Diverse Books · Review

Book Review: The Queen of Ieflaria by Effie Calvin

the queen of ieflaria

Title: The Queen of Ieflaria

Author: Effie Calvin

Publishing Date:  February 19th 2018

Published by: Nine Star Press

Genres: Fantasy, YA

Princess Esofi of Rhodia and Crown Prince Albion of Ieflaria have been betrothed since they were children but have never met. At age seventeen, Esofi’s journey to Ieflaria is not for the wedding she always expected but instead to offer condolences on the death of her would-be husband.

But Ieflaria is desperately in need of help from Rhodia for their dragon problem, so Esofi is offered a new betrothal to Prince Albion’s younger sister, the new Crown Princess Adale. But Adale has no plans of taking the throne, leaving Esofi with more to battle than fire-breathing beasts.

Goodreads | Amazon

The Queen of Ieflaria has two main characters, Eofi and Adale, who are complete opposites, but both of them manage to be complex, flawed and compelling characters. A big portion of this book is focused on developing their relationship from reluctantly liking each other to being friends to having romantic feelings. While their relationship is explored, the book maneges to show a bit of the world, how the kingdoms are divided, how things work in Ieflaria, the problems the kingdom is facing and how the magic system works. It’s not a super detailed description of these aspects, but it shows the basics.

In this book, the magic system is intimately related to gods, goddesses and the mythology that surrounds them. What we get to see a magic system that it’s interesting even if it’s similar to the magic system in other YA fantasy books. Nonetheless, there’s an elements that made this world and this magic system especial: the dragons. This is definitely not the first book in YA to have dragons, but this book does something a bit wacky  in regards to the dragons right at the end, which is gonna play a bigger role in the rest of the series.

I did have a problem with this book because there are some elements in terms of worldbuilding and magic system that are fascinaring ideas, but that are never fully developed and are left in the air. Some of those elements I will not mention because they are spoilers, but one example is a secret cult that exist around one of the goddesses, which sounded like a fascinating addition to the story but it was never really explored. Also, there were several mentions of  a tension between magic and science within this world, and it was a source of disagreement between the main characters, Eofi and Adele. That tension could have given more depth to the book and made it more thought provoking, but unfortunately it was never fully explored either. Even if we are left with these holes, I think in future books a lot of the aspects that were left unexplored are going to add very compelling elements to the story.

Now  into the romance, which was my favorite part of this book. The romance in this book is a slow burn and a fantastic one at that, they have a bit of a rough start but it becomes obvious pretty fast that they good for each other and they complement each other really well. There were a lot of sweet moments between the main characters, Eofi and Adale, and the reader gets to see how they slowly build a friendship. Both characters had things to learn from the other and they managed to do that. Even when there’s some miscommunication between them, it’s resolved quickly.

Even if the exploration of the world, the characters and the relationships between them is really interesting, the set up for the story and the build up of the relationship between the two main characters lasted way too long. Around 70% of the book is set up and then all of the sudden, in the last part of the book, it feels like everything happens, all the action takes places and it does feel a bit rush. Nonetheless, the last 20% of this book hints at a very fascinating and unique story in the rest of the series. 

Overall, this books has complex and compelling characters, an amazing romance and an interesting magic system. Nonetheless, it very much feels like a set up book for the rest of the series. There’s ideas and plot elements that are mentioned but left for later. Hopefully, all the set up pays off in the future books.

Rating: 3,8 stars

Have you read this book? Did you like it? Do you have it on your tbr?

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#ownvoices · bookish list · Diverse Books

Underrated Diverse Romance Books (less than 200 ratings on Goodreads)

Underrated Diverse Romance Books

Recently, I discovered that some diverse romance books I really enjoyed have less than a 200 ratings on Goodreads. After realizing this, I felt like it was a good idea to promote these amazing books that a lot of people may have not read. I didn’t choose books released in 2018, because I feel like they haven’t been out for very long and that may have to do with why they don’t have that many ratings.

