🌿 R E V I E W – Tender is the Flesh 🌱

I definitely always try to keep an open mind when it comes to reading books outside my usual genre. Especially ones that have been suggested to me by others. But, sometimes, a book just doesn’t do anything for me. And sometimes it disgusts me. Thankfully, I don’t often read books that disturb me greatly. This, however, was one of them. TW: rape, murder, graphic descriptions, animal abuse.

Set in a dystopian future where animals have all been killed or died based on a disease that could infect humans, in order to still be able to eat meat, humans have started eating humans. While that premise wasn’t gross enough, the author goes into startling detail about the slaughterhouse process, and what each part of the body is used for, tastes like, and how to get the best “cuts”. The “head”, as these humans are called, are bred specifically for slaughter. Obviously, this is supposed to bring to mind our current processes with meat and slaughterhouses, and as someone who is an occasional meat eater, it was enough for me to not want to eat it at all. Our main character, Marcos Tejo, runs a slaughterhouse, and has a very key job of ensuring everything is running smoothly, and they’re being supplied the very best product. Initially, the reader is given the impression that Marcos is more human than the others – he does his job to make ends meet, he doesn’t eat meat, and he shows sympathetic tendencies towards the product. However, by the end, he’s just the same as the rest of them.

The only character I can say I liked in this book was known only as “the female”, mainly because she’s entirely innocent, yet learns to adapt to the life she’s given. She ends up having a terrible resolution at the hands of the main character, and I was sad with how it ended.

There are so many people who enjoyed this book, and I can understand why! If you can get past the gory subject matter and have a stronger stomach than me, the plot outside of the cannibalism is very intriguing, and the main character does have some development (and eventual downfall, in my eyes) that does create an interesting read. I just couldn’t get over the idea of eating people (🤢) the whole time, and it really spoiled the rest of the story for me.

I can give the author creativity points, because she has a very vivid, disturbing imagination, but there were aspects about the book that seemed unnecessary. The details with the slaughter process, the scenes of animal abuse, the way the humans are treated, and the resolution truly disturbed me. I would not recommend this book, and seriously would suggest a strong stomach if you’re going to read it. I really try not to rate books so poorly, but with this one, I can barely give it a rating at all.

1🌿

🌿 R E V I E W – Murder in Old Bombay 🌱

For some reason, around the holidays I always love reading cozy mysteries. Murder in Old Bombay is a cozy mystery with a more thrilling side than your usual choice.

Set in 1892 Bombay, Captain Jim Agnihotri is laying in the hospital, bored and recovering. While he’s constantly scanning the newspapers, he reads an interesting story of two women falling to their death off the university clock tower in the middle of the day, and local authorities are deeming it suicide. Catching a letter to the paper from one of the victim’s husband, however, Captain Jim decides to interview the widowed man and discover why he so adamantly believes it wasn’t suicide. When he meets with Adi, he quickly accepts the offer to investigate the crimes fully, Sherlock Holmes style. What follows is an adventure Captain Jim nor Adi could have imagined. Throw in a love interest and a band of ragtag children, this story was one I could not stop reading until the very end!

I was so invested in the characters from this story right away, and needed to know what happened to these women. I loved the historical aspects, and the author described the settings in such detail that I was able to picture this historic city with ease. I loved how Captain Jim ended up making friends, and having a sense of family that he had never experienced. Overall, I would highly recommend picking this one up, and look forward to reading more by this author!

5🌿

🌿 R E V I E W – A Secret History of Witches 🌱

Wow. I loved this book.

Louisa Morgan is officially an auto-buy author for me now. This novel was so beautifully written, and the story line really hooked me. I was invested in the characters and their struggles, fighting along side them as they worked together for survival.

Each character is broken into a section of the book, and it helps keep them from getting jumbled up for me.

This story follows the women in the Orchiére line throughout history, starting in 1821. What starts as a whole group of women, with Grand-mère Ursule being the head of the family, dwindles to one or two members at a time. All the women in Orchiére line are witches, and they pass their craft down from mother to daughter. Grand-mére Ursule shows immense power, helping her family flee from witch hunters. She birthed six daughters, and the story continues on with them, focusing on the youngest, Nanette.

Each section moves from daughter to daughter. Some women have the craft, others don’t. Regardless, the history of their line is always taught, and the family is always fearing persecution from witch hunters.

It spanned five generations of women, some of whom you immediately love, some of whom you love to hate. I really enjoyed that whether the craft was present in the next daughter or not, the craft was still taught and shared, the history of the Orchiére line still repeated through the generations, the scrying stone and the Grimoire passed down, so that when another daughter was born, she would have the knowledge and the tools she needs to use her gift.

My favourite was the last daughter we met, Veronica, who didn’t use her craft for personal gain, but rather to help the masses. Her generation grew up in the 1940’s and dealing with World War Two. People she loved were fighting in the war, and not all of them came home. I really loved how Louisa Morgan wrote this element into the book, and had Veronica using her powers to help with the war effort, doing what she could to bring a swift end to the war with as little bloodshed as possible. There was also a cameo of Queen Elizabeth, and the story line around her was perfect – I loved it!

There was an element of suspense throughout this read, as each generation fears others discovering their gifts and killing them for them; as well as an element of mystery, as Louisa Morgan leaves you guessing and filling in some of the story line yourself as she jumps through the generations – but I still pieced together all the information I needed to enjoy the stories. I loved the stories around each sister in the Orchiére line, but Veronica was the one I loved most. She did the most good with her craft, she married a wonderful man, and the story ends on a small cliffhanger with how things end with her.

This book was definitely a great read, and I am looking forward to reading other works by Louisa Morgan.

5 🌿

DNF 🌝

Do you let yourself leave a book unfinished? Or do you power through to the end no matter how much you aren’t enjoying it?

I recently started reading Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch. It has been on my shelf for years, and I’ve always heard such great things about it. It’s a bestseller, it has won a Pulitzer – very well acclaimed. So I figured I would really enjoy it.

However, I found it had a very slow pace, and there wasn’t a lot happening within the plot to keep me turning the page. With it being a book of almost 800 pages, I really need excitement and to see where the plot is going. I felt this book really lacked a clear plot – somewhere you can see it going and finishing, that keeps you reading because you want to know the resolution. It was feeling more like a chore for me to read, as opposed to being my fun, free time activity.

I have a very hard time walking away from a book, leaving it unfinished. It feels as though I’ve quit, and I hate that feeling. I need to at least feel like I’ve given it enough of a try, to really wait to see if it’s going to pick up or pique my interest. Unfortuntely, I made it over halfway through The Goldfinch, but with 300+ pages still to read, I really didn’t feel like I could do it, especially with having an ever-growing pile of books to be read.

I know a couple of people who feel a similar way to me about this book, and I also know people who have loved it. It just goes to show that it all comes down to the reader, and how we receive the books we’re reading. My sister is going to read it towards the end of the month, and if she tells me the ending is exciting and satisfying, then I may pick it back up. However, for now, it remains a book I Did Not Finish.