These Witches Don’t Burn // Book Review

Title: These Witches Don’t Burn
Author: Isabel Sterling
Published: 2019
Genre: Young Adult/Paranormal
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Synopsis
Isabel Sterling’s delightful, suspenseful debut is equal parts sweet romance and thrilling mystery. With everything she loves on the line, Hannah must confront this murderous villain before her coven—and any chance she has with the new girl—is destroyed.


I must admit, this book didn’t intrigue me that much. Still, I am glad that I gave it a chance. Once I was a few chapters in, I couldn’t put it down. This book follows Hannah, who is an elemental witch in Salem. It is such a cliche, but I love it when witch stories take place in Salem. Hannah’s family is part of a coven of elemental witches, which her ex-girlfriend, Veronica, happens to be in as well.

I thought that the breakup drama was well written. You could tell that they both still had feelings for one another, but Hannah wasn’t going to just forgive and forget. If you are curious about what Veronica did (like I was), apparently she left Hannah in a deadly situation with a blood witch. However, I wish that we got more context to the breakup, and perhaps even a flashback or two.

Throughout the book we see Hannah trying to sort out her complex feelings for her ex, while starting a relationship with the new girl in town, Morgan. Morgan was a sweet character, and didn’t blame Hannah for running off to, unbeknownst to her, deal with this supernatural crisis. Also, it’s hard when your crush still has a close relationship with her ex, but Morgan was very understanding throughout the story.

“And it’s not like Disney ever showed us how to fall for another girl.”

Hannah’s parents and best friend, Jemma were likeable enough supporting characters. Towards the end, Jemma became one of my favorite characters. She added a much-needed comic relief to the story. Also, she was quick to defend Hannah to other people in her life. Hannah’s parents might not have understood their daughter at times, but you could see that they truly loved her.

The main plot is finding out who is responsible for the dark magic being used in Salem. Yet, there were times when we focused on the romance and family side of the story. I wouldn’t classify this as a contemporary. The magic and mystery plot was the backbone of the book. But I did like the times we stepped-away from the main plot to focus on ‘normal’ teenager things, like dating, heartbreak and parental drama.

For the most part, the book kept me interested, and there were some confessions that threw me for a loop. However, the storyline and ending were easy to predict. I am not suggesting that’s a bad thing, because sometimes it is nice to know what to expect. But I would have liked a few more surprising elements. I didn’t foretell some of the sadder moments, and although they hurt my heart, I do think they were needed to push the story forward.

Seeing as this is a duology, I will most likely be picking up the second book. But it may not be until next fall, since I think witchy books make good October reads. Do let me know in the comments if you have read this one, and what your opinions are on it. And before you leave, why don’t you give the blog a follow? It is completely free, and you get to support me and get updates at the same time

Until The Next Chapter,
Bunny

Two Can Keep A Secret // Book Review

Title: Two Can Keep A Secret
Author: Karen M. McManus
Published: 2019
Genre: Young Adult/Mystery
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Synopsis
Ellery knows all about secrets. Her mother has them; her grandmother does too. And the longer she’s in Echo Ridge, the clearer it becomes that everyone there is hiding something. The thing is, secrets are dangerous–and most people aren’t good at keeping them. Which is why in Echo Ridge, it’s safest to keep your secrets to yourself.


I didn’t expect this book to blow me away, and for the most part I was right. The plot follows a teenage girl, Ellery. She is sent, with her twin brother, to live with their grandmother in Echo Ridge. Their mother, a small time actress, is doing another stint in rehab, so the twins have to make the best of their new lives. Ellery’s only interest is the murder of the homecoming queen that took place five years prior.

This is a dual perspective narrative, which I didn’t anticipate. We get Ellery’s point of view, but we also get Malcom’s, whose brother was the prime suspect in homecoming murder. I didn’t like one perspective more than the other, which I find is good when it comes to books that alternate narratives. However, I did think that Ellery was always jumping the gun when it came to sharing her theories. She didn’t take the time to think things through fully, and went for the easy suspects.

One thing’s for sure, I couldn’t get behind Ellery and Malcom as a couple. Their relationship started instantly, without any development. I didn’t see the chemistry between the two characters. I was fond of, Mia, who is Malcom’s best friend. And, Ezra, Ellery’s twin brother. It was nice that they were both diverse characters, as Ezra is both biracial and gay. While Mia is a bisexual Korean. I could sense that Mia added some spice to Malcom’s life, while Ezra was more level-headed than Ellery. Also, I cannot get over the fact that his name is ‘Ezra’ and the book is titled ‘Two Can Keep A Secret.’ Pretty Little Liars Easter egg?

“I thought she was your mother.”

Something that I am not a fan of when it comes to books is multiple plots. In this book, we are trying to solve the homecoming murder from five years ago. But than there’s this hit and run accident, absent mother story-line and even some found family side plot. As if that wasn’t enough, Ellery is also trying to uncover what happened to her mother’s twin sister, who disappeared many years ago. All the pieces do come together at the end, but I think that was way too much for one book to handle.

The ending has got to be the best part. I think that somewhere around the last two chapters, you get a sense of whose the killer. Personally, however, I was still shocked at the reveal. The motive was done well, and it was jaw-dropping. At one point, you don’t think the characters are going to make it out of alive. Also, the final page had a major twist that I never saw coming.

Even though the book didn’t wow me like ‘One Of Us Is Lying’ did, Karen M. McManus is still an exceptional author. I probably wouldn’t give this one a reread, but I do wish that it was a bit longer since there was sort of a cliffhanger ending. I needed to know more.

