Review + Playlist + Giveaway : Miss Meteor by Tehlor Kay Mejia and Anna-Marie McLemore | Book Tour

Hi everyone! I’m so excited to be sharing this review and playlist with all of you today. But before getting to that, I wanted to thank Karina @Afire Page and HarperCollins Intenrational for allowing me to be part of this book tour and giving me an eARC of the book.

Title: Miss Meteor

Author: Anna-Marie McLemore & Tehlor Kay Mejia

Publishing date: September 22nd 2020

Published by: HarperTeen

Genre: YA Magical Realism

Pages: 320

There hasn’t been a winner of the Miss Meteor beauty pageant who looks like Lita Perez or Chicky Quintanilla in all its history. But that’s not the only reason Lita wants to enter the contest, or why her ex-best friend Chicky wants to help her. The road to becoming Miss Meteor isn’t about being perfect; it’s about sharing who you are with the world—and loving the parts of yourself no one else understands. So to pull off the unlikeliest underdog story in pageant history, Lita and Chicky are going to have to forget the past and imagine a future where girls like them are more than enough—they are everything.

Witty and heartfelt with characters that leap off the page, Miss Meteor is acclaimed authors Anna-Marie McLemore and Tehlor Kay Mejia’s first book together.

 Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Book Depository

CWs: bullying, homophobic comments and xenophobic comments

Miss Meteor is one of the best books I have read in 2020. Tehlor Kay Mejia and Anna-Marie McLemore deliver a beautifully written, magical story about two characters learning to be true to themselves.

Chicky and Lita, the main characters, have very strong and distinctive personalities. They are absolutely captivating characters and seeing them grow and develop throughout this book is beautiful. Also, the way they slowly rebuild their friendship is very emotional and meaningful.

The sisterhood in this book is lovely and the Quintanilla sisters own my heart. Chicky has four older sisters and they are all very different from each other, and even when they irritate each other, there is so much love between them and it is amazing seeing them be there for Chicky when she asks for help. Another relationship between siblings that is very complicated and interesting is between Cole and his sister and it was incredible seeing Cole be honest and ask someone he loves to do better and be accepting and loving not only with him but also with others, especially within the queer community.

The romances in this book are so cute and one of my favorite things about it, I was rooting for the two couples the entire book. The slow-burn, angsty friends to lovers romance between Chicky and Junior was everything that I didn’t know I needed and the sweet friends to lovers romance between Lita and Cole with its “oh” moment was very heartwarming.

Plot-wise, when it came to the pageant, I suffered the entire time I was reading this because I was just wondering what was going to go wrong, who was going to sabotage Lita or what faux pas was she going to make. It was funny too because Lita always found a way to do something unexpected that a lot of time didn’t go well for her, from tug wars and falling in a fountain with another contestant to wearing a scuba diving outfit to the swimsuit competition.

Something that this book does really well is addressing heavier subjects like messed up beauty standards, xenophobia and homophobia in a way that feels very organic. It doesn’t feel like a lesson on those subjects, it’s more about characters living their lives, encountering these things and having to process and deal with them. This book shows characters that have to learn to be true to themselves and stand up to people who try to make them feel small or weird or like outcasts.

If you want a book with adorable friends to lovers romances, heartwarming friendships, wonderfully complicated siblings’ relationships, a powerful message and amazing character development, Miss Meteor is for you!

PLAYLIST

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Have you read or are you plannign to read Miss Metero? What’s your favorite magical realism book?
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ARC Review: Land of the Cranes by Aida Salazar

Title: Land of the Crane

Author: Aida Salazar

Publisher: Scholastic 

Publication Date: September 15th, 2020

Genres: Middle Grade Contemporary, Poetry

Nine-year-old Betita knows she is a crane. Papi has told her the story, even before her family fled to Los Angeles to seek refuge from cartel wars in Mexico. The Aztecs came from a place called Aztlan, what is now the Southwest US, called the land of the cranes. They left Aztlan to establish their great city in the center of the universe-Tenochtitlan, modern-day Mexico City. It was prophesized that their people would one day return to live among the cranes in their promised land. Papi tells Betita that they are cranes that have come home.

