Horror Books by Latinx Authors: recommendations and a tbr

Hi everyone! I have a very exciting post today as part of my celebration of Latinx Heritage Month. I have been trying to get into horror lately and obviously I have tried to pick up horror books by Latinx authors, which is why I wanted to recommend some of them to you. Since it’s almost spooky season, I thought it woulf be a great time for this post. I am also mentioning some books that are on my tbr since I’m so new to this genre.

Since getting interested in horror written by Latinx authors, I have learned that there has been a huge boom of horror books in Latin American countries in the last few years, especially horror books written by women. That’s why most of my recommendactions are translated books and most of the books on my tbr too. Also, simply because I want to read more books set in and written by people living in Latin American countries.

First, here are my recommendations:

Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica

Working at the local processing plant, Marcos is in the business of slaughtering humans —though no one calls them that anymore. Marcos tries not to think too hard about how he makes a living. After all, it happened so quickly. First, it was reported that an infectious virus has made all animal meat poisonous to humans. Then governments initiated the “Transition.” Now, eating human meat—“special meat”—is legal. Then one day Marcos is given a gift: a live specimen of the finest quality. Though he’s aware that any form of personal contact is forbidden on pain of death, little by little he starts to treat her like a human being. And soon, he becomes tortured by what has been lost—and what might still be saved.

This book is actually very disturbing because it makes cannibalism seem like something that could actually happen, the way the author executes the whole concept makes it seem so plausible. Bazterrica does a great job of thinking about all the things we do with animals (eat them, hunt them, use them for skins and to test drugs) and she incorporates all that to the story but changes the animals for humans. She also really goes into a lot of detail about the process of producing human meat from raising to slaughtering to processing to distribution. She explains how everything is done and it’s very unsettling because you can’t help but be repulsed and interested at teh same time.

Another thing that the author does very well is communicating the feeling of desperation, desolation, and loneliness that this society lives in even if they try to pretend they don’t. She creates the perfect atmosphere for the story, which reflects the decline of all the moral values in this society. Beyond the concept, setting, and atmosphere, the plot revolves around events of a smaller scale but it’s as disturbing as everything else

Fever Dream by Samantha Schweblin

A young woman named Amanda lies dying in a rural hospital clinic. A boy named David sits beside her. She’s not his mother. He’s not her child. Together, they tell a haunting story of broken souls, toxins, and the power and desperation of family.

This is a short book that’s very atmospheric, the reading experience is disorienting and trippy since the story is told by a confused, feverish woman, and the author does a great job of transmiting the frustration and fear that the main character feels caused by this very intense and strange little kid who pushes her to talk and won’t answer her questions. Reading this book is a very inmersive experience because all of these elements.

Beyond that, Samantha Schweblin does a good job of commenting on the use of pesticides in Argentina and its effect on entire towns and the people who live in them, but adding a paranormal element that it’s never quite explained but that adds to the weirdness and creepiness of the story.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-García

After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find. Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer but she is not afraid.

There are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness. And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.

This is a creepy, atmospheric, and disturbing book that has beautiful and captivating writing. The story is so effective in being scary because even when it’s not clear if there are ghosts, magic, or other supernatural things going on, the real villains of the story are manipulative, abusive, disgusting men that you could find anywhere in the world and anytime in history. This book is creepy from very early on, Moreno-García made my skin crawl with the simplest scenes, sometimes nothing too scary was happening but with one perfectly crafted phrase, I was spooked. Also, this includes important commentary on sexism, colonialism, and eugenics that gives depth to the story.

Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enriquez

Short story collection that brings contemporary Argentina to vibrant life as a place where shocking inequality, violence, and corruption are the law of the land, while military dictatorship and legions of desaparecidos loom large in the collective memory.

This book does a good job of commenting on subjects like poverty, addiction, feminicide, police brutality, and so much more, through a gothic lens and with a touch of paranormal elements (a lot of them related to Argentinian folklore). Most of the stories are disturbing and quietly eerie, some with grotesque moments, some transmitting very well the sense of dread and fear of the characters, and most of them revolving spooky and mysterious circumstances. The author leaves the resolution of a lot of the stories up to the reader’s imagination, so it feels like they end quite abruptly, which is a bit jarring but ends up working really well to maintain the sense of uneasiness that the stories create.

Category Five by Ann Dávila Cardinal

After the hurricane, some see destruction and some smell blood. The tiny island of Vieques, located just off the northeastern coast of the main island of Puerto Rico, is trying to recover after hurricane Maria, but the already battered island is now half empty. To make matters worse, developers have come in to buy up the land at a fraction of its worth, taking advantage of the island when it is down. Lupe, Javier, and Marisol are back to investigate a series of murders that follow in the wake of a hurricane and in the shadow of a new supernatural threat.

This is the only YA book on this list, and it’s a quick and entertaining read set in Puerto Rico about teenagers who get involved with a supernatural mystery. This is a ghost story and the really interesting thing about it is that the ghost element is deeply related to the history of Pueblo Rico, and particularly, the history of Pueblo Rico as a colonized land. There are a couple spooky ghost scenes, which was a fun element of the story. Also, the author does a great job of integrating what has happened in Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria- especially the abandonment of Puerto Rico by the U.S. government – to the book

TBR

I definitely want to explore the horror genre more and specifically, horror written by Latinx authros, so here are some books that have caught my eye and that I’m hoping to read soon:

Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor: The story of a small town were the Witch turns up dead. And the discovery of her corpse propels the whole village into an investigation of how and why this murder occurred. Rumors and suspicions spread. As the novel unfolds new details, new acts of depravity or brutality are revealed.

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado: A collection of short stories that that map the realities of women’s lives and the violence visited upon their bodies.