Let me know if you have read this book, tell me your thoughts about it in the comments. Give this post a like and a share, and follow for content updates and more.

Until The Next Chapter,
Bunny

A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder // Book Review

Title: A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder
Author: Holly Jackson
Published: 2019
Genre: Young Adult/Mystery
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Synopsis
The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it. But having grown up in the same small town that was consumed by the murder, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn’t so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final year project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth?


A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder is the first book in a YA mystery, thriller trilogy. These books are highly popular and seen as great introductory books to the YA thriller genre. In this book, we follow Pippa, a high-school senior, working on her capstone project. Her topic is a murder that happened five years prior. The case went cold when the prime suspect killed themselves. Pippa believes the wrong person was accused of the murder, and wants to uncover the truth.

I can completely see why other readers would suggest the book to thriller newbies, or even people that don’t particularly fancy the horror and thriller genre. It read more like a contemporary than a traditional thriller, which was a nice. Especially for someone, like myself, that primarily read YA contemporaries. However, if you are looking for a dark, suspense-filled thriller than this probably isn’t the book for you. I found the plot to be fairly tame and not too nail-biting.

Pippa was a solid enough female-lead with some stereotypical aspects. She boarders the ‘smart girl’ and ‘I’m not like other girls’ personality cliches. The other characters weren’t very prominent in the story, so I am in different to them. I don’t love them or hate them.

“I’m not sure I’m the good girl i once thought i was . I’ve lost her along the way”

There were times when this book gave me ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’ vibes. I can’t explain why, because they aren’t similar at all. The only comparison I can come up with is that both have twists when it comes to the killer. You think that you know who the murderer is, but at the last minute you realize you were completely wrong.

Overall, I don’t have a lot of cons, but I did find there to be one too many suspects. Perhaps the author wanted to keep us reader on their toes, since you don’t know who to trust. But I found it hard to keep track of all the suspects. Still, it did keep me guessing, which kept me interested. Everyone was suspicious making the case not so cut and dry.

I don’t know about you, but I enjoy quick reads, especially when it comes to the thriller genre. I think mysteries, horrors and thrillers should have fast-paced stories. A thriller should be engaging with a lot of story development, and rarely any pointless chapters. Although, this mystery does take while to piece together, their wasn’t much downtime within the story.

I will be continuing on with the series, and excited to see what Pippa tackles next. If you want a list of all the trigger warnings that this book contains please visit Book Trigger Warning. Feel free to comment on your thoughts below. Share, like and follow so you can show your support for my blog.

Until The Next Chapter,
Bunny

 

One Of Us Is Next // Book Review

Title: One Of Us Is Next
Author: Karen M. McManus
Published: 2020
Genre: Young Adult/Thriller
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Synopsis
Come on, Bayview, you know you’ve missed this. A ton of copycat gossip apps have popped up since Simon died, but in the year since the Bayview four were cleared of his shocking death, no one’s been able to fill the gossip void quite like he could. The problem is no one has the facts. Until now. This time it’s not an app, though—it’s a game. Truth or Dare.


This is the companion novel to ‘One Of Us Is Lying’, which I have a review up for as well. In this book, we are following a new group of teens, one of whom is Maeve Rojas (Bronwyn’s sister, that we saw in book one), as well as appearances from characters in the previous book. A few characters had already been introduced in ‘One Of Us Is Lying’, which was a nice bonus. The plot walked the line between mystery and thriller. We follow this group of teens as they deal with a dangerous game of Truth and Dare. It was engaging, but then again I find that many Karen M. McManus books are (at least to me).

I enjoyed each character, and not one perspective bored me. There were a few parts that felt like unnecessary filler, and didn’t add anything to the story. However, it wasn’t common enough to be a problem for me. Overall, the story unfolded at a nice pace. I was happy to see that there wasn’t a best friends to lovers story in play. I am not opposed to that all, but it was nice to see the author go a different, less cliche route.

One of my favorite characters was Phoebe. She had a lot going on, and made some stupid choices, but was unapologetically herself. She didn’t hide her faults, and tried her best to own up to her mistakes throughout the book. Maeve was a solid character, and mini Nancy Drew, which is always fun to read about. Knox (Maeve’s best friend/ex-boyfriend) was the nice guy, but out of all of them, he was the least fleshed out. I didn’t feel like I got a true sense of his personality.

“I don’t understand why the world insists on stuffing kids into boxes we never asked for, and then gets mad when we won’t stay there.”

There was a bit of romance in this book, and I adored it. Maeve and Luis had great chemistry, and it was nice to watch their relationship unfold. But the pairing that I shipped most of all was Phoebe and Knox. They had some great moments together, so I could see them having real couple potential. Also, I liked that they were different, but grew closer as the book went on.

I am pretty bad at mysteries, but I did have my suspicions on where the plot was going. And, while I was sort of right, the ending shocked me. It was such a good twist, and the last chapter was amazing. I truly wanted to know what was going to happen next. I think a good book keeps you wanting more, which is exactly what Karen M. McManus achieved with ‘One Of Us Is Next’.

I would say that if you are in between fantasy books, you should give this one a read. It’s a good novel to pick up when you need a break from reading big, plot-heavy books. It’s an easy one to follow, and a fairly quick read. Don’t worry if thriller isn’t your preferred genre, it leans more towards the mystery side.

If you liked this review, then give this post a like and a share. Comment down below if you read this book, and your thoughts on it. Also, following the blog helps keep me going, so show your support!

Until The Next Chapter,
Bunny