5 Reasons to read The Beautiful Ones | In other words…I lived my best life reading this masterpiece again!

Greetings readers!

In 2017, I read my first Silvia Moreno-Garcia book and it was The Beautiful Ones. So to be talking to you about this book again in 2021 is well…MY FAVOURITE PART OF TODAY.

If you want to read my original review, I will leave that link here. My thoughts have remained pretty much the same so for today’s post I wanted to highlight the 5 main reasons why I love this book and why I think you might love this book too!

THE BEAUTIFUL ONES by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The Beautiful Ones

Pub Date: April 27, 2021
Publisher: Tor Books
Buy Links Below!

From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic comes a sweeping romance with a dash of magic.

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.


*Thank you to the publisher for the advances reader’s copy!*

5 REASONS TO READ THE BEAUTIFUL ONES…

1. Charismatic Characters!

Love them or hate them, these characters make this book incredibly fun to read! Personally, I love them! They may seem at first like your typical one-sided stock characters, but then they show so much more depth and colour to them! SMG always wins me over with the dynamic characters she writes and this book is no different!

Nina – The hopeless romantic speaks to my soul in every way possible! But she’s also stubborn, curious, dedicated and vulnerable! She wears her heart on her sleeve and I love every part of her! Even if the secondhand embarrassment is real when it comes to her, I love that she doesn’t let it bother her too much!

Hector – The foolish man who endears me with his level of obsession. If I share one quality with Hector, it is definitely our tendency to obsess (and I admit it is not the healthiest tendency to have). In my original review I noted that he was “the tortured, romantic heartthrob” and I stand by it!

Valérie – The prickly and cool socialite who intrigues me with her ferocity but is #toxic! Oooooooooooh Valérie!!!!! I cannot lie that she spills some truths in this novel about the marriage market and how women are bartering chips for family status. But she is also a classist manipulator, so unhappy in her own life that she wills it on everyone else. She is, nonetheless, a very interesting character to read about!

2. Delicious Drama!

This book is really 2-in-1 (the closest we’ll ever get to having an SMG sequel imo) and well let me tell you: they are both wild rides! Book 1 literally has me flushing with second-hand embarrassment with every turn of the page! And I love it! This first section is full of awkward first meetings, secret encounters, deceptions, whispers and revelations! I love it with all my heart, but the second part owns my soul! Book 2 has the second-chance story line that makes hope bloom in every part of me! The characters are changed, much more tender and hurt from the events of book 1. This second section is full of heartfelt confrontations, shy reconciliations, but also more deception, revenge and passionate plights! Most of my favourite scenes happen towards then end, it is just magnifique!

3. An Enchanting World!

This gorgeous world full of manners and wonders is EVERYTHING. I love how SMG develops Loisail as a Belle Epoque-esque world and if you’re running off the high of Bridgerton’s posh social order and policy, then you might find a kindred spirit in this book. The ladies and gentlemen in this book have strict rules to abide by and social convention to uphold and well…some of our characters may or may not be good at following them! Reading about these very different characters from very different backgrounds and histories navigate this socialite world is so intriguing.

4. Sweet Romance!

Emphasis on the sweet! I will tell you here: Don’t go in expecting the sexy times you got from Bridgerton, expect instead a tender and heartwarming fast, fall-hard turned second-chance slow burn of two people hurting and finding themselves back to one another. It is all about the repercussions of falling in love hard and quick at such a young age! It’s about the pain and struggle that sprouts from bitter heartbreak when things don’t go according to plan. It’s about the slow healing process of opening up to possibility of love again and letting it just flow!

5. Just the slightest touch of magic!

This book wins in every category for me because it has that touch of wonder. It’s not really magic per se, but it is that element of sparkle that I think every book needs! SMG explores telekinetic power in Hector and Nina with much intrigue. She tackles how it sets them apart in this very classist society, how it makes them the same despite their differences and what it means for their future! It’s BRILLIANT!


This is a 5 star book for me!

Screw what past me said about predictability, I found that I didn’t mind it in this re-read at all! I just had so much fun reading this book again! I experienced ALL THE FEELS. And I’m sure that you will find similar things to love and cherish about this book when you pick it up!

This book releases APRIL 27, 2021!

Get in your pre-orders and library requests NOW!

For Canadian and American pre-orders, TOR will send you a beautifully illustrated postcard! Read more here!

The Beautiful Ones TPB

Let me know what you think! Have you read this book? Are you looking forward to picking it up (again)? What kind of romance novels do you love to read?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

BUY LINKS!

Buy from Amazon
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from IndieBound
Buy from GoodReads

You Should read Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s work and here’s why | A stan account’s mission

Greetings readers!

As we end Latinx Heritage Month (in the US at least), I come to remind you of two things:

First: You should be reading Latinx books year round. So if you have found a groove this past month, I encourage you to keep it up!

Second: You should be reading Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s work!

You: But why Rendz? Why SMG?

Well here’s why:

Versatility. Atmospheric writing. Unforgettable characters. These three key things among a number of others are what attracted me to and kept me reading SMG’s work until I became a self-proclaimed stan! I have now read all five of her published novels and have thus been blessed with so many amazing reads! So to convince you to read them and lessen your google searching, I figured I would present them all to you today with reasons why I love them and why I think you would love them too!

Of course is every SMG book going to be for you? Probs not. (Sucks for you though) But like I said SMG is a versatile writer and she has written in many different genres so there is a story for everyone!

Before we start:

  1. All of Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s books are Adult fiction – so while they may have cross-over appeal, tag them as Adult Fiction.
  2. You can find out more about Silvia on her website!

Signal To Noise (2015)

Signal to Noise
via Goodreads

A literary fantasy about love, music and sorcery.

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. 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, reviving 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? Is there any magic left?

This SMG’s first novel and my latest read of hers ironically! Here are 5 reasons I loved it and why you should read it:

  1. Misfit characters so witty they charm the heck out of you
  2. Dual timeline that makes perfect sense and amps up the drama
  3. Talk about DRAMA. Lots of ~interesting~ things go on between family dynamics, friendship pacts, crushes, love and betrayal!
  4. Music! So many tunes to jam out to with this one!
  5. Magic! For fun, loving and…revenge!

Certain Dark Things (2016)

Certain Dark Things
via Goodreads

From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic comes a pulse-pounding neo-noir that reimagines vampire lore.

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?

This novel will be re-released on May 11, 2021 so get in your pre-orders! Having had the privilege to read the first edition I’m excited to see what changes will be made to this already astounding novels!