Weep, Woman, Weep by Maria DeBlassie: The story of La Llorona, who roams the waterways looking for the next generation of girls to baptize, filling them with more tears than any woman should have to hold. And there’s not much they can do about the Weeping Woman. Mercy knows this, probably better than anyone. She lost her best friend to La Llorona and almost found a watery grave herself. But she survived. Only she didn’t come back quite right and she knows La Llorona won’t be satisfied until she drags the one soul that got away back to the bottom of the river.”

The Children by Carolina Sanín: The story of a woman who discovers a mysterious young boy on the pavement outside her apartment building: Fidel, who is six years old, a child with seemingly no origins or meaning. With few clues to guide her as she tries to discover his real identity, Laura finds herself swept into a bureaucratic maelstrom of fantastical proportions.

Little Eyes by Samantha Schweblin: The story of little mechanical stuffed animals called Kentukis, which have gone viral across the globe. They have cameras for eyes, wheels for feet, and are connected to an anonymous global server. Owners of kentukis have the eyes of a stranger in their home; or you can be the kentuki and voyeuristically spend time in someone else’s life, controlling the creature with a few keystrokes. These creatures can reveal the beauty of connection between farflung souls – but they also expose the ugly humanity of our increasingly linked world.

Have you read any horror books by Latinx authros? Do you have any recommendations?

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50+ book recommendations for the Latinx Book Bingo | Latinx Heritage Month 2021

Latinx Book Bingo banner photo

Hi everyone! Today, I’m bringing a super exciting post that it’s a bit late this year. In this post, I’m recommending books for the 2021 Latinx Book Bingo.

The three previous years I have written really long posts with 90 book recommendations, 100 book recommendations , and 170 book recommendations, but a lot of the books were books that I haven’t read yet, so this year I decided to do something a little bit different. I’m recommending 50+ books by Latinx authors that I have read, enjoyed and that I think you should read. I provide recs for each square in the bingo board, I share a short synopsis of the book and I added information like the genre of the books and the kind of rep they have, so you know if it works for more than one prompt in the bingo board. If you need more options or recommendations, you can always check out the lists from previous years.

If you would like to support me or compensate the work I put into running the Latinx Book Bingo each year and making recommendation lists that take a lot of work (it’s not necessary or expected, but if you want to), you could buy me a Ko-fi

Set in Latam

  • Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez:  A YA Contemporary about a girl who is fighting for her dream of being a soccer player despite having to deal with a lot of sexism even from her own family. It has Argentinian rep  and it’s set in Argentina
  • Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo: A YA Contemporary about two sisters that didn’t know theo ther existed until their father dies in a plane crash. Afrolatinx protagonists & author and it’s mostly set in Domican Republic.
  • Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia: an adult horror book about a young woman who has to go to a creepy house in the middle of nowhere that it’s inhabited by creepy people who are keeping dark secrets to save her cousin. It has Mexican rep and it’s set in Mexico
  • Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno- Garcia: Adult Fantasy about a young woman who saves the Mayan god of death but ends up tying her fate to his by mistake and has to help him to save herself. It has Mexican rep and it’s set in Mexico.

Name in the Title

Non-fiction

Backlist title

  • Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Sosa: a YA Fantasy about a group of teens trying to pull off a quest that may cost them their lives. it has ace rep, bisexual rep, fat rep and anxiety rep.
  • Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera: A YA Contemporary about a queer Puerto Rican woman who spends a summer in Portland as an intern to a hippy white woman. It has Puerto Rican rep and lesbian rep.
  • Acting on Impulse by Mia Sosa:  Adult Romance about a physical trainer and a Hollywood star falling in love. It has Puerto Rican rep, and Afro-latinx main character and author.
  • Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova: YA Urban Fantasy about a teenage bruja who wants to get rid of her magic and ends up banishing her family to a magical land and has to rescue them. It has Ecuadorian rep, and an f/f romance

Afro-Latinx

  • By Any Means Necessary by Candice Montgomery: a YA contemporary story abouy a young man who is trying to save the bee farm his beloved uncle left him after his death while trying to start a new life at college. It has Brazilian rep, and an Afro-latinx mc & author.
  • The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo: a YA Contemporary about a girl who joind her school’s slam poetry club behind her mother’s back because in a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent. It has Dominican rep and it’s a backlist title.
  • Dactyl Hill Squad by Daniel José Older: a Middle Grade Fantasy about a group of kids living in an alternative reality where there are Dinasours in New York during the Civil War. This has afrolatinx rep and it’s a backlist title.
  • Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson YA Paranormal about a girl who resurrects her best friend and 2 other girls from her school using witchcraft  to prove that they were murdered, but they only have 7 days to do it. it has Mexican rep, fat rep, Afro-Latinx mc & author and it’s a backlist title.

Intersectional MC

  • Miss Meteor by Tehlor Kay Mejia and Anna-Marie McLemore: a YA story about a girl who enters a beauty pageant and asks her ex- best friend for help. To pull off the unlikeliest underdog story in pageant history, they have to imagine a future where girls like them are more than enough. It as fat rep, pansexual rep and trans rep.
  • When Reason Breaks by Cindy L. Rodriguez: a YA Contemporary story abut two girls, who are classmates and who are dealing with depression in very different ways. It has depression rep and it’s a backlist title.
  • Analee, in Real Life by Janelle Milanes YA Contemporary about a girl dealing with the death of her mother and the popular boy who asks her to be his fake girlfriend and coax her out of her comfort zone. It has Cuban rep, social anxiety rep and it’s a backlist title.
  • More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera: a story about a teen who is struggling with family tragedy and with things about himself that he wants to forget, and a memory-alteration procedure that might be the solution. It has gay rep,, Puerto Rican rep, and it’s a backlist title.

