mini-reviews: dark things i adore // the corpse flower // brightest star in paris

the plot builds up very slowly being set up early on as a revenge story. the book alternates between three main POVs and switches between the past and the present. it involves a past set in a summer camp in the woods where artists serve as instructors to students teaching various forms of art. the coordinator assigns random nature-related names for the instructors so the past is told from a character called juniper who describes the various people (their names obviously told as the pseudonyms which ups the mystery factor) in the summer camp and a traumatic event that occurred at this camp in the past. the present is set in a weekend getaway where an art student, audra takes her professor max to her house in the wilderness to show him more details of her inspiration for art and the pieces she is working on for her thesis. the story follows them as max slowly unravels his underlying craziness and loses his mind at how much more talented audra is. max is set up to be a very manipulative, egotistic and short-tempered guy who has peaked as an artist literally when he makes pieces inspired by the women he dates. in short, without giving anything away, he is selfish and in a very dark, twisted manner can go to any lengths to use the women in his life as muses and art canvases that he can manipulate and even break until getting ideas for his own art pieces. he is extremely destructive and cannot phsyically stand anyone being more talented than him which makes him quite dangerous.

i loved how katie lattari slowly connects the past and the present while slowly unraveling the dark mannerisms of each of the characters. her style of writing was extremely poetic and reading about the vivid way she described the art pieces made them feel real and like something of consequence (and mind you, i am not someone who enjoys looking at art pieces for fun).

that large raven hanging, dark, proud, wings spread wide open. croaking prophecies only i can hear. you are alone. you are abandoned. you are mine.

i loved this book and devoured it over the course of two days. i highly recommend this to fans of slow-paced thrillers!

this was another slow-paced murder mystery where the plot took a while to connect together but when it did, it was quite satisfying. originally published in 2017, this is the english translation of the danish book, Ligblomsten. the book revolves around a wanted murderer in hiding, anna kiel suddenly reaching out to heloise, a reporter with whom she seems to have no connection through mysterious letters with cryptic information and a recurring line asking her to tell her story. as heloise tries to figure out what her connection with anna is and why she committed the murder, she collaborates with detective erik as more people are murdered for reasons unknown. the dynamic between erik and heloise was really good and the slow manner at which the story unfolds and everything falls into place was definitely executed very well! this was another one of those books i could not put down so highly recommend to fans of mystery! i am so excited for the second book in the series to be translated so i can read it!

it has been a while since i read a romance novel and i was excited to read this as it is historical and set in paris. the story is about amelie, a ballet dancer who is forced to keep up a piblic image as a pure, virginal saint for the sake of her opera house and benedict, an american surgeon with whom she was friends with when they were children. amelie helped benedict heal when he was in france undergoing treatment for his physical and mental wounds from the war but he left eventually to go back home. the plot is set 12 years later as benedict comes to paris again and their paths cross. i am usually a sucker for childhood and second-chance romances but this was so disappointing. first of all, i did not expect the line “the ghosts of her past come back to haunt her” in the blurb was very literal with amelie seeing and communicating with literal ghosts. the whole ghost-medium, paranormal element was something i was not prepared for and honestly, did not work for me. secondly, the whole let us pretend like we are courting was extremely cliché and the main characters had zero chemistry to actually make this charade work. their romance was quite toxic as benedict does not respect amelie’s desire to independently face and overcome her problems with his ego getting hurt when she rejects his proposal to marry her in order to save her from her problems. i could stand amelie (apart from the whole ghost arc) and actually liked reading about her life as a struggling ballet dancer and how she evolves in her character arc as she finds a new identity as that of a professional ballet dancer is ruled out because of an injury. benedict was bland, frankly annoying and very condescending and i was totally not rooting for them to get together which made this book extremely hard to finish. two stars for amelie and diana biller’s ability to paint a beautiful picture of the ballet scene and historical paris.

have you read any of these books? what are your thoughts?


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