A few weeks ago, I did a post about Underrated YA Books (less than 1000 rating on Goodreads)  in case you want to check it out! Now I wanted to make a list of diverse romance books with less than a 200 ratings on Goodreads that I think deserve more attention and love from the reading community:

 

If The Dress Fits by Carla de Guzman (2016) – 156 ratings on Goodreads

if-the-dress-fits

Martha Aguas kind of has it all–she’s an accountant who loves numbers, an accident-prone puppy that loves her, and the perfect wardrobe. Yes, she wears a dress size 24, her bras don’t fit and she’s never had a boyfriend, but so what? 

It becomes a big deal when her perfect cousin Regina announces her engagement to Enzo, the only boy she’s ever loved (he doesn’t know, so don’t tell him!) Suddenly Aguases from all corners of the globe are coming for the event, and the last thing Martha wants is to be asked why she still prefers her lattes with a waffle on the side. 

Thank god for Max. Goofy, funny, dependable Max, who finds himself playing the fake boyfriend at the family festivities. But why does it feel like only one of them is pretending?

Goodreads | Amazon 

If you want am #ownvoices book about a fat filipina main character with a really cute best friends to lovers romance, that stars with fake dating and that has incredible family dynamic and insightful depiction of the Philippines, this book is for you! It’s a funny and adorable read. You can read my full review and you can see the Bookish Style Guide I did based on the main character Martha Aguas.

 

North to You by Tif Marcelo (2017) – 165 ratings on Goodreads 

North to youCamille Marino has got a full plate. As the sole guardian of her eighteen-year-old sister and the head chef and owner of a food truck, she’s used to life being a juggling act. With food to cook, social media accounts to manage, and a little sister to look after, she doesn’t have time for much else. That is, until Drew Bautista walks back into her life.

Drew is Camille’s former high school crush and he returns to San Francisco to repair his relationship with his father before he ships out for deployment. By helping his father renovate his failing Filipino restaurant, he hopes to win back his respect. But when sparks fly between Drew and Camille—his father’s major competition and sworn enemy—Drew is conflicted. Should he join his father in the war against her food truck? Or surrender to the woman who’s given him a second chance at love?

Goodreads | Amazon

If you are looking for a book with  likeble main characters, a soft hero, a second chance romance and an interesting storyline revolving around food, this may be the book for you!  Also, I would like to mention that the male main characters is filipino and there’s a lot of reference to Filipino food.

The Story of Lizzy and Darcy by Grace Watson (2017) – 90 ratings on Goodreads

The Story of Lizzie and Darcy

 

When Lizzy Bennet first meets Darcy Williams, there is an instant dislike between them. As much as they try to avoid it their paths keep crossing, and they each start to see a different side to the other. Their tentative friendship is soon tested, but will they realise how they really feel?

The Story of Lizzy and Darcy is a modern day, same-sex adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Goodreads | Amazon

If you would like to read a Pride & Prejudice retelling, where a lesbian and a bisexual woman that have tons of chemestry fall in love, all while working in the book publishing industry, this book is for you! Also, there’s a trans character in this book that has a big role in the story.

 

Better at Weddings Than You by Mina V. Esguerra (2017) – 134 ratings on Goodreads 

Better at Weddings than you

Daphne Cardenas is the best wedding planner around, and everyone knows it. That’s why her friend Greg hired her as an emergency replacement one month before his wedding—because he fears his fiancée Helen is falling for the guy they first hired for the job. 

Aaron Trinidad is new to the wedding industry but years of conference planning and loads of charm make him good at it. Really good at it. Planning the wedding of his friend Helen should be easy, and it is. To be unceremoniously fired isn’t good for his new career, but the chance to learn from the best might be the silver lining.

Aaron and Daphne have chemistry, but there’s history with Helen that at least one other person considers a threat. Who’s the planner who can fix this impending disaster?

Goodreads | Amazon  

If you would like to read a book set in the Philippines, revolving around the wedding planning industry, with a romance between a female main character that has been planning weddings for years and a charming guy that’s a new comer into the wedding planning buisness, you may enjoy this book! Also, this is #ownvoices, written by a filipina author.