Translated book

  • Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica: an adult horror book about an alternative reality where cannibalism is socially accepted and it explores the industry of human meat. It has Argentinian rep and it’s set in Argentina.
  • Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel: a classic about a woman who isn’t allowed to marry because she has to look after her mother until she dies, but she falls in love and her lover marries her sister to stay close to her. It has Mexican rep, it’s set in Mexico and it’s a backlist title.
  • The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende: a classic magical realism book about three generations of the Trueba family, a story that addresses the personal lives of this family and big political events in Chilean history.  It has Chilean rep, it’s set in Chile and it’s a backlist title.
  • City of Clowns by Daniel Alarcon: a graphic novel about a young Peruvian journalist fwho has to confront the idea of his father’s other family after his death while chronicling the life of street clowns in Lima. It has Peruvian rep, it’s set in Peru and it’s a backlist title.

Rec’d by a Latinx Reader (my recommendations!)

  • Lobizona by Romina Garber: A YA Fantasy about a girl who is an undocumented immigrant and she has a distinctive eye color, which ends up connecting her to a secret magical world of lobizones (werewolves) and witches. It has Argentinian Rep.
  • You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria: an adult romance about a soap opera star and a Telenovela star, who have to work together in a tv show for the biggest streaming service in the country and end up falling in love. It has Puerto Rican Rep.
  • Land of the Cranes by Aida Salazar a middle grade contemporary about a little girl whose dad gets deported and, later on, her and her pregnant mom are also taken into a deportation facility. it has Mexican rep.
  • Incendiary by Zoraida Cordova: A YA fantasy about a girl who has a magical ability that makes her feared and that has to infiltrate the palace in her kingdom to help a group of rebels that wants to save her people from persecution.

Queer Rep

  • Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas: A YA fantasy about a trans boy and a ghost who are trying to solve a murder mystery and end up falling in love. It has latinx and trans rep and a m/m relationship.
  • When the Moon was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore: A Magical Realism story about two best friends, a trans boy who loves the moon and a Latina who grows roses from her hands, and how they face their struggles while falling in love. It has latinx and trans rep and it’s a backlist title.
  • They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera: A YA Sci-fi story set in a world where people know when they are going to die and two teens decide to spend their last day together. It has gay rep, OCD & anxiety rep, Puerto Rican and Cuban American Rep. It has an intersectional mc and it’s a backlist title.
  • Each of Us a Desert by Mark Oshiro: a YA Fantasy about a girl who has to listen and ,magically absorbe the stories of the people of her town that may produce bad feels because if she doesn’t the stories manifest themselves as monsters. It has a f/f relationship.

Song Title

For this prompt, you can chose a book with a title that has the word “song” in it, or a title that it’s the same as the name of a song or it’s the same as song lyrics.

  • Never Look Back by Lilliam Rivera: A YA retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth, it deals withe mental illness, toxic realtionships and trauma. It has Puerto Rican Rep.
  • Dance All Night by Alexis Daria: romance novella about a broadway start and a dancer who works for a tv dance competion falling in love.
  • We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay MejiaA YA Fantasy about a young woman forced to help a rebelious group to save herself, who learns to stand up for what she believes in. It has a f/f romance.
  • Pride by Ibi Zoboi: A YA retelling of Pride and Prejudice that focuses on gentrification. It has Haitian-Dominican Rep and it’s a backlist title.

Author’s debut

  • Blazewrath Games by Amparo Ortiz: a YA Fantasy about a group of teens who are representing Puerto Rico in the Blazewrath games, which is an international sports tournament where teams of dragons and humans compete. It has Puerto Rican rep.  
  • Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega: A Middle Grade Fantasy about two girls who accidentally awaken malicious spirits and have to team up with a grandma and a cat to save their town. It has Dominican rep.
  • The Dream Weaver by Reina Luz Alegre: a Middle Grade Contemporary about a girl who has to go live with her grandfather and ends up joining a bowling team and trying to save here grandpa’s bowling alley. It has Cuban Rep.
  • American Dreamer by Adriana HerreraAdult Romance about the owner of a food truck and a nerdy librarian who fall in love. It has a Afro-Latinx main character and author, it has gay rep and it’s a backlist title.

Any book by a Latinx author

  • His Perfect Partner by Priscilla Oliveras: this is an adult romance about a single dad and his daughter’s dance teacher. It has Puerto Rican & Mexican Rep and it’s a backlist title.
  • Nocturna by Maya Motayne: A YA Fantasy about a thief and a prince who have to work together to save their kingdom after freeing an ancient evil power. This is Dominican inspired.
  • Category Five by Ann Davila Madrigal:  A YA Horror about about teenagers who get involved with a supernatural mystery involving ghosts. It has Puerto Rican Rep and it’s set in Puerto Rico.
  • With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo: A YA Contemporary about a teen mom fighting for her dream of becoming a chef while falling in love with a cute guy. It has Puerto Rican rep.

Indie Published

  • The Infamous Miss Rodriguez by Lydia San Andres: Adult Historical Romance about a rebellious Afrolatinx heroine and an Argentinian hero. It’s set in the Caribbean, it has a Afrolatinx protagonist and it’s a backlist title.
  • Peluda by Melissa Lozada-Olivia: a poetry collection about the link between femininity, body hair, the immigrant experience and Latina identity. The author is Guatemalan-Colombian.

2021 Release

This is the only category where I’m recommending books that I haven’t read, because the 2021 releases that I have read are either sequels or I didn’t love them enough to recommend them. So what I’m going to do is mention the 2021 releases that are not part of a series and that I can’t wait to read.

I hope this post is useful to everyone participating in the Latinx Book Bingo or to anyone who wants to read more books by Latinx authors!
Are you participating in the Latinx Book Bingo? Have you picked the books for your tbr?
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8 Amazing Nonfiction Books by Black Authors

Hi everyone! After an unexpected hiatus during february because work was kickin my ass, I’m back because I didn’t want to let Black History Month go by without posting at least one recommendation post highlighting some amazing books by Balck authors.

