Review + Playlist + Giveaway : Miss Meteor by Tehlor Kay Mejia and Anna-Marie McLemore | Book Tour

Hi everyone! I’m so excited to be sharing this review and playlist with all of you today. But before getting to that, I wanted to thank Karina @Afire Page and HarperCollins Intenrational for allowing me to be part of this book tour and giving me an eARC of the book.

Title: Miss Meteor

Author: Anna-Marie McLemore & Tehlor Kay Mejia

Publishing date: September 22nd 2020

Published by: HarperTeen

Genre: YA Magical Realism

Pages: 320

There hasn’t been a winner of the Miss Meteor beauty pageant who looks like Lita Perez or Chicky Quintanilla in all its history. But that’s not the only reason Lita wants to enter the contest, or why her ex-best friend Chicky wants to help her. The road to becoming Miss Meteor isn’t about being perfect; it’s about sharing who you are with the world—and loving the parts of yourself no one else understands. So to pull off the unlikeliest underdog story in pageant history, Lita and Chicky are going to have to forget the past and imagine a future where girls like them are more than enough—they are everything.

Witty and heartfelt with characters that leap off the page, Miss Meteor is acclaimed authors Anna-Marie McLemore and Tehlor Kay Mejia’s first book together.

 Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Book Depository

CWs: bullying, homophobic comments and xenophobic comments

Miss Meteor is one of the best books I have read in 2020. Tehlor Kay Mejia and Anna-Marie McLemore deliver a beautifully written, magical story about two characters learning to be true to themselves.

Chicky and Lita, the main characters, have very strong and distinctive personalities. They are absolutely captivating characters and seeing them grow and develop throughout this book is beautiful. Also, the way they slowly rebuild their friendship is very emotional and meaningful.

The sisterhood in this book is lovely and the Quintanilla sisters own my heart. Chicky has four older sisters and they are all very different from each other, and even when they irritate each other, there is so much love between them and it is amazing seeing them be there for Chicky when she asks for help. Another relationship between siblings that is very complicated and interesting is between Cole and his sister and it was incredible seeing Cole be honest and ask someone he loves to do better and be accepting and loving not only with him but also with others, especially within the queer community.

The romances in this book are so cute and one of my favorite things about it, I was rooting for the two couples the entire book. The slow-burn, angsty friends to lovers romance between Chicky and Junior was everything that I didn’t know I needed and the sweet friends to lovers romance between Lita and Cole with its “oh” moment was very heartwarming.

Plot-wise, when it came to the pageant, I suffered the entire time I was reading this because I was just wondering what was going to go wrong, who was going to sabotage Lita or what faux pas was she going to make. It was funny too because Lita always found a way to do something unexpected that a lot of time didn’t go well for her, from tug wars and falling in a fountain with another contestant to wearing a scuba diving outfit to the swimsuit competition.

Something that this book does really well is addressing heavier subjects like messed up beauty standards, xenophobia and homophobia in a way that feels very organic. It doesn’t feel like a lesson on those subjects, it’s more about characters living their lives, encountering these things and having to process and deal with them. This book shows characters that have to learn to be true to themselves and stand up to people who try to make them feel small or weird or like outcasts.

If you want a book with adorable friends to lovers romances, heartwarming friendships, wonderfully complicated siblings’ relationships, a powerful message and amazing character development, Miss Meteor is for you!

PLAYLIST

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Have you read or are you plannign to read Miss Metero? What’s your favorite magical realism book?
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Book Review: Here to Stay by Adriana Herrera

Title: Here to Stay

Author: Adriana Herrera

Publishing date: August 25th 2020

Published by: Carina Press

Genre: Romance

Pages: 393

Julia del Mar Ortiz is not having the best year. She moved to Dallas with her boyfriend, who ended up ditching her and running back to New York after only a few weeks. Left with a massive—by NYC standards, anyway—apartment and a car lease in the scorching Texas heat, Julia is struggling…except that’s not completely true. Running the charitable foundation of one of the most iconic high fashion department stores in the world is serious #lifegoals.

It’s more than enough to make her want to stick it out down South. The only monkey wrench in Julia’s plans is the blue-eyed, smart-mouthed consultant the store hired to take them public. Fellow New Yorker Rocco Quinn’s first order of business? Putting Julia’s job on the chopping block.

