Review: Mexican Gothic

Title: Mexican Gothic
Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Publisher: Random House
Source: Purchased
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 30, 2020
Rating: ★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

An isolated mansion. A chillingly charismatic aristocrat. And a brave socialite drawn to expose their treacherous secrets. . . .

From the author of Gods of Jade and Shadow comes a novel set in glamorous 1950s Mexico. 

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.

Review:

Noemí is a socialite who lives with her father in Mexico in the 1950s. Her father receives a letter from her cousin one day, which sounds frantic. Her cousin, Catalina, recently married a mysterious man, and she sounds mentally unwell in this letter. Noemí travels to the isolated town where Catalina lives to get some help for her cousin. However, there are strange things happening in Catalina’s home. The extended family who lives there has strict rules, and a dark history, that Noemí has to discover to save her cousin.

This was a unique story. I’ve seen mixed reviews of this book, with people either loving or hating it. Unfortunately, this story didn’t work for me. I was expecting a twisted horror story, but the suspenseful horror wasn’t consistent throughout the book.

It’s difficult to talk about this book without spoiling it. There were strange familial relationships that influenced the horror scenes. There were also some disturbing scenes of sexual assaults. The beginning of the story didn’t introduce what was going to happen. The first chapter started some interesting storylines about Noemí’s character, but the story followed her cousin’s new married life, rather than Noemí’s life.

This was a strange book that didn’t work for me, but other readers have enjoyed it.

What to read next:

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Have you read Mexican Gothic? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: Whispering Pines

Title: Whispering Pines
Author: Heidi Lang and Kati Bartkowski
Genre: Middle Grade, Horror, Science Fiction
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: September 1, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A young boy and girl who must protect their small town from otherworldly forces threatening to destroy it.

Rae’s father vanished without a trace—and Rae knows what happened to him. But no one believes her when she says that her father didn’t run off, that he was actually taken. Now, a year of therapy later, Rae’s mother decides they need a fresh start, and so they move to a new town in the hope that life can return to normal.

The problem is, there is nothing normal about the town of Whispering Pines.

No one knows this better than Caden. He’s lived in Whispering Pines his entire life, and he’s seen more than his fair share of weird—starting with his own family, as the town is the perfect home base for his mother’s ghost hunting business.

When several kids go missing and then show up like zombies with their eyes removed, many locals brush it off. Just another day in Whispering Pines. But Caden has a dark secret, one that may explain why someone is stealing eyes. And Rae, who knows how it feels to not be believed, may be just the person Caden needs to help him put things right.

Review:

Rae’s father disappeared after making a disturbing discovery at his job. Her mother moved her and her older sister across the country to a small town called Whispering Pines after her father’s disappearance. Whispering Pines is a strange town that has people who walk goats, and a rule at the school that you can’t walk around with garlic around your neck. Rae moves in across the street from Caden, whose family has a ghost hunting business. Caden’s brother also disappeared, during a ghost hunting mission. Now more students are disappearing, and the ones who return are missing their eyes. Rae and Caden investigate what is happening in their town, before they disappear too.

This story reminded me a lot of Stranger Things. There is a large science laboratory in the town. One of the men who works there, Patrick, always seems to show up just when something goes wrong in the town. There seemed to be something supernatural happening, as well as some science experiments gone wrong.

I loved the quirky town of Whispering Pines. This setting was a character itself. It was named after the woods, that make a whispering sound in the wind. There were odd rules for the town, such as no wearing garlic. It was known for people walking their goats, which was also odd. These elements were strange but also funny.

I was so surprised at the ending. The epilogue started a new storyline for the next book, which sounds even more exciting than this one. I’m going to have a hard time waiting for the next book!