Then one day, Betita’s beloved father is arrested by Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) and deported to Mexico. Betita and her pregnant mother are left behind on their own, but soon they too are detained and must learn to survive in a family detention camp outside of Los Angeles. Even in cruel and inhumane conditions, Betita finds heart in her own poetry and in the community she and her mother find in the camp. The voices of her fellow asylum seekers fly above the hatred keeping them caged, but each day threatens to tear them down lower than they ever thought they could be. Will Betita and her family ever be whole again?

Goodreads | Amazon | IndieBound

I received an eARC from the publisher in exchange of an honest review,

Land of the Cranes is a touching book told in verse that addresses the nightmare that thousands of people are currently living in the United States thanks to the zero-tolerance policies and mass deportations of the current government.

This book tells the story of a little girl whose dad gets deported and, later on, her pregnant mom and she are also taken into a deportation facility and kept in a cage in inhumane conditions. It explores the cruelty they faced and the ways this little girl found to keep going and even help others that were in the same situation as her.

Land of the Cranes is a powerful and heartbreaking story and I had a lump in my throat the entire time I was reading it. The poetry in the book is so evocative and the fact that it’s a little girl, who doesn’t entirely understand what’s happening, the one that tells the story makes it even more effective in transmitting how devastating the whole situation is.

Aida Salazar makes some interesting writing choices that pay off. The references to Aztlan and the cranes through the book are used as a perfect vehicle to show the main character’s innocence and hopefulness, and the picture poems that Betita creates through the book, which are drawings with short poems written in the back, add a special element to the story and play an important role because they become a source of comfort for her and a source of inspiration and hope for those around her.

Everyone should read this touching book, which unfortunately is incredibly relevant right now. It’s heartbreaking in a way that only fantastic books can be.

Do you read middle grade book? What middle grade books have you loved recently?
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Reviewing Romance Books: Party of Two, The Switch, Headliners and The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics

Hi everyone! I’m really excited to have 4 mini review for you today of books that I really, really enjoyed. I gave all of these books 4 stars and I would totally recommend them!

The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite

Goodreads | Amazon

Lucy has helped her father with his astronomy work for years, so when she finds she finds a letter from the Countess of Moth after his death, looking for someone to translate an astronomy text, she knows where to go. Catherine expected to hand off the translation and wash her hands of the project—instead, she is intrigued by the woman who turns up at her door and she agrees to let Lucy stay. They start to fall in love, but sabotage and old wounds threaten to sever the threads that bind them.

Historical romance is not usually a subgenre that I read, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from a historical romance with queer characters. I thought it may be angsty and sad, but I am so glad it isn’t. This is a cute and interesting story and the romance is just SO SOFT! Lucy and Katherine are strong, smart and passionate and they care for each other so much and want what’s best for each other. The plot revolves around sexism in STEM back in 1816 and I was invested!!! I was frustrated over the situations Lucy had to face and I was rooting for them in their fight against the patriarchy.

My only little complaint is that the “fight” the characters have in the third act didn’t make any sense to me, I literally read the conversation 3 times and I didn’t understand what happened and why they got to the conclusion that they did at the end of that conversation. But is is a very small issue and I ended up really loving this book.

Party of Two by Jamine Guillory

Goodreads | Amazon

Party of Two is about  Olivia Monroe, who just moved to LA to start her own law firm and who meets a gorgeous man at a hotel bar and discovers too late that he is none other than senator Max Powell. Olivia has zero interest in dating a politician, but a sweet gesture convinces her to give him a chance. They date in secret for a while but when they decide to go public with their relationship, the media attention may prove to be too much.

I really enjoyed Party of Two! The characters were great, flawed but likable, and I could see why they liked each other. They were both successful, ambitious, smart and kind and they both cared about helping their communities. I really enjoyed that the book actually shows them go out in dates, get to know each other and slowly fall in love. The progression of the relationship felt realistic. I also appreciated that, as always with the books in this series, it didn’t shy away from addressing white privilege, racism and even incarceration of black and brown youth.

My issue with this book is that it did drag a little for me once they went public with their relationship, but overall it was still really enjoyable.

Headliners by Lucy Parker

Goodreads | Amazon

Headliners (London Celebrities, #5) by Lucy Parker

Hedliners is about two tv presenters, who have a very public rivalry, are forced to work together resurrect a sinking morning show and save their careers —and someone on their staff doesn’t want them to succeed. When mishaps start to happen on set, Sabrina and Nick find themselves working together to hunt down the saboteur and discovering they might have more in common than they thought. When a fiery encounter is caught on camera, the public is convinced that the reluctant cohosts are secretly lusting after one another. The public might not be wrong.