Here are 5 reasons to read:

  1. Vampires galore! Mexico City is a hot spot for these ancient creatures from different cultures!
  2. An omniscient view lets us know what is happening in every corner!
  3. Bloody, dark and gritty atmosphere! It is what one expects of vampiros!
  4. Rival gangs (human and undead) out for blood…literally
  5. Twists and turns that you definitely don’t see coming!

The Beautiful Ones (2017)

The Beautiful Ones
via Goodreads

From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic comes a sweeping romance with a dash of magic.

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.

This novel will be re-released on May 11, 2021 so get in your pre-orders! This is my first SMG novel and my favourite probably!

  1. Nina Beaulieu is a QUEEN. I love her.
  2. A Belle Epoque world to enchant everyone
  3. Romance so sweet it squeezes the heart!
  4. Telekinesis to enhance the FLAVOUR
  5. Pure happiness after some DRAMA

Gods of Jade and Shadow (2019)

Gods of Jade and Shadow
via Goodreads

The Mayan god of death sends a young woman on a harrowing, life-changing journey in this one-of-a-kind fairy tale inspired by Mexican folklore.

The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy cleaning the floors of her wealthy grandfather’s house to listen to any fast tunes. Nevertheless, she dreams of a life far from her dusty small town in southern Mexico. A life she can call her own.

Yet this new life seems as distant as the stars, until the day she finds a curious wooden box in her grandfather’s room. She opens it—and accidentally frees the spirit of the Mayan god of death, who requests her help in recovering his throne from his treacherous brother. Failure will mean Casiopea’s demise, but success could make her dreams come true.

In the company of the strangely alluring god and armed with her wits, Casiopea begins an adventure that will take her on a cross-country odyssey from the jungles of Yucatán to the bright lights of Mexico City—and deep into the darkness of the Mayan underworld.

This is also my favourite! (Yes, I have two favourites. Let me live!)

  1. Casiopea has to be the most raw, daring and incredibly real character I have ever read.
  2. Mexico in the 1920s is the place to be!
  3. Not to mention Xibalba, the Mayan Underworld
  4. THE DIVINE INTERVENTION PLOT. 
  5. Fairy-tale like feel but make it darker!

Untamed Shore (2020)

Untamed Shore
via Goodreads

Renowned author Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s first thriller, UNTAMED SHORE, is a coming-of-age story set in Mexico which quickly turns dark when a young woman meets three enigmatic tourists.

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.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia is one of the most exciting voices in fiction, and with her first crime novel, UNTAMED SHORE, she crafts a blazing novel of suspense with an eerie seaside setting and a literary edge that proves her a master of the genre.

This book needs more love! Crime and thriller fans out there need this book in their hands!

  1. A hot, sticky, summer setting in a shark fishing town!
  2. Murder! Fraud! Blackmail! All that good stuff!
  3. Viridiana – Practical, straightforward and yet dreamy MC
  4. American tourists who are fishy AF
  5. Edge of your seat THRILL

Mexican Gothic (2020)

Mexican Gothic
via Goodreads

An isolated mansion. A chillingly charismatic aristocrat. And a brave socialite drawn to expose their treacherous secrets. . . .

From the author of Gods of Jade and Shadow comes a novel set in glamorous 1950s Mexico.

After receiving a frantic letter from her newlywed 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. 

The perfect read for SPOOKY SEASON! This is the time to get it friends!

  1. ATMOSPHERIC. Seriously, the chills and eeriness are real!
  2. Noemi Taboada – An absolute queen.
  3. Slow burn that just EXPLODES in your face!
  4. Gorey, creepy, dark, gritty!
  5. “A stylish and sinister read” – Gwenda Bond. Truer words have never been spoken.

Coming Soon…

coming soon GIF by arielle-m

A Dangerous Eagerness (2021)

Dangerous Eagerness, is a noir crime novel set in Mexico in 1971, against the backdrop of the student movement that was taking place in Mexico City at the time, and the student massacre that took place in the city on a certain day in June.”

The Daughter of Dr. Moreau (2022)

Pitched as a reimagining of The Island of Dr. Moreau, set in the volatile Yucatan in the 1800s.
Have I read the original novel? No, but I will just to have the privilege to read this book!!!

And a third novel with no details…yet!!


SO yes! On this the last day of LHM, do me a favour, do yourself a favour and READ BOOKS BY SILVIA MORENO-GARCIA!

As for me? I’ll be highly anticipating her next novels, while also diving into to her short fiction over the next couple of months! I will definitely be back to share some of my favourite short stories with you!

If you have read a book by SMG, I would love to hear your thoughts about it! Please share and spread the love as much as you can!

*Please Share and/or Donate = Link to a master list of how you can help/educate yourself on Black Lives Matter and other humanitarian movements across the globe*

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

Mexican Gothic | Review // The Book of the Summer is for the Trashy yet Classy. And I can confirm that I am trash for this book.

Greetings readers!

How does one eloquently review a book that they have been waiting forever for? Better question: How does one eloquently review a book that they have been waiting forever for and has had their expectations superseded by said book?

You can’t. It’s simply impossible.

Well it’s simply impossible if your name is Rendz and you are me.

But I’m gonna try it anyways.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Mexican Gothic
via Goodreads

Pub Date: June 30th, 2020
Publisher: Del Rey
Goodreads

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An isolated mansion. A chillingly charismatic aristocrat. And a brave socialite drawn to expose their treacherous secrets. . . .

From the author of Gods of Jade and Shadow comes “a terrifying twist on classic gothic horror” (Kirkus Reviews) set in glamorous 1950s Mexico. “It’s Lovecraft meets the Brontës in Latin America, and after a slow-burn start Mexican Gothic gets seriously weird” (The Guardian).

After receiving a frantic letter from her newlywed 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.


The Likes

This book was brilliant in so many ways. My experience with Gothic literature is minimal, but after reading this book it is definitely a genre that I would be more into. Mexican Gothic brings together both the supernatural and the realistic. It’s cozy and yet most definitely not. It entices you with the promise of danger, and while you relish in the thrill you fall into the dark with Noemí and need to claw your way back out. Classy and creepy all in one. A stylish and sinister read, as said by Gwenda Bond.