When Julia is tasked with making sure Rocco sees how valuable the programs she runs are, she’s caught between a rock and a very hard set of abs. Because Rocco Quinn is almost impossible to hate—and even harder to resist.

Goodreads | Amazon

Here to Stay follows Julia, a Dominican-Puerto Rican woman, and Rocco, an Italian-Irish man. Julia is compassionate, smart, and funny while Rocco is sweet, responsible, and an overthinker. These qualities make them likable and easy to root for. Despite having so many obstacles in the way of them having a relationship, their chemistry is out of this world and they end up having a slow-burn, forbidden romance. Thanks to the amazing chemistry between them, the sex scenes in this book are so hot!

One of the strongest aspects of this book is the friend group, the Gotham Exiles. At the start of this book, Julia is missing New York so she invites all the New Yorkers that work in her company to meet up, after that, they start hanging out often and they quickly become close friends who understand and support each other like family. I love the found family trope and I enjoyed all the characters in this friend group, they all have define personalities and interesting jobs and backstories, so I’m hoping the other characters get their own books!

Julia and Rocco’s families play an important role in the story. I loved Julia’s family, they are loud, funny and loving and they are such an amazing addition to the book. On the other hand, Rocco’s storyline with his sister and niece is heartwarming and they way he is there for his sisters and supports her made me like him even more.

This book deals with some heavy subjects: 1) it addresses domestic abuse since Rocco’s dad is verbally and emotionally abusive and the way this book shows the impact of that abuse on Rocco is very powerful. 2) it also addresses the deportation of immigrants, since Julia works for a nonprofit that helps immigrant families.

My only issue with this book is that the will they or won’t they part of this book dragged a bit. Something would happen between the main characters and then they were like “oh no, never mind, it was a bad idea” and that happened so many times that it became a bit annoying. Also, I understand why Julia didn’t want to start something with Rocco, but sometimes in her desire to put some distance between them, she was rude and a bit mean, which I also didn’t love.

Overall, Here to Stay has lovable characters, an amazing friend group, a lovely slow burn romance and steamy sex scenes!

what romance books have you enjoy lately? What’s your favorite romance book by a Latinx author?
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ARC Review: Land of the Cranes by Aida Salazar

Title: Land of the Crane

Author: Aida Salazar

Publisher: Scholastic 

Publication Date: September 15th, 2020

Genres: Middle Grade Contemporary, Poetry

Nine-year-old Betita knows she is a crane. Papi has told her the story, even before her family fled to Los Angeles to seek refuge from cartel wars in Mexico. The Aztecs came from a place called Aztlan, what is now the Southwest US, called the land of the cranes. They left Aztlan to establish their great city in the center of the universe-Tenochtitlan, modern-day Mexico City. It was prophesized that their people would one day return to live among the cranes in their promised land. Papi tells Betita that they are cranes that have come home.

Then one day, Betita’s beloved father is arrested by Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) and deported to Mexico. Betita and her pregnant mother are left behind on their own, but soon they too are detained and must learn to survive in a family detention camp outside of Los Angeles. Even in cruel and inhumane conditions, Betita finds heart in her own poetry and in the community she and her mother find in the camp. The voices of her fellow asylum seekers fly above the hatred keeping them caged, but each day threatens to tear them down lower than they ever thought they could be. Will Betita and her family ever be whole again?

Goodreads | Amazon | IndieBound

I received an eARC from the publisher in exchange of an honest review,

Land of the Cranes is a touching book told in verse that 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.

This book tells the story of a little girl whose dad gets deported and, later on, her pregnant mom and she are also taken into a deportation facility and kept in a cage in inhumane conditions. It explores the cruelty they faced and the ways this little girl found to keep going and even help others that were in the same situation as her.

Land of the Cranes is a powerful and heartbreaking story and I had a lump in my throat the entire time I was reading it. 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.

Aida Salazar makes some interesting writing choices that pay off. The references to Aztlan and the cranes through the book are used as a perfect vehicle to show the main character’s innocence and hopefulness, and the picture poems that Betita creates through the book, which are drawings with short poems written in the back, add a special element to the story and play an important role because they become a source of comfort for her and a source of inspiration and hope for those around her.

Everyone should read this touching book, which unfortunately is incredibly relevant right now. It’s heartbreaking in a way that only fantastic books can be.