I loved this book! The main characters are tv presenters that don’t like each other but have to work together and it’s awkward and hilarious. I laughed out loud so many times while reading this. This book does an amazing job showing how the relationship between the main characters slowly evolves and changes. That is really important because Sabrina has a very real and valid reason to hate Nick, so the slow pace really worked with the story.

Sabrina and Nick are adorable together and the best part about this book is that they both act like adults, who TALK to their significant other, don’t assume the worst, and actually trust each other. There is no miscommunication in this book, and beyond that, the opposite of that trope is present in this book. Both characters are so good at communicating, and that’s not the only refreshing thing about this book, Lucy Parker steps away from the “romance formula” in the third act of the book, which I truly appreciated. My only issue with this is that it dragged a little bit in a few places, but overall it was great!

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

Goodreads | Amazon

The Switch: The funny and utterly charming novel from the bestselling  author of The Flatshare (English Edition) eBook: O'Leary, Beth: Amazon.es:  Tienda Kindle

The Switch is about Leena Cotton, who is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical from work, so she escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest. Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She’d like a second chance at love, but her tiny village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen. Leena proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Just like that, Leena stays in the samll village and Eileen goes to Londo and both of them have adventures that change their lives.

I enjoyed The Switch a lot. I loved the journey each main character goes on and the changes they both experience. Grief is a esencial part of those journeys, especially for Leena, and I appreciated that this book addresses grief in a very realistic way and it does a good job of showing how the characters relationship with grief changes with time. While Leena’s journey is mostly about overcoming grief, Eileen steals the show with her journey of self discovery and of helping the people around her.

The secondary characters in this book are captivating and adorable. It is very interesting to see Leena and Eileen have to interact and build relationships of their own with people in the other woman’s life. The romances in this book are not the focus of the story, but they are present and I really liked them. Since this book was focused on so many other things related to the character’s personal growth, the romance feel a bit rushed. But overall, the love stories in this are really adorable.

Beth O’Leary is very ambitious, each main character in this book has a completely separate plot and romantic subplot and, because of that, the stories aren’t as flesh out as they could have been, still both plots were engaging and cute.

Have you read any of these books? What romance books have you enjoyed lately?
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Book Review: Category Five by Ann Dávila Cardinal

Title: Category Five

Author: Ann Dávila Cardinal

Publishing date: Jun 2nd, 2020

Published by: Tor Teen

Genre: YA Mystery, Horror

Pages: 240

After the hurricane, some see destruction and some smell blood.

The tiny island of Vieques, located just off the northeastern coast of the main island of Puerto Rico, is trying to recover after hurricane Maria, but the already battered island is now half empty. To make matters worse, as on the main island, developers have come in to buy up the land at a fraction of its worth, taking advantage of the island when it is down.

Lupe, Javier, and Marisol are back to investigate a series of murders that follow in the wake of a hurricane and in the shadow of a new supernatural threat.

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

*e-arc provided by the publisher via netgalley in exchange of an honest review*

Category Five is a companion novel to Five Midnights and the two books have the same main characters. Nonetheless, I haven’t read Five Midnights and I don’t think it’s necessary to read it before reading Category Five. While there are references to the previous book, the author gives enough information about what happened to the readers so we don’t feel lost or like we are missing anything.

Category Five is a quick and entertaining read set in Puerto Rico about teenagers who get involved with a supernatural mystery. The characters in this book are complex and layered. They are dealing with a lot, they are dealing with trauma from past experiences, with grief over losing love ones and also with anger and fear over what happened during and in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

The relationships between the characters are compelling because of the way they are affected by the shared experiences that bring them closer – like the mystery they solved in Five Midnights- and the not shared experiences which cause distance to grow between them – like Hurricane Maria, since some of them were not in Puerto Rico when it happened. There’s a very interesting push and pull between two of the main characters that feels very realistic in the context of the book.

The mystery, which revolves around ghosts, is intriguing and it’s even more interesting because it involves the history of Puerto Rico. While some very convenient things did happen related to the mystery, overall it was an engaging story. It’s important to note that the author does a great job of integrating what has happened in Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria- especially the abandonment of Puerto Rico by the U.S. government – to the book. The ending is very much wish-fulfillment, but it fits the story and it gives it a hopeful ending.