Noemí was the epitome of fabulous. I cannot explain to you how much I adored her character. As a young socialite who is working her way through the high life of Mexico City she is driven by her ambition and desire to get what she wants. She may not have a clear plan and changes her mind many times, but when she wants something she goes for it and we love to see it. She is fierce and sassy and flirtatious and stylish. The clothes she wore in this novel are divine. She was such an incredible character. From her strong desire to protect her cousin to her tumultuous rescue mission, she was always entertaining to read about. Does she tumble and fumble along the way? Absolutely.  She likes the danger, she likes the scandal and the thrill. Probably not the best traits to have when interacting with this family. But she is also someone who deep down never lets anything truly stop her.

Catalina, while she was more of a background character, was still really fascinating. We mostly get a sense of Cata’s character from the anecdotes Noemi tells us about her fairy-tale, tragic romance loving cousin. She was a hopeless romantic and she sought the high that comes from having a lover that may be a little on the dark side. However, Cata *changes*. Oh I am treading the spoiler line, but wow I just really enjoyed seeing this transition in character. She is after all sort of the reason Noemi is pulled into this story, and she plays a big part in how it unfolds. We stan her, trust me.

(While we’re on the topic, fairy tales actually play somewhat of a symbolic role in this novel. And I’m not talking about the Disney kind, I’m talking about the old grim stories that are gruesome and horrific tales of gore and grief, but that attract the reader with a ~romance~ woven within its twists. hint hint nudge nudge.)

The Doyles. Oh the Doyles. I shouldn’t say much about them because spoilers, but I will give my two cents on them anyways. They were a creepy bunch from the very beginning to the very end. They were the symbol of white colonialism and the destruction colonists caused the people and the land that they infiltrated. They rub you wrong in every single way. And I can’t lie they are intriguing. I was simultaneously repulsed by them, but also wanted to know what’s up with them. We can only stan one young shy Doyle.

This is a slow burn so be prepared to spend some time soaking in the Gothic goodness and history that SMG provides us with. A good chunk of this book has Noemi getting a feel of what High Place is like. There’s lots of exploring and dreaming and realizing that things are not what they seem at all. And what makes this slow tread so special is that this book is incredibly atmospheric. The sun never shines in this novel. It doesn’t help that High Place has strict rules: no electricity, no hot water, no casual conversations. It thrives in gloom, cold and silence. Creepy right? SMG did a perfect job of transporting the reader into the house and wrapping them in the mist that surrounds the mountain. It furthers that sense of suspense that has us hanging on to every word that is put forth. This book is an experience, it’s the best way I can explain what it is like to read it. You are not merely an observer, but you are in the house with its listening walls and gloomy corridors.

So then we get to the 60% mark and things just start to happen and we tumble down this series of things getting bleaker and bleaker. Boom. Boom. Boom. As I discovered more about the history of the family and the house, things just get twistier and harder to piece out. And let me tell you this family is MESSED UP. There isn’t such a thing as an easy solution, Noemi is literally trapped in this house with these people.

That being said, the creep factor is high. And the dark factor is even higher. There are some things in this book, some images that I cannot get out of my head. Once specific image with mushrooms is just…*shivers* Towards the climax when the once mysterious elements of the story are brought to light, my heart actually started pumping. I haven’t had a heart-pumping read in a while. I was actually getting nervous. I was scared about what would happen next. And this is not like the movies where you can look away or cover your eyes and wait for things to pass. You have to read the things that happen, you have to live through it with Noemi and it is CREEPY.

And the horror isn’t only tied to the freaky supernatural things that go on. But also the repercussions of colonialism that lead to the deaths of so many Mexican minors. Eugenics and its twistedness was a huge factor in this novel. Especially when it comes to keeping bloodlines pure *looks judgmentally at a certain family* But it also explores Mexico in the 1950s where misogyny was rampant and women were trapped in the cages of their husbands rules. All these just add to the danger of what the supernatural elements impose on Noemi and so many others.

A Bonus Thought: After reading the novel, I read the Book Club Kit that goes into details about Real del Monte, the English colony that inspired the setting for this novel, and goes in depth about what the Gothic genre is about. And let me tell you, it just opened my eyes to a lot of things I didn’t know about. It gives lots of insight into how the setting and genre tie into the aims of the novel!


Overall, I think this book is a perfect creepy yet classy read. Noemi was such a fantastic character to follow. High Place and its ruling family kept up the sinister trap from beginning till end. This slow burn Gothic novel kept me hanging on with every turn of the page. It made my heart race and tingled my spine as it wrapped its misty cloak around me. I had wildly high expectations and because Silvia Moreno-Garcia is such an epic writer, she soared high over my hype.

Rating: 5 / 5 Stars

Recommend: Yes. Of course. Give yourself some chills this summer.

If you read that long as review, thank you! You’re a real one. If you just read the bold bits, thank you as well. You’re also a real one!

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? What was your favourite part? What books give you the creeps? Who are favourite sassy and classy characters?

*Lebanon Needs You – Please Share and/or Donate + Link to a master list of how you can help Black Lives Matter and other humanitarian movements across the globe*

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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It’s MEXICAN GOTHIC release day + Tune & Title Tuesday! So we are going to celebrate!

Greetings readers!

HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY TO MEXICAN GOTHIC BY SILVIA MORENO-GARCIA!

I cannot tell you all how excited I am that today has finally arrived! I have been waiting for this book since it was announced and have since then fed on whatever news I could get about it! From the announcement to the cover reveal (my cover tweet is still my fave tweet!!!) to the book club kit and finally the music that went along with it!

Silvia Moreno-Garcia made a whole playlist for the book and as I was listening to it, I just had to pick my favourite song to honour this release on Tune & Title Tuesday!!

Tune: Wicked Game – Ursine Vulpine ft. Annaca

I was listening to the playlist while writing up an assignment and this song made me do a full stop! First came in the haunting piano and I was like ~woah hold on there, this is definitely a song I would be into~ and it turns out I was very much right! I don’t know how much it has to do with the book…but dang I’m intrigued. It could be a Catalina song or a Noemí song, but either way I’m into it!  Even though I haven’t read it, I can definitely get the vibe that this Gothic novel is giving off!

Listen to the full playlist on Spotify!

Title: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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Obviously I haven’t read the book yet, but I am very very very VERY  much looking forward to it! I have seen a couple of reviews from people that have loved it and have been totally creeped out by it and I can’t help but be excited. I’m not a big horror reader, but I’ll be whatever kind of reader when it comes to Silvia Moreno-Garcia, so let’s do this! The song repeatedly states over and over that “I don’t want to fall in love” but HEY I’m very much looking to fall in love with this book!


