Mexican Gothic, Full Review

I was engulfed by the pages of this book. Completely captivated by the imagery, the characters, the eeriness of the setting. The vividness of the passages was so intense, that when I was disturbed during my read I felt as though reality were a mere illusion. It created a haze, like a wonderfully, haunting daydream…and it lingered.

Over the years I’ve longed for a book like this. A book that made me want to devour every word. Where each sentence was worth losing sleep over…was worth losing track of time for.

The characters and setting felt real. I could see them, feel them, smell them. I got lost in this world which only existed for them, and I, merely a spectator was granted the opportunity to be invited inside.

It was dark. It was dark and yet, somehow as I read I begged for some way to illuminate it. For the glow to be a way out. For hope.

It’s hard to explain that last sentence without spoiling the book, but I truly believe this novel is worth reading.


The Characters

Naomi was an excellent leading lady. She was smart, witty and extremely fashionable. She never bowed her head, always staying true to herself. Thinking through each of her actions as she tried to figure out how to both help and protect her cousin Catalina, and later Francis.

I also adored the strong bond between Catalina and Naomi. Being able to see Catalina through Naomi’ eyes, and how living with her husbands family had changed her was heartbreaking. To be able to see this beautiful, kind soul, withering away like that…I truly felt Naomi’s pain as she interacted with her cousin.

Francis surprised me. He appears weaker and more timid than Virgil, almost like if one were to compare say the classic trope of the jock and the nerd. I immediately liked Francis, mainly because of his name and the fact that he spends much of his time reading or drawing. His quietness was a comfort, which is strange because the silence in this house is so eerie. It was his small gestures that really made him stand out. Subtle actions, like lending Naomi his sweater, or driving her to town. Little things that truly showed the depth of his character.


I purchased a copy of The Gods of Jade and Shadow before I reached the conclusion of this book, and was again immediately drawn in by the passages. I may have found a new favourite author, which is a wonderful feeling. I love that these books are also #ownvoices and written by a fellow Canadian author. Initially I was drawn in by the title of Mexican Gothic, as I do enjoy gothic literature and thought it might be nice to read a modern take on the genre. I’m so glad I did because if I would I would give this book a 10 star rating. It was perfect. I wouldn’t change a thing.

To keep with the usual 5 star rating though, it gets a full 5 star from me. Well done.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Congrats Mexican Gothic!

I am so glad that Mexican Gothic won the Goodreads Choice Award. I really wanted this novel to win! I’ve recommended it to so many people since its release.

This novel had the same effect Painted Girls did on me, where I was instantly drawn in by the plot and the characters. I couldn’t wait to read the next chapter.

Congratulations to Silvia Moreno-Garcia and thank you for writing such a thriller!

Books to Read in October

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”


― L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

As we near the end of September, we are greeted with the warm comforts of Fall: pumpkin spice, reds, yellows, oranges and purples, scarves, hats and sweaters and cozy blankets for those chilly afternoons when we want to curl up with a book in our lap.

I find that I tend to read more in the Fall. I like being wrapped up in a soft blanket with a cup of tea or sitting up late at night with a book in my lap until I nod off to sleep. I also find that the books I read during the Fall tend to be either comforting or have me on the end of my seat, especially as October comes around.

Last night I started reading Mexican Gothic, which had me hooked in the first chapter. I also found my name in the book which never happens. Of course it was a reference to Elizabeth Arden and not me, Ardin but that is who I was named after so I like to think of it as…I was meant to read this book. It’s not every day I buy a book solely based on the title and synopsis. I got three chapters in before I fell asleep and it is exactly what I was hoping for. Gothic literature at it’s finest. I don’t know what it is about the genre that I like so much but it is one that sucks me in.

A slightly less spooky book that I think would be perfect to reread in the Fall is Fake Blood. The book makes so many references to Twilight and it’s a great read for a younger audience (ages 9-12). I had so much fun reading it and I’ve never read the Twilight series or watched or read Vampire Diaries. It was the perfect mixture of funny, sweet and spooky!

