Book Review: Mexican Gothic, written by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Book Review: Mexican Gothic, written by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Hello everyone! Today I’m going to be reviewing Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, published by Quercus Books(UK) on June 30th. The first book I read and loved by Moreno-Garcia was The Gods of Jade And Shadow. Mexican Gothic proved to be even more of a captivating and stunning book.

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A story where the dead live and have unique names | ARC Review: Smoke And Key by Kelsey Sutton

A story where the dead live and have unique names | ARC Review: Smoke & Key by Kelsey Sutton

LINKS

Looking for a thriller recommendation? | ARC Review: The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley
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SYNOPSIS

A sound awakens her. There’s darkness all around. And then she’s falling…

She has no idea who or where she is. Or why she’s dead. The only clue to her identity hangs around her neck: a single rusted key. This is how she and the others receive their names—from whatever belongings they had when they fell out of their graves. Under is a place of dirt and secrets, and Key is determined to discover the truth of her past in order to escape it.

She needs help, but who can she trust? Ribbon seems content in Under, uninterested in finding answers. Doll’s silence hints at deep sorrow, which could be why she doesn’t utter a word. There’s Smoke, the boy with a fierceness that rivals even the living. And Journal, who stays apart from everyone else. Key’s instincts tell her there is something remarkable about each of them, even if she can’t remember why.

Then the murders start; bodies that are burnt to a crisp. After being burned, the dead stay dead. Key is running out of time to discover who she was—and what secret someone is willing to kill to keep hidden—before she becomes the next victim…

Should You read Smoke & Key by Kelsey Sutton?

I gather an unnecessary breath several times, about to put voice to my confusion, but it feels as though talking isn’t allowed.


I was supposed to write a review post for a blog tour but since I didn’t like it, I’m reviewing it now..like, super late. I was about to DNF this book but I kept saying let’s read on, maybe I’ll like it … maybe …maybe.. maybe not.

First impressions, I loved the cover and the synopsis so much. I was fascinated the idea of naming people by the object they were found with. However, as the story progressed, I was confused about everything and my situation mirrored with that of the protagonist’s.

The protagonist of Smoke and Key is Key and this is her name because she was buried with one. Key wakes up from the dead, disoriented and can’t recall anything about her identity, the cause of her death or why she can speak even when she is dead. Then, some of her questions are answered by a mysterious boy called Smoke. Smoke tells her that this place she sees around her is called Under and no, it isn’t “hell”. Key is soon attacked and she just wants some answers (and so do I) but all she gets are more questions.

Just remember. you can’t kill what’s already dead.”

Then someone gets killed in UNDER, and I’m like whaaaaat?! How can you get killed when you’re ..you know.. DEAD. Then I remembered the freakin’ White Walkers but then realised oh, I’m not reading or watching GOT.. you get my point(I hope). Anyway, so everyone is panicking now and some suspect Key because theses “killings” didn’t happen until after she arrived.

Then, a lot of things happen which lead Key to discovering the reason for everyone’s deaths. Question is, ” Will Key succeed in rescuing everyone from Under before she and her loved ones die in the hands of a killer?”

I was confused throughout most of the book. It was like wandering through a maze and failing to find a way out. I reread some pages because I wondered if I my brain was fried and maybe that’s why I was so confused. When I neared the ending, I finally found my way of the maze and understood everything that was going on.

Overall, I wouldn’t recommend this book if you’re thinking of picking this up as your first fantasy read or just in general.. I didn’t like it and I’m sorry because this book is an author’s years of hard work. I loved the unique concept of the undead, their naming, and the backstory of how they came to be undead.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

VERDICT:

Author: Connect with Author Kelsey Sutton here or here

  • Publisher: Entangled Teen
  • Publication Date: 2nd April , 2019
  • Paperback: 304 Pages

GIVEAWAY(US): SIGNED FINISHED COPY 

You can check out the rest of the tour here .

A story where the dead live and have unique names | ARC Review: Smoke & Key by Kelsey Sutton

A beautiful story cocooned ​within an ​equally​ beautiful cover| ARC Review of We Must Be Brave

We Must Be Brave by Frances Liardet review
Background images : Mine(Instagram @book_rambler)

We Must Be Brave Goodreads cover
Cover ( Goodreads)
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We Must Be Brave summary
Background image : mine; Synopsis: Goodreads

SHE WAS FAST ASLEEP on the back seat on the bus. Curled up, thumb in mouth. Four, maybe five years old.

Frances Liardet,We Must be Brave

This is the story of Ellen Parr and her love for her foster daughter, Pamela. The book starts off with Ellen finding a sleeping but abandoned child in a bus. Ellen searches for the child’s mother but no one on the bus has seen her. Distraught, Ellen takes the child -Pamela- into her care and meanwhile, she searches for Pamela’s mother. However, Ellen soon discovers that Pamela’s mother is dead and apparently, Pamela has no other relative who can take care of her. This marks the beginning of a beautiful mother-daughter relationship which is the central theme of the story. 

Years go by, the war ends and so does the time Ellen can spend with Pamela. Ellen has to let Pamela go and they may never see each other again or will they ?

My eyes stung with frustrated tears. I watched the bus emerge from the dip and rush on up the hill, through the bare trees and away to Waltham.

-Frances Liardet, We Must Be Brave

This heartbreaking story is set during the 1940s and spans years through the ’70s till 2010. We learn of Ellen’s past and present and then, at last, we get a glimpse into Pamela’s present. I had no problem with the timeline as it was seamlessly written. I loved the ending too, it left me somewhat heartbroken but content ( am I making any sense?). 