If you’re on Instagram, follow me @readingwithrendz because I’m spending the whole week posting about Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s amazing work!!!

Let me know what you think! Have you gotten your copy of Mexican Gothic yet? What horror novels do you love? Do you listen to book playlists?

*Link to the master list of how you can help Black Lives Matter movements across the globe*

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Untamed Shore | Review // In which I read my first thriller and realize I might be more blood thirsty than I initially thought…

Greetings readers!

Anyone who follows me on Twitter or Instagram knows how much I adore Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s work. I discovered her a few years ago when The Beautiful Ones came out in 2017 and since then I have gobbled up her novels. And we all know how much I LOVE Gods of Jade and Shadow so obviously all her works are on my TBR from now one!

Her latest release, Untamed Shore is a crime thriller and—

—-Rendz you barely read thriller and you’ve a record 0 crime books

Um, excuse me. This is Silvia Moreno-Garcia we are talking about. If it’s got her name on it, I read it. Plus I always like guessing at mysteries!

Untamed Shore by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Untamed Shore
via Goodreads

Pub Date: Feb 11, 2020
Publisher: Agora Books
Goodreads

Renowned author Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s first thriller, UNTAMED SHORE, is a coming-of-age story set in Mexico which quickly turns dark when a young woman meets three enigmatic tourists.

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.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia is one of the most exciting voices in fiction, and with her first crime novel, UNTAMED SHORE, she crafts a blazing novel of suspense with an eerie seaside setting and a literary edge that proves her a master of the genre.


The Likes

SMG has a way of just totally sucking you into a book. I’ve never set foot in 1970s Baja California and yet I felt like I was intimately involved with the town of Desengaño. The words wrap around you until you feel like you’re standing on the beach and looking at the display of shark corpses. You feel it, you smell it, you can hear every sound. And, yeah, you’ve never even been in a setting like that before, but the writing makes it a whole experience for you anyways.

The writing is gorgeous and stellar, but I’ll be honest, what got me reeled in were the characters!

Viridiana, my girl. She was un-apologetically herself all the time. (Although she has her moments of self-doubt, but don’t we all) She was walking paradox. Practical, straightforward and yet dreamy. She fully understood her confinement in her small town, and the limits placed on her because of her gender, religion and economic status, but that didn’t stop her from dreaming. From imagining herself as a movie star, albeit a hopelessly romantic one. She had a love for languages which hello, hi, same. I really enjoyed reading about her journey and the shit she put herself through and had to get out of. I loved that she was not perfectly capable and when she messes up she has to get her hands dirty to fix it up. And let me tell you she messes up. A lot. But she wants what we all want, a life worth having lived. Where she can reach for the stars like anyone else. And she lies, cheats and maybe does more to get that.

The Americans….HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM. The mother fucking Americans. (I am talking specifically about the book’s Americans, not you my dear American readers). Viridiana gets caught up in their web and it takes a lot of work to get out of it. If I’m being honest Gregory was a little beeyatch and Daisy was The Bitch of the Group, so I really hated them, but was also fascinated by them. Viridiana and I were both really in the same boat here, except I was better at calling their bullshit.

The twistiness!!!! You know at one point I thought I had it in the bag. Like I knew exactly what was gonna happen and then I got slapped and realized I needed to humble myself. Suffice to say, the twists were really good. There was a lot of suspense to be had and the book keeps you on the edge of your seat constantly. It’s that kind of tense reading where you’re yelling at the characters to do one thing and they do the opposite which only makes you more stressed but also more intrigued! There were a lot less sharks than I initially anticipated (but they are mentioned a lot), but the Americans and ~others~ do have a certain vicious sharkness to them. I’ll be honest though the beginning sets up a lot of groundwork so it takes a bit to get to that first moment of shit-hitting-the-fan. But it sure does and my girl gets her hands dirty!!

Now, it turns out that I am willing to go way farther than Viridiana is to get out of a mess and she goes pretty far. I had to take a minute to question my moral values and reflect on my blood thirst. Viridiana had the decency to feel some remorse where as I was like yasssssssss I like this blood we are spilling and lies we are telling. So yeah. 🙂 I mean we both had self-preservation in mind, she’s just a little more of a thinker whereas I was like, let’s just take them all down!

The Questionable

Why couldn’t this book get the full five stars from me? I guess it’s because it ended almost too smoothly. Here I am complaining that it was a good ending. I’m a terrible reader, I know! But I guess I was hoping for that last minute WTF moment that I thought would come with thrillers, but no it was pretty chill. It was a good ending, satisfying too, but perhaps I was hoping for one more twist.


Overall, I really enjoyed this! It is definitely a thrilling ride and you will love the havoc these tourists wreak on this small town that, let’s face it, loves the drama just like us readers!

Rating: 4.25 / 5 Stars

Recommend: You know the answer is yes!

Let me know what you think! Have you read this or are thinking about picking it up? Are you a thriller fan? What are some of your favourites?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Gods of Jade and Shadow | Review // In which I try to express myself as eloquently as possible

Greetings readers!

Many, many moons ago I saw the announcement for this book and stars bloomed into my eyes! A Mayan mythological extravaganza set in 1920s Mexico! I was overly excited but I also agonized over the fact that I would have to wait so long for it to finally fall into my hands.

And here we are today. (Well I actually read it about a week ago) But today is the day the review is actually going up!

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Gods of Jade and Shadow
via Goodreads

Pub Date: July 23rd, 2019
Publisher: Del Rey
Price: $35.00 CAD
Goodreads

The Mayan god of death sends a young woman on a harrowing, life-changing journey in this dark, one-of-a-kind fairy tale inspired by Mexican folklore.

The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy cleaning the floors of her wealthy grandfather’s house to listen to any fast tunes. Nevertheless, she dreams of a life far from her dusty small town in southern Mexico. A life she can call her own.

Yet this new life seems as distant as the stars, until the day she finds a curious wooden box in her grandfather’s room. She opens it—and accidentally frees the spirit of the Mayan god of death, who requests her help in recovering his throne from his treacherous brother. Failure will mean Casiopea’s demise, but success could make her dreams come true.

In the company of the strangely alluring god and armed with her wits, Casiopea begins an adventure that will take her on a cross-country odyssey from the jungles of Yucatán to the bright lights of Mexico City—and deep into the darkness of the Mayan underworld.


Buy It!