Do you read middle grade book? What middle grade books have you loved recently?
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Book Review: Each of Us a Desert by Mark Oshiro | Book Tour

Hi everyone! Today, I have a review for you as part of the book tour for Each of Us a Desert by Mark Oshiro, this tour was organized by Colored Pages and you can see the rest of the schedule for the tour here. I posted my interview with the author a few days ago, so go check that out!

Title: Each of Us a Desert 

Author: Mark Oshiro 

Publisher: Tor Teen 

Publication Date: September 15th, 2020

Genres: YA Fantasy

From award-winning author Mark Oshiro comes a powerful coming-of-age fantasy novel about finding home and falling in love amidst the dangers of a desert where stories come to life. Xochital is destined to wander the desert alone, speaking her troubled village’s stories into its arid winds. Her only companions are the blessed stars above and enigmatic lines of poetry magically strewn across dusty dunes.Her one desire: to share her heart with a kindred spirit.One night, Xo’s wish is granted—in the form of Emilia, the cold and beautiful daughter of the town’s murderous conqueror. But when the two set out on a magical journey across the desert, they find their hearts could be a match… if only they can survive the nightmare-like terrors that arise when the sun goes down.

Goodreads | Amazon | Indiebound

Each of Us a Desert is a quiet, introspective 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 very loose plot but with strong thematic elements.

This book tells the story of Xochital, a girl who has been the Cuentista of her community from a very early age. She has the responsibility of listening and absorbing through a magical process the stories involving secrets, lies, deceit that produce feelings like guilt, sadness, resentment, and giving 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. At least that’s what Xochital has been told her entire life, and she has been struggling for a long time with this responsibility that she didn’t choose for herself.

After something happens that changes everything, she leaves her town and in her journey to faraway places, she goes through a spiritual journey where she realizes that beliefs are based on stories that have been passed down through generations and those stories are interpreted in so many different ways across times and places and no one can be sure which interpretation is the truth. Throughout this book, Xochital has to come to terms with the fact that what she was told is binding and absolute truth may not be and she realizes that she has to choose for herself what she thinks is right.

There’s also a very strong theme of community and this book explores the repercussions of what Xochital does for her community as a Cuentista because she takes the stories and leaves the people in her town feeling absolved of the guilt, and it’s almost like an easy way out. This book explores the idea that as long as we don’t actually face the truth and the consequences of our mistakes, there is no way to learn, grow and heal as individuals and as a community.

Mark Oshiro makes very interesting and unique writing choices in this book, which worked really well with the story. This book is told from Xochital’s perspective as she tells her story to her god, and as she does, she questions them and challenges them. Another interesting choice is that whenever Xochital takes a story from someone else, there’s a short story interwoven into the narrative where she shares the confession that the other character just made. This choice works because it feels like you’re being told a secret and it’s hard not to feel intrigued and curious about what that other person did that has caused them to be consumed by guilt. Also, the way the author incorporated Spanish – which is very prevalent in the book- felt very organic and added a special element to the story.

The author doesn’t give too many explanations about the world or the magic system, and while I do wish we got a bit more information, this choice makes everything feel very intriguing. There are so many captivating elements to this world: there are magical animals, there are masked villains that seemed like something out of a horror movie, there are magic poems, there’s a secret town under the earth where some horrible things happened and so much more. Also, this book is set in a very violent world, so people are killed in gruesome ways, they are mutilated, there’s a lot of detailed descriptions of corpses and a lot of other graphic depictions that are borderline body horror.

Lastly, I think it’s important to clarify that while there is a sapphic romance that it’s not the focus of the book at all and it’s actually a very small part of the story. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the small moments between Xochital and Emilia.

Some other reviews by Latinx reviewers that you should check out: Gabi’s and Linda’s.

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Reviewing Romance Books: Party of Two, The Switch, Headliners and The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics

Hi everyone! I’m really excited to have 4 mini review for you today of books that I really, really enjoyed. I gave all of these books 4 stars and I would totally recommend them!

The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite

Goodreads | Amazon

Lucy has helped her father with his astronomy work for years, so when she finds she finds a letter from the Countess of Moth after his death, looking for someone to translate an astronomy text, she knows where to go. Catherine expected to hand off the translation and wash her hands of the project—instead, she is intrigued by the woman who turns up at her door and she agrees to let Lucy stay. They start to fall in love, but sabotage and old wounds threaten to sever the threads that bind them.

