August 2022 Wrap Up: reading lots of anticipated releases

I had such a good reading month, I didn’t love everything I read but I didn’t dislike any of the books either. Even the 3 stars I would recommend because I had a good time reading them. So I’m counting it as a win!

Here are my (very extensive) thoughts on the books I read this month:

The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher (4 stars): I really liked this, it made me feel so much dread, there were so many creepy and disturbing things in this book, and the wait for something bad to happen was anxiety-inducing. I appreciated that the two main characters were not idiots or foolishly brave, they were complex, interesting characters. The only thing I had a small issue is that the “chase” at the end dragged a lit bit. 

What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher (4.5 stars): This was a quick read, it kept me engaged and the ending was really satisfying, which is hard to in short horror books. It wasn’t scary, but there were a few unnerving moments.

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (4 stars): This is a quick read and a very interesting book. As always, Silvia Moreno-García manages to include important topics and conversations in this book, I appreciated that it portrayed misogyny and it addressed the way forced labor was performed by indigenous people in Mexico during the nineteenth century. Also, really liked the setting and how atmospheric this was, and the fact that Moreno- García presents us with flawed and complex characters who make the wrong choices and who are not the type of character that appears in novels often. The concept of this, the way it reimages The Island of Doctor Moreau but sets it in Mexico and the twist of that storyline were all incredible. Overall, I really enjoyed this and it kept me interested even if I wish I was a bit more invested in the story while reading it.

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton (3.5 stars): It took me a long time to get into this, mainly because the main character was so confused in the beginning that it made it hard to connect with him and he changed bodies so often and most of the people that he had to live as were terrible, so I didn’t feel invested in the characters. I even contemplated DNFing this, but after a while, the mystery was so interesting to me that I really wanted to find out what was going on and I ended up feeling invested in the story even if I was not invested in the characters. 

Ruby Fever by Ilona Andrews (4 stars): This book was a good finale for this trilogy, I couldn’t put this down, I found it really entertaining and I loved finding out how everything wrapped up. As always, the world and magic systems in this series are fantastic, it has a super compelling cast of characters, I love the family dynamics and the romance between Catalina and Alessandro was also really good. I wish it was a bit less action-packed, there were mini-action scenes happening all the time because there were like a thousand minor villains and a lot of storylines needed to be wrapped up, but overall I really enjoyed it.

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke (4 stars): I had such a hard getting into this book because the beginning is confusing and nonsensical but not in a whimsical way, instead in a very dense and scientific way and I just found that to be a bit boring. Nonetheless, a little before the halfway point when the mystery of this world starts to be revealed, I started to really enjoy the story and feel very fascinated by it. The mystery, the different people involved, the history behind what’s going on, all of it is very intriguing and entertaining to read about. After things are revealed to the reader, it was a bit frustrating to see Piranesi stumbling in the dark but he eventually discovers the truth and the story gets even better from there. The speculative elements of the story mixed with a very scientific and philosophical approach to them make the concept feel very unique and interesting.

Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood (4.5 stars): While it took me a little bit to get into this, I was sold on it once the characters started to interact more about 60 pages in. I loved the characters, seeing them slowly bond and clear up misunderstandings, how much Levi adored Bee, the chemistry and tension between them, and the smutty scenes. The only issue I had with this was the over-the-top ending that seemed like something taken out of an action movie that came out of nowhere.

Don’t Go Baking My Heart by N.G. Peltier (4.5 stars): This is the best representation of the grumpy/sunshine trope I have read. At first, they were a bit frustrating, especially the hero. Still, throughout the book the character development of the two main characters was outstanding and it ended up being really easy to root for them. The chemistry, tension, and slow development of their relationship were all great. Also, the steamy scenes were great.

The Godparent Trap by Rachen Van Dyken (3 stars): I have mixed feelings about this. The hero in this book is such a jerk to the heroine, and while he was grieving, she was also grieving and she wasn’t a jerk, and he started being mean to her since before everything happened and the explanation for it didn’t completely work for me. Nonetheless, once he stopped being a jerk, I actually liked the romance, it was really sweet. I also really enjoyed the relationship between the main characters and the two kids, that part was sweet and the way parenthood was depicted felt very realistic. Unfortunately, the steamy scenes weren’t that steamy.

For Butter or Worse by Erin La Rosa (3 stars): This is truly a hate-to-love story, these two characters really hate each other at the beginning and I appreciated that. Nonetheless, while the main characters had a lot of chemistry and I could understand the physical attraction, I felt like they went very quickly and without reason from hating each other to being comfortable and vulnerable with each other, which didn’t make a lot of sense to me. Also, the very public apologies and grand gestures are not something I like in my romance, and even less so, if it’s done without talking to the other person about the issues first. But beyond all that, I have to admit that I did enjoy the cute and romantic moments and the steamy scenes were good. I also appreciated the anxiety rep, the fake dates and “fake” PDA, and the way this used google searches and tweets, which worked really well to see the reaction of the public to their romance.

An Impossible Impostor by Deanna Raybourn (3.5 stars): It took me a long time to get into this, mainly because there was no mystery for the first half of the book. The mystery mentioned in the synopsis gets solved really quickly and then the real mystery started around the 50% mark. So not a lot happens in the first half. The second half of the book was a lot better, I was interested in the mystery and I liked that the main characters had some personal stakes in it, which I felt was something missing in the previous book in the series. Also, I really liked Veronica and Stoker as always, even if I wanted a bit more Stoker in this book. The final bit with all the angst between them was really good. I’m excited about where their story is going next.

