ARC Review: Ever After Always by Chloe Liese

Happy New Year, everyone! This is my first post of 2021, I took the first week of January off because I needed a bit of rest, but I’m excited to be back talking about a book I loved. Ever After Always is the first and only 2021 release that I have read so far, I read it back in December 2020 when I got the eARC and I loved it, so I’m hoping it’s a sign that I’m going to read some amazing new releases in 2021.

This book comes out today, January 12th 2021, and you should go get your copy!

Title: Ever After Always

Author: Chloe Liese

Publishing date:  January 12th 2021

Genre: Romance

Pages: 368

Aiden: I’ve spent twelve years loving Freya Bergman and twelve lifetimes won’t be enough to give her everything she deserves. She’s my passionate, tender-hearted wife, my best friend, and all I want is to make her happy. But the one thing that will make her happiest is the one thing I’m not sure I can give her: a baby. With the pressure of providing and planning for a family, my anxiety’s at an all-time high, and I find myself pulling away, terrified to tell my wife how I’m struggling. But when Freya kicks me out, I realize that pulling back has turned into pushing too far. Now it’s the fight of a lifetime to save our marriage.

Freya: I love my cautious, hard-working husband. He’s my partner and best friend, the person I know I can count on most. Until one day I realize the man I married is nowhere to be found. Now Aiden is quiet and withdrawn, and as the months wear on, the pain of our growing distance becomes too much. As if weathering marriage counseling wasn’t enough, we’re thrown together for an island getaway to celebrate my parents’ many years of perfect marriage while ours is on the brink of collapse. Despite my meddling siblings and a week in each other’s constant company, this trip somehow gets us working through the trouble in paradise. I just can’t help worrying, when we leave paradise and return to the real world, will trouble find us again?

Goodreads | Amazon

*The author kindly provided an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review*

Chloe Liese did it again! Ever After Always is the third book in the Bergman Brothers Series, which is a series of companion novels following the Berman Siblings. I read the first two books in the series as well as this ARC in 2020 and I fell in love with every single one of the books and this is quickly becoming one of my favorite romance series of all time.

Ever After Always is a wonderful and emotional second chance romance between two amazing characters. This book is about a marriage in crisis and two people that love each other so much but that have hurt each other deeply. It’s not a fluffy romance, it’s a story about rebuilding a relationship, accepting that people change and relationships need to change with them or they won’t last, it’s a story about learning to trust again and about being honest and vulnerable with each other even when it’s really hard.

Chloe Liese does a great job with the second chance romance and accomplishes something very difficult, she makes the reader care about a couple that has been together for 10 years and while there are two or three short flashback scenes, the book doesn’t rely on the flashbacks or the couple’s past to make the reader root for them.

Aiden, the hero, has anxiety and the representation was hard and wonderful to read about, I just saw so much of my own struggle with anxiety in Aiden’s experience. This book does a great of showing how much Aiden’s anxiety affects his everyday life and how hard can it be to talk about it with others. I love that this book normalizes going to therapy and taking meds, we need to see more of that in romance and in books in general.

Freya, the heroine, is strong and confident, she is described as being curvy and there are a couple of scenes where body image and social expectations are talked about, but overall Freya loves herself and she just wants society to let her be and let her have the body she does without feeling like she has to show everyone all the time that she really loves herself.

Getting to see the Bergman family again and getting to know them all better added so much to the story, it definitely made it more entertaining. I love the fact that the Bergman Brothers read romance! I can’t wait for the next book, I have been intrigued by the possibility of a relationship between two of the secondary characters since book 2 and I’m so glad we are finally getting their story next!

Have you started the Bergman Brothers series? What romance series have you enjoyed recently?

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Reviewing 2020 Holiday Romances: The Twelve Dates of Christamas & Written in the Stars | Blogmas Day 14

Hi everyone! This post is so late (it’s almost 10pm in Colombia), but tomorrow is my last day working this year, so I have a lot of work that I need to finish and that has left little time for blogging. The good news is that after tomorrow, I’ll be able to dedicate a lot more time to writing my blogmas posts and sharing them not so late.

