Ranking all the books I read this month aka My May 2020 Wrap Up

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Hi everyone! Today, I want to share my wrap up of all the things I read in May, but before that I want to encourage you to support the protests going on right now against the murder of Black people by the police, which were sparked by the murder of George Floyd. If you want to know how to help, click this link where you can find where to donate, petitions to sign, where to text or call to demand justice, and other useful information.

In terms of my wrap up, I rank all the books I read from my least favorite to my favorite book of the month. The ranking is not enterily dependent on rating, so there can be books with lower ratings that are higher on the list than books with higher ratings and that has to do with my enjoyment of the books.

Without further ado, here are the books I read in May:

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

My Least Favorite Book of the Month

This month there wasn’t one book that I truly disliked, so for my least favorite of the month I chose a disappointing romance:

20.Meet Cute Club by Jack Harbon (3 stars):  The writing was flat, I was bored and the characters were two-dimentional. But there were some cute moments and the steamy scenes were actually really good. (My review)

The “I Mostly Liked Them, But…” Books

These are books that I had significant issues with, but they had redeeming qualities that made me mostly enjoy them:

19. Wylde by Sawyer Bennett (3,5 stars): I really liked the hero in this book but the heroine was so judgemental and “not like other girls”. (My review)

18. Guarding Temptation by Talia Hibbert (3,5 stars): Solid novella! The main couple in this was cute and there were a couple of really steamy scenes, but I didn’t care about the plot at all.

17. Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai (3,5 stars): I liked this and while I really liked the main couple, their relationship relies too much in the past. 10 years is a long time and people change and I feel like this book would have been better if it showed the characters falling in love with the people they are in the present and it didn’t rely so much in them being in love in the past.

16. Grave Peril by Jim Butcher (3,5 stars): This is my least favorite book of the series so far. It took me a long time to get into it because 1) this book starts in the middle of a “case” so I wasn’t as invested in it as I was with the cases in the other books and 2) I usually don’t like very religious characters and this book opens by introducing a new and very religious character. The second half of this book is a lot stronger than the first and I liked how it ends. 

15. The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende (3,5 stars): I wasn’t invested in what was happening in this book and I didn’t care about the characters for most of this book. But the last 100 pages of this are brutal and brilliant, I teared up reading them, I was incredibly emotionally affected by everything that happened and I suddenly cared about all the characters and their safety. And the ending! The commentary of this book on the cyclyc nature of violence is brilliant and the depiction of the social, political and economical situation in Chile in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s is outstanding.

14. Yours in Scandal by Lauren Layne (3,6 stars): This book started really strong, the banter and chemistry between the characters was great, but the transition from the flirty relationship of the beginning to a more romantic relationship was lacking something.

The Ones I Liked

The ones I liked are books that I had really small issues with, but after I finished them I had mainly positive feelings towards them:

13. Yes, No, Maybe So by Becky Albertalli (3,7 stars): The friendship in this book is so cute and the political aspect of it is really interesting. This book feels like a conversation starter about the link between the personal and the political, how that link particulary affects minorities, and how we shouldn’t engaged politically only when it’s easy or convenient for us but, at the same time, how self-care within political activism is incredibly important.

12. Unforgettable by Melanie Harlow (3,8 stars): This book pleaseantly surprised me and it ended up being my favorite of the series. The romance is great and it has a very positive depiction of adoption. (My review)

11. The Governess Game by Tessa Dare (3,8 stars): I really liked this, the little girls are the best part of this book and the relationships that both main characters have with them are so sweet and I loved seeing how all of them learned to trust each other. My main issue with this is that it took me a while to actually believe or be invested in the romantic relationship between the main characters.

10. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng (3,8 stars): This wasn’t an enjoyable read, but it was brilliant. My main problem with this is that I really dislike terrible parents in books and this book was asking me to look beyond them being terrible parents to understand the traumas and expectations that their childhoods had caused and understand that they couldn’t see what they were doing to their kids, and I had a hard time doing that. But I really liked how it explored the different ways in which women and people of color experience otherness

9. A Gentleman in the Street by Alisha Rai (3,9 stars): THIS IS SO STEAMY!! I loved both of the main characters, they have so much chemestry and such a captivating dynamic. Also, this is incredibly sex positive which I LOVED. The heroine is japanese and bisexual.

8. Wanna Bet? by Talia Hibbert (3,9 stars): I really liked the characters in this book and their relationship. This is so emotional and angsty and I loved it. My main complain is that the ending was a bit hasty, but overall this was really good.

The Ones I Really Liked

I consider books I really liked the ones I really enjoyed, but they are not new favorites:

7. Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo (4 stars): The writing – as always with Elizabeth Acevedo- was fantastic. I just wish that the two main characters had met sooner and that we got to see more of them intarcting and bonding. This was such an emotional read and the ending made me tear up.