What are the best and worst books you read in August? Was August a good reading month for you?

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August 2022 TBR: 2022 releases, lots of romance, fantasy sequels and more

I had a good reading month in July and I decided to put together an overly ambitious tbr to see if I can keep the momentum going. Hopefully that’s the case because I’m hoping to read all of these 10 books in August:

The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher: this was on my tbr of other people’s favorite books of 2021 which I posted at the beginning of this year and I really want to read all the books on that tbr before the year ends.

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke: another book that I included in the other people’s favorite books of 2021 post, I have heard great things about this, I started it and I was liking it so I’m excited to finally finish it.

The Burning God by R.F. Kuang: This is on my list of books I need to finish before the end of the year, I need to get over my fear of being devastated while reading this and finally get to it.

Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb: I read the first book two years ago and really liked it, but never continued with the series and it’s time to change that. I’m curious where this story goes especially since some of my favorite booktubers love this series.

Recursion by Blake Crouch: I have been in the mood to read more Sci-fi and this one keeps popping up everywhere, so I’ll give it a chance, especially since and it has a mystery/thriller aspect which I’m curious about.

Ruby Fever by Ilona Andrews: I have been waiting for this book for so long and I’m excited that it’s finally being released. I can’t wait to see how this trilogy ends.

Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood: I have read and really enjoyed every story that Ali Hazelwood has published and this is one of my most anticipated releases of 2022, I can’t wait to get to it.

For Butter or Worse by Erin La Rosa: this sounds like a really fun romance and I have the audiobook from my library, so it’s just what I need.

The Godparent Trap by Rachel Van Dyken: I remember loving the movie Life’s Too Short when it came out, and I’m SO excited that someone wrote a book inspired by that movie. Also, I have heard good things from people who got ARCs.

An Impossible Impostor by Deanna Raybourn: This is the last book that I have to read to catch up with the Veronica speedwell series, which is a comfort series for me, so I’m happy to get to it.

What books are on your August tbr? Have you read any of the books on my tbr? which one should I prioritize?

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April 2022 Wrap Up: a very meh reading month

In this post, I’m going to talk about the books I read in April, but before that, I wanted to talk about blogging. Because I thought April was going to be the month I came back to blogging consistently but I have had so much work, which makes me feel tired all the time and so uninspired to blog, so posting consistently didn’t happen. Nonetheless, I’m hopeful that May is going to be a great blogging month for me because we finally hired someone to fill a position that has been vacant on my team at work and I’m hoping that is going to reduce my workload a lot and I’ll have the energy and motivation to start blogging more.

With that out of the way, I’ll share my thoughts on the books I read in April:

An Offer From a Gentleman by Julia Quinn (3 stars): this was ok, it was entertaining enough and a quick read but not too memorable. I didn’t dislike the characters, but I know Sophie is a lot of people’s favorite heroine in this series and I thought she was just fine. And Benedict was a little self-centered and spoiled but he was nice and caring sometimes too. I think my main problem with this is that, since it was a cinderella retelling, the relationship starts with instant attraction and connection and I didn’t feel like there was enough relationship development beyond that. Also, I feel like the power dynamics weren’t handled well enough at some points. I did like the ending, Mrs. Bridgerton was a great character in this book, I loved seeing glimpses of the other Bridgertons and I appreciated the way the storyline with the stepmother and stepsisters was wrapped up.

Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn (3.5-4 stars): I was really looking forward to this book but I was nervous because I kept hearing really mixed things about it. I’m happy to say that I ended up enjoying this. Penelope is a great character, my favorite so far in the series, and I loved her development in this book as well as the relationship she developed with Lady Danbury. Colin was a good character even if I had some issues with his jealousy and attitude at the end of the book. This does a good job of establishing the relationship between Colin and Penelope at the beginning as close acquaintances and then the transition to being friends. Their conversations and dynamics were amazing and seeing Colin realize how fantastic Penelope is was wonderful. My main issue is that the last part of the book dragged because it felt like the romance plotline was concluded but they still needed to reveal who Lady Whistledown was so the book kept going. Also, that last part was focused on Colin’s insecurities and jealousy and I didn’t find that interesting.

Below Zero by Ali Hazelwood (4 stars): This was good, a solid novella, but I think it’s my least favorite of this series. It was entertaining, a quick read, and it had some pretty good steamy scenes. I really liked Ian, I think he was swoony, I liked their relationships and while I didn’t love Hannah as a character, she was alright. I think the reason this is my least favorite is that I wish there was a bit more to the storyline of their past together.

Baptism of Fire by Andrzej Sapkowski (4 stars): This was a lot better than the previous book mainly because we saw a lot more of Geralt. I wish that didn’t mean that we basically didn’t see Yennefer and saw very little of Ciri (even tho I didn’t like her storyline in this book so I didn’t want more of it). This book is heavy on the political intrigue which I enjoy so I didn’t have a problem with it and I actually found it very entertaining, but I can see why some people may find this book boring. There’s not a lot of plot beyond getting people to where they need to be and other people making alliances. I did like the new characters that were introduced and the unlikely group that Geralt ends up traveling with, who are part of the main storyline in this book. The one thing that bothered me is the absurd amount of sexual violence against women that was included in this book, while I know sexual violence during a war is common, it felt almost gratuitous at times.

