Review: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Goodreads: Mexican Gothic
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books
Buy: Bookshop.org UK | US
Synopsis: After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed 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 Noemí’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.

Review: It’s rare that a book becomes a five star read for me just a few chapters in, but this book is one of those few. Mexican Gothic is the haunted house thriller I’d always dreamed of, it’s so unassuming and just as you think you know what’s happening this book will twist round and bite you.

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Review: Into The Drowning Deep by Mira Grant

Goodreads: Into the Drowning Deep
Publisher: Orbit
Book Depository
Synopsis: The voyage of the Atargatis set off on a journey to the Mariana Trench to film a ‘mockumentary’ bringing to life ancient sea creatures of legend. She was lost at sea with all hands. Some have called it a hoax; others a maritime tragedy.

Now, a new crew has been assembled. But this time they’re not out to entertain. Some seek to validate their life’s work. Some seek the greatest hunt of all. But for the ambitious young scientist Victoria Stewart, this is a voyage to uncover the fate of the sister she lost.

Whatever the truth may be, it will only be found beneath the waves.
But the secrets of the deep come with a price . . .

Review: So this book was recommended to me by the wonderful Moose, and oh man am I glad they pointed it out to me. How could I resist an LGBTQ+ horror with fricken mermaids man.

Trigger warnings: gore, violence, death, and your usual horror stuff

This book is just plain fun, it’s a fantastic example of a horror with heaping’s of tension. The story is initially kind of slow and probably could have used some trimming, it takes a while to get to the mermaids after they’re introduced in the opening chapter, you know where the book is going and it’s a shame it takes so long to get there. Once Into the Drowning Deep gets going though its an unstoppable force, Grant gives the book the momentum of a boulder rolling down a hill and I couldn’t put it down.

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Review: The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry

Goodreads: The Ghost Tree
Publisher: Titan Books
Book Depository
Synopsis: When the bodies of two girls are found torn apart in her hometown, Lauren is surprised, but she also expects that the police won’t find the killer. After all, the year before her father’s body was found with his heart missing, and since then everyone has moved on. Even her best friend, Miranda, has become more interested in boys than in spending time at the old ghost tree, the way they used to when they were kids.

So when Lauren has a vision of a monster dragging the remains of the girls through the woods, she knows she can’t just do nothing. Not like the rest of her town. But as she draws closer to answers, she realises that the foundation of her seemingly normal town might be rotten at the centre. And that if nobody else stands for the missing, she will.

Review: I received this digital copy in exchange for an honest review, thanks Titan Books!

Trigger Warnings: Gore, underage sex, grooming, graphic violence

We’re starting spooky month a little early this year, and I was very happy when Titan Books approved me for The Ghost Tree! This mysterious small-town horror follows all the usual conventions, and I have to say it worked for me. There’s just enough tension and mystery around what’s happening in the community to keep you engaged without going overboard, and once I sat down and sunk my teeth into the story I couldn’t stop reading.

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Bimonthly Book Haul

I actually really enjoyed pulling together this post for June, and so, I figured I would do it again by combining July and August! Some of these you may have already seen (because I’ve already reviewed them), but I thought it would be fun to give you a sneak preview at some of my reading plans.

Bought

So after my thorough enjoyment of Boy Parts I desperately wanted to bring more literary fiction into my to be read, so I decided Breasts and Eggs would be next. I’m hoping to have the review for that & Midnight Sun up in the next few weeks!

ARC’s

I got approved for some really exciting books over the past few weeks, most of them I’ll be reading closer to their pub dates but holy moly am I excited. I may have already read Addie LaRue, but the review won’t come out until September, and if you had any doubts about pre-ordering you shouldn’t, the book is incredible.

Well that’s all for now folks! Take care of yourselves out there ❤

Review: Boy Parts by Eliza Clark

Goodreads: Boy Parts
Publisher: Influx Press
Buy the Book from Influx and support an Indie Press
Synopsis: Irina obsessively takes explicit photographs of the average-looking men she persuades to model for her, scouted from the streets of Newcastle.

