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!

Blog Tour: Highfire by Eoin Colfer

Good morning everyone and I am so excited to welcome you to the blog tour for Highfire by Eoin Colfer!

‘Battle dragons do not listen to their little voices, They go directly to war.’

In the days of yore, he flew the skies and scorched angry mobs—now he hides from swamp tour boats and rises only with the greatest reluctance from his Laz-Z-Boy recliner. Laying low in the bayou, this once-magnificent fire breather has been reduced to lighting Marlboros with nose sparks, swilling Absolut in a Flashdance T-shirt, and binging Netflix in a fishing shack. For centuries, he struck fear in hearts far and wide as Wyvern, Lord Highfire of the Highfire Eyrie—now he goes by Vern. However…he has survived, unlike the rest. He is the last of his kind, the last dragon. Still, no amount of vodka can drown the loneliness in his molten core. Vern’s glory days are long gone. Or are they?

A canny Cajun swamp rat, young Everett “Squib” Moreau does what he can to survive, trying not to break the heart of his saintly single mother. He’s finally decided to work for a shady smuggler—but on his first night, he witnesses his boss murdered by a crooked constable.

Regence Hooke is not just a dirty cop, he’s a despicable human being—who happens to want Squib’s momma in the worst way. When Hooke goes after his hidden witness with a grenade launcher, Squib finds himself airlifted from certain death by…a dragon?

The swamp can make strange bedfellows, and rather than be fried alive so the dragon can keep his secret, Squib strikes a deal with the scaly apex predator. He can act as his go-between (aka familiar)—fetch his vodka, keep him company, etc.—in exchange for protection from Hooke. Soon the three of them are careening headlong toward a combustible confrontation. There’s about to be a fiery reckoning, in which either dragons finally go extinct—or Vern’s glory days are back.

This is one of my most anticipated books of the year, if not the most anticipated. When Eoin Colfer announced the release of this book at World Con, Dublin 2019, I knew I was going to love it. Colfer has long been one of my favourite writers since childhood, I was luckily enough to meet him twice last year and I can honestly say, this book is now one of my favourites.

‘Highfire’ takes every single thing I love from Colfer’s writing, from the wonderful characters to the razor sharp humor, and remake them into a unique story that turns everything we expect from a story with a dragon and his familiar on its head and gets it drunk on vodka martinis.

Vern stole my heart. How could I not love a world weary dragon who lives on Absolut vodka, hates people and loves Flashdance? He is the last of his kind, he is wary of all humans (same, Vern) and is coagulating in his own sorrows. He struggles constantly between giving up and ending it all and continuing on to hate on humans further. He even considers having sex with an Alligator to liven things up for him. You really feel for this dragon who used to be royalty and is now reduced to just living in hiding every day. His only friend, a Mogwai named Waxman, is even kept at arms length. Then in comes Squib Moreau.

I would honestly die for Squib. Have you ever had that need to make sure the characters in your book are okay when you put the book down? That was me every waking minute with Squib. He has a face that gets him into trouble but is so pure and good you even wonder how he will survive in this world. Squib and Vern’s scenes are some of my favourite in the entire book. Their dynamic of master/familiar quickly grows into a friendship each needs as much as the other.

Colfer displays his usual skill of handling a tight plot that refuses to let the reader a moment to breathe. I mentioned already that I found it hard to put this down and I honestly mean that. This is a fast paced story with some very gory scenes that will leave you glued to the book while totally disgusted.

This book while also being tense and very graphic in places is extremely funny. Vern has some of the best lines in the book, but honestly the person who made me laugh is Waxman. He functions almost as Vern’s Renfield but if Renfield could kill Dracula at any moment but can’t be bothered. I lost it laughing at the below quote;

‘Makes me seem a character,’ he said. “Crazy Waxman” would be better, or maybe, “Scary Waxman” to keep the kids away, but “Waxman” will do just fine. I’m like Boo fuckin’ Radley on crack to these backward-ass folk.’

If you are a fantasy fan who likes your fantasy with a bit of black humor, or like me, you grew up reading any of Colfer’s books, this is for you. I can’t recommend this book enough, it is honestly my favourite book so far this year and I’m so glad I got to read it early too.

Thank you to Netgalley, Jo Fletcher Books and Colfer for giving me a copy of the book for an honest review and thank you /to Millie for having me on the blog tour!

‘Highfire’ is out on the 28/01/2020.

★★★★★/5