Book Review: The House of the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

Title: The House in the Cerulean Sea

Author: T.J. Klune

Published by: Tor Books

Publishing date:  March 17th 2020

Pages: 393 

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

If you want to read a book that will warm your heart, The House in the Cerulean Sea is the perfect choice! The best word to sum up this book is hopeful: hopeful that things can get better, hopeful that prejudice won’t win and hopeful that just one person can make a difference in many lives.

This book explores the idea that prejudice keeps growing and wins when people, who have the privilege of not being affected by prejudice, stay silent and live comfortably in their bubbles without making an effort to question and challenge the status quo, without advocating for those who may not be able to advocate for themselves and without fighting for the changes that will allow them to be their own advocates.

The way it explores these themes is through a society where there’s a lot of prejudice against magical beings and there’s a whole system that regulates, segregates, and excludes them. The concept of this book is fascinating and well-executed. This book particularly focuses on very special children that are magical in some way. These children are kept separated in orphanages where no one ever gets adopted or schools where no one cares for them. The protagonist of this book is a caseworker for the Department in Charge of Magical Youths (DICOMY), who goes to these orphanages and makes sure the children are in a safe environment and while doing so, he has to remain objective and detached. 

And that’s where the magic of this book truly begins, with Linus, the main character. He is very set in his ways, he follows the rules, he’s very anxious about a lot of things, he cares deeply for the well being of the kids and there’s an emptiness in him that he tries to ignore. He’s actually very endearing once you get to know him. It is quickly established that Linus does his job well, he keeps his distance, he is objective and he doesn’t question if the situation these kids are in is right. Once his job is done, he doesn’t check on the kids he meets in the orphanages and he never knows what happens to them after his visit.

The problem is that his lastest assignment requires him to spend an entire month in one of the orphanages. There he meets a group of very special kids, a wise but not entirely nice sprite and the mysterious, sweet, smart man who runs the orphanage. Once he spends time with them and gets to know them, staying distant and objective is not as easy as it used to be. Linus’ character development in this book is phenomenal, and slowly seeing him grow throughout the book, seeing him let go of the rules and understand that the status quo is harmful, is so rewarding

Beyond Linus, the children are the absolute stars of this book. They are cute, funny, lovable and so compelling. Each one has a defined personality and all of them are three-dimensional characters. They all have faced prejudice, sadness, rejection, cruelty, loneliness and they each have their own defense mechanisms because of it. This book does a great job of showing how Linus learns to see beyond those defense mechanisms and how the kids worm their way into his heart and, at the same time, it shows how Linus has to work to earn the kid’s trust and love. In the end, the relationship between Linus and the kids ended up being my favorite part of the book

And then there’s Arthur, the man who runs the orphanage, who is smart, kind, compassionate, and very mysterious. His relationship with Linus is heartwarming and I’m glad we get a male/male romance in a fantasy book. They are both so tentative and sweet. The only thing I will mention is that I wish there were a few more instances of the two of them interacting and connecting, I think it would have made the romance better. Still, it was adorable.

If you want to rest from dark fantasy books and want something that will make you feel happy and hopeful, while still asking tough questions about privilege, prejudice and complacency, I totally recommend this book!

Have you read this book? Did you enjoy it? Do you agree with my opinion?
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Reading Challenges and 2020 Goals Update #2: Con Sabor Reading Challenge + #StartonYourShelfathon

Hi everyone! Today I want to talk about how am I doing with my 2020 goals and with the Reading Challenges I’m participating in. This update only includes the books I read from April to June, if you want to see my progress update from January to March, here’s the post I wrote about it.

Without further ado, here are my updates:

Con Sabor Reading Challenge is hosted by Dani @ metamorphoreader, Astrid @ Book Love Book Reviews, Natalia @ Books.Build.Life, and Nox @ Nox the ReaderMy goal for this challenge is to read 35 books by Latinx authors in 2020. I was supposed to be following the prompts for each month, but I didn’t end up doing that.

For this challenge, I read 6 books during the second trimester of the year. For a total of 16 books by Latinx authors read this year.

Incendiary | Ghost Squad | Clap When You Land | b.b. free #2 | b.b Free #3 | The House of the Spirits

#StartOnYourShelfathon is hosted by CW at The Quiet Pond, it started on December 2019 and my goal for this challenge is to read 50 of the unread books on my shelf and I want to read 15 specific books that I included on my tbr.

I have read 12 books for this challenge in the second trimester of 2020. For a total of 27 books read in 2020 that were on my shelf before the start of the year. I only read two books that were on my tbr: The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende and China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kuang. For a total of 4 out of 15 books from my tbr. I really need to start reading more books that are on my tbr!

To Be Taught, If Fortunate | An Unexpected Guest | A Question of Holmes | Everything I Never Told You | Hate to Want You | Kingdom of Needles and Bone | China Rich Gilfriend | The Bone Witch| The House of the Spirits | The Poppy War | We Hunt the Flame | Want

FANTASY BOOKS

In 2020, my goal was to read 20 fantasy books and I already completed that goal.  I read 15 fantasy books in the second trimester of 2020. For a total of 24 fantasy books in 2020.