 

Do you want to read any of these books? Have you read any of these books? Did you like them?
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movies wrap up · The movie Journal

The Movie Journal: April 2018

The Movie Journal

The Movie Journal is a feature where I keep track of the movies I watch in 2018 and my thoughts about them. Here are the movies I watched in April:

 

The Shape of Water  (3,7 stars) 

At a top secret research facility in the 1960s, a lonely janitor forms a unique relationship with an amphibious creature that is being held in captivity.

  • Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
  • Written by: Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor
  • Cast: Sally HawkinsOctavia SpencerMichael Shannon

This movie was simply underwhelming for me. It was not a bad film, the acting was good, the way the movie looked was very distintive but nostalgic at the same time,  it was very clear that it was a tribute to old monster movies, and the sound work was great. Nonetheless, it tried to be reminesent of a fairytale and because of that the storytelling was really straightforward, which could have worked well, but I felt like the story lacked depth, everything was overly simplified, including  the characterization.

The Circle (3,7 stars) 

A woman lands a dream job at a powerful tech company called the Circle, only to uncover an agenda that will affect the lives of all of humanity. 

  • Directed by: James Ponsoldt
  • Written by: James Ponsoldt, Dave Eggers
  • Cast: Emma WatsonTom HanksJohn Boyega, Karen Gillan

I found this movie really interesting, the concept is not enterily unique but it’s compelling and it takes things a bit farther than a lot of movies with similar premises. The acting was fantastic and it was actually a very entertaining film. The main problem for me was the ending, which was incredibly disappointing. Another problem is that it brough up really complex and interesting discussions but the main characters had some messed up ideas about them and the fact that their positions where messed up was never addreses in the movie.

Avengers: Infinity War   (3,8 stars) 

The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.

  • Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
  • Written by: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
  • Cast: Robert Downey Jr.Chris HemsworthMark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson

After I watched this movie, I spent a while not knowing how I felt about it and I’m still not sure. The movie is funny, enjoyable and entertaining. Also, it’s interesting to see a movie where everything goes wrong, plans fail, character fails and the ending leaves you waiting.

Nonetheless, the movie lacked a bit of cohesiveness in the way it looks, it felt disperse; different parts of this movie looked like different movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and it was like several movie put into one. Also, I felt a completely lack of emotion when it came to deaths and sacrifices, the movie flied through those moments and left me not knowing if the characters died or not, if I should care or not, if I should be sad or not. I think that’s the biggest mistake of the film, because if those moments were more emotional, I would have made the storyline more believable and it would not have felt like everything was gonna be fixed later.

 

 Have you watched any of the movies I mentioned? Did you enjoy them? Do you want to watch any of them? Let me know in the comments! 

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bookish list

Most Anticipated Book Releases – May 2018

Most anticipated book releases 2018

May had been a really busy and stressful month for me, so that’s why this post is very, very late. Nontheless, I wanted to talk about the books that came out or come out in May and that I’m highly anticipating. I want to give a special mention to A Court of Frost and Starligh by Sarah J. Maas, which was my most anticipated book of the month and since  I already read it, I didn’t include it on this list.

 

Furyborn by Claire Legrand 

I actually have an earc of this, I have had it for 2 months but I have been in a fantasy slump, so that’s why I haven’t read it yet. Still, it sounds fascinating, it has two female protagonist living in different time periods and their stories intertwine. Also, this has magic trials, which I love.

Release date: May 22nd 2018

Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake 

I have an earc of this book, but my mental health hasn’t been in good lately and this book sounds sad and hard to read, so I’m leaving it for another time. BUT I have heard nothing but great things about it. This book deals with rape, consent and victim blaming.

Release date: May 15th 2018

From Twinkle, with Love by Sandhya Menon

I read When Dimple Met Rishi when it came out and I really liked it, so I can wait to read Menon’s new book.  I think this is gonna be a really cute story. Also, it’s told through the letters the main character, Twinkle, writes to her favorite female filmmakers, which sounds fascinating.

Release date: May 22nd 2018

Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West 

I really liked the few Kasie West’s books that I have read and I want to give this one a chance. The main character of this book ends up hosting a podcast and I want to see how that format is incorporated in the story. Also, the love interest is latinx and that makes me excited, I hope it’s handled well.