Chapters Indigo | Amazon


The Likes

The Characters

Casiopea has to be the most raw, daring and incredibly real character I have ever read. As much as I like to believe that I find all characters believable there is always something inexplicably fictional about them that prevents that wholehearted belief, but there was something different about Casiopea. Reading about her felt trans-formative to the point where I was her at one point.  And perhaps this is all credit to Moreno-Garcia’s talent for writing because I 100% felt like I was in Mexico during the 20s living her life. That being said Casiopea was an angry, adventure-seeking, weary, courageous and witty character. I loved everything about her, from her bone-deep resentment of her family situation to her free-spirited, no shit-taking confidence. She was as about dynamic as one could get, constantly re-evaluating herself, the life she has lived, the one she is living and the one she dreams to live. Her coming-of-age story is an unforgettable one no doubt.

Hun-Kamé, Lord of Xibalba is most definitely my second favourite character of this whole lot! Moreno-Garcia’s take on the personality of a this Mayan god is definitely similar to what I pictured, but then she gave it that twist. That gut-wrenching twist that brings down the stoic, distant divine figure and like Casiopea makes him far much more real and tangible. He goes through quite a journey and transformation too which, alongside Casiopea’s, means that things get dangerous, murky and most certainly bloody.

Other characters…Should I mention Martín? Must I mention him? Is he worth my mention? He is not. He shouldn’t even really be in the “like” section. But I will say that I loved that Moreno-Garcia explored his mind too and the inner workings of his deep-set tyranny.

The World-Building

Mexico in the 20s was a wild time, as I’m sure it was elsewhere in the world. There was the inconsequential influence of American and European trends and fashion, but there was also the already established Mexican way of life. There was the once non-disputed authority of the Church being challenged by the state. There was (and still is the) colourism and racism manifested within the people separating neighbour from neighbour and family member from family member. All of which were touched upon in this amazing novel.

I loved that we got to see how starkly different life could be in different places of the time. There was the tiny, suffocating, strict streets of the pueblo. Then there was the fun yet dangerous paths of Mexico City. We even get to the flashy, high life of America for a bit.

But the best part had to be the Underworld. It just was. Trust me. It is a haunting type of beauty that really had me wanting to go there while simultaneously never, ever wanting to go there.

The Writing

There is just something about Moreno-Garcia’s prose that always gets me. Maybe it’s the information that she sneaks in here and there that enriches the story’s detail. Maybe it’s the wittiness of her characters that always had me cracking up. Maybe its the way that she most definitely made this feel like a fairy tale and yet still the most serious tale ever told. I don’t know what it is and I’m not making any sense so it leaves only one logical answer: magic. It’s magic.

There is a great amount of adventure to be had. It does have a quest narrative after all! The stakes are high, the challenges are messy, there is more than one Mayan god of death so you can definitely plan on some havoc coming from them! The action and intensity were perfect. The pacing was just right, speeding up when we needed to move and slowing down when we needed those sweet moments!  And it’s chalked full of myth and legend, with a glossary at the back so you don’t get lost at any point in turn!

THE DIVINE INTERVENTION PLOT. THIS BOOK IS THE EMBODIMENT OF THAT PLOT. YOU GUYS KNOW HOW MUCH I LOVE IT WHEN THE GODS COME OUT TO PLAY AND MESS UP EVERYTHING.  It is truly wonderful.

There was a slow burn romance that literally tore me to pieces. And that’s all I’ll say on that.

And the ending. The ending. The ending. The ending. T H E   E N D I N G.

The Questionable

There are no questions to be had. The book is amazing.


Overall, I loved this book. It lived up to my very high standards and I think it shattered them. If you are one who gravitates towards historical fiction, this is for you. If you love fantasy, this book is for you. If you love fairy tales, then this is for you! If you want an incredibly well-written story with incredibly complex characters that is also full of danger, suspense and magic, then this is the book for you!!!!!!

Rating: 5 / 5 Stars

Recommend?: Of course I do!

Let me know what you think! Have you had the chance to read this one yet? Are looking forward to picking it up? Did I convince you to pick it up today? Please read this book. 

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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The Beautiful Ones | Review

Greetings readers!

Confession: I am a hopeless romantic.

Like, as hopeless as they can possibly get. I’m not into the cheesiest of the cheese, but sometimes cheese is delicious and heartwarming and just awwwww.

Hence, why my Book Boyfriend list is loooooooooonnng.

So every once in a while, I might pick up a romance novel, just for the feels. This one ended up being an (alternative) history with the beauty of romance intertwined! This book, ladies and gents, this book was it!!!!!!

From just reading the synopsis I was like “Yes, yes……oh yes!”. Then I got denied on Netgalley and it’s like:

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via giphy.com

And then the lovely author asks for some diverse bloggers to give out some reviews, and I’m like:

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And then I read the book and just…just…just……………………

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The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The Beautiful Ones
via Goodreads

In a world of etiquette and polite masks, no one is who they seem to be.

Antonina Beaulieu is in the glittering city of Loisail for her first Grand Season, where she will attend balls and mingle among high society. Under the tutelage of the beautiful but cold Valérie Beaulieu, she hopes to find a suitable husband. However, the haphazard manifestations of Nina’s telekinetic powers make her the subject of malicious gossip.

Yet dazzling telekinetic performer and outsider Hector Auvray sees Nina’s powers as a gift, and he teaches her how to hone and control them. As they spend more and more time together, Nina falls in love and believes she’s found the great romance that she’s always dreamed of, but Hector’s courtship of Nina is deceptive.

The Beautiful Ones is a sweeping fantasy of manners set in a world inspired by the Belle Époque.

*Thank you to the author and publisher for providing me with an advanced digital copy–this in no way influences my opinion!*

I didn’t know exactly what to expect. Going in all I really knew was that this novel was about manners, telekinesis and romance. Well telekinesis is like magic, so Rendz is instantly pulled in and as aforementioned, I am a hopeless romantic so I was ready to ship!ship!ship! The manners bit is was really had me going “hmmm”…because I didn’t know what would become of this. In short, I loved it. I loved this book, I read the ending twice and I’m tempted to go read it again because my heart! It was fun, deceptive, quirky and swoon-activating.

What I Liked:

Characters:

Nina: She was basically the oddball of high society, the country girl in fancy clothes who doesn’t know the manners of a proper young elite. I absolutely adored her. She was funny, quirky, a little naive and a hopeless romantic like myself. None of those make her a fool, but people seem to only see her as one. She has interesting telekinetic powers that have always made her the misfit of the group, but that’s what made her exciting and troublesome. She grows immensely in a single story and reading about her journey and struggles gave me all the feels!

