Diverse Books · wrap up

January 2017 Wrap Up – Dumbledore’s Army Readathon & #DiverseAThon

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This month I participated in two readathon revolving around diversity. I did ok in one of them, but completely failed in the other. At the end, I read seven books in January, six of them for the readathons and another one for a buddy read. The reviews for all of these books will be posted in the next few of weeks.

1. Dumbledore’s Army Readathon

At the beginning of the month I participated in the #DAReadathon and I had so much fun chatting with people on twitter about the books I was reading. There were 7 promps, so that means participants were supposted to read 7 books. I didn’t accomplish that goal, I read 5 books and started the 6th. This readathon took place in my last days of uni break and I thought that I was gonna have a lot of time to read, but I ended up going on several trips and that took a lot of my reading time. Nonetheless, I felt I did a good job.

Redefining Realness by Janet Mock  (4,3 stars)

A beautifully written memoir of a trans woman of color. This book is captivating, honest and touching. Here’s my review.

When Reason Breaks by Cindy L. Rodriguez (4,4 stars)

This book  portraits depression through the stories of two main characters that experience this mental illness in very different ways and that it’s definitely the thing that makes this book incredibly important, as well as unique. Something else that I really like about it is all the Emily Dickinson poems and references; they add so much to the story. Here’s the full review.

Delicious Temptation by Sabrina Sol (3 stars)

The main characters of this book are latinxs and the story revolves around traditional latinx food and desserts. Even if that sounds amazing, the characters end up being really two dimentional and that means that, if we take the traditional food and random spanish phrases, it was hard to tell they are latinxs at all. Here’s the full review.

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Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling (3 stars)

I was expecting this book to be funnier and I was expecting it to be more about Mindy’s job in The Office and about her writing. Even if this books talks about those things, it also spends way to much time in Mindy’s childhood and teen years, and I didn’t find that part entertaining at all.

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (4 stars)

This book is intense and nerve wracking; as a reader you spend the entire time worried about the characters. The plot isn’t entirely unique, but the setting makes it feel refreshing and intresting. The main characters are captivating and the villains are intriguing. I can’t wait to read the sequel.

2.#DiverseAThon

I completely failed at DiverseAThon, I was hoping to read 3 book and ended up only reading one. Also, I didn’t have time to participate in the twitter chats.  But the one book I read was really good, so at the end, it wasn’t so bad.

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Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee (4 stars)

A cute book with a biracial, bisexual main character, a trans character, an interesting post-apocalyptic world, amazing conversations about gender and sexual orientation,  villains that are not so evil and heroes that are not so good. If that sounds like sometime you would like, I totally recommend it.

3. Buddy Read as part of Read with Marines 

A booktuber I think you may know called Marines hosts really casual  buddy reads and for January she choose a book I was really excited to read and that’s why I decided to join in.

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My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante (4,2 stars)

An amazing book about a complicated friendship, that deals with a variety of topics from poverty and the connection it has with education to war enemies living in the same neighborhood after the war ends. A complex story, with a lot characters, written in a beautiful yet simple way. Here’s the full review.

Have you read any of these books? Did you like them? What did you read this month? 

#ownvoices · Diverse Books · Review

Book Review: Redefining Realness by Janet Mock

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Title: Redefining Realness: My path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More.

Author: Janet Mock

Published by: Atria Books

Publication date: February 4th 2014

Genre: Memoir, Nonfiction, #ownvoices

Pages: 263

Goodreads| Amazon 

Redefining Realness by Janet Mock is  insighful and moving, as well as beautifully written. Mock has crafted a captivating story- her story-  about growing up as a poor biracial trans girl. Her life is full of intersections and she talks about them and about their role in her identity with passion and frankness. She talks about having an African American father and a Native Hawaiian mother, but being raised as a black girl because that was how people were going to percibe her. She also talks about poverty and prostitution and how they are often linked, especially, for trans girl. Furthermore, she addresses ‘passing’ and she recognised her privilige because she looks like a beautiful cis woman. But at the same time, she talks about the need to stop beliving cis people are more valuable or legitimate and that trans people who can ‘pass’ as cis are more valuable and legitimate.She recognizes her privilege throughout the book, because she is beautiful, heteronormative, able-bodied, educated women. She recognizes her privilege because she is percibed as the right kind of trans women, and because of it, she makes this book even more important.

