Diverse Books On My TBR with Less Than 500 Ratings on Goodreads

lesser known diverse books on my tbr

Hi everyone! Today I’m bringing a post I’m really excited about. The other day I was think about how diverse books often times get less publicity than other books. Wheter it is because they are indie or self published or because they get a smaller publicity budget or because they have less support from the publishers or for any of a hundred other reasons, the truth is there’s tons of diverse books out there that could use all the help they can get publicity wise.

I have written a few post in the past about underrated books with small amount of ratings on Goodreads and those lists are full of diverse books, so I would recommend you check them out!

But today I’m doing somethings a bit different! I went through my Goodreads tbr list and checked which of the diverse books I had in it had less than 500 ratings and were released before 2018 and today I want to talk about them!

Like Nobody's Watching by Tara Frejas Cover & ReviewLike Nobody’s Watching by Tara Frejas (58 ratings) 

The cover is SO CUTE! and it’s the reason I noticed this book in the first place, but then I read the synopsis and found out this books has fake dating, a main character that’s a soft guy and a big focus on family and I inmediately added it to my tbr. This is a #romanceclass book, like a lot of the other books on this list,  which means that it’s written by a Filipino author, it has Filipino main characters and it’s set in the Philippines.

 

Latin@ Rising: An Anthology of Latin@ Science Fiction and Fantasy

Latin@ Rising: An Anthology of Latin@ Science Fiction and Fantasy (79 ratings) 

I discovered this book while writtin my 90 Book Recommendations for the Latinx Book Bingo and I have been meaning to read it ever since. As the title sugests, the stories in this book are written by latinx authors and they are about latinx characters.

 

Learning Curves by Ceillie Simkis Cover & Review

Learning Curves by Ceillei Simkiss (94 ratings) 

This is a romance novella with a Fat Puerto Rican lesbian main character and an asexual panromantic main character with ADHD. I have heard the story is really cute and I’m excited to give it a chance. I actually got an arc of the sequel when I signed up for the authors newsletter, so I need to get to this one to be able to read and review that arc.

 

The Queen's Game

The Queen’s Game by Carla de Guzman (96 ratings)

This is the second #romanceclass book on this list and it’s one that has been on my tbr for a long time. Carla de Guzman is a Filipino author and the main characters in the book are Filipino as well. I love books with royalty and I’m even more excited for this particular story because it has POC who are royals.

 

Feels Like Summer.jpgFeels Like Summer by Six de los Reyes (116 ratings)

This has been on my tbr for the last two years and I really need to read it. Another #romanceclass book (can you tell I’m a fan?) set in the Philippines, it has Filipino main characters and a Filipino author. The main characters in this are a soft guy who is a musician,  and a woman working in STEM. It sound amazing!

 

All's Fair in Blog and War

All’s Fair in Blog and War by Chrissie Peria (159 ratings)

The main characters in this are travel bloggers, which sounds so cool! Another #romanceclass book set in the Philippines with Filipino main characters and written by a Filipino author. This has been on my tbr for two and a half years and I finally bought it thanks to Shelea @ Shut Up, Shelea, who pointed out in one of her posts that it was 0.99 on Amazon (still is if you want it!)

 

The Victoria in my head

The Victoria in my Head by Janelle Milanes (286 ratings)

I read Analee in Real Life, Milanes’ latest book, recently and I loved it, so I’m excited to read her debut, which has been on my tbr for a long time. This book is a YA Contemporary with a Latinx main character, a shy teenager who dreams of being a rock star but  has paralyzing-stage-fright and overprotective Cuban parents … it sounds great and I can’t wait to finally read it!

Acting on Impulse

 

Acting on Impulse by Mia Sosa (400 ratings)

This has a Puerto Rican main character and it’s written by a Latinx author. This is a romance book about a personal trainer and an actor who fall in love, as a huge fan of romance books I can’t wait to read one where the main characters is Latinx.