Hector: Hmm…I had a bumpy relationship with him in this book. I never truly hated him, I just hated what he was doing! Still, he was the tortured, romantic heartthrob that was trying to exact revenge and failing to do so. He was stubborn and passionate which sometimes held him back…by maybe like a decade. “Gentlemen” is basically the best characteristic you could describe him (and he would want you too) as he had transformed himself from a little circus orphan to a true high class performer!

Valérie: I loved to hate her. I will be honest, back in the first couple chapters of the book, I admired her. She sacrificed a lot for herself and her family, she didn’t exactly have the happiest life……but that’s about where I stopped liking her. She was a total bitch. Like being a cold hearted bitch can sometimes be cool, but when you try to destroy the personal lives of others, inflict emotional pain and blackmail them into it for your own personal gain…now that is just being a bitch. While I pitied her to the end….my petty side was actually happy she got what she deserved.

Telekinesis: This is some next level Matilda works guys. Garcia explored the power in Hector and Nina and how it sets them apart, makes them the same and what it means for their future.  I thought it added an extra pizzazz to the novel that would have been just a regular romance, this made it different and interesting.

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To be Different: The society that the characters live in is very posh. Very strict on what is in and what is out. If you don’t act classy, you are trash. If you say the wrong thing or are seen with the wrong person at the wrong time, labels spring up and you are ruined. Garcia explores what it is like to be different in this society. In Hector we see someone who wasn’t rich from birth, who makes his living as a performer and has no name to speak of. He climbed his way to the top to be seen a gentleman, but is it enough? In Nina we have a girl born with all the money, the famous name and yet she can’t handle the cutthroat expectations society has put on her, but does she really care? And then there is Valérie, the epitome of everything society expects and wants to see in a glamorous woman, but does she really have it all?

It’s a very intriguing theme and adds to my favourite thing…

Drama: I read this book in public guys. And when reading in public you try not to show too many emotions, but I’m telling you when I was getting to the more juicy bits I would be taking crazy intakes of breath, my eyes probably looked wild and while I wanted to smash my phone or just proclaim all my feels I stayed cool.*

*kind of

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via giphy.com

Suffice to say, I liked the drama, the scandals and the blackmailing bits that just made me want to roar on the bus.

Romance: It’s a romance novel of course it’s going to appear in the review. As one of the most important elements of the novel I really liked how it was handled. It shows the repercussions of falling in love young and quickly, the pain and struggle it can cause when things don’t go according to plan and the slow healing process of opening up to possibility again and letting it just flow. Feeling love without need to control it. And the ship guys………heart eyes all around.

The Ending: As I said, I read it twice and I’m tempted to read it again. The final five or six chapters are just so full of feeeeeellllssssss. Things go right/wrong/WRONG/right. It’s just a roller coaster and I adored it! After finishing the book in the afternoon, I dived back into those five chapters that same night to highlight and bookmark all my favourite ship moments!

What I Disliked:

There isn’t really anything…I guess I could say a little predictable throughout the first half of the book. The second part wasn’t really, though as you read on you might get some theories and figure some stuff out. But definitely not all!


Overall, I really liked this book. Look at me, reaching into genres that are not fantasy *proud of self* I wish there would be a sequel (or maybe just an extension of that great ending) but Garcia isn’t really a sequel kind of person. So I’ll just have to stick with this solid standalone! I’ll definitely be diving into more of this authors works!

Rating: 5 / 5 stars! (Even if the predictability mathematically takes off 0.25, emotionally it gets all the stars!)

Recommend: YEESS, if you’re looking for an adult romance that’s maybe not that intense but still has all the feels, try this!

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? What’s your favourite romance novel? How do you keep all your feels in when you’re in public?


Some Fun Info!

Praise for THE BEAUTIFUL ONES:

“Moreno-Garcia (Certain Dark Things) fills her fantastic novel of manners with sumptuous language and plausible romantic complications in a setting that appears to be based on 19th-century France and is lightly garnished with minor magic…Readers who enjoyed Mary Robinette Kowal’s Glamourist Histories magical Regency series will be particularly enthralled by the genuine emotions evoked in the course of the unsustainable love triangle.”

—Publishers Weekly

“The telekinesis…adds a fantastical spin to a story that would otherwise be a great fit for fans of the 18th-century French classic Les Liaisons Dangereuses. The talented author of Certain Dark Things and Signal to Noise returns with a novel that is light on fantasy but overflowing with delicious melodrama.”

Library Journal

“This elegant tale of hidden desires and misplaced amour will appeal to fans of historical fantasy.”

—Booklist

“Truly one of the most beautiful books I’ve read in a long time. This sweeping tale of love lost and found is told with old-world elegance, grace and just the right touch of magic.”

—M.J. Rose New York Times bestselling author

Moreno-Garcia, Silvia_CREDIT Martin Dee 2017 (1)

About the author:

SILVIA MORENO-GARCIA is the critically-acclaimed author of the novels Signal to Noise – winner of a Copper Cylinder Award, finalist of the British Fantasy, Locus, Sunburst, and Aurora awards – and Certain Dark Things, which was selected as one of NPR’s best books of 2016. She won a World Fantasy Award for her work as an editor and lives in Canada.


This book comes out today! So head to your nearest bookstore or library to check it out! Not feeling up for the walk? How about entering this giveaway to win the finished copy and a necklace!

Enter here!

(*Giveaway is hosted by the author, I’m just letting y’all know about it because hello..Free Book! US/CAN only*)

And because you are getting even luckier………

HERE IS A SNEAK PEAK AT CHAPTER ONE!!

chapter one.png

Hector was like a castaway who had washed up on a room of velvet curtains and marble floors. The revelers might as well have been wild animals ready to tear off a chunk of his flesh.

He felt utterly lost, alien and alone.

As Hector watched from a corner of the room, ladies and gentlemen partnered to dance, women fanned themselves and smiled, and men greeted each other with a tilt of the head.

He had attended many glittering balls, but none in this city. He knew no one here except for Étienne and Luc, and he was waiting with breathless expectation for the arrival of Valérie Beaulieu.

The first thing he’d done upon disembarking was to make discreet inquiries about the whereabouts of the lady. He was glad to discover she was in Loisail and, moreover, that she would be at the ball thrown by the De Villiers. He had no direct connection to the De Villiers—or hardly anyone else in Loisail, for that matter, having spent the past ten years abroad—but he did know Étienne Lémy, who was able to secure him an invitation.