Placed on sabbatical from her dead-end bar job, she is offered an exhibition at a fashionable London gallery, promising to revive her career in the art world and offering an escape from her rut of drugs, alcohol, and extreme cinema. The news triggers a self-destructive tailspin, centred around Irina’s relationship with her obsessive best friend, and a shy young man from her local supermarket who has attracted her attention…

Review: Trigger warnings: Violence, drug abuse, sexual assault, and Alcohol abuse

This book definitely isn’t my usual shtick but it caught my eye on twitter, and it came with an adorable tote that definitely doesn’t reflect the tone of the book, but I had to have it! It has been a while since a contemporary has affected me quite so deeply, so I felt I just had to review it on the blog.

Boy Parts is a three hundred page hallucinogenic trip filled to the brim with dark humour. It’s unflinching in the way it tackles female rage and I’ve honestly never read anything like it so of course, I absolutely devoured every word.

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Review: Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Series: Alex Stern #1
Goodreads: Ninth House
Publisher: Gollancz
Book Depository
Synopsis: Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.

Review: Right, first off there a bunch of trigger warnings that come alongside this book. The book is dark, and as Leigh herself said, definitely not a Young Adult title: There’s graphic sexual assault including child rape and a magical date rape drug, violence, abuse, suicide, substance abuse, and self-harm. As always if this is something that you are not comfortable reading then this probably isn’t the book for you. It is also worth mentioning here that nothing I’ve ever read by Leigh Bardugo before has been quite like Ninth House. This is a testament to Bardugo’s talent, but also means that you shouldn’t be disheartened if you don’t like this as much as the Grisha-verse.

I, admittedly, absolutely devoured Ninth House. I love the way Leigh Bardugo writes, she always manages to drag me into the story and not let me go until the end. I picked this book up when I attended Leigh’s signing in Oxford back in October, which was amazing by the way, and it took me forever to read because of a rather long reading slump. I think I also put the book off due to some of the discourse surrounding a few of the triggers listed above, I definitely don’t mind dark and edgy, but I was a little worried that some of it would come across as gratuitous.

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Five Horror Books I should have read.

It’s the month of all things spooky, and yet again I find I haven’t managed to read anything horror so far this year. It’s getting rather shameful so here are some books that have been recommended to me over and over, and hopefully I’ll read at least one of them this Halloween!


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Anime Review: Devilman Crybaby

Crybaby_Poster

Synopsis: A sensitive demon-boy is led into a brutal, degenerate war against evil by his mysterious friend, Ryo.


Review: This anime is so much more than its synopsis, DEVILMAN crybaby is dark, violent, and so emotional that I honestly had to take a few days before writing my review. It’s based on Go Nagai’s iconic manga from the 70s, which sadly I have never read, but I think this did mean that the anime’s twists had a much bigger impact on me.

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Demon Road by Derek Landy

Demon_Road_cover_second_version

Series: The Demon Road Trilogy #1
Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books
Amazon: UK|US


Synopsis: For anyone who ever thought their parents were monsters… Amber Lamont is a normal sixteen-year-old. Smart but insecure, she spends most of her time online, where she can avoid her beautiful, aloof parents and their weird friends.

But when a shocking encounter reveals a horrifying secret, Amber is forced to go on the run. Killer cars, vampires, undead serial killers and red-skinned, horned demons – Amber hurtles from one threat to the next, revealing the terror woven into the very fabric of her life. As her parents close in behind her, Amber’s only chance rests with her fellow travellers, who are not at all what they appear to be…


Review: I read this book while I was away on holiday, and I have to say it really drew me in. I’ve only read two of the Skulduggery Pleasant books, and I read those when was a lot younger, but this book makes me want to go back and re-read the series. This book is a bit of a roller coaster ride, and is really fast paced! I could not put it down, I found myself picking up this book at any opportunity because I never seemed to reach a good place to pause. I have to say though that the ending is a little too fast paced; I swear Amber almost dies about twenty times, and it all gets a little bit too wild for me.

