Book Review: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Blood and Bone

Book: Children of Blood and Bone

Author: Tomi Adeyemi

Publisher: Henry Holt Books for Young Readers

Release date: 2018

Pages: 525

Genre: YA Fantasy

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good. Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.

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Children of Blood and Bone is a captivating read. The world and magic system are so well crafted. The descriptions and hystory of this world, as well as the myths surrounding the magic, the Orishas and the Divîners make this story fascinating and unique. This is definitely an action packed book, the characters go in a long and dangerous journey where so many things happen and thanks to that we get to see so much of this world and understand it so much better.

The characters  are so richly constructed and developed and they quickly became my favorite thing about the book. I love the fact that we get a book with a all black cast of characters set in a West African inspired world.

  • Amari is now one of my new favorite characters, she starts like this naive princess but her character development was incredible. She is defenitely the most compelling character in the story to me, she is the voice of reason and that makes her relatable.
  • Zélie is a really complex main character, her anger and her sadness and the way those feelings motivated her actions and decisions make her feel so real.
  • It took me a little time to like Inan, but there’s so many layers to him that made him a really interesting and intriguing character that by the end I couldn’t help but to appreciate him as a character.
  • The one character that could have used a bit more development, even if I still liked him, was Tzain. We don’t get to know much about who he is beyond the fact  that he is his sister’s protector.

I loved the fact that the story focuses on the sibling relationships: Amari & Inan and Zélie & Tzain. Each one of them loves their ssibling, but there’s things that took place in the past that complicate those relationships and add an intricate element to the story. This book is angsty, dramatic and emotional and it basically gave me all the feelings. Zélie and Inan relationship while a bit insta-love-y grows to be deep, complex, and full of longing, betrayal, sadness, anger and love.

An aspect of this book that I found very fascinating was the way in which the characters, especially Zélie and Inan, constantly doubted what was best for their people: should magic come back or not, who should have power, who should have magic, how to make sure magic was misused and how to bring peace to Orisha instead of war. It is refreshing to see characters in a fantasy book that aren’t always sure of what to do and that don’t think they are right all the time. And as a reader, it was interesting to find myself understanding some of the fears of both Zélie and Inan, even if they were in different sides.    

Overall, I think Children of Blood and Bone was definitely worth the hype and if you are a fan of YA Fantasy, I totally recommend you give this one a chance.

Rating: 5 stars

Have you read this book? Did you enjoy it? What African inspired fantasy book would you recommend? 

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Queer Lit Readathon TBR

I’m really excited to be participating in Queer Lit Readathon, which will take place from December 2nd to December 8th. This is an ambitious tbr considering I have a lot of school work and things to do before leaving for a trip on December 15. Also I’m participating in 2 other readathons in December, so I’m gonna be busy!

Anyway, here’s the bingo board for the Queer Lit Readathon with all the challenges:

Queer Lit Bingo

I’m reading 4 books for this readathon and I’m using each book to fill more than one square because they fit several squares and I don’t think I’ll be able to read more than 4 books that week, so here’s my tbr:

 

Ace Spectrum Main Character/ Historical Fiction:  The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats & Piracy by Mackenzi Lee 

Felicity Montague must use all her womanly wits and wiles to achieve her dreams of becoming a doctor—even if she has to scheme her way across Europe to do it. 

This is one of my most anticipated releases of 2018 and this is the perfect opportunity to finally get to it! I really enjoy the first book in this series, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, and I can’t wait to know what happens next in Felicity’s story.

New to Me Author/ Author of Color: They Both Die at The End by Adam Silvera 

On September 5, Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio get a call letting them know they’re going to die that day, then they meet through an app called the Last Friend for a last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day.

This book had been in my tbr in more than one occasion this year and I haven’t gotten to it, but this is finally the time when I read it, that way I won’t have to say that I haven’t read any Adam Silvera books ever again.

Trans Spectrum Main Character/ #ownvoices: If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo 

Amanda, a trans girl,  just moved to a new town and started at a new high school after a bad experience with bullying and transphobia. In the new school, she starts dating a great guy and has a ton of friends, but she isn’t sure if she should tell people about being trans or not.

This books has a trans main character, a trans writer and a trans model on the cover, which is amazing! I have read a short story by this author and loved it, so I’m hoping I’ll feel the same way about her book.

5 Stars Prediction: What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

This is the story of  Arthur and Ben, who meet-cute at the post office, and what the universe has in store for them. 

Another one of my anticipated releases of 2018, I have really high hopes for this which makes me a bit nervous to read it, but I’m still excited. Also, I’m taking no chances, I will have read an Adam Silvera book by the end of 2018.