Historical romance is not usually a subgenre that I read, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from a historical romance with queer characters. I thought it may be angsty and sad, but I am so glad it isn’t. This is a cute and interesting story and the romance is just SO SOFT! Lucy and Katherine are strong, smart and passionate and they care for each other so much and want what’s best for each other. The plot revolves around sexism in STEM back in 1816 and I was invested!!! I was frustrated over the situations Lucy had to face and I was rooting for them in their fight against the patriarchy.

My only little complaint is that the “fight” the characters have in the third act didn’t make any sense to me, I literally read the conversation 3 times and I didn’t understand what happened and why they got to the conclusion that they did at the end of that conversation. But is is a very small issue and I ended up really loving this book.

Party of Two by Jamine Guillory

Goodreads | Amazon

Party of Two is about  Olivia Monroe, who just moved to LA to start her own law firm and who meets a gorgeous man at a hotel bar and discovers too late that he is none other than senator Max Powell. Olivia has zero interest in dating a politician, but a sweet gesture convinces her to give him a chance. They date in secret for a while but when they decide to go public with their relationship, the media attention may prove to be too much.

I really enjoyed Party of Two! The characters were great, flawed but likable, and I could see why they liked each other. They were both successful, ambitious, smart and kind and they both cared about helping their communities. I really enjoyed that the book actually shows them go out in dates, get to know each other and slowly fall in love. The progression of the relationship felt realistic. I also appreciated that, as always with the books in this series, it didn’t shy away from addressing white privilege, racism and even incarceration of black and brown youth.

My issue with this book is that it did drag a little for me once they went public with their relationship, but overall it was still really enjoyable.

Headliners by Lucy Parker

Goodreads | Amazon

Headliners (London Celebrities, #5) by Lucy Parker

Hedliners is about two tv presenters, who have a very public rivalry, are forced to work together resurrect a sinking morning show and save their careers —and someone on their staff doesn’t want them to succeed. When mishaps start to happen on set, Sabrina and Nick find themselves working together to hunt down the saboteur and discovering they might have more in common than they thought. When a fiery encounter is caught on camera, the public is convinced that the reluctant cohosts are secretly lusting after one another. The public might not be wrong.

I loved this book! The main characters are tv presenters that don’t like each other but have to work together and it’s awkward and hilarious. I laughed out loud so many times while reading this. This book does an amazing job showing how the relationship between the main characters slowly evolves and changes. That is really important because Sabrina has a very real and valid reason to hate Nick, so the slow pace really worked with the story.

Sabrina and Nick are adorable together and the best part about this book is that they both act like adults, who TALK to their significant other, don’t assume the worst, and actually trust each other. There is no miscommunication in this book, and beyond that, the opposite of that trope is present in this book. Both characters are so good at communicating, and that’s not the only refreshing thing about this book, Lucy Parker steps away from the “romance formula” in the third act of the book, which I truly appreciated. My only issue with this is that it dragged a little bit in a few places, but overall it was great!

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

Goodreads | Amazon

The Switch: The funny and utterly charming novel from the bestselling  author of The Flatshare (English Edition) eBook: O'Leary, Beth: Amazon.es:  Tienda Kindle

The Switch is about Leena Cotton, who is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical from work, so she escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest. Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She’d like a second chance at love, but her tiny village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen. Leena proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Just like that, Leena stays in the samll village and Eileen goes to Londo and both of them have adventures that change their lives.

I enjoyed The Switch a lot. I loved the journey each main character goes on and the changes they both experience. Grief is a esencial part of those journeys, especially for Leena, and I appreciated that this book addresses grief in a very realistic way and it does a good job of showing how the characters relationship with grief changes with time. While Leena’s journey is mostly about overcoming grief, Eileen steals the show with her journey of self discovery and of helping the people around her.

The secondary characters in this book are captivating and adorable. It is very interesting to see Leena and Eileen have to interact and build relationships of their own with people in the other woman’s life. The romances in this book are not the focus of the story, but they are present and I really liked them. Since this book was focused on so many other things related to the character’s personal growth, the romance feel a bit rushed. But overall, the love stories in this are really adorable.

Beth O’Leary is very ambitious, each main character in this book has a completely separate plot and romantic subplot and, because of that, the stories aren’t as flesh out as they could have been, still both plots were engaging and cute.