I was in a reading slump as well during february but a lot of the books that I did manage to read were nonfiction titles and that’s why I want to recommend some amazing nonficiton books by Black authors that I have read throughout the years.

Without futher ado, here are 8 amazing nonfiction book by Black authors:

Stamped by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

This book was thoughtful, clear, and concise. It’s told in a tone and style that it’s easy to read and understand, the amount of skill that Jason Reynolds shows with the way he wrote this book is outstanding. Stamped traces the history of racism and the many political, literary, and philosophical narratives that have been used to justify it. Framed through thoughts of segregationists, assimilationists, and antiracists throughout history.

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

This is a powerful book that’s part essays and part memoir. It talks about the race issue in America in a way that it’s sobering and it does it through excellent writing. In the first essay, Balwin talks about the relationship between Black people and White people and racial oppression, but the second essays is the most powerful one in this book, for the way it talks about different religions and the link between religion, power, race and racism.

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay

This is a very hard book to read, but it is so powerful, honest and raw. This is a collection of essays but it’s also part memoir about Roxane Gay’s relationship with her body, her weight and with food. The essays go from criticism for tv shows about weight lost to very personal essays about the way rape affected Gay’s relationship with her body. One of the strongest parts of this book is the way it talks about her experience as a fat women in a world not built for her.

Bad Feminism by Roxane Gay

This collection of essays is thought-provoking, accesible and sincere. This is a book that highlights that just like no one is perfect, no movement is perfect either. Gay talks about culture, gender and politics, and while she offears thoughtful critisims of different aspects of society, she is also not afraid to recognize her own flaws and contradictions. At the end the message of this book is hopeful.

Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identidy, Love and So Much More by Janet Mock

This memoir is incredibly thought-provoking, because Mock doesn’t hold back, she is achingly honest and that makes her story and what she has to say so compelling.  Mock talks about being multicultural, trans and poor, she talks about poverty and prostitution, about her priviliges for “passing” as a cis woman, about what’s consider to be the ‘right’ kind of trans women and why that needs to end.  This book is insighful and moving, as well as beautifully written

The Body is not an Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor

This is an incredibly thought-provoking book that proposes a criticism of the beauty standars and the hurtful ideas about bodies that society, the market and the media portrait and perpetute. It’s insigful, fascinating and eye opening. And what makes it truly special is that it talks about the body and body positivity not only thinking about weight, but taking into account race, disability, sexuality, gender and more intersecting types of bodies. 

White Rage by Carol Anderson

White rage is defenitely not an easy read, it’s frustrating, infuriating and disheartening, but it’s such an important book. Carol Anderson proposes that “White rage is not about visible violence, but rather it works its way through the courts, the legislatures, and a range of government bureaucracies.The trigger for white rage, inevitably, is black advancement.” and then she goes on to show how white rage has manifested throughout U.S. history.

So You want to Talk about Race by Ojeoma Oluo

This book is though-provoking, easy to understand and useful. Ijeoma Oluo explores the complex reality of today’s racial landscap and covers so many topics in a concise, straightforward and very smart way, from white privilege, police brutality, systemic discrimination to the Black Lives Matter movement. But more importantly she offers clear ways to contribute to the dismantling of the racial divide.

Have you read any of these books? what nonfiction books by black authros would you recommend?

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My Favorite 2020 Releases by Latinx Authors

Hi everyone! Latinx Heritage Month is almost over, which means my posts in celebration of it are also coming to an end. I talk about and highlight books by Latinx authors all year round, but during this month I have talked only about them, and I’m very proud of the content that I have put out. If you want to see the other posts that I have written for Latinx Heritage Month 2020, you can check them out HERE.

Today’s post is about my favorite 2020 releases by Latinx authors. I had 20 books to choose from, so I decided to do this a top 5, and they are ranked, so this list starts with my absolute favorite. It was hard to choose, but I’m happy with my selection!

1. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-García

I loved everything about this book, the writing captured me from the very beginning, I was so invested in the story, and I connected to the main character. The atmosphere and setting were perfectly creepy, the plot was so intriguing, and it kept me guessing, and the villains are so easy to hate, I had a strong negative reaction towards them. I also enjoyed the way Silvia Moreno-García included important discussions about sexism, colonialism, and eugenics. And the ending was so satisfying. (REVIEW)

2. Miss Meteor by Anna-Marie McLemore and Tehlor Kay Mejia

This book took me by surprise, and I don’t even know why since I loved previous books by both of these authors. This book is so heartwarming, I was invested in the friends to lovers romances, which were adorable, and I loved the siblings’ relationship in this book, the Quintanilla sisters own my heart. To me, this was a very magical story about two characters learning to be true to themselves, and I fell completely in love with it. (REVIEW)

3. Lobizona by Romina Garber

I have been waiting for this story for a long time. Fantasy is my favorite genre, I love reading fantasy books, and I’m so happy to finally have a book that contains so many of the fantasy elements that I love but it’s full of Latinx characters and it’s completely unapologetically about the inclusion of Argentinian culture and the Spanish language. This book delivers Argentinian werewolves and witches, a magical school, a magical sport based on soccer, a traditional Argentinian drink with magical properties and so much more. This story just made my heart so happy. (REVIEW)

4. Blazewrath Games by Amparo Ortiz

Continuing with the trend of books that made me happy, this year we got a book by a Latinx author that includes dragons (!!), and I couldn’t be more excited. This book was fun and entertaining. There’s a sport that involves dragons, which was so cool, I was invested in team Puerto Rico, and I suffered during all their matches. The world-building was incredible, all the lore around the dragons was fascinating, the history of the Blazewrath Games was so expansive, and I’m in awe of the amazing job that Amparo Ortiz did with all that. (REVIEW)

5. You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria

As someone who grew up watching telenovelas, this book felt like home and it made me nostalgic. I loved that this included behind the scenes from the show that they were recording, I found all of that so interesting. But my favorite part was obviously the romance in this book, it’s so rare for me to like both of the main characters in a book equally, but Jasmine and Ashton are both amazing and it was so easy to root for them as a couple, they had so much chemistry and a very strong emotional connection.(REVIEW)

Have you read these books and did you enjoy them? What are some of your favorite 2020 releases?
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7 Books Set in Latin America

Hi everyone! Today, I have another post to celebrate Latinx Heritage Month!! As I have mentioned before, I’m one of the hosts of the Latinx Book Bingo and this year, one of the prompts of the bingo is to read a book set in Latin America, which inspired me to make a whole post talking about some of my favorite books by Latinx authors that are set in a Latin American country.