Another book which is for the YA audience is Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Now don’t be confused CAOS fans, this graphic novel isn’t chilling. It’s fun, it’s full of what I call Sabrina oopsies and Salem talks and is as sassy as ever. I also recommend Jughead and Sabrina because again Sabrina is absolutely hilarious along with all of the spookiness that goes on in Greendale. No matter how bad things or how big of a mess she makes she somehow manages to find a way to fix things (or at least temporarily).

I don’t know what it is about L.M Montgomery and Fall but I’m often drawn to her work at this time of the year. I suppose her stories, because of their familiarity in Canadian culture are comforting. Despite my love for Anne however I want to recommend Emily. I adore Emily’s story just as much. Her friendship with Ilsa, her unwavering dream to write. Emily is often viewed as rebellious by those around her but it is this side of her that makes her strong and resilient. I feel like she’s seriously underrated. A lot of people don’t know she exists, and so I think it would be nice to introduce yourself to Emily this October (there’s also an anime if anyone is interested).

Lastly a book series that I continue to recommend over and over, Monster. Monster is incredibly chilling, incredibly thrilling and is a story that draws you in with its characters and plot. Not only is it a manga, it’s a historical fiction set in Germany which follows a Japanese Doctor as he tries to track down a patient that he never should have saved. Trust me, this series will have you staying up all kinds of hours reading. You won’t want to put it down!

What books are you looking forward to reading this Fall?

I Bought Some New Books!

I picked up a couple books today that I am looking forward to reading in the very near feature.

The first was Mexican Gothic, which I also found out was by a Canadian while I was buying it today. Hello Silvia! It is a pleasure! I look forward to reading your book.

Haha…Who knows she may read this post someday. You never know?

I really am excited to read this. I read the synopsis while browsing for books online and I instantly wanted to read it.

The other’s I got were one that I ordered forever ago Chocolat, which was a series I was really into when I was 14. I only managed to get book 1 but I’ll keep my eye out for the others. I know the series was discontinued…which sucks because we got left with this big cliff hanger. I like to imagine my own endings when that sort of thing happens with a series.

Lastly I got Black Canary Ignite, which is about DC’s Black Canary (one of my faves btw) when she’s 13 years old. Bonus Meg Cabot is the author. That’s right, the author of Princess Diaries! What a stellar combo!

I’m stoked to read all three of these and if I like the Black Canary one I will definitely be passing it onto my niece. I personally prefer to read books before I give them to her. Mainly just to gauge the maturity level.

Middle Grade fiction (9-12 books) are a little tricky. I’d say YA (teen) is diffificult in the same way. I know from experience that although a book says it is meant for readers 9-12, it may be more for a 12 year old audience. 12 year old’s and 9 year old’s may seem close in age (and sometimes height…at least in my case), but the reality is that some books I got when I was 9 I absolutely hated because they were “boring.” When in reality I just wasn’t mature enough for the content. When I turned 11/12 I adored those same books I once hated.

As I mentioned YA is very similar. Books I enjoyed at 17, I might have hated at 13. Simply because I couldn’t relate to the character’s or found it “boring.”

This is why for example after reading Best Babysitters Ever, I decided to not give it to my niece until she’s about 10. I think she’ll enjoy the book but it is a bit longer than what she’s currently reading and I don’t want her to feel intimidated by all this vocabulary that she hasn’t grown accustom to yet. I think when she’s in 5th or 6th grade she will also relate to these character’s a lot more than as a 4th grader.

Another thing to note is it depends on the individual kid. Understanding their sense of humour, their level of maturity, what genres they like etc…so if you are choosing a book for a 9-12 or 13-18 year old, keep that in mind.

I’m used to recommending books as I work and spend most of my free time in bookstores…along with being an author and studying books…so uh…yah. I wouldn’t say I’m an expert or anything but I’ve come to learn what to think about when you are buying a book for someone else. It hasn’t failed me yet! So hopefully that gives me some credibility.

That aside, I’m really excited about all the books I’m reading going into September! I can’t wait. Sure my list keeps growing, but there are just so many wonderful things to be read!

Help! My TBR list keeps growing!

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen the following tweets:

On top of this spontaneous haul, I’ve been trying to catch up on my TBR pile, one that has been accumulating over the span of about 3 years now. In university my sister and I would go buy new books just about every other weekend…just to get out of the house. At the time I also was blessed with many, many gift cards from my family members so that I could indulge in this ever growing obsession.

