Lies We Bury by Elle Marr – A book review

Lies We Bury by Elle Marr – A book review

Do you trust blurbs that compare book titles? Do they work for you? Lies We Bury by Elle Marr was recommended for the readers of “Room”. Read my book review of Lies We Bury to Elle Marr to know if it worked for me.

About Lies We Bury

Lies We Bury by Elle Marr Book review

Book Name: Lies We Bury

Author: Elle Marr

Genre: Fiction – Thriller

Characters: Marissa Mo (Clariss Lou), Jenessa, Lily, Rosemary, Nora, Chet, Shia Tua

Setting: PortlandOregon, The USA

Thanks to Netgalley and Megan Beatie Communications for the free e-copy.

Plot Summary of Lies We Bury

It has been twenty years since Marissa escaped the only place she had known – a basement prison. She reinvented herself a couple of times and now with a new name, a new city and a job as a freelance photographer she moves back to Portland. She decides she has moved on from the trauma, finally.

But it is all happening again.

When she has to cover a series murders in the underground tunnels of Portland, it is too close to home. And to make matters worse, she keeps finding small trinkets from her distant past all over the crime scene.

Is someone trying to frame her as the murderer? Or is it a weird copycat who is commemorating the release of her imprisoner? Read Lies We Bury by Elle Marr to know more.

Book review of Lies We Bury

I started reading Lies We Bury by Elle Marr without much expectations and was pleasantly surprised.

With two alternating timelines (present day and from twenty years ago), Lies We Bury follows Claire trying to navigate her adult life while completely ignoring her past trauma.

Claire is not particularly likeable. Her actions were not well thought through, especially when it is apparent that she is wrong. Well, that could be off putting and annoying after a while.

I am a sucker for books with psycho/serial killers, Lies We Bury seems to have it all. It made me guess and then second guess every person. Trust me, there were many out there. Though the ending may have been duller than what I had in my mind, it made sense. No complaints there.

What worked for me

  • Reading the past based on a seven year old’s version made it all the more real.
  • I liked the broken and dysfunctional relationship that Claire has with each of her sisters and the love for all the mothers.

What may have been better

  • The main lead may get on the nerves with her bad decisions and may be off putting for a few.

Content warning

Physical and sexual abuse, imprisonment,

Bottom line

Lies We Bury by Elle Marr is fast paced thriller that will keep you hooked till the end. Yes, it is similar to “Room” but with a darker future. I will definitely be on the look out for the author’s other books.

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Lies We Bury by Elle Marr – A book review

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn – A book review

I had been putting aside Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, who is one of my favorite authors, for a while, even when I was almost sure that I will like it. I just wanted savor it but when the dreadful slump threatened, I had to bring in the big gun.

So did Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn work well for me? Was it worth the hype and will I be watching the Amy Adams starring HBO series? You will have to read my book review of Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn to know more.

About Sharp Objects

elgeewrites Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn - A book review Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn book review

Book Name: Sharp Objects

Author: Gillian Flynn

Genre: Fiction – Psychological Thriller

Characters: Camille Preaker, Amma, Adora, Alan and Marian Crellin, Chief Bill Vickery, Frank Curry, Richard Willis, Natalie and John Keene

Setting: Wind Gap, MissouriThe USA

Plot Summary of Sharp Objects

Camille Preaker has been offered a chance to redeem her career as a journalist and her position with her chief, who has been always by her side even during her recent stint at the psych ward.

All she has to do is return to her hometown and cover the unsolved murder of a pre-teen girl and the recent disappearance of another.

While Camille is no way ready for visiting her hometown, but she does it anyway. She hasn’t spoken to her obsessive mother (Adora) in years and barely knows her half sister Amma.

With an uncooperative local Sheriff and handsom Kansas City detective on tow, Camille finds herself not just covering the story but finding the murderer who removes the teeth from his victims.

Will Camille be able to dig through the mystery, without awakening her demons from the past? What’s the deal with her family and her past? Grab a copy of Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn and read it right away.

Book review of Sharp Objects

I should start with a huge disclaimer: I am a huge fan of Gillian Flynn and I have read all her books including her novella. She is one of those authors that I would recommend to anyone looking for a fast psychological thriller or a new reader.

And I am glad to announce that Flynn didn’t disappoint me at all with Sharp Objects. Yes, it is apparent that it is not as nuanced as her later works, but it is still as dark as her books are usually. Fans of dark pasts and dysfunctional families, you won’t be disappointed.

I guessed the killer at about 70% of the book but I think Sharp Objects was more than just finding the murderer. It has always been about the characters themselves for me, which were fully developed and intriguing in their own ways.

If you have read Gone girl and/or Dark places, you know what you are in for and you will love it.

What worked for me

  • No one writes dark and damaged characters like Flynn and I have come to expect them in all her novels.
  • I love how motherhood was a subtle theme all through the book. Even the last article that Camille was working on before returning home was about a mother who abandons her kids for some drugs to her own mother who hugged her “ferociously”.
  • Sharp Objects is set in a small town (I am a huge fan of those) that is creepy and closed in equal parts.