If you want to see the other posts that I have written for Latinx Heritage Month 2020, you can check them out HERE.

Without further ado, here are the books:

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Goodreads | Amazon

🌼This book follows a young woman and the Mayan god of death as they embark on a quest, where they face all kinds of mythological creatures and deities, in order to save their lives.

🌼It’s set in 1920’s Mexico and the mix of the mythological elements and the ‘modernity’ of the Jazz Age worked well and gave this story an even more unique touch.

🌼The Mayan mythology was captivating and lush, and since it’s a mythology that it’s not often used in fantasy books, this book was full of gods and mythical creatures that felt very new and unique. Plus, the writing style makes it feel like reading a myth or fairytale.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno- Garcia

Goodreads | Amazon

🌼This book follows Noemí as she goes to a remote town after her cousin writes asking for help because her husband and his family are trying to poison her and, once there, she has to stay in an old, creepy house while she figures out what’s going on.

🌼It’s set in Mexico in the 1950’s and it explores sexism, colonialism, and eugenics since the main character encounters people who believe that they are superior because of their gender, nationality, ethnicity and that they shouldn’t mix with people of “inferior” genetics.

🌼The creepy atmosphere and the suspense make this book unputdownable. It also helps that, the real villains of the story are manipulative, abusive, disgusting men that you could find anywhere in the world and anytime in history and that’s what makes them so easy to hate.

Category Five by Ann Dávila Cardinal

Goodreads | Amazon

🌼Category Five is a quick and entertaining read set in Puerto Rico about teenagers who get involved with a supernatural mystery.

🌼The mystery, which revolves around ghosts, is very intriguing and what makes it more interesting is the fact that it involves the history of Puerto Rico and, because of that there are a lot of discussion about colonization in this book.

🌼The author does a great job of integrating what has happened in Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria- especially the abandonment of Puerto Rico by the U.S. government – to the book.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Goodreads | Amazon

🌼This book follows two sisters who didn’t know the other existed until their father dies in a plane crash. Suddenly they have to decide what this new sister means to them and what will it take to keep their dreams alive.

🌼 Part of this book is set in the Dominican Republic where one of the main characters lives and the other part takes place in New York. But for the most part, it is set in the Dominican Republic and it addresses poverty and gender on the Island.

🌼 This is a very emotional book full of complex characters, beautiful writing, and Dominican culture.

Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika & Maritza Moulite

Goodreads | Amazon

🌼This book follows Alaine, who – after a school presentation goes very wrong- finds herself suspended, shipped off to Haiti, working in her aunt’s nonprofit, dealing with complicated family dynamics and writing the report of a lifetime.

🌼 Most of this book is set in Haiti and we get to see the country through the eyes of Alaine, the daughter of Haitian immigrants. The book shows not only the capital, Port-au-Prince, but also some towns and areas close by.

🌼This book is told in diary entries, tweets and emails, which makes it a very quick and unique read. It includes a lot of different storylines revolving around complicated family relationships and dynamics, and there’s a heartbreaking storyline about illness.

Like Water for Chocholate by Laura Esquivel

Goodreads | Amazon

🌼This book follows Tita, who isn’t allowed to marry because she has to look after her mother until she dies. But Tita and Pedro fall in love, so he marries her sister to stay close to her, and Tita and Pedro are forced to circle each other in unconsummated passion. 

🌼 Set in Mexico mostly during different time periods but mainly in the time of the Mexican Revolution.

🌼This book has a unique structure, it integrates magical aspects – especially around food – in a very organic and captivating way, it’s incredibly atmospheric and it includes very complicated and gripping relationships between the characters.

News of a Kidnapping by Gabriel García Márquez

Goodreads | Amazon

🌼This book chronicles the 1990 kidnappings of ten Colombian men and women–all journalists but one–by the Medellín drug boss Pablo Escobar. The carefully orchestrated abductions were Escobar’s attempt to extort from the government its assurance that he, and other narcotics traffickers, would not be extradited to the United States if they were to surrender

🌼 This is a fascinating and gripping account of real events and it’s incredibly well written. Garcia Marquez had access to the testimonies and accounts of a lot of important people in Colombia to write this book and it’s interesting to get to an inside look at what happened during this very well-known moment in Colombia’s history.

Have you read books in Latin America? What’s your favorite book set in LATAM?
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6 Amazing Middle Grade Books by Latinx Authors

Hi everyone! Today I have another post to celebrate Latinx Heritage Month, this time is a recommendation list of some middle grade books by Latinx authors that I LOVE! I didn’t use to read middle grade but last year started to give them a chance and I discover that middle grade books are actually comforting and hopeful and exactly what I need sometimes. Since then I have read a few of them mostly by Latinx authors and I decided to share some of my favorites!