 Are you participating in the Queer Lit Readathon? What are you reading? Have you read any of these books? Did you like them?

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9 Books with Trans Main Characters

9 books with trans main characters

9 Books Monday is a feature here on the blog, where I talk about 9 books that have positive representation for a minority/marginalized group. In the past, I have done posts about 9 book with: bisexual female main characterslatinx mcblack mcmuslim mc, lesbian mc and asian mc.

This time I’m doing 9 books with Trans Main Characters:

4 Books I Read and Loved

When the Moon was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore : This is a beautifully written magical realism book, where one of the main charcters of the story, Samir, is a bacha posh: a child assigned female at birth selected to live as a boy until puberty. But it turns out Sam is not “living as a boy,” he is a boy. Beside the trans rep, there’s also pakistani rep and latinx rep (#ownvoices).

Coffee Boy by Austin ChantThis is an #ownvoices novella about a trans boy who has a crush on a campaign strategist, who happens to be a bisexual man, and who he meets while working in an internship for a politician. The story is cute and fun and it has steamy and explicit content.    

Redefining Realness by Janet MockThis is a non fiction book about the life of Janet Mock, a biracial trans woman that has worked as a writer, jornalist and TV host. The book starts when Mock is a child living in poverty and continues through her adolescence including a very detailed account of her transition and all the heartbreaking obstacules she faced, and ends when she is a successful writer. This books tells the honest and captivating story of an incredible woman.

Not your Villain by C.B. Lee This is the second book in a series but I’m pretty sure you could read it without reading the first one, since a lot of what happens in the first book is included in the beginning of this book. In Not Your Villain, the main character is Bells, a superhero that can shapeshift which helps him in his life as a trans guy. But then he became the country’s most-wanted villain after discovering a cover-up by the League of Heroes. This book is full of adventure and  fun and it has a diverse cast of characters.

5 Books on my TBR 

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo:  This book is about Amanda, a trans girl that just moved to a new town, starting at a new high school after a bad experience at her last one because of bullying and transphobia. In the new school everything is great, she is dating an amazing guy and has a ton of friends, but she isn’t sure if she should tell people about being trans or not. This books has a trans main character, a trans writer and a trans model on the cover.  Recently I read a short story by this author and loved it, so I ‘m hoping to read this book soon.

Dreadnought by April Daniels: This book is about Danny, she is trans, lesbian girl, who suddenly gets powers when Dreadnought (a superhero) dies in front of her. She immerses into this superhero world where she finds allies and enemies. This makes me think about Not Your Sidelick & Not Your Villain, which I love, and that makes me excited to read it. Also, I have heard nothing but great things about this one.

I Was Born for This by Alice Osmand: This has a main character that is a biracial (Indian and Italian) gay trans guy and he’s part of a famous boy band. The story unfolds when he unexpectedly mets a fangirl and they both end up having to face things in their lives. The other main character  is a Persian Muslim Hijabi who’s questioning her sexuality and I have heard there’s also really diverse side characters. I’m really excited to read this one, especially since I haven’t read any of Osmand’s books.

trans 2

Peter Darling by Austin Chant: This is a Peter Pan retelling. In this book, Peter Pan left Neverland to grow up and he had to resign himself to life as Wendy Darling. 10 years have passed and now Peter’s back in Neverland, everyone is grown up and he’s falling in love with Captain Hook.  It’s a short story, #ownvoices in terms of trans rep, and since reading Coffee Boy I have been meaning to read another book by this author.

The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein: I discovered this book recently, the author describes it as a biography of sorts and it’s about a trans woman that has suffered multiple traumas and that has a job helping others by cleaning up the fetid houses of the mentally ill, the hopeless and the murdered. That sounds so cool that I can’t wait to read it.

Books Releasing Soon  

I think it’s important to mention that I usually have a thrid category in my 9 Books Monday, where I pick books that are being realesed soon. Nonetheless, I couldn’t find books with trans main characters releasing in what’s left of 2018. I found out about Undertow, the second book to Darkling by Brooklyn Ray, which has a trans character as the love interest, and someone also told me that Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare has a trans character that has some chapters told from his point of view, but that’s it. It’s such a shame that there’s still so few realeses with trans main characters and I hope that by reading and promoting the ones that are already out, we get to have many more books with trans rep in the future. 

Have you read any of these books? did you enjoy them? Are you planning on reading any of them? Do you have recommendations for books with trans main characters? 

