House of Hollow Review

*SOME SPOILERS BEWARE*

Seventeen-year-old Iris Hollow has always been strange. Something happened to her and her two older sisters when they were children, something they can’t quite remember but that left each of them with an identical half-moon scar at the base of their throats.

I really found myself attached to Iris’s character and highly intrigued by her sisters. Immediately I was ensnared by the introduction of this book and the way Iris explained how her and her sisters were weird and strange. I liked the fact that they were all so discernible from each other and had different personalities even though they were so close.

The mystery aspect surrounding Grey’s disappearance and how Iris and Vivi have to try and piece together the clues she left behind whilst also trying to escape from the man who is chasing them was highly entertaining. It kept me engaged and wanting to read on and find out what was going to happen next. It was definitely a roller coaster ride of a plot and I was surprised at every turn.

From what we learn about Grey I didn’t really like her all that much. I appreciated the lengths she would go to to help and protect her sister’s but she kind of went too far at times. Her secretive nature and how much she supposedly didn’t tell her sisters even though they promised not to investigate what happened to them all those years ago, really didn’t give me a reason to trust her at all. Which I guess my instincts were kind of right in the end.

I really felt like Tyler’s character wasn’t all that necessary, if he wasn’t in the story at all I probably would of enjoyed the book all the same. I think his involvement in the mystery came out of nowhere and I didn’t think he was that important as a character when we are first introduced to him. I still have unanswered questions as to why he wasn’t affected by their gifts and why he is drawn so much to Grey but then didn’t come when she called to his soul.

Overall I highly enjoyed this book. I felt like the premise was highly original and entertaining and the twist at the end about what happened when they disappeared was shocking and unexpected to say the least. The prose was highly descriptive and I was able just to get lost in the story and enjoy the ride!

⭐️4/5 stars creepy, bizarre & gripping

The Only Good Indians Review

*Some spoilers below*

The Only Good Indians follows four American Indian men after a disturbing event from their youth puts them in a desperate struggle for their lives. Tracked by an entity bent on revenge, these childhood friends are helpless as the culture and traditions they left behind catch up to them in a violent, vengeful way.

It took me a solid 100 pages or so to understand what was even happening in this book. The writing just didn’t really gel with me and I had a hard time comprehending the prose. The story was definitely compelling and shocking but I didn’t feel as invested in these characters as what I probably could have been.

The book just launches into Ricky’s point of view and I was lost. I didn’t know whether or not what was happening to him was real and I was almost indifferent to his death. Lewis I felt more of a connection to and was actually invested in his character and the subsequent demise of his state of mind. The guilt he carried around all these years and the paranoia surrounding that day and how the elk was coming for him felt real and raw. I was shocked to see how far he would go to try to rid himself from the elk woman and how apathetic he was afterwards, reasoning with himself that he did what was necessary.

Again I didn’t really feel a connection to Cass or Gabe, I didn’t get enough time with either or them to forge that connection either. Which I guess kind of makes sense in terms of the plot. Ricky got a majority of the time because he was the one who killed the mother and the baby elk and was tortured the most, Cass and Gabe are just getting the repercussions because they were there that day as well. Leaning about the sweat was definitely interesting and I liked that they added Nate’s character into the mix as a way to explain what was happening and how the would resort back to these ancient methods on the Res.

Overall this was not what I was expecting at all! I almost forgot going into it that it was a horror and surprised by the graphic scenes, but it definitely kept me on the edge of my seat and wanting to know what is going to happen next. I almost wish it was longer, but then I feel like overcomplicating this premise would of made it less intriguing. So it is what it is.

⭐️3/5 stars brutal, haunting and visceral

Mexican Gothic Review

This was definitely not was I was expecting.

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.

This books takes place in the 50’s I believe and the societal expectations of the time really gets on my nerves. The fact that women aren’t allowed to really do anything for themselves, where it’s considered rude to interrupt when men are speaking and when the main protagonists doesn’t have any authority to do anything is so annoying. I think this was the most frustrating part of this book for me. Noemi not being able to visit her cousin even though she came all this way to see her having to abide to such stringent rules without any reasoning. I liked that she pressed against these rules and still did what she wanted but all of the restrictions bugged me.