Her story is the heart of the book and the writing style in which it’s delivered is beautiful. The only problem in the writing comes when she is not telling her story. There’s parts of this book where Mock switches  to a more academic language, she tries to give information about the lives of  trans people in the United States; she tries to give context to her expirience by showing the bigger picture and by showing how she has a lot of priviliges that other trans people don’t have. Even if I find that information very valuable, I also think the switch between the beautiful and honest writing style in which she tells her story to this more academic language is so drastic and abrupt that it takes the reader out of the story and it breaks the connection. Nonetheless, the parts where she uses academic language are so few and so short that they didn’t affect that much my enjoyment of the story.

This book is incredibly thought-provoking and the reason is that Mock doesn’t hold back, she is achingly honest and that makes her story and what she has to say so compelling. Redefining Realness would help people that don’t know a lot about the issues trans people have to face, but also that don’t understand the idea of intersectionality. This book would be a good introductory read for them, as well as a wonderful story for everyone else.

Rating: 4,3 stars

Have you read this book? Did you like it? If you haven’t, do you plan to read it? 

readathon

#DiverseAThon TBR

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This year my main goal is to read more diversely and after participating in the Dumbledore’s Army Readathon,  I have realized that joining this kind of reading events where there’s other people trying to read diversely and talking about diverse books it’s a big incentive to read the diverse books on my tbr. That’s why I’m joining the #DiverseAThon that will go from January 22nd to January 29th. The goal of Diverse-A-Thon is simply to celebrate diversity in literature by reading diverse books all week and engage in thoughtful discussions on Twitter under the #DiverseAthon hashtag.

Here are the books that I want to read during the readathon:

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Not your Sidekick by C.B. Lee

I have heard great things about this, mainly that it’s funny and adorable, and for what I know, it has a very diverse cast of characters with an asian, bisexual main character. Also, this is an #ownvoices book, which makes me even more excited to read it.

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When The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

This book was written by a latinx author and it has a latinx main character and that’s enough to make me really excited to read it. But add to that the fact that this has a trans main character and I couldn’t get this soon enough. I have heard so many people saying how beautiful this book is that I can’t wait to read it.

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Simon and the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli 

Lately, this book is everywhere because they are making it into a movie. I wanted to read it before I knew it was gonna be a movie, but if I’m honest,  now I am more excited about it. I know this is a love story and it’s really cute, but I also know that there’s some amazing friendships in this. I don’t know a lot more, ok? I just want to read it.

Are you participating in the #DiverseAThon? What books are you reading? HAve you read any of the books on my tbr? Did you enjoy them? 

bookish list

My Favorite Books of 2016

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This is a bit late, but I had a hard time deciding which books I was gonna include on this list and how to address having a problematic favorite.

TOP 8 BOOKS OF 2016

The first three books I want to talk about are young adult books that I really loved. 

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera 

I loved this book so much. I loved the writing, I loved the characters, I loved the way this book talked about feminism and about being queer, I loved how it represented the different perspectives that exist in these broader movements and the way it showed why intersectionality is so important, I loved the way safe spaces were addressed, and as a Latina I loved the way latinxos were represented. Honestly, I loved so many things about this book that it impossible to name them all here. (If I had to choose a favorite book of 2016, this would definitely be it!)

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

This book has a special place in my heart because back when I read it, it had been a long time since I had read something with amazing representation of latinxs characters and that meant the world to me (I read this before Juliet Takes a Breath). Also, I loved the fact that I could recognized in this book cultural traditions that were similar to the ones of my country. Also, I loved he whole world building and magic system, the fact that they were based on latinx cultural traditions made them interesting and unique.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

The characters were the driving force in this book; they were complex and captivating. The group dynamic had me enthralled the entire time, I loved it because it’s the type of relationships where the characters don’t entirely like each other but need to stay together to reach their individual goals. I don’t actually like heist stories that much, but this was interesting and the plot twist kept me entertained through the book. Also, the writing was really good, even if the pacing was a bit uneven.