Have you read any of these books? What romance books have you enjoyed lately?
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Book Review: Category Five by Ann Dávila Cardinal

Title: Category Five

Author: Ann Dávila Cardinal

Publishing date: Jun 2nd, 2020

Published by: Tor Teen

Genre: YA Mystery, Horror

Pages: 240

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, as on the main island, 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.

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

*e-arc provided by the publisher via netgalley in exchange of an honest review*

Category Five is a companion novel to Five Midnights and the two books have the same main characters. Nonetheless, I haven’t read Five Midnights and I don’t think it’s necessary to read it before reading Category Five. While there are references to the previous book, the author gives enough information about what happened to the readers so we don’t feel lost or like we are missing anything.

Category Five is a quick and entertaining read set in Puerto Rico about teenagers who get involved with a supernatural mystery. The characters in this book are complex and layered. They are dealing with a lot, they are dealing with trauma from past experiences, with grief over losing love ones and also with anger and fear over what happened during and in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

The relationships between the characters are compelling because of the way they are affected by the shared experiences that bring them closer – like the mystery they solved in Five Midnights- and the not shared experiences which cause distance to grow between them – like Hurricane Maria, since some of them were not in Puerto Rico when it happened. There’s a very interesting push and pull between two of the main characters that feels very realistic in the context of the book.

The mystery, which revolves around ghosts, is intriguing and it’s even more interesting because it involves the history of Puerto Rico. While some very convenient things did happen related to the mystery, overall it was an engaging story. It’s important to note that 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. The ending is very much wish-fulfillment, but it fits the story and it gives it a hopeful ending.

Have you read this book? What mystery/ horror books have you loved recently?
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Book Review: Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

Title: Boyfriend Material

Author: Alexis Hall

Published by: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Publishing date:  July 7th 2020

Pages: 427

Luc O’Donnell is tangentially–and reluctantly–famous. His rock star parents split when he was young, and the father he’s never met spent the next twenty years cruising in and out of rehab. Now that his dad’s making a comeback, Luc’s back in the public eye, and one compromising photo is enough to ruin everything.

To clean up his image, Luc has to find a nice, normal relationship…and Oliver Blackwood is as nice and normal as they come. He’s a barrister, an ethical vegetarian, and he’s never inspired a moment of scandal in his life. In other words: perfect boyfriend material. Unfortunately apart from being gay, single, and really, really in need of a date for a big event, Luc and Oliver have nothing in common. So they strike a deal to be publicity-friendly (fake) boyfriends until the dust has settled. Then they can go their separate ways and pretend it never happened.

But the thing about fake-dating is that it can feel a lot like real-dating. And that’s when you get used to someone. Start falling for them. Don’t ever want to let them go.

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Boyfriend Material is the story of Luc, the son of two rock stars whose life is plastered all over the tabloids and who needs a fake boyfriend as to not lose his job because of the bad press, and Oliver, a serious, put together barrister who is under a lot of pressure from his family and who wants a fake boyfriend to go to his parents anniversary. Luc and Oliver don’t really get along but they have a friend in common that convinces them to go out together and they end up helping each other.

I’ll be honest, it took me a little bit to get into this book mainly because it has a very distinct humor and at the beginning, that humor was exaggerated and a bit too prevalent in the story. Also, it took me a while because at first, it seemed like Luc was taken straight out of Skins UK, except that he’s not a teenager, he’s 28. His life was out of control, he was partying and drinking, his house was a mess, his relationships with the people he cared about were deteriorating. Since this was just the beginning of the book and I didn’t really care about Luc yet, it was hard to look past some of his shitty behavior, especially the fact that he was mean without reason. All this to say that this book has a rough start.

Nonetheless, once Oliver is introduced, I started to find the humor in this book actually funny. Luc’s over the top, self-deprecating, a little bit mean humor was balanced well with Oliver’s dry sense of humor and his more serious personality. Together they were funny.

Oliver seemed very put together at first and like he had his life under control, but it was very interesting to see the depth of his character and how lonely and unhappy he was because he was trying to live up to impossible expectations. I think part of the reason Luc and Oliver connected in such a profound way was because both of them felt so lonely and sad.

Luc and Oliver’s romance had just the right amount of angst, they were so different and they both have so much baggage, so there were misunderstandings, confusion and hurt feelings, but seeing them be there for each other and slowly fall in love was so heartwarming, they were adorable together. In the end, Luc and Oliver’s individual character development was fantastic and so satisfying and it was the element that made this book feel so special.

Have you read this book? Are you planning to read it? What romance books have you loved lately? 

