bookish list

Top 10 New to Me Authors of 2018

Top 10 new to me authors of 2018

Hi everyone! It’s that time of the year when we make lists of the top bookish things of the year and I really wanted to write about authors I discovered in 2018, wheter they are debuts authors or just authors I had never read before. I chose 10 authors to put on this list and it turns out they were all women, which isn’t that weird because I read mostly female authors.

Without further ado, here’s my top 10:

Somaiya Daud

Somaiya Daud 1.png

  • Book I read: Mirage (Full review)
  • Why she made it to the list: I LOVED the way in which Daud wrote the relationship between Maram and Amani, the princess and her body double. Amani is relatable and likable; she is just a girl that is put in a difficult situation and manages to survive. Maram is cruel and arrogant, but as the story unfolds, we see that she is actually a very complex character that is conflicted and feels trapped between what it’s expected of her and who she wants to be. Their relationship is complicated and beautiful and painful and I just LOVE them both so much.

Elizabeth Acevedo

elizabeth acevedo.jpg

  • Book I read: The Poet X (Full review)
  • Why she made it to the list: The Poet X was the first book written in verse that I have read and Elizabeth Acevedo’s writing made me feel like I had a direct line to the emotions the main character was experiencing and trying to express. Also, I loved that Acevedo explores so many imporatant subjects like body image, the harm of the male gaze, religion and complicated families in powerful and touching ways.

Libba Bray 

Libba Bray

  • Books I Read: The Diviners & Lair of Dreams
  • Why she made it to the list: The Diviners has become my favorite paranormal series of all times. I think Libba Bray is amazing at writing creepy and atmospheric  books, which has help me discover my love for scary/horror books this year. Also, 1920s New York City is brought to life by her incredible writing and she has created some brilliant characters.

Helen Hoang 

Helen Hoang.jpg

  • Book I Read: The Kiss Quotient
  • Why she made it to the list: The autistic rep in Helen Hoang’s book was so insightful and well done.  Stella is succeseful and caring, she fixates on routines and obsessions and sometimes misses some social cues and she is wonderful and I loved getting to read from her perspective. Also, Helen Hoang wrote a soft male love interest, which is rare in romance, and it was amazing. And she knows how to write some really steamy scenes, so that’s good too!

Holly Black

holly black

  • Book I Read: The Cruel Prince
  • Why she made it to the list: I had been in a fantasy slump for a while and then Holly Black’s book made me feel consumed by a world and characters in a way that hadn’t happened in some time, so I’m really grateful for it. I loved the world she created in The Cruel Prince full of political intrigued, deceitful characters, unexpected turns and so much cruelty from the very beginning. Also, she gave me a new couple to ship, which gave her extra points!

Balli Kaur Jaswal

Billi Kaur Jasmal.jpg

  • Book I Read: Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows
  • Why she made it to the list: I loved the way Balli Kaur Jasmal wrote an amazing friendship between completely different women. The main character, Nikki, was raised in a less traditional way than the group of punjabi widows, she has a completely different way of seeing things. But at the end, these women become friends and they grow and change thanks to their friendship, they learn about themselves and step out of their comfort zone. Also, I think Balli Kaur Jasmal did an amazing job exploring the relationship between gender and religion.

Taylor Jenkins Reid

Taylor Jenkins Reid

  • Book I Read: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
  • Why she made it to the list: Taylor Jenkins Reid created on of the most complex characters I have ever encounter. Evelyn Hugo is a morally gray character that unapologetically does terrible things in order to achive what she wants in life, she sacrifices parts of herself to succeed, but at the same time she loves deeply and she is undeniably loyal to those she loves. I was fascinated by her. Then there the fact that Jenkins Reid wrote a love story, that is so beautiful, sad and complicated, and you can’t help but want the two character to end up together.

Maurene Goo

Maurene Goo

  • Book I Read: The Way You Make Me Feel ( Full review)
  • Why she made it to the list: I feel like The Way You Make Me Feel was Maurene Goo’s love letter to L.A. and to food, and she managed to make me want to go to L.A. even more than I already wanted to and also made me very hungry. Her way of writing character development and the development of the father/daughter relationship was fantastic, and the female friendship  was the most wonderful thing ever, Clara and Rose’s friendship shows that real friends help you grow, challenge you to be better, support you and help you see how amazing you are.

Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie

  • Books I Read: And Then There Were None, Murder on the Orient Express, Death on the Nile, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, and so many more. (Some reviews here  and here)
  • Why she made it to this list: Agatha Christie’s books are fast and entertaining reads, perfect to get me out of a reading slump. I love the fact that I almost never guess who did it or why, but I can always go back and find the clues to solve the mystery in the book. Most of the books I read by Agatha Christie are Hercules Poirot books, because his whole process to solve a mystery is really interesting to me.