Have you read this book? What mystery/ horror books have you loved recently?
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ARC Review: Always Only You by Chloe Liese

Always Only You (Bergman Brothers, #2) by Chloe Liese

Title: Always Only You

Author: Chloe Liese

Series: Bergman Brothers #2 (companion novel)

Publishing date: August 4th, 2020

Pages: 355

Ren

The moment I met her, I knew Frankie Zeferino was someone worth waiting for. Deadpan delivery, secret heart of gold, and a rare one-dimpled smile that makes my knees weak, Frankie has been forbidden since the day she and I became coworkers, meaning waiting has been the name of my game—besides, hockey, that is.

I’m a player on the team, she’s on staff, and as long as we work together, dating is off-limits. But patience has always been my virtue. Frankie won’t be here forever—she’s headed for bigger, better things. I just hope that when she leaves the team and I tell her how I feel, she won’t want to leave me behind, too.

Frankie

I’ve had a problem at work since the day Ren Bergman joined the team: a six foot three hunk of happy with a sunshine smile. I’m a grumbly grump and his ridiculously good nature drives me nuts, but even I can’t entirely ignore that hot tamale of a ginger with icy eyes, the perfect playoff beard, and a body built for sin that he’s annoyingly modest about.

Before I got wise, I would have tripped over myself to get a guy like Ren, but with my diagnosis, I’ve learned what I am to most people in my life—a problem, not a person. Now, opening my heart to anyone, no matter how sweet, is the last thing I’m prepared to do.

Goodreads | Amazon 

Thank you to Chloe (the author) for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review!

I need to start this review by saying that if you have not read the first book in this series of companion novels, YOU SHOULD GO READ IT! I talked about Only When It’s Us in the post about my favorite romance book of 2020 so far because it’s actually my #1 favorite romance I have read this year. You don’t have to read it before reading this one because it’s not a continuation, but do yourself a favor and go read it anyway.

With that out of the way, now I can talk to you about Always Only You, which now has become another one of my favorite romance books of 2020. This is a slow-burn, sunshine x grumpy romance where the grumpy one with the heart of gold is the woman and the smiley, sunshiny character is the man.

Chloe Liese has a special talent that allows her to create wonderful and complex characters who you can’t help but root for. In Always Only You, the heroine is Frankie, an Autistic woman (#ownvoices) with a chronic illness (rheumatoid arthritis) who is hard-working, smart, empathetic, and badass. And the hero is Ren, who is an adorable, considerate, noble and nerdy Shakespeare-loving Hockey player. He is the kind of hero that makes you wish you knew a man like him in real life.

The relationship between Frankie and Ren is so heartwarming. Ren has been pinning for Frankie for years, but since they work together and their relationship is technically forbidden, he doesn’t want to put her in an awkward position and he’s waiting for the right time to confess his feeling. And then seeing Frankie, who has been hurt before by men who have seen her as a burden because of her disability and doesn’t want to try to be in a relationship again, slowly realize that she really likes Ren and that she wants to give him a chance is amazing and it almost melted me. I loved seeing how they both got to know each other better throughout the book and how they complemented each other.  Also, there’s forced proximity (kind of) at one point in this book and they get all domestic and it was so sweet.

Finally, I appreciated that the author managed to show how Frankie’s chronic illness and autism affect her day to day life in smaller and bigger ways, but how she’s still able to have the life she wants and go after her dreams.

I love a series where there are a bunch of siblings in a family and we get romances for all of them, and there are SEVEN Bergman siblings, so hopefully, I still have 5 more wonderful books to read. I need Freya and Aiden’s book, which is the next book, their story is kind of a second chance romance, which is a trope I LOVE! And I also need Rooney and Axel’s story because that’s a relationship that’s obviously going to happen and no one is gonna convince me otherwise.

Have you read this book? Are you planning to read it? What romance books have you loved lately? 
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5 Reasons to Read Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Hi everyone! Today I’m going to be talking about one of my most anticipated 2020 releases. After reading and loving Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia earlier this year, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on her next book and I’m so happy to say that I loved Mexican Gothic and I recommend it!

Title: Mexican Gothic

Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Published by: Del Rey

Publishing date:  June 30 2020

Pages: 393 

After receiving a frantic letter from her newly wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find—her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.

Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.

Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness. And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

trigger warnings: sexual assault, suicide and child brutality.

