Book series I want to finish/catch up on before the end of 2022

I have been feeling less slumpy lately, I’m raeding and blogging more, so I’m making reading plants for what’s left of the year trying to keep my momentum going and finally getting out of this reading slump, and also just hoping for the best. So, to set myself up for success, I chose 5 book series that I want to finish or catch up on before the end of the year, but for all of these series I only have 1 or 2 books left to read, that way I won’t be overwhelmed and I will hopefully be able to read all of the books.

Without further ado, this are the series I’m hoping to finish/catch up on:

The Witcher Series by Andrzej Sapkowski

I have read 5 books in this series. I have two books left to read and one of them it’s on my tbr for this month, so I’m hoping to be able to finish the series before the end of the year. Also, I’m not counting the prequel, Season of Storms, because I don’t think I have any interest in reading that.

Veronica Speedwell Series by Deanna Raybourn

I just finished reading book 6 in the series and I have only one book left – which is An Impossible Impostor -before I catch up with all the already release installments. While I haven’t loved the last 2 books as much as the first 4, I still want to read about the two main characters, Veronica and Stoker, and their relationship, so I’m continuing with this series.

The Poppy War Series by R.F Kuang

I need to read The Burning God but I’m so scared because I know it’s going to be a painful experience. I have been avoiding this book for a year since I read the second book in this series and I don’t want to let this year end without finishing it.

Monk and Robot Series by Becky Chambers

I didn’t love the first novella in this series but since I usually love Becky Chambers’ books, I want to give this series another chance by reading the second novella, A Prayer for the Crown-Shy, especially because I think this series has potential to be a comfort read for me.

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

While I’m not reading YA anymore, I read the first book in this series at the beginning of 2021 and I really enjoyed it, so I want at least to finish this series and I want to do it sooner rather than later before I forget everything that happened in the first book.

What book series do you want to finish or catch up on in the next few months? Is there any series you want to start reading soon?

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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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Reviewing Sci-Fi Books: Project Hail Mary + A Psalm for the Wild-Built

Hi everyone! I’ve been trying to catch up on some 2021 releases that I didn’t read last year and these two sci-fi books were at the top of my list. I’m happy to say that overall I enjoyed both of them even if I had some issues that prevented me from completely loving them. Here are my thoughts:

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission—and if he fails, humanity and the Earth itself will perish. Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.

All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company. His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, he realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Alone on this tiny ship that’s been cobbled together by every government and space agency on the planet and hurled into the depths of space, it’s up to him to conquer an extinction-level threat to our species. And thanks to an unexpected ally, he just might have a chance.

The humorous tone of the book captured my attention as soon as I started reading, and it worked really well to offset the tense and hopeless situation the book revolves around. The first part of this book was so strong because it was easy to feel the tension and how desperate the situation was for the entire population of earth. Andy Weir used the two timeliness perfectly to create intrigue and keep the reader engaged; having this middle school teacher wake up in a spaceship with no memory of how he got there and then seeing the past and slowly understanding the dire situation kept the book interesting. And then the story takes an unexpected turn that added a very compelling element to the story and the way the book explored the consequences of that change in direction was very engrossing at first.

Nonetheless, after a while, the plot basically stopped progressing and the new elements stopped being as interesting. The book started to drag because there are certain interactions and developments that were interesting at first but that became repetitive and monotonous, and that may have been the author’s intent since that’s a realistic portrait of those experiences but it did make the reading experience a little less fun. Also, sometimes it felt like the author got caught up in showing all the cool science and forgot about the story.

Still, the book picked up again once things started to progress and I was at the edge of my seat for most of the last 25% when everything kept going wrong and the characters had to come up with riskier plans to try to save the world. Nonetheless, while everything going wrong can add tension and excitement, there’s a fine line before it stops doing that and instead, it makes the reader go “when is this going to end?”, and this book was very close to crossing that line for me. But I feel like ultimately it didn’t cross it and I actually enjoyed the ending. It was bittersweet, unexpected and it fit the story well.

RATING: 4 STARS

A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers

Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission—and if he fails, humanity and the Earth itself will perish. Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.

All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company. His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, he realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Alone on this tiny ship that’s been cobbled together by every government and space agency on the planet and hurled into the depths of space, it’s up to him to conquer an extinction-level threat to our species. And thanks to an unexpected ally, he just might have a chance.