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Underrated LGBTQIA+ Books

Underrated LGBTQIA Books.jpg

 

 

Coffee Boy by Austin Chant – 960 rating on Goodreads
  • Representation: Transexual man mc (#ownvoices) & bisexual man li
  • Genre: New adult, romance
  • Why read it?: Short book with funny and witty banter, character development, thoughtful conversations about gender and sexual orientation & a great romance.
Secondhand Origin Story by  Lee Blauersouth – 24 ratings on goodreads
  • Representation: Black lesbian mc, lesbian mc, asexual mc, gender queer mc (#ownvoices).
  • Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
  • Why read it?: A character driven story set in a fascinating world full of superheroes. A group of teens that has to fight against a corrupt, racist and ableist system.
The Story of Lizzy and Darcy by Grace Watson – 97 ratings on Goodreads
  • Representation: Lesbian mc, bisexual mc, trans side character
  • Genre: Contemporary, Romance
  • Why read it?: Amazing Pride and Prejudice retelling, with the publishing industry as a background.
Future Leaders of Nowhere by Emily O’beirne – 298 ratings on Goodreads
  • Representation: Lesbian indian-australian mc, bisexual mc
  • Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
  • Why read it?: Character development and a really interesting premise: a competition that it’s a mix between a summer camp and a Model UN.

 

 

 These books are part of a series, but they can be read separetely and out of order.

Small Change by Roan Parrish – 539 ratings on Goodreads 
  • Representation: bisexual female mc
  • Genre: Romance, Contemporary
  • Why read it?: A story about a bisexual female tattoo artist that’s dating a guy, who is the sweetest, nicest love interest ever. It deals with gender and with the idea of a woman in a male dominated industry.
Invitations to the Blues by Roan Parrish – 431 ratings on Goodreads
  • Representation: gay mc, black gay mc
  • Genre: Romance, Contemporary
  • Why read it?: Complex characters, interesting discussions about race and mental health, and a really adorable love story.
Honorary Mentions 

These are 3 books that have a higher amount of ratings on Goodreads, but they still have less than 3000 ratings.  I feel that these books deserve to be read by a lot more people and that’s why I’m including them.

 

 

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera – 2989 ratings on Goodreads 
  • Representation: Latinx lesbian mc (#ownvoices)
  • Genre: Young Adult, Fiction
  • Why read it?: A main character with a captivating and honest voice, a lot of character development and important discussions about intersectional feminism, queerness  and safe spaces.
How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake – 1529 ratings on Goodreads 
  • Representation: bisexual mc, biracial lesbian li
  • Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
  • Why read it?: A really sweet romance and a raw, complicated mother/daughter relationship that it’s addressed with so much honesty.
Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee – 2798 ratings on Goodreads 
  • Representation:  bisexual and Chinese-Vietnamese mc (#ownvoices), lesbian li
  • Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
  • Why read it?: A cute book set in 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.
Have you read any of these books? Did you enjoy them? What underrated LGBTQ+ books do you reccomend?

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Book Review: The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

The Wedding Date 2

Title: The Wedding Date

Author: Jasmine Guillory

Publishing Date:  January 30th 2018

Published by:  Berkley

Genres: Adult, Romance

Pages: 224 pages

Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn’t normally do. But there’s something about Drew Nichols that’s too hard to resist.

On the eve of his ex’s wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend…

After Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles and his job as a pediatric surgeon, and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she’s the mayor’s chief of staff. Too bad they can’t stop thinking about the other… 

They’re just two high-powered professionals on a collision course toward the long distance dating disaster of the century–or closing the gap between what they think they need and what they truly want…

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The first half of The Wedding Date is full of cute, romantic and even some relatively steamy moments. The main character, Alexa, is smart, strong and driven and then the other main character, Drew, is really charming, at least in the first half of the book. Both characters have established careers that they are passionate about, which makes the story and the characters more compelling.

Something else that adds to the story is the fact that Alexa and Drew are an interracial couple, Alexa is black and this is #ownvoices representation, while Drew is white. Throughout the book, there are scenes where they have some interesting conversations about race, which adds depth to this story and make it more engaging. Also, this book does a very good job of showing Alexa’s insecurities and how society’s beauty standards  can affect someone body image.

The second half of this is where things go a bit south for me.  As I mentioned before,  the main character, Drew, is pretty charming thorughout the first half of this  and I even like him in the second half when he is with Alexa. Nonetheless, everytime Drew is with his best friend, Carlos, especially towards the end, he’s an asshole and a terrible friend, which takes away from the belief that he is a great guy for Alexa, because someone who is rude and inconsiderate towards their friends isn’t exactly good relationship material.

Another issue I have with this book is that the problems between Alexa and Drew in the second half are communication problems and they could have been solved easily. I think this is particulary frustrating because at the beginning of the book, Alexa and Drew are established as mature and intelligent characters, and so it was a bit unbelievable that they couldn’t have an honest and open conversation about their relationship. I understand that the fact that the relationship starts with fake dating makes them have doubts about it, but I also think that their inhability to communicate and talk drags out way too long.