The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami (4 stars): This was a whimsical and nonsensical short story that was very well-written, really captivating, and fast-paced, in the sense that things kept happing in quick succession and there wasn’t much time to dwell on them. It had the sinister tone of old fairytales and the images that are included contributed to the oddness of the book. The theme or the point of the book is not entirely clear and I think it may need more than one reading to see it, but the ending gives a solid clue about the deeper meaning behind the story.

A Cruelty Special to Our Species by Emily Jungmin Yoon (4 stars): This was incredibly powerful. Emily Jungmin Yoon focuses mainly on the experiences of “comfort women”, which were Korean women forced into sexual slavery during the Japanese occupation of Korea in World War II. The poems related to this topic were the highlight of the collection, they were raw, impactful, and really hard to read at times. Also, there were some other good poems about Emily’s experience as a Korean-American woman. While most of the collection was fantastic, there were a few poems that didn’t work quite so well and some that even felt out of place in the collection. Nonetheless, this is a collection that I would recommend to anyone that enjoys poetry.

Vulnerable AF by Tarriona Ball (3 stars): This was ok. I actually ended up enjoying the short prose pieces much more than the poetry. Besides a couple of standout poems, the rest were just fine.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson (3 stars): I didn’t enjoy this nearly as much as I enjoyed the other two books that I have read by this author. I wasn’t that interested in the beginning of this book when she talked about her childhood but once she gets to her college/ adult life I started to enjoy it a lot more. The fact that every story revolved one way or another around animals (dead or alive) was something that I didn’t love about this wither. But I appreciated the way she talked about mental health, miscarriages, relationships, and motherhood in such a frank and witty way. Nonetheless, I had issues with some of her jokes (about sexual assault, eating disorders, race) which crossed lines at certain points.

What are the best and worst books you read in April? Was April a good reading month for you?

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My favorite books of the first quarter of 2022

Hi everyone! I have seen so many people talking on different platforms about their favorite books so far this year and they made me 1) add a bunch of books to my tbr and 2) want to write a post and talk about my favorite books as well.

So here are the books I have given 5 stars to in the last 3 months, they are books that I read in 2022 but they didn’t necessarily come out this year. I started with my favorite and worked my way down:

Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas: I know this is a very polarizing book but I loved it and it’s the best book I have read this year. I love how atmospheric, unique and intriguing this book is. I was completely captivated while reading it. The fact that the plot is so mysterious and we don’t get all the answers worked perfectly for me and the complex and chaotic characters, as well as the found family element, were some of my favorite things about this. Also, the ending had me at the edge of my seat. (Review)

Payback’s a Witch by Lana Harper: This book has so many elements that I enjoy in stories and I also read it at the perfect time; it was exactly what I needed. I loved the witchy small town, the magic tournament, the humor, the captivating characters, the lovely sapphic romance, the banter between the two main characters, and the personal journey the main character went through. Overall, a fantastic fantasy romance book. (Review)

Comfort Me With Apples by Catherynne M. Valente: This is the kind of story you should go into knowing as little as possible so I won’t say too much, but this book was mindblowing. In such a small amount of pages, it packed so much. This was smart and quietly disturbing and it touches on some powerful themes and commentary revolving around religious ideas and feminist ideas, which is why it can be polarizing, but I found it really thought-proving. (Review)

Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano: Right after finishing this book, I gave this book 4.5 stars but I bumped it up to 5 because I kept thinking about how much I enjoyed it. This is cozy mystery that’s fun, fast-paced, full of twists and turns, and absolutely absurd. It has a main character who is easy to root for and compelling side characters, as well as a plot that’s ridiculous but also really entertaining. (Review)

Under One Roof by Ali Hazelwood: This was such a fun and quick read, also it helped me get out of my months-long reading slump which makes this special to me. This is a romance novella that has forced proximity and “enemies” who are attracted to each other, slowly become friends, and then become so much more. This book makes the evolution of their relationship so believable and it manages to actually show them becoming more and more important to each other, which was my favorite thing about it. Also, as a bonus, this is really steamy.

What are the best books you have read so far in 2022? Have you read any of my favorite books?

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Discussing the idea of auto-buy authors (ft my auto-buy authors)

I am a huge mood reader and I’m very picky about things I like and I don’t like in books, so the idea of auto-buy authors is complicated to me. In my mind, “auto-buy” implies that I’ll buy and read their books regardless of the concept or premise, and if I go by that definition, then I don’t have auto-buy authors. What I have are authors that most of the time have concepts or premises that I’m interested in and appeal to my taste, so that’s the reason I read and will continue to read most of their books. But the moment they publish a book that doesn’t align with my taste, I’ll have no trouble skipping it.

I also think that “auto-buy” implies certain consistent interest throughout time. Nonetheless, when I started thinking about who I used to consider my “auto-buy” authors when I started my blog (about 6 years ago), I no longer read books by any of them, mainly because they are all YA authors and I don’t read that much YA anymore. Even thinking about my “auto-buy” authors from a couple years ago, I don’t think any of them are still authors I read from. Reading tastes change all the time (at least mine does), so it’s hard for me to think about authors who publish books that I’ll continue to be interested in in the long run. Still, I do have authors that, as long as my reading taste remains the same, I will continue to read from.

In that sense, I don’t think I have what it’s usually considered auto-buy authors, but I have authors that, at least for right now, are consistently writing books that align with my taste and that I enjoy reading, which is why I have read or want to read most of their books. And those are the authors that I’m going to talk about in this post.

