Reviews, Vlogs

Reading Vlog- One Week, Four Books

I had a very busy week and in this Vlog I’m chatting about all of the books that I have read this week. I’m feeling really good about them and about making progress in my February TBR!

This week I read a book by one of my favourite (and autobuy) authors – Silvia Moreno-Garcia. I also found a new favourite. But mainly, I read a whole lot of gloriously creepy books, and one very emotional read.

A good week of reading

I read the following books this week;

The Wilderness Retreat by Jennifer Moore*

Bunny by Mona Awad

Untamed Shore by Silvia Moreno-Garcia*

The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle



Untamed Shore

Baja California, 1979. Viridiana spends her days watching the dead sharks piled beside the seashore, as the fishermen pull their nets. There is nothing else to do, nothing else to watch, under the harsh sun. She’s bored. Terribly bored. Yet her head is filled with dreams of Hollywood films, of romance, of a future beyond the drab town where her only option is to marry and have children.

Three wealthy American tourists arrive for the summer, and Viridiana is magnetized. She immediately becomes entwined in the glamorous foreigners’ lives. They offer excitement, and perhaps an escape from the promise of a humdrum future.

When one of them dies, Viridiana lies to protect her friends. Soon enough, someone’s asking questions, and Viridiana has some of her own about the identity of her new acquaintances. Sharks may be dangerous, but there are worse predators nearby, ready to devour a naïve young woman who is quickly being tangled in a web of deceit.

I am a huge fan of Silvia Moreno-Garcia, this was my 11th book by this author. I’m a huge fan and I always have a good time with her. I did have a good time with this book.

This took a more noir theme than most of the other books I’ve enjoyed by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. It was giving me similar vibes to Velvet Was the Night. I was excited to enjoy another noir book!

I really enjoyed the characters. I feel like each of the main characters went through a journey and changes/showed their true selves. The wealthy tourists start off being so friendly and welcoming to Viridiana, they invited her to share their home while she worked for them. It seemed as if she was going to have a really enjoyable summer job. So quickly it appeared that there was more to the tourists than met the eye, they weren’t quite the lovely people that they had seemed to be at first. Quickly the woman turned on Viridiana and she was left wondering why. I really enjoyed not knowing who I could trust. I found Viridiana to be a very sympathetic character and I really was rooting for her.

The plot point surrounding the lie that Viridiana told was a little predictable. As in the book really was taking that direction. However the impact of this twist were far less predictable. I found second half of the book to become pretty fast paced and unexpected. Like a whirlwind.

The atmosphere was fantastic. This is one of the things that I love the most about this author. They write books that just ooze atmosphere that complements the vibe of the book. The atmosphere in this book was dark and foreboding. Like something was going to happen. There was a lot of symbolism coming from the sharks and the ocean. It was so clever!

The ending was totally unexpected. I was so sure the book was going to go in a different direction and I’m so happy that it didn’t.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I continue to be a huge fan of this author.

Book Recommendation of the Month, Reviews

The Beautiful Ones

They are the Beautiful Ones, Loisail’s most notable socialites, and this spring is Nina’s chance to join their ranks, courtesy of her well-connected cousin and his calculating wife. But the Grand Season has just begun, and already Nina’s debut has gone disastrously awry. She has always struggled to control her telekinesis—neighbors call her the Witch of Oldhouse—and the haphazard manifestations of her powers make her the subject of malicious gossip.

When entertainer Hector Auvray arrives to town, Nina is dazzled. A telekinetic like her, he has traveled the world performing his talents for admiring audiences. He sees Nina not as a witch, but ripe with potential to master her power under his tutelage. With Hector’s help, Nina’s talent blossoms, as does her love for him.

But great romances are for fairytales, and Hector is hiding a truth from Nina—and himself—that threatens to end their courtship before it truly begins. The Beautiful Ones is a charming tale of love and betrayal, and the struggle between conformity and passion, set in a world where scandal is a razor-sharp weapon.

