Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Publisher: Del Rey


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 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:

Mexican Gothic started out STRONG. The first chapter hooked me, the building tension kept me turning the pages, and the horror aspect gave me nightmares—literally, two nights in a row. Unfortunately, the sci-fi fantasy twist that occurred in the middle of the book sent the plot on a downward spiral. The creepy factor turned freaky, and not in a good way. Noemi’s struggle to decipher reality from the dream world left me confused. Characters that I once feared, switched to silly and predictable. The author’s visual descriptions, though beautifully written, became grotesque and over the top. I don’t mind gore or disturbing scenes in books if they have a purpose. The majority of them felt inserted for shock value, and the author dragged out so many in the second half of the book I found myself skimming.


When I finished the book, I thought, “Well, on to my next read.” The first half of Mexican Gothic left an impression, the ending, not so much.


Though the plot wasn’t my cup of tea, the author deserves high praise for her eloquent writing style and ability to create atrocious characters who make your skin crawl.


Readers: a chilling read for those who love horror mixed with sci-fi/fantasy, wicked villains, and disturbing scenes


Writers: an excellent read for those researching horror, paranormal, third-person POV, and imagery/atmospheric narrative


Triggers/Warnings: adult language, adult content, suicide, gore, graphic & disturbing imagery, violence


Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️


Completed Read: 11/22/2020



Author: Tracy Wolff

Publisher: Entangled Teen


Synopsis:

Everything feels off―especially me. I’ve returned to Katmere Academy, but I’m haunted by fragments of days I have no recollection of living and struggling to understand who, or what, I really am. Just when I start to feel safe again, Hudson is back with a vengeance. He insists there are secrets I don’t know about, threatening to drive a wedge between Jaxon and me forever. But far worse enemies are at our doorstep. The Circle is caught in a power play and the Vampire Court is trying to drag me out of my world and into theirs. The only thing Hudson and Jaxon agree on is that leaving Katmere would mean my certain death. And not only am I fighting for my life, but now everyone else’s is at stake―unless we can defeat an unspeakable evil. All I know is that saving the people I love is going to require sacrifice. Maybe more than I’m able to give.


Review:

Let me start off by saying this, I did not enjoy Crave, the first book in this series. I had no desire to pick up book two, but the publisher sent me a copy, and guess what? I really enjoyed it. On a technical note, the editing, sentence structure, and overall style had minor flaws. The constant switching between the use of quotations and italics confused me when Hudson and Grace were speaking to one another. But other than that, it read pretty smoothly.


The pacing in this book held my attention. Unlike Crave, Crush had a plot that continuously moved forward. I was engaged in the storyline, intrigued by the tension between characters, and genuinely wanted to keep reading.


Things I enjoyed: the witty banter between Grace and Hudson, the action-packed plot, the mystery of The Circle, Hudson’s backstory, the strong bond between Grace and Macy, and the visual descriptions of the Laudres tournament.


Things I didn’t love: several of the pop culture references felt dated for a seventeen-year-old living in 2020, the predictable plot twists, and the sudden change in both Jaxon and Grace’s character. Jaxon felt very distant in this book. I didn’t connect with him. His actions felt weak, forced. In the first book, Grace portrayed the damsel in distress, but in book two, she has a strong feminist attitude. It comes out of nowhere and is jarring to the reader. Another head-scratching moment occurred when a popular character revealed his sexual orientation to Grace. It appeared the author wanted to appeal to the LGBT community but unfortunately it felt forced and unnatural. Grace’s textbook response to her friend’s emotional reveal came off as cheesy and unauthentic.


Overall, I enjoyed Crush and look forward to continuing the series.


Readers: an easy read for those who love young adult romance, and the paranormal


Writers: a good change of pace for those who write dense fantasy


Triggers/Warnings: adult language


Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5


Completed Read: 11/16/2020


Author: Claire Legrand

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Synopsis:

Two queens, separated by thousands of years, connected by secrets and lies, must continue their fight amid deadly plots and unthinkable betrayals that will test their strength—and their hearts.


Rielle Dardenne has been anointed Sun Queen, but her trials are far from over. The Gate keeping the angels at bay is falling. To repair it, Rielle must collect the seven hidden castings of the saints. Meanwhile, to help her prince and love Audric protect Celdaria, Rielle must spy on the angel Corien—but his promises of freedom and power may prove too tempting to resist.

Centuries later, Eliana Ferracora grapples with her new reality: She is the Sun Queen, humanity's long-awaited savior. But fear of corruption—fear of becoming another Rielle—keeps Eliana's power dangerous and unpredictable. Hunted by all, racing against time to save her dying friend Navi, Eliana must decide how to wear a crown she never wanted—by embracing her mother's power, or rejecting it forever.

Review:

"A sequel of epic proportions." J.M. Buckler, author of the Seeker of Time series.


My, oh my, how I adored this book. Book two in the Empirium Trilogy picked up right where book one left off. Thank goodness, because Furyborn left the reader on quite the cliffhanger. The stakes are high, and the plot twists are mind-blowing in Kingsbane. Elaina’s growth and Rielle’s downfall are both eye-opening and heart-breaking. I loved reading about the relationship struggles between Rielle and Audric, and Eliana and Simon. I could literally feel their pain. Author Legrand gave each character their own voice. Like the threads of the Empirium, she wove a glittering tale of love and betrayal. I rarely tear up when reading, but Legrand tugged at my heartstrings toward the end of this amazing novel.

The pacing kept my attention; the world-building was magical; the vivid descriptions allowed me to escape reality, and the character development deserves a standing ovation. 

Readers: An excellent read for those who love stories of adventure, romance, betrayal, and mind-blowing plot twists. 

Writers: An excellent read for those wanting to elevate their craft. Author Legrand excels at romantic tension, imagery, world-building, heated discussions, realistic dialogue, inner turmoil, and beautiful storytelling.

Triggers/Warnings: adult language, adult content


Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Completed Read: 10/29/2020

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