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Mini Reviews: You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria & Finding Joy by Adriana Herrera

mini-reviews-1

Hi everyone! Today I have reviews for two amazing romance books written by Latinx authors that I read recently and that I think every romance reader should check out!

*the amazon links are affiliate links which means I get a small commission if you decide to use them, it doesn’t affect the price of the books* 

Finding Joy by Adriana Herrera

Goodreads | Amazon

finding joy

*An e-arc of this was provided by the author in exchange of an honest review*

Finding Joy is a short book, that’s cute and low angst. The story is told from Desta’s perspective, he works for US Aid and he just got to Ethiopia to work on a project. He and his family have a history with the country, so it was interesting to get to explore it through his perspective. One of the big strengths of this book is the description of Ethiopia’s beautiful landscape and culture, while also talking about some of the economical challenges the country faces.

Desta is very self-involved in this book and he is a bit chaotic, and while he is still likable, Elias steals the show as a character. Elias is adorable, kind, and sensible, and his storyline is very important and interesting, even if there are parts of it that we don’t get to see because the story is told from Desta’s perspective. Adriana Herrera manages to make the romance between Elias and Desta very sweet, while also addressing the risks that Elias is taking by being in a relationship with Desta because being gay in Ethiopia is prohibited and punishable by law.

The only thing I would change from this book is that I wish this was told in dual pov, because I would have loved to read Elias’ thoughts and feeling about everything that happened in this book, especially because there’s a big part of Elias’ story that we don’t get to read from Desta’s perspective.

You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria

Goodreads | Amazon 

you-had-me-at-hola

You Had Me at Hola is an incredibly entertaining story, where a soap opera star and a Telenovela star, each with goals and fears of their own, have to work together in a tv show for the biggest streaming service in the country.

It’s so rare for me to like both of the main characters in a book equally, but Jasmine and Ashton are both amazing. Jasmine is ambitious, kind, and charismatic, but she is afraid of being alone and she has a track record of dating men who don’t treat her well. Ashton is kind of awkward and shy and he deals with a lot of anxiety, but he’s also adorable and sweet. Their romance is fantastic because they have so much chemistry, but at the same time, they also have a really strong emotional connection. I really appreciated that the conflict in this story feels realistic because it is easy to understand where both characters are coming from.

Jasmine and Ashton’s work is a big part of the story and it is a very interesting component, there’s a lot of behind the scenes from the show they are filming and especially the scenes between Jasmine, Ashton and the intimacy coordinator on set were pretty fascinating. This book also includes actual scenes from the show they were filming and while they were very cheesy, they reminded me of the telenovelas I grew up watching and I found them very entertaining.

Have you read any of these books? Are you planning on reading them? What great romance books have you read lately?
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ARC Review: Always Only You by Chloe Liese

Always Only You (Bergman Brothers, #2) by Chloe Liese

Title: Always Only You

Author: Chloe Liese

Series: Bergman Brothers #2 (companion novel)

Publishing date: August 4th, 2020

Pages: 355

Ren

The moment I met her, I knew Frankie Zeferino was someone worth waiting for. Deadpan delivery, secret heart of gold, and a rare one-dimpled smile that makes my knees weak, Frankie has been forbidden since the day she and I became coworkers, meaning waiting has been the name of my game—besides, hockey, that is.

I’m a player on the team, she’s on staff, and as long as we work together, dating is off-limits. But patience has always been my virtue. Frankie won’t be here forever—she’s headed for bigger, better things. I just hope that when she leaves the team and I tell her how I feel, she won’t want to leave me behind, too.

Frankie

I’ve had a problem at work since the day Ren Bergman joined the team: a six foot three hunk of happy with a sunshine smile. I’m a grumbly grump and his ridiculously good nature drives me nuts, but even I can’t entirely ignore that hot tamale of a ginger with icy eyes, the perfect playoff beard, and a body built for sin that he’s annoyingly modest about.

Before I got wise, I would have tripped over myself to get a guy like Ren, but with my diagnosis, I’ve learned what I am to most people in my life—a problem, not a person. Now, opening my heart to anyone, no matter how sweet, is the last thing I’m prepared to do.

Goodreads | Amazon 

Thank you to Chloe (the author) for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review!