At what point should I stop saying that I love Silvia Moreno-Garcia? At what point does it just become assumed that I have loved one of her books? It should come as no surprise that I absolutely adored this book! I have now read eight books by this author. Eight! Eight books and this is definitely a contender for my favourite. It’s top three and I am not emotionally prepared to work out podium positions right now.

This was a period drama with added supernatural elements because two of the main characters posses telekinetic abilities. I love, love, loved the drama of the period setting! Nina was being introduced to society with the ultimate aim being to end the season with a fiancé. This was the aim of her family but not quite Nina’s intent as she was just happy to take in the new scenery.

I adored Nina! She was such an endearing character. She was forthright and would then chastise herself for failing to show the level of decorum expected of her by her cousin in law. She faced very high expectations which went against her very nature. She was likeable and kind, and thoughtful. She was honest, often to her detriment. She met a mysterious man at a party. It just so happened to be Hector who was a professional entertainer, he just so happened to share her ability.

I love the way that Nina and Hector brought out the best in each other. Hector had been living in the shadow of his own past and Nina taught him to live again. Hector taught Nina how to control her ability.

Hector’s secret was revealed very early on and it really did feel like the stakes were high. I felt so tense waiting for the reveal. Wondering if it would! I just had to keep reading.

The ending of this book was amazing! I cried in Starbucks because I was not expecting it. My heart! My wee heart! I thought that it was perfection.

This was such an excellent twist on a classic sort of story. I now will insist on supernatural elements in my period dramas. Oh, the drama!


Signal to Noise

A literary fantasy about love, music and sorcery, set against the background of Mexico City.

Mexico City, 1988: Long before iTunes or MP3s, you said “I love you” with a mixtape. Meche, awkward and fifteen, has two equally unhip friends — Sebastian and Daniela — and a whole lot of vinyl records to keep her company. When she discovers how to cast spells using music, the future looks brighter for the trio. With help from this newfound magic, the three friends will piece together their broken families, change their status as non-entities, and maybe even find love…

Mexico City, 2009: Two decades after abandoning the metropolis, Meche returns for her estranged father’s funeral. It’s hard enough to cope with her family, but then she runs into Sebastian, and it revives memories from her childhood she thought she buried a long time ago. What really happened back then? What precipitated the bitter falling out with her father? And, is there any magic left?

I am already a huge fan of Silvia Moreno-Garcia and despite only finding this author last year, I’m making my way through her back catalogue with some urgency. This book, like the others, was such an excellent read!

I was in the mood for some teen angst and this book gave me angst mixed with magic and even more drama.

I absolutely loved the alternating chapters between childhood and adulthood. I enjoyed the way that the dialogue changed between the two time periods, so that it felt authentic to the characters.

The original trio of Meche, Sebastian, and Daniela felt like such a realistic trio. I very much felt like they reminded me of my high school friends and I. The social awkwardness was giving me nostalgia galore. I really enjoyed their dynamic, it really felt familiar. I’m sure most of us had a ‘Meche’ in our teenage groups- bossy and everything had to be their way.

I feel like this was perhaps the most realistic book I’ve read by this author which was an unexpected delight!

I felt that the rules of magic in this world were really interesting. The trio cast spells using a turntable and records. This was a really fun concept. The cost of magic in this world were severe. I maybe would have enjoyed if the book included more magic by other people but the book was so short that perhaps that would have ruined the flow.

The modern day chapters (yes, I’m counting 2009 as modern day because if I think of that as being 13 years ago, I’ll get sad about the passing of time) really captured that feeling of returning back to the hometown after many years away. The reunion between the trio gave me so many questions! What happened? They were so close! I needed to know what happened!

I found this book to be so utterly compelling, I couldn’t put it down!

My favourite character was the grandmother, wee Granny Delores. I loved her! She didn’t even have a lot of dialogue but she was the care giver in the household, she was a listening ear, she was so wise. I am a sucker for a wee granny in a book.