6. The Trouble with Hating You by Sajni Patel (4 stars): I loved a lot of things about this book, but especially the relationship between the main characters, Jay was so patient and kind, I loved their banter and the whole hate to love, slow-burn romance worked so well with these characters and I was so invested in their relationship. (My review)

5. Beach Read by Emily Henry (4 stars): This was darker than I was expecting, but so good. Interesting character, great writing and a swoony romance. (My review)

4. Fool Moon by Jim Butcher (4 stars): I liked this one more than the first book in the series, it was quick and entertaining. The different types of werewolves in this book were fascianting and the fact that no one could be trusted kept me gripped.

3. China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan (4 stars): This is such a fun read! I was fascinated by how excessive and opulent all the descriptions of wealth are, the strongest element of this book is that sucks you in into this world of privilige that’s so far removed from normal life. I was interested in all the characters and storylines and I’m specially invested in Astrid story.

2. The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang (4 stars): This book was really dark and unexpectedly fast-paced (at least it felt that way to me). I was completely invested in the story and once I finished the book I was shocked and I truly didn’t know how to feel, I still don’t. This was really good, engaging and thought-provoking.

My Favorite Book of the Month

My favorite books of the month can have different ratings depending on how good a particular reading month was. This month one brilliant book that instantly became one of my favorite books:

1. Jade City by Fonda Lee (4,7 stars): This was so intense and I was so invested. The concept of this story is unique and captivating and I LOVED the characters so much. This book broke my heart but it was SO GOOD. It’s definitely a new favorite book for me.

 What were your favorite and least favorite books you read this month? Have you read any of the books on this wrap up? Do you agree with my opinions about them?

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May 2020 tbr (Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month + New Releases) & Life Update

Hi everyone! I hope you all are doing well and staying safe! I have been in an unexpected hiatus for the last two weeks and I thought I would give you a little life update about why that happened before getting into the books I’m hoping to read in May.

Unfortunately, my grandfather passed away at the beginning of april (it was unrelated to what’s been going on in the world) and that, on top of the lockdown and all the stress because of current events, proved to be too much and I had to step away for a while. There’s also a more lighthearted reason, I started to watch The Office for the first time a week ago and I’m already on season 6, it has absolutely consumed my life and because of that, it took me even longer to come back. But now I’m ready and excited to talk about books again!

TBR

Most of the books on my tbr for May are written by Asian authors because it’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. I also included some new releases that are coming out in May and that I’m really excited for!

As always, I have a list below with the goals and challenges that I want to keep track of in 2020 and I chose an emoji that represents each one. Next to each of the books on my tbr, I’ll put the emoji of the goal or challenge that that book is going to help me fullfil.

  • Read 20 fantasy books in 2020 (🔮)
  • Read 35 books by Latinx authors in 2020 (🔥)
  • Keep reading diverse books: by Asian authors (☁️), by black authors (🌞), other #ownvoices rep (🌈)
  • Read 50 books by the #StartOnYourShelfathon challenge (⭐)
  • Read the 20 books on my tbr for the #StartOnYourShelfathon challenge (💫)
  • Read a book from a genre that’s not fantasy or romance (🦄)

Without further ado, here’s my May tbr:

🔮☁️⭐The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang: I have been meaning to read this and lately I have been hearing people whose recommendations I trust talk about how much they love it, so I’m finally picking it up.

🔮☁️ Jade City by Fonda Lee: one of my friends loves this book and while I wasn’t that interested when I first heard about this, her excitement made me really want to read it

☁️⭐🦄 Want by Cindy Pon: I have been meaning to read this for SO LONG and it’s finally time

☁️⭐💫🦄China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan: I need to continue with this series and what better time!

☁️⭐🦄Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng: I really liked Ng’s other book Little Fires Everywhere and I have heard this one is even better, so I’m excited to give it a chance.

☁️A Gentleman in the Street by Alisha Rai: I want to read more romance books by Asian authors and this seems like a great place to start.

The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler: This is a romance set in Alaska and it gives me The Simple Wild vibes and I loved that book, so I’m excited to see if I enjoy this one. (Release date: May 5th 2020)

Beach Read by Emily Henry: this has a great premise and it seems like everyone who got an arc loved it, so I have high expectations. (Release date: May 19th 2020)

🔥 🦄🌞Clap When you Land by Elizabeth Acevedo: I love Acevedo’s other books and I have heard nothing but great things about this one, so I’m excited to read it. (Release date: May 5th 2020)

🔥🦄 Sal and Gabi Fix the Universe by Carlos Hernandez: the first book in this duology is my favorite middle grade of all times, so I can’t wait to see how the story ends. (Release date: May 5th 2020)

What are your reading plans for May? If you want to buddy read any of the books on my tbr, let me know in the comments!

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8 Books with Afro-Latinx Characters by Afro-Latinx Authors for Black History Month

Hi everyone! Since Black History Month is just around the corner, I thought it would be a good idea to share some of my favorite books with Afro-Latinx characters by Afro-Latinx authors, in case you are looking for some books to add to your tbrs!

