Winter Reading Recommendations | Blogmas Day 2

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

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

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

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

Introspective Books

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

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

In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado

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

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

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

We are Okay by Nina LaCour

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

Chilling Thrillers and Horror Books

An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena

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

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

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

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

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

Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica

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

Character-Driven SFF

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

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

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

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

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb

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

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

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

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

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Ranking all the books I read this month aka my February 2020 Wrap Up

Reading Wrap Up

Hi everyone! It’s time for my february wrap up and I’m excited with the new format that I’m using where 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 other books with higher ratings and that has to do with my enjoyment of the books.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted my February tbr and I’m so happy to say that I read all the books on it – even if I finished We Unleash the Merciless Storm on March 1st which is why it’s not gonna be in this wrap up. So I read 8 books on my February tbr + 6 more books that were not on it. Here’s how I ranked them:

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

My Least Favorite Books of the Month

Unfortunately, this month I read two books that I really disliked and that I had a lot of issues with, specially in terms of characters and writing.

14. Frenemies by Emma Hart (2,5 stars): The writing in this wasn’t good and the main character was annoying, she kept going around in circles about her relationship with the love interest and then she suddenly changed her mind at the end. I think this had lots of potential, but it needed to be longer and better written.

13. Dominik by Sawyer Bennet (2,8 stars): the hero of this book was extremely arrogant and controlling, he was a very two dimentional character and even if he did get a bit better by the end, the improvement wasn’t significant. Beyond sexual chemistry, the characters didn’t have any connection and they barely speak to each other for the first half of the book. Also, the writing wasn’t the best, the inner monologues of the main characters were so repetitive.

The One I Had Issues With, But It’s Not Bad

The books I give ratings between 3 and 3,5 stars are the ones that I have a lot of issues with but they have redeeming qualities and I can see that they are not bad books.

12. American Street by Ibi Zoboi (3,4 stars): This was a quick read but I had a hard time getting into it because I didn’t like the main character, I found her naive and judgemental. Nonetheless, all the other characters were interesting. This book didn’t handle the topic of abusive relationships very well and the ending was rushed and it was deus ex machina.

The “I Mostly Liked Them, But…” Books

The “I mostly liked them, but…” books are the ones I give between 3,5 and 3,7 stars to and they are books that have small things I disliked or I had some issues with them.

11. Unbreakable by Melanie Harlow (3,7 stars): I really liked both of the main characters, they had great chemistry and they were kind and understanding with each other. There was a storyline in this that was predictable revolving around pregnancy and infertility and I think it could have been handled better.

10. Wherever You Are by Krista & Becca Ritchie (3,7 stars): This book was told in dual timelines, at the beginning it did a good job of staying in one timeline long enough to not feel jumpy, but halfway through it started to feel like a bunch of scenes haphazardly put together without a strong narrative behind them and it actually skipped some really important scenes, which annoyed me.

9. The King of Crows by Libba Bray (3,7 stars): Nothing happened in this until the very end and then when the big confrontation took place it was so anticlimatic. The ending was nothing memorable and it felt like the stakes were super low. Still I’m not mad at this book because my two favorite characters got the ending I wanted for them and that was all I was asking.

The Ones I Really Liked

I consider books I really liked the ones I give a rating somewhere between a 3,8 and a 4,4 stars.

8. The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor (3,8 stars): It took me a while to get into this, but when the action started, I got really invested in the story. This book tried to cram to much world building into very few pages and it suffered a bit for it and also I didn’t love the ending, but overall I enjoyed the conclusion to Binti’s story.

7. The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa (3,8 stars): This was a highly entertaning read, I really liked the characters and their chemistry was off the charts. Also, I LOVED the way Brazilian culture was incorporated. I know a lot of people were saying that the sex in this book was awkward and I would agree that the first sex scene was, but it got better.

6. Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole (3,8 stars): The plot of this got a bit ridiculous by the end, but I LOVED Portia and Tavish as characters and as a couple, their chemistry was amazing.

5. A Prince on Paper by Alyssa Cole (3,8 stars): I LOVED the main characters! Nya and Johan are precious and I loved seeing them fall in love and get their happily ever after. I think the whole storyline with Nya’s father was resolved in a very weird and rushed way, but beyond that I really enjoyed it

4. Can’t Escape Love by Alyssa Cole (4 stars): This book has the most adorable, nerdy couple I have ever encountered in a romance book. I LOVED both of the main characters. There was a point where this book had me at the verge of tears just because the hero felt confused and sad and that’s a testament of how deeply Alyssa Cole made me fall in love with the characters.

3. American Sweethearts by Adriana Herrera (4 stars): I love both of the main characters. Juan Pablo is such a swoonworthy hero. I really love how sex positive and unapologetically Latinx this book is. (Full review)

2. Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams (4 stars): Queenie’s voice is incredibly captivating even when her life is spinning out of control. The first half of this book is full of Queenie making terrible choices and getting involved with the most horrific men, who treated her like she was a plaything that was there for their pleasure. But seeing the whole process she went through to get better was beautiful.

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, but the books I consider new favorites usually are the ones that get a rating of 4,5 stars or more. This month unfortunately I didn’t rate anything higher than 4 stars, but I still read a brilliant book:

1. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (4 stars): The world building and magic system in this book were unique, intriging and devastating. The way it mirrors our society was smart and poignant. There were so many twist, some that I saw coming and some that I didn’t, but they all made sense to the story. I loved Syenite and Alabaster and I’m heartbroken over everything they went through. This is brilliant but the last 80 pages made me feel hopeless and angry and devastated and I’m not sure that I will continue on with the series because this book was one bad thing after another and I feel like I can’t handle that.

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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February TBR: Black History Month + Latinx Book Club + Anticipated Releases

Hi everyone! It’s time for my February tbr and I’m very excited to read the books I picked. Most of the books I’ll be reading in February are books by Black authors because February is Black History Month; I also included on my tbr the book pick of the Month for the Latinx Book Club, which is a book by an Afro-Latinx author; and lastly, I included 3 of my most anticipated releases of the year.

As I did in my January tbr, 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 is my Febraury tbr:

🔮⭐💫🌞 The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin: This book has been on my tbr for so long, I have heard nothing but great things and I’m excited!

🌞⭐🦄 Binti: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor: I read the first two books in this series almost two years ago and I need to finally read the conclusion to the story.

🔥🌞⭐🦄 American Street by Ibi Zoboi: I’m reading this for the Latinx Book Club, which I co-host on Twitter and Goodreads

🌞 ⭐A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole: I have read and liked two books in this series, so I’m excited to read this one, especially aince it seems to be the favorite of a lot of my friends

🔥🌞The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa: one fo my most anticipated releases of the year since I love Mia Sosa’s Love on Cue series. Release date: Fabruary 4th

🌞 ⭐🦄Queenie by Candice Carty Williams: This has been on my tbr for a year but the synopsis is resonating a lot with where I am in my life right now, so I can’t wait to read it.

🔮The King of Crows by Libba Bray: The Diviners Series is one of my all time favorite series and I can’t wait to read the final book. Release date: February 4th

🔮🔥 We Unleash The Merciless Storm by Tehlor Kay Mejia: The first book in this series was one of my favorite books of 2019, so I can’t wait to see what happens next. Release date: February 25th

Dominik by Sawyer Bennett: This is the sixth book in this series and I have really enjoyed the previous books, so I’m really excited for this one. Release date: February 18th

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

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