I really liked Noemi. She doesn’t take no for an answer and seeks out proof rather than just accepting Virgil’s version of events. I think she was a little disrespectful at the start smoking in the house when it was requested that she didn’t but still had I been in that situation and was greeted the way she was I probably would of acted the same. She refuses to be intimidated by the Doyle’s and keeps asking questions and delving deeper into what is going on at High Place and what it has done to Catalina.

The pacing felt quite slow at times but I found I was so enthralled that I got through it quite quickly. There is definitely an atmospheric tone to the story which made it even more gripping. I have to admit having a unreliable main protagonist isn’t my favourite trope in terms of the hallucinations and trying to figure out whether or not she was dreaming. But I can appreciate how it added that layer of unpredictability to the storyline.

This was an intriguing, dark, weird and twisted tale that didn’t shy away from shocking the reader. I appreciate how far Silvia Moreno-Garcia was willing to push the plot and take it to a place that I wasn’t able to predict for sure. This was highly original and in the end quite thrilling and action packed.

⭐️3/5 stars haunting and creepy!

Burn Our Bodies Down Review

Ever since Margot was born, it’s been just her and her mother. No answers to Margot’s questions about what came before. No history to hold on to. No relative to speak of. Just the two of them, stuck in their run-down apartment, struggling to get along. But that’s not enough for Margot. She wants family. She wants a past. And she just found the key she needs to get it: A photograph, pointing her to a town called Phalene. Pointing her home. Only, when Margot gets there, it’s not what she bargained for.

I can’t say I was immediately drawn into this book because that was not the case. Margot’s living conditions at the start and her relationship with her mother didn’t really impress on me a need to continue on. The mystery surrounding her family in my opinion didn’t warrant Margot’s actions and running away after speaking to her grandmother for two minutes wasn’t really good enough for me. I did stick it out though and once we get to Phalene things definitely pick up.

Margot’s perspective is a little erratic. Her thoughts spiral a lot and every time she is given new information she doesn’t really let things sink in she just jumps to conclusions that are never correct, because at every turn in this book there was something unexpected popping up. Being on the cusp of knowledge that people are withholding is very frustrating and I could sympathise with Margot on that. It seemed that every person she met knew something about her family that she didn’t but no one would tell her anything, I would probably react in the same way if I was in that situation.

I really liked Tess and Eli, I could see why Tess was integral to the book but Eli’s presence wasn’t really necessary and he didn’t really add anything to the plotline. I wish we could of spent more time with both of them and seen from their perspective what it would of been like living in Phalene under the shadow of Fairfield.

I honestly didn’t predict anything that happened. The plot veered in a very different direction than what I was expecting and those factors definitely brought up my reading experience. I was just starting to get a little bored and then things started to get weird and we started to get answers and I was just left reeling. The premise was highly original and unlike anything I’ve ever read before and the shock factor ending alone was enough to leave me satisfied.

⭐️3/5 stars shocking, twisted, strange!

Hold Back the Tide Review

Everyone knows what happened to Alva’s mother, all those years ago. But when dark forces begin to stir in Ormscaula, Alva has to face a very different future – and question everything she thought she knew about her past.

I was pleasantly surprised about this book. Right from the start I intrigued and eager to find out what was happening. I thought it was just going to be like this familial psychological thriller but it quickly took a turn I was not expecting and became quite fantastical and otherworldly.

Alva’s character at times acted a little older than her age. I think because she was so sheltered in the mountains and constantly trying to maintain her helpfulness to her father so he wouldn’t kill her might of accelerated her maturity. But we also see some of the naivety of her age come out when she is talking to any of the boys from the village, Ren especially.

The overarching storyline about her mother’s death and these creatures was very well done and wove together seamlessly. I like that its based upon the myths and legends of this town and the loch and how it resurfaces and comes to life, that’s definitely one of my favourite literary devices for sure.

There was a great amount of detail and also action and mystery that really kept me entertained and eager to read on. The pacing at times though felt a little stagnant and there were periods where I felt like it dragged.

I honestly picked this up randomly and I was quickly taken with the story and Alva. It felt highly original and was overall a pretty fast read that I was unable to predict anything that was going to happen. The ending I can appreciate although I am not that much of a fan of. I don’t want to spoil anything but I was left feeling unfulfilled I guess.

⭐️3/5 overall entertaining, gory & creepy!