more like women’s fiction than it did horror in my opinion.

For me, it was a slow and rocky start. But it picked up at chapter 4, where I found myself saying: “Now this is the shit I’m here for!” Unfortunately, that high didn’t last long, and fizzled out again soon afterward.

There were some really great moments in this story like: Ann Savage going all Mike Tyson on Patricia, the story of Hoyt Pickens, the rats and last 30% of the book (surprisingly).

But overall, it didn’t live up to hype for me.

Have you read it? What did you think?

Patricia Campbell had always planned for a big life, but after giving up her career as a nurse to marry an ambitious doctor and become a mother, Patricia’s life has never felt smaller. The days are long, her kids are ungrateful, her husband is distant, and her to-do list is never really done. The one thing she has to look forward to is her book club, a group of Charleston mothers united only by their love for true-crime and suspenseful fiction. In these meetings, they’re more likely to discuss the FBI’s recent siege of Waco as much as the ups and downs of marriage and motherhood.

But when an artistic and sensitive stranger moves into the neighborhood, the book club’s meetings turn into speculation about the newcomer. Patricia is initially attracted to him, but when some local children go missing, she starts to suspect the newcomer is involved. She begins her own investigation, assuming that he’s a Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy. What she uncovers is far more terrifying, and soon she–and her book club–are the only people standing between the monster they’ve invited into their homes and their unsuspecting community.

Tokyo Ghoul Vol. 1 by Sui Ishida

Genre: MangaMy Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐QOTD: Do you like stories about zombies? Or zombie apocalypse?What’s the last supernatural book you read?OMG! This was soo good! It’s my first time reading Manga, which I didn’t think I’d be into since I’m not really into Anime. But my oldest child is into it and has now got me hooked!This story follows Ken Kaneki as he transitions from human to half-ghoul, and his struggle to accept what he’s become.I love graphic novels, but have always liked them to be in full colour and never enjoyed the ones done in black and white. Maybe it’s the style of drawing, but somehow in manga, it works really well!It took me a while to get used to reading right to left (I know! I’m Asian..shame on me! 😜). But the nice thing about this one, was that it wasn’t too busy or too much dialogue happening on one page, so it made it very easy to adapt and follow.The artwork was fantastic and was just the fix I needed to satisfy my craving for horror and zombies!Shy Ken Kaneki is thrilled to go on a date with the beautiful Rize. But it turns out that she’s only interested in his body—eating it, that is. When a morally questionable rescue transforms him into the first half-human half-Ghoul hybrid, Ken is drawn into the dark and violent world of Ghouls, which exists alongside our own.

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