I thought that all the characters were interesting, engaging, and most importantly well written! Amber goes through a fantastic transformation, and you get to see her deal with all the positives and negatives associated with this massive change. She has to deal with her parents trying to kill and eat her, but at one point finds herself saving her mother from getting murdered showing how conflicted she was within. This girl faced so many trials within this book, and she was honestly a fantastic protagonist. She’s definitely not a traditional ya protagonist like Tris, Katniss, or Clary Fray, but instead she was refreshingly normal and I loved it.

Milo and Glen are her companions, and without them the story would have taken a much darker turn. Glen is absolutely fantastic; he’s honestly a joy to read, and made me laugh out loud on multiple occasions. He keeps the story from becoming too dark, and for me he initially felt like a temporary character but quickly became my favourite. I could understand why some people would find him rather annoying; he has no filter at all and will pretty much blurt out whatever is inside his head, he also has no sense of self preservation and I know this can get on some peoples nerves.

Milo on the other hand provides the dark and mysterious aspect of our trio. He comes across as cold initially, but provides a nice contrast to Glen’s overly friendly manner; I do think we’ll get to know him a bit better in the next book, but I definitely liked his character development so far.
There’s a lot of fighting and gore, so if that’s not your cup of tea then maybe this isn’t the book for you, but personally I loved it. It is a pretty violent book between the vampires, demons, and other supernatural things out to get her, Amber spends a whole lot of time hiding and fighting for her life.

Recommend: If your looking for a dark ya series that’s well written, fast paced, and an incredibly fun to read then this series is certainly worth a go.

Stars

★★★★★


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I have some feelings about Death Note (2017)

death-note-netflix


So I know this isn’t a book review but I really, really wanted to talk about this film. I was one of the people that hated this film when they announced it, hated it more when the trailers came out, but I found myself hating it less after watching. I’m going to try and keep this spoiler free, but I’m sure one or two will slip in so read at your own peril!

Don’t get me wrong this film is not the anime; it’s not as clever, the characters don’t even come close, and in all honesty the story line is just not as good. It just doesn’t match up to the source material, but when you think about it how could it. The Netflix version of Death Note tries to pile thirty seven episodes worth of lore into just a hundred and forty minutes, and so the movie ends up being a small peek into the mythology behind the note.

For me the plot moves to quickly, and the whole film feels like it’s hurtling towards the end without explaining anything. I mean it goes from Light being incredibly afraid of Ryuk, to killing a bully outside the school because the shinigami told him to. This then brings us on to Light Turner, or what ever his last name is; he is by far the weakest character in the show, and brings nothing to it other than finding the death note. He’s boring and lacks the charismatic intelligence that the original used to his advantage, plus the film tries to make him a redeemable character, and seems unable to commit to the harsh world of the anime. I mean the boy kills four hundred people, and yes I know they were criminals, but still you can’t redeem someone that does that regardless of their victims convictions.

The film does have its redeeming qualities though. Ryuk is fantastic, Willem Dafoe’s voice is so creepy and I just loved his portrayal; the shinigami was always a fantastic character, but Dafoe’s darker version of Ryuk is honest to god the best part of this film. Keith Stanfield also makes a pretty great L, but again I think his character lost much of what made him endearing in the anime. I honestly just wish they had taken the idea of the Death Note and made something entirely new, rather than pretending that this is some weird western remake of something that could never be contained in a hundred and forty minutes. I also quite liked Light’s Girlfriend, she had one of the best lines in the entire film, and managed to save the story line by actually being an interesting character which was unexpected.

This film feels like a dreary impostor for me, replacing cool intellect and an unforgiving plot, with violent deaths and half baked characters. Though I do think if you haven’t watched the source material then you’ll enjoy it just fine; I ended up watching it with my dad, and although he wasn’t raving about it, he did give it a muted “eh that was alright” which is a lot coming from my dad. It has a plot, it’s fast paced, and has a lot of gory overly dramatic killings, so if that appeals to you and you haven’t watched the original then you’ll probably like it just fine.

 

Recommend: No not at all, I honestly don’t think this film should have been made, or at the very least the cast should have included at least one Asian American actor; plus I think I’d rather just take some time and watch the original rather than this watered down version.


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