 

Beginner's Guide Love and Other Chemical Reactions

Beginner’s Guide: Love & Other Chemicals Reactions by Six de los Reyes (418 ratings)

Another #romanceclass book and the second book on this list written by Six de los Reyes. I have heard great things about this author and I can’t believe that I haven’t read any of their books yet. This is set in the Philippines, it has Filipino characters and it’s by a Filipino author.

 

Do you want to read any of these books? Have you read any of them? What diverse books do you have on your tbr that have few ratings on Goodreads? 
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Book Review: A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

Before getting into the review, I just wanted to say that I finally picked up this book in January after reading A Study in Scarlet thanks to Catch up on Classics  and I’m so happy I finally read this! (Also, can you tell I’m really behind on reviews 😭)

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavarallo Cover and Review

Title: A Study in Charlotte

Author: Brittany Cavallaro

Published by: Katherine Tegen Books

Publishing date: March 1st 2016

Genre: YA Mystery

Pages: 321

The last thing Jamie Watson wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s great-great-great-granddaughter, who has inherited not only Sherlock’s genius but also his volatile temperament. From everything Jamie has heard about Charlotte, it seems safer to admire her from afar.

From the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else. But when a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Jamie and Charlotte are being framed for murder, and only Charlotte can clear their names. But danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.

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Trigger warnings: substance abuse, sexual assault, murder, anger management issues. 

A Study in Charlotte is an enthralling and entertating read, that brings a unique spin to a beloved classic, with characters that are as captivating and complex as the ones in the original version.

The fact that the main characters are related to the original Watson and Holmes gives this book an interesting and unique premise that it’s very well executed. What makes this work is the little details like the fact that Jamie is an unapologetic fan of Doctor Watson’s writing and his stories, while Charlotte criticizes the liberties he takes with the narration of some of the cases, but at the end she loves the stories as well. Another details is the guide to being friends with a Holmes that is passed down in the Watson family, which was a really hilarious touch. There are more little details that tie the premise together and make it feel plausible because of how well integrated they are to the story.

The real strengh of the book lays in the main character, Charlotte and Jamie, and the relationship between them. They have an engrossing and strange dynamic, they feel like they were meant to be friends but still they have to actually get to know each other and learn to trust each other. Their dialogue and banter is incredibly entertaining, and the honest moments when one or both of them are being vulnerable are so precious that I feel like crying just thinking about them.

Jamie is just the sweetest boy, but not in a ‘Mr. Perfect’ kind of way, he is still a flawed and complex character. He’s a great narrator for the story and it’s really interesting to see him be this boy that romanticises people and situations and likes to write in his free time, and at the same time, witness him struggling to keep his anger management issues under control.

Seeing Charlotte through Jamie’s eyes is such a enthralling experience. She is brilliant, sarcastic, blunt, calculating and bossy, but she also has insecurities and she has been hurt before, she is a bit lost and lonely and a fantastic main character. Through Charlotte’s journey, Cavallaro explores heavy subjects like substance abuse and sexualt assault and she does it in a raw and delicate way that it’s captivating and heartbreaking at the same time. This two subjects are present thorughout the book and are never forgotten or dissmissed, we get to see how they affect Charlotte’s live and her reactions and perceptions of things.

My one problem with this book is that the case wasn’t that interesting to me for a big portion of the book, because for a long time there are no new leads or the clues they have lead nowhere, so the case lost importance to me. This book is still a 5 stars read because during that time where not a lot is happening with the case, I was still fascinated by Charlotte, Jamie and their relationship. Also, there’s a point, when the case starts to move along and things get interesting and there’s twists and turns that I didn’t see coming at all, and it makes up for that portion of the book when the case didn’t seem that interesting.

Overall, I found this to book to be highly engaging and I couldn’t help but fall in love with the characters. I would totally recommend it!

Rating: 5 stars 
Have you read this series? Are you planning on reading it? Are any Sherlock Holmes retellings or adaptations that you would recommed? 

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Book Review: Are you Seeing Me? by Darren Groth 

Are You Seeing Me

Title: Are You Seein Me?