What may have been better

  • You may not like the protagonist at all. And Camille just makes it hard to root for her and her actions gets only desperate and irrational after a while. (I like such characters, but just a warning for those of you who don’t like books with unlikeable protagonists.)
  • The whodunnit part can be figured out or at least guessed before it happens. So if you are in just for the mystery part of it, Sharp Objects might seem predictable.

Content warningy

Self harm (cutting), parental neglect and abuse, mentions of underage sex and rape, recreational drugs.

Bottom line

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn is an engrossing thriller that will stay with you for a long time if you like twisted and dark characters and dysfunctional families. Flynn doesn’t disappoint her fans with Sharp Objects at all.

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Lies We Bury by Elle Marr – A book review

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite – A book review

I had been meaning to pick up My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite for a long time now, having seen the countless reviews and posts on bookstagram. But after hearing Ms Braithwaite speak (virtually) at the Emirates Litfest this year, I grabbed it immediately. Read my book review of My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite to know more.

About My Sister, the Serial Killer

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite book review

Book Name: My Sister, the Serial Killer

Author: Oyinkan Braithwaite

Genre: Fiction – Thriller, Drama

Characters: Korede, Ayoola, Tade, Muhtar Yautai

Setting: Lagos, Nigeria

Plot Summary of My Sister, the Serial Killer

Set in the modern day Lagos, Nigeria, My Sister, the Serial Killer opens with Korede helping her younger sister Ayoola get rid of her latest victim’s body. Ayoola tells her it was a self defense, but Korede is not convinced entirely.

Korede, a sincere nurse with a crush on her coworker, the handsome doctor Tade. Her only “friend” is a patient in comatose, to whom she confides about her suspicions about her self absorbed sister, who might be a serial killer.

What happens when Ayoola and Tade fall for each other, and her friend who knows all her deep and dark secrets, is no longer in a comatose? You have to read My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite to know more.

Book review of My Sister, the Serial Killer

I loved the plot and while not being original, I wanted to know more about the sisters and what happens to them. There are some flashbacks that talk about their childhood and their late father.

The chapters are quite short and you can race through the book in a sitting, like I did. But the short chapters made it seem like it was rushed and underdeveloped at places.

The small snippets about their abusive tyrannical father, which offer some glimpse into why Ayoola might be doing whatever she does. And the fact that we may never know the full story made it more interesting for me.

I wanted to like Korede, but unfortunately she seemed too passive about her situation and life in general. On the other hand, I loved reading the social commentary about the modern day Lagos and their inept and corrupt police force.

[wpdiscuz-feedback id=”cl9hemzmnn” question=”Please leave a feedback on this” opened=”0″]My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite is my first book set in Nigeria, is there any other Nigerian books that I should be reading?[/wpdiscuz-feedback]

What worked for me

  • I loved the premise and it had me hooked from the first sentence.
  • The short chapters with cliffhangers got me reading the entire book in a single sitting. My Sister, the Serial Killer is a perfect popcorn fun read!
  • I loved reading about Lagos and Nigerian lifestyle and I will definitely watch out for the author as well.

What may have been better

  • The short chapters made it seem like there was more to the story and it was rushed through.
  • I wanted to like characters but sadly none of them had any character development to start with.

Content warning

Parental abuse

Bottom line

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite is a short fun read that may have not lived up to the hype for me. Nevertheless, it is still a good thrilling read that you can breeze through in an afternoon.

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Lies We Bury by Elle Marr – A book review

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia- A book review

As the first read of the year, I picked up Mexican Gothic – a book I have been wanting to read for a while now. Read on my book review of Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia to see how it worked for me.

About Mexican Gothic

Cover Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Book Name: Mexican Gothic

Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Genre: Fiction – Fantasy, paranormal, horror

Characters: Noemí Taboada, Catalina, Virgil, Florence, Francis and Howard Doyle

Setting: Mexico

Plot Summary of Mexican Gothic

When her father sends Noemí Taboada to High Palace in the Mexican countryside as a response to her newly-wed cousin’s alarming letters about her husband, she is not enthused.

Noemi, a flighty, party loving 23 year old in the 1950s, who wants to get her father’s approval to her dreams of attending university considers this as an opportunity to win him over, as well as to help her dear cousin Catalina.

When she first arrives at the ancient, crumbling mansion, the welcome from her cousin’s husband Virgil Doyle and his family is less than lukewarm. She finds out that Catalina’s health, physically and mentally is fragile and the Doyles’ family doctor doesn’t seem helpful.

With frosty and unhelpful relatives and a house that squeaks and creaks at every turn, Noemi begins to believe that her cousin was correct. And it was up to her to save herself and Catalina.

Was she able to do that? What is it about the house that does not let them escape form the rest of the story in Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Book review of Mexican Gothic

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a well written gothic fantasy thriller, leaning more towards fantasy than the thriller part. I had a huge expectations and I was left with a mixed feeling about it.

