The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse

It’s been a while since I’ve roasted a book! This week, I present to you..

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse

Genre: Mystery & Thriller

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Aside from the beautifully painted, eerie setting of a secluded sanatorium turned luxury hotel, there is nothing creepy nor scary about this story. As for the adrenaline rush and thrill ride: 2.5 out 5 🔥

The fact that this was a Reese pick, 1) I walked in with very low expectations, even though I’ve been wanting to read it since it was released on NetGalley..before it got stamped with her seal. 2) I’m not a fan of her book selections. I’ve only ever enjoyed 2 of her choices. I almost passed on this, just because it had her stamp on it. Don’t get me wrong. I love Reese Witherspoon on the big screen. Her book picks, not so much.

When I first started this one, it was a 4 star until I hit the 40% mark. At that point, things kinda fell apart for me and I just wanted to get to the end of the book!

The story weaves between Elin’s struggle to cope with her past and current events happening at Le Sommet. A large portion of the story is about Elin’s past, which makes for a slower paced read.

What didn’t work for me..

⁃ Elin. She was so inconsistent and one hot mess! Rather than feeling sympathetic, I actually found her irritating after the 35% mark. She spends a good chunk of the beginning focusing on her resentment towards her estranged brother and her trust issues with him, yet she readily hands over her findings in Laure’s disappearance so easily. She then asks herself stupid shit like “Would he ever have told me about the break if this didn’t happen?”, after the fact!

⁃ As a former Detective, Elin came across as more of a Rookie to me. Her reaction to the chain of events and the decisions she makes..they all felt like it was her first day on the job as a cop.

⁃ the story suffers from being longer than it needed to be. There were parts that dragged on leading to a very disappointing big reveal! It was the equivalent of getting excited to sleep with the hottie your of dreams, only to find out they suck in bed! Womp, womp. After all the wild goose chasing you do, the ending felt rushed. The motivation behind the killer was completely left field in my opinion. It didn’t quite match up with the whole story behind the sanatorium, which is what I was more interested in. The explanation and connections of what went down in this hell hole was brushed off very quickly.

What I enjoyed..

⁃ As I already mentioned earlier on: the setting. It was the perfect set up for all hell to break loose.

⁃ The adrenaline rush of encountering the masked killer and grotesque murders, were done really well! It’s too bad the rest of the story didn’t have the same effect.

For some, this book is really gonna hit the spot. But for me, it was overhyped and a bit of a let down.

Have you read it? Did you love it? Are you a fan of celebrity picks?

Half-hidden by forest and overshadowed by threatening peaks, Le Sommet has always been a sinister place. Long plagued by troubling rumors, the former abandoned sanatorium has since been renovated into a five-star minimalist hotel.

An imposing, isolated getaway spot high up in the Swiss Alps is the last place Elin Warner wants to be. But Elin’s taken time off from her job as a detective, so when her estranged brother, Isaac, and his fiancée, Laure, invite her to celebrate their engagement at the hotel, Elin really has no reason not to accept.

Arriving in the midst of a threatening storm, Elin immediately feels on edge–there’s something about the hotel that makes her nervous. And when they wake the following morning to discover Laure is missing, Elin must trust her instincts if they hope to find her. With the storm closing off all access to the hotel, the longer Laure stays missing, the more the remaining guests start to panic.

Elin is under pressure to find Laure, but no one has realized yet that another woman has gone missing. And she’s the only one who could have warned them just how much danger they are all in. . .

[Buddy Read] Sorcery Of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Genre: YA, YA Fantasy

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 (3.5 stars)

Officium adusque mortem. Duty unto death.

I buddy read this one with my pal Jonny from @jaunts & haunts. You can see how our chat went below.

This story started off very strong and was sitting at a 4 star rating, until I got to ch.17 & 18. That’s when things started to dwindle and drag.

What didn’t work for me..

⁃ too much filler at the 40% mark with missed opportunities. Everything just seemed to fall into place too easily and neatly! Like when Elisabeth arrives at Leadgate Hospital. Ugh.. this had the potential to be a great scene/event, but instead it lasted all of ten seconds with me rolling my eyes and saying, “Of course! How fucking convenient!”