My expectations for this book were really high because I loved the two Becky Chambers books I’ve read, and while this wasn’t everything I hoped for, it was still a good read. The concept of the book was really interesting, a world where robots suddenly became self-aware and decided to live apart from humans without contact with them, and humans are trying to fix the mistake of the past by looking after nature and respecting the decision of robots. Overall, the book had a very hopeful tone that started with this concept, the idea that humans can change and decide to work together, commit to saving the environment, and learn to respect other beings.

My main problem was that I found Sibling Dex to be a boring main character, and since almost half of the book is focused only on him, his job as a tea monk and his journey, I wasn’t that invested. Nonetheless, I really appreciated the casual queerness (Sibling Dex is nonbinary) and getting to see different parts of the world because of his job as a tea monk implied a lot of traveling. Furthermore, once Mosscap, a robot and the second main character, is introduced things become better (plot and character-wise). Mosscap is a really wholesome character and it adds so much warmth to the story. Also, it was interesting seeing Dex and Mosscap learning about each other’s cultures and ways of life. This book does a very good job of addressing difference and otherness, the way two cultures can see and understand the same thing in very different ways.

Lastly, this book is thought-provoking in more than one way, but what stuck with me the most is the powerful commentary on separating our value from what we do, what we contribute and our productivity, which is reflected in my favorite quote from the book: “You keep asking why your work is not enough, and I don’t know how to answer that, because it is enough to exist in the world and marvel at it. You don’t need to justify that, or earn it. You are allowed to just live.”

RATING: 4 STARS

Have you read these books? What Sci-Fi books have you read and loved recently?

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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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2021 Releases I Want to Read This Year

Hi everyone! Today I want to talk about all the 2021 releases that I didn’t get to read last year mainly because I was in a terrible reading slump for half of the year. These books are mainly YA books, and while I don’t read that much YA anymore, these are all part of different series that I want to finish. Then I have a few adult romances and lastly a miscellaneous group of adult books.

Cazadora by Romina Garber: I absolutely loved Lobizona, it was one of my favorite books of 2020, and because of my slump I didn’t get to read the sequel when it came out last year, but I definitely want to visit this interesting magical world again.

Dragonblood Ring by Amparo Ortiz: again I loved Blazewrath Games, it was one of my favorite books of 2020, and because of my slump didn’t get to the sequel last year. I’m really excited about this book because this is a duology so I can’t wait to find out how the story ends.

The Bronzed Beasts by Roshani Chokshi: While I have some complaints about this series, the character have me in their grip so I can’t wait to know what will happen to them and how their relationships will evolve.

Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong: another conclusion to a duology that I can’t wait to read, I loved These Violent Delights when I read it in 2021 and I want to continue with this sequel before I forget everything that happened in that book.

All Rhodes Lead Here by Mariana Zapata: I have read 3 Mariana Zapata books and I have loved all of them but I wasn’t interested in anything else from her backlist, but this new release not only sounds amazing, but it has also gotten great reviews.

First Love, Take Two by Sajni Patel: I loved the first book in this series of companion novels and I’m looking forward to reading this even if I’m a bit nervous because 2021 proved that second-chance romances are very hit or miss for me. Nonetheless, I’m hopeful based on how much I loved the first book.

Bombshell by Sarah MacLean: I have loved so many Sarah MacLean books so I obviously want to start her newest series. I have seen nothing but good reviews for this, so I’m excited!

The Duke Heist by Erica Ridley: it seems to me like everyone (in the historical romance community) has read this book and loved it, so I’m intrigued. The premise sounds really good and I’m looking forward to reading my first Erica Ridley.

Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto: I have been loving and craving cozy mysteries lately, so I’m excited to read another one, especially one that has a big romance component to it.

A Psalm for the Wild Built by Becky Chambers: I have read 2 Becky Chambers books before and they were both 5 stars, so I have high expectations for this one. I’m pretty I’ll love it.

Blood Heir by Ilona Andrews: I read the entire Kate Daniels series in 2 weeks in 2021 and I loved Julie and Derek as characters, so of course, I want to read their story. I’m a bit hesitant because book two doesn’t have a release date but I’m really curious.

Goddess of Filth by V. Castro: I got into horror in 2021 and I particularly enjoyed horror books by Latinx authors and I want to continue to read more of them, so this is just something I really want to get to.