I really liked the first few pages of the book, but it took me more than fifty pages to actually get into the story. But until the last fifty pages or so, it moves really slow.

I love reading about dysfunctional families and the Doyles were definitely one of them. An aged patriarch who believes in “natural selection” and eugenics, a creepy, manipulative son, a controlling and matronly aunt and shy young man who is interested in fungus definitely wins the title.

If you like atmospheric horror like the Haunted of hill house, you are in for a treat. But being more of a “The Shining” fan, I was drifting off mentally often. Of course, it is definitely a “me” thing.

Apart from Noemi, Francis is the only other character to catch my attention and has some sort of character arc. But I am definitely not sold on their romance and strongly believe that they would be better of as friends. (I dunno why all stories have to have a romantic angle!)

What worked for me

  • I liked Noemi and her character development from a socialite who was a brat to a person to a matured young lady was interesting.
  • It was interesting to read about Marta and her stories about her ancestors and their culture. I wanted hear more from her about the colonialism and its effect on its Mexican subjects.
  • The whole creepy vibe of the mansion and the family is very well done. I felt sorry for the ladies for having stuck into the mess in the first place, even before realizing what it was about.

What may have been better

  • Mexican Gothic is definitely a slow burn, it takes about 50% of the book to garner the speed.
  • The mystery part is thinly veiled. If you paid close attention, you would stumble upon it quite easily and pretty early on.

Content warning

Sexual assault(s), incest, murder, cannibalism, death of children, stillbirth, miscarriage, death of parent.

Bottom line

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a must read for the fans of The Haunted hill house and other haunted house mysteries. But if you are someone like me, who wants more action than just the eerie atmosphere, you might find your attention wavering.

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Lies We Bury by Elle Marr – A book review

Ziggy, Stardust and Me – A book review

Once in a while we get to read books that are too difficult to read because they speak of raw and unflinching truths. Ziggy, Stardust and Me by James Brandon is one such book. Read on to hear more on my review of Ziggy, Stardust and Me.

About the book

Ziggy, Stardust and Me Book review

Book Name: Ziggy, Stardust and Me

Author: James Brandon

Genre: Fiction – HistoryYoung adult

Characters: Jonathan Collins, Webster, Starla, Dr Evelyn

Setting: Missouri , The USA

Plot Summary

Jonathan has been waiting for his final “therapy” session so that he can be cured of his “disease” and be the son his father wants.

The sixteen year old is bullied at school and ignored for most of the time by his alcoholic father, who is still mourning his wife’s death. At a time when being gay is considered a mental illness and is punishable, Jonathan just wants to be a boy who is “normal”.

When his only friend Starla, a biracial neighbor leaves the town for the summer, he realizes he is truly alone. Except for Ziggy Stardust. He worships David Bowie and has long (and only) conversations with his dead relatives and Ziggy.

But everything changes when he meets Web, a Native American/ Indian kid in his school. Web is everything he wants to be – fearless and not ashamed of being gay.

What happens when their homophobic neighbours, classmates and mainly families know about his secret forms the rest of Ziggy, Stardust and Me by James Brandon.

Book review

For a setting that is inherently doomed and heartbreaking, Ziggy, Stardust and Me surprisingly is not. There are many sweet moments and is full of hope, especially in the end when Jonathan starts accepting who he is gradually.

That being said and given the time it is set in, the book has so many homophobic and racist characters that it broke my heart. Unfortunately not much has changed in the last 50 years or so.

I think it is essential for us to learn from our history to understand how homophobic we have been as a society. Ziggy, Stardust and Me also talks about how internalized homophobia affects people, especially younger ones.

If you like David Bowie, there are so many references to his songs and characters and you will love it. Unfortunately, I didn’t know much about them and the references flew over the top of my head.

What worked for me

  • Ziggy, Stardust and Me is a must read to learn about our mistakes in terms of understanding homosexuality. And it is definitely a hard to swallow pill.
  • Despite the gloomy background, there were several sweet and romantic moments between the main characters.
  • The book also talks of music and music icons can play a huge role in saving people from trauma and from others.
  • While I can’t speak for its accuracy, I loved Web and his Native American (Lakota) representation.

What may have been better

  • I didn’t get or connect with Jonathan’s monologue, in this first person narration. And that bothered me quite a bit.
  • I hate the closeted homophobic bully trope. It is a personal thing for me, and I am getting tired of this trope of “oh the homophobes are all secretly gay themselves“.

Content warning:

conversion therapy, (internalized) homophobia, electroshock therapy, homophobic slurs, suicidal thoughts, Bullying, hate crimes, racism, racist slurs, past death of a parent, alcoholism, mentions of drug use, sexual assault,

Bottom line

Ziggy, Stardust and Me is an essential read to understand what the LGBTQA+ community had to overcome to just exists. It is a harsh, intense and raw book that is worth reading.

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