Thank you Margaret K. McElderry Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Last Pick by Jason Walz

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

About the authors:

Heidi Lang managed to stumble upon the two best jobs in the world: writing for kids and walking dogs. If she’s not out on the trails surrounded by wagging tails and puppy kisses, she’s probably hunched over her laptop working on her next book. She lives in northern California with her husband and two adventure-loving dogs, and she is the coauthor of the Mystic Cooking Chronicles and Whispering Pines. Find her on Twitter @HidLang, or visit the website she shares with her writing partner at HeidiandKatiWrite.com.

Kati Bartkowski was originally drawn to illustration before she got swept up in the world of words. Nowadays she’s a fan of creating fantastical creatures and feisty heroines in both mediums. If she’s not reading, writing, or drawing, she’s probably chasing after her high energy little girl. She lives in northern California and is the coauthor of the Mystic Cooking Chronicles and Whispering Pines. Find her on Twitter @KTBartkowski, or visit the website she shares with her writing partner at HeidiandKatiWrite.com.

Blog tour schedule:

Have you read Whispering Pines? What did you think of it?

Review: Horrid

Title: Horrid
Author: Katrina Leno
Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Thriller, Fantasy
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Owlcrate box
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: September 15, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From the author of You Must Not Miss comes a haunting contemporary horror novel that explores themes of mental illness, rage, and grief, twisted with spine-chilling elements of Stephen King and Agatha Christie.

Following her father’s death, Jane North-Robinson and her mom move from sunny California to the dreary, dilapidated old house in Maine where her mother grew up. All they want is a fresh start, but behind North Manor’s doors lurks a history that leaves them feeling more alone…and more tormented.

As the cold New England autumn arrives, and Jane settles in to her new home, she finds solace in old books and memories of her dad. She steadily begins making new friends, but also faces bullying from the resident “bad seed,” struggling to tamp down her own worst nature in response. Jane’s mom also seems to be spiraling with the return of her childhood home, but she won’t reveal why. Then Jane discovers that the “storage room” her mom has kept locked isn’t for storage at all–it’s a little girl’s bedroom, left untouched for years and not quite as empty of inhabitants as it appears….

Is it grief? Mental illness? Or something more…horrid?

Review:

After Jane’s father dies, Jane and her mother, Ruth, move across the country to Ruth’s family home in the small town of Bells Hollow. The house has been abandoned since Ruth’s mother died years ago. There is a lot of mystery that surrounds the house, which is avoided by everyone in town. Jane quickly gets settled in her new life, but then she starts hearing things in the house. There are things hidden behind the locked doors, which holds a dark family secret.

I loved the mystery elements of this story. Jane loves Agatha Christie novels, and some were mentioned in the story. These were ones that I had never read, but clues in those stories also tied into the mystery in this book.

The house was quite creepy. Many parts of this story weren’t realistic, so that made the story a little less scary. For example, the roses in the garden continued to grow after being chopped down, which seemed fantastical and took away some of the fear of the house. However, the mystery behind the house was slowly unraveled, which made me keep reading.

The only problem I had with this book is that I had a lot of questions at the end. There were a few loose ends that I would love to know the answers to. At the same time, this adds to the mystery of the story, since some parts are left unsolved.

This was an exciting fantasy and horror novel.

What to read next:

Other Words for Smoke by Sarah Maria Griffin

Treason of Thorns by Laura E. Weymouth

Have you read Horrid? What did you think of it?

Review: The Bone Houses

Title: The Bone Houses
Author: Emily Lloyd-Jones
Genre: Young Adult, Historical, Fantasy, Horror
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Owlcrate box
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: September 24, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Aderyn (“Ryn”) only cares about two things: her family, and her family’s graveyard. And right now, both are in dire straits. Since the death of their parents, Ryn and her siblings have been scraping together a meager existence as gravediggers in the remote village of Colbren, which sits at the foot of a harsh and deadly mountain range that was once home to the fae. The problem with being a gravedigger in Colbren, though, is that the dead don’t always stay dead.

The risen corpses are known as “bone houses,” and legend says that they’re the result of a decades-old curse. When Ellis, an apprentice mapmaker with a mysterious past, arrives in town, the bone houses attack with new ferocity. What is it that draws them near? And more importantly, how can they be stopped for good?