Release date: May 29th 2018

Royals by Rachel Hawkins 

I love books with modern royalty and this books has that. I’m expecting a light read with fluffy and funny moments, which is exactly what I’m in the mood for at the moment.

Release date:  May 1st 2018

What May book releases are you anticipating? Do you want to read any of this books? Have you read any of this books and what did you think about it?

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wrap up

April 2018 Wrap Up

monthly-wrap-up-1

Life Update 

I gratuated college in February and I took March as my vacation month to recharge, so April was the month that I started to try and sort out my life and that made my anxiety get really bad. Here’s the main things I did in April:

  • I started the process to apply for a scholarship, so I can get my master degree in Spain. I had a bunch of appointments and I had to get a lot of documents and I spent a lot of money on those things. I will know the results May 22, so if you can send good vibes my way, I would really appreciate it.
  • In case I don’t win the scholarship, I started the process to get a job that I think I’ll like, but it has been a long and complicated process and I still don’t know if I got the job or not.

What I read 

The Room Mate by Kendall Ryan (2,5 stars): The way the main male character talked was irritating and the writing was not very good

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (4 stars): So much worldbuilding for such a short book and the character developments is well done

Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor (4 stars): So much imagination! The world keeps expanding in ways I wouldn’t have imagined.

Meet Cute by Various Authors (4 stars): This was so cute, I really enjoyed reading it. Here’s my review.

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo (4 stars): Love letter to L.A, amazing descriptions of food, an incredible female friendship and father/daughter relationship.

The Summer of Jordi Perez by Amy Spalding (4 stars): This has such a cute romance between two girls, amazing  fat rep and mexican-american rep,  a really cool guy/ girl platonic friendship.

Getting Lucky Number Seven by Cindi Madsen (3,7 stars): Cute couple, steamy scenes, a fun read.

Helium by Rudy Francisco (3,8 stars): I really liked part III of this collection because it deals with social issues like racism and masculinity in a very honest and touching way.

In The Country We Love by Diane Guerrero (3,5 stars): I liked the parts of this that were about immigration, mental health, her career, but seeing my country, Colombia, through her eyes was not fun. It frustrated me to no end.

The Diviners by Libba Bray (4 stars): Great characters, intriguing mysteries, really atmospheric book with a creepy vibe.

Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire (3,8 stars): Amazing worldbuilding and a captivating plot. Here’s my review.

Our Numbered Days by Neil Hilborn (3,4 stars): A few great poems, but most were just ok. The second half of this was much better than the first.

Secondhand Origin Stories by Lee Blauersouth (4,5 stars): amazing diverse characters, so many secrets and mysteries and complex family dynamics. Here’s my review.

No Matter the Wreckage by Sarah Kay (3,4 stars): I really enjoyed a few poems at the beggining and a few at the end of this, but there were none that absolutely blew me away.

Blurred Lines by Lauren Layne (3,7 stars): best friends to lovers, adorable couple and really likeable characters.

Invitation to the Blues by Roan Parish (3,7 stars): complex characters, interesting discussions about race and mental health, and a really adorable love story.

 

Damages Like Us, Lovers Like Us & Alphas Like Us by Krista and Becca Ritchie: these were re reads. The main couple in this books is not my favorite, but I love so many of the side couples and I like reading their interactions in these books. Also, I really enjoy reading about the family dynamics and relationships.

On the blog 

Here’s everything I posted this month on the blog:

  1. Most Anticipated Book Releases – April 2018
  2. The Movie Journal: February & March 2018
  3. My Most Read Authors
  4. Book Review: Meet Cute by Various Authors
  5. Book Review: Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire
  6. Underrated YA Books (less than 1000 ratings on Goodreads)
  7. My Reading so Far in 2018: I Completed my Goodreads Challenge of Reading 52 books!
  8. Book Review: Secondhand Origin Stories by Lee Blauersouth (Blog Tour)

Have you read any of the books I mentioned? Did you enjoy them? Do you want to read any of them?Tell me what happened in you life during April! What did you read? What did you post? 

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