The Poppy War | Jade City | Incendiary | Tunnel of Bones | Ghost Squad | Blood of Elves | The Deep | The Bone Witch | Rolling in the Deep | We Hunt the Flame | Storm Front | Locke & Key #1 | Fool Moon | The Black God’s Drums | Grave Peril

KEEP READING DIVERSELY

Another one of my goals is to keep reading diversely, obviously the 35 Latinx books count towards that goal but beyond that, I wanted to read 15 books by Black authors and 15 books by Asian authors and I already accomplished those goals!

In the second trimester of 2020 I read 13 books by Black authors, for a total of 24 books by Black authors read in 2020.

Say Her Name | Untouchable| Don’t Call Us Dead | The Deep | The Black God’s Drums | The Boyfriend Project | Guarding Temptation | Meet Cute Club | Wanna Bet | Xeni | Clap When You Land | White Rage | White Whisky Bargain

And in terms of Asian authors, in the second trimester of 2020, I read 14 books by Asian authors for a total of 15 in 2020.

Gotham High | The Bone Witch | Girl Gone Viral | A Gentleman in the Street | China Rich Girlfriend | Everything I Never Told You | Hate to Want You | The Trouble with Hating You| Want | Yes, No, Maybe So | Jade City | The Poppy War | The Marriage Game | We Hunt the Flame

Overall, I’m on track to accomplish my 2020 goals and to complete the reading challenges. I only need to read more of the books I put on my tbr for #StartOnYourShelfathon, that’s the only goal I’m behind on.

In which Reading Challenges are you participating this year? How are you doing with your 2020 goals?

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Ranking all the book I read this month aka My June 2020 Wrap Up

Reading Wrap Up

Hi everyone! June was a bit of a weird reading month for me, I read a lot less than the previous months, I only read 2 books that were on my June tbr, and I was in a reading slump for the last two weeks of the month. Nonetheless, I read some good books. I’m not gonna talk too much about most of them because I already review them, so I’m linking those posts and I’m spending a little more time talking about the books that I didn’t review.

As always, I rank all the books I read from my least favorite to my favorite book of the month. The ranking is not entirely dependent on rating, so there can be books with lower ratings that are higher on the list than books with higher ratings and that has to do with my enjoyment of the books.

Without further ado, here are the books I read in June:

*Click the book titles to go to the Goodreads page*

My Least Favorite Book of the Month

This month there wasn’t one book that I truly disliked, so for my least favorite of the month I chose a disappointing romance:

12. Loud Mouth by Avery Flynn (3,4 stars): The main characters were very two dimensional and they only had two or three conversations that were not about sex in the whole book, but somehow they still fell in love. They did have physical chemistry tho. While I was not invested in the romantic relationship in this book, I was so invested in the relationship between the brothers! There was so much angst and I liked how their relationship developed.

The “I Mostly Liked Them, But…” Books

These are books that I had significant issues with, but they had redeeming qualities that made me mostly enjoy them:

11. The Blind Date Diaries by Branda St. John Brown (3,5 stars): it took me a while to get into this, but I ended up liking the relationship.My issue with this is that it was unrealistic that they fell in love in 3 dates. (Review)

10. The Marriage Game by Sara Desai (3,5 stars): This was ok. I liked the main characters, but this suffered from telling and not showing when it came to the romance and the guy needed to grovel a lot more at the end. (Review)

9. The Change Up by Meghan Quinn (3,6 stars): A good friends to lovers story, I could definitely feel the chemistry and tension between the main characters and I enjoyed seeing the way their relationship developed. Nonetheless, I had issues with the conflict at the end. (Review)

8. We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal (3,6 stars): This was a fun and quick read, but I had a lot of issues with it. Mainly because the author had a lot of good ideas, but she didn’t execute them very well. (Full Review)

7. Want by Cindy Pon (3,7 stars): This book was a quick, entertaining read. The group of friends was great; the setting (future Tapei) was very cool and atmospheric; I liked the twist and turns the story took, and I liked the fact that this dealt with important subjects like the environment, pollution, and privilege. Nonetheless, this book was so short and it included so many important subjects that it only dealt with them in a superficial way; the romance played such a big part of the story and there wasn’t any real connection, emotion or development between the characters; this book didn’t build tension, it was going so fast that I didn’t have time to care or worry, and I don’t understand what happened between the characters at the end.

The Ones I Liked

The ones I liked are books that I had really small issues with, but after I finished them I had mainly positive feelings towards them:

6. The Billionaire’s Fake Fiancée by Annika Martin (3,7 stars): This book has a grumpy/sunshine romance, fake dating, and forced proximity. I slowly fell in love with the dynamic between the main characters and I ended up really enjoying their relationship. (Review)

5. Something to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner (3,7 stars): I enjoyed both of the main characters and their relationship from the very first page. I could feel the connection and tension between them. But I had issues with the conflict. (Review)

4. Xeni by Rebekah Weatherspoon (3,8 stars): I loved the two main characters in this book and I had fun reading about their marriage of convenience. They were so cute together and there were some very steamy scenes. (Review)

3. White Whisky Bargain by Jodie Slaughter (3,9 stars): This book was so good. The marriage of convenience plot worked perfectly and I loved both main characters, there was an instant attraction between them that made this entire book be filled with sexual tension. The hero was such a nice guy and I loved the way he treated the heroine and how much emphasis he put on communication. The heroine is a badass. While I learned a lot about moonshine, I liked that the business aspect and the conflict with the other family didn’t take over the story.