What I didn’t like was some parts of the dialogue and some secondary characters. I felt that the book could have been a bit shorter if some of the parts were cut out. Besides that, I loved this historical fiction where we get a glimpse of one of many consequences of war and life. 

We Must Be Brave | Book Rambler


Overall, I would recommend this tear-jerker of historical fiction where you can glimpse the different consequences of war and the unconventional love between mother and daughter.

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a review copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Verdict: 3.75 out of 5 stars.

Author: Connect with Author Frances Liardet here .

  • Publisher: 4th Estate Books
  • Publication Date: 7 Feb 2019
  • Paperback: 896 Pages
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Have you read WE MUST BE BRAVE, or, the author’s previous novel The Game? If your answer is ‘NO’ to both the questions, then, will you add it to your TBR?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! 

Book Review(ARC): Once Upon A River | Storytelling at its finest

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A dark midwinter’s night in an ancient inn on the Thames. The regulars are entertaining themselves by telling stories when the door bursts open on an injured stranger. In his arms is the drowned corpse of a little child.

Hours later the dead girl stirs, takes a breath and returns to life.

Is it a miracle?

Is it magic?

Or can it be explained by science?

Replete with folklore, suspense and romance, as well as with the urgent scientific curiosity of the Darwinian age, Once Upon a River is as richly atmospheric as Setterfield’s bestseller The Thirteenth Tale
cover image
Cover(Goodreads)
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It was solstice night, the longest night of the year… And as the borders between night and day stretch to their thinnest, so too do the borders between worlds… Unexpected things can happen. Did the solstice have anything to do with the strange events at the swan? You will have to judge for yourself.”

Review: This was my first time reading a Diane Setterfield novel and let me tell you my thoughts about this book.

This was such a beautifully written novel that I was hesitant to write a blog post about this….wondering if I’ll be able to describe the sheer beauty of storytelling in this book.

The story is set along the banks of a fictional river Thames and follows a diverse set of characters :

  • The innkeeper of The Swan(and family): Margot, Joe, Jonathan
  • Mr. and Mrs. Vaughn
  • Henry Daunt(the photographer)
  • little girl
  • Mrs. Lily White
  • Rita (the nurse)
  • Mr. Armstrong

The story begins in an inn called The Swan where the main entertainment is storytelling. However, one night, a different story is seen in the making. A little girl is carried in the arms of an unknown man and is mistaken for a doll for she is so pale and still. The man’s identity is soon unearthed and he is Henry Daunt, a photographer, and speculation rise if he is the little girl’s father and if he is, then why would he take the girl on a perilous journey that would lead her to her death.

Fret not reader, for the little “dead” girl is not dead after all. For the nurse who took take of Henry Daunt’s wounds and checked the little girl’s pulse to be sure, it is a conundrum! How can she be alive ?!

This is not the only shocking thing in the story. There still remains the question of the girl’s identity and we have some contenders:

  1. Maybe she is The Vaughns’ little girl who was kidnapped one day and was never seen
  2. Mr. Armstrong’s granddaughter whom he had never seen before
  3. Mrs. Lily White’s sister, although this claim is quite questionable

Everyone wants this little girl who cannot speak a word, everyone is captivated by this little girl. What’s her story?

Once Upon A River starts off as a slow burn and around 100-something page or so, we come to the crux of the story. This is not historical fiction but a historical mystery with a heavy dose of magical realism. 

Overall, this is the book to curl up with and let loose in the world where stories have the power to shape people’s lives. The characters are so real, and so are their secrets and traumas which comes back to haunt them in the end.

*If you are a fan of The Thirteenth Tale by the author, then you should definitely pick this up. If aren’t then,I highly recommend you add Diane Setterfield’s books to your TBR!


“And now, dear reader, the story is over. It is time for you to cross the bridge once more and return to the world you came from. This river, which is and is not the Thames, must continue flowing without you. You have haunted here long enough, and besides, you surely have rivers of your own to attend to?”

Thanks to the publisher for an advanced review copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Verdict: 5 out of 5 stars

Author: Connect with Author Diane Setterfield on Goodreads.

  • Publisher: Doubleday
  • Publication Date: 17 January 2019
  • Hardcover(ARC): 432 Pages

ARC Review ​: The Kinship of Secrets by Eugenia Kim

Cover image of blog post

Synopsis: In 1948 Najin and Calvin Cho, with their young daughter Miran, travel from South Korea to the United States in search of new opportunities. Wary of the challenges ahead, Najin and Calvin make the difficult decision to leave their other daughter, Inja, behind with their extended family; soon, they hope, they will return to her.

But then war breaks out in Korea, and there is no end in sight to the separation. Miran grows up in prosperous American suburbia, under the shadow of the daughter left behind, as Inja grapples in her war-torn land with ties to a family she doesn’t remember. Najin and Calvin desperately seek a reunion with Inja, but are the bonds of love strong enough to reconnect their family over distance, time and war? And as deep family secrets are revealed, will everything they long for be upended?

Told through the alternating perspectives of the distanced sisters, and inspired by a true story, The Kinship of Secrets explores the cruelty of war, the power of hope, and what it means to be a sister.

cover image
Cover(Goodreads)

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Review: There are a couple of words I could use to describe Eugenia Kim’s The Kinship of Secrets and those are beautiful, riveting and heartbreaking.

Continue reading “ARC Review ​: The Kinship of Secrets by Eugenia Kim”