Author: Darren Groth

Published by: Orca Book Publishers

Publishing date: March 7th 2017

Genre: Contemporary

Pages: 278

Twins Justine and Perry have left their home in Australia and embarked on the road trip of a lifetime in the Pacific Northwest.

It’s been a year since their dad lost his battle with cancer and Justine became the sole caregiver for her autistic brother, Perry. Now Perry has been accepted into an assisted-living residence in their hometown, Brisbane, Australia, but before he takes up residence, they’re seeking to create the perfect memory. For Perry, the trip is a glorious celebration of some of his favorite things: Ogopogo, Jackie Chan movies, and earthquakes. For Justine, it’s an opportunity to learn how to let go of Perry and of her boyfriend, Marc. Justine also wants to offer their mother the chance to atone for past wrongs.

But the instability that has shaped their lives will not subside, and the seismic event that Perry forewarned threatens to reduce their worlds to rubble…

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Are You Seeing Me? is a bittersweet, beautiful and touching story that revolves around the personal journeys of the characters and the relationships between them. I’ll admit that it took me a long time to get into the story, because the writing style wasn’t for me. Groth’s writing felt really choppy, especially at the beginning;he uses really short sentences and that doesn’t allow the story to flow. But at the end, I did manage to get over that and enjoy the book.

This story is about Australian twins. Perry is Autistic and Justine is his main caregiver, this is told in dual perspective, so we get to hear from both Perry and Justine. They are both wonderful and they love each other so much and I just wanted to cry over it. Their love for each other was the best part of the book and seeing them try to protect each other’s happiness was bittersweet at times, because in some situations it meant sacrificing what they wanted or were hoping for.

Justine is an amazing character, she is caring, patient, smart and funny, but she’s scared and stressed all the time because she has so much on her plate. As for Perry, he sometimes makes people feel uncomfortable because of the way he responds to situations, but he’s also articulate, smart and funny. Both of them are very compelling and likeable characters. I think it’s important to mention that the Autistic rep is NOT #ownvoices, but the author has a son that is Autistic and he wrote the book for him and his twin sister. I can’t really speak about how accurate the rep is, but here’s an #ownvoices review of the book.

One thing that I would like to mention is that Perry sometimes makes up movies on his mind and most of the time it’s easy to tell that it what he’s describing isn’t real. Nonetheless, at the end of the book, there’s a long and important part of the story that’s completely told like it’s a movie that Perry is making up in his mind, but at least part of it isn’t, and that makes it odd and a bit confusing. Even if that part didn’t work for me personally, I undertand that it shows how Perry processes the world and how he deals with intense, scary things that feel out of his control.

Now, in terms of other elements that I enjoyed, thorughout the book there are inserts of a diary the twins father kept for Justine since her birth until he passed away, and those parts are captivating and so emotional and it’s a great element of the story that adds depth to it and allows Groth to tell the backstory of their lives in an interesting way. The storyline with the mom is also fantastic, I loved how her relationship with each twin develops, and how even with all the hurt, anger and disappointment that she had caused, we get to see her create new bonds with her children.

Overall, this is a heartwarming and bittersweet story with lovable characters and I would totally recommend it.

Rating: 3,6 stars  

Have you read this series? Are you planning on reading it? What books with autistic rep would you recommend? What books with great siblings relationships would you recommend? 

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Book Review: The Wicked King by Holly Black

The Wicked King Holly Black

Title: The Wicked King

Author: Holly Black

Published by: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Publishing date: January 8th 2019

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pages: 336

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world

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The Wicked King is highly entertaining, full of twist and turns, and brimming with complex and compelling characters and relationships. As with the first book in this series, the tension is high, there’s never a moment of peace because the feeling that somthing is about to happen, most likely something bad,  is always present. This is full of angst, betrayal, deceive, lust, murder, mind games, viciousness and wit, all of it is so enthralling and intoxicating and Holly Black’s writing works perfectly to reflect that.

