3.5 stars

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: Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis

Book Review: Harrow Lake by Kat EllisHarrow Lake by Kat Ellis
Genre: Horror
Release Date: 9th July 2020
Publisher: Penguin
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-half-stars

Lola Nox is the daughter of a celebrated horror filmmaker - she thinks nothing can scare her.

But when her father is brutally attacked in their New York apartment, she's swiftly packed off to live with a grandmother she's never met in Harrow Lake, the eerie town where her father's most iconic horror movie was shot.

The locals are weirdly obsessed with the film that put their town on the map - and there are strange disappearances, which the police seem determined to explain away.

And there's someone - or something - stalking her every move.

The more Lola discovers about the town, the more terrifying it becomes. Because Lola's got secrets of her own. And if she can't find a way out of Harrow Lake, they might just be the death of her.

First of all, look at that cover. Is that not the creepiest thing to look at late at night?? I’m glad I read this on my Kindle to be honest. I’ve been trying to read more horror books lately, and so when I saw that Harrow Lake was up on NetGalley I swept it up.

I have to say, the atmosphere of this book is on point. It’s suuuuuper creepy for the first two thirds when you have no idea what’s going on. Lola, the main character, goes to stay in a small town with a grandmother that she barely knows, and is surrounded by rumours of her vanished mother. It’s CREEPY. There are creepy puppets and shadows and noises. I had to stop reading it late into the night because some parts were giving me chills. Kat Ellis pulled the atmosphere off perfectly.

As for the plot, I would say it’s pretty standard for a YA horror. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it, because I definitely did, but it’s not something that I will rave about and I wouldn’t say that the twist(s) were anything spectacular. I was’t necessarily reading this horror book for the twists though, because what I really wanted was to be creeped out and on the edge of my seat because of FEAR.

I did feel a bit disconnected from Lola, especially because she seemed to hate everyone that she came into contact with. While this made sense for her character (and be patient if you don’t necessarily get it in the beginning) it made it quite hard for me to fall in love with the story and her journey.

I think if you’re into classic horror movies then you’ll really enjoy Harrow Lake for the chilling atmosphere and the sleepless nights!

Book Review: Diamond City by Francesca Flores

Book Review: Diamond City by Francesca FloresDiamond City by Francesca Flores
Series: Diamond City #1
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 28th January 2020
Publisher: Macmillan
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-half-stars

Fierce and ambitious, Aina Solís as sharp as her blade and as mysterious as the blood magic she protects. After the murder of her parents, Aina takes a job as an assassin to survive and finds a new family in those like her: the unwanted and forgotten.

Her boss is brutal and cold, with a questionable sense of morality, but he provides a place for people with nowhere else to go. And makes sure they stay there.

DIAMOND CITY: built by magic, ruled by tyrants, and in desperate need of saving. It is a world full of dark forces and hidden agendas, old rivalries and lethal new enemies.

To claim a future for herself in a world that doesn't want her to survive, Aina will have to win a game of murder and conspiracy—and risk losing everything.

I was really impressed by Diamond City! It’s a very strong debut that is action packed and full of assassinations and heists and deceit. Everything you need, right?

I got very strong Aelin vibes from Aina, the main character. I’m not sure if the author has read Throne of Glass, but it wouldn’t surprise me if she was inspired by it. I really enjoyed reading about Aina’s character growth, as she started off very closed off and then slowly opened up around her close group of friends.

I think the friendships were the best part of the book for me. I loved all of the side characters and how they interacted with Aina. They really helped bring out the best in her and helped her realise what was good and what was bad.

I have to put a warning in here about abuse, as Aina is in an abusive almost-relationship with her boss, who she kind of idolises for saving her from dying. She slowly comes to realise that it’s unhealthy though, somewhat with the help of other characters but mostly through her own realisations.

I have to say that there was a lot less diamond stuff and magic than I was expecting. This book is more of a low fantasy than anything, and the fantasy stuff only came up in a few scenes. Most of the book focuses on assassinations and heists, which isn’t a bad thing, but it’s not really how the book is being marketed!

Like I said, I really enjoyed this one and I’m looking forward to reading the sequel when it comes out – hopefully next year!

If You’re Out There by Katy Loutzenhiser

If You’re Out There by Katy LoutzenhiserIf You're Out There by Katy Loutzenhiser
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 5th March 2019
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-half-stars

After Zan’s best friend moves to California, she is baffled and crushed when Priya suddenly ghosts. Worse, Priya’s social media has turned into a stream of ungrammatical posts chronicling a sunny, vapid new life that doesn’t sound like her at all.

Everyone tells Zan not to be an idiot: Let Priya do her reinvention thing and move on. But until Zan hears Priya say it, she won’t be able to admit that their friendship is finished.

It’s only when she meets Logan, the compelling new guy in Spanish class, that Zan begins to open up about her sadness, her insecurity, her sense of total betrayal. And he’s just as willing as she is to throw himself into the investigation when everyone else thinks her suspicions are crazy.

Then a clue hidden in Priya’s latest selfie introduces a new, deeply disturbing possibility:

Maybe Priya isn’t just not answering Zan’s emails.

Maybe she can’t.

If You’re Out There was kind of adorable! It was more of a low-key mystery than a full on thriller, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I’m really glad I decided to pick it up, which I did because the ghosting thing seemed relatable and I was intrigued.

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Review: Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno


Review: Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina MorenoDon't Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 14th May 2019
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-half-stars

Rosa Santos is cursed by the sea-at least, that's what they say. Dating her is bad news, especially if you're a boy with a boat.

But Rosa feels more caught than cursed. Caught between cultures and choices. Between her abuela, a beloved healer and pillar of their community, and her mother, an artist who crashes in and out of her life like a hurricane. Between Port Coral, the quirky South Florida town they call home, and Cuba, the island her abuela refuses to talk about.

As her college decision looms, Rosa collides - literally - with Alex Aquino, the mysterious boy with tattoos of the ocean whose family owns the marina. With her heart, her family, and her future on the line, can Rosa break a curse and find her place beyond the horizon?
 

Well, this was cute. I received Don’t Date Rosa Santos for review, and it’s pretty much exactly the kind of marshmallow fluff that I was expecting.

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