Together, Ellis and Ryn embark on a journey that will take them deep into the heart of the mountains, where they will have to face both the curse and the long-hidden truths about themselves.

Review:

Ryn lives with her siblings after the death of her parents, continuing her father’s job as gravedigger. Her father went into the forest one day to investigate the “bone houses,” dead bodies that would rise and attack anyone who entered the forest, and he never came back. Now, the bone houses are entering the town. Ryn saves Ellis, a mapmaker from the kingdom, from a bone house attack. When the bone houses become more aggressive, Ryn and Ellis venture into the forest to figure out how to save her town and her family.

This was a creepy zombie story. I liked that it was historical fiction, so it was removed from our world. From the names that were used, it seemed to be a Welsh setting. I don’t usually like zombie stories, because they can seem forced and fake. Since this story had historical aspects, the bone house zombies could be more realistic.

This story also had some really emotional parts at the end. There were some twists that surprised me, and they were heart wrenching too. Even though there were some heart breaking parts, I really liked the ending.

This is a great spooky historical story.

What to read next:

Bone Crier’s Moon by Kathryn Purdie

The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu

Have you read The Bone Houses? What did you think of it?

Review: There’s Someone Inside Your House

Title: There’s Someone Inside Your House
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Thriller
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Source: Library
Format: Ebook
Release Date: September 26, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Love hurts…

Makani Young thought she’d left her dark past behind her in Hawaii, settling in with her grandmother in landlocked Nebraska. She’s found new friends and has even started to fall for mysterious outsider Ollie Larsson. But her past isn’t far behind.

Then, one by one, the students of Osborne Hugh begin to die in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasingly grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and her feelings for Ollie intensify, Makani is forced to confront her own dark secrets.

Review:

Makani has moved in with her grandmother in Nebraska, after a scandalous event in Hawaii. She has a few close friends, and a potential love interest. However, one day a student is brutally murdered. It turns the school upside down. Then, another student is killed. Eventually, Makani gets involved in this serial killing spree, and her dark past must be revealed.

I went into this book without knowing what it was about, and it was a shocking read! It was quite dark at times, with gory murders described in detail. This story was also set in October, so it’s the perfect Halloween read.

One thing that was interesting about this book was the narration style. It was all written in the third person omniscient perspective. The narrator knew what everyone was thinking. Some chapters focused on a random character, who wasn’t one of the main characters, which signaled they were about to be targeted by the killer. This was a little confusing at first because I wasn’t sure who these other people were, but I soon figured out that they were the ones who would be killed next.

This is a thrilling horror novel, perfect for Halloween!

What to read next:

Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

Have you read There’s Someone Inside Your House? What did you think of it?

Review: Burn Our Bodies Down

Title: Burn Our Bodies Down
Author: Rory Power
Genre: Young Adult, Horror
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: July 7, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From the author of the New York Times bestseller Wilder Girlscomes a new twisty thriller about a girl whose past has always been a mystery—until she decides to return to her mother’s hometown . . . where history has a tendency to repeat itself.

Ever since Margot was born, it’s been just her and her mother. No answers to Margot’s questions about what came before. No history to hold on to. No relative to speak of. Just the two of them, stuck in their run-down apartment, struggling to get along.

But that’s not enough for Margot. She wants family. She wants a past. And she just found the key she needs to get it: A photograph, pointing her to a town called Phalene. Pointing her home. Only, when Margot gets there, it’s not what she bargained for.

Margot’s mother left for a reason. But was it to hide her past? Or was it to protect Margot from what’s still there?

The only thing Margot knows for sure is there’s poison in their family tree, and their roots are dug so deeply into Phalene that now that she’s there, she might never escape.

Review:

Margot has always lived with her mother, and she has never had any other relatives. They live a secluded life, and Margot longs for some family history. She finds a photo of her mother as a child with her grandmother’s phone number on the back. Margot decides to go and find the rest of her family, but she ends up discovering their secrets that should have stayed hidden.