Hector had dressed according to the weight of the occasion in a new double-breasted black dress coat, white shirt, and a white bow tie. White gloves and mother-of-pearl studs completed the ensemble. In his excitement, he arrived unfashionably early, not wishing to miss Valérie, and after greeting his host had positioned himself strategically so that he could watch every elegant guest who entered the vast ballroom. But Hector had not been long at his post when he heard a couple of ladies commenting that Mrs. Beaulieu had been taken ill and would not be in attendance, which came as a shock to the women since Valérie Beaulieu’s missing the opening of the season seemed unthinkable.

All his plans in tatters, the whole reason for his attendance at the ball suddenly vanishing, Hector did not know what to do with himself. Unable to stand the music and the noise, he escaped to the library, which was gloriously empty, its furniture decorated with a profusion of brass inlays, the bookcases primly protected with glass doors. The only reasonable course of action at this point was to wait there until he could perform a proper exit without seeming rude. He could not possibly retire until nine o’clock.

Hector consulted his watch, and after deliberating, he decided he’d brush up on his history. He wound up flipping through the pages of a book without touching them, having dragged a chair closer to him with a motion of his left hand, his talent at work. He did not read a single line, too troubled by thoughts of Valérie Beaulieu to make heads or tails of the words.

When they last saw each other, they’d both been nineteen, nothing but children, really. But he’d loved her. She had been beautiful, sophisticated, captivating. A perverse part of him hoped that time had somewhat washed away the colors from her face, but in his heart he knew this was impossible and that Valérie Beaulieu must remain as he remembered her: the most devastating woman in the room.

And he would not be seeing her that night.

The clock on the wall struck nine and the door opened. In walked a young woman in a blue pastel silk and velvet dress with appliquéd flowers along the bodice and skirt, the sleeves rather puffed out, as was in vogue.

She closed the door, taking several steps into the room before she raised her head and caught sight of him. “Sir,” she said. “I’m sorry, I didn’t realize there was anybody here.”

“It’s no matter,” he replied, closing the book with his hands rather than with his mind; he reserved displays of his talent for the stage. He did not add anything else. He was hardly in the mood for polite conversation. The De Villiers prided themselves on attracting the cream of the crop to their functions—the Beautiful Ones, rather than the New People. The barons of barely minted empires of telegraph wires and fresh steel could socialize elsewhere. Hector had been offered an invitation, proof of Étienne’s charm and his connections, but he knew he was, at best, a novelty for these aristocrats; at worst, an intruder. He did not wish to befriend any of them and threw the young woman a frosty look. The girl did not take his cue.

She looked at him carefully, her lips curving into a smile as she moved closer. “I know you. You are Hector Auvray.”

“Pardon me, were we introduced?” he asked, frowning. He was sure he had not seen this girl before. He had been presented to the hosts, and Étienne had pointed out a few people, but not her.

“I recognize your face from the posters around town. You are performing at the Royal. Phantasmagoric: Feats of Wonder, isn’t it? I was hoping to meet you,” she said.

“Oh?” he replied, a noncommittal sound, even if his interest had been piqued. Few aristocrats would admit to knowing the name of a vulgar entertainer. Instead, they nodded their heads politely and either assumed or pretended he was a slightly more elevated type of person.

“What were you reading?” she asked, pointing at the book he was clutching between his hands.

“History. Miss—”

“Nina,” she said, stretching out her hand. “Antonina, really, but I rather hate it. I’m named after a witch of a great-aunt, the most awful wretch who ever lived. Well, not quite, but I resent the association, and therefore it is Nina.”

“Hector, though you already know that part.” He shook her hand. “It’s probably best if we exit this room now. A bachelor such as myself, a young lady such as yourself—we wouldn’t want to cause a scandal.”

Truly, he wanted only to get rid of her and could not have cared what anyone thought. If the girl wished to walk around the house without an escort, then let it be. He had come to speak to one woman and one woman alone. If she was not there, then Hector would wallow in his velvet misery.

“I can’t possibly leave now,” she replied.

“Why not?” he asked, annoyed.

She did not notice his tone of voice or did not care. Instead, she took off the dance card dangling by her wrist and held it up for him to look at.

“If I go out there now, Didier Dompierre is going to ask me for a dance, and if you’d ever danced with Didier, you would know he is the most terrible dancer. I have been told he’ll put his name down for two dances, and you must be aware a lady cannot refuse a dance from a gentleman. It would be uncivil.”

Hector did not understand why a man might want to corral this particular girl for two dances in a row. She was not an enviable beauty— somewhat run-of-the-mill, to be frank—and her square jaw, black hair, and thin lips were rather unstylish. She possessed eyes of a pretty shade of hazel, though, and her dress was very fine; perhaps that was enough for a young chap with poor dance skills such as this Didier Dompierre.

“Then your thought is to spend the rest of the evening here, avoiding him?”

“Not the rest of the evening, but, say, a half an hour, and by then he will have found some other girl he can stomp on,” she replied, sitting in the chair in front of him and stretching her legs.

“This does not seem the best-conceived plan.”

“It is a plan, which is what matters. Whom are you hiding from?” she asked. If she were another woman, this might have been mistaken for an attempt at flirting. Valérie would have taken the opportunity to lace her voice with honey, but the girl was plain and spoke plainly.

“I am not hiding from anyone,” he said.

“Do you make it a habit to go to balls, then, and creep into the library to brush up on your history?”

“Do you talk to all men in this manner?” he replied, growing more curious than irritated.

She toyed with her dance card, putting it again on her wrist, and gave him a mortified look. “I apologize. This is only the second dance I’ve attended, and I can see it will end catastrophically already.”

“This is the second party of the De Villiers’ you’ve attended?” he asked.

“The second party in the city I’ve ever attended, and this is the beginning of the Grand Season, the true test of a lady’s mettle. You must not think me a complete fool. I went to a couple of dances in Montipouret, but it was different. Small affairs. Loisail is large and there are many people and the rules are different.”

He was talking to a country girl, for clearly the designation of “woman” would have been misplaced on her. Worse than that, a country rube. But Hector could not help but feel more sympathy than distaste. He had, after all, been a country nothing at one time and less polished than this girl.

He smiled despite himself, to assuage her. “No doubt you’ll learn them soon. You seem quick-witted.”

“Thank you,” she replied, appearing rather pleased with his words.