⁃ Because of the fillers, the ending seemed rushed and didn’t quite hit the mark for me. It was kind of predictable.

What I enjoyed..

⁃ The library and grimoires! I absolutely loved that the main setting was in a library with books that came to life.

⁃ The characters. Silas stole my heart!!

Overall, it wasn’t perfect, but it was an entertaining read with a happy ending!

Buddy Read Book Rant:

Jonny: Oh my gosh, how much fun was this book Gigi! I think hands down this was the funnest buddy read to talk about while reading to date. Overall I had a really good time with the book, even though it had its cons here and there. How about you?

Gigi: I had a lot of fun reading this one with you too! I want my own Silas!! How do we get one?! 😜

Jonny: Hmm, bribery? Theft? Seduction? Shoot, I’d pay a hefty price for one.

Speaking of the demon, Silas really stole the show. This book definitely would’ve suffered without him. I love how he would serve tea one moment, then be ready to kill his enemies the next. Plus, he was very emotionally unavailable so he had this air of mystery to him that I really enjoyed.

How did you like the other main characters?

I thought Elisabeth was pretty strong as well. I liked how scrappy she was and also bold. I mean, she fought a Malefict in a nightgown. How crazy is that? She definitely gets some mad props there.

Nathaniel was something of an enigma with his magic and dark past, but he kind of paled in comparison to the other two in my opinion.

Gigi: I agree! Silas really made the story for me, eventhough he was a side character. I loved the banter between him & Nathaniel.

I liked Elisabeth as a strong female lead, and not afraid of anything! She was badass with Demonslayer! Made me wanna learn how to use a sword!

Any complaints I had about the book, were really in the storytelling. There were some missed opportunities in my opinion. There seemed to be quite a bit of filler after the 40% mark. I also felt like everything kinda fell into place a little too easily (i.e the events that took place at Leadgate Hospital) with the action scenes being short-lived.

Jonny: Totally! It’s funny how side characters can make or break the book. Kind of like M-bot in the Skyward series.

I loved their witty comebacks at each other too. It really showed how strong their odd relationship was, and there were several funny moments that really lightened things up where they were needed.

Yeah, I totally bought into her as a character, and I definitely want a replica of Demonslayer one day. It’s a gorgeous sword but also deadly, the best of both worlds.

I agree. Most of my complaints are with the execution of the writing, not the characters. I think some events or small resolutions in the plot came way too easy, especially with Leadgate Hospital like you mentioned. It was far too simple in my opinion and some of the details surrounding the girl Mercy were bizarrely convenient if you ask me.

As far as the action, I did enjoy it, but some of the scenes either gave too much detail or felt clunky. I don’t think there was a single fight/action scene that I felt 100% hit the mark, but it came very close in a few instances.

Ooo, can we talk about grimoires?

Gigi: Omg..yes!! The grimoires!! How cool would it be to be surrounded by them and be able to talk to them?

Creepy that some can unleash demons..no thanks! But I’m so down for a talking book!! Haha.

Jonny: Right! I lived for the grimoires and loved how the author gave them each so much personality. There’d be a snooty one here, a friendly one there, ones that sang, and then others would openly talk in spots.

Can I please be verbally destroyed by a book? I would cry, but they would be tears of joy lol!

There were definitely some creepy ones I would keep away from, like the one with needle and thread. Not messing with that one!

Wait, we should capitalize on the opportunity and make a talking book that comes in a variety of personalities. We’d be millionaires! They’d have phrases like “Hey, wash your hands!” or “Don’t manhandle my spine, creep!”

The grimoires aside, did you like the magic system in this book?

Gigi: We’d be billionaires if we came up with a book that could talk back!

Ooh, yes! I can do without the needle & thread one! Or the one that could scream. 😬

I actually thought it was interesting that the high demons were the source of the sorcerer’s power! I also liked the scrying mirrors, even though I don’t like mirrors in real life!

Jonny: Alright, we’re definitely going to have a pow wow about our business idea once this is all over!