Criteria

Now, in terms of how did I pick the authors for this list, here is the criteria:

  • I must have read and liked more than one book by them
  • The books can’t be from the same series
  • I must have read one of their books in the last year
  • I have to find most of the concepts or premises of their books interesting
  • I need to want to read their backlist titles (at least some of them), if they havea any.
  • I need to have at least one of their upcoming projects on my tbr

Auto-buy authors

Without further ado, here are my “auto-buy” authors + some of the books I’ve read by them:

Ilona Andrews

I read my first IA book in August 2020 and, in just a year and a half, I have read 21 of their books. Also, I’m interested in every single book that they have released and I’m hoping to finish catching up with their backlist this year. Their unique worlds and concepts, easy to root for characters, and captivating storytelling keep me wanting to read their works. They are my favorite urban fantasy writers.

Ali Hazelwood

I have read her debut romance novel, which came out last year, as well as the two novellas she has realized and I have loved all of them. Ali Hazelwood’s compelling writing, humor, characters and tropes work for me. I’m looking forward to read a lot more from her in the future.

Silvia Moreno-García

I have read 4 of her books, I have plans to read her entire backlist and I can’t wait for her next release. Her books are unique, her writing is beautiful, her concepts are interesting, she explores important themes and I love that all her books are set in Mexico and full of Mexican characters.

Adriana Herrera

Adriana writes romances about Latinx characters and I’m here for all her stories. They are steamy, diverse and well written. I have read 11 of her books, the only things I haven’t read by her are the short stories that she has published in anthologies and one book, which came out in December and it’s on my priority tbr.

Grady Hendrix

I have read two books by Grady Hendrix. His books have disgusting scenes, which is not the usual type of horror I like, but I liked the way he includes these gruesome scenes and, at the same time, incorporates important social themes in his books. I started reading their last release but I had to return the audiobook to my library so I couldn’t finish it, but I can’t wait to continue.

Talia Hibbert

I have read 10 of her books and I’m looking forward to reading her next release. She writes romance books that deal with important themes, full of neurodivergent and Black representation, really steamy and incredibly compelling.

What do you think about the idea of auto-buy authors? Do you have any auto-buy authors?

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February 2022 Wrap Up | the best reading month I’ve had in a long time

I don’t think I have ever been this excited to write a wrap up, but after almost a year of a reading slump and not feeling like I loved reading as much as I used to, I’m finally back in a reading mood and it’s all thanks to a little challenge where I tried to read 100 pages every day for a week. After that challenge, I read so much and I loved most of the books immensely.

So, despite the fact that this blog post is late and my posting schedule went out of the window this week because work was wild and I had so much to do, I’m still really happy to share my thoughts on the 17 books I read in February!

Under One Roof by Ali Hazelwood (5 stars): This was such a fun and quick read. It has forced proximity and “enemies” who are attracted to each other, slowly become friends, and then become so much more. This book makes the evolution of their relationship so believable and it manages to actually show them becoming more and more important to each other. Also, as a bonus, this is really steamy.

Payback’s a Witch by Lana Harper (5 stars): I loved the witchy small town, the magic tournament, the humor, the captivating characters, the lovely sapphic romance, the banter between the two main characters, and the personal journey the main character went through. (Full review)

Count Your Lucky Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur (3.5 stars): I really liked the characters and their chemistry but the lack of communication got really annoying and the conflict was boring. (Full review)

Bending the Rules by Christina C. Jones (3.5 stars): This was a quick, entertaining read with lots of steam. It’s a good friends-to-lovers story, but the one big issue is that there’s quite a bit of miscommunication.

Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers (3 stars): Relatable main character, great friendships, and an interesting exploration of mental illness, but the writing wasn’t for me and the romance felt forced and awkward. (Full review)

Comfort Me With Apples by Catherynne M. Valente (5 stars): This was so unexpectedly good! I thought it was gonna be a completely different story, but it’s so smart and quietly disturbing. (Full review)

Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas (5 stars): This was a very slow, atmospheric book, it was strange and captivating. I was intrigued the entire time while reading and the ending had me at the edge of my seat. (Full review)

Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews (4 stars): Ilona Andrews did it again, once I started reading this I didn’t want to stop. Their books are always compulsively readble and fun. They also come up with the most interesting concept, this is a mix of fantasy and sci-fi full of vampires, werewolves, different types of aliens, magical inns, advanced technology and so much more. The main characters are easy to root for and captivating, and the little hints of the romance were enough to make me want more.

Sweep in Peace by Ilona Andrews (3.5 stars): While this was interesting, I was having trouble being fully invested in the story for the first 60% because the main character had no real personal stakes in the plot, so I felt a little detached. I also missed the love interest who doesn’t show up for most of the book. Nonetheless, the last part of the book was SO GOOD, the way everything came together and the main character acting like a badass were things I really enjoyed.

One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews (4 stars): I really enjoyed this, it was action-packed and so fun to read. The main characters were great as always, it had an amazing cast of side characters (both old and new), the plot was really interesting and I enjoyed the twist that happened at the end. While I really like the main couple and we got some intense, emotional moments between them, I wish there were a few more quiet, nice moments of them connecting and falling in love outside of life-threatening situations. Also, while I liked the side couple, I think the build-up was missing, it’s almost like they went from 0 to 100.

Angel of Khan el-Khalili and The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P. Djelí Clark (3.5 stars): Just like the first novella in the Dead Djinn Universe, both this short story and this novella showed glimpses of a fascinating and unique world and magic system and they had interesting characters. Nonetheless, the short format is simply not working for me with this series, still, I’m looking forward to reading the full-length novel.