The Ones I Really Liked

I consider books I really liked the ones I really enjoyed, but they are not new favorites:

2. White Rage by Carol Anderson (4 stars): The way the author did a great job of showing how white rage has manifested in history after big “wins” for Black people and how they have essentially undermined and invalidated those triumphs. This book was brilliant and also exhausting. (Review)

My Favorite Book of the Month

My favorite books of the month can have different ratings depending on how good a particular reading month was. This month my favorite was a 4 stars romance book that made me so emotional!

1. Only When It’s Us by Chloe Liese (4 stars): this book is one of my new favorite romances. I LOVED the main characters so much. They had a frenemies to lovers, slow burn, angsty and emotional romance that I absolutely loved. (Review)

 What were your favorite and least favorite books you read this month? Have you read any of the books on this wrap up? Do you agree with my opinions about them?

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Book Review: We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

Title: We Hunt the Flame

Author: Hafsah Faizal

Series: Sands of Arawiya #1

Published by: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Publishing date:  May 14th 2019

Pages: 472 

Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways. Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.

War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

After finishing We Hunt the Flame, I was left with an overall feeling of having read a funentertaining, quick book. I enjoyed my reading experience. Nonetheless, when I think about the different elements of the story, the truth is that I had issues with a lot of things. So I’m in a weird position, where this review may sound negative but my feelings about this book are not. I’m actually looking forward to reading the next book in the series when it comes out.

The start of this book was so promising, I was gripped from the very first page because the author introduced a mysterious, creepy forest which was a very big part of the first few chapters and I was very intrigued by it. The problem was that the amazing set up of the forest was wasted, it was not used at all in the story and something very convenient happened involving the forest that made its existence feel pointless. That was a common problem with this book, the author included interesting concepts or elements to the story, but then it felt like she didn’t know what to do with them, so she did nothing or she did something but it wasn’t well executed.

In terms of the plot, this book hinged on the fact that the characters had to go to an island that was supposed to be this scary, dark place full of evil creatures, and honestly, it wasn’t as creepy or as atmospheric as I was expecting it to be or as the forest in the first chapters of the book was. The author included a lot of fascinating Arabic-inspired mythological creatures, but they didn’t feel as necessary parts of the story, it felt more like she had added them on top of the plot and not like they were integrated to the plot. I wish these creatures played a bigger and more important role in the story because they added a unique feeling to it. Also, when it came to the plot, the twists were predictable, the foreshadowing was heavy-handed and a lot of convenient things happened at the end.

We Hunt the Flame is told in dual point of view; the main characters are Nasir, who was a prince and an assassin and who suffered abuse since he was a child; and Zafira, who was a huntress that fed her village but she had to pretend to be a man because of the sexists’ beliefs in her kingdom. At the start of the book, each perspective felt captivating and necessary because they were showing different parts of the world this book takes place in and different pieces of information from the same puzzle. Nonetheless, as the book progressed and the characters met, the dual perspectives didn’t work as well because the two characters were too similar in personality and both of them were living the same situations.

While the main characters faced a lot of obstacles and challenges while they were on the island, the tension wasn’t there, I was never scared for them. This may have something to do with the fact that, while I liked the characters, I wasn’t very invested in them or what happened to them. Even when bad things happened I couldn’t muster any emotion about it.

Nonetheless, I liked the dynamic between the group of characters and I liked the friendship that was born between all of them. There were 5 characters in the group and they were all very different: there was a flirty, relax but mysterious character, a wise mediator, a moody prince/assassin, a distrustful huntress, and a warrior type. The author did a good job of establishing who each character was without making them a caricature, but it felt like the author forgot the warrior character was there most of the time and only remember when she needed this character to fight or to save the day in pretty big ways.

The romance in this book felt so forced and it mainly consisted of the two characters staring at each other from afar for the entire book. I didn’t felt the connection or the chemistry between the characters. And then there was a big problem with queerbaiting in this book, it happened twice with two different relationships and honestly, there was one relationship in particular between Zafira and her best friend that would have made such a better romance.

Overall, I had a lot of issues with this book, but it wasn’t a bad book. It was a fun and quick read, and it had so much potential, that’s why I’m reading the sequel, I want to see if the author manages to execute well some of her brilliant ideas.

Have you read this book? What did you think about it? Do you agree with my opinion?
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Ranking every movie I watched in May & June 2020

Reading Wrap Up

Hi everyone! My movie wrap ups are back! I didn’t post one last month because I only watched one movie in May, but in June I’m back on track. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a lot of luck with my picks this month, I saw some really mediocre films. I didn’t want to watch anything serious or sad, so I tried to go for fluffy, fun movies and it didn’t go well.

Without further ado, here are the movies I watched:

5. 7500 ( 2 stars): This movie was just not good. I watched with my family for father’s day and we were all so disappointed. It was so cliché and boring and the whole concept of muslims as terrorists is so harmful when it seems like the only representation that muslims get in media. Not even Joseph Gordon-Levitt could save this movie.

