QOTD: Would you spend the night at a haunted hotel for $1M where people have died?
If you like:
✔️Teen horror & slasher movies
This was a fun popcorn teen slasher, with ghosts!
You know those horror films where you scream at the screen for the character not to go there or do that?! Like OMG, why are you so stupid?! You’re gonna get killed kinda movies? Yeah..that’s what this was like!
I alternated between the ebook & audiobook.
What I liked:
⁃ the audiobook had 3 narrators
⁃ LOVED the setting of Hearst Hotel! That plus all the ghosts were the highlight of the story for me.
⁃ I enjoyed Chase & Chrissy’s POV. The teenage dialogue & banter made me giggle. If you can get past that, this can be a really enjoyable read.
⁃ I also liked Chrissy’s psychic abilities. I thought that was really cool the way it was described in the story.
⁃ While I saw who the killer was a mile away, I liked that reveal 👏👏
What I didn’t like:
⁃ There were a few times where I got confused between Emmaline & Kiki. Sometimes it was hard to differentiate who was talking, which is why I switched to audio.
All in all, I had a good time with this one! It moved really quickly and kept me entertained.
If you know what to expect from teen horror, you’ll like this like I did.
QOTD: What’s your favourite fairytale? Do you enjoy fairytale retellings?
It’s so hard to review this one without ruining the story. It’s a retelling of the German Fairytale ‘The Goose Girl’, which I haven’t read yet. But I really enjoyed this one! It had a little bit of everything: magic, adventure, a hint of romance and lgbtq rep.
This was like Kaz Bekker meets Jack Sparrow. The cast of characters in this one was just brilliant.
Vanja was such a good morally grey character! She was frustrating at times, but you couldn’t help but root for her to do the right thing. My fave character though, was Ragne and her red eyes!
Would definitely recommend checking it out if you want something different.
This was such a great take on Alice In Wonderland. It was dark and delicious.
While I enjoyed majority of the story, there were aspects that didn’t work out for me:
⁃ The ending. This was the biggest letdown. I was expecting an epic showdown. But instead, it left me saying: “What?! That’s it?!!”
**Minor Spoiler Alert **
⁃ The magicians. For me, it felt awkward and didn’t really add any value to the story.
What I loved:
⁃ The Characters! I loved where Christina Henry went with the villains! I haven’t read any other Alice retellings, but this by far, will be the most memorable.
⁃ This was very dark and gruesome, just the way I like it! However, it won’t be for everyone.
Trigger warnings: rape, cannibalism, abuse
Overall, I really enjoyed it. I just wish it ended on a higher note.
In a warren of crumbling buildings and desperate people called the Old City, there stands a hospital with cinderblock walls which echo the screams of the poor souls inside.
In the hospital, there is a woman. Her hair, once blond, hangs in tangles down her back. She doesn’t remember why she’s in such a terrible place. Just a tea party long ago, and long ears, and blood…
Then, one night, a fire at the hospital gives the woman a chance to escape, tumbling out of the hole that imprisoned her, leaving her free to uncover the truth about what happened to her all those years ago.
Only something else has escaped with her. Something dark. Something powerful. And to find the truth, she will have to track this beast to the very heart of the Old City, where the rabbit waits for his Alice.
This was a fun and easy read, but nothing mind blowing.
What I liked:
– The Asian representation. As a Canadian born Chinese, Sunny was very relatable. Particularly when she had to explain that she was born in America and her ethnicity is Korean.
– I liked that Sunny was able to discover things about herself and her relationships, outside of social media
What Didn’t work for me
– Parts of the story dragged on, making the ending rushed.
– I felt like more could have been done with the story of Side Braid girl. Instead, it felt kind of glossed over and very juvenile..like middle grade level.
– In general, a lot more could have been done with this story in my opinion. Instead it was too safe, predictable and bordering on cheesy.
Overall, it wasn’t a bad read. It just didn’t have that wow factor I was hoping for.
Sunny Song”s Big Summer Goals: 1) Make Rafael Kim my boyfriend (finally!) 2) Hit 100K followers (almost there…) 3) Have the best last summer of high school ever
Not on Sunny”s list: accidentally filming a PG-13 cooking video that goes viral (#browniegate). Extremely not on her list: being shipped off to a digital detox farm camp in Iowa (IOWA??) for a whole month. She”s traded in her WiFi connection for a butter churn, and if she wants any shot at growing her social media platform this summer, she”ll need to find a way back online.
But between some unexpected friendships and an alarmingly cute farm boy, Sunny might besurprised by the connections she makes when she”s forced to disconnect.
“The strength of the butcher bird is the strength of the Empire, for she is the torch against the night. Your line will rise or fall with her hammer; your fate will rise or fall with her will.”
I’m still not sure how I feel about this one if I’m being honest. There were some epic moments and fight scenes, but this one was muuuch slower and didn’t quite pack the same punches as the first 2 did.
I personally didn’t care for Elias’ POV at this point, and could have done without them. It kinda dragged the story down a bit.
Laia was kind of annoying, but I love her heart and determination.
The revelation she was given…let’s just say, I KNEW IT!
The Blood Shrike – Ahhh..my fave character! The one I’m constantly rooting for. Her POV was the star of the show for me. Even with her best laid plans, somehow the Commandant is always two steps ahead! It’s almost aggravating to watch.
The Nightbringer – The most intriguing character. I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of havoc he unleashes.
Something happens in the last 30%, that was really the highlight of story for me!
Overall, I still enjoyed it and can’t wait for the finale!