The next four books I am gonna talk about are Adult books from different genres, that go from mystery to chick lit to literary fiction.

The Secret History by Donna Tart

The characters were my favorite part of this book; they were enigmatic and fascinating and even when they did things or had thoughts that were disturbing, I never found myself quite disliking them.  I really enjoyed the writing style. This was the first Donna Tartt book I read and I found her writing compelling and beautiful. Also, the fact that the book revolved around the study of greek literature and language was quite interesting, there was an underlying commentary about power, elitism, morality, depravity, freedom, insanity, even religion.

Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares

At the beginning of this book, I thought I was gonna hate it. I couldn’t believe that Ann Brashares had done something so awful; I got angry and sad. Nonetheless, as I read I realized she was portraying real life; this book dealt with what happens when you grow older, when you are not a young adult anymore, and it did it in such a realistic way that it was at times hard to read. I loved seeing all the characters of the past books after such a long time, seeing what happened to them was great. Even if there were sad parts, reading this book was a heartwarming experience.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson 

I think this was my favorite book in the series, all the lose ends of the second book found a resolution in this one. I loved reading about all Lisbeth, Mikael and all the other members of the team had to do to catch the bad guys, and I thought it was interesting how complex this series started to get by adding new characters that weren’t always working with each other and didn’t always had the same or all the information. This was one of the series that introduced me to mystery/thrillers, which is now one of my favorite genres, so it has a special place in my heart.

Twenties Girls by Sophie Kinsella

This was one of the first books I read by Sophie Kinsella and even if I had a few problems with the books I read after this one, I loved Twenties Girls. It made me fall in love with the twenties even more than I was before. My favorite thing about this book was the relationship between Lara and Sadie, female friendships for the win! Even if I suffered with secondhand embarrassment by all the silly and ridiculious things that Lara had to do for Sadie. Also, this almost made me cry by how things worked out for Sadie. I had so many feelings while reading this book.

And now… let’s talk about the problematic favorites!

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Empire of Storms & A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

These were the books that made the process of writing this post so hard.  When I started to write this I realized that if I was being honest I had to include both of these books on my list because I enjoyed them a lot. Nonetheless, I was very conflicted because I know these books are problematic. From the way the POCs are treated as plot devices to queer bating and consent issues (about drugs), these books have a lot of problems. I knew that if I was gonna include these books on this list I had to call out the problematic aspects, but the fact that I was including them made me wonder why did I like these books in the first place and why did I not notice the problematic aspects until someone else mentioned them.I read the first 4 books in the TOG series and loved them, before I found out about the problematic content. I found out when I became more involved on twitter and I followed bookworms that were either members of other marginalized groups (in case you didn’t know, I’m Latina) or allies to those groups. I have learned a lot since then, but I still got a lot more to learn.  Anyway, I liked these books, but I have to recognized that they have problematic content and I feel the responsibility of talking about it when I mention them.

FAVORITE SERIES

I have two favorite series of 2016, to classify for this category I had to have read all the books in the series in 2016. I want you to know that at least my favorite book of each of these series would have made it into my favorites list if I hadn’t done a separated category.

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The Addicted/ Calloway Sisters Series

There’s 10 books in this series, I read them for the first time in July 2016 and I had to re-read them by November 2016. That’s how obsessed I was with this series and how much I loved all the books. My favorite book in the series was the last one (Some Kind of Perfect), because we get POVs for the six main characters and since I can’t choose a favorite couple this is perfect for me. This series dealt with family, friendship, the link between fame and privacy, sexual orientation, PTSD and depression, sex addiction and alcoholism, also this series has very positive representation of going to therapy as something you don’t have to be ashamed of, something that helps people.  This is definitely my favorite new adult series of all times.

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All for the Game Series by Nora Sokovik 

I loved the complex characters and the unique set up of the story because it revolved around a fictional sport and I became really invested in the championship even when I don’t like sports that much. My favorite book was the last one called the King’s Men, it was a great conclusion to the series. There was a diverse cast of characters and it had this strange and atmospheric feel to it, even if it was set in a college, it also had to do with crime families. This was a bit weird, but really good as well.