Jude has made it to my list of favorite main characters, she is cunning, coldhearted, strong, and even when she’s outwitted and undermined and even plain defeated, she’s always scheming and getting back up and finding ways to beat everyone and keep her power. At the same time, she loves her family and she’s conflicted between her love for her family and her love of power, which makes her motives and reasonins more complex. She’s a three dimentional character and I liked that we get to see her afraid, sad, furious, desperate, vulnerable; we get to see so many sides of her.

When it comes to Cardan, I liked seen him grow as a character even if there were only glimpses of it because the story is told from Jude’s prespective.  By the end of the book, Cardan is a more confident, clever, strong, powerful, cunning character and it’s so good to see that. The whole storyline about the lands of Fairy being connected to the ruler is great and the direction in which Holly Black takes that in this book opens so many posibilities. I also enjoyed the glimpses we get of the relationship that Cardan is building with The Roach and The Bomb. Their ideas about him definitely change and there’s loyalty and trust being built between them and I’m so happy Cardin is starting to have the right people on his corner.

Now, let’s talk about my favorite part of the book, which is, the relatinship between Cardan and Jude. The dynamic between them is messed up, I’m not gonna deny that, but I still love them together. Cardan and Jude have this angsty, spiteful, deep, complicated relationship, that is the epitome of the friends to lovers trope and I can’t wait to see where it goes in the next book.

In terms of Jude’s family, Madoc is such an interesting character, as soon as he’s on the page he comands attention and I love how complex his relationship with Jude is, full of love, hate, cunning and betrayal. I can’t wait to see where it goes. Now, when it comes to Jude’s sisters, I’ll say that Vivi is exaspering, oblivious and a bit selfish and she annoys me a bit. As for Taryn, she is the worst character in this series, not only because she does things that make me dislike her, but also because she manages to be boring while doing them. I mean as much as Locke is terrible, he is at least interesting and I’m pretty sure he’s gonna be a bigger player in this series than he has been so far, when he actually puts his mind to it.

Nicasia, Orlagh and Balekin were the most obvious antagonist and the first to make a move against Cardan’s rule, but honestly, I feel like they worked mostly as a distraction, because the fight for power is a long one and there’s other people scheming and biding their time to win the long game.

The one negative things I’ll say about this book is that one of the big plot twists relays on Jude overlooking something that was a bit obvious and it’s a bit hard to believe that she would miss that. There’s a partial explanation because she was putting her body and mind through hell by not resting, not eating, consuming poisons, between other things. So, it could be all of that that lead her to overlook some things, but it’s never point out in the book and I don’t entirely buy that explanation. But overall, it didn’t really diminish my enjoyment of the book.

The ending was fantastic, infuriating but fantastic, and I can’t believe we have to wait a year for the next book. Honestly, if you haven’t started this series yet, what are you waiting for?! I know the hype can be scary, but get over it! You will be happy if you do.

Rating: 5 stars 
Have you read this series? Are you planning on reading it? Are any fantasy books similar to this series that you would recommend? 

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ARC Review: You Are Here by Dawn Lanuzo

You Are Here by Dawn Lanuzo Cover

Title: You Are Here

Author: Dawn Lanuzo

Published by:Andrews McMeel Publishing

Publishing date: February 12th 2019

Genre: Poetry

Pages: 272

Growth and change—two powerful anthems resonate throughout this collection of poetry and prose that will leave you feeling emboldened and empowered.

You Are Here is Dawn Lanuza’s newest collection of contemporary poetry that lends itself to the idea of giving ourselves second chances. These self-healing poems and words draw on central themes of self-love, self-discovery, and empowerment. In order to survive the vicissitudes of life, You Are Here boldly reminds readers to always choose themselves, and in times where it seems impossible, to find the courage and strength to start anew.

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A copy of this book was provided via Netgalley by Andrews McMeel Publishing in exchange of an honest review.

“Isn’t it sad, to be sad, and not able to say it”

You Are Here addresses themes like depression, chronic pain, healing, second love and second chances. A lot of these themes resonated with me and a lot of what the author was trying to say is important, but the execution took away from the message behind the poems. The writing style isn’t strong enough, is too simple and it doesn’t allow the poems to feel as powerful and touching as they could have been.