This was an intense story. The tension grew slowly as different parts of Margot’s family’s past were revealed. There were some hints as to what was coming, though I only noticed that looking back on the story.

It’s difficult to talk about the story without giving away the ending. I can say that I really liked the way the story progressed. I was actually cringing at the descriptions by the end, but it was well worth the wait to find out what happened.

I enjoyed this suspenseful novel!

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Wilder Girls by Rory Power

Other Words for Smoke by Sarah Maria Griffin

Have you read Burn Our Bodies Down? What did you think of it?

Review: Gretel

Title: Gretel
Author: Ben Meares
Genre: Horror, Fantasy, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Zenescope
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: February 4, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Gretel’s story has been more nightmare than fairy tale ever since the tragic events of her childhood involving her brother and a maniacal witch. These events have left her cursed with a life that will span centuries.

After consuming the heart of a psychic witch, Gretel has been gifted the power of premonition. But when she has a psychic vision foretelling the end of the world, Gretel must open old wounds if she wants to try and prevent it from coming true.

Review:

This story tells an alternate story of Hansel and Gretel, where Gretel became a witch.

I really enjoyed the plot of this story. Gretel searches for the original witch, and meets many others along the way. It also tells the story of what she has been doing for the hundreds of years since her brother and her were captured by the witch.

This was quite a gruesome and graphic comic. The witches in this story eat human hearts. They eat children’s hearts to stay young, and they eat the hearts of other witches to gain their powers. These parts had realistic illustrations, so they were graphic.

This was a great horror graphic novel.

Thank you Diamond Book Distributors for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Robyn Hood: Outlaw by Howard Mackie

Have you read Gretel? What did you think of it?

Review: Blood Countess (Lady Slayers #1)

Title: Blood Countess (Lady Slayers #1)
Author: Lana Popović
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Horror
Publisher: Amulet Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: January 28, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A historical YA horror novel based on the infamous real-life inspiration for Countess Dracula 

In 16th century Hungary, Anna Darvulia has just begun working as a scullery maid for the young and glamorous Countess Elizabeth Báthory. When Elizabeth takes a liking to Anna, she’s vaulted to the dream role of chambermaid, a far cry from the filthy servants’ quarters below. She receives wages generous enough to provide for her family, and the Countess begins to groom Anna as her friend and confidante. It’s not long before Anna falls completely under the Countess’s spell—and the Countess takes full advantage. Isolated from her former friends, family, and fiancé, Anna realizes she’s not a friend but a prisoner of the increasingly cruel Elizabeth. Then come the murders, and Anna knows it’s only a matter of time before the Blood Countess turns on her, too.

Review:

This was a creepy story inspired by a real woman.

Elizabeth Báthory was a real noblewoman who lived in the sixteenth century. She was the inspiration for Dracula because of her bloodlust. She was a serial killer who tortured many women.

This story follows Anna, who is from a small village. She goes to work for Elizabeth, and she is so proud of this job that will bring much needed money to her family. However, she soon learns that being with Elizabeth means witnessing and taking part in the torture and murder of girls who she used to call her friends. The story introduces Elizabeth as a misunderstood woman who is surrounded by rumors, before her true behavior is revealed.

Some parts of this story were quite gory and horrific. Elizabeth was relentless in her torture. It makes it all the more creepy to think that she is based on a real woman.

At first, I thought this was going to be a series about Elizabeth. Based on the ending, I believe this series will be about various “lady slayers” throughout history. I’m curious to see who will be in the next book.

Thank you Amulet Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

Cadaver and Queen (Cadaver and Queen #1) by Alisa Kwitney

Have you read Blood Countess? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: Season of the Witch

Title: Season of the Witch
Author: Sarah Rees Brennan
Genre: Young Adult, Horror
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Source: Publisher
Format: Ebook
Release Date: July 9, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

It’s the summer before her sixteenth birthday, and Sabrina Spellman knows her world is about to change. She’s always studied magic and spells with her aunts, Hilda and Zelda. But she’s also lived a normal mortal life – attending Baxter High, hanging out with her friends Susie and Roz, and going to the movies with her boyfriend, Harvey Kinkle.