Do you have any 2021 releases that you didn’t get to read last year but still want to? What 2021 releases are at the top of your tbr?

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Favorite Adult Books of 2020

Hi everyone! This is my last post of 2020 and that’s so wild! Blogging was such a refuge for me in 2020 and I fell even more in love with it, so I’m excited to keep sharing content with all of you in 2021.

In case you missed it, the last couple of days I posted my Favorite YA Books of 2020 and my Favorite Romance Books of 2020. Check them out if you want to see what other books I loved this year. Today, I want to talk about 10 adult books that I loved in 2020. These are all books that I read in 2020 even if they didn’t come out in 2020 and the only rule that I had was that I couldn’t have two books from the same series.

Without further ado, here are my top 10 adult books of 2020:

10. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

The world-building and magic system in this book are unique, captivating and devastating at the same time. The way the society in this book mirrors our society is smart and poignant. There are so many twists, some that I saw coming and some that I didn’t, but they all make sense to the story and make it more interesting. I loved Syenite and Alabaster and I’m heartbroken over everything they went through. What this book has to say and how it says it is so powerful and heartbreaking that it left me feeling hopeless and it took me a long time to recover but I think it was worth it.

9. Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-García

The writing in this book makes it feel like reading a myth or fairytale, it is so engaging. The Mayan mythology is captivating and lush, and since it’s a mythology that it’s not often used in fantasy books, this book is full of gods and mythical creatures that feel unique. This book is set in 1920’s Mexico and the mix of the mythological elements and the ‘modernity’ of the Jazz Age works well and gives this story an even more unique touch. Finally, the main characters, Casiopea and Hun-Kamé, who is the Mayan god of death, are both very engaging characters and their journeys and character development were fascinating.

8. To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers

This is a quick, fascinating, and thought-provoking read. It focuses a lot on the scientific and technical side of space travel but the truly interesting thing is that Becky Chambers doesn’t forget about the impact that the discoveries, the advancements, and the search for those things have on people and environments. Also, there are a lot of queer characters in this book, which I love.

7. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

This book was so powerful. I was captivated the entire time while reading, I was amazed by the way the author takes all of these different elements (a pandemic, a cult, a theater group, some graphic novels) and different timelines and ties them all together in a way it makes sense and it’s interesting and meaningful. I found all the characters and storylines incredibly fascinating. This book made me really sad while reading it, but it also made me feel thankful and, in the end, it gave me hope. 

6. The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang

This book is brilliant. I’m not the biggest fan of Military fantasy, but this series does it so well that I’m really invested in the story. The way this book talks about war and power is grim but fascinating. I think the main reason I enjoy this series and this book so much is that it has given me some characters that I adore. I still love Kitay as much as I did in book 1, this book made me fall in love with Venka and I love the angsty, complicated relationship between Rin and Nezha. Also, this book discusses colorism, colonialism, and the role of religion within colonialism in such a thought-provoking way.

5. Jade City by Fonda Lee

This book may have one of the coolest premises ever, it’s like the Godfather with martial arts and magic. It’s such a unique book! Fonda Lee does an amazing job of describing the action scenes in this book and the way she incorporates martial arts is incredible. The clan war element of the story is so interesting, this is a very intense book and I was completely invested in everything that was happening. I think I cared so much because I LOVED the main characters, who are siblings that are incredibly loyal to each other and they won my loyalty too. This book broke my heart at one point, I was devastated but it was SO GOOD.

4. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

This book is whimsical, nonsensical, and peculiar and the writing is absolutely beautiful. This book doesn’t have a defined plot; it’s full of metaphors and stories within stories, so it can be very confusing and, by the end, I felt like I only understood parts of it; and since it feels like you are reading a story, a myth, a fable, most of the characters feel like characters in that story and not like real people. But I didn’t dislike any of that. While I read this, I felt like I was lost in a strange and beautiful world. I loved and I was invested in all the stories within stories, I was intrigued by the mystery of this underground library, I was captivated by everything.

3. The Strange Case of The Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss

I love the characters in this book, monstrous women are my favorite thing in the world, and I love their relationship with each other and the found family aspect of the book. The premise of this is so unique, the daughters of famous scientists from classic gothic literature work together to solve a mystery that it’s linked to their lives. Also, I love the funny and unique structure in which this book is told, the fact that the characters interrupt the narrative to give their commentary on what’s happening. Basically, I love everything about this.