Claire Kann

Claire Kann

  • Book I Read: Let’s Talk about Love (Full review)
  • Why she made it to the list: I loved Alice’s, the main character in Let’s Talk about Love, honest and captivating voice, . It was one of the main reasons I loved the book so much. Also, Claire Kann did a great job of addressing acephobia and racial microaggressions, as well as putting therapy in a positive light.
Who are some new to you authors that you loved in 2018? Have you read any of the authors in this list? Did you like their books? 

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#ownvoices · Diverse Books · Review

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.

Goodreads| Amazon

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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bookish list

Underrated 2018 Releases (less than 400 ratings on Goodreads)

Underrated 2018 releases 2

Hi everyone! This is a post I have thinking about writing for a while and I’m so excited to finally be posting it. This is joining a few post I wrote during 2018 about underrated books: Underrated LGBTQIA+ BooksUnderrated Diverse Romance Books and Underrated YA Books. On this list, you’ll find books that were released in 2018 that I read and LOVED and that have less than 400 ratings on Goodreads. Hopefully some of you will read them and sprend the word about how amazing they are!

Secondhand Origin Stories cover

Secondhand Origin Story by  Lee Blauersouth – 29 ratings on goodreads

Opal wants to join the superhero team, the Sentinel, to get a platform to tell the truth about the injustices of the the government agency that regulates superpowered people. But when Opal arrives to the Sentinels, just after a supervillain attacks their home, she finds a family on the brink of breaking apart.

Why read it: A group of teens fights against a corrupt, racist and ableist system, and this book manages to address those issues in an intelligent and sensitive way. It has complex characters, complicated family dynamics and so many secrets and mysteries. There’s black, lesbian, asexual and  gender queer (#ownvoices) rep. Full review. 

The Pros of Cons

The Pros of Cons by Alison Cherry, Lindsay Ribar & Michelle Schusterman – 345 ratings on Goodreads 

Three girls meet when they are in the same hotel for 3 different cons: a Percussion convention, a fandoms convention and a taxidermy convention. Each one has her own toubles and doubts, but they help each other through them. 

Why read it: It has a really cool setting and premise and also the female friendship is amazing, these 3 girls help each other through heartbreak, friendship problems & family drama. They are supportive, understanding and wonderful to each other. I almost cried happy tears because there friendship was so heartwarming. It has lesbian rep, non binary rep and mexican rep.

Analee in Real Life

Analee, In Real Life by Janelle Milanes – 166 ratings on Goodreads

Since her mother passed away, Analee spends her time role playing in an online game where she meets a boy she likes. In real life, a popular boy asks her to be his fake girlfriend and he starts to coax her out of her comfort zone. Meanwhile, her family life gets complicated. 

Why read it: There’s a fake relationship that it’s really entertaining because the characters have so much chemestry. The real focus of the book is family, Analee’s relationship with her father, stepmother and stepsister develop in such a beautiful way.  There’s Cuban, fat and social anxiety rep.

the queen of ieflariaThe Queen of Ieflaria by Effie Calvin – 297 ratings on Goodreads

Princess Esofi was betrothed to Crown Prince Albion, but he dies before the wedding. Esofi is offered a new betrothal to the new Crown Princess Adale, in exchange for help with the dragon problem. But Adale has no plans of taking the throne, leaving Esofi with more to battle than fire-breathing beasts.

Why read it: It has complex, flawed and compelling characters, an amazing f/f romance that warmed my heart, an interesting magic system and DRAGONS! Full review. 

What 2018 releases do you think are underrated? Have you read any of the books on this list? Are you planning on reading any of them? 

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bookish list

5 Star Predictions – Round 1

Five Star Predictions 2

Hi everyone! I have been meaning to write one of these posts with 5 stars prediction, and I thought now it would be a good time, because this way, I can start 2019 reading some books I think I’ll love. And what better way to start a year, right?!

SadieSadie by Courtney Summers

A missing girl on a journey of revenge. A Serial―like podcast following the clues she’s left behind.

Why I think I’ll give it 5 stars: I have heard from many people how amazing this book is and now I’m so excited to read it. There are many things that make me want to read this: the podcast element, that at its core it has a relationships between sibilings, the main character has a stutter, there’s poverty rep and it deals with sexual assault.

If We Were Villains

If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio 

On the day Oliver Marks is released from jail, the man who put him there is waiting at the door. Detective Colborne wants to know thetruth, and after ten years, Oliver is finally ready to tell it.

Why I think I’ll give it 5 stars: There’s one main reason and it’s the fact that a lot of people keep comparing it to The Secret History by Donna Tart, which I LOVE. I know they are different books, but I just hope If We Were Villains is in its own way as good as The Secret History.

The Astonishing Color of AfterThe Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan 

Leigh Chen Sanders is certain that when her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird. She travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time and there, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. 