FAVORITE GRAPHIC NOVEL

I don’t read that many graphic novels because I tend to not enjoy them that much, but this year I found one that I loved. Both the story and the art were incredible. 

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City of Clowns by Daniel Alarcon and

This graphic novel was set in Perú and it dealt recurrently with the theme of poverty in a perfect and sensitive way. Also, it was interesting to see very serious topics being adressed while incorporating clowns to the narrative. The art was really good as well, it’s all black and white and it went really well with the story.

POETRY

I don’t usually read poetry, but this year I read a few really good poetry collections and I decided to highlight my two favorites. 

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Poems by Maya Angelou

I don’t read that much poetry, but this is definitely my favorite poetry collection of all times. It was meaningful, impactful, it transmitted so much emotion and the voice behind the poems was so present that it made the poems feel incredibly personal. This dealt mainly with themes of race and gender and included one of the most popular Maya Angelou’s poem And Still I Rise, which let’s be honest is a masterpiece.

The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace

There’s a broad variaty of themes in this collection and a consistency in the quality of the poems. I loved the ones that dealt with womenhood, death, abuse and suicide, I though they were both powerful and relatable.

Have you read any of these books? Did you like them? I want to know about your favorite books of 2016, if you made a post about them, leave me a link!

Uncategorized

2016 Reading Challenges Wrap Up

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I’m going to start by saying that you are gonna see a lot of blog posts the next couple of days that may seem like they are post that should have been up like 2 week ago and I want you to know that you are right! I’m really behind with my blog posts because of lack of inspiration to blog, traveling and because I moved my blog from blogger to wordpress. But! the important things is that I’m posting them now.

RockMyTBR

My goal was to read 12 books, one each month, that I owned and that I had been meaning to read for a long time. I’m very happy to say that I reached this goal and read 20 books for the challenge.

Flights of Fantasy

My goal was to read 30 fantasy books in 2016 and I was so sure I could do that, but I didn’t count with the fact that I was gonna need a rest from fantasy in the middle of the year. At the end, I read 26 of the 30 books I had planned, which is still pretty good but not exactly what I wanted.

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Backlist Books

This challenge was really fun, I was supposed to read 20 books realised at least a year before I read them and I ended up reading 55 backlist books. If you are new to this blog, you should know that while a lot of people are reading and reviewing arcs, backlist titles are my thing.

Finishing the Series 

My goal was to finish between 3 a 6 series that I had already started before the beginning of the year. At the end, I only finihsed 3 series but I still managed to complete this challege.

Goodreads Reading Challenge

My goal was to read 52 books in 2016 and I ended up reading 101 books. Almost double!

That’s it, I complete 4 out of 5 reading challenges and the one I didn’t complete it was only for 4 books. Anyway, I had a lot of fun. If you want to know about my reading challenges for 2017, here’s the link.

Let me know in the comments, how you did with your 2016 reading challenges and in which ones are you participatin in 2017. If you posted about it, leave me a link! 

Uncategorized · wrap up

December 2016 Wrap Up

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The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su & Kate Rorick (4 stars)

I read this because I had watched the web series and I loved it. I definitely enjoyed this companion novel as well. A thing that I really liked in both the web series and the book is the diversity that was added to the original story, because some of the main characters were asian and that makes it more relatable. Also, I liked the writing, the humor and the romance.

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Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo (4,5 stars)

I think this was a great conclusion to the series, I had been hesitant to read this because I had heard mixed comments, but I think it improved the one thing that had made me not like the other books as much: I felt like Alina and Mal finally had some agency, their decisions were theirs, no one else was controlling them or taking the shots.

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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (4,3 stars)

Heist stories aren’t really my thing, but I really enjoyed this book anyway because the characters were so amazing. This book was full of diverse and complex characters, which kept me engrossed in the story; I ended up rooting for them even when I knew some of their decisions and actions were wrong.