Without further ado, here are my recommendations:

Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez

This is my favorite middle grade, the story is magical and hilarious and so, so special. Sal and Gabi’s voices are captivating and fun. I loved the Cuban rep and the representation of non-traditional families. It also has very interesting Sci-fi elements that included making holes in reality and reaching other universes. Beyond that, the main strength of the book is the touching and honest way in which Carlos Hernandez addresses a child’s experience with grief. While it’s overall a very hopeful, funny book, it’s also a little bit heartbreaking. (Amazon)

Ghost Squad by Claribel Ortega

This middle grade fantasy is inspired by Dominican folklore and it includes ghosts, magic, a lovely friendship between two wonderful girls, a cat, a conspiracy, accidentally freeing evil spirits, fun family dynamics, and nice and helpful adults that actually listen to kids. It also deals with grief in a very interesting way because it’s tied to the Dominican folklore. I love how unapologetically Latinx this book is from the food to the music to the chanclas and the folklore. (Amazon)

A Dash of Trouble by Anna Merino

This book has a very interesting concept in which magic is performed through baking, so this Mexican- American family owns a bakery and does spells there. Part of this book takes place during the Día de los Muertos which was really cool, and the plot revolves around a girl trying to do spells in secret that don’t go according to plan. The best part about this book is the complicated but loving relationship between sisters. (Amazon)

Dactyl Hill Squad by Daniel José Older

This book has one of the most unique and weirder premises I have encounter, it’s an alternative history where there are Dinasours in New York during the Civil War. It’s the perfect set up to address serious topics like racism and slavery in a middle grade book while following Afro-Latinx and Black kids on an adventure. This book has amazing writing, lovable characters, and cool dinosaurs! (Amazon)

Land of the Cranes by Aida Salazar

This book tells a powerful and heartbreaking story of a Mexican girl living in the States, and it addresses the nightmare that thousands of people are currently living in the United States thanks to the zero-tolerance policies and mass deportations of the current government. The poetry in the book is so evocative and the fact that it’s a little girl, who doesn’t entirely understand what’s happening, the one that tells the story makes it even more effective in transmitting how devastating the whole situation is. This book is heartbreaking in a way that only fantastic books can be. (Amazon + Review)

The Dream Weaver by Reina Luz Alegre

A very sweet middle grade that deals with hard subjects like grief and complicated family dynamics. Despite all that, this book tells such a hopeful and happy story about giving yourself time to figure out your dreams, fighting for them but also allowing them to change with time. One of the strengths of this book is the discussion of now feeling Latinx enough thanks to not speaking the language, not eating the “right” food all the time, and other things like that. This book includes a bowling team, sleepovers, friendships, a strong sibling relationship, and a lovable grandfather. (Amazon)

Are you a fan of middle grade books? Which ones would you recommend?
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It’s Not Magical Realism: Fantasy Books by Latinx Authors

Hi everyone! Today I have another post to celebrate Latinx Heritage Month and it’s a very exciting post because fantasy is one of my favorite genres and I have some recommendations if you want to read fantasy books by Latinx authors.

If you are wondering why this post includes “It’s not Magical Realism” in the title, it’s because oftentimes fantasy books by Latinx authors are label as magical realism, especially if they are paranormal or urban fantasy and it’s a big source of annoyance for Latinx authors and readers. Not everything that Latinx authors write and that includes magical elements in it should be pigeonholed as magical realism. Latinx and magical realism are not synonyms. This post is not about this discussion tho, so if you want to learn more a quick google search will help you out with that!

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Goodreads | Amazon

  • This book follows a young woman and the Mayan god of death as they embarque on a quest, where they face all kinds of mythological creatures ande deities, in order to save their lives.

    • The writing makes it feel like reading a myth or fairytale, it was so engaging.

    • The Mayan mythology was captivating and lush, and since it’s a mythology that it’s not often used in fantasy books, this book was full of gods and mythical creatures that felt very new and unique.

    • It’s set in 1920’s Mexico and the mix of the mythological elements and the ‘modernity’ of the Jazz Age worked well and gave this story an even more unique touch.

Nocturna by Maya Motayne

Goodreads | Amazon

  • This book follows a thief with powerful magical abilities and a prince running from his past, who inadvertently free an evil force and then have to try to capture it again before it destroys everything.

  • The most magical thing about this book is the way it embraces Latinx culture and the way it uses Spanish as the language of magic in this world.

  • It addresses colonialism and slavery through the history of this fantasy world in a very organically and subtle way.

We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Goodreads | Amazon

  • This story follows a young women, who has trained all her life to be a primera, a wife who runs her husband’s household. But when a rebel group treatens to expose her biggest secret, she is forced to start working for them. All this while having to live with the enemy, her husband’s other wife, the Segunda, in charge of giving him children.

  • This books has two beautifully complex main characters, a forbidden sapphic love story, fascinating mythology, an infuriating world and a flawed and complicated rebelious group.

    • The strengh of this book lays in the way it addresses immigration, privilege, poverty and opression, because it manages to evoke so many emotions and be incredibly thought-provoking, it’s brilliantly done.

Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria

Goodreads | Amazon

  • This book follows Cassa, the orphaned daughter of rebels, who is determined to fight back against the high council to do it she must go on a heist and her only allies are no-nonsense Alys, easygoing Evander, and perpetually underestimated Newt.

  • This book has five main characters, who are queer, poc or struggling with mental illness and trauma. They all have distintive voices and personalies and the author seamlessly integrates the different aspects of the characters identities to the story.

  • This book is full of twists and turns and a fast pace that keeps the book entertaining and engaging.

Labyrinth Lost + Bruja Born by Zoraida Cordova

Goodreads | Amazon

  • Each book in this series follows one of the Mortiz sisters, who are brujas and who always end up getting into trouble when their spells backfire.

  • This series includes a variaty of magical beings like brujas, werewolves, vampires, fairies, zombies and so much more. All of them as well as a lot of the mythology in this book are steeped in Latin American culture and mythology. And that’s one of the main things that’s wonderful about this book: how unapologetically Latinx it is.