Without further ado, here are my recommendations for you:

*Click the title of the book to go to the Goodreads page*

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

This is a story told in verse, it’s touching and powerful, and it explores a Dominican-american girl’s struggle with inhabiting her body, a body that is unwillingly subjected to the male gaze; it also deals with growing up in a conservative latinx family that it’s extremely religious and that imposes faith and leaves no room for questions. It’s a book about trying to figure who you are in an enviroment that doesn’t leave much room to do so and it’s fantastic (full review)

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

Elizabeth Acevedo expertly executes the recipe of an amazing book mixing loveable characters, complicated family dynamics and mouth watering descriptions of food. This book has a realistic depiction of a teenage mother and there’s also a cute romance that doesn’t take over the story but allows Acevedo to address sex and intimacy in a positive way. Moreover, Acevedo addresses being Afro-latinx and the experience of not being considered black enough or Latinx enough in a thoughtful and engaging way (Full review)

Pride by Ibi Zoboi

This is a Pride and Prejudice retelling and the main characters are Zuri and Darius, who are Afro-Latinx and Black respectavily. Zuri and Darius are always bantering and bickering and it is a fun dynamic to read. But the main reason this book is interesting and powerful is the way it discusses gentrification and class; incoporating these subjects adds to the original story and makes it more relevant to our time. Also, the representation of a Haitian-Dominican family in terms of the religion, the food and the family dynamics is so fascinating to read.

Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika & Maritza Moulite

This book is told in diary entries, tweets and emails, which makes it a very quick read, and it’s the story of Alaine, the daughter of Haitian immigrants. Big part of this book is set in Haiti, which it’s not a common setting in YA books, and I think it’s something that adds to the story inmensely. This book has a lot of different storylines revolving around complicated family relationships and dynamics, but my favorite one is about discovering a family member has early-onset Alzheimer, which is depicted in what I think it’s a very heartbreaking and realistic way.

Acting on Impulse by Mia Sosa

This book has a strong, determined, likable Afro-Latinx heroine, who is a phisical trainer, and this is the story of her falling in love with a Hollywood star, who is really sweet. The main couple has lots of chemistry and the book includes great dialogue, captivating writing, complicated family dynamics and descriptions of delicious Puerto Rican food.

Dreamers Series by Adriana Herrera

These books are about a group of 4 friends that are Afro-Latinx and each book is the story of one of them falling in love. Great writing, fantastic friendships, some of the sweetest romances I have ever read, mentions of amazing Latinx food and music, conversations about important subjects like domestic violence and police brutality are some of the reason why I love this series and why I totally recommend it!

What are you reading for Black History Month? Do you have recs for books by Afro-Latinx or Black authors?

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My Most Anticipated YA Contemporary Books of 2020 | Blogmas Day 12

Hi everyone! Toay I want to talk about the YA contemporary books that are being release in 2020 and that I can’t wait to read. In case you missed it, yesterday I talked about my most anticipated YA Fantasy books of 2020, so check that post out if you are interested. Also, if you want to know about all the YA releases of 2020, check out the amazing and comprehensive list posted at Book Birds.

Without further ado, here are the 8 YA contemporary books that I’m highly anticipating:

*click the titles to go the Goodreads pages*

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

Release date: January 21st 2020 

This is the story of two teens who end up involved in a viral Twitter war, while also falling for each other in real life ― on an anonymous chat app.

Why am I anticipating it?  This sounds so cute! But also I think it’s gonna be funny to read about a twitter war full of snarky memes and retweet battles. I’m a part of the blog tour for this book so I’m pretty sure this will be my first read of 2020.

Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli & Aisha Saeed

Release date: February 4th 2020

This book is about two teens, each with their own problems, who meet when they go canvasing togehter for their state senate candidate and it’s the story of how they master local activism and navigate a cross-cultural romance.

Why am I anticipating it? I’m excited about the political aspect of this book, as someone that was a political science major it’s something that I enjoy reading about. Also, the #ownvoices muslim rep and the cross-cultural romance element are things I’m looking forward to.

This Train is Being Held by Ismée Amiel Williams

Release date: February 11th 2020 

This books is about two teen how meet in the subway and then over the course of multiple subway encounters spanning the next three years, they get to know each other and fall in love.

Why am I anticipating it? Latinx author and Latinx main characters + a really cute story… what else could I want?! Also, I have an arc of this and I’m so excited to read it!

Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales

Release date: March 3rd 2020

This is the story about two boys that meet over summer break and have a romance but when the summer ends one of the boys stops texting the other back. When one of the boys starts in a new school, they see each other again and the boy realized that the sweet queer guy he knew from summer isn’t the same one attending his school, instead he is kind of a jerk.  

Why am I anticipating it? A Grease inspired contemporary! that’s like something I didn’t know I wanted but I can’t wait to have it in my hands. Also, I love that it features a m/m relationship between the main characters.