“No one knows how to love me when I’m sad

And I can’t blame them for that

I don’t even know how to love me

When the voices come at night

I hate and hate and hate

Even when I fight”

Nonetheless, I feel like this collection could help a lot of people dealing with depression (or mental illness in general) to feel seen and understood. There’s this poem that talks about Lanuza’s struggles to decide when it’s the appropriate time to tell a new romantic partner that she has depression, and I think that poem in particular will resonate with a lot of people, even if the writing isn’t the best. That’s one of the many poems that talk about mental health in this collection, which to me, represent the best of Lanuza’s work.

Overall, I would say that even if this is not the best written poetry collection, it deals with some important subjects in a relatable way and I would still recommend it.

Rating: 3,4 stars

Have you read this book? Are you planning on reading it? What poetry collections would you recommend?

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Book Review: Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria

Beneath the Citadel 

Title: Beneath the Citadel

Author: Destiny Soria

Published by: Amulet

Publishing date: October 9th 2018

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pages: 480

In the city of Eldra, people are ruled by ancient prophecies. For centuries, the high council has stayed in power by virtue of the prophecies of the elder seers. After the last infallible prophecy came to pass, growing unrest led to murders and an eventual rebellion that raged for more than a decade.

In the present day, Cassa, the orphaned daughter of rebels, is determined to fight back against the high council, which governs Eldra from behind the walls of the citadel. Her only allies are no-nonsense Alys, easygoing Evander, and perpetually underestimated Newt, and Cassa struggles to come to terms with the legacy of rebellion her dead parents have left her — and the fear that she may be inadequate to shoulder the burden. But by the time Cassa and her friends uncover the mystery of the final infallible prophecy, it may be too late to save the city — or themselves. 

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Trigger Warnings: panic and anxiety attacks, abusive parents, captivity and torture, and death.

Beneath the Citadel has five main characters, all of them with chapters told from their point of view, and all of them with distintive voices and personalities. The characters are flawed, they make mistake, they have insecurities and because of that they were compelling and felt like real, three dimentional people, which made them my favorite part of the story. Also, there’s a lot of diversity in this book, which is another aspect that I loved about it! One of the main characters is a POC; another is an ace, plus sized, POC, that has severe anxiety; another one is a bisexual POC, and the other one has trauma from being abuse by his father. All these aspects of the characters identities are integrated seamlessly to the story.

Another great things about this book is the way it shows complex relationship and dynamics between characters that disagree most of the time but still love each other; or characters that come from families that have bad blood between them but still trust each other; or characters that have history between them that makes things awkward but they still love each other. Honestly, there’s so many things that make the relationships between these characters complicated and STILL they love and trust each other and it’s so beautiful and it was something I loved about this book.

Beneath the Citadel has an amazing, layared magic system. This book doesn’t go into too much details about the history of the world, the gods and the magic, it focuses more on the actual abilities that people have and that choice works really well with the pace of the book. There are abilities that people are born with and that are more closely related to the mind, like being able to see and manipulate other people’s memories or being able to see the future. And then there are abilities that people acquire through a painful procedure that only a few have access to and that only one man knows how to perform, those abilities are more physical since people are able to control one substance in most cases a metal, but also other things like glass. As I said, the magic system is fascinating and adds a really cool element to the story, but I really liked the fact that not all the main characters have magic abilities, but all of them offer something to the team and contribute in their own ways.

Now, in terms of the plot, this is a story about a heist and what’s really interesting, more so that the actual heist, is that there are two people pushing the main characters to pull off the heist but they are expecting completely different results. So, it’s really hard for the characters to know what side to choose since they can’t trust neither of them, and that makes the story so much more captivating. Also, throughout the book, sometimes it’s hard to know if the main characters should trust each other, because they have secrets and different motivations that can force them to make choices that can affect the others in negative ways even if they don’t want to hurt them.

There are a lot of twists and turns in this book and there’s always something happening, so the book is entertaining and engaging the whole time. Sometimes it feels like everything is a bit too easy for the main characters, it seems like they manage to get out of the trickiest situations with relative ease, and at the beginning that’s true, but by the end everything gets so intense and so many things go wrong that the resolution  is kind of shocking and bittersweet.

