“Books. Moonlight. Melodrama.” // Review of “Mexican Gothic” by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Title: Mexican Gothic
Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Genre: Gothic horror
Intended audience: Adult
Date Read: 09/08/2020– 12/08/2020
Rating: 
★★★

Review:

Hoo boy. This was one of my most anticipated 2020 reads, but I have to put the disclaimer that I maybe didn’t know what I was getting into? I loved Moreno-Garcia’s Gods of Jade and Shadow enough that I wanted to check out her haunted house book. This is despite only managing to get through 30 pages of the last haunted house book I tried because I am a wuss.

It may be that my lack of experience with the horror genre, and with gothic horror in particular, meant I didn’t know what to expect. Some of it was expected, like the creepy, barely accessible house with a lot of death in its history, the awful people living there, and strange dreams and glowing apparitions. But I have to admit the final twist lost me! Without saying anything too spoilery, is that sort of thing common in gothic horror?

Still, the historical world-building and the characterisations were spot on. There’s also a lot of exploration of themes such as racism and misogyny, and colonialism is also an important aspect of this story. I had real visceral reactions, both good and bad, to some of these characters and the things they said and their ways of thinking. This was the reason I wanted to see it through to the end, even when things got a bit too strange for me…


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#WWW Wednesday – October 11, 2017

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

pretty good reading week this week! I finished The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Morena-Garcia. This was nearly a four-star read but became a 3.5 in the last quarter. It was really moving along and I was really involved and then it just sort of slowed down. Review here.

Then I read Fake Geek Girl and Unmagical Boy Story by Tansy Rayner Roberts, which are part of the Belladonna University series. It’s basically about a bunch of Australian university students who are also nerdy and into fandom and that sort of thing but also have certain magic abilities. The university is divided into Real (magical) and Unreal (non-magical) campuses. These are really short (like, short novella length) and really enjoyable. The third is coming out soon and I’m pretty sure I will read it. I’ll probably review these two together since they were so short.

I also posted my review of Garth Nix’s Frogkisser! this week. It is posted here.

What are you currently reading?

At the time of writing this post (Tuesday evening), I am about 150 pages from the end of  The Foretelling of Georgie Spider by Ambelin Kwaymullina. I thought the first two books in this series were fine (3 stars) but this one hasn’t grabbed me. Still, it will be nice to have completed a series.

Still going with The Asylum by Johan Theorin on audio. This is one of those thrillers were things are revealed to the reader gradually, but in order to keep the reader in the dark, the characters act like they didn’t already know about certain things. Which makes no sense. But I’m about 65% of the way through and I have some driving to do over the next few nights so I should get a decent amount listened to.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I thought I would try to read Blood Guilt by Lindy Cameron next. This will be my second LGBTI* read for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge and will mean I will have finished the diversity challenge I set for myself within the regular challenge this year. And it also gives me enough time that if I don’t like it, I can find a different title (which is where I failed last year by leaving my second LGBTI* read until the week after Christmas, and then not being into it).

What are you reading this week? 🙂

~ Emily

 

 

P.S. If you feel so inclined, head on over to my writing blog, Letting the Voices Out, where I’ve shared an excerpt from my current WIP today.

“How did I find you?” “You didn’t. I found you.” // Review of The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Title: The Beautiful Ones
Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Genre: Romance/historical fantasy
Date Read: 27/09/2017 – 08/10/2017
Rating: ★★★

Review:

The first thing Iwant to note about this book is that the romance is the focus. Yes, two of the main characters are telekinetic, but you could replace that skill with any other and the story would be more or less the same. I wanted to get that out of the way early because I think that realisation would disappoint some people. I was fine, as I enjoy a good historical romance every now and then, and despite a slow start, I ended up pretty emotionally invested in this one.

Antonina Beaulieu can move things with her mind and she enjoys studying bugs and butterflies, but despite all of that, she is sent to the city to live with her cousins and hopefully attract a husband. While there, she meets Hector Auvray, who teaches her to control her talent and with whom she falls in love. But Hector has ulterior motives for pursuring her in return.

So there’s a particularly complicated love… square going on in this book? Hector’s initial pursuit of Nina is so that he can have access to her cousin Valerie, with whom he had an affair back when they were both much younger. The way these two clash forms an important aspect of the book. There is also Nina’s other suitor, Luc, who is more interested in her dowry.

I actually really appreciated the juxtaposition between Hector and Luc. Nina points out the way Luc calls her pretty and buys her trinkets but nothing else, and thinks she should hide her telekinetisis because it’s not something ladies let other people see. On the other hand, when Hector realises he is falling for Nina, he sends her rare beetle specimens and starts learning about entomology himself,  and of course, possessing the same talent as her and making his living from it,  never shames her for it.

Valerie was a character I tried to feel sympathy for, but mostly found I couldn’t. She has had to give up a lot, which I can appreciate, but she seemed determined to make things harder for herself and see the worst in everyone else, all of which eventually comes back to bite her.

absolutely loved Nina. I loved that she was a dorky country girl who liked bugs and always said the wrong thing and was insecure because people were awful to her due to her talent and also because she felt so out of place in the city. I enjoyed the scenes where she was surrounded by her extended family in the country, though it would have been nice for there to be some other friends in the city.

The world-building was also interesting. Set in a fictional world based roughly based on La Belle Epoque, I found it quite a different take the way what would have just been written off as “magic” in other books was something considered worthy of scientific study in this one. As I said,  though, the characters’ talents were really just set-dressing for the romance.

The plot was a bit of a slow-burn and it took me a little while to get into it properly, but there was some moments where I didn’t want to put the book down. I did feel that the book slowed down a little too much towards the end. Even though the stakes were still high in the last 15%, I felt less invested in the outcome. Everything also got tied up a bit too nicely,  with certain characters suddenly making good when I felt they could have been a bit more resistant.

Still, this was an enjoyable romance set in an interesting world and I would recommend to anyone looking into that.


Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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#WWW Wednesday – October 04, 2017

.It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

I didn’t post last week because at that point I hadn’t fininshed anything or posted any reviews since the previous week.

This week, though, I have finished A Dangerous Language by Sulari Gentill, which was the 8th book in the Rowland Sinclair historical mystery series. I posted my review here. Then I read Life is Like a Musical by Tim Federle, which is theatre-themed self-help book, which I loved. I reviewed it here.

I  also finished reading The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells via the Serial Reader app. As predicted, I did purchase the full version of the app, so I read it a bit quicker than the estimated 21 days. I felt this story was actually much more compelling than other Wells I have read, but nothing will ever quite beat Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds.

What are you currently reading?

I am about 35-odd% of the way through The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Morena-Garcia. There are aspects of it I really like, like the world-building, particularly the fact that what would in other books be “magic” has a scientific explanation. Or at least, science is interested in it and people are doing research and stuff. And I love Nina, but there are other characters I’m not into so much and it’s a bit slow-going. So we’ll have to see.

On audio, I am listening to The Asylum by Johan Theorin. This is a Swedish thriller and I’m listening to the English translation of course. The hero is a bit naive and has a ~past~ in which he did some things that make him an idiot (imho), and not especially sympathetic. But I’m still listening for now.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I still have The Foretelling of Georgie Spider by Ambelin Kwaymullina from the library, and I imagine it will be quite a quick read like the first two books in the series. I might actually pick it up before I finish The Beautiful Ones if I want something with a faster pace.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

~ Emily

 

 

P.S. If you feel so inclined, head on over to my writing blog, Letting the Voices Out, where I’ve shared an excerpt from my current WIP today.