4. Love Wedding Repeat (2,5 stars): This movie was filled with dislikable characters, unfunny jokes and awkward moments. I was slighly interested in the main relationship.

3. Scoob! (2.5 stars): This movie was boring and disappointing. The main problem with this is that they tried to modernize the mystery and it did not work, it lost all the magic of the Scooby Doo movies and show, which were funny and slighly creppy, and this one was none of those things. There were a couple of cute moments between Shaggy and Scooby, which were the highlight of the movie.

2. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2.5 stars): This was ok. The acting was good and the characters were the best part about this. I found the the story itself so boring.

1. Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (3 stars): This was …good? A very wacky film with good music….but Eurovision is a bit wacky and it has good music, so I think it works well. I will agree with all the reviews saying that Will Ferrell is too old for his role.

What movies have you watched and loved lately? Have you watched any of the movies on this list? What did you think about them?
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Anticipated Book Releases of Summer 2020

Hi everyone! Today, I’m going to talk about my most anticipated releases of the summer. I’m kind of in a reading slump right now, so I thought that talking about books that I really want to read and that I’m highly anticipating would help me with that and, at the same time, I could help you find some new books for your tbrs.

Without further ado, here are my most anticipated releases of the summer:

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Genre: Historical Fiction, Horror

Publication date: July 30th 2020

After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her, Noemí heads to rescue her from a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find. This story is about an isolated mansion, a chillingly charismatic artistocrat and a brave socialite drawn to expose their treacherous secrets.

Why am I anticipating it? I loved Moreno-Garcia’s Gods of Jade and Shadow, I’m trying to get more into horror and I have heard great things about this one, so I’m excited to give it a chance.

Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

Genre: Romance

Publication date: July 7th 2020

Luc and Oliver have 3 things in common: being gay, single, and really, really in need of a date for a big event. So they strike a deal to be publicity-friendly (fake) boyfriends and go then go their separate ways and pretend it never happened. But the thing about fake-dating is that it can feel a lot like real-dating.

Why am I anticipating it? a queer romance book that includes the fake dating trope and it’s set in London… it sounds like a perfect book to me. Also, I jsut got an ARC of it!!!

Engagement & Espionage by Penny Reid

Genre: romance, mystery

Publication date: July 14th 2020

Desperate to find a spare moment together, Jenn and Cletus’s attempts to reconnect are thwarted by one seemingly coincidental disaster after another. It’s not long before Cletus and Jenn see a pattern emerge and the truth becomes clear. Sabotage! Will an undercover mission unmask the culprit? 

Why am I anticipating it? This is the first book in a spin-off of Penny Reid’s Winston Brothers series and it sounds really bizarre, but I love Jenn and Cletus story in Beard Science and I want to read more about them. Also, I’m a fan of cozy mysteries and I want to see Penny Reid’s take on one.

Lobizona by Romina Garber

Genre: YA, Urban Fantasy

Publication date: August 4

As an undocumented immigrant who’s on the run from her father’s Argentine crime-family, Manuela is confined to a small apartment. Until lifelong lies are exposed, her mother is arrested by ICE and Manu starts to discover the truth about her past, which leads her to a secret world buried within our own. A world straight out of Argentine folklore.

Why am I anticipating it? everyone who know me, knows that if there’s a fantasy book with Latinx characters by a Latinx author, I’m gonna read it. I have an ARC of this book and I’ll be reading it in July.

You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria

Genre: Romance

Publication date: August 4th 2020

Two soap opera actors get cast together in a bilingual rom-com for the number one streaming service in the country. With their careers on the line, they’ll need to generate smoking-hot on-screen chemistry, so they agree to rehearse in private. But rehearsal leads to kissing, and kissing leads to a behind-the-scenes romance worthy of a soap opera.

Why am I anticipating it? A romance with latinx main characters, who are sopa opera stars…what else do I need? I have read two books by Alexis Daria and really enjoyed both of them, which makes me even more excited for this. Also, look at that cover!

Court of Lions by Somaiya Daud

Genre: YA Sci-fi

Publication date: August 6th 2020

This series is about Amani, who is taken to the royal palace to be the body double of the hated Princess Maram in her public appearances and has to be ready to die in her place. While living in the palace, she becomes entangled with a rebellious group.

Why am I anticipating it? I read and loved an ARC of Mirage, the first book in this series, before the officially release date, so it feels like I have been waiting for this sequel forever. I’m so excited to see where the story goes and what happens to the characters.

Wayward Witch by Zoraida Córdova

Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

Publication date: September 1st 2020

Each book in the series follows one of the Mortiz sisters, who are Latinx brujas. In this book, Rose gets pulled through a portal to the land of Adas, a fairy realm hidden in the Caribbean Sea. While she tries to save Adas, she begins to discover the scope of her powers, the truth about her father’s past, and the sacrifices he made to save her sisters.

Why am I anticipating it? I love the first two books in this series, as well as Zoraida’s latest release Incendiary, so I know I’m gonna love this and I can’t wait to finally find out the truth about the father of the Mortiz sisters.

