August 2022 Wrap Up: reading lots of anticipated releases

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Recommending backlist books written over 10 years ago | Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original blog meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and is currently hosted on That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week’s topic is  Books I Love That Were Written Over Ten Years Ago.

For this post, I didn’t take into account classics and most of the books I included are books that I read recently because the books I was reading 10 years ago are mostly YA books, I gave everything 5 or 4 stars back then, and I’m not sure if I would actually enjoy and recommend them if I read them now.

These are the 10 books I chose for this topic:

Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews: As soon as I finished this book I knew I had discovered something special, this is the start of probably my favorite series. The world in this book is unique, complex and exciting, the main character is an amazing and captivating, she is flawed but easy to root for. The tension between the main characters is fantastic and it hints at the incredible romance that develops in later books.

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb: The main strength of this book is on its characters, Fitz is a lovable and captivating protagonist, who is easy to root for. The writing in this is great, the world-building is fascinating and the political intrigue aspect of this book is very cleverly done.

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs: This is a fun, quick read. It has an amazing main character, strong, compassionate, and a bit too reckless, Mercy is captivating and easy to root for. The other characters and the dynamics between them are interesting and compelling as well. Also, the plot is entertaining and fast-paced, and the writing is good.

The Diviners by Libba Bray: This is the only YA book on the list and the thing I like the most about this book is how atmospheric it is and the really strong creepy vibe. It has great cast of main characters, each one has complicated backstories and brings something unique to the group. Also, the mystery is really intriguing and it’s very well-written.

Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson: This book has a very interesting mystery plot and amazing characters who are intriguing, flawed and fascinating. Also, I appreciated that this book tackles discrimination, violence, and harassment against women that is perpetrated by men who disregarded them as nothing, in a powerful but sensitive way.

Paula by Isabel Allende: This nonfiction book is beautifully written, Isabel Allende wrote this book to her daughter while she was in a come, and her perspective and opinions about life, death, family, and history are so interesting, the way she crafts an emotional and captivating story while being insightful and educational in terms of Chile’s history is outstanding.

News of a Kidnapping by Gabriel Garcia Marquez: This is a fascinating and gripping account of a true story, the kidnapping of 10 journalists by Pablo Escobar, and it’s incredibly well written. Garcia Marquez had access to the testimonies of people who were involved one way or another so it’s interesting to get to an inside look at what happened. (also, there’s a Prime Video tv series based on this book coming out soon)

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan: This is the type of book that keeps you at the edge of your sit and makes it impossible to stop reading because you just want to know what was happening to Susannah. It’s such an engrossing, honest, and interesting nonfiction book. The first half is a mix between mystery and horror story because they couldn’t figure out what illness she had and then the book becomes slower and more profound during her recovery.

The Viscount who loved me by Julia Quinn: This is a really entertaining hate-to-love romance, with an amazing heroine that you can’t help but love. Also, the banter, chemistry, and the whole relationship between Kate and Antony are outstanding, they are a couple that’s easy to root for.

Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella: this is the only book on this list that I read a long time ago but I remember loving the references to the twenties, the female friendship between the two main characters, and how many things it made me feel, I laughed and felt secondhand embarrassment by all the silly and ridiculous things that the main character had to do, but I also was near tears with the ending.

What backlist books would you recommend?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Books I wish I could read again for the first time

While I don’t watch booktok content, I still spend a lot of time on tiktok and the other day I saw a video from a bookstore (I didn’t save the video so I don’t know who they are), where booksellers talked about books they wish they could read for the first time, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about what books would I choose. So today I want to share the books I came up with:

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia: this book made me feel so many things so strongly when I read it and I don’t think it would be quite the same on re-read. Also, I think the creepy moments and the horror of the reveals hit harder on the first read.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel: this book has so many different elements (a pandemic, a cult, a theater group, some graphic novels) and different timelines, and the first time I read it it was hard to imagine how they all fit together. I would love to experience again the moment when everything made sense and I saw how every thread was tied together.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern: when I read this, I felt like I was lost in a strange and beautiful world and I was so intrigued by the mystery of this library, and I would love to have that feeling again and I think it may no be as strong on a re-read

Jade City by Fonda Lee: Something happens in this book that broke my heart and I think that feeling can really only be experienced fully the first time around.Also, the not knowing what’s going to happen next and feeling like no one is safe is not the same once you know what happened.