2. The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

This is a hopeful and heartwarming book that explores the idea that prejudice keeps growing and wins when people stay silent in the face of it and live comfortably in their bubbles. The concept of this book is fascinating, well-executed and it mirrors a lot of real-life situations, this book is set in a world where magical beings exist and there’s a lot of prejudice against them. The main character in this book is so endearing and the children are cute, funny, lovable and so compelling. The sweet, loving relationship between the main character and the kids is my favorite part of the book. Also, there’s a very sweet m/m romance in this!

1. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-García

This creepy, atmospheric, and disturbing book. The writing is beautiful and captivating while being simple and unpretentious, and the main character is three-dimensional and flawed, while being charming and bewitching. This story is so effective in being scary because even when it’s not clear if there are ghosts, magic, or other supernatural things going on, the real villains of the story are manipulative, abusive, disgusting men that you could find anywhere in the world and anytime in history. This book is creepy from very early on, Moreno-García made my skin crawl with the simplest scenes, sometimes nothing too scary was happening but with one perfectly crafted phrase, I was spooked. Also, this includes important commentary on sexism, colonialism, and eugenics that gives depth to the story.

What are your favorite Adult books that you read in 2020?

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Fantasy & Sci-fi Novellas to Help You Complete Your Goodreads Challenge | Blogmas Day 6

Hi everyone! it’s the last month of the year and a lot of us are trying to complete our Goodreads challenge so we are looking for shorter books to read, that’s why I decided to put together a list of short SFF novellas that you can probably read in one sitting if you want.

Before starting the post, I do want to have a little reminder that the Goodread challenge is a thing we do for fun, and the amount of books we read in a year has nothing to do with our value as people or our value as reviewers. It is completely ok not to complete the challenge.

Without futher ado, here are the SFF Novellas I would recommend:

The Deep by Rivers Solomon

The concept of the story, mer-people who are the descendants of slaves, is unique, weird and intriguing. This is a heavily thematic book, it talks about identity, community, history and memory and it explores individualism vs collectivism in a way that feels organic to the story.

The Black God’s Drums by P. Djeli Clark

This novella mixes alternative historical 1884 New Orleans with African Folklore, and the combination makes the story feel unique and interesting. This book has African Orishas, smuggler airships, a mysterious weapon and spy nuns, who are hilarious and badass at the same time. Clark manages to write a story that feels complete and satisfying in a short amount of pages.

All Systems Red by Martha Wells

This is a quick and entertaining story about a self-aware security droid that hacked its government module to access the feed of entertainment channels because it gets bored while protecting humans. Murderbot is the most likable and engaging main character in Sci-fi, its an introvert that just wants to be left alone, but that will do anything to protect the people it is responsible for and not because it has to do it. This book has great humor, an interesting plot and it includes great discussion about what it means to be human.

To be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers

This is such a quick, fascinating and thought-provoking read about a group of  explorers who leave earth to research different planets that sustain life and they have to transform themselves to do it (change their skins, their organs, their weight). There’s a lot about biology, chemistry and engineering in this book, because it focuses a lot on the scientific and technical side of space travel but the truly interesting thing is that Becky Chambers doesn’t forget about the impact that the discoveries, the advancements and the search for those things have on human beings. Also, there are so many queer people in this book!

The Test by Sylvain Neuvel

This was a quick, interesting and twisted novella about an Iranian immigrant who’s taking the British citizenship test so he and his family can stay in the UK, but it turns out nothing is what it seems. This novella discusses the choices we make and the choices we have to live with. It’s a pretty pessimistic but powerful story and the ending is messed up.

This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone

This book is a sapphic love story between two rival spies on different sides of a war fought through time and parallel worlds. The angsty romance, the yearning and love between the main characters, the lengths they are willing to go for each other make this novella captivating and brilliant. The writing in this is very flowery, lyrical and elaborate, which takes some getting used to, but by the end, the love letters are some of the most painfully beautiful things that you will ever read.

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

This is such a short book but it packs a big punch. It’s the story of Binti, the first of her people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, and her journey to get there which is full of dangers and threats. This is a very introspective book and focuses a lot on character development, but it also includes an outstanding amount of worldbuilding for such a short book, and the overall message of acceptance of other cultures and being willing to communicate with others than are different from us is so powerful.