Overall, Beneath the Citadel is an entertaining read, with a cast of amazing diverse characters, complex relationships between them and a plot full of twist and turns that will keep at the edge of your seat.

Rating: 4,5 stars 

Have you read this book? Are you planning on reading it? Are any fantasy books that are standalones and that you would recommend?

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January 2019 Wrap Up (+ Mental Health Book Bingo Wrap Up)

Monthly Wrap Up newest

Life Update 

  • I started the month in the best way, traveling through Italy. I went to Rome, Florence and Venice and it was amazing! Venice was so beautiful.
  • Then I got home the 8th of January and I started my internship the next day – after a 20 days trip through France and Italy – and it was exhausting if I’m being honest. The internship has been kind of a disappointment.
  • I also had exams during January, I did really well on those, but with everything that was going on, my anxiety got a bit out of hand after a few months of being in very low levels, which sucks.
  • Still, overall it was a good month, I love the fact that I started the year traveling and I’m so grateful I got that chance!

What I Read 

This year I’m participating in a few reading challenges, so I’ll be lkeeping track of that with some emojis!

                     🌸 =Reading Women Challenge 🌿= Catch Up on Classics                                    ⭐= Dancing with Fantasy and Sci-fi Challenge 🌻= Year of the Asian

In An Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire (4,3 stars): my favorite book in the series so far! I found the goblin market so interesting and the characters were so complex! This entire book was so bittersweet and I loved it! (review)  – ⭐

A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle (3 stars): This was disappointing; the writing style wasn’t for me, I didn’t found the case interesting and the only really good thing was the characters. (review) – 🌿

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro (5 stars):  Lovely, flawed, amazing characters and a really interesting relationship and dynamic between them.  (review coming this week!) – 🌿🌸

Tangled Like Us by Krista & Becca Ritchie (4 stars): This was really good, Thatcher is not my favorite but I love Jane and they work as a couple and I liked that we got to see more of the Cobalts. Honestly,  I can’t wait until we get a Sulli and Akara book. I NEED IT! – 🌸

Hi Fi Fight Club by Carly Usdin (4 stars): I really liked this, I think the characters are amazing and the art and color pallet are so lovely! (review)

Lumberjanes by Various Authors (4 stars): This was so much fun! The perfect amount of spooky and mysterious to make want to continue with the other issues. (review)

Lumberjanes: 2016 Special by Various Authors (3,4 stars): Didn’t really enjoy this story as much, I think it was a little too ridiculous and not spooky enough. But the art was pretty. (review)

Mental Health Book Bingo 

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan (4 stars): Beautifully written, I loved the romance and seeing the evolution of the father/daughter relationship. I wasn’t even 10% into this and it had me tearing up. My only problem with this is that it dragged a little. It has depression rep, so trigger warning for that and for suicide.  (review) – 🌻 🌸

Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria (4,5 stars): I loved all the characters in this book so much and I had a lot of fun reading this story until the moment when my heart was broken. Besides that, I really liked that this was a Fantasy standalone, which we need more of, and it’s a fantasy with anxiety rep, which we need even more –  ⭐

Darius the Great in Not Okay by Adib Khorram (4,5 stars): This was fantastic, the family relationships were the main focus of this book and there were so many complex and interesting characters that even when there’s not much plot, I still found this absolutely compelling. The friendship part of the story was also really sweet and i loved that it was set in Iran and mostt of the main characters were iranies. Also, this was the second book this month that made me tear up, which is so unusual for me! Trigger warnings for depression- 🌻

You Are Here by Dawn Lanuza (3,5 stars): The writing style wasn’t that great, but I really liked the themes this addressed, like depression and  second love, and I found a lot of what the author was trying to say relatable. (review coming this week!)

Blog Posts 

Here are some of my favorite blog posts I wrote in January:

Have you read any of the books I mentioned? Did you enjoy them? Do you want to read any of them?

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