Kate Daniels Series by Ilona Andrews: this series brought me so much joy, I read all 10 books in about 2 weeks and I fell in love with the characters and the world. I would love to experience again that moment when I realized that I had found something special.

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie: This book is full of suspense, secrets and lies, and I would love to read it again without knowing who is behind everything, if the accusations about the characters are true, and if anyone is going to survive. I remember trying to figure out the mystery being a really fun part of the reading experience because it felt like all the clues were there, I would love to have that again.

Only When It’s Us by Chloe Liese: beyond the fact that this book is excellent, I wish I could read it for the first time because it made me confront the things I assume about people when I meet them and it wouldn’t happen on a re-read because I’d go in knowing that the assumption is wrong.

Headliners by Lucy Parker: this book was a great romance and part of the reason why it’s the humor, I laughed out loud so many times because there were so many funny moments that came unexpectedly and I think they won’t be as funny a second time around, so I would love to be able to experience it for the first time again.

What books do you wish you could read for the first time?

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

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

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

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

Criteria

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

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

Auto-buy authors

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

Ilona Andrews

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

Ali Hazelwood

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

Silvia Moreno-García

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

Adriana Herrera

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

Grady Hendrix

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

Talia Hibbert

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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My Favorite Books of 2021

Hi everyone! Today I’m really excited to share my list of favorite books of 2021. These are all books that I think are fantastic and that I hope you read. As I do every year, I will also be posting a list with my favorite romances of 2021, which is why there are no romances on this list. Usually, I also make a favorite YA books list but this year surprisingly I only read 4 YA books, so there won’t be a YA list.

2021 was not the best reading year for me, so it was easy to choose the books that I included on this list because there were not many contenders, which is so sad and something I’m hoping to change in 2022.

Now, for the fun part, here are my favorite books of 2021:

Eartheater by Dolores Reyes

This book has a fascinating concept revolving around a woman who can see how people died, where they are or what happened to them by eating earth connected to the person. It follows this woman as she uncovers the truth of what happened to people that are missing or are found dead, and in that sense, it’s a book about grief, pain, desperation, and it portraits all that in a visceral and honest way, which was very hard to read at times. It’s a masterpiece in my opinion.

This book has a compelling main character that feels like a real, complex, fully rounded person, and her bittersweet journey and relationships are also very captivating. The writing is absolutely beautiful, raw, and perfectly transmits the array of feelings that the main character goes through and that the story tries to capture: anger, frustration, fear, grief, passion, indifference, love.

The Kate Daniels Series by Ilona Andrews

An Introduction to the World of Kate Daniels for New Readers | Den of Geek

I’m cheating a little bit by putting an entire series on this list, but I read all 10 books and 3 of the novellas in the space of 2 weeks, which makes the entire series feel like just one big story instead of individual books. This series is engaging and fun to read and it was exactly what I needed when I read it. It made me remember my love for urban fantasy after years of not reading the genre.

The series has an amazing main character, who is strong, smart, and compassionate but also very flawed, and it also has so many lovable side characters, I was so invested in all of their stories. The characters and the relationships between them are definitely the main reason I loved this story. The main romance was a slow burn, dislike to love romance and it was so good, and there were some incredible secondary ships that I couldn’t help but root for. Also, the world and magic system were unique and interesting, it included mythologies from all over the world, and it was really fast-paced, easy to read, full of action.

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying a Vampire by Grady Hendrix

This book was so captivating, I was completely invested and it made me feel so many different emotions. I went into this book thinking the villain was the vampire, but the real villain in this story is the husband. I hated him with my entire soul, I was so frustrated and angry at the way he made the main character feel small and unimportant, the way he gaslighted her, made her doubt herself, and try to make her be seen as silly. Honestly, all the husbands in this book were shitty. I think this book did a great job of exploring the roles white women were confined to in the 90s, especially housewives living in the suburbs, and how everyone saw them as unimportant and silly. While at the same time showing the privileges they had and that marginalized communities and, in this case, especially Black women and Black communities didn’t have.

Also, this book has some truly disgusting scenes that made me feel gross-out, there are also infuriating scenes where the main character is gaslighted, there are so many sad and frustrating moments between the core friends that were part of the book club, this book truly made me feel so many things. The ending was bittersweet, realistic, and also satisfying.

Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enriquez

If you told me before this year that a short story collection was going to make it into my list of favorite books of the year, I wouldn’t have believed you. Nonetheless, while there were stories that didn’t completely work for me, the other stories were so incredible that I couldn’t help but love the book.

This collection does a good job of commenting on subjects like poverty, addiction, feminicide, police brutality, and so much more, through a gothic lens and with a touch of paranormal elements (a lot of them related to Argentinian folklore). Most of the stories are disturbing and quietly eerie, some with grotesque moments, some transmitting very well the sense of dread and fear of the characters, and a lot of them with spooky and mysterious circumstances. The author leaves the resolution of a lot of the stories up to the reader’s imagination, so it feels like they end quite abruptly, which is a bit jarring but ends up working really well to maintain the sense of uneasiness that the stories create.

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

It had been a while since I got really interested and invested in a story, but this book managed to suck me in. Even tho, I was so confused at the beginning because it’s that kind of book that throws you in the middle of the story, the world, the characters and doesn’t really hold your hand. But as the story progresses you start to understand more and more, and it becomes a rewarding experience of figuring it all out.

This book has incredible main characters, Gideon is likable, sassy, and entertaining, and Harrow is fierce and focused on getting what she wants, both of them are very damaged by their shared past. I loved the dynamic between them, their banter, and all the angst. It was my favorite part of the book. The side characters are really good too and by the end, I felt like they were very distinctive and I could differentiate them easily. The mystery about this abandoned palace and its previous inhabitants, as well as the whodunnit aspects, are very compelling.

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

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Quarterly Favorites #1 (Books, Movies, TV Shows and Songs)

Hi everyone! This is a new thing that I’m doing this year, where at the end of each quarter I will talk about all my favorite things of the last three months. I read a lot of good books, watched so many good shows and discovered some great songs in the first three months of 2021, so it was hard to pick my favorites. The only easy pick was my favorite movie, because I watched just two really good movies and the rest were very meh.

Without futher ado, here are my favorites:

BOOKS

Adult Fiction: The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

This was so captivating, I was completely invested and it made me feel so many different emotions. This book did a good job of including important conversations about feminism, race and privilege. Also, it’s a grusome and disgusting type of horror, which I hadn’t read before, but it was very well done. (Full review)

YA Fiction: These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

This book does a great job of exploring political struggles and colonialism. The main characters of the book, Roma and Juliette, felt so real and I really enjoyed their complicated, angsty relationship. Also, the side characters were pretty interesting (full review).

Nonfiction: So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo

Ijeoma Oluo covers so many topics related to race like police brutality, white priviledge, cultural appropiation and so much more in a concise, clear and very smart way. I learned a lot, especially when it came to ways to reframe conversations and actions that can help in uncomfortable situations when discussing race.

Romance: Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert

I loved reading about Eve and seeing her grow throughout the book. The tension between Eve and Jacob gave me life, their chemistry was so evident and their bickering, especially at the beginning, was so entertaining. The way they both accepted and made space for the needs of the other person was incredibly sweet. Also, this book has some really steamy scenes.

An Introduction to the World of Kate Daniels for New Readers | Den of Geek

Book series : Kate Daniels Series by Ilona Andrews

I read the 10 books and 3 novellas in a period of 2 weeks and absolutely loved them. The series has an amazing main character, who is strong, smart and compassioante but also very flawed, and it also has so many lovable side characters, I was so invested in all of their stories. The main relationship was a slow burn, dislike to love romance and it was so good. Also, the world and magic system were so intricate and interesting, this series included mythologies from all over the world and it was really fast paced, easy to read, full of action.

MOVIE

Amazon.com: Train To Busan: Gong Yoo: Cine y TV

Train to Busan: This was a fantastic zombie movie, exciting and action-packed, but also with emotional moments that hit you in the feels. The acting was really good and the characters felt so real, which made me care about them and that in turn made the whole movie more tense and intense because I was invested in everything that was happening.

TV SHOWS

Romance is a Bonus Book: THIS IS A MASTERPIECE. The main character is wonderful and so easy to root for and, while the hero didn’t make the best first impression, he ended up being the sweetest guy. The romance in this is the slow burn friends to lovers romance of my dreams, they were so cute together!! I liked all the side characters and I was invested in all their storylines. Also, the fact that this was set in a publishing house and everyone loved books and talked about books with so much passion made me love this even more.