Kane by Sawyer Bennett

Genre: Romance

Publication date: September 15th 2020

Kane and Mollie have been best friends for a while and after a scary incident, they realize they want to be more than friends. So they start dating and they couldn’t be happier. But then the realities of having careers which keep them on the road put their blossoming relationship on ice.

Why am I anticipating it? I haven’t love the last couple books in this series, but friends to lovers is my favorite trope so I’m definitely reading this. Also, from the little introduction of the two main characters in the previous book, I feel like I’m going to like them.

Each of Us a Desert by Mark Oshiro

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publication date: September 15th 2020

Xochital is destined to wander the desert alone, speaking her troubled village’s stories into its arid winds. Until she meets Emilia and the two set out on a magical journey across the desert, where they find their hearts could be a match… if only they can survive the nightmare-like terrors that arise when the sun goes down.

Why am I anticipating it? A fantasy book with an f/f relationship and Latinx characters written by a Latinx authors is basically everything I have ever wanted. I have an ARC of this book and I’m hoping to read it soon.

Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey

Genre: Romance

Publication date: September 22nd 2020

Bethany wants to flip houses as part of her family’s company, but her older brother refuses to take her seriously. When they’re invited on Flip Off, a reality competition, Bethany needs a crew and the only person willing to join her is the new guy in town. Wes and Bethany are forced into close quarters as they remodel the ugliest house on the block.

Why am I anticipating it? I have really liked the first two books in the series and I’m really intrigued by the glimpses of Bethany and Wes in the last book, I feel like they are gonna be one of those couples with great banter and bickering and I’m excited about it!

What book releases from the summer are you anticipating? Do you want to read any of the books I mentioned? 
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Finished Book Series I Haven’t Finished Yet

Hi everyone! A while back, I went through my Goodreads shelves and I made a list of all the series I haven’t finished and I separated them in 3 categories: the series I want to finish, the ones I may finish and the ones I have no intention of ever finishing. Today, I want to talk to you about some of the series I know I want to finish and that also fulfill another requisite and it’s the fact that all the books in the series are already out.

Without further ado, here are some finished book series that I have not finished yet but that I’m planning to:

*Click the series titles to go to the Goodreads page*

Stalking Jack The Ripper Series by Kerri Maniscalco

I loved the first two books in this series and I was highly anticipating books three, but I heard so many mixed things about it that I never picked it up. Nonetheless, I love Audrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell, the characters are definitely the strong suit of these books, and I want to know what happens to them and their relationship, so I’m hoping to finish this series.

The Bone Witch Trilogy by Rin Chupeco

I read the first book in this series last month, May 2020, and I loved it and I was suppposed to read book two as part of a buddy read this month but I was simply not in the mood for it. I’m hoping to continue with this series soon because I don’t want it to become one of those series that takes me years to read. Also, because since there are two timelines I’m very intrigued and can’t wait to figure out how things changed so drastically from one timeline to the other.

The Dark Artifices by Cassandra Clare

I read Lady Midnight when it first came out and I read Lord of Shadows last year, and I really enjoyed both of them, but I’m not particulary excited to read book three, I’m just not invested in the characters or the story. I will read Queen of Air and Darkness because I don’t like to leave series unfinished especially when I only have one book left to read, but this will be my goodbye to the Shadowhunters world.

Daugther of the Pirate King Duology by Tricia Levenseller

I read the first book in this series almost two years ago and it was so much fun, it was one of those feel good, fast paced, entertaining YA fantasy books and I definitely want to read the conclusion to the story. Also, I want to read more books with sirens/mermaids on them, so I can’t wait to see how they are incorporated in the second book of this series.

Strange the Dreamer Duology by Laini Taylor

I read and LOVED Strange the Dreamer last year, but after that ending I have been hesitant to reading book two because I’m scared it’s gonna break my heart. Still, I want to know where the story goes and what happens to the characters. This is such a mysterious and well written series that I’m looking forward to seeing how it ends.

Crazy Rich Asians Series by Kevin Kwan

I read Crazy Rich Asians years ago and I read China Rich Girlfriend last month and enjoyed both of them so much. These series is lighthearted, ridiculously entertaining and so much fun! I’m hoping to read the last book within the next couple of months, so I won’t fall in the same trap of waiting years to pick it up.

The Broken Earth Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin

I read The Fifth Season a few months ago and I wasn’t sure if I was gonna continue with the series or not since the first book is a very heavy book and I ended up feeling devastated and a bit hopeless after reading it. Nonetheless, it’s being a while since that and I’m feeling very intrigued about where the story is going next, so I’ll definitely continue with the series.

The Witcher Series by Andrzej Sapkowski

I read both The Last Wish and Blood of Elves this year after watching the Netflix show and I flew through those books, they are very fast paced and the world they take place in is fascinating. I’ll definitely try to have read at least the first 4 books in the series by the end of the year.

The Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson

Reading this series is a project I started in January 2020 and I’m failing miserably at it. I haveo nly read the first book, The Eye of the World, and I LOVED it, I defintely want to continue with the series and I don’t want to let any more time go by without reading the next book because that makes it more likely that I won’t keep reading. I’m hoping to read at least book 2 and 3 before the end of the year.

