The Week in Books #60

8/14 ✅

Another week in books! I got through a few more on this stack this week, all pretty good reads. There was an unexpected similarity between two of the books, Mexican Gothic and Rosewater, but I can’t say what it is without spoilers so you’ll have to check them both out if you want to know what it is. It’s cool.

1. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. I really liked this story and read it almost in a single sitting. It’s pretty fast paced and definitely creepy. The writing was a bit clunky in spots but ignoring that I still got into the story and had a good time reading this one. Spooky weirdo fun!

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.

Penguin Randomhouse

2. Rosewater by Tade Thompson. It’s been a while since I’ve read a fully immersive science fiction, so I super enjoyed this one. It’s got alien invasion, mind reading and control, floating monsters, fungi, technology, detectives and government agents. I liked the writing style and found it funny in many places, I lol’d at a lot of things the protagonist Kaaro said and did. There are about three narratives unfolding at once; Now (2066) Then (2055) and some additional interludes that all tie together eventually. Very imaginative and just the first in a trilogy that I’m very looking forward to continuing with. Thumbs up if you’re a sci-fi lover!

Between meeting a boy who bursts into flames, alien floaters that want to devour him, and a butterfly woman who he has sex with when he enters the xenosphere, Kaaro’s life is far from the simple one he wants. But he left simple behind a long time ago when he was caught stealing and nearly killed by an angry mob. Now he works for a government agency called Section 45, and they want him to find a woman known as Bicycle Girl.

An alien entity lives beneath the ground, forming a biodome around which the city of Rosewater thrives. The citizens of Rosewater are enamored by the dome, hoping for a chance to meet the beings within or possibly be invited to come in themselves. But Kaaro isn’t so enamored. He was in the biodome at one point and decided to leave it behind. When something begins killing off other sensitives like himself, Kaaro defies Section 45 to search for an answer, facing his past, and comes to a realization about a horrifying future.

3. The Revisioners by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton. This is a quick blast of a book that explores the bonds between family. I loved the writing and felt it all flowed very smoothly though in the end I wanted more. More character development, more solid connections between Ava and Josephine’s narratives, and more of Martha’s story. More epic family drama I suppose (like Pachinko or Do Not Say We Have Nothing) That said I did like it a lot and it’s a good read for Black History Month if you’re looking for a new author!

In 1924, Josephine is the proud owner of a thriving farm. As a child, she channeled otherworldly power to free herself from slavery. Now her new neighbor, a white woman named Charlotte, seeks her company, and an uneasy friendship grows between them. But Charlotte has also sought solace in the Ku Klux Klan, a relationship that jeopardizes Josephine’s family.

Nearly one hundred years later, Josephine’s descendant, Ava, is a single mother who has just lost her job. She moves in with her white grandmother, Martha, a wealthy but lonely woman who pays Ava to be her companion. But Martha’s behavior soon becomes erratic, then threatening, and Ava must escape before her story and Josephine’s converge.

The Revisioners explores the depths of women’s relationships—powerful women and marginalized women, healers and survivors. It is a novel about the bonds between mothers and their children, the dangers that upend those bonds. At its core, The Revisioners ponders generational legacies, the endurance of hope, and the undying promise of freedom.

Counterpoint Press

It’s Black History Month so I have made an effort to buy some new books by Black authors. I feel like I have diversified my reading selections pretty well over the last 5 or 6 years but have definitely noticed publishers and book stores ramping up their efforts to promote stories and non-fiction by POC authors since the BLM movement really took off. It’s great!!! I ordered the next two books in Tade Thompson’s Rosewater series (he is a British born Yoruba man and the series is set in Nigeria) and also The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr and Gutter Child by Jael Richardson. Both have been getting great reviews, especially Prophets. Looking forward to them!

Future stacks.

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