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir (4 stars): this had an interesting concept, great main characters, good humor, a surprising change in direction, but it dragged so much at certain points. (Full review)

A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers (4 stars): Didn’t love the main character and found the beginning a bit boring but I liked the concept, the casual queerness, and the message about not tying your value to your job and productivity. (Full review)

Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto (4.5 stars): This is over the top, melodramatic and so fun. It’s not exactly a murder mystery, it’s more a story of how to get away with murder where things keep going wrong but in a really funny way. This has incredible main characters, the relationship between Meddy and the aunts is heartwarming but their bickering and rivalries are really funny at points too. There’s a second chance romance that’s a big part of the story, and while it was good, I think Nathan forgave Meddy way too easily and she should have groveled more.

I’m Still Here by Austin Channing Brown (4 star): This was a really good collection of essays, it was an interesting, quick read. There weren’t many new ideas in it, but what made it special was the way the author addressed race and religion and the reluctance of some Christians to recognize their racism and put in the work to change. I’m not a religious person but I still found what Brown had to say really captivating and thought-provoking.

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw (4 stars): This short story collection is captivating, messy, and realistic. It talks mainly about queerness, womanhood, complicated mother/daughter relationships, and the intersections of these things with religion and faith. The writing is fantastic and, with the exception of one, I enjoyed every single story in this collection which almost never happens. My favorite stories were Eula, Peach Cobbler, Snowfall and How to Make Love to a Physics Professor.

What is your favorite and least favorite book of February? Was February a good reading month for you?

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I tried to read 100 pages every day for a week

I feel like I mention this in all of my posts for one reason or another, but I was in a reading slump for most of 2021, and because of that I fell out of the habit of reading every day. I have been trying to get back to it but it’s been hard, so I decided to try to read 100 pages every day for a week to see if it helped. Spoiler alert: I actually failed the challenge, but it still had very positive results even if I didn’t manage to read 100 pages every day.

In this post, I tell you about my experience doing this reading challenge with updates of how much and what did I read every day of the week. I also decided to include a peek into what I did every day of the week besides reading. I’m someone who really enjoys reading updates about the life of people I follow, so I thought it would be fun to share a little a bit about my life.

Now that all that is out of the way, here’s how the reading challenge went:

February 7

Page count: 110 pages

The first day of this challenge, I read the last 40 pages of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw, which was on my tbr for Black History Month. I really liked all the stories except for one which is really difficult to accomplish for a short story collection. The way it addressed queerness, womanhood, complicated mother/daughter relationships, and the intersections of these things with religion and faith was really interesting.

I also read 70 pages of The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson, which I enjoyed but it wasn’t what I was in the mood for so I’ve put it down for now.

Now, here’s a little peek into the other things I did that day:

Low-stakes series set in small towns really work for me when I’m anxious, so I had a lot of fun watching season 2 of Sweet Magnolias. I also watched an episode of Blackpink House, as a new-ish Blackpink fan I’m having fun getting caught up with all the content. Lastly, the blog post I finished this day was Ranking all the kdramas I watched in January 2022 .

February 8

Page count: 51 pages

On day 2, I started Bending the Rules by Christina C. Jones and read 51 pages. I got hooked right away, but unfortunately, I didn’t hit the 100 pages mark because I started reading at like 11:00 pm. In this book, the main characters used to be best friends but got into a fight 7 years prior and haven’t talked since, but once they reunite and clear up the misunderstanding, sparks begin to fly. Christina C Jones really knows how to write great chemistry between her main characters.

A little peek into the other things I did that day:

I started a new kdrama and it wasn’t the best decision for my reading. I started watching kdramas last year and they are the main reason I have been reading so much less the last few months. Still, I’m having a lot of fun watching dramas, so I don’t think this is gonna change anytime soon.

February 9

Page count: 35 pages

Things went even worst on day 3, since I only read 35 pages of Bending the Rules this day. While I was enjoying the book, I was too invested in the kdrama I was watching and didn’t make that much time to read. Nonetheless, if it wasn’t for this challenge, I wouldn’t have read anything this day or the day before. I’ll take that as a small win.

A little peek into the other things I did that day:

I finished my kdrama, which was Just Between Lovers (aka Rain or Shine) and I really enjoyed it. It was really angsty and it had a really slow-burn romance, but it was also touching and sweet and it had some really complex and interesting side characters. I became so engrossed in this that I needed to finish it and that’s why I ended up reading so little this day.

February 10

Page count: 312 pages

On day 4, I made up for not reading that much during days 2 and 3. I read the final 133 pages of Bending the Rules and while I ended up liking the book, there was a lot of miscommunication which frustrated me a bit. I also read the last 159 pages of Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers and I enjoyed the final part of the book more than the rest because it was more focused on the main character healing and learning to take care of her mental health. The writing and the romance in this didn’t work for me (full review to come!). Lastly, I read 20 pages of The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P. Djelí Clark and these first pages were ok, but I wasn’t too invested in the beginning.

A little peek into what other things I did that day:

I have been enjoying blog hopping a lot lately, I’m participating in the 2022 Support Book Bloggers challenge this year and I’m trying to visit other blogs and take the time to comment as a way to show people that I value their content.

February 11

Page count: 180 pages

<Another good day for reading. I read the last 93 pages of The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P. Djelí Clark, which is steampunk fantasy with a mystery element. While it showed glimpses of a complex and unique world with so many different kinds of supernatural creatures, the short format didn’t completely work for me, still I’m looking forward to reading the full-length novel. I also read the last 87 pages of A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers, which was good, but I was expecting a little more. My main issue is that I didn’t love the main character, I found them boring, but I did like the casual queerness, the concept of a world, the hopeful tone of the story, the wholesome second main character and the interesting commentary on productivity.