Once again, Silvia Moreno-Garcia gave me an emotional rollercoaster of a book. I felt so attached the the characters and wanted to know what happened to them. Sometimes this author gives me the ending I deserve and not the ending that I want…in this instance, I got what I wanted and I squealed with delight!


Certain Dark Things

Welcome to Mexico City, an oasis in a sea of vampires. Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is just trying to survive its heavily policed streets when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life. Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, is smart, beautiful, and dangerous. Domingo is mesmerized.

Atl needs to quickly escape the city, far from the rival narco-vampire clan relentlessly pursuing her. Her plan doesn’t include Domingo, but little by little, Atl finds herself warming up to the scrappy young man and his undeniable charm. As the trail of corpses stretches behind her, local cops and crime bosses both start closing in.

Vampires, humans, cops, and criminals collide in the dark streets of Mexico City. Do Atl and Domingo even stand a chance of making it out alive? Or will the city devour them all?

I honestly think that I’ve found a new auto-buy author in Silvia Moreno-Garcia. This was my fourth book by this author and it was another 4 star read (I think the tally for this author’s ratings is now 2×5 star and 2×4 star). Each book has been so different with the only common thread being a love for Mexico. I listened to the audiobook and found the narrator to have a delightful voice and it was surprisingly soothing to listen to despite the book being very exciting. I actually think that listening to the audiobook stopped me from reading ahead…because I had to wait for the narrator.

The setting of this book really was atmospheric. The book was set in a futuristic Mexico City where vampires were known by all and there are officials tracking them down as they do not want vampires in the city. Humans are registered and licensed and IDs checked by officers during their regular raids. This book was very much in the Noir genre but also set in the future with vampires so I have no idea how to categorise this book so I’ll just say that I really enjoyed it and I can’t wait to read more by this author as each book has been a treat.

I am a sucker (lol) for a vampire book, this wasn’t my only vampire novel this month. This book made me think differently as the vampires in this book weren’t the standard vampire that I knew from literature or tv. Atl’s vampire type was based on an Aztec bird and she had the most gorgeous wings and was graceful (like a bird). Whereas the vampire seeking Atl, Nick, was the more traditional type of vampire as he could control people with just one nibble.

Atl was a somewhat grumpy vampire with her enhanced dog, just trying to live under the radar while trying to carry out her revenge plan but also to escape the city where she is in danger. Domingo worked collecting waste but had previously worked for a Fagan style criminal who used the young kids to go and do his bidding. He was just a kid and he was unbelievably sweet and just obsessed with the vampires he’d read about. The relationship between Domingo and Atl was really quite sweet. He was so insistent upon them being friends and was so eager to help her. He wasn’t scared of vampires and was happy to offer his veins to her. Atl was not looking for a friend or sidekick. She just needed somebody to act as a go between as it was too risky for her. However she ended up warming towards Domingo and they because friends and it was just enjoyable to read.

The book also included Ana who was a crooked police investigator but she was so much more than that. Yes she was a crooked officer but it was only so that she could provide the best for her daughter. Doing the wrong this but for the right reason, for me makes the character a bit more morally grey than just being good or bad. That was something I enjoyed.

This book was so exciting! It had gang wars between different sub-species of vampires, crooked police, and engineered animals. The battles in this book were violent as one would expect from a fight between the undead, but they weren’t violent for the sake of it. Everything in this book felt like it was there for a reason.

As with previous Silvia Moreno-Garcia books, this book included so many snippets of Mexican history that I ended up taking notes of things I wanted to Google and learn more about. Mainly about Aztec history.

I have seen this book described as YA but I really don’t think that it is. The book is extremely violent in parts and has some sexy bits. If you’re looking for a book set in the Mexican underworld with vampire rivalries then I highly recommend this book. I already have my next Silvia Moreno-Garcia read planned!