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Desert Flowers

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  2,595 ratings  ·  362 reviews

Rose and Elmer have created an idyllic sanctuary for themselves and their five daughters in Mexico’s Baja California desert. Out there in the middle of nowhere, blissfully cut off from the burdens of modern society, they’re free to raise their beautiful family…and preserve its secret.

And they’re never giving it up.

Then a young hiker named Rick comes looking for a place to

Kindle Edition, 322 pages
Published August 8th 2017 by AmazonCrossing (first published June 1st 2017)
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Average rating 4.01  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,595 ratings  ·  362 reviews

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Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

“People are almost never what they seem.”

In this case, sadly the book wasn’t quite what it seemed either. Per the placeholder “review” below, you can see proof of why it is important to have good titles, pretty covers and an eye-catching synopsis in order to hook readers. Especially a reader like me who doesn’t even bother reading a whole blurb before hitting the request or one-click buttons or running straight to the nearest cash
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Most fervently recommended!

I remember reading Light of the Fireflies, a novel by the same author. There was something so special about the book. It was creepy, and full of so many wrong-feeling parts ... ideas, ones which I knew I should detest, yet was led to experience in totally unexpected ways. In a most twisted sense, a completely unexpected voice, it shouted loudly about family. And love. And the things we as family members do to, and for one another.

Similarly, Desert Flowers was a deligh
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I received this book via Netgalley thanks to the publisher; AmazonCrossing in exchange for an honest opinion.

After reading this book I was left with an emotional ache, one that was tingled with sadness and happiness that clashed together, a definite sign that this book is an absorbing and addictive general fiction novel which deserves five stars and more.

After getting halfway through the book, I found it near impossible to put down and only would put it down as tiredness overtook me. I just ha
Aug 15, 2017 rated it liked it
3 1/2 stars. What a sad and depressing story.
Rose and Elmer live in the middle of the Mexican desert along with their four daughters. They have no neighbors and only occasionally Elmer will take one of the two older daughters with him into town to buy supplies. The children have no playmates except each other.

One afternoon a young man, Rick, comes along on foot claiming to be a hiker and ends up with an invite to stay for dinner. Rick soon discovers this family has secrets and Rose and Elmer dis
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you've read The Light of the Fireflies you probably know what to expect from this book. Desert Flowers does not mark a significant departure from the author's former work and offers just as much dark entertainment.

(Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC!)
Inkish Kingdoms
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: family-issues
For a full review, commentary, or point of view on this handbook, feel free to go to

From the edge of my sit to the verge of tears, Paul Pen took me from the extraordinary but also petrifying story of a flower bed in the middle of the desert. An incredible story of anti-heroes who live happy lives in the aridness of their actions and sins. Written to be read without stopping, Pen adventures in a foreign and unknown land of uncertainty dyed with the shades of
Mary  Carrasco
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was so excited to have won 'Desert Flowers', written by Paul Pen, in a book giveaway. This is the second of Pen's novels that I have read and I absolutely loved 'The Light of the Fireflies'.

'Dessert Flowers' is about a close knit family living in isolation. They live a relatively happy life together until a stranger wanders onto their property, bringing with him the threat of losing all that they hold dear.

This was a solid read from beginning to end. There we're some surprises along the way a
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
Good ending, but boy, oh boy, was it sloooooow going getting there. For the most part, I found the characters extremely annoying. If the twins repeated the same line again one more time, I was going to lose it.
Sep 04, 2017 rated it did not like it
I won a Kindle copy of Desert Flowers from a Goodreads Giveaway.

I've never read anything by Mr. Pen before so I had an open mind. And then I started reading.

Elmer and Rose live an isolated existence in Mexico with their (5) daughters.

When Rick, a solitary traveler, happens upon their homestead looking for food and water, they decide to offer hospitality and the comforts of a home cooked meal.

Until it turns out Rick isn't a traveler, he has a secret and Elmer and Rose hide many horrible sec
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wow, what a secret this family is hiding!

The story starts out with the day to day life of Rose and Elmer and their four daughters all named after flowers. They seem to be a normal family other than the fact they live in the middle of nowhere.

When a stranger happens upon their land one day, they treat him with kindness and allow him to spend the night. His ever increasing questions, however, have them considering their choice. Was it a mistake to let the stranger into their household?

Oh yeah, th
Aug 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
Beautifully descriptive and wonderfully imagined, this kept me spellbound to the end. I could smell the desert flowers and dust and see the beauty in the landscape and hear the laughter of the children. The story told mostly from the point of view by the children, unfolds slowly as the middle daughter learns the dark truth about her parents. This is the first book by this author that I have read and now can't wait to read his first book.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC.
May 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 star rounded up to 4 because I loved the epilogue.

I really loved the setting of the story and the author's writing, what didn't convince me was the plot. It was weak in my opinion, even if the epilogue gave it some sense.
It's a shame because I was loving so much the first half but I wanted something more frome the story and it was too depressing. Only the epilogue saved it all but that wasn't enough for the five stars I was hoping to give from the firsts chapters!
Gabriela Ban dobrota
Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book, keeps you wondering where is the author going.
Unexpected situations and ending. Despicable characters that
you almost understand. Gruesome parts, , but overall a book that
makes you wonder what would you have done if you would have
been in their shoes! Not an American style finale!
Michelle Lynn
Aug 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
My most recent back of Kindle books has been disappointing, so I was preparing myself to dislike this one. I read some reviews and strapped on my seatbelt, fully prepared to hate what I was about to read.