Themis Files by Sylvain Neuvel

I read Sleeping Giants in 2019 and it was such an interesting and thought-provoking book that I inmmediately made my best friend read it and she really liked it too. Nonetheless, I have heard very mixed things about books 2 and 3, so I’m scared to read them. But then ending of book 1 left me intrigued enough that even if I’m a bit nervious, I’ll continue on with the series.

What finished series you haven’t finished yet? Which of the series mentioned should I prioritize?
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Reviewing 2020 Romance Books: Something to Talk About, The Marriage Game & The Change Up

Hi everyone! Recently I read 3 romance books that came out in the last couple of months and today I want to share my reviews for them. While I overall enjoyed these books, I did notice that my problems with all 3 of them were related to the way the big conflict in the story was handled, which I found interesting. If you have read any of these books, let me know if you also had a problem with the conflict!

Without further ado, here are my reviews:

*Click the titles to go to the Goodreads page*

Something to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner

This book is about a showrunner and her assistant, who give the world something to talk about when they accidentally fuel the ridiculous rumor that they are dating, but as they spend more time together because of work, they realize the rumor might not be so off base after all.

I went into this book with a lot of hesitation because I had seen very mixed reviews, but from the very first page I enjoyed both of the main characters and their relationship. I could feel the connection and tension between them and I shipped them so hard. I think the power dynamics, since the main characters were an assistant and her boss, were handled well and the author kept the discussions about it present throughout the book. This is a very slow slow-burn romance and it dragged a little bit, but overall I think it worked really well.

The background of the story was the entertainment business – award shows, paparazzi, writing a tv show, producing a tv show- and it added a fun element to the story. This book dealt with sexual harrasment in Hollywood and I think it did a very good job with that as well. Also, the secondary characters were great and I’m hoping there’s another book in this series with Jo’s best friend.

My main issue with this book was the conflict. I think Emma overreacted to something and I thought it was gonna be one of those “I know it doesn’t make sense, but I’m hurt by it” situations, which I would have undertood and found relatable, but no, she was very mad about it and I feel like she acted very unprofessionally because of it and that whole conflict dragged even when it was kind of silly.

Overall, I still really liked the main characters and their relationship.

The Marriage Game by Sara Desai

Desai, S: Marriage Game: Amazon.es: Desai, Sara: Libros en idiomas ...

This book is about an aspiring entrepreneur and a ruthless CEO, who make a wager to see who gets to keep the office that they accidentally end up sharing. The wager involves helping her finding a husband through a series of blind dates that her father arranged. But when the battle for the office becomes a battle of the heart, Sam and Layla have to decide if this is love or just a game.

I liked the main characters in this book, Sam and Layla. She was passionate, impulsive and caring and even when Sam was a bit of an ass at times, he is willing to do anything for the people he cares about.

The concept of the blind dates her dad set up was really interesting and I enjoyed the fact that Sam ended up going on those dates with her and they get to know each other and start liking each other during her dates with these terrible guys, which were very funny to read about. In those moments, I really liked Sam and Layla together and I could see their chemistry. Nonetheless, this book suffers from an issue that I have noticed in a few romance books lately and it’s that it only shows very little glimpses of the characters getting to know and starting to like each other, and then it makes reference to the fact that more has happened between them and their relationship has grown to be stronger. But since I was only told about it and didn’t see it happen, I didn’t feel as invested in their relationship.

I enjoyed the way this book incorporated Indian culture and I really liked how much her family is part of this book. I wish this book showed more of his family because I love complicated family dynamics and I think it would have added a lot to the story and to his character.

My main problem with this book is the fact that the hero messed up in a huge way and I didn’t feel like he tried to be forgiven at all, he didn’t made an effort, he didn’t had to grovel and he barely apologized.

Overall, even when I wasn’t completly invested in the relationship, I was enjoying this book quite a bit but the resolution to the conflict left me feeling disappointed.

The Change Up by Meghan Quinn

Cover Reveal: The Change Up by Meghan Quinn | Candi Kane PR

In this book, The Bad Boy of Baseball falls in love with his best friend after inviting her to live with him so she can accomplish one of her dreams.

I love friends to lovers stories and this one was so good on that front. I could definitely feel the chemistry and tension between the main characters from the start and I enjoyed seeing the way their relationship developed. Also, they had such a cute dog! For the most part, I liked the main characters. Maddox liked his privacy and routine, he was a bit grumpy, while Kinsley was friendly to everyone and she was VERY passionate about the environment and animal. The only thing that annoyed me a little bit is that the heroine cried ALL THE TIME, everything made her cry.

This book did a good job of showing the awkward moments of moving in with someone, even if it’s your best friend, and it also did a good job of portraining healthy conversations about boundaires and also the necessary conversations when those boundaries are not respected.

My main issue with this book was that the conflict at the end, which was related to the hero’s anger management issues. Something very unrealistic happened and he treats the heroine REALLY badly out of anger and doesn’t believe her explanation. While I did liked the apology and the groveling in this book, I do think that his anger management issues are not deal with, they simply disappeared and that’s not very realistic or a healthy thing to portrait. Also, it really bugged me that he doesn’t believe her until someone else shows him proof of what truly happened (proof btw that was so unrealistic).