A little peek into the other things I did that day:

My anxiety has been really bad lately which means I have a hard time doing the same activity for more than 20 minutes. This was a particularly bad day in terms of anxiety, so that’s why I did so many things throughout the day. I was constantly jumping from one activity to another.

February 12

Page Count: 0 pages

I completely forgot to read this day, I unexpectedly had to work on a Saturday and I was so anxious the whole day, so it was not fun. Nonetheless, I had a friend’s birthday party that night and seeing my friends helped me feel better and I ended up having a great time.

February 13

Page count: 223 pages

The last day was also a very good day in terms of reading, I finished two books and I gave both of them 5 stars! I read 120 pages of Under One Roof by Ali Hazelwood and I LOVED this novella. This has forced proximity and “enemies” who are attracted to each other, slowly become friends and then become so much more. This book makes the evolution of their relationship so believable. Also, this is really steamy. Lastly, I read 103 pages of Comfort Me with Apples by Catherynne M. Valente and the story in this book was so unexpected but so good! It’s better to go into this knowing as little as possible. I thought it was gonna be a completely different story, but it’s so smart and quietly disturbing and I loved it.

A little peek into the other things I did that day:

Another day when I was really anxious which is why I did so many things. A new drama that I was highly anticipating started airing, I watched the first 2 episodes of Forecasting Love and Weather and I LOVED them. I’ve got a good feeling that this is going to be a new favorite kdrama. Also, the blog post I finished writing was 5 perfect book-song pairings.

I tried to be more active by taking a walk, going grocery shipping and decluttering my closet, to see if it would help with my anxiety and it actually did. So that was really good.

RESULTS

TOTAL OF PAGES READ: 911 pages

I feel like this challenge ended up having really positive outcomes, some that I expected and some that I didn’t:

This challenge helped me read even on days when I wasn’t particularly motivated to do it. Even if I didn’t read 100 pages every day, knowing that I was participating in this challenge made me try. Since I was in a reading slump for most of last year and I’m just coming out of it, this helped me get back to my habit of reading at least a little every day.

An unexpected outcome is that this challenge put me in a reading mood. While I was out of the reading slump for a while and I could read, I didn’t feel that passionate desire to read that I used to have, but thanks to this challenge, I got that feeling back. I want to read all the time and I feel so invested in all the books I have been reading, which is something that wasn’t feeling lately.

Overall, I’m really glad that I decided to do this challenge! now I know that if I’m ever feeling unmotivated when it comes to reading, this is something I can try.

Have you ever tried to read 100 pages every day? if you have, how did it go? What strategies do you use to get back the motivation to read when you feel like you’re losing it?

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Favorite Romance Books of 2021

Hi everyone! While I didn’t have the best reading year in 2021, I did find a few great books. So today I’m excited to share some amazing romance books that I read in 2021 and that I think you should read. I already shared a post with my favorite books of 2021, which includes all of the books that are not romances, so be sure to check out that post!

Without further ado, here are my favorite romance books of 2021:

Battle Royal by Lucy Parker

I LOVED both of the main characters in Battle Royal, this book included the sunshine/grumpy trope in all its glory, they had so much chemistry but also from very early on the deeper connection was evident. In this book, the main characters are co-judges of a baking show and they are competing for the contract to make the royal wedding cake, which ends up being the perfect set-up for a “dislike to friends to love” romance. I love how mature the relationships in Lucy Parker’s books are, even when they are competing against each other like in this book, and how she manages to write books that don’t have too much drama and angst, but that are still interesting.

The writing in this was really good and the book as a whole was funny and entertaining. Obviously, the whole plot with the royals was a bit unbelievable and unrealistic, but it was fun and I didn’t really care if it was something that would never happen in real life.

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

Despite all the hype, I was not that excited to read this and I’m not sure why. But I’m really glad I decided to give it a chance because I LOVED it. I usually don’t find that many books funny, but this book actually made me laugh out loud a few times. I really liked both of the main characters, the romance was great, it was a slow burn (in that great way that has you screaming at the character to get together already) and the whole fake dating plotline put them in a bunch of slightly awkward but full of sexual tension situations. Also, it had some good steamy moments.

I also loved that it was set in the academic world, it address obstacles that women faced in academia, and, especially, the storyline about sexual harassment at the end was so frustrating and infuriating, but also so well handled.

To Have and To Hoax by Martha Waters

I read so many mixed reviews of this book, so I didn’t even have it on my tbr. But then I decided to pick it up on a whim and I’m so glad I did. This is the type of second chance romance that works for me, the main characters grew distant from each other because of a misunderstanding but they still love each other, it’s just their pride standing in the way until a prank war breaks loose between them and brings them back together.

I think this book worked so well for me because the pranks weren’t mean or hurtful and they didn’t go too far. The pranks were actually fun and entertaining and this book actually made me laugh out loud a couple of times. I really liked the main characters, their chemistry, and banter. I do think they were a little bit immature but also they grew throughout the book, so I was ok with that.

Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle

This is such a sweet, wonderful slow burn, sunshine/grumpy romance with a good dose of forced proximity, between two strangers that inherited a house and that have to work together to clean it and renovate it. I had a brief moment of thinking I wasn’t going to like the main characters, but it was a false alarm, I ended up loving both of them. And the same happens to them, they have a bad impression of each other at first, but then slowly that changed and it was beautiful to see.