Running by Natalia Sylvester

Release date: May 5th 2020

This the story of a Cuban American teen whose father is running for president and how she starts to see him in a different light as she learns more about his political positions and how she has to find her voice while everyone is watching.

Why am I anticipating it? a Latinx author and Latinx main character + an interesting plot and a strong political aspect, those are all things I love! I can’t wait to see how the author explores the family conflicts that come with different political opinions.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Release Date: May 14th 2020

This is the story of two sister who didn’t know the other existed until their father dies in a plane crash and this book deals with questions of what this new sister means to them, and what it will now take to keep their dreams alive.

Why am I anticipating it? I have read and loved both of Elizabeth Acevedo’s books and I’m so excited for this one. So many Latinx authors are coming out with books that sound amazing next year and this is definitely one of them. Also, that cover is beautiful.

Now That I’ve Found You by Kristina Forest

Release date: June 2nd 2020

This is the story of two unlikely allies who spend one week n New York looking for the granma of one of them who used to be a hollywood star

Why am I anticipating it? I love books that include the main characters discovering things about someone they love and then also discovering things about themselves. Add to that this seems to have a cute romance too and that makes me so excited. Also, I like that the characters in this one are on the older side of YA, the mc is 18 years old.


The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert

Release date: July 7th 2020

This book is about two teens who meet in their polling place when one of them is denied his right to vote and it’s the story of them team up to beat a rigged system and realizing that ther connection goes beyond a shared mission for democracy.

Why am I anticipating it? Black author and black main characters that are on the older side of YA + a strong political aspect, this book seems to have a lot of things that I usually like and I’m hoping that I’ll love it.

What 2020 YA Contemporary books are you highly anticipating?

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Blog Tour: With the Fire on High by Elizbeth Acevedo (Review)

With the Fire on High.jpg

ISBN: 0062662856
Title: With the Fire on High
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: May 7 th 2019
Pages: 400
Genre: YA Contemporary

With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain — and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life — and all the rules everyone expects her to play by — once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free.

Goodreads | Amazon|Book Depository | IndieBound | Barns & Noble

Elizabeth Acevedo expertly executes the recipe of an amazing book mixing loveable characters, complicated family dynamics and mouth watering descriptions of food.

It’s easy to tell this book was written by a poet, there are chapters where it’s just Emoni, the main character, reflecting on things and specific situation that are going on in her life from gentrification to racism to her relationship with her father, and in those chapters there are some really powerful quotes. Honestly, this book is full of incredible quotes and beautiful writing. The short chapters this story is told in made it such a fast and entertaining read.

Emoni as a character feels so real, she is patient, mature, responsible, insecure, she wants things for herself and for her child, her feelings get hurt, she is guarded, she gets angry, and sad, she is scared about the future. It was truly wonderful to read from her perspective. I loved her relationship with her grandma and with her best friend and I was infuriated by the way she was treated by her dad, her ex boyfriend and her ex boyfriend’s mother. The development of those relationships, especially her relationship with her dad, is amazing.

In terms of Emoni’s relationship with Malachi, it is just so sweet and he is such a nice guy and it is a great addition to the story, especially because it doesn’t take center stage and it is not the most important thing about the story. Also, I love that we are getting more YA books that address sex and intimacy in a positive way.

This book does a great job of showing Emoni as a mom and the struggles she faces being a mom, while also showing that she is more than that, she has dreams and hopes for herself, she’s also still a teenage even if she can’t act as one most of the time.

Also, I loved the way the Acevedo addresses being Afro-latinx and how sometimes people are not considered enough of either of those things, not black enough and not latinx enough, but the reality is they are both and they are enough.

While the heart of this book is defenitily in the relationships between Emoni and the other characters, the magic of the story, what makes it unique, appears when Emoni is cooking or talking about cooking and her dreams of being a chef or when other people talk about her food and what it makes them feel. It just made this book feel so special. I had so much fun reading about the culinary art classes, the fundraising and the trip to Spain.

EOverall, With the Fire on High was such a heartwarming read, perfect for fans of complex family dynamics and food in books.

About the author

elizabeth acevedo 1.jpg

ELIZABETH ACEVEDO is the youngest child and only daughter of Dominican immigrants. She holds a BA in Performing Arts from the George Washington University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland. With over fourteen years of performance poetry experience, Acevedo is a National Poetry Slam Champion, Cave Canem Fellow, CantoMundo Fellow, and participant of the Callaloo Writer’s Workshop. She has two collections of poetry, Beastgirl & Other Origin Myths (YesYes Books, 2016) and winner of the 2016 Berkshire Prize, Medusa Reads La Negra’s Palm (Tupelo Press, forthcoming). The Poet X is her debut novel. She lives with her partner in Washington, DC.
Find her on:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Tour Schedule:

1 st week
April 22 – Afire Pages | Welcome Post & BTS Look on the Cover
Design Process
April 23 – Reading Peaches
April 24 – Shut Up, Shealea | Printable wallpapers/ bookmarks
April 25 – A Book Devourer | “The Life of Emoni; A Comparison”
April 26 – Bookish Wanderess
April 27 – Flipping Through the Pages
April 28 –Utopia State of Mind

2nd week

April 29 – For the Love of Diversity in Books | Aesthetics + Quote
Graphics
April 30 – The Royal Polar Bear Reads | Instagram Photos
May 1 – Endless Chapters | Recipe
May 2 – The Ultimate Fangirl
May 3 – The Wolf & Books
May 4 – Book Lover’s Book Reviews
May 5 – Weekend Reader | Cover Inspired Hairstyle

3rd week

May 6 – The Writer and The Story| Favorite Quotes
May 7 –Themollyweather
May 8 – All Things Gene
May 9 – Darque Dreamer Reads
May 10 – Your Tita Kate
May 11 – Afergtale| “Stories Our Abuelas Wouldn’t Tell Today”
May 12 – F A N N A

Giveaways

Yes, you’ve read it right! This blog tour has giveawayS not just a giveaway. Enter below to enter and win a book or a shirt of With the Fire on High! You can enter not just on either but on BOTH giveaways. The giveaways are open internationally until May 22nd.

1. ENTER TO WIN A COPY OF WITH THE FIRE ON HIGH: HERE

2. ENTER TO WIN A WITH THE FIRE ON HIGH SHIRT: HERE

Shirt design by Melissa Chan, read more about her designs here .

Best Books of 2018

best books of 2018

Hi everyone! This is such an exciting post, I’m sharing my favorite books of 2018! 🎉 I didn’t make this list based on ratings, I just thought about the books that have stayed with me the most, the ones I still think about weeks or months after I read them. Here are my favorite books of this year:

the seven husbands of evelyn hugoThe Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

What is this book about?: An old Hollywood movie star is giving an interview for the first time ever about her life story, including her relationships with her seven husbands.

Why I love it?: It is an amazing story about a morally gray character that unapologetically does terrible things in order to achieve what she wants in life, but she’s also fiercely loyal to those she loves. The main things I love about this is that it’s about a complex woman that’s neither good nor bad, and while reading the books it’s imposible not to fall in love with her. All the other characters are also complex and compelling and, because of that, there’s some very powerful relationships in this book. Also, I really liked that there’s discussions about gender and sexuality that are very well handled, Evelyn is a Cuban-American bisexual woman and there’s lesbian and gay rep in this book as well.

Children of Blood and Bone

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

What is this book about?: A West African inspired fantasy, about a girl that’s trying to bring magic back and fight against the king, with the help of some unexpected allies.

Why I love it? This is a captivating read, the world and magic system are so well crafted and it’s action packed. But my favorite thing about it are definitely the characters, Amari is a new all time favorite, her character development in this book is incredible. And Zélie and Iman are complex and intriguing. This book is angsty, dramatic and emotional and it basically gave me all the feels. (Review)

Mirage-Cover

Mirage by Somaiya Daud

What is this book about?: A girl is taken in secret to the royal palace to be the body double for the cruel Princess, who is so hated by her conquered people that she requires someone to appear in public as her, ready to die in her place.

Why I love it? From this entire list, this is the book I keep thinking about even months after I read it. Mirage is a wonderfully written Moroccan inspired sci-fi story, with amazing characters and a rich setting, that provides a message about the importance of culture and traditions, especially for communities that have had a lot taken from them. I was absolutely captivated by the characters, especially Maram and Amani, they are so different but I loved the development of their relationship. Mariam is one of my new favorite characters. (Review)

Kingdom of Ash

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

What is this book about?: Aelin Galathynius’s journey from slave to king’s assassin to the queen of a once-great kingdom reaches its heart-rending finale as war erupts across her world.

Why I love it? This is such a great ending to the series, I cried so much while reading it, it broke my heart but it also made me happy. This is a lot more action packed than the other books in this series, but there is still so much character development. Also, both of the ships I had in this series have so many amazing moments together and that made me enjoy this book so much. Honestly, this is one of my favorite series of all times, even if I know it has its problems.

The Cruel Prince

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

What is this book about?: Jude and her two sisters were stolen away to live in Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, but many of the fey despise humans. As betrayal threatens the Courts of Faerie, Jude will need to risk her life to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

Why I love it? I was in a fantasy slump for a long time and this was one of the only books that managed to make me feel consumed by a world and characters during that time. It managed to enthrall me and it made me feel inmersed in a world full of political intrigued, deceitful characters, unexpected turns and so much cruelty. I was so inmmersed in it that it kept me on the edge of my sit, I was so worried for all the characters throughout the book. Also, it gave me a new couple to root for, which always makes me enjoy a fantasy book more.