What SFF Novellas would you recommend?

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Winter Reading Recommendations | Blogmas Day 2

Hi everyone! It’s blogmas day 2 and I have another recommendations post for you. If you missed it yesterday I shared some Christmas & Winter Romance Recommendations. Since winter is almost here, I thought it would be good to share other books that I think are perfect to read during this season.

When thinking about perfect books to read in the winter 3 things come to mind for me:

  1. Introspective books
  2. Chilling thrillers and horror books
  3. Character-driven SFF

So today, I have 4 book recommendations for each of those categories:

Introspective Books

Hunger: A Memory of (My) Body by Roxane Gay

This is mainly a book about Roxane Gay’s relationship with her body, her weight, and food, and how those relationships are linked and shaped by her experience with rape. This book is made up of essays and they are personal, raw, and honest. This is a very hard book to read, but it is so powerful because it talks about her experience as a fat woman in a world not built for her and others like her.

In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado

In this book, Machado does an amazing job of looking into the history of abuse in sapphic relationships and also addressing her own experience with it. This book has a very unique structure, there’s even a part of the book that it’s told in a follow your own adventure structure which was interesting and different from other memoirs. Also, the writing is beautiful.

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

This is a book about Queenie, a Jamaican British woman struggling with her mental health, and it depicts the way mental illnesses are not taken seriously by certain cultures. Queenie’s voice is incredibly captivating even when her life is spinning out of control. She makes terrible choices throughout this book until she gets help and goes through a journey to get better and it was a beautiful journey to witness.

We are Okay by Nina LaCour

This is a quiet book about grief and it’s so powerful. It’s told in alternating timelines, in both of the timelines the main character goes through loneliness, hurt and grief in different ways. This book also explores the hardships and awkwardness of second chances, of rebuilding relationships and trust. This is set during Christmas break, and the cold winter definitely helps build the atmosphere of the book.

Chilling Thrillers and Horror Books

An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena

This is an isolated closed circle mystery set at a hotel in the mountains during the winter, the main characters get stuck because there’s a storm and then people start to get killed. One of the great things about this book is that the main characters seem like real people, which makes the book feel more realistic overall. This is intense and atmospheric and the twist at the very end was so satisfying.

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

This book is full of twisted, dislikable characters, basically everyone but the protagonist, who is not perfect and has a lot of issues. This book balances the mystery at its core, which is about the murder of girls in a small town, with an exploration of Camille as a character and it dedicates quite some time to show her trying to deal with all her issues after returning to her hometown. The revelation at the end is pretty disturbing.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

This is an eerie and spooky book that makes you feel unsettled and doubt what’s real and what isn’t. It’s a very bizarre book, full of intriguing but not very likable characters, an unreliable narrator and a creepy house.

Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica

This book is very disturbing because it makes cannibalism seem like something that could actually happen. Bazterrica identifies all the things we do with animals (we eat them, hunt them for fun, use their skins to make clothes, test drugs and procedures on them) and she incorporates all that to the story but changes the animals for humans and explains how everything is done or how it happens. It really is a disturbing and chilling story.

Character-Driven SFF

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

This is a captivating and thought-provoking book about the crew of a spaceship who create wormholes to distant planets. It’s a book full of adventure that includes so much diversity in an interesting and thoughtful way; there are different species, races, sexual orientations, gender identities, body types, cultures, religions and so much more. This is character-driven, beautifully written and tackles important themes.

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

This is the story of a group of scientist that are trying to figure out the mystery behind a giant metal hand that was found buried. This is one of those books where you slowly discover alongside the characters something that changes everything. The best part about this book is that it addresses important discussions related to science, politics and power and how they are all connected. This is thought-provoking, full of unlikeable yet compelling characters and told in an interesting format.

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb

This is the story of Fitz, a royal bastard who is accepted into the royal family and trained to become the royal assassin. This book does a great job of establishing Fitz as a protagonist and making you feel for him and root for him. There’s also a lot of fascinating side characters, the world this story takes place in is fascinating and the political intrigue aspect is very cleverly done.

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

This is the story of a girl who accidentally resurrects her brother and her journey to becoming a bone witch. This is a slow, character-driven story, it has a fascinating world and magic system. The story is told in two timelines, which works really well for the story because there are glimpses of where the characters are going to end up, but you don’t know how they get there and it becomes this very intriguing element.  