If not, it is my pleasure to announce that I went on a bit of a book binge…and the books I purchased had not initially been on my wishlist. My ever growing wishlist.

Sadly some books I purchased during my studies I never got around to because I was busy reading for school.

One thing they don’t tell you about studying literature is that it can make you hate reading. At least periodically….

What happens is you’re no loner reading for fun or being allowed to choose what you want to read…you have to read whatever is on the syllabus and some of it is the absolutely most boring, drab, dull pieces of literature in the entire existence of the written word.

Wow…that was really shady of me…but it’s honest.

My friends and I all expressed our disdain usually near midterms or examination periods for reading. Trying to force yourself to read books you absolutely hate can be just as stressful as writing essays on said books for your final.

My solution however wasn’t to stop reading altogether. I adore books. I adore reading. I used to spend hours in books stores browsing…which really annoyed my family but as I’ve gotten older I’ve become the “designated book person” where I basically buy books for them that I think they’ll enjoy or help them find ones that they’ve had their eye on.

I’m also the one who picks books to give my niece for her birthday and Christmas gifts. I always go for something I think she’ll actually get a kick out of. She likes books with a lot of crazy shenanigans so I actually have a lot of fun choosing them for her. It also gives me an excuse to randomly read children’s and MG fiction again (and honestly a lot of them are brilliant!)

Sorry I got a bit off topic there…but basically my solution was to read comics and manga for fun and read the novels I had to read for school. Thus my comic and manga collection grew immensely and in turn rekindled my love for reading.

This form of literature reads a lot faster, so I had time to read them between completing my assigned readings for class. On top of that, because of the artwork they were barely boring (even in some where the plot got a bit dry at times).

Anyway, I’ve been desperately trying to catch up on these books during quarantine and as a result I reached my 2020 reading goal very quickly…and decided to increase it. Which I’ll probably do again because I just bought a bunch of books and have a lot more I’m planning on reading.

As you saw from my Tweet I bought the first three books from the series Nana. I also bought Paradise Kiss (I got the 20th anniversary edition!) and the first book to a manwha I read in high school called Chocolat.

However on top of those I have several books on my wishlist that I’m planning on getting in the very near future:

The first being Love in Focus Books 2 and 3. As mentioned in my review of book 1 I’m really looking forward to continuing this series. I instantly felt drawn to the characters!

I’m also looking forward to reading A Song of Wraiths and Ruin. So many people have recommended this book to me and the reviews have been fantastic. I’m really excited about it.

I also have Mexican Gothic on my wishlist along with The War Widow. Some of my favourite reads in university were in the American Southern Gothic genre (I’m Canadian). So Mexican Gothic got me very excited by the synopsis. I really want to read this book. I haven’t heard any reviews on it yet either…so I’m extremely curious!

As for other manga (aside from Love in Focus) I’ve been looking forward to getting the new releases from the series Love Me, Love Me Not, and Daytime Shooting Star. I’ve also had a book from this series called Living-room Matsunaga-san that keeps popping up in my recommendations, so I’ve added book 1 to my wishlist.

I plan on reviewing all of them, which seems a bit ambitious at the moment since I’m currently reading 4 books and am planning on starting several others later this week.

What I’m Reading Right Now:

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Takane and Hana Vol.2

Papillon Vol. 3

The Girl From the Other Side Vol. 2

I just finished reading Monster Vol. 3 and I plan on starting Second Best, Anna Blue off the Record and A Girl on the Shore as well. So…yah. I’m basically going to have to force myself not to binge buy anything on my wishlist else until I’ve completed my current TBR list. To have so many unread books accumulate like that…at least in my opinion is a bit silly. I try my best to be responsible when buying books, since I know I tend to buy a bunch at one time…but last month I actually managed to only get what I needed. I bought I think 3 in total back in July. August I’ve purchased 5 thus far…and have others I’d like to get, but I’m going to wait and save up for them. I try to limit my book budget to around $40 at a time…but as one of the greats said:

“Everybody makes mistakes, everybody has those days.”

Hannah Montana