Right? It’s those little touches to the grimoires that helped make the experience so much more. There were even ones with teeth! Better hope your book isn’t hungry when you wanna read it!

Me too. It’s an unusual source, but that made it refreshing. I’m just glad Nathaniel didn’t get stuck with a lame demon. Can you imagine? Like I summoned this demon and all I got was the power to make marshmallows fall from the sky.

I loved the scrying mirrors! They reminded me of Beauty and the Beast. That being said, they did have a creep factor to them because they’re not exactly the safest of magical artifacts.

Gigi: I was totally thinking Beauty & the beast too! “Show me the Beast!”

What did you think of the ending?

No spoilers. It felt a little rushed for me, but I did enjoy the happy ending.

Jonny: Yeah, and fun fact, the original Beauty and the Beast had even more magical artifacts than that. There was this awesome teleportation glove thing that was really nifty!

I liked the ending. It didn’t shake me to the core, but it was a positive end and it left me feeling happy as a result.

This author has another book that I’ve heard is similar to this one, so I might give it a shot sometime.

Overall this is one of my favorite books that I’ve read with you friend! I’m looking forward to more bookish adventures!

Gigi: Me too! While it wasn’t perfect, it was the most fun one we’ve read together where we gushed over the same parts, characters, etc.

We should definitely try horror next!! I’ve been neglecting my horror pile. 😜But I’m totally down for another Fantasy as well.

Can’t wait for our next read! Whatever that may be!! 🙌

Jonny: Yeah, I had a ton of fun gabbing, and that’s the whole point of having a book buddy. Thanks for keeping things so fun!

I’m totally game for Horror. It’s been too long!

Until next time..

Have you read this one? What did you think?

All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.

The Push by Ashley Audrain of

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 (3.5 stars)

Even with the trigger warnings, I still wasn’t prepared for this journey. I purposely avoided reading reviews, because I think going into this particular story, less is more. The less you know, the better the enjoyment and reading experience you’ll get from the book.

I’m going to be completely honest, I initially had no intention of reading this one. I didn’t think it’d be my kinda read, but I kept seeing it pop up on my Instagram feed and it was selected in my buddy read group. So of course, I had the FOMO and decided, hey why not?! How bad can it be? While it wasn’t perfect, I’m glad I decided to pick it up, cause I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

I will say however, I wouldn’t have pegged this as a thriller or even really suspense.

This was a very raw, emotional and dark portrayal of motherhood. We have 3 separate timelines and POV’s (Blythe, Cecilia & Etta). There were a couple of times I was a bit confused as to who’s story we were reading and what timeline were in, because it bounces back and forth between the present and Blythe’s childhood memories. I caught on quickly though and enjoyed it regardless. There were definitely times I found it hard to read since it dealt with child abuse, mental illness and loss of a child. It was a lot to digest and process.

I had so many things running through my head when it came to Blythe’s story, but I found myself rooting for her and believing her. Her experience as a new mom, really hit home for me. My first born was colic, cried 6 hours a day, hardly slept and wanted to be held ALL the time! It was incredibly exhausting and not what I envisioned motherhood to be back then. Having gone through PPD myself, I understood Blythe in those moments. However, I never neglected my child or went through a lot of the other things she was going through, so I couldn’t relate to it. But I definitely felt her emotions!

THE CHARACTERS

FOX- He was such a dick! It was heartbreaking to watch Fox be as dismissive as he was, and to do what he did!

MRS. ELLINGTON -I loved her and loved that she took on the motherly role that Blythe so badly needed. I wish we got to see more of what happened in her relationship with Blythe in the 2nd half of the book.

CECILIA & ETTA – I couldn’t stand these two women. They were just awful!

I was a little disappointed with Gemma & Blythe’s relationship. I was hoping for some drama in that department. I was surprised and irritated that Blythe never confronted her about the affair. Then what was the point of going through all that trouble?!!

THE ENDING..

Don’t worry, I’m not gonna spoil it. But you’ll either feel satisfied, or you won’t. In this case, it worked well enough for me.