Why I think I’ll give it 5 stars: This seems like the type of book I usually give a high rating to: a quiet, character driven book about a serious topic like grief. I have heard the writing is beautiful which makes me even more hopeful that I’m gonna love it.

Strange the DreamerStrange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor 

Lazlo Strange is obsessed with the lost city of Weep and everyone mocks him because no one think it’s real. But one day, someone from Weep recruits people to help save their city and  Lalzo does everything he can to be apart of that team. 

Why I think I’ll give it 5 stars: Everyone seems to love this book and I’m very curious to see how I’ll feel about it. I have a good feeling. I have only read one book by Laini Taylor and I thought it was ok, I didn’t love it, so I’m hoping this one will make me fall in love with her writing.

The Poppy WarThe Poppy War by R.F. Kuang 

When Rin aced the test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies, it was a shock to everyone. Once there, Rin discovers she possesses an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism and her powers may be the only way to save her people. 

Why I think I’ll give it 5 stars: Recently, so many people have been talking about this book and I’m both intrigued and nervous to read it. I feel like I’m gonna suffer while reading it but it’s gonna be worth it, that’s why it’s on this list.

Have you read any of these books? Did you enjoy them? What books would make it to your 5 star predictions? 

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Review

Book Review: Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Girls of Paper and Fire

Book: Girls of Paper and Fire

Author: Natasha Ngan

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson Books

Release date: November 6th 2018

Pages: 336

Genre: YA Fantasy

Trigger Warnings: Rape and Sexual Assault

Each year, eight girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for and the most cruel. But this year, there’s a ninth girl. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but stifling palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit being a king’s consort. But Lei isn’t content to watch her fate consume her. Instead, she does the unthinkable–she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens the very foundation of Ikhara, and Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide just how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.

Goodreads | Amazon 

Girls of Paper and Fire is set in a fascinating Asian inspired fantasy world, where there are different castes made up of demons, half demons/half human and humans, and there’s also differnet clans within those castes with varing amounts of power. The rich and mysterious histories of some of the clans left me intrigued and wanting to explore this world more, especially, because we only get little bits of information sprinkled thorught the book in a way that felt natural to the story, which makes it more alluring.

The main character, Lei, wasn’t the most compelling or complex character in the story, but what I liked about her is that she is a normal girl, she doesn’t know how to fight, she is not the brightest strategist and she is not a master of cunning and decieve, and in a sense, it’s refreshing to find a character like that in a fantasy book, because it shows that there’s different ways to be brave and to fight back, which is something this book does really way. 

A very powerful thing this book does is show the lenghts some men will go to to feel powerful and how so many times girls get trapped in this horrible situations because of that. So many times men see women’s bodies as a place to show and impose their power, especiacilly if they feel powerless in other parts of their lives. Also, this book does a very good job of showing the way girls react differently to an impossible situation, which was one of my favorite parts of the story. Each paper girl reclaims her body and her sense of self in their own way.

Nonetheless, I felt like most of the paper girls were pretty much stereotypes: the mean one, the innocent one, the mysterious one and some of them I didn’t even get to know enough to say anything about them. From the paper girls, Wren was definitely the most three dimentional and interesting and I would love to have her pov in the next book. Another character that I really liked and that I wish we saw more and found out more about is Zelle, which has only a couple scenes in the book but managed to intrigued me like almost no other character in the story.

Something else I really enjoyed in this book was getting to see two queer, Asian girls being in love even when it’s a forbidden love. I do think the romance was a bit insta-love-y, but the way the relationship evolves and the way they give each other strenght, support, compassion, understanding and trust is wonderful, so I didn’t mind the insta-love.

Lastly, I have to say that unfortunetly  I never felt like I was completely inmerse in the story, I felt like the writing was okay but didn’t make me feel emotionally invested in the plot or the characters.

Overall, Girls of Paper and Fire has such an important message, the sensitive themes and topics that it addresses are so well handle and the world building is so intriguing and fascinating that it’s definitely worth reading even if there are some small issues with the characters and writing. 

Rating: 4 stars

Have you read this book? Are you planning on reading it? What Asian inspired fantasy books would you recommend?

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TV Shows

Top 5 New to Me TV Shows of 2018

Hi everyone! Today I decided to write a post that’s a bit different. It’s the end of the year and since I watched some amazing tv shows during 2018 I wanted to mention them here. If you are looking for something new to watch, I totally recommend the ones on this list!  I chose 5 shows, 3 of them were released in 2018 and the other 2 are shows that were released a few years ago but that I only started to watch them in 2018. They are in no particular order.

La casa de las flores.jpg

La Casa de las Flores (The House of Flowers) 

A dark comedy about a dysfunctional elite Mexican family that runs a reputable flower shop. 