Beyond the Martial Empire and within it, the threat of war looms ever larger. Helene Aquilla, the Blood Shrike, is desperate to protect her sister’s life and the lives of everyone in the Empire. But she knows that danger lurks on all sides: Emperor Marcus, haunted by his past, grows increasingly unstable and violent, while Keris Veturia, the ruthless Commandant, capitalizes on the Emperor’s volatility to grow her own power–regardless of the carnage she leaves in her path.
Far to the east, Laia of Serra knows the fate of the world lies not in the machinations of the Martial court, but in stopping the Nightbringer. But in the hunt to bring him down, Laia faces unexpected threats from those she hoped would help her, and is drawn into a battle she never thought she’d have to fight.
And in the land between the living and the dead, Elias Veturius has given up his freedom to serve as Soul Catcher. But in doing so, he has vowed himself to an ancient power that demands his complete surrender–even if that means abandoning the woman he loves.
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.
This is my first Cassandra Clare novel that I’ve read. To be honest, I tried to read City of bones during my Twilight loving days, and just couldn’t get into it. However, I seem to have fancied this one! Maybe cause of the historical setting, and the fact that all the shadowhunters are gorgeous! I dunno. But I totally want my own Cortana!! Anyone know where I can get one??
My only complaint were the amount of characters thrown into this story. Now normally, I hate when a story is repetitive. But in this case, it actually worked cause of how many names there were. Maybe it’s just me, but it was hard to keep track of at times. But as a shadowhunter newbie, I had no issues getting into the story.
I’m a big fan of love triangles and this story was full of them! I really liked Cordelia! I was rooting for her the whole time! I just wish she’d stop denying her feelings for James. She wasn’t fooling anyone.
Grace, on the other hand. Not so much! I didn’t think too highly of her from the beginning, but I’m intrigued and want to know what her real deal is.
Matthew was another one I found myself cheering on. I wanna see him have a happily ever after and I’m just dying to know what his secret is!!
I enjoyed the alternating timelines between the present and past. It sets up this series very nicely! And the ending…omg. I can’t wait to dive into Chain Of Iron next!
Have you read this one? Do you have a favourite Cassie Clare book? Any plans to read Chain Of Iron?
Cordelia Carstairs is a Shadowhunter, a warrior trained since childhood to battle demons. When her father is accused of a terrible crime, she and her brother travel to London in hopes of preventing the family’s ruin. Cordelia’s mother wants to marry her off, but Cordelia is determined to be a hero rather than a bride. Soon Cordelia encounters childhood friends James and Lucie Herondale and is drawn into their world of glittering ballrooms, secret assignations, and supernatural salons, where vampires and warlocks mingle with mermaids and magicians. All the while, she must hide her secret love for James, who is sworn to marry someone else.
But Cordelia’s new life is blown apart when a shocking series of demon attacks devastate London. These monsters are nothing like those Shadowhunters have fought before—these demons walk in daylight, strike down the unwary with incurable poison, and seem impossible to kill. London is immediately quarantined. Trapped in the city, Cordelia and her friends discover that their own connection to a dark legacy has gifted them with incredible powers—and forced a brutal choice that will reveal the true cruel price of being a hero.
I really wanted to love this one! After all, I have the ARC for Phoenix Flame. 🙈
If I have to try this hard to stay invested in a story, not only is it not worth it, but it’s time for me to call it quits!
Unfortunately, it was the continuous reminder of Maddie’s feelings and past (in every single chapter) that grew tiresome and bordered on to a painfully slow read. The premise is what had me going initially, along with the setting of the Inn and magical realms. But it wasn’t enough to keep me invested. It was easy for me to spot who the villains were. It was very obvious from the get-go.
As for plot..well, this was the ultimate downfall for me. It wasn’t a very plot driven novel, which is a no-no for me when it comes to Fantasies. I need my fantasies to be as equally plot driven as the character and world development is. This was really bland in all departments.
Nothing really happens until chapter 6, and even then, it slows right back down! 🤦🏻♀️
This one had so much potential..it’s too bad it didn’t shine through.
Have you read this one? Any plans to read the next instalment?
Maddie loves spending summers at her uncle’s Inn at Havenfall. But the Inn is much more than a Maddie’s safe haven, and life in Havenfall isn’t without its secrets. Beneath the beautiful, sprawling manor in Colorado lie hidden gateways to other worlds, some long-sealed by ancient magic.
When a body is found on the grounds, the volatile peace brokered between these worlds is irrevocably compromised. What’s worse is that Maddie’s friend Brekken stands accused of the murder. With everything she loves at stake, Maddie must confront shocking truths about the dangers lurking beneath Havenfall – and discover who shereallyis.
“Even if it means my sister’s destruction. Even if it means a madman running the Empire. Even if it means I have to torture and kill my best friend.” “To the end.”
This is the first time I’ve ever thought the second book in a series was just as good as the first! It was equally as brutal, with just as much (if not more), going on. I said it in my last review, and I’ll say it again! I frikkin love Helene!! And love that we get her POV in this one.
My heart broke multiple times. Those who have read it, will know which parts I’m talking about.
I loved the surprises in this story! Especially with the Nightbringer!! I so did not see that coming.
And omg. I’m dying to know who Elias’ father is! I hope I get to find out either in the next book or the last one!
I’m also really liking Harper. I was intrigued by him early on in the book, and wanna see what his deal is.
Normally by now, I’d be taking a long break before reading the next instalment, but I cannot wait!!
“You are a torch against the night-if you dare to let yourself burn .” -Cain to Helene
Have you read it? What did you think?
After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.
Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.
But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.
Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.