Today, I’m sharing my reviews for two holiday romances that came out in 2020:

*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*

The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss

When it comes to relationships, thirty-four-year-old Kate Turner is ready to say “Bah, humbug.” The sleepy town of Blexford, England, isn’t exactly brimming with prospects, and anyway, Kate’s found fulfillment in her career as a designer, and in her delicious side job baking for her old friend Matt’s neighborhood café. But then her best friend signs her up for a dating agency that promises to help singles find love before the holidays. Twenty-three days until Christmas. Twelve dates with twelve different men. The odds must finally be in her favor . . . right?

Yet with each new date more disastrous than the one before–and the whole town keeping tabs on her misadventures–Kate must remind herself that sometimes love, like mistletoe, shows up where it’s least expected. And maybe, just maybe, it’s been right under her nose all along. . . .

Goodreads | Amazon

The Twelve Dates of Chrismas was ok. It was funny at times and I overall enjoyed reading it. It’s definitely chick lit and not romance, so go into it with the right expectations.

The beginning of this book was a lot stronger than the ending. The premise was interesting, reading the start of the whole 12 dates plotline was entertaining, especially since there are quite a few funny moments. Now the problem started because the author focused solely on the dates with random guys and not on the actual romance (which very early on is obvious who the love interest is going to be) and so there was a big chuck on this book where as much as I was entertained, I kept waiting for the main character to actually interact and have cute scenes with the love interest.

And then, when the main character started to spend more time with the love interest, it was easy to see that he was not that great. I mean he wasn’t awful, but he could be inconsiderate and a bit self-serving at times. Also, he owed the main character an apology for things that happened in the past and then he owed her an apology for some things he says in the book and I don’t think he groveled enough or that there was an actual apology. The main couple did have some cute moments but not that many.

Also, this book can get overly descriptive at times. I actually had to skip some of the most detailed descriptions because they made the book drag at times.

In the end, the book was entertaining, I was never bored while reading it, the whole 12 dates plotline was interesting but dragged a bit, and the romance wasn’t great.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur

After a disastrous blind date, Darcy Lowell is desperate to stop her well-meaning brother from playing matchmaker ever again. Love—and the inevitable heartbreak—is the last thing she wants. So she fibs and says her latest set up was a success. Darcy doesn’t expect her lie to bite her in the ass.

Elle Jones, one of the astrologers behind the popular Twitter account, Oh My Stars, dreams of finding her soul mate. But she knows it is most assuredly not Darcy… a no-nonsense stick-in-the-mud, who is way too analytical, punctual, and skeptical for someone as free-spirited as Elle. When Darcy’s brother—and Elle’s new business partner—expresses how happy he is that they hit it off, Elle is baffled. Was Darcy on the same date? Because… awkward.

When Darcy begs Elle to play along, she agrees to pretend they’re dating to save face. But with a few conditions: Darcy must help Elle navigate her own overbearing family over the holidays and their arrangement expires on New Year’s Eve. The last thing they expect is to develop real feelings during a fake relationship. But maybe opposites can attract when true love is written in the stars?

Goodreads | Amazon

Written in the Stars included two of my favorite tropes: the fake dating and opposite attract tropes and I loved that about it. The main characters were both so different and each of them was great in their own way. They had so much chemistry and they were so sweet together.

Both Elle and Darcy had very complicated relationships with members of their families, which added a very compelling element to the story. I love complicated family dynamics and while I wish we got to see a little bit more of Elle’s family, I enjoyed seeing Elle stick up for herself and the way that storyline was resolved. I also loved Margo and Elle’s friendship, it was an amazingly nerdy friendship between two women.

I have two small issues with this book: 1) the pacing was weird, there were places where it dragged a bit, but the ending felt rushed 2) Darcy’s family is very present in this book but I feel like their storyline wasn’t resolved, the situation with her mom went nowhere and Darcy really needed to have a serious conversation with Brendon (her brother) about boundaries that didn’t happen.

Nonetheless, the main characters and romance were so good that I’m really excited to the second book and see Brendon story with Annie (Darcy’s best friend!).

Rating: 4 stars

Have you read these books? what 2020 holiday romances have you enjoyed?