I did think the 2nd half of the book stretched a little longer in some areas than it really needed to, making the ending seem a tad rushed. There were some missed opportunities that I would have preferred and love to have seen instead.

Overall, it was still a good read and one I’d say, is worth picking up.

Blythe Connor is determined that she will be the warm, comforting mother to her new baby Violet that she herself never had.

But in the thick of motherhood’s exhausting early days, Blythe becomes convinced that something is wrong with her daughter—she doesn’t behave like most children do.

Or is it all in Blythe’s head? Her husband, Fox, says she’s imagining things. The more Fox dismisses her fears, the more Blythe begins to question her own sanity, and the more we begin to question what Blythe is telling us about her life as well.

Then their son Sam is born—and with him, Blythe has the blissful connection she’d always imagined with her child. Even Violet seems to love her little brother. But when life as they know it is changed in an instant, the devastating fall-out forces Blythe to face the truth.

[Buddy Read] Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

Genre: YA, Sci-Fi

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 (3.5 stars)

This book has been sitting on my shelf for a really long time, and I finally had a chance to buddy read it with Jonny @Jaunts & Haunts

Here’s how our chat went down:

Jonny: I’ve never flown a plane before, but I figure it can’t be much harder than driving a car, right?

Gigi: I’m afraid of heights, so I’d be too afraid to fly a plane (even though I’ve been on one a few times). 😜

Jonny: Yeah, I’d need to strap some pillows on me for reassurance, haha! Alright, on to the buddy rant!

Jonny: So how did you like this book? This was my first time reading Brandon Sanderson, and I think he did a pretty great job!

Gigi: It was my first time reading his work as well. Overall, I enjoyed it. But it wasn’t quite the 4 or 5 star read I was hoping for it to be.

Jonny: Well I’m glad it wasnt a total disappointment for ya. We talked about this during our read, but the first half of the book’s pacing was kind of here and there. One chapter would have great developments, then the next would be a little slow for my taste. Rinse and repeat.

That being said, after that the pacing was really good, enough so for me that I think it redeemed itself.

Gigi: I agree. The beginning was a little rocky. It had some great moments & revelations, but then it would lose momentum. The second half was the best part and what really kept me going. I wanted to see if I was right about Spensa’s dad.

Spoiler alert: My theory was that something else happened but got covered up. I didn’t believe he was truly a coward.

Jonny: Oh yeah, the truth behind her dad’s death was a big part of it for me too.

Did you like Spensa in general? I did like her spunky, scrappy demeanor. Characters like that usually win me over pretty quickly, but I actually liked M-bot better with it’s odd humor and personality. ‘I hate your shoes!’

I actually wish she would’ve spent even more time with the ship, so I’m hoping the next one has tons of M-bot.

Gigi: I like her initially, but her arrogance ruined it along with the constant use of the word ‘scud’.

I really liked M-bot too! He kinda reminded me of AIDAN from Illuminae, even though they’re completely different.

Jonny: Yeah, I do think that she could’ve been a bit less arrogant, but I do think she had some good progression along the way.

Haha, I agree! I didn;t mind the use of scud, but if they came up with more swear words to switch out it would’ve been less repetitive.

I actually haven’t read Illuminae yet. Hmm, the best comparison I can make is that he’s kinda like a mix of Ax and the Helmacrons from Animorphs. The humor and personality was super unique and I loved every second of it, especially his little rivalry with Rodge.

Did any other characters stick out to you?

Gigi: I actually liked Jerkface (aka Jorgen). It was easy to judge him for being privileged, and I really liked that we got to see the other side of him. As with real life, it’s so easy to judge others without knowing their background.

How about you? Who else did you like? Or not like?

And omg. You need to go read Illuminae! Coolest book you’ll ever come across! You need to get your hands on a physical copy!

Jonny: Haha, deal once my TBR settles down a smidge. I actually liked Kimmalynn a lot. She reminded me of my high school friend Michelle. Talented, but has a hard time accepting it sometimes.