Overall, this is a fun and cute read, especially at the beginning, and it deals with important subjects like race and body image in a very good way. Nonetheless, it loses some of its appeal by the end because both the main character, Drew, and the relationship between Drew and Alexa become less charming.

Rating: 3,6  stars

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

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Book Review: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

The Poet X

Title: The Poet X

Author: Elizabeth Acevedo

Publishing Date: March 6th 2018

Published by: HarperTeen

Genres: Comtemporary, YA

Pages: 368

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

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The Poet X is an #ownvoices story about a dominican american girl called Xiomara. It’s a story that explores Xiomara’s struggle with inhabiting her body, a body that attracs attention and because of it, it’s unwillingly subjected to the male gaze; it also deals with growing up in a conservative latinx family that it’s extremely religious and that imposes faith and leaves no room for questions. It’s a book about trying to figure who you are in an enviroment that doesn’t leave much room to do so.

This book is written in verse, which allows the reader to connect with the main character, Xiomara, and her struggles so much more and it makes the story more compelling than it would have been if it was written like a normal novel. We get a direct line to the powerful emotions that she is experiencing and trying to express, which allows an intimacy that it wouldn’t have been possible any other way. Despise being written in verse, the narration is still easy to follow because all the different parts are connected and one flows into the other with ease.

One of  the strongest aspects of the book is the exploration of faith and religion; reading from Xiomara’s pespective, the reader gets to understand all her doubts around her own faith, but also her questioning of the rol that women have been assigned in catholisms as the sinners, the temptation and a lot of times the inferior gender. It also explores the tension that exists in a lot of latinx families when it comes to religion and how even when certain ceremonies like the Confirmation are meant to be a voluntary acceptance of the faith, they become this mandatory step to be a part of the family. Also, the way this books draws a parallel between prayer and poetry is absolutely sublime and it’s done in a very powerful way.

This book also explores complicated family dynamics and it’s particulary interesting to see the mother/daughter relationship; the misunderstanding, the judgement, the contrary beliefs, but also the way it develops when both mother and daughter try to understand each others truths. They don’t arrive to that point until a huge confrontation that it’s intense, raw and heartbreaking, but seeing the ups and downs of their relationships is compelling and engaging.

Throughout the story, Xiomara discovers slam poetry and it’s amazing to experience, through her perspective, the freedom and the happiness of finding a way to express all her thoughts and emotions in a time of her life when she really needs that outlet.

Rating: 4.7 stars 

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

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Most Anticipated Book Releases – June 2018

Most anticipated book releases 2018

Hi guys! So, I have written one of these posts ever month this year,  I have been consisten in that sense at least, but I have done a very poor job of actually reading the books I’m anticipating. I’m hoping to make a post in June to check my progress, because reading my anticipated books was a goal of mine for 2018, so I hope that’s gonna motivate me to actually read some of the books I have put in these posts before the month ends. Let’s hope that actually happens!

Anyway, here are some of my most anticipated books that are being release in June 2018:

 

Mariam Sharma Hits the Road by Sheba Karim

Road trip + frienships + New Orleans + Muslim rep + South Asian rep + fun banter + Queer rep + self discovery = what else could I ask for?! This sounds like a book I would really enjoy and I was really excited to read it, until I look it up on Goodreads to write this post and saw that it doesn’t have the best reviews. I have been anticipating it for a while and that’s why I still included it, but I’m a bit nervious about it.

Release date: June 5th 2018

Ayesha At Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

The main character in this book is a muslim woman, who is an aspiring poet struggling with money issues, that sounds really interesting to me. Plus, this is an #ownvoices story. Also, it’s a Pride and Prejudice retelling and I love those!

Release date: June 12th 2018

Not the Girls You’re Looking For  by Aminah Mae Safi

Female friendship takes a central place in this story and I’m here for it! If we add the fact that this is a very diverse book in terms of culture and sexual orientation, I’m even more excited. Also, it’s #ownvoices!

 Release date: June 19th 2018

Final Draft by Riley Redgate

This book has a pansexual, biracial,  plus-size main character, who is an aspiring writer, and I can’t wait to read her story. Plus, I heard that her group of friends is adorable and it’s a big part of the story and I’m excited to read about them.  Also, I have heard a lot of great things about Riley Redgate’s writing and her other books, so I want to read something by her.

 Release date: June 12th 2018

What June book releases are you anticipating? Do you want to read any of these books? Have you read any of these books and what did you think about them?

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