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Reviewing 2020 Latinx YA Releases: Cemetery Boys, Furia & Never Look Back | Blogmas Day 7

Hi everyone! it’s day 7 of Blogmas and I want to share reviews for some amazing books I read lately and that were my last batch of 2020 releases by Latinx authors that I was looking forward to reading this year. I read a total of 23, a lot of them ARCs, which honestly in a year as hard as 2020 was such a source of happiness.

I had ARCs provided by the publishers for two of the books I’m going to talk about, Furia and Never Look Back, but this hasn’t affected the content of my review.

*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*

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his true gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.

However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie off some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.

Goodreads | Amazon

CW: Misgendering, allusions to deadnaming, depictions of gender dysphoria, discussion of parental death, references to blood magic

This book is SO GOOD! It manages to be sweet, hopeful, and fun, while still addressing difficult subjects like transphobia, deportation, homelessness, gang violence, and abusive parents. This book’s exploration of the way transness is viewed and treated in a lot of brown communities, and particulary in the Latinx community, is very powerful.

My favorite thing about this book is the main characters. I love Yadriel and Julian so much. Julian is like a puppy, he can’t stand still, he can’t stay quiet, he is such a vibrant character and I LOVE HIM. And thinking about the romance between Yadriel and Julian warms my heart and makes me so happy. They are adorable, I loved the way they listened and supported each other.

The plot in this book revolves around a murder mystery, which was fun and entertaining. Even if I did figure out the whole thing very early on, that didn’t matter to me, because I was enjoying the reading experience so much.

Rating: 4,5 stars

Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez

In Rosario, Argentina, Camila Hassan lives a double life.

At home, she is a careful daughter, living within her mother’s narrow expectations, in her rising-soccer-star brother’s shadow, and under the abusive rule of her short-tempered father.

On the field, she is La Furia, a powerhouse of skill and talent. When her team qualifies for the South American tournament, Camila gets the chance to see just how far those talents can take her. In her wildest dreams, she’d get an athletic scholarship to a North American university.

But the path ahead isn’t easy. Her parents don’t know about her passion. They wouldn’t allow a girl to play fútbol—and she needs their permission to go any farther. And the boy she once loved is back in town. Since he left, Diego has become an international star, playing in Italy for the renowned team Juventus. Camila doesn’t have time to be distracted by her feelings for him. Things aren’t the same as when he left: she has her own passions and ambitions now, and La Furia cannot be denied. As her life becomes more complicated, Camila is forced to face her secrets and make her way in a world with no place for the dreams and ambition of a girl like her. 

Goodreads | Amazon

CW: domestic abuse, child abuse, homophobia, femicide

This book has so many unique elements. It’s set in Argentina and it does such a good job of showing the reality of living there. The worries about jobs and the dollar price, the delicious food, the beutiful role that soccer plays in the communities, the way the patriarchy is so rooted in the culture and the many types of violence that women face, the wave of feminicides and the emergence of the #NiUnaMenos movement in Argentina. All of it makes this book feel like something you haven’t read before. I appreciate the way the characters, especially Camila and Diego, love their city even with the things that are not so pretty.

The inclusion of Women’s Soccer was such a cool and unique element as well, I love that we get to see the passion, determination and joy of women playing a sport they love, as well as the many obstacles that they have to face because of the patriarchy and the idea that it’s a men’s sport, and because of lack of funding and support.

I really like the main character, Camila. I love her passion for soccer and I love the fact that she knows what she wants and she goes for it. I think one of the most valuable aspects of this story is the development of Camila’s mom, I love that she found the streght to stand up for herself and for her kids and I appreciated the way her relationship with Camila evolved throughout the book. The romance is cute and a bigger part of the book that I thought it was going to be, and I like the way it wraps up, I think it’s hopeful but also realistic.

Rating: 4 stars

Never Look Back by Lilliam Rivera

Eury comes to the Bronx as a girl haunted. Haunted by losing everything in Hurricane Maria–and by an evil spirit, Ato. She fully expects the tragedy that befell her and her family in Puerto Rico to catch up with her in New York. Yet, for a time, she can almost set this fear aside, because there’s this boy . . .