I need to start this review by saying that if you have not read the first book in this series of companion novels, YOU SHOULD GO READ IT! I talked about Only When It’s Us in the post about my favorite romance book of 2020 so far because it’s actually my #1 favorite romance I have read this year. You don’t have to read it before reading this one because it’s not a continuation, but do yourself a favor and go read it anyway.

With that out of the way, now I can talk to you about Always Only You, which now has become another one of my favorite romance books of 2020. This is a slow-burn, sunshine x grumpy romance where the grumpy one with the heart of gold is the woman and the smiley, sunshiny character is the man.

Chloe Liese has a special talent that allows her to create wonderful and complex characters who you can’t help but root for. In Always Only You, the heroine is Frankie, an Autistic woman (#ownvoices) with a chronic illness (rheumatoid arthritis) who is hard-working, smart, empathetic, and badass. And the hero is Ren, who is an adorable, considerate, noble and nerdy Shakespeare-loving Hockey player. He is the kind of hero that makes you wish you knew a man like him in real life.

The relationship between Frankie and Ren is so heartwarming. Ren has been pinning for Frankie for years, but since they work together and their relationship is technically forbidden, he doesn’t want to put her in an awkward position and he’s waiting for the right time to confess his feeling. And then seeing Frankie, who has been hurt before by men who have seen her as a burden because of her disability and doesn’t want to try to be in a relationship again, slowly realize that she really likes Ren and that she wants to give him a chance is amazing and it almost melted me. I loved seeing how they both got to know each other better throughout the book and how they complemented each other.  Also, there’s forced proximity (kind of) at one point in this book and they get all domestic and it was so sweet.

Finally, I appreciated that the author managed to show how Frankie’s chronic illness and autism affect her day to day life in smaller and bigger ways, but how she’s still able to have the life she wants and go after her dreams.

I love a series where there are a bunch of siblings in a family and we get romances for all of them, and there are SEVEN Bergman siblings, so hopefully, I still have 5 more wonderful books to read. I need Freya and Aiden’s book, which is the next book, their story is kind of a second chance romance, which is a trope I LOVE! And I also need Rooney and Axel’s story because that’s a relationship that’s obviously going to happen and no one is gonna convince me otherwise.

Have you read this book? Are you planning to read it? What romance books have you loved lately? 
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5 Reasons to Read Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Hi everyone! Today I’m going to be talking about one of my most anticipated 2020 releases. After reading and loving Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia earlier this year, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on her next book and I’m so happy to say that I loved Mexican Gothic and I recommend it!

Title: Mexican Gothic

Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Published by: Del Rey

Publishing date:  June 30 2020

Pages: 393 

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—her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.

Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.

Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For 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.

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

trigger warnings: sexual assault, suicide and child brutality.

Without further ado, here are 5 reasons why you should read this book:

1. Brilliant writing: Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s writing manages to be beautiful and captivating while being simple and unpretentious. The writing in this book is not flowery but it conveys and elicits all kinds of emotions.

2. Captivating main character: Noemí, the main character, is three-dimensional and flawed, while being charming and bewitching. She is vain, flighty, smart, beautiful and strong and I couldn’t help but root for her the entire time.

3. The creepiness: 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. The author used the unknown to set an atmosphere of anticipation and suspense that worked really well to keep the creepiness up while allowing the book to become more and more disturbing as it progresses and as more information is revealed not only about what’s going on but also about the true villains of the story.

4. Effective villains: even in the setting of this book where 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 and that’s what makes them so effective. They feel like men you have met and, because of that, it’s easy to feel and relate to the main character’s unease, anger, and frustration towards them. 

5. Perfect setting: setting this book in 1950 Mexico was a brilliant decision. First of all, it gives a fascinating historical background to the story, a society that is changing and accepting some modern and liberal (for the time) ideas while trying to hold onto the old social and religious rules. Moreover, High Place, the house where the story takes place, is a secluded, declining, rotting house with no working electricity and strange echos, and it’s located in a small abandoned mining town in the middle of nowhere, where there are people who are clinging to conservative views. All of it makes it a magnificent setting for the creepiness and the sense of claustrophobia of this story. Beyond that, the setting and time period of this book allowed the author to explore sexism, colonialism, and eugenics in very interesting ways 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. 

Overall, Mexican Gothic is a creepy and disturbing gothic horror novel with a unique setting, perfect for anyone who likes a haunted house stories, gothic classics and diverse takes of old horror tropes.

Have you read this book? Did you enjoy it? Do you agree with my opinion?
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