Without further ado, here are 5 reasons why you should read this book:

1. Brilliant writing: Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s writing manages to be beautiful and captivating while being simple and unpretentious. The writing in this book is not flowery but it conveys and elicits all kinds of emotions.

2. Captivating main character: Noemí, the main character, is three-dimensional and flawed, while being charming and bewitching. She is vain, flighty, smart, beautiful and strong and I couldn’t help but root for her the entire time.

3. The creepiness: This book is creepy from very early on. Moreno-García made my skin crawl with the simplest scenes, sometimes nothing too scary was happening but with one perfectly crafted phrase, I was spooked. The author used the unknown to set an atmosphere of anticipation and suspense that worked really well to keep the creepiness up while allowing the book to become more and more disturbing as it progresses and as more information is revealed not only about what’s going on but also about the true villains of the story.

4. Effective villains: even in the setting of this book where it’s not clear if there are ghosts, magic or other supernatural things going on, the real villains of the story are manipulative, abusive, disgusting men that you could find anywhere in the world and anytime in history and that’s what makes them so effective. They feel like men you have met and, because of that, it’s easy to feel and relate to the main character’s unease, anger, and frustration towards them. 

5. Perfect setting: setting this book in 1950 Mexico was a brilliant decision. First of all, it gives a fascinating historical background to the story, a society that is changing and accepting some modern and liberal (for the time) ideas while trying to hold onto the old social and religious rules. Moreover, High Place, the house where the story takes place, is a secluded, declining, rotting house with no working electricity and strange echos, and it’s located in a small abandoned mining town in the middle of nowhere, where there are people who are clinging to conservative views. All of it makes it a magnificent setting for the creepiness and the sense of claustrophobia of this story. Beyond that, the setting and time period of this book allowed the author to explore sexism, colonialism, and eugenics in very interesting ways since the main character encounters people who believe that they are superior because of their gender, nationality, ethnicity and that they shouldn’t mix with people of “inferior” genetics. 

Overall, Mexican Gothic is a creepy and disturbing gothic horror novel with a unique setting, perfect for anyone who likes a haunted house stories, gothic classics and diverse takes of old horror tropes.

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Book Review: The House of the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

Title: The House in the Cerulean Sea

Author: T.J. Klune

Published by: Tor Books

Publishing date:  March 17th 2020

Pages: 393 

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

If you want to read a book that will warm your heart, The House in the Cerulean Sea is the perfect choice! The best word to sum up this book is hopeful: hopeful that things can get better, hopeful that prejudice won’t win and hopeful that just one person can make a difference in many lives.

This book explores the idea that prejudice keeps growing and wins when people, who have the privilege of not being affected by prejudice, stay silent and live comfortably in their bubbles without making an effort to question and challenge the status quo, without advocating for those who may not be able to advocate for themselves and without fighting for the changes that will allow them to be their own advocates.

The way it explores these themes is through a society where there’s a lot of prejudice against magical beings and there’s a whole system that regulates, segregates, and excludes them. The concept of this book is fascinating and well-executed. This book particularly focuses on very special children that are magical in some way. These children are kept separated in orphanages where no one ever gets adopted or schools where no one cares for them. The protagonist of this book is a caseworker for the Department in Charge of Magical Youths (DICOMY), who goes to these orphanages and makes sure the children are in a safe environment and while doing so, he has to remain objective and detached. 

And that’s where the magic of this book truly begins, with Linus, the main character. He is very set in his ways, he follows the rules, he’s very anxious about a lot of things, he cares deeply for the well being of the kids and there’s an emptiness in him that he tries to ignore. He’s actually very endearing once you get to know him. It is quickly established that Linus does his job well, he keeps his distance, he is objective and he doesn’t question if the situation these kids are in is right. Once his job is done, he doesn’t check on the kids he meets in the orphanages and he never knows what happens to them after his visit.