Things I love about this show: EVERYTHING! It has fantastic acting, amazing writing and production values. It’s captivating and intriguing, everyone has secrets, there’s twist and turns and shocking revelations. Also, Paulina and Maria Jose are one of my favorite couples ever.

 

Vida.jpgVida

Two Mexican-American sisters, who couldn’t be more different or distanced from each other, are forced to return to their old neighborhood, where they are confronted by the past. 

Things I love about this show: It has unlikable but fascinating characters, a complicated sibiling relationship, and it explores gentrification of the Eastside of Los Angeles and homophobia in the Latinx community without shying away from the painful ways those things affect people.

 

The haunting of hill houseThe Haunting of Hill House

Flashing between past and present, a fractured family confronts haunting memories of their old home and the terrifying events that drove them from it.

Things I love about this show: The fact that it’s a ghost show that emphasizes the stories of the living, while being sinister, creppy, moving and stylish. It has complex characters that are absolutely unlikeable, but since it shows them not only as adult but also as kids, it makes it hard to hate them.

 

Brooklyn nine nine.jpg

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

A sitcom following the lives of a group of detectives in a New York precinct. 

Things I love about this show: It’s the perfect show to marathon, I watched five seasons in a week! It has likable characters and amazing relationships, it’s funny and charming but it also handles emotional moments really well.

 

the good place

The Good Place

Four people and their otherworldly frienemy struggle in the afterlife to define what it means to be good. 

Things I love about this show: it has lovable characters, clever and unexpected twists and an intelligent concept that makes it a thought provoking show.

 

Have you watched any of these tv shows? Did you like them? What new tv shows did you watch in 2018? 

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readathon

Smutathon TBR

smuathon tbr 2

Hi everyone! December is defintely the month of readathons for me, I decided to participate in 3 of them before I remember that I have so much school work for the first half of the month and I’m going to be traveling during the second half. I’m probably gonna fail all these readathons, but I’m trying anyway!

About the readathon: SmutAThon is a romance focused readathon hosted by Riley @ Riley Marie and Lainey @ Ginger Reads Lainey and it will take place from December 10th-16th.

There’s six challenges and I chose a book for each one of them. So here they are:

The hating game

Enemies to Lovers: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

Lucy and Joshua are competing for the same job after the companies where they worked merge. At the beginning they hate each other but they end up falling in love. 

I have heard mixed things about this, some people love it and others have issues with it because of that, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read it, but at the end, some people I trust really liked it so I’m giving it a chance!

 

Dirty Rowdy Thing

Friends with Benefits: Dirty Rowdy Thing by Christina Lauren 

Harlow and Finn were married for 12 hours after a trip to Las Vegas. They still see each other occasionally and they still have a lot of chemestry.  When they see each other, they either end up fighting or having sex.  Until it turns to more. 

I’m a huge fan of Christina Lauren’s books, so I’m pretty sure I’m gonna enjoy this one. It’s the second book in the series and I haven’t read the first, but I think it’s not a big deal.

 

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00074]Fake Relationship: Big Rock by  Lauren Blakely

A playboy, whose father needs him to cool it for a bit because of some conservative investors, asks his best friend/business partner to be his fiancée for one week and she agrees. Then all the pretending in public leads to something more.  

I’m a bit nervous about this one, because the main guy (the description of the books is written from his pov) sounds like he’s a bit too cocky. I like cocky protagonist, don’t get me wrong, but he sounds like he may crossed the line to inssuferable. Also, that cover is SO BAD! Still, I’m willing to give it a chance.

 

From Lukov with love

Slow Burn: From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata

Jasmine and Ivan are figure skaters and they hate each other, but end up competing as a team and then their relationship evolves to something more. 

I have heard from several people that Mariana Zapata is the queen of slow burn, so I knew I had to read one of her books for this challenge. Also, I love figure skating so I’m excited!

 

 

Rafe

Forbidden: Rafe: A Buff Male Nanny by Rebekah Weatherspoon

Sloan is one of the youngest black female surgeons and single mom to twin girls, she ends up hiring Rafe, a big, bearded and tattooed guy to be their nanny and things happen between them. 

The premise of this one made me want to read it, thinking about this big, bearded and tattooed guy taking care of two little girls makes me smile everytime! I have heard this is fluffy and fun and it sounds like exactly what I need, especially since it seems like I’m gonna be extremely busy during the readathon.

 

A princess in theory

Different Worlds: A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole 

Ledi, a grad student in a STEM field, starts to receive emails telling her she is some sort of african princess, she ignores them until Prince Thabiso shows up to tell her they are supposed to get married.

I have heard great things about this one and I can’t wait to read it! A black women in STEM and an african prince falling in love?! What more could I ask for?!

 

 Are you participating in Smutathon? What are you reading? 

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