Latinx Heritage Month has come to an end, so it’s time to share my thoughts on the 10 books I read for Latinx Book Bingo. I was hoping to read 16 books, one for each prompt from the bingo, but unfortunately, I had a work trip to a remote rural area in Colombia for an entire week right in the middle of Latinx Heritage Month and that slowed down my reading. Still, I’m really happy with the books I managed to read.
Witchlings by Claribel Ortega (4.5 stars): My favorite book out of all the ones I read for the book bingo. This was such a sweet book, I don’t really read Middle Grade anymore so I wasn’t expecting to love this as much as I did. The characters in this were so charming, the friendship that developed between the three main characters, who are the most unlikely allies ever, was so sweet, the writing is excellent, the worldbuilding intricate but easy to understand, and I loved the use of Spanish in the magic.
The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-García (4 stars): This book is a character-driven, romance-focused story with light fantasy elements and I overall really enjoyed it. It was told from three points of view and there was a bit of a love square that gets very angsty and complicated throughout the book.
I really didn’t like the main character, Nina, for the first half, I thought she was childish and annoying and that affected my enjoyment of the beginning of this book. Nonetheless, I ended up appreciating her character development and how much she grew by the end of the book. Hector was my favorite point-of-view character from the very beginning, even when his motives were not the best at the start of the book, it was still easy to root for him. Also, despite the fact that I didn’t like Nina at first, I enjoyed seeing their relationship from the very beginning and by the end I really wanted them to have a happy ending together. The last pov character was Valeria and she was the worst in the best possible way. She was spiteful, manipulative and mean but I found her to be such an interesting character.
Burn Down, Rise Up by Vincent Tirado (4 stars): Really glad that our group book was this good. This book has the main character, Raquel, that feels like an authentic teenage girl who is trying to make the best decisions she can under the circumstances. It has a really cute sapphic romance and while at the end, the relationship did progress a bit too fast for my taste, I liked seeing how both characters were there for each other. I also really liked the friendship between Raquel and her best friend, Aaron, and how supportive and understanding Aaron was.
I appreciated how many different horror elements this included and how well it incorporated them: a creepy game, a scary alternative dimension, zombies, giant insects, and a mysterious bad guy. I also really liked the connection between those horror elements and the history of the Bronx, gentrification, and racism. This book included some thought-provoking social commentary. I’ll admit that while the connection to historic events was hinted at the beginning, the final reveal of that connection was a bit info-dumpy. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed the way all the elements came together
The Houseguest and Other Stories by Amparo Davila (4.5 stars): The stories in this collection are all disturbing and fascinating. They convey feelings of dread and desperation very well. I’m not usually someone that enjoys vague or open-ended stories, but I really liked the way there are no answers to what was happening in this story once you get to the end, often there was no way of knowing if things were real or not, if the narrators were reliable or not, and that added to the strength of the stories.
Amor, Actually (4 stars): I overall liked this, nonetheless, as with all short story collections, there are some stories that are a lot better than others. I appreciated that there was representation of a lot of different types of couples from m/f to f/f and m/m/f, and also that the levels of steam varied from one story to the next. My favorite stories were by Adriana Herrera, Zoey Castile, and Alexis Daria.
On The Hustle by Adriana Herrera (4 stars): At first, I was having a little of trouble understanding why she liked him even when he was kind of shitty for 3 years. But I saw throughout the book how they fell in love and I thought it was realistic, so I could let go of the issue I had with it. Besides, they had great chemistry, they cared and were there for each other, and there were some very good steamy scenes. As always with Adriana Herrera, the writing was good and the premise was entertaining.
Sun of a Beach by Mia Sosa (3 stars): This had so much potential, but the guy spent the whole novella being an ass and I could understand what made the main character go from disliking him to liking him. Also, the switch in their relationship happened too quickly to be believable and in the end, everything was solved too quickly. Nonetheless, since this was so short, the main character was compelling and there were some good steamy scenes, this didn’t end up being that bad.
Corazón by Yesika Salgado (4 stars): Like every poetry collection, some poems resonated with me and some didn’t, but overall, the vast majority of them did. This collection addresses body positivity and self-love, family, heartbreak, alcoholism and abusive relationships, and so much more. Yesika Salgado’s poems are powerful, evoking, and unapologetic. The use of Spanish adds a captivating layer to the reading experience.
Tesoro by Yesika Salgado (4 stars): while some poems resonated with me more than others, overall I enjoyed this. This collection focused on family, Yesika Salgado’s upbringing, her heritage, being Latinx, and being a fat brown woman. Just like Corazón, it’s powerful and unapologetic.