Into the Drowning Deep

Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant

What is this book about?: Seven years ago, a crew set off to film a “mockumentary” about mermaids and it was lost at sea. Now, a new crew has been assembled and for the scientist Victoria Stewart this is a voyage to uncover the fate of the sister she lost.

Why I love it? This is a very complex and scientific look at mermaids and it’s as fascinating as it is scary. I’m not kidding, this is horror sci-fi, which I had never read, and I was so worried while making my way through it that I had an anxiety attack at one point. BUT it was still such an amazing book with a really unique concept and great execution. It kept me entertained, but also made me think a lot because it was very scientific but also because it dealt with a lot of ethic concerns. Also, I really enjoyed the fact that this had a very diverse and compelling cast of characters.

The Poet XThe Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

What is this book about?: Xiomara, a girl from a traditional latinx catholic family, loves writing poetry. When she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her family finding out.

Why I love it? This is a story told in verse, which allowed me to feel more connected to the main character’s thoughts and emotions. It’s a touching and powerful story, and it explores a Dominican-american girl’s struggle with inhabiting her body, a body that attracs attention and because of it, it’s unwillingly subjected to the male gaze; it also deals with growing up in a conservative latinx family that it’s extremely religious and that imposes faith and leaves no room for questions. It’s a book about trying to figure who you are in an enviroment that doesn’t leave much room to do so and it’s fantastic. I LOVED the way it explored all those topics.(full review)

we are okay

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

What is this book about?: Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. Now, months later, Mabel is coming to visit and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid.

Why I love it? This is a quiet book about grief and it’s so powerful. I loved the alternating timelines, in both of the timelines the main character goes through loneliness, hurt and grief in different ways. In the past, there’s this big reveal about what happened that it’s both unexpected and heartbreaking, and in the present, the book explores the hardships and awkwardness of second chances, of rebuilding relationships and trust. I cried reading this, which doesn’t happen often, it was just such a beautiful book.

the diviners series

The Diviners & Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

What is this book about?: The Diviners series is set in the 1920s and follows a group of people with different abilities that have to solve mysteries and face ghosts, curses and evil spirits.

Why I love it? This series helped me discovered my love for spooky books and it has become one of my favorite paranormal series of all time. This is an atmospheric series with a creepy vibe and some really scary scenes, which is something I loved. Also, both books have these mystery elements that make the stories really intriguing. The characters are captivating and so different from each other and I loved the way their stories intertwined.

What were your favorite books of the year? Have you read any of the books on this list? Did you enjoy them?

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6 Diverse YA Contemporaries That You Should Read: 2018 Edition

diverse contemporaries you shuld read.png

Hi everyone! Today I’m bringing you a list of diverse YA contemporaries that were releases in 2018 and that I read and loved. While these books touch on some serious issues, they all have in common that they aren’t dark and heartbreaking contemporaries. There’s sad things in them, but for the most part they are sweet and funny.

I mention each of the books, what type of representation they have in them and then I tell you why I think you should read them:

the way you make me feel

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

Representation: Korean-american main character, Chinese love interest and a Latinx character.

I always say this, this book is a beautiful love letter to L.A. and to food, and with that as a background, we get an amazing father/daughter relationship, a wonderful female friendship and a cute love story. The love interest was so sweet and respectful and it was lovely! We also get so much character development and a really funny book. (Full review).

 

Analee in Real Life

Analee, In Real Life by Janelle Milanes

Representation: Plus Size Cuban-american main character with social anxiety.  

Analee is dealing with her mother’s death by playing an online game all the time, but then in real life, a popular boy asks her to be his fake girlfriend and he starts to coax her out of her comfort zone and it’s such a sweet and fun dynamic. They had so much chemestry! BUT the real focus of the book is family, Analee’s relationship with her father, stepmother and stepsister develop in such a beautiful way.

 

Americna panda

American Panda by Gloria Chao

Representation: Taiwanese-American main character and Japanese love interest.

This is an amazing story about a Taiwanese-American girl that has to straddle two cultures. Mei is a interesting and relatable main character, the female friendship is lovely, the love interest is really undertanding and caring and there is a really good romance that doesn’t take over the story.  One of the most wonderful things about this is the development of the mother/daughter relationship.

 

the summer of jordi perez

The Summer of Jordi Perez by Amy Spalding

Representation:  Plus Size lesbian main character and mexican-american lesbian love interest

This is such a fun book, the main character is a pink-haired girl who loves fashion and blogs about it and wears colorful clothes. While the love interest is a girl who loves photography and dresses all in black. Abby and Jordi are incredibly cute together and there’s so many sweet moments between them. Also, this book has complex family dynamics, a lovely female friendship and cool guy/ girl platonic friendship. (Full review)

 

pride

Pride by Ibi Zoboi 

Representation: Haitian-Dominican main character and black love interest.

