Review: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

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

From the author of Gods of Jade and Shadow comes “a terrifying twist on classic gothic horror” (Kirkus Reviews) set in glamorous 1950s Mexico—“fans of classic novels like Jane Eyre and Rebecca are in for a suspenseful treat” (PopSugar).
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 received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review. 

Mexican Gothic publishes June 30, 2020. 

Before I begin, can we all just take a moment to admire that beautiful cover? I’m not even a little sorry to admit that my desire to read Mexican Gothic was totally based on the cover. Unfortunately, it ended up being the only thing that really worked for me.

My lack of enjoyment of this book is mostly one me, though. I took “gothic” to mean a creepy and mysterious setting. Something along the lines of Jane Eyre (which is referenced in the synopsis). This is more “gothic horror”, though, which is definitely not my cup of tea. No matter how hard I try, I really struggle with being able to appreciate the horror genre, so keep that in mind with my review.

The story started out very slowly and I found it really hard to get through in the beginning. I was completely prepared to DNF it, but then I decided to give one more chapter a try and it started to pick up. I became mildly intrigued, but it never really hooked me. I found Neomi kind of shallow and spoiled and not very likable. She did grow on me as the story went on, though. I liked her growing friendship with Francis, who was the only other half-way likable character in the story.

I was hoping to experience a little more of Mexican culture than we got here, too. Despite taking place in Mexico, the story mostly takes place at the isolated house that was built in the English tradition. The Doyle family are also English and only one of them even speaks the language of the country they’ve immigrated to.

Lastly, the whole supernatural/horror part of the story just didn’t work for me. Again, this is probably more me and it might be fine for fans of the genre. I just rolled my eyes a bit and suffered through the explanations. I also found the climax of the story to be kind of predictable.

Overall, Mexican Gothic just wasn’t for me. I love that beautiful cover, but I was disappointed in the lack of Mexican culture and the whole horror plotline. I am, admittedly, not the right audience for this genre, though, so this might be worth the read for those that are.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 2 Stars

WWW Wednesday: June 3, 2020

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WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

What did you recently finish reading?

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Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. I was, unfortunately, disappointed in this one. But it’s probably my own fault for not realizing this was a horror book.

Varsity Heartbreaker (Varsity #1) by Ginger Scott. This took me awhile to get into, but I overall enjoyed it.

What are you currently reading?

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Four Days of You and Me by Miranda Kenneally and Drummer Girl by Ginger Scott. I’m not terribly interested in either one of these yet. I’m feeling pretty book-slumpy, though.

What do you think you’ll read next?

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The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (The Hunger Games #0) by Suzanne Collins. No, I still haven’t started this one yet. I’m determined to start it soon, though.

What are you reading?

Reviewing the Unreviewed: May 2020

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. Reviewing the Unreviewed is my monthly post where I share my few thoughts on all the books I didn’t formally review.

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The Ex Effect (Washington Wolves #2) by Karla Sorensen. Read April 30-May 1. 3.5 Stars

This was cute, but not my favorite by this author. I thought Ava and Matthew got together a little too quickly, but I did ship them. I wish there was a little more resolution with Ava’s family, though.

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Wait For It by Mariana Zapata. Read April 27-May 2. 4 Stars.

It took me awhile to get into this (as much as I enjoy Zapata, I always think her books could be a good 200 pages shorter than they are), but once I did, I loved it. I loved the growing relationship between Diana and Dallas and I loved Josh and Louie. I put off reading this one for so long because I didn’t like Diana in The Wall of Winnipeg and Me and I don’t always like reading books when there’s kids involved. But I found Diana way more likable in this and the kids were two of the best things about the book. I think Dallas might be my new favorite Zapata man, too.

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The Bombshell Effect (Washington Wolves #1) by Karla Sorensen. Read May 3-5. 3 Stars. 

This was cute, but not my favorite book of the series. I liked Allie and Luke together and the big romantic gesture at the end had some “Never Been Kissed” vibes that I enjoyed.

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The Split by Sharon Bolton. Read May 5-8. 2.5 Stars.

I am so disappointed! I love Sharon Bolton, but I found this book so boring. It started off really interesting and the end was alright, but I just didn’t care about anything in the middle. I didn’t care about most of the characters and I guessed the twist long before it was revealed. I love so many of Bolton’s books, but this one just wasn’t for me.

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The Stranger by Harlan Coben. Read May 13-14. 3.5 Stars. 

The writing sucked me in and kept me reading, but this definitely wasn’t my favorite Coben book. I found myself super annoyed with Adam’s wife, Corrine. When he confronts her about the lie and asks for an explanation she basically says “I’m not ready to tell you right now. I’ll do it later.” And then she disappears. What annoyed me was the manipulative “I don’t feel like talking about this” response. And as the book goes on, you expect there to be some huge conspiracy she was caught up in and it would all make sense why she couldn’t tell him anything…but that’s not the case. It was just annoying. It made it kind of hard to care about what happened to her. I’m still interested in checking out the show on Netflix, though. I know they made some significant changes from the book, so maybe it will be a little better.

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Life and Death (Twilight #1.75) by Stephenie Meyer. Read May 10-20. 3 Stars. 