Each of Us a Desert by Mark Oshiro

  • This book tells the story of Xochital, a girl who has been the Cuentista of her community, she takes the stories involving secrets, lies and deceit that produce feelings like guilt and she gives them back to the land so people can be forgiven by their god. If this process doesn’t take place, the stories manifest themselves as Pesadillas – monsters out of nightmares.

    • Each of Us a Desert is a quiet fantasy book about the role of stories in our lives and in our communities and the link between the stories we are told and the things we believe in and have faith in. This is a character-driven book with a loose plot but with strong thematic elements.

Incendiary by Zoraida Cordova

  • This book follows Renata, who thanks to her unique magical power was kidnapped and forced to work for the King only to escape and join the rebels. But when the commander of her unit is taken captive, Renata has to return to the palace under cover and complete his top secret mission.

    • One of the stronger aspects of this story is that it feels like like something bad is about to happen at any moment because Renata is living in the midst of enemies and there are so many secrets and interests at play.

      • Incendiary has an intricate magic system, vivid characters, twist and turns that will keep you at the edge of your sit and an ending that will leave you wanting more

Have you read any of these books? Are any of them on your tbr? What Fantasy book by Latinx authors have you enjoyed?
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170 Book Recommendations for the Latinx Book Bingo | Latinx Heritage Month 2020

Latinx book bingo

Hi everyone! Today I bring you a post that I have put a lot of work into and that I hope you find useful. I’m excited to share recommendations for the Latinx Book Bingo 2020, which I’m co-hosting again this year and it’s taking place from September 15th to October 15th!

Before getting into the recs, here are some things you should know:

  • All the books included on this list are written by Latinx authors
  • I haven’t read every book on this list, but I tried to read #ownvoices reviews to make sure the Latinx rep was good. Nonetheless, if you know the rep in one of the books is not good, please let me know!
  • Besides the title and author, I added information like the genre of the books and the kind of rep they have, so you could know if it works for more than one prompt in the bingo board.
  • Click on the title and it will take you to the Goodreads page for the book.
  • The amazon links in this post are affiliate links, so if you use it I may get a small commission, that doesn’t affect the price of your book but it helps me out and it compensates the work I put into this list! 
  • If you are not buying a book, but would like to support me or compensate the work I put into this list (it’s not necessary or expected, but if you want to), you could buy me a Ko-fi
  • If you can’t find a book that interests you and fits one of the categories on this list and need more options, here are the lists I made for the bingo the past two years: 90 Book Recommendations for the Latinx Book Bingo + 100 Book Recommendations for the Latinx Book Bingo. Maybe you’ll find what you’re looking for there!

With that out of the way, here are the recommendations:

IMG_20200813_205014

Afro-Latinx Main Character 

Note: all these books are by Afro-Latinx authors!

Lighthearted story

Set in/main character from LATAM 

Any book by Latinx Author

Backlist Title

Recommended by Latinx Reader (My recs!)

Note: my recs last year were all YA, so this year I’m recommending Adult and Middle Grade books. If you want some YA recs, you can check out last year’s post. 

Non-Fiction

On Cover Representation

Awards Winning

Note: for this prompt, if a book was shortlisted for an awards it counts 

Group Book

2020 release

Queer rep

Immigrant Story

Intersectional Main Character

Cover with Latinx Flag Colors

Note: These are not all the flags!! But like you can see below there are a lot of flags that share the same colors, so for this post I chose the flags that fit into 3 big groups. You can choose any of the Latinx flags even if they are not included in this post! 

flags 1

flags 2

Flags 3

I hope this post is useful to everyone participating in the Latinx Book Bingo or to anyone who wants to read more books by Latinx authors!
Are you participating in the Latinx Book Bingo? Have you picked the books for your tbr?
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6 Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books by Asian Authors

Hi everyone! Since May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, I wanted to highlight some of my favorite books by Asian authors. I already published a post with some of my favorite Romance Books by Asian Authors and now I want to talk about my favorite Sci-Fi and Fantasy books. Without further ado, here they are:

Mirage by Somaiya Daud

Mirage is the story of a girl who is taken to the royal palace to be the body double of a hated Princess 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.

This book is perfect for fans of slow character driven stories set in a rich and unique worlds inspired by non-western cultures. This book in particular is Morrocan-inspired and it provides a thought-provoking message about the importance of culture and traditions, especially for communities that have had a lot taken from them due to colonialism and persecution. This book is also great for fans of captivating and complex female characters with complicated relationships with each other.

Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri

Empire of Sand is a Mughal India-inspired fantasy about a nobleman’s daughter with forbidden magic in her blood, who needs to resist the cruel agenda of an empire built on the dreams of enslaved gods.

This book has a fascinating magic system and mythological creatures; a villain that’s cruel, mannipulative and conniving; two strong and resilient main characters; a slow-burn love story that’s so touching and beautiful that I get emotional everytime I think about it; and amazing writing that kept me gripped the entire time. If any of those things sound interesting to you, I would encourage you to pick up this book because you won’t regret it!

Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee

Not Your Sidekick is about a girl who’s the daughter of superheroes but ends up getting an internship with a supervillain, which takes a dangerous turn when she uncovers a plot larger than heroes and villains altogether.

This book is set in an interesting post-apocalyptic world and it includes amazing conversations about gender and sexuality, while also showing the behind the scenes of being a superhero like hilarious problems with a superhero’s suit and the media spectacule surrounding their lives. If you want a Sci-Fi book with villains that are not so evil and heroes that are not so good, this is for you!

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

The Bone Witch is about a girl who accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead and then she has to leave her home and go with an older bone witch to another land for training. Once there she discovers that dark forces are approaching and she has a role to play.