I didnt like the admiral Ironsides, but I think that was what the author wanted. Even after we learn all the knitty gritty I still felt like ‘Nah, I still dont like you very much’, but it can be hard for me to forgive characters after some shady business.

Gigi: I didn’t like Ironsides either! She was really petty.

Yes! I liked Kimmalynn too. She had a good heart. Loved when she gave Spensa a dinner roll in one of the chapters!

I did like the flight training and all the scenes with them flying the ships and fighting the Krell. I too, liked that we weren’t overwhelmed with info!

Jonny: I know, right? Even though things were more complicated than meets the eye, I think she could’ve led her people better and strived to be a better person.

Totally! That and Kimmalynn had a cute sense of humor. ‘Bless your stars’, haha! She definitely gets miss congeniality award in this book.

Yeah, some of those fights were insane and action-packed, just like I like it. Would you consider reading other Sanderson books in the future? I have a copy of the first book in the Reckoners series that I’m just dying to give a try!

Gigi: 😂 Yeah..Kimmalyn was a sweet heart.

Hmm.. I don’t know to be honest. I might try a different series of his down the road, just to give it another chance. But I know for this particular series, I’m going to leave it.

How about you?

Jonny: Most definitely!

That’s fair. His novels span a good many genres, so who knows what may work for you a bit better down the line.

I think I’ll continue with the next book in this series in a little bit. I think he even has a third coming out this year if I’m not mistaken. Definitely going to try out some other stuff of his in the future.

Thanks so much for reading this with me! I can’t wait for our next adventure!

Gigi: Yes, the 3rd in this series is supposed to release this year!

You are so welcome! I’m so glad we read this one together. As always, it was fun! I’m looking forward to our next read!! ❤️

 So..What did you think? Have you read this one?

Defeated, crushed, and driven almost to extinction, the remnants of the human race are trapped on a planet that is constantly attacked by mysterious alien starfighters. Spensa, a teenage girl living among them, longs to be a pilot. When she discovers the wreckage of an ancient ship, she realizes this dream might be possible—assuming she can repair the ship, navigate flight school, and (perhaps most importantly) persuade the strange machine to help her. Because this ship, uniquely, appears to have a soul.

 

The Wife Upstairs By Rachel Hawkins

** Thank you NetGalley & St.Martin’s Press for gifting me an eARC **

Genre: Domestic Suspense, Retelling

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

If you like:

-domestic dramas & suspense

-multiple POV’s

-retellings

This was a slow burn read, with each character harbouring a secret of their own. I both loved & hated the twist at the end (if that even makes sense), which by no means is a bad thing! It’s the sign of a good writer who knows how to get under your (my) skin! I just wanted a different turn of events and outcome for some of the characters.

I haven’t read Jane Eyre yet, but I do have a general idea of the story and liked the author’s use of the same names!

This was like Wysteria Lane (Desperate Housewives) meets The Usual Suspects. Lies, gossip and drama! There wasn’t one character I was rooting for, Jane included! Which didn’t bother me, cause if you know me by now, I actually kinda like the unlikeable characters 😜. They make for good stories!

Overall, I really enjoyed this one and found myself reading late into the night.

Meet Jane. Newly arrived to Birmingham, Alabama, Jane is a broke dog-walker in Thornfield Estates––a gated community full of McMansions, shiny SUVs, and bored housewives. The kind of place where no one will notice if Jane lifts the discarded tchotchkes and jewelry off the side tables of her well-heeled clients. Where no one will think to ask if Jane is her real name.

But her luck changes when she meets Eddie Rochester. Recently widowed, Eddie is Thornfield Estates’ most mysterious resident. His wife, Bea, drowned in a boating accident with her best friend, their bodies lost to the deep. Jane can’t help but see an opportunity in Eddie––not only is he rich, brooding, and handsome, he could also offer her the kind of protection she’s always yearned for.

Yet as Jane and Eddie fall for each other, Jane is increasingly haunted by the legend of Bea, an ambitious beauty with a rags-to-riches origin story, who launched a wildly successful southern lifestyle brand. How can she, plain Jane, ever measure up? And can she win Eddie’s heart before her past––or his––catches up to her?

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