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Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (4 stars)

I actually liked the first book more. After spending so many time in the planning, the deceit, the trickery, I felt like the ending was rushed. The characters continued to be the strong point in these series, the character development was really good and the relationship between the characters evolved in an organic waym they weren’t rushed.

labyrinth-lostLabyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova (4,2 stars)

I loved reading this book and it made me even more centaint abput how much representation and diversity matter. Even when the cultural background, traditions and belief sistem are not exactly the same as mine, they do share a lot of similarities and I loved being able to relate certain parts of the book to cultural traditions of my country. Also, I loved the writing and I felt connected to the magic and world that Zoraida Córdova created.

Run by Kody Keplinger (4,3 stars)run

I loved the experience of reading this book, I knew before reading it that this was a #ownvoices book and it was interesting to read about a legally blind character and feel like I was actually understanding a bit better what it is like live as a legally blind person.  I could feel the authenticity in the way the story was told and that made this book something special. I think Kody Keplinger also portrayed female friendship and bisexuality in a very postive way.

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In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park (4 stars)

This book was hard to read, because the whole time you know this actually happend to a girl, you know it happens to a lot of girls all over the world. Even when I knew how important this book is and how heartbreaking what I was reading was; I felt like the writing didn’t fit the book, it didn’t let me connect with the story as much as I wanted to.

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I found a lot of the poems in this collection very relatable and powerful. I bookmarked a lot of them, my favorite poems were for the most part about women, about how wonderful and strong we are; but a few of the other poems I loved dealt with death, abuse and suicide.There’s a broad variaty of themes in these collection and a consistency in the quality of the poems.

weshouldallbefeminists

This was a good book, but I think I would have liked it more if I was new to feminism and feminist ideas when I read it. I feel like this is a good introduction, but it’s so short that it’s just that, an introduction, and it only explores very basic ideas about gender. I understand that that was the purpose, but I was expecting a bit more.

weird-things-customers-say

This was not as funny as I was expecting it to be. Actually, this wasn’t what I was expecting it to be, period.  I was really disappointed while I was reading this book, there were only a few that I actually thought were entertaining or bizare enough that I enjoyed them. Also, I felt like the art didn’t add anything to the book.

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This book was really funny and it dealt with a lot of the stereotypes that people have about Muslims and their love lives, while being respectful, honest and entertaining. That may have to do with the fact that this is an #ownvoices book. Another thing that I loved about the book was that female relationships have such a central place throughout it.

I loved this book so much, it was funny and charming and the writing was amazing. I loved the way it adressed intersectionality and how it works (or doesn’t) in broader movements. My favorite thing about this book was Juliet; having a latinx characters that felt so incredibly authentic almost made me want to cry tears of happiness. Also, the way in which it adressed queerness was brilliant.

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Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick (3,5 Stars)

So many times when I read memoirs of famous people, they focus so much on silly anecdotes of their childhood and honestly, I wish they would tell us about their jobs that’s the why I’m reading the book. I want to know how you got where you are, I want to know anecdotes of you on set and so many other things. I felt this book was full of a lot of stories I didn’t find interesting or funny and way too little about her job as an actress.

 milk-and-honey

The thing is I loved some of the poems in this collection, I bookmarked a lot of them, but the ones I didn’t love were really disappointing. There wasn’t a consistency in the quality of the poems, I either loved them or didn’t care about them.

 Have you read any of these books? Did you enjoy them? Let me know in the comments! 
Blog Update

Blog Update

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Hi guys!

I just moved my blog from Blogger to WordPress and I’m really excited about this change. The main reason to do it is that I feel like wordpress allows a lot more interaction between bloggers and since I had been feeling for a while that that was missing from blogger, I decided to make the move.

The move from blogger to wordpress also brings a new desing and a new direction for the blog, which is gonna be focused in reviewing and promoting diverse books. I had been doing a little bit of this before, but I want to make it even more of a priority.

I’m a bit behind in blog posts because the last couple of days I have been focused in getting everything ready for the move. Because of that, you can expect a lot of blog posts in the next couple of days.

I hope you enjoy reading about my bookish adventures!

P.D. I’m looking for blogs to follow here in wordpress, so leave a comment and I will check out you blog.