Bridgerton: this is a fun, fluffy, entertaining show. Daphne and Simon have good chemistry, there’s lovable side characters and Lady Whistledown adds sassy commentary in Regency era style, which makes the show fun to watch. The locations and clothing are beautiful and very distinctive. My main issues with this series is the scene where Daphne takes advantage of Simon and the way that storyline was handdle. Also, the way it handled race left a lot to be desired. (my full thoughts)

Derry Girls (2017) - ¡¡Ábrete libro!! - Foro sobre libros y autores

Derry Girls: This show is SO FUNNY. The characters in this show are not entirely likable but they are easy to root for and all the messes they get themselves into are so entertaining. I really like the way this show includes the political conflict of Northern Ireland in the 1990s, while the show is not about that, it’s interesting to see how growing up in that political climate affects the lives of the characters.

SONGS

This is my top 6 songs that I discovered in the first 3 months of 2021:

I would love to hear about your favorites from the last few months, let me know in the comments!

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March 2021 Wrap Up: the Kate Daniels series, These Violent Delights and a bunch of romance books

Hi everyone! Today I’m going to talk about the books I read in March, which were mostly the books in the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. I literally did nothing else with my free time the last two weeks but read these books and it was such a fun experince.

Without further ado, let’s talk about the books

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong (4 stars): Roma and Juliette felt so real and I really enjoyed their complicated, angsty relationship. Also, the side characters were pretty interesting and there was a sort of romance between some side characters that gave me life. Also, the way this book explore political struggles and colonialism was fantastic (full review)

An Introduction to the World of Kate Daniels for New Readers | Den of Geek

The Kate Daniels Series by Ilona Andrews (4 stars): I read the 10 books and 3 novellas in a period of 2 weeks and absolutely loved it, I gave all the books 4 or 4,5 stars except for the last one that got a 3,5 but was still a good book. The series has an amazing main character, who is strong, smart and compassioante but also very flawed, and it also has so many lovable side characters, I was so invested in all of their stories. The main relationship was a slow burn, dislike to love romance and it was so good. Also, the world and magic system were so intricate and interesting, this series included mythologies from all over the world and it was really fast paced, easy to read, full of action. Reading these books was such a fun experince. My main issue with this series is that the writing got a bit repetitive because they recounted who all the organizations and charcters were and what happened with them in previous book over and over again throughout the series.

Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert ( 4 stars): I loved reading about Eve and seeing her grow throughout the book. The tension between Eve and Jacob gave me life, their chemistry was so evident and their bickering, especially at the beginning, was so entertaining. The way they both accepted and made space for the needs of the other person was incredibly sweet. Also, this book has some really steamy scenes.

Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron (4 stars): I enjoyed seeing the main character work to improve different aspects of her life. Also, the romance was really sweet, I liked seeing Reena and Nadim become friends and then seeing that friendship evolve into something more. Also, Nadim was really sweet and considerate. (Full review)

First Comes Like by Alisha Rai (3,7 stars): I like the two main characters and the exploration of complicated family dynamics. I also really appreciated having more traditional Muslim heroine in a romance novel. My main issue with this book is that the chemistry and tension between the characters weren’t there. (Full review)

Anchored Hearts by Priscilla Oliveras (3,5 stars): A full review is coming closer to the release date. But for now, I really liked this slow burn, second chance romance. The tension and chemistry between the characters was great. My issues with this had to do with the writing and the fact that I found the hero a bit frustrating.

Marriage and Murder by Penny Reid (3,5 stars): My enjoyment of this series comes in a big part from nostalgia. The characterization of Cletus is very good, even if he can be irratating at times, he has a very strong personality, but Jenn got a bit lost in the background, even when she had some important realizations in this book. The strength of this book is definitely Cletus and Jenn together.

Tarot magicomístico de estrellas (pop) - Amalia Andrade | Planeta de Libros

Tarot magicomístico de estrellas (POP) by Amelia Andrade (4 stars): this is an introduction to the tarot but the illustrations in the tarot cards are famous people who embody the essence of the card. It’s done by a Colombian author and illustrator and it’s really cool, so if you speak Spanish and you are interested in the tarot, I would recommend this.

What is your favorite and least favorite book you read in March? What book are you looking forward to reading in April?

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