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Book Review: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Book Review: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-GarciaMexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Genre: Horror
Release Date: 30th June 2020
Publisher: Penguin Books
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-half-stars

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.

Mexican Gothic has proven to be a really tough book to review! I have mixed feelings about the book, but those mixed feelings are, on the whole, positive, if that makes any sense? Basically, there’s nothing I disliked about Mexican Gothic. It’s an atmospheric, eerie gothic story, and I was super invested in it for the most part.

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Book Review: The Shadow Friend by Alex North

Book Review: The Shadow Friend by Alex NorthThe Shadow Friend by Alex North
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Release Date: 9th July 2020
Publisher: Penguin Books
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

If it had happened to you, you would have run away too.

Twenty-five years ago, Paul's friend Charlie Crabtree brutally killed their classmate - and then vanished without a trace.

Paul's never forgiven himself for his part in what happened. He's never gone back home.

Until his elderly mother has a fall. It's finally time to stop running.

It's not long before things start to go wrong. His mother claims there's someone in the house. Paul realises someone is following him. And, in a town many miles away, a copycat killer has struck.

Which makes him wonder - what really happened to Charlie the day of the murder?

And can anyone stop it happening again?

The Shadow Friend is a slower paced thriller/mystery that managed to keep my attention thanks to the creepy atmosphere. I’d read The Whisper Man by Alex North already, but I don’t think I really got a feel for his writing style until I read The Shadow Friend.

I think Alex North’s strength is his ability to craft such a chilling atmosphere. He perfectly cultivates the creepy local legends, the disturbing teenagers, and the dark and ominous woods in this story and so when it all comes together you’re left with chills. I’ve now realised that this is my favourite thing about his books.

I spoke in my Booktube review of The Shadow Friend that I come from a small town with lots of local legends, and I think that’s one of the reasons why I’m able to connect with Alex North’s books so much. He perfectly incorporates local legends to his books, and turns them into something disturbing, and yet also very realistic.

The characters are what I would say are Alex North’s weakest point when it comes to writing. His characters are never very memorable, and I never get attached to them. This is often the case with thrillers for me, but it was particularly stand out here as I was loving the rest of the story apart from the characters.

I was expecting more on Charlie Crabtree, to be honest, and less on Paul and his love life. It’s fine as it is, but I would have liked to see more of Crabtree and his creepiness, and also more on Paul’s relationship with his mother if the focus had to be on him so much.

The Shadow Friend is certainly a slower paced thriller, but it’s one that I really enjoyed, and I can’t wait to see what Alex North comes out with in the future. His books are great for Halloween if you want a spine tingling mystery to keep you up!

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Heart of Darkness by Joseph ConradHeart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Release Date: 25th September, 2007
Publisher: Penguin Books
Source: Bought
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: one-star

Penguin inaugurates a series of revised editions of Conrad's finest works, with new introductions.

Exploring the workings of consciousness as well as the grim realities of imperialism, Heart of Darkness tells of Marlow, a seaman and wanderer, who journeys into the heart of the African continent to discover how the enigmatic Kurtz has gained power over the local people.

Okay, so some of you might know that Judith read this for her university course late last year, and hated it. You would think this would put me off reading a book but no, I have endless amounts of morbid curiosity to read the novels that everyone hates, which usually starts off with me thinking ‘well I’m sure this can’t have been that bad’ and ends with ‘I will have nightmares about how terrible this book was’. Basically I have issues and should probably seek medical help. At any rate though, I already had Heart of Darkness on my shelves since it was on the book list for one of my university modules and having never gotten round to reading it I just needed a reason to pick it up. I am just going to blame Judith for the hours I wasted on this insufferably boring excuse for a classic novel, yup. It’s her fault completely *nods*

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The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave by Rick YanceyThe 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Series: The 5th Wave #1
Genre: Science Fiction
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Penguin Books
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker.

Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

I freakin’ love (LOVE) science fiction, and yet I don’t think I’ve ever read a book about an alien invasion quite like this one. Sure, there was The Host, but let’s be real here, that was more of a peaceful love story. And, of course, Obsidian, but that wasn’t really an invasion, it was aliens hiding amongst people because their home had been destroyed. So The 5th Wave was very refreshing, since it’s basically all action and survival. Continue reading