Blog Tour: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Hello fellow readers! Today on the blog, is my review for the blog tour of Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia!

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.

I pray I’ll see you again. You must come for me, Noemí. You have to save me.

******Trigger warnings for the following: Racism, rape, body horror, cannibalism, incest, eugenics, white supremacy, death of a parent and siblings and miscarriage.

I have never read the author before and this was honestly such a good introduction to her work. This is an intense creepy story that never fails to make your skin crawl or wonder what is going in with this damn house. The constant claustrophobia and anger felt by both the protagonist and the reader certainly stay with you off the page.

Its hard not to feel that you are locked in the crumbling mansion that is High Place. Long gone is the grandeur of Manderley and all that is left is the rotting, moldy remnants of an English family home. I am a big fan of house as character tropes and while I never felt the house was it’s own character, I definitely felt the sense that it wouldn’t let me go. From the silver laden cabinets to the enforced silence of dinner times it’s clear this house is insanely corrupt. The author went straight to the point, not once taking the attention away from High House or it’s dreary residents. For what we see of even the local town, you never spend long enough there to escape the house and that made this all the more creepy.

While investigating this weird family and this even weirder house, it’s hard not to connect with the characters or even have an emotional reaction to them. I loved Noemí right from the start. She never backs down and refuses to settle for anything less. While she can be both capricious and shallow it only strives to enforce her wonderful character more. She is pure steel with a strong sense of family, she never fails to try and challenge anyone who either offends her or stands in her way. She is the first to call out the patriarch, Howard, on his clear racism and discussion of eugenics.

Upon meeting Virgil and his family, the whole story gets even creepier I think. Is there anything creepier than racism, old English attitudes and the ideas of a superior race? I truly didn’t think this would have such relevant themes to the current climate but Virgil and his Usher style folks are a bignred flag from the get go. Except Francis. He must be kept safe at all costs.

Now I will say this isn’t going to be a nail biting read with moment after moment of shocking horror. What this truly is a gothic tale taken right out of the classics and is set in 1950s Mexico with a very unsettling story. There are some genuinely disgusting moments in this story and it didn’t help that one of the more fungal aspects of the house, is something I have a bit of an aversion to already so my reaction was a lot more visceral. There are some moments of body horror too which I was not expecting when the plot took a certain turn but it definitely added to the building tension and worked in the authors favour.

If you are a fan of creepy stories or gothic narratives or even want a story that is a welcome and refreshing take on both of these, then this is definitely for you. I read this in a day which is testament to how hard it is to put down as well.

Thank you to both Netgalley and Jo Fletcher Books for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for a review. Thank you also for having me on this blog tour!

Mexican Gothic is published today the 30th of June!

The Beautiful- Renée Ahdieh ARC Review

‘I should hope so. Knowing who you are is necessary in order to determine who you want to be.’

Please let it be noted I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you very much to NetGalley and Hodder&Stoughton.

It feels very fitting that the first ARC I ever review is the book that ticks so many of my boxes. Vampires, New Orleans and morally grey characters? Its like the book was written for me.

It’s 1872 and Celine Rousseau is fleeing to New Orleans. Abandoning her life in Paris as an accomplished dress maker she takes refuge in an Ursuline convent as she restarts her life among her fellow society sisters. What first seems to be a city of decadence and luxury quickly shows itself to be run by something entirely darker. Who are the Court of Lions? And what connection do they have to the murders that have began to plague the city?

I thoroughly enjoyed the world woven by the author. The sheer glamour of New Orleans is captivating and I love how real the city feels as the novel goes on. The descriptions of the clothes, the food and the parades are so immersive and I could even feel the humidity described in the city. The location was important and I really felt it was written very well.

Overall we have a wonderful cast of characters. Celine is fanastic protagonist with a stubborn streak and an even sharper tongue. Her interactions with the male characters are the best since she refuses to be treated as anything but an equal to them. She is educated, she is stubborn and she doesn’t care about what you think of her. The female friendships gave me a lot of hope for future YA books in the genre and especially for representation. There are many characters of colour in this book and some very worthwhile discussions are brought up.

Now we have to talk about the vampires. The creatures of the night. The undead. One of the issues I did have with the book over all was how there is no confirmation or presence of what I consider vampires until at least half way through the book. I feel like the vampire aspect of the book is pushed very heavily in marketing and is not a big part of the story. This will definitely change I think in future books but for this one be aware.

The other issue I had with the book is the pacing of the plot. Where I went into this expecting a dark, gothic stort with vampires, a murder mystery all taking place in a convent I got more of a feel that this was a murder mystery with a romance. And some vampires later on. The first half of the book is definitely a lot slower than the second which is far better but I do think this book is a good foundation for what is going to be a more expanded world overall.

Overall this is a highly enjoyable that starts off slow but definitely delivers in the end. The writing is intoxicating with some wonderful characters but definitely is lite on vampires if like me, that’s what you came for. It’s still a book I would highly recommend to anyone who enjoys books like The Diviners.

The Beautiful is due out on 08/10/2019.

★★★.5/5