A Pride and Prejudice retelling! Zuri and Darius are always bantering and bickering and it is a fun dynamic to read. But the main reason this book is good is the way it dicusses gentrification and class, including these subjects adds to the original story and make it more relevant to our time. Also, the representation of a Haitian-Dominican family, in terms of the religion, the food and the family dynamics is so fascinating to read.

 

The Poet X

 The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Representation: Dominican-american main character

This is a story told in verse, it’s touching and powerful, and it explores a Dominican-american girl’s struggle with inhabiting her body, a body that attracs attention and because of it, it’s unwillingly subjected to the male gaze; it also deals with growing up in a conservative latinx family that it’s extremely religious and that imposes faith and leaves no room for questions. It’s a book about trying to figure who you are in an enviroment that doesn’t leave much room to do so and it’s fantastic. (full review)

What are some diverse contemporaries that you would recommend? Have you read any of these books? Are you interested on reading any of them? 

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Top 10 New to Me Authors of 2018

Top 10 new to me authors of 2018

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

Without further ado, here’s my top 10:

Somaiya Daud

Somaiya Daud 1.png

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

Elizabeth Acevedo

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

Libba Bray 

Libba Bray

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

Helen Hoang 

Helen Hoang.jpg

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

Holly Black

holly black

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

Balli Kaur Jaswal

Billi Kaur Jasmal.jpg

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

Taylor Jenkins Reid

Taylor Jenkins Reid

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

Maurene Goo

Maurene Goo

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

Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie

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

Claire Kann

Claire Kann

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

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My Favorite Books of 2018 So Far

My Favorite Books of 2018 so far

Since it’s almost the end of June and that means we are almost half way thorugh the year, I wanted to do a post to highlight my favorite books I have read so far in 2018.

Some interesting information about the books:

  • 6 out of the 8 books were written by new to me authors
  • 3 out of the 8 books were written by debut authors
  • 7 out of the 8 are female authors and 1 author is non-binary.
  • 3  out of the 8 books are 2018 releases, 3 are 2017 releases, 1 is a 2014 release and 1 is a 2007 release. Overall, they are all recent books.
  • In terms of genres, there’s science fiction,  fantasy, contemporary, non fiction and literary fiction. Also, there are adult and young adult books.

The Books

 

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

  • Genre: Adult, Fiction
  • Why I loved it?: The main reason I loved this book was Evelyn Hugo, she is a morally gray character that unapologetically does terrible things in order to achive what she wants in life, she sacrifices parts of herlself to succeed, but at the same time she loves deeply and she is undeniably loyal to those she loves. She is calculating, cruel, ambitious, smart, hard working, persistent and so much more. She is such a complex character that I couldn’t help but be fascianted by her and as much as she is an unlikable character I was rooting for her. Evelyn Hugo is a cuban-american bisexual woman and the representation is something more that I loved about this book. Then there is the love story, which is so beautiful, sad and complicated, and you can’t help but want them to be together. Also, this a very thought provoking book with its depiction of the roles and spaces that women were allowed to have in Hollywood in the past and also the way homophobia impacted peoples lives in such a huge way, even in a more ‘liberal’ industry.
We Are Okay by Nina LaCour 
  • Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
  • Why I loved it?: I tent to love quiet books especially when they deal with delicate subjects like grief in a honest and powerful way, which is the case with this book. I loved the estructure in which the story was told, alternating between present and past. During the entire book there was this sense that a big reveal was coming in the storyline that took place in the past, but when it finally happened it was something I wasn’t expecting and that it actually shocked me a lot and I really enjoyed that aspect of the book. Meanwhile in the present, the awkward situation between the main character and her best friend – that are trying to reconnect and forgive what happened in the past, while trying to address all the hurt and the pain-  was really uncomfortable to read about but it was so well done. There was so much loneliness, hurt and grief in both timelines and the way Nina Lacour wrote about those things is so beautiful and so heartbreaking, I found myself crying in certain parts of this book, which I don’t do often.
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
  • Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Poetry
  • Why I loved it?: I loved this book because it explores powerful themes: the main character struggle with inhabiting her body, a body that attracs attention and because of it, it’s unwillingly subjected to the male gaze; it also deals with growing up in a conservative latinx family that it’s extremely religious and that imposes faith and leaves no room for questions. I loved the way it handdled the idea of trying to figure who you are in an enviroment that doesn’t leave much room to do so. Also, I loved this book because it’s written in verse and that allowed me to feel a bigger connection to the powerful emotions that the main character was experiencing and trying to express. Also, the #ownvoices latinx representation is another reason I loved this book.
Secondhand Origin Stories by Lee Blauersouth
  • Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult
  • Why I loved it?: The  main characters, the complex family dynamics and the fascinating world in which this is set made me love this book. But the main reason why I fell in love with this, it’s how diverse it is and the fact that it addresses important subjects: the main characters are all queer, including a non binary main character. Also, one of the main characters is a black girl and there’s conversations throughout the book about systematic racism and especially about racial profiling and incarceration of black people. Additionally, there are deaf characters and there are characters that use ASL to communicate, and while there’s ableism portrait in this book, it’s called out and talked about on page. The deaf representation is #ownvoices and that’s another thing I loved about this book. 