If you like slow character driven stories that have little plot, but that include a fascinating world and magic system, I think you’ll like this one! One of my favorite parts of this book is that it’s told in two timelines, which works really well fot the story because there’s glimpses of where the characters are going to end up, but you don’t know how they get there and it becomes this very intriguing element of the story. If that sounds like something that you would enjoy, I would recommend that you check this book out.

A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna

A Sparl of White Fire is about a princess in hiding, who pretends to be a servant until it’s time to claim her stake in the political landscape when she publicly wins a contest for the most powerful warship in existence to help her brother win his crown back.

TThis book takes place in a universe full of gods and goddesses from Indian lore, which gives a unique and intereting setting to the story. It has political intrigue, sentient spaceships, floating cities, broken and complicated relationships, tension and heartbreak. This book has one of the most shocking endings I have read, it will litetally blow you mind. If any of that sounds like something you’d like, give this book a chance!

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

An ember in the Ashes is a Roman-inspired fantasy about a girl and boy, whose destinies get intertwined when she infiltrates the military school where he is a student to get information for the rebels who will help her free her brother in exchange.

If you like really intense and nerve wracking reads, where you spend the entire time worried about the characters, this is probably a book you’ll enjoy. This book has an interesting and refreshing setting, captivating main characters and intriguing villains. The writing is amazing and it’s very fast-paced. If you prefer action packed books, this may be the book for you.

What SFF books by asian authors would you recommend? Have you read any of the books I mentioned? Are you planning on reading any of them?

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10 Romance Books by Asian Authors

Hi everyone! I think it’s pretty obvious for anyone that follows this blog that I read a lot of romance books, I’m a huge fan of the genre and I have been reading it for years. As I have mentioned before, it took me a long time to realize that I was only reading romance books by white authors and while I love a lot of those stories, I’m commited to reading diversely and that’s why in the last couple of years I have been trying to read more romance books by women of color.

Since May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and since I have read quite a few romance books by Asian authors, I thought it was a good idea to share some of my favorite ones with you. I have done this before with romance books by Latinx authors & romance books by Black authors, so check those posts out, if you want some recommendations!

*You can click the book titles throughout the post to go to the Goodreads page*

The Modern Love Series + A Gentleman in the Street by Alisha Rai

The Modern Love series addresses the role that social media plays in romantic relationships in today’s society, while centering diverse characters and sensitive subjects. The interesting concept, the great writing and the diversity are definitely the main reasons I like this series. While I enjoyed the second book a lot more than the first, I still think both are worth the read.

The first book, The Right Swipe, revolves around two rival dating app creators who find themselves at odds in the boardroom but in sync in the bedroom. This book has a Black heroine and a Samoan hero. The second book, Girl Gone Viral, is about a tweet that goes viral and shoves a camera-shy ex-model into the spotlight and into the arms of the bodyguard she has been pining for. This book includes a thai-american plus sized heroine with anxiety and an Sikh hero dealing with his PTSD.

Now when it comes to A Gentleman in the Street, my favorite thing about it is how sex positive and feminist it is, and the fact that it is incredibly steamy doesn’t hurt either. This book is about a man and a woman who have known each other for years and have been pretending they don’t like each other, but a single touch is all it takes for their simmering need to explode. This book includes a Japanese heroine.

Graham Delicacies + Soft on Soft by Mina Waheed

These two books where first release by the author Em Ali, but due to personal reasons they were released again under the pseudonym Mina Waheed. These books are fluffy, soft and angst-free romances, which is the main reasons I recommend them. If you are looking for cure, light queer romances these ones are for you!

Soft on Soft is a novella about a makeup artist that falls in love with a famous model. Both of the main characters in this book are queer, fat, women of color. This book doesn’t include sexually explicit content.

Graham’s Delicacies is a collection of three queer love stories set in one bakery. It includes a romance between a woman and a non-binry character, an m/m romance and a romance between a man and a non binary character.

If The Dress Fits by Carla de Guzman

There was a time when I would not shut up about this book, I love this and I need to re-read it soon. If the Dress Fits is set in the Philippines and it has an entire cast of Filipino characters. The main character is fat and and she has a very positive relationship with her weight. This is a best friends to lovers romance and it also inlcudes the fake dating trope, which it’s the best combination of tropes in my opinion.

A swoon-worthy romance with my favorite tropes, an insightful and vibrant depiction of the Philippines and fantastic #ownvoices representation are my favorite things about this book and the reasons I recommend it.

The Kiss Quotient Series by Helen Hoang

I’m a huge fan of The Kiss Quotient, I even got my IRL friends to read it and they loved it too. While I didn’t enjoy the second book quite as much, I still liked it. The diversity, the writing, the cute and steamy romances are the reasons I recommend this series.

The Kiss Quotient is about an Autistic woman who hires a male escort to teach her about sex and they end up falling in love. This book includes a very soft Vietnamese/Swedish hero, a successful and caring heroine and very steamy scenes! The Autistic rep is #ownvoices.

The Test Bride is about an Autistic man, whose mother wants to see married but thinks it won’t happen without her help, so she gets a mail-order bride from Vietnam and the son and the woman fall in love. This book inlcudes #ownvoices Vietnamese and Autistic rep.

Beginner’s Guide + Feels like Summer by Six de los Reyes

Both of theses books are set in the Philippines and they have a cast of Filipino characters. The representation is #ownvoices.

Beginner’s Guide is about a woman who is a scientist and who creates a methodology to find her perfect partner and she decides to test it with the most  unsuitable candidate and ends up falling for him. If you like romances where opposites attract and where people fall in love with someone that they didn’t expect, I would recommend this one!

Feels like Summer is about a woman who doesn’t want a relationship and a man who’s getting over a breakup, so they decide to casually date for 3 months and be done, but things change along the way. If you like romances with soft heroes and a great group of friends, I think you would enjoy this book.

What romance books by Asian authors would you recommend? Have you read any of the books I mentioned? Do you want to read any of them?

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