She looked at him curiously and another smile crossed her face. “I must confess, I know more about you than your name from looking at the posters. I read about you in TheGazette for Physical Research. Alexander Nicolay has been investigating your telekinetic abilities.”

“Are you a fan of TheGazette?” he asked, surprised that she’d be informed about Nicolay’s research. He’d bumped into the man a couple of years back. He was attempting to measure and classify all psychokinetic talents and convinced Hector to let him take his pulse while he manipulated objects with the force of his mind. It was the sort of thing people did not think to bring up in casual conversation.

“Not particularly. But I am interested in the phenomena. They say you are one of the great psychokinetics of our era.”

“I’m a decent performer,” he replied.

“Modest, too.”

She was a curious girl, and now he reassessed her again. Not an aristocrat and not a country rube and—what exactly? He didn’t like it when he couldn’t classify people.

He gestured toward the door. “Shall I escort you to the ballroom?”

She looked down at her dance card, carefully running her fingers around its edge. “Yes. If you feel inclined, you might partner with me for a dance. I would be really thankful. I was not exaggerating when I said Didier Dompierre is the worst dancer you’ve ever seen. Is that a terrible request? It’s not, is it?”

He was somewhat amused by the question and her tone of voice, and though the girl’s nervous energy at first did not sit too well with him, he had to admit he felt a bit relieved by her intrusion. He was full to bursting with thoughts of Valérie and could do with a few minutes more of light chatter. It would also satisfy the practical necessity of actually showing himself at the ball, which he ought to do at one point. He could not spend every single minute in the library. He could wallow later, in the privacy of his apartment.

“One dance.”

She took his arm before he offered it to her as they exited the library, which was presumptuous.

The owners of the house had placed mirrors on the walls of the corridor that led to the ballroom, an ostentatious touch, but this was a new trend that was sweeping the capital and soon the nation. Whatever took the fancy of Loisail would take the fancy of the whole of Levrene; this was a known fact.

The ballroom was huge, with tall gilded mirrors reflecting the attendees, magnifying the space: the party seemed to go on forever. Above them hung monstrous chandeliers that sparkled with all their might, and all around them there were ladies with their shoulders bare, in their fine silks, while the gentlemen stood sober and proud, creating a glorious rainbow of colors, from the restrained browns of the matriarchs to the pale pinks of the unmarried women.

Hector carefully took hold of Antonina’s hand and they joined the dance. He did not consider himself an excellent dancer, though he could manage. His partner fared poorly, but gave the feeling of being entertained.

“Do you know Loisail well, Mr. Auvray? Or is this your first time here? It wouldn’t be, would it?”

“I don’t know it well, no. I’ve spent only a few days in Loisail before my move here.”

“How do you find it? Is it different from the cities where you’ve lived?” she asked.

He thought of the myriad countries and stages where he’d toured. To be back in his country of birth, in Levrene, was to be back home, though not due to a quirk of geography but because this was where Valérie resided. Here, in Loisail, even if she was hidden away at this moment. She existed and colored the city for him, lit it brighter than the elegant iron lampposts.

“Interesting. I have yet to form a strong opinion of it,” he said politely.

“Then you intend to remain for a while?”

“I will be performing for a few months here, yes. As to whether I intend to make it my permanent base of operations, we shall see. And you?”

He did not expect her to launch into a complete and honest answer. A touch of coquetry, the outline of a smile, those would have been suitable. This had been Valérie’s way.

The girl clutched his hand excitedly. “I’ll most definitely be here until the summer. I am spending all of the spring with my cousin. My mother thinks a time in the city would do me good. Where are you lodging? My cousin’s house is in Saint Illare.”

“I think you’ve asked another bold question,” he informed her.

“Is it, really?”

Her words were candid and he found himself amused by the naivety. Rather than schooling her with a scowl and a clipped yes, which normally suited him magnificently, he gave her a proper answer.

“To the east. Boniface. Not as smart as your cousin’s house, I would wager,” he said.

“Boniface. Is that so you can remain near the theater?”

“Indeed.”

“I’m sure it’s smart enough. Boniface.”

As the dance ended, a young man moved in their direction, his eyes on Antonina. Hector was going to incline his head and release the girl, but on contemplating the look of pure panic that crossed her face, he did his best to suppress a chuckle and instead asked her for a second dance. She accepted and told him the man who had been moving toward them was poor Didier. In the end, he danced a total of three dances with Nina, but since two of the three were lively stevkas, they did not speak more than a few words.

After he had thanked her for the dances and strolled away, Étienne Lémy and his little brother, Luc, wandered over. Étienne was Hector’s age and Luc a handful of years younger, though looking at them, people always swore they were twins, so alike were they, both possessing the same blond hair and stylish mustache. They furthered the illusion that evening by wearing matching gray vests.

“There you are, you devil. I couldn’t find you anywhere,” Étienne said, clasping his shoulder. “For a moment I thought you’d left.”

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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November Wrap up and Haul

Greetings readers:

November was another slow month for me with real life getting in the way of my book life and so goes another post about an unfinished TBR….

BUT

I did complete two books this month so I am slightly proud of myself for doing that.

SO for the wrap up! In November I completed:                                         *replica

Replica by Lauren Oliver

I finally finished this one after over a month of starting it! I actually enjoyed it and you can see more of my review here!

Frost Like Night by Sara Raasch

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I loved it. I loved it. I loved it. It was a perfect ending and I cannot wait until I actually own them once I am off this book buying ban! You can read my review for Frost Like Night here. (It is much less repetitive then those first three sentences I used here 😉 )

 

I started/ continued to read:

The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas                                                                      *ab

I’m getting there people. Slowly but surely. I think I might rule out audio books after this because I cannot find time to sit and listen and I lose my place  too often!

Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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Picked this up because my hold came from the library so this is a spontaneous read. It’s about Mexican/Aztec vampires and from what I have read on Goodreads is really good. I may not be Mexican, but I can still relate to the Latin American aspects! Although it is very tough pronouncing the Nahutl language she uses sometimes.

 

 

What did I collect this month:

Three books. I…

“Rendz! You are on a book buying ban! You are not allowed to purchase any books until January! You said-“

Yes, yes I know what I said. And I stayed true to my word. I did not buy any books this month but I did collect books from the library!

I was able to renewed/borrowed

A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess (renewed)

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Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

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The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia

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That’s it for the month of November! These book might not all be on my December TBR but I will surely get to them soon! So what have you read throughout November? Any favourites? Let me know down below.

-Rendz

*all images via Goodreads*

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