But I didn't.

Reviews are fickle, funny things. Lord knows, I've written a fair few of them and some of them are definitely not flattering. (A lot of them. What can I say, I was born to be a critic, liebling!) But this is one time where reviews steered me wrong.

Pros: this book is beautifully w
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
While the book did not meet my expectations, I don't regret reading it. After reading the blurb, I was expecting kind of like a thriller or mystery story, but this was more like a family/coming-of-age drama.

The plot was interesting, but not exactly overwhelming. However, I absolutely LOVED the writing, which totally made up for every flaw I found, like the totally ridiculous and unbelievable older sister that really got on my nerves or some non-credible plot twists that seemed too constructed.
Bryony Nelson
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
After having read Paul Pen's previous novel, The Light of the Fireflies, I honestly could not wait to start this book.

The characters and setting reminded me of Fireflies and the book throughout followed his previous writing style, which was the main factors that made me a huge fan of his work.

The plot twist was a real shock and I really enjoy the way the author makes situations that do actually happen but don't get get talked about, into the main aspect of his books.

I was slightly let down by th
Mae Clair
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A unique idea for a story. I loved this book despite being angry about several of the plot points and the way the characters behaved. That said, I can understand why they made the choices they did, especially the pivotal character in the story.

This is a haunting read that will stay with you long after you read it. The desert descriptions are vivid and beautiful, yet the book reads as a page-turner. I found it hard to put down and would get frustrated when I had to stop reading for the night. I w
Maria Z
Dec 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I gave two stars to the last Paul Pen book I read and boy how the tables have turned. I'm a fan.
I can't help but be impressed by the level of crazy this author spins.
My God. The art of story telling. Superb.
You have to read it to find out. It's written so well. The twists and the turns. Wow. This time he really took me by surprise. Never would have guessed.
Great book. Great plot. Super suspenseful !!
Gabriel Rathweg
Dec 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Eloquently written

This book is so well written, the author does a wonderful job of describing the same scene in so many different ways as well as the personality of each daughter. I’m looking forward to reading more from this author.
Dec 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Fast beach-y read. A decent palate cleanser, but nothing you can really sink your teeth into.
Kristi Lamont
Apr 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Took an afternoon off from the unsettling psychological thriller that is our world today......and read an unsettling psychological thriller. :-)

What I really want to say about this book would be considered a spoiler. So, I'll put END here shortly, hit Enter a zillion or so times, and then you can scroll down and see the SPOILER if you want to.

I'm giving this three stars trending upward and definitely want to read other things Mr Pen has written. Was happy this was a Prime selection.

Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was extremely keen to read this book, having read a previous book by the author Paul Pen (The Light of the Fireflies) and absolutely loving it.

I am quickly becoming a huge fan of Paul Pen. He has an individual but quite simple style of writing which really works for me. He has a very interesting way of creating close familial bonds between his characters, particularly from the viewpoint of children and vulnerable characters. Although there is no particular danger or anything really happening i
Burma Turner
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I received this in a Goodreads giveaway.
This book was very good. I had read The Light of the Fireflies previously and loved it. I was so happy to have won this book, I couldn't wait to read it. It was just as good, if not better, than the first novel. I love the way the author writes, you feel as if you are right there with the characters. This book is about a family who live out in the desert in Mexico. The parents have four daughters, all named after flowers. I literally did not want to stop r
Oct 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Should someone ask me if I liked this book, I would have to pause. After that pause, my answer would be that Desert Flowers is not a book that you like. It is, however, a story that you cannot put down.

The author’s character and scene development is mesmerizing. The plot unusual and riveting. It is fast moving, disturbing and thought provoking. It is a book that stays with you while you seek out others who have read it in order to discuss its twists, turns and possible future ramifications for t
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sad
I'm noticing a trend with Paul Pen's books: people doing awful stuff for the sake of family and getting away with it while the innocent parties suffer and Paul Pen tries to make what the awful people did understandable. And you know what? It kind of works. It's frustrating as hell, but it works. Much like the Fireflies book, this one pissed me off, just not quite as much. Isolation is another definite theme Pen likes to utilize and the eerie atmosphere that creates is something I've always enjoy ...more
Barbara McEwen
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
3.5 stars? A family, totally isolated, out in the desert and an unwanted visitor prying into their secrets! All kinds of action ensues. Oooh the suspense! It is worth picking up to find out what happens. Reviewed thanks to the publisher and Netgalley, look foward to this book in Aug 2017.
Katerina Charisi
Oct 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Comparing it to the Light of the Fireflies, it was far from what I expected. Still, I love the author's dark stories and I'm waiting for the next.
Connie Garcia
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was ok

I was tempted to quit this book, but I kept reading hoping it would redeem itself but it didn't. I finished it, but I was truly disturbed by the outcome.
Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it

Not the plot or ending I expected. The book felt shallow at times, as well. I'm left feeling like something is missing.
Feb 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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🇺🇸Paul Pen is a bestselling Spanish author whose four novels have been translated to many languages. The Light of the Fireflies was his first book to be translated to English, becoming an international bestseller. This book was followed by Desert Flowers and Under the Water, with which he reaffirmed his unmistakable brand of literary suspense and ability to create a deeply immersive reading experi ...more

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