The problem is that his lastest assignment requires him to spend an entire month in one of the orphanages. There he meets a group of very special kids, a wise but not entirely nice sprite and the mysterious, sweet, smart man who runs the orphanage. Once he spends time with them and gets to know them, staying distant and objective is not as easy as it used to be. Linus’ character development in this book is phenomenal, and slowly seeing him grow throughout the book, seeing him let go of the rules and understand that the status quo is harmful, is so rewarding

Beyond Linus, the children are the absolute stars of this book. They are cute, funny, lovable and so compelling. Each one has a defined personality and all of them are three-dimensional characters. They all have faced prejudice, sadness, rejection, cruelty, loneliness and they each have their own defense mechanisms because of it. This book does a great job of showing how Linus learns to see beyond those defense mechanisms and how the kids worm their way into his heart and, at the same time, it shows how Linus has to work to earn the kid’s trust and love. In the end, the relationship between Linus and the kids ended up being my favorite part of the book

And then there’s Arthur, the man who runs the orphanage, who is smart, kind, compassionate, and very mysterious. His relationship with Linus is heartwarming and I’m glad we get a male/male romance in a fantasy book. They are both so tentative and sweet. The only thing I will mention is that I wish there were a few more instances of the two of them interacting and connecting, I think it would have made the romance better. Still, it was adorable.

If you want to rest from dark fantasy books and want something that will make you feel happy and hopeful, while still asking tough questions about privilege, prejudice and complacency, I totally recommend this book!

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Book Review: We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

Title: We Hunt the Flame

Author: Hafsah Faizal

Series: Sands of Arawiya #1

Published by: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Publishing date:  May 14th 2019

Pages: 472 

Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways. Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.

War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

After finishing We Hunt the Flame, I was left with an overall feeling of having read a funentertaining, quick book. I enjoyed my reading experience. Nonetheless, when I think about the different elements of the story, the truth is that I had issues with a lot of things. So I’m in a weird position, where this review may sound negative but my feelings about this book are not. I’m actually looking forward to reading the next book in the series when it comes out.

The start of this book was so promising, I was gripped from the very first page because the author introduced a mysterious, creepy forest which was a very big part of the first few chapters and I was very intrigued by it. The problem was that the amazing set up of the forest was wasted, it was not used at all in the story and something very convenient happened involving the forest that made its existence feel pointless. That was a common problem with this book, the author included interesting concepts or elements to the story, but then it felt like she didn’t know what to do with them, so she did nothing or she did something but it wasn’t well executed.

In terms of the plot, this book hinged on the fact that the characters had to go to an island that was supposed to be this scary, dark place full of evil creatures, and honestly, it wasn’t as creepy or as atmospheric as I was expecting it to be or as the forest in the first chapters of the book was. The author included a lot of fascinating Arabic-inspired mythological creatures, but they didn’t feel as necessary parts of the story, it felt more like she had added them on top of the plot and not like they were integrated to the plot. I wish these creatures played a bigger and more important role in the story because they added a unique feeling to it. Also, when it came to the plot, the twists were predictable, the foreshadowing was heavy-handed and a lot of convenient things happened at the end.

We Hunt the Flame is told in dual point of view; the main characters are Nasir, who was a prince and an assassin and who suffered abuse since he was a child; and Zafira, who was a huntress that fed her village but she had to pretend to be a man because of the sexists’ beliefs in her kingdom. At the start of the book, each perspective felt captivating and necessary because they were showing different parts of the world this book takes place in and different pieces of information from the same puzzle. Nonetheless, as the book progressed and the characters met, the dual perspectives didn’t work as well because the two characters were too similar in personality and both of them were living the same situations.

While the main characters faced a lot of obstacles and challenges while they were on the island, the tension wasn’t there, I was never scared for them. This may have something to do with the fact that, while I liked the characters, I wasn’t very invested in them or what happened to them. Even when bad things happened I couldn’t muster any emotion about it.

Nonetheless, I liked the dynamic between the group of characters and I liked the friendship that was born between all of them. There were 5 characters in the group and they were all very different: there was a flirty, relax but mysterious character, a wise mediator, a moody prince/assassin, a distrustful huntress, and a warrior type. The author did a good job of establishing who each character was without making them a caricature, but it felt like the author forgot the warrior character was there most of the time and only remember when she needed this character to fight or to save the day in pretty big ways.

The romance in this book felt so forced and it mainly consisted of the two characters staring at each other from afar for the entire book. I didn’t felt the connection or the chemistry between the characters. And then there was a big problem with queerbaiting in this book, it happened twice with two different relationships and honestly, there was one relationship in particular between Zafira and her best friend that would have made such a better romance.

Overall, I had a lot of issues with this book, but it wasn’t a bad book. It was a fun and quick read, and it had so much potential, that’s why I’m reading the sequel, I want to see if the author manages to execute well some of her brilliant ideas.

Have you read this book? What did you think about it? Do you agree with my opinion?