Overall, I mostly enjoyed this one and I totally recommend it for fans of friends to lovers romances.

Have you read any of these books? Are you planning on reading any of them? What romance books have you enjoyed lately?
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Juneteenth + Blackout Buddy Read: Let’s talk about White Rage by Carol Anderson

Hi everyone! Today is Juneteenth and I thought it was a good day to talk about a book I read recently for the Blackout Buddy Read hosted by Book with Shae, about the unspoken truths and the hidden history of the racial problem in America. The buddy read has been taking place from June 1st until today and there’s a liveshow hosted by Black booktubers that you should check out today where they are gonna be talking about two books: White Rage and White Privilege.

As someone who is not from the United States, I didn’t learn about Juneteenth in school or college or anywhere really, until I learned about it online. If you don’t know much about it, here’s a thread of the history of Juneteenth that a Black woman wrote on Twitter:

Also, before talking about the book, here are a few resources to support anti-racist efforts that you should check out:

White Rage: The Unspoken Truths of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson

White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide - Kindle ...

From the Civil War to our combustible present, acclaimed historian Carol Anderson reframes our continuing conversation about race, chronicling the powerful forces opposed to black progress in America.

As Ferguson, Missouri, erupted in August 2014, and media commentators across the ideological spectrum referred to the angry response of African Americans as “black rage,” historian Carol Anderson wrote a remarkable op-ed in the Washington Post showing that this was, instead, “white rage at work. With so much attention on the flames,” she writes, “everyone had ignored the kindling.”

Since 1865 and the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, every time African Americans have made advances towards full participation in our democracy, white reaction has fueled a deliberate and relentless rollback of their gains. The end of the Civil War and Reconstruction was greeted with the Black Codes and Jim Crow; the Supreme Court’s landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision was met with the shutting down of public schools throughout the South while taxpayer dollars financed segregated white private schools; the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 triggered a coded but powerful response, the so-called Southern Strategy and the War on Drugs that disenfranchised millions of African Americans while propelling presidents Nixon and Reagan into the White House.

Carefully linking these and other historical flashpoints when social progress for African Americans was countered by deliberate and cleverly crafted opposition, Anderson pulls back the veil that has long covered actions made in the name of protecting democracy, fiscal responsibility, or protection against fraud, rendering visible the long lineage of white rage. Compelling and dramatic in the unimpeachable history it relates, White Rage will add an important new dimension to the national conversation about race in America. 

Goodreads | Book Depository | Indie Bound

Carol Anderson starts White Rage explaining in the first couple of pages what she means by the term white rage and it’s such a clear and smart concept:

“White rage is not about visible violence, but rather it works its way through the courts, the legislatures, and a range of government bureaucracies. It wreaks havoc subtly, almost imperceptibly. Too imperceptibly, certainly, for a nation consistently drawn to the spectacular- to what it can see”

“The trigger for white rage, inevitably, is black advancement. It is not the mere presence of Black people that it’s the problem; rather, it is blackness with ambition, with drive, with purpose, with aspirations, and with demands for full and equal citizenship. It is blackness that refuses to accept subjugation, to give up”

After stating the driving concept of her book in such a concise and masterly way, Anderson, who is a historian, goes on to show how white rage has manifested throughout American history after important moments that are considered big “wins” for Black people and how they have esencially undermined and invalidaded those triumphs. Anderson shows this with so many historical details, there are examples of national ocurrences and also individual cases of normal people and it is both brilliant and exhausting. I kept thinking while reading this book that if I was exhausted of reading about all the roadblocks and schemes that white people have pulled, I couldn’t imagine living through it and living with the consequences of it.

“The truth is, white rage has undermined democracy, warped the Constitution, weakened the nation’s ability to compete economically, squandered billions of dollars on baseless incarceration, rendered an entire region sick, poor, and woefully undereducated, and left cities nothing less than decimated. All this havoc has been wreaked simply because African Americans wanted to work, get an education, live in decent communities, raise their families, and vote. Because they were unwilling to take no for an answer.”

White rage is defenitely not an easy read, it’s frustrating, infuriating and disheartening, but it’s such an important book. Knowing this part of history, knowing and understanding the things that have been done and the lengths white people have been willing to go to is essential to not allowing it to happen again. I also think that it’s important that this book tries to end on a positive and hopeful note, because it is in our hands as a society to stop white supremacy and we can’t forget it.

Overall, this was eye-opening and as someone who isn’t from the United States, I found the history lesson fascinating and exhausting at the same time.

Have you read this book? Have you read any nonfiction books about race that you would recommend?
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5 Amazing Self-Published Romance Books

Hi everyone! I think it’s not a secret for anyone that follows this blog that I read A LOT of romance and recently I was curious about whether I was reading more traditional published, indie published or self-published romance books. I don’t actually pay attention to that when I pick books (at least when it comes to romance), to me it’s all the same and it turns out I read basically the same amount of traditional and indie published books, and even when I read a little less self-published books, the difference is not very significant.