What type of books do you think are perfect for the Winter? what books would you recommend for this time of the year?

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Favorite Books of 2020 So Far

Hi everyone! Today I’m going to talk about the books I have loved the most in 2020 so far. I didn’t include romance because I’m doing a separate post for my favorite romance books of the year since I read so many and since my way of rating and viewing romance vs other genres is so different.

Without fruther ado, here are my top 5 books of 2020 so far + some honorable mentions:

*Click the book titles to go to the Goodreads page*

Jade City by Fonda Lee

  • This book is like the Godfather with martial arts and magic
  • An incredibly cool and unique book. It’s set in a city, where there are technology and magic and there are two powerful clans who are fighting for dominance, there’s also so much political intrigue and the clans are so powerful that the government has to consider them and negotiate with them.
  • The main characters are siblings that are loyal to each other, I loved them so much and they have my loyalty too.
  • A very intense book and I was completely invested in everything that was happening. This broke my heart at one point, I was devastated but it was SO GOOD.
  • Interesting commentary on profit vs cultural significance

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno Garcia

  • A creepy, atmospheric, and disturbing book.
  • The writing is beautiful and captivating while being simple and unpretentious.
  • The haunted house in this story is a secluded, declining, rotting house with no working electricity and strange echos, it’s located in a small abandoned mining town in the middle of nowhere and it has a cementery in the backyard.
  • This book is set in 1950 Mexico and that brings very unique elements to the story.
  • the villains are so effective because even in this setting where it’s not clear if there are ghosts, magic, or other supernatural things going on, the villains are manipulative, abusive, disgusting men that you could find anywhere in the world and anytime in history.
  • Important commentary on sexism, colonialism, and eugenics.

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

  • This is a hopeful and heartwarming book
  • It explores the idea that prejudice keeps growing and wins when people, who have the privilege of not being affected by prejudice, stay silent and live comfortably in their bubbles
  • The main character is so endearing
  • A fascinating and well-executed concept. In this world, magical children are sent to orphanages or special schools and the main character’s job is to make sure the children are in safe environments while staying objective and detached. The problem is that the kids are “safe” doesn’t mean that their situation is fair or right.
  • the children are the absolute stars of this book. They are cute, funny, lovable and so compelling.
  • There’s a very sweet m/m romance in this!

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

  • This book was really dark and unexpectedly fast-paced
  • Inspired by the Second Sino-Japanese War, it portraits the horrors of war in a very realistic and grim way. This is a grimdark/military fantasy.
  • This is action-packed and there are a lot of brutal, violent scenes
  • it has a power-hungry main character. She starts as ambitious and driven but as she faces discrimination and unfairness and sees the terrible things that are happening, she goes through a huge transformation and becomes very ruthless
  • Once I finished this book I was shocked and I truly didn’t know how to feel.

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno Garcia

  • I have a thing for Moreno-Garcia’s writing if it’s not obvious by the fact that two of her books made it to the list. The writing in this book made it feel like reading a myth or fairytale, it was so engaging.
  • The Mayan mythology was captivating and lush, and since it’s a mythology that it’s not often used in fantasy books, this book was full of gods and mythical creatures that felt very new and unique.
  • This book is set in 1920’s Mexico and the mix of the mythological elements and the ‘modernity’ of the Jazz Age worked well and gave this story an even more unique touch.
  • The main characters, Casiopea and Hun-Kamé, who is the Mayan god of death, are both very engaging characters and their journeys and character development were fascinating.

Honorary Mentions

My favorite YA book

Incendiary by Zoraida Cordova: this book has an intricate magic system, vivid characters, twist and turns that will keep you at the edge of your seat and an ending that will leave you wanting more.

My favorite novellas

To be Taught If Fortunate by Becky Chambers: This was such a quick, fascinating, and thought-provoking read. It focuses a lot on the scientific and technical side of space travel but the truly interesting thing is that Becky Chambers doesn’t forget about the impact that the discoveries, the advancements, and the search for those things have on people and environments. Also, there’s a lot of queer characters in this book, which I loved.

All Systems Red by Martha Wells: a quick and entertaining story. Murderbot, the security bot that is the main character, is likable and engaging and their voice captivated me from the very beginning. This book has great humor and an interesting plot.

What are the best books that you have read in 2020 so far? Have you read any of my favorites?
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