Wesley was so precious, once he got over his shyness and exaggerated grumpiness, he was still grumpy but also kind and sweet. And Maybell is such a genuinely nice, caring character. Wesley and Maybell were wonderful together and once they got together, they approached every situation and misunderstanding with so much compassion and care, which was very refreshing, because there wasn’t some dramatic conflict at any point, they faced obstacles together and got through them. This is not an angsty romance at all, it’s just sweet

Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron

This book has a really fun premise, because the heroine’s dad rents the apartment next to hers to the hero because he wants her to marry him, and they end up becoming friends and fake dating to enter a baking competition and things get more complicated from there. I loved the romance in this, I liked seeing Reena and Nadim reluctantly become friends and then seeing that friendship evolve into something more. Nadim was really sweet and considerate, which I find so swoony.

Beyond that, this is really a story about Reena and her journey, she feels like a real person and I enjoyed seeing her work to improve different aspects of her life throughout this book. I always enjoy complicated family dynamics, so seeing her deal with and try to improve her relationship with different members of her family added an interesting layer to the book.

Act Your Age, Eve Brown

I have loved all the books in the Brown Sisters Series, so it was not a surprise that I loved this one as well, and the fact that it was a dislike to love romance, which I love, didn’t hurt either. The tension between Eve and Jacob gave me life, their chemistry was so evident and their bickering, especially at the beginning, was so entertaining. And once they get together, the way they both accepted and made space for the needs of the other person was incredibly sweet. Talia Hibbert has a talent for writing healthy relationships, which is something I appreciate a lot. Also, this book has some really steamy scenes, but that’s to be expected from a Talia Hibbert book. Beyond that, I loved reading about Eve and seeing her grow throughout the book and figure out what she wanted from life.

What are your favorite romance books of 2021? If you had to choose one romance book that you read in 2021 for me to read, which one would it be?

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November 2021 Wrap Up: I’m back and I’m reading lots of romance

Hi everyone! I’m back! or I hope that I’m back. I spent most of this year in a reading slump, it goes away, and then it comes back and I hate it. And as usual, when I’m in a reading slump it translates into a blogging slump too, so that’s why I haven’t been posting consistently. Also, I’m so tired from my job most of the time that I don’t feel up to blogging. But right now, I do feel like blogging so I’m going to take advantage of that.

In this post, I will talk about 2 books I read in the last week of October, which were Dead Beat and Things have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke (the rest of my October reads are in my Latinx Book Bingo Wrap Up), and about the 7 books I read in November. As someone who was reading about 16 books a month at the beginning of the year, it pains me that the number of books that I read in a month keeps dropping lower and lower, but that’s just how it it right now.

Without further ado, here are the books:

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood (5 stars): I LOVED THIS! I usually don’t find that many books funny, but this book actually made me laugh out loud a few times. I really liked both of the main characters, the romance was great, it was a slow burn (in that great way that has you screaming at the character to get together already) and the whole fake dating plotline put them in a bunch of slightly awkward but full of sexual tension situations. Also, it had some good steamy moments.

Battle Royal by Lucy Parker (5 stars): I LOVED both of the main characters in Battle Royal, this book included the sunshine/grumpy trope in all its glory, they had so much chemistry but also from very early on the deeper connection was evident. I love how mature the relationship in Lucy Parker feels and how she manages to write books with relationships that don’t have too much drama and angst, but that is still interesting. The writing in this was really good and the book as a whole was funny and entertaining. Obviously, the whole plot with the royals was a bit unbelievable and unrealistic, but it was fun and I didn’t really care if it was something that would never happen in real life.

While We Were Dating by Jasmine Guillory ( 4 stars): I loved the main characters, their connection and chemistry were fantastic, it has some good steamy moments, and I appreciated the good mental health rep as well as the fact that this book shows therapy in a very positive light.

Isn’t It Bromantic? by Lyssa Kay Adams (3,7 stars): I really enjoyed this book, it was a fun reading experience and the romance was sweet. But the more I think about it, the more little issues I have with it. I really liked Vlad and Elena as the main characters. I enjoyed the little glimpses of Vlad and Elena being friends before they got married and I wanted more of that, just to understand how they fell in love in the first place. They were so sweet together and the sexual tension was definitely there too, but there was no real conflict or reason why they could be together. I feel like Lyssa Kay Adams tends to put too many elements in her books to have more drama or to make up for the fact that there’s no real conflict. And things can end up feeling forced, rushed, or like they don’t make sense. 

Incense and Sensibility by Sonali Dev (3.5 stars): I really enjoy Sonali Dev’s writing and I love the world she created for this series, with this big, wild family at the center of it. I liked both of the main characters, and I could see the tension and angst between them. Nonetheless, I had a hard time believing that they were not over one kiss and a few hours of conversation that happened 10 years ago. Also, I love slow burns, but they took so long to get together and the story definitely dragged a lot in the second half.

A Lot Like Adiós by Alexis Daria (3.5 stars): I want it to love this but sadly it was just ok for me. I have discovered this year that second chance romances where the main characters are reunited after a long time (10 years in this case) without seeing each other, and before parting ways they only had a day or night or a short period of time together, don’t work for me. I thought this was going to be different since they were best friends for a long time before something romantic happened between them, but we only see a little bit of them being friends, so the friends to lovers element wasn’t really there for me. I did like both of the main characters, I enjoyed Gabe’s storyline with his family and his character development, I enjoyed the fake dating aspect of this, and the steaminess was great too. But, while I did enjoy it more towards the end, the romance never quite worked for me.