Now time is running out on her every day, normal world, and leaving behind Roz and Susie and Harvey is a lot harder than she thought it would be. Especially because Sabrina isn’t sure how Harvey feels about her. Her cousin Ambrose suggests performing a spell to discover Harvey’s true feelings. But when a mysterious wood spirit interferes, the spell backfires in a big way.

Sabrina has always been attracted to the power of being a witch. But now she can’t help wondering if that power is leading her down the wrong path. Will she choose to forsake the path of light and follow the path of night?

Review:

This is a great prequel to the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

I read the graphic novel of the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina before I watched the show on Netflix. The graphic novel was the creepiest one I’ve ever read! The show is also quite creepy and gruesome. I was so glad that this book didn’t have the same horror themes.

I loved the way the characters were introduced in this story. The story added a lot to the plot, by introducing the characters before the beginning of the show. It also gave a lot of the background on Ambrose, who I always found was a confusing character, as to how and why he was there. It also gave some details on Harvey’s family.

I really enjoyed this story!

Thank you Scholastic for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Vol. 1: The Crucible by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Robert Hack

About the Author:

SARAH REES BRENNAN is a New York Times bestselling author whose novels have been long-listed for the Carnegie Medal and short-listed for both a Nebula Award and a Hugo Award, as well as received multiple starred reviews. Her most recent novels include In Other Lands, Tell the Wind and Fire and the Lynburn Legacy trilogy. 

Giveaway:

5 copies of SABRINA: SEASON OF THE WITCH by SARAH REES BRENNAN

US Only

Link:http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d9681b86388/?

Blog Tour Schedule:

July 24th

Popthebutterfly Reads– Creative Post/Bookstagram
The Reading Life- Bookstagram
Book Slaying– Review & Favorite Quotes

July 25th

One More Chapter– Review
Booked J- Review
Rhythmicbooktrovert- Review & Favorite Quotes


July 26th

Lost in Storyland- Interview
Starlight Reads- Bookstagram
BookCrushin- Creative Post

July 27th

The Book Nut– Playlist
onemused- Bookstagram
Morgan Vega- Review

July 28th

Here’s to Happy Endings– Review
Sometimes Leelynn Reads– Interview

July 29th

Moonlight Rendezvous– Review
Jill’s Book Blog- Review
The Reading Corner for All- Bookstagram

July 30th

Story-eyed Reviews– Review & Favorite Quotes
Musings of a (Book) Girl- Review/Creative Post
Twilight Reader- Playlist
A Book Addict’s Bookshelves- Playlist

Thank you The Fantastic Flying Book Club and Scholastic for letting me participate in this blog tour.

Have you read Season of the Witch? What did you think of it?

Review: Wilder Girls

Title: Wilder Girls
Author: Rory Power
Genre: Young Adult, Horror
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: July 9, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.

It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.

But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.

Review:

This story was a rollercoaster ride!

I felt the camaraderie between the girls right away. They were close because they had all been affected by the same disease, called the Tox. It affected everyone differently. Some girls grew gills, another grew a second spine, and other people grew tree branches out of their bodies. Each symptom kept getting creepier than the last, because they were unpredictable.

I liked the way that this story had two different perspectives. Hetty had the Tox, but she was fairly reliable throughout the story. The narratives switches to another girl for a few chapters, and she is very sick with the Tox. This gives an inside look into how it affects the girls when it takes over their bodies.

I really enjoyed this story. It had creepy horror elements that kept me hooked. I would love to see a sequel happen one day!

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Dark Beneath the Ice by Amelinda Bérubé

Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1) by Tahereh Mafi

Have you read Wilder Girls? What did you think of it?