Since I don’t usually pay attention to which books are self published, I don’t know if I tent to enjoy them less, more or the same amount as trad or indie books. And since I know self-published books often get a bad rep or are thought as “less good than” traditionally published books, I thought I would read 5 self-published books that were on my tbr and I would let you know how I felt about them. Spoiler alert: I really liked all of them and I even have a new favorite romance!!

Without further ado, here are the books in the order I read them:

A Gentleman in the Street by Alisha Rai

The main characters in this book were step siblings for a year when they were already grown ups who didn’t live with their parents and, since the beginning and still years later, their relationship has been filled with sexual tension, which has made them both pretend to not like each other to avoid revealing how they much want each other.

This book is SO STEAMY!! One of the steamiest romance novels I have read. The main characters have so much chemestry and such a captivating dynamic of bickering and fighting and pretending they don’t like each other. The hero’s family plays a big role in this book, since he finished raising his siblings, and the exploration of his relationship with them is well done and it adds a great element to the book.

One of the best part of this story is how incredibly sex positive it is. The heroine, who is japanese and bisexual, hosts sex parties and things get wild and she has found a community of people who enjoy the same things as her and don’t judge each other. Also, the hero who has always tried to repress the things he wants sexually, comes to terms with them and stops feeling ashamed, which I think sends a very powerful message.

The Blind Date Diaries by Branda St. John Brown

This book is definitely my least favorite out of all of them, but it was still good. The premise of this book is really interesting, the heroine works for a magazine and to save it from having to go digital, she agrees to go on blind dates with guys that the readers vote for and write about it, but for the first date her boss has to chose the guy and she chooses her son, who the heroine hates.

At the beginning, I didn’t like the main characters and I didn’t understand why they were so antagonistic and defensive towards each other. But the dynamic between them changed as they got to know each other and I ended up actually enjoying their relationship. They were sweet together and they had chemistry. Also, there’s a grand gesture in this book that was very sweet and it worked perfectly with the premise of the story.

My main complain with this is that they only hanged out like 3 times and even when the hero liked the heroine since before, I still think it’s way too fast to say that they fell in love by the end of the book.

Only When It’s Us by Chloe Liese

This is my favorite out of all of this books and it’s a new favorite romance for me. This book revolves around a female soccer star and her lumberjack  college classmate, who after a bad first impression have to work together on a project and quickly realize that they don’t actually hate each other, they are just destined to be frenemies.

This book was fantastic. It took me a couple chapters before I started to like Willa, but I ended up really admiring her strenght, dedication, loyalty and her vulnerability. It was cool to see a female character being the one playing a sport and being great at it, and while the storyline with her mom was devastating, it added so much to the story. On the other hand, I liked Ryder from the very first time he appeared on the page and I loved his storyline so much, his life changed drastically a couple years before the book starts after an illness and I wasn’t expecting his emotional and powerful journey. It gave this book depth and a unique element.

Willa and Ryder have a frenemies to lovers, slow burn, angsty and emotional romance that I absolutely loved. The pranks, the bickering, the fighting, the trust, how caring they were, made their realtionship fascinating. There’s a bit of lack of communication but I could defenitely understand why both characters were being reserved since they have very big, difficult things happening in their lives. Honestly, there are so many elements that made this a highly emotional book and it ended up making me cry, which very rarely happens.

I really liked all the secondary characters, specially Ryder’s family, and I can’t wait it read the next book in the series, which will be about one Ryder’s brothers.

The Billionaire’s Fake Fiancée by Annika Martin

This book is about a Billionaire who needs to have a more family friendly image for a client, to do it he needs a fake fiancée and he wants someone too annoying to tempt him, so his team ends up hiring his hairdresser to pretend to be his fianceé because she is everything he thinks he doesn’t want.

I had a hard time with the beginning of this book because I didn’t like the heroine, but as the book went on I discovered that there was so much more to Tabitha beyond the first impression and I ended up really liking her as a character. There was so much depth to her, she was understading, compationate, smart, observant and kind. Her obssesion with soap operas was pretty funny and the role it plays in this book was very cleverly done. I wasn’t expecting to have a soap opera worthy plot, but it was really fun.

This book has a grumpy/sunshine romance, it includes fake dating and forced proximity, which are all things that I love. The characters had so much chemestry, I slowly fell in love with their dynamic and I ended up really enjoying their relationship. Tabitha brought out a less serious, less asshole-y version of Rex and he saw beyond her happy, positive facade.

Xeni by Rebekah Weatherspoon

This is book tells the story of Xeni and Mason, who are left money in the will of Xeni’s aunt but to claim it they have to get married to each other and since both of them need the money they decide to do it. They had no plans to actually fall in love, but things don’t go as they expected.

The main characters in this book are both adorable, Xeni has a tendency of blurting out everything she likes about Mason when he’s around her and Mason does magic, cooks, plays the bagpipes  and like a 100 other instruments, and it’s so understanding and caring with Xeni. Also, Mason is a bisexual fat Scotsman and Xeni is a bisexual Black woman.

This book handled instant attraction very well and it didn’t become insta-love. Xeni and Mason had so much chemestry and they opened up to each other and were vulnerable with each other in a way that was very sweet to read about. Honestly, they were so cute together. And there were some very steamy scenes!

Do you read self- published books? Have you read any of the books I mentioned? Are you planning on reading them?
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