Dead Beat by Jim Butcher (3,5 stars): In the beginning, this book felt a little repetitive and formulaic. Still, there was some character development, which I appreciated. In the second part, when we learned more about what’s happening in the war against the red court, the book gets more interesting. I hope to see Harry more involved with the conflict that it’s affecting the magical world and I feel like that’s the direction the series is taking. I liked seeing the development in Harry and Thomas’ relationship and Butter was also a good side character. As with most of the books in this series, I wish Murphy was in this more. Lastly, I don’t know where the whole storyline with the demon?/goddess? is going, but I’m intrigued.

Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke by Eric LaRocca (4 stars): In the beginning, this was a very bizarre story and it escalated quickly to being gross, disturbing, and even more bizarre. The way the story is told, through emails and chat conversations, left me feeling very intrigued about one of the characters, I wanted to know more about her because she is so mysterious in her messages and emails.

Los Abismos (The Abysses) by Pilar Quintana (4 stars): there’s not an English translation of this book yet, but if you can read Spanish, give it a chance! This is a quick and easy read, beautifully written without being too flowery or pretentious. A slice of life story with a very open ending told from the perspective of a little girl. At its core, it’s a story about women that feel trapped in their own lives and can’t see a way out, as well as the ups and downs of mental illness. And, even if it’s told by a child, it manages to address these topics in a powerful way without shying away from hard moments.

What is your favorite and least favorite book of November? Was November a good reading month for you?

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Hyped 2021 Releases: will I read them? should I read them?

Hi everyone! I share a few posts liked this in 2020, I had so much fun putting them together and I’m not sure why I stopped, but now they are back. The idea is that I’ll tell you whether I’m planning to read the hyped releases on this list or if I’m not plannig to read them, and I’m hoping you’ll tell me if maybe there’s a book that I’m not planning to read but that you think I should. Also, I would love to know if you enjoyed or didn’t enjoy one of the book I’m planning to read.

The books I included on this post are books released between August and October 2021 that I haven’t read but that I have heard a lot of people talk about and that already have over 1000 ratings on Goodreads. Also, I only chose books that are not a sequels or companion novels to books that I read before because it’s very likely that I’ll read those books.

The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling

Release date: September 28, 2021

I’m on the fence about this one, I had never heard about this book until it came out and suddenly everyone was reading it. I immediately added it on goodreads because everyone was loving it but there’s something about it that makes me think I won’t like it. Mainly because I struggle with books about second-chance romances, I either love them or dislike them.

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

Release date: September 14th 2021

I’m for sure reading this, all the romance booktububers and bloggers that I trust have LOVED this, so I’m like 99.9% certain that I will enjoy it. Also, the whole grumpy/sunshine dynamic is one I love in books and I have heard this is really steamy, which is always a plus. I would be extremely shocked if I ended up not liking this.

Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune

Release date: September 21st 2021 

I’m nervious to read this, but I still think I’ll give it a chance. I LOVED The House in the Cerulean Sea, it was one of my favorite books of last year, so of course Under the Whispering Door was a highly anticipated release for me. Nonetheless, I haven’t heard the first person I follow and trust say they loved this, from what I have seen people either didn’t like it or thougth it was just ok.

Battle Royal by Lucy Parker

Release date:  August 17th 2021

I’ll definitely read it. Not only does this book sound incredible, but I also LOVED Headliners, which is another book by Lucy Parker. Besides that, this includes the grumpy meets sushine and rivals to lovers tropes, which are two of my favorites.

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova

Release date:  September 7th 2021 

I’m going to read it. I added this book to my tbr since it was announced because I have loved other books by Zoraida Córdova, but it didn’t sound like the type of book I enjoyed so it wasn’t high on my priority list. Nonetheless, so many people are reading this and loving it, so I’m excited to give it a chance. Also, I have found out more about this book now that it’s out and I’m really intrigued.

Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney

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Release date:  September 7th 2021

I don’t think I’ll read this. I keep hearing about Sally Rooney’s books, people seem to either love them or hate them, and I have a feeling that I will be on the hate them camp based on what I have heard about them. I’m still a little tempted for the chance that I might end up loving them.

Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty

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Release date: September 14th 2021

I don’t know if I’ll read this. It sounds really good but I don’t often read domestic thrillers, even if they sound interesting I never end up picking them up. But at the same time, when I do pick them up I usually end up enjoy them, which was the case with Big Little Lies. So I think I’d probably enjoy this book but I don’t think I’ll have the motivation to pick it up anytime soon.

My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones

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Release date: August 31st 2021 

I don’t think I’ll read this. I thought this book sounded really good when I first heard about it and everyone seemed so excited for it that I was getting excited too. But after its release, most people are saying this book is really boring and it doens’t live up to its great concept and that is making me really scared of reading it. Especially since I read a Stephen Graham Jones novella and didn’t like it that much and I dfn’ed one of his books.

Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney

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Release date: September 7th 2021

I’m nervous about this one, but I’m leaning towards reading it. As I said before, I don’t often read domestic thrillers, nonetheless, this sounds like an isolated mystery and those are my favorite kind of mystery, so I’m intrigued. Also, I have heard so many good things about it.

Out of the books I’m not planning to read, is there any that you think I should pick up?

Out of the books I’m planning to read, , is there any that I should prioritize or maybe one you wouldn’t recommend?

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