 

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black 
  • Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
  • Why I loved it?: I have been in a fantasy slump for a while and this  book made me feel consumed by a world and characters in a way that hadn’t happened in some time. That’s one of the reasons this is one of my favorite books of the year so far, it managed to enthrall me and it made me feel inmersed in a world full of political intrigued, deceitful characters, unexpected turns and so much cruelty from the very beginning.  Another thing I really liked about it is that I was so inmerssed in it that it kept me on the edge of my sit, I was so worried for all the characters throughout the book. Also, it gave me a new couple to root for, which always makes me enjoy a fantasy book more.
The Sum of Our Days by Isabel Allende
  • Genre: Non fiction
  • Why I loved it?: Isabel Allende’s writing never fails to captivate me, and when I’m reading her autobiographical books, she manages to make me feel like she is talking directly to me and telling me her story, and she tells it with so much honesty and candor, that it’s imposible not to be fascinating by it. That’s the main reason why I loved this book, but I also loved the structure she uses to tell her story – a letter written for her dead daughter, Paula – because it gives this book a nostalgic and sad tone that made me connect with the story even more and feel touched by it.
The Diviners by Libba Bray 
  • Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
  • Why I loved it?: The main reason why I loved this book is that it is this atmospheric book with a creepy vibe and some scary scenes, which is not something  I have found in the fantasy book I have read before, so to me this book represents a type of fantasy that it’s new to me and it intrigues me. Also, fantasy is my favorite genre and I love a good mystery, so  finding a book that mixes both of fantasy and mystery was very surprising and enjoyable. Another reason why I loved this book was the characters, they were all captivating and so different from each other and I kept waiting to see how their stories would intertwined.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
  • Genre: Adult, Literary Fiction
  • Why I loved it?: At the beginning, I wasn’t enjoying this because the main character, Eleanor, was very peculiar (which isn’t a bad thing in itself), but she was judgemental, rude and infuriating. Nonetheless, I completely loved the huge character development she went through, I loved the other characters she met throughout the book and how they changed her and made her see things in a different way. Raymond was a wonderful character: understanding, supportive and empathetic. The subject of depression was delicately handdled and there was a positive representation of therapy. In terms of the plot, there was a mystery surrounding her past that I thought I had figured out early on, but I had not and the twist at the end was really surpising. At the end, I found this to be a really heartwarming book.
Have you read any of these books? Did you enjoy them? What are some of your favorite books of 2018 so far? Let me know in the comments! 

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Book Review: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

The Poet X

Title: The Poet X

Author: Elizabeth Acevedo

Publishing Date: March 6th 2018

Published by: HarperTeen

Genres: Comtemporary, YA

Pages: 368

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

Goodreads | Amazon 

The Poet X is an #ownvoices story about a dominican american girl called Xiomara. It’s a story that explores Xiomara’s struggle with inhabiting her body, a body that attracs attention and because of it, it’s unwillingly subjected to the male gaze; it also deals with growing up in a conservative latinx family that it’s extremely religious and that imposes faith and leaves no room for questions. It’s a book about trying to figure who you are in an enviroment that doesn’t leave much room to do so.

This book is written in verse, which allows the reader to connect with the main character, Xiomara, and her struggles so much more and it makes the story more compelling than it would have been if it was written like a normal novel. We get a direct line to the powerful emotions that she is experiencing and trying to express, which allows an intimacy that it wouldn’t have been possible any other way. Despise being written in verse, the narration is still easy to follow because all the different parts are connected and one flows into the other with ease.

One of  the strongest aspects of the book is the exploration of faith and religion; reading from Xiomara’s pespective, the reader gets to understand all her doubts around her own faith, but also her questioning of the rol that women have been assigned in catholisms as the sinners, the temptation and a lot of times the inferior gender. It also explores the tension that exists in a lot of latinx families when it comes to religion and how even when certain ceremonies like the Confirmation are meant to be a voluntary acceptance of the faith, they become this mandatory step to be a part of the family. Also, the way this books draws a parallel between prayer and poetry is absolutely sublime and it’s done in a very powerful way.

This book also explores complicated family dynamics and it’s particulary interesting to see the mother/daughter relationship; the misunderstanding, the judgement, the contrary beliefs, but also the way it develops when both mother and daughter try to understand each others truths. They don’t arrive to that point until a huge confrontation that it’s intense, raw and heartbreaking, but seeing the ups and downs of their relationships is compelling and engaging.

Throughout the story, Xiomara discovers slam poetry and it’s amazing to experience, through her perspective, the freedom and the happiness of finding a way to express all her thoughts and emotions in a time of her life when she really needs that outlet.

Rating: 4.7 stars 

Have you read this book? Did you like it? Do you have it on your tbr?

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