So with all the hype about Midnight Sun coming out soon, I decided it was time to revisit Twilight and realized I never read the gender swap book. It did take me quite a bit of time to get through, only reading a couple chapters at a time in between other books. I know that Meyer did the gender swap to show that if Bella was a guy, she still would’ve needed to be rescued because she’s human, but it didn’t really work for me. Maybe I’m part of the problem in society, but there were so many times where I just wanted Beau to “act like a man.” A couple things were changed here and there, but mostly it was just pronouns and it didn’t work. I often caught myself reading it as if was regular Twilight. One thing that did surprise me was the ending! I thought it was a straight re-telling, but it’s not and I did find that interesting.

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From Blood and Ash (Blood and Ash #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Read May 19-24. 2 Stars. 

*Sigh* This reminded me a lot of Armentrout’s Covenant series. Mixed in with a little Twilight and Shadow and Bone. And it was just ok for me. Actually, large parts of it were ridiculous. Poppy was so whiny, I found her really unlikable most of the time. Most of the book is her complaining about how unfair it is that she can’t sleep around like everyone else has the right to. Despite the whole cult-like religious system being pretty shady, she believes in it, which makes her choosing to ditch her Maiden status to have sex pretty selfish.

The romance between Poppy and Hawke played out very similarly to every other JLA couple, to the point where the names could’ve been switched out with any other JLA characters and you wouldn’t be able to tell which book you were reading. I though Hawke’s true identity was super obvious long before Poppy figures it out, too.

So, obviously this wasn’t my favorite JLA book, but all of her other fans seem to love it, so it’s probably just me.

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A Slice of Love (Slice #4) by Teagan Hunter. Read May 24. 3.5 Stars.

This was cute and I definitely shipped Frankie and Jonas. I thought there was a little too much focus on the physical relationship, though, and would’ve liked a little more emotional/romantic development.

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Eyes on Me by Rachel Harris. Read May 24-25. 3 Stars. 

This was pretty cute and was a lot less angsty than I anticipated, which was nice. I liked the dual POVs and shipped Lily and Stone.

*****Back on the TBR*****

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The Chase (Briar U #1) by Elle Kennedy and Love the One You Hate by R.S. Grey. I just couldn’t get into either one of these, but I think it was my mood, so I do plan to try them again in the future. 

*****DNF*****

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You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria. DNF @ 27%. I really wanted to like this one. I love the cover and the comparison to Jane the Virgin definitely intrigued me. There were just too many little things adding up that didn’t work for me. My biggest problem was how the scenes from the tv show were written. It starts out with just a bit of script direction to set the scene, but instead of staying in script format, it goes back to the normal narrative style. And instead of describing things from Jasmine’s POV as she acts the scene, it described them as if Carmen, the character she’s playing, was experiencing them. And we would get Carmen’s feelings and internal monologue, but then there would be some thoughts from Jasmine interspersed with those and it was just weird. I know I’m not explaining it well, but it just really threw me off. There were a few other little things, too, that just ended up making this book a chore for me to get through. While both the main characters and their families were likable enough, I just didn’t really connect with them and I don’t really care enough to keep reading this. That said, I have seen some really good reviews for this book, so I’m sure many others will love it.

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Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove #1) by Shelby Mahurin. DNF @ 16%. I think it might be time to just admit that YA Fantasy just isn’t really for me anymore. I couldn’t really get into this and I set it down to read some other books. After more than a week, I still have no desire to pick this one back up and I don’t think I ever will.

*****Books with Future Reviews Scheduled*****

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Head Over Heels by Hannah Orensten – 2 Stars

Cheesy on the Eyes (Slice #5) by Teagan Hunter – 4 Stars

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – 2 Stars

WWW Wednesday: May 20, 2020

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WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

What did you recently start and put back on your TBR?

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I’m changing this first question a bit. I’ve been having trouble with picking a book and sticking with it lately. These are two books I recently tried and wasn’t in the mood for and ended up putting them back on my TBR list. The Chase (Briar U #1) by Elle Kennedy and Love the One You Hate by RS Grey.

What are you currently reading?

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Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin. I’ve heard so many good things about this that I requested it from the library, even though YA Fantasy isn’t really my thing anymore. I’m not really sure if it’s because of my current mood or if it’s the book, but I’m not really enjoying it yet. I’m hoping it gets better, though, as I’m only a few chapters in so far.

What do you think you’ll read next?

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My next ARC up is Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia.

What are you reading?

My COVID-19 ARC TBR

How is everyone doing? I personally think the world is overreacting right now, but I’ll still stay home and follow the guidelines the government and health officials put forth. I mean, I’ve been practicing social distancing all my life, so it’s not really a big deal. I am on administrative leave / working remotely for at least the next three weeks so that means plenty of time for reading! I plan on working through my ARCs:

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Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett

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Admission by Julie Buxbaum

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By the Book by Amanda Sellet

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Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson

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The Wife Who Knew Too Much by Michele Campbell

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The Girl from Widow Hills by Megan Miranda

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The Heatwave by Katerina Diamond

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Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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The Bright Lands by John Fram

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The Vacation by T.M. Logan

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Louisiana Lucky by Julie Pennell

What’s on your COVID-19 TBR?