Pheus is a golden-voiced, bachata-singing charmer, ready to spend the summer on the beach with his friends, serenading his on-again, off-again flame. That changes when he meets Eury. All he wants is to put a smile on her face and fight off her demons. But some dangers are too powerful for even the strongest love, and as the world threatens to tear them apart, Eury and Pheus must fight for each other and their lives.

Goodreads | Amazon

TW: sexual assault, panic attacks, anxiety, depression, PTSD

I really enjoyed this book, the writing is very captivating and the main characters are lovable and easy to root for. This book explores serious topics like toxic relationship, trauma and mental illnesses in a very honest way, which adds a layer to the story and makes it standout.

The most magical thing about yhis book is that it’s a love letter to Puerto Rico, to its beauty and to the strenght of its people, and that was such an emotional and raw element of the story. Also, the way this talks about Hurricane Maria is so powerful and heartbreaking.

I wish this was a bit longer, just because I wanted more time to establish Eury and Pheus’ relationship and I wanted to spend a bit more time in the Inframundo at the end. I think the final part of the books feels a bit like vignettes and I wish there was a bit more time to explore and see more of the Inframundo, which was such a cool part of the story.

Rating: 4 stars

Have you read these books? Are you planning on reading them? what 2020 releases by Latinx authors have you read this year?

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ARC Review: Blazewrath Games by Amparo Ortiz

Title: Blazewrath Games

Author: Amparo Ortiz

Publishing date: October 6th 2020 

Published by: Page Street Kids

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pages: 368

Lana Torres has always preferred dragons to people. In a few weeks, sixteen countries will compete in the Blazewrath World Cup, a tournament where dragons and their riders fight for glory in a dangerous relay. Lana longs to represent her native Puerto Rico in their first ever World Cup appearance, and when Puerto Rico’s Runner—the only player without a dragon steed—is kicked off the team, she’s given the chance.

But when she discovers that a former Blazewrath superstar has teamed up with the Sire—a legendary dragon who’s cursed into human form—the safety of the Cup is jeopardized. The pair are burning down dragon sanctuaries around the world and refuse to stop unless the Cup gets cancelled. All Lana wanted was to represent her country. Now, to do that, she’ll have to navigate an international conspiracy that’s deadlier than her beloved sport.

Goodreads | Amazon | IndieBound

*The amazon link in this post is an affiliate links, so if you use it I may get a small commission*

CW: Allusions to domestic abuse, homophobia, murder, physical violence and mind invasion.

This book is SO GOOD! It’s action-packed, it’s entertaining and it has such a cool concept.

The world-building in Blazewrath Games is fantastic. This book is set in our world but there are wizards and dragons too, and Amparo Ortiz does an amazing job of sharing the history of the cohabitation of these three groups. An element that adds complexity to the world-building is the fact taht there are so many different types of dragons and they have different appearances and abilities, which is so cool. The author shares so much information about the dragons while at the same time it’s clear that people only know what dragons want them to know, they keep a lot of secrets so there is a lot of mystery surrounding them.

One of the coolest aspects of this book is Blazewrath as a sport which is played by teams of dragons and humans, and the Blazewrath games, which is an international sports tournament. The way Amparo Ortiz writes the matches is so incredible, I was at the edge of my seat the entire time while the matches took place, cheering the Puerto Rican team.

The plot revolves around a conspiracy surrounding the Blazewrath Games and it’s very engaging with a lot of moving pieces and interesting twists and turns, the characters are amazing, there’s a found family element that’s heartwarming, and it includes diversity in an effortless and organic way (most of the main characters are POC, and there’s also queer, trans and disabled characters).

The only issue I had is that a lot of convenient things happened and even some unrealistic things like the fact that the main character learns to fight in a few days and she fights well enough to beat people that have been training for a lot longer.

Overall, Blzewrath Games is a fun, gripping book that you won’t want to put down, full of characters you will root for and a cool and unique take on dragons.

Are you planning on reading Blazewrath Games? What fantasy book have you loved lately?
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Book Review: Lobizona by Romina Garber

Title: Lobizona

Author: Romina Garber

Publishing date: August 25th 2020

Published by:Wednesday Books

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pages: 400

Some people ARE illegal. Lobizonas do NOT exist. Both of these statements are false.

Manuela Azul has been crammed into an existence that feels too small for her. As an undocumented immigrant who’s on the run from her father’s Argentine crime-family, Manu is confined to a small apartment and a small life in Miami, Florida. Until Manu’s protective bubble is shattered.

Her surrogate grandmother is attacked, lifelong lies are exposed, and her mother is arrested by ICE. Without a home, without answers, and finally without shackles, Manu investigates the only clue she has about her past–a mysterious “Z” emblem—which leads her to a secret world buried within our own. A world connected to her dead father and his criminal past. A world straight out of Argentine folklore, where the seventh consecutive daughter is born a bruja and the seventh consecutive son is a lobizón, a werewolf. A world where her unusual eyes allow her to belong.

As Manu uncovers her own story and traces her real heritage all the way back to a cursed city in Argentina, she learns it’s not just her U.S. residency that’s illegal. . . .it’s her entire existence.

Goodreads | Amazon

CWs: ICE raids, anti-immigration sentiments, homophobia, sexism, and gender essentialism.

Lobizona takes elements that are common in the fantasy genre like an alternate dimension, werewolves, witches, a magical school and a magical sport, and it infuses them with Argentinian folklore and culture, which makes this book unique and captivating.

Magical World and Argentinian Culture

In this book, there’s the regular world, a magical dimension and also in-between spaces where Lobizones (werewolves) and witches live, and the history of the creation of these magical beings and this in-between spaces, as well as the explanation of why they are kept hidden from humans in the regular world, is incredibly well thought out and seamlessly incorporates Argentinian myths. Moreover, it’s amazing how many little details in this book come from Argentinian culture. Romina Garber included mate, tango, conversations about soccer and Leonel Messi, and even a whole magical sport that’s inspired by soccer.

Lovable Characters and Captivating Relationships

The protagonist of Lobizona is Manu, an Argentinian girl who has a very isolated life because she is an undocumented immigrant and also because she has very distinctive eyes that mark her as different. Romina Garber manages to transmit Manu’s loneliness, anger, and frustration at her situation so perfectly, which makes it easy to connect with her and root for her as she goes on this journey to find out who she is, where she comes from, and where she belongs.

The friends that Manu makes along the way area a big part of her journey. Tiago, Cata, and Saysa are great characters, they all have their own obstacles that they need to overcome and things that they need to work on, which makes them very engaging. I loved the friendship between the three girls, it has a rocky start but seeing them grow closer and learn to care for each other warmed my heart. The main romance in this book is cute, Manu and Tiago are growing and learning as individuals and I think that’s going to make their romance even better in the next book. Also, there’s a sapphic romance in this and honestly, I had to stop reading and take five minutes to freak out about it, I hope we get to see more of it in the sequel.

Important conversations

Lobizona does a great job of addressing immigration and the current situation that a lot of immigrants are facing right now in the States. This book portraits the constant fear that immigrants live in, the limitations that they have to endure, and the cruelty that they suffer at the hands of organizations like ICE.

This book also includes discussions about sexism and gender essentialism within this magical world and even the Argentinian society. According to the myth, all women are witches and all men are Lobizones, and this is not the only thing determined by gender in this world, women are expected to have children so their species doesn’t disappear and they have certain restrictions place on them like the fact that they can’t play the magical sport that exists in this world. Of course, the fact that Manu is a Lobizona renews the discussion about the unfairness of these gender roles that some people were trying to have even before Manu showed up. By addressing how limited this view of the world is, the book also starts conversations about how transphobic and queerphobic the system in this magical world is and, beyond that, how transphobic and queerphobic Latinx cultures are too.

Latinx Readers’ Opinions

Before finishing this post, I want to share some posts about this book by other Latinx readers that you should check out: Ten Reasons why You Should Read Lobizona and ARC Review: Lobizona

Have you read Lobizona? What fantasy book have you loved lately?
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Book Tour: Miss Meteor by Tehlor Kay Mejia and Anna-Marie McLemore | Review, Playlist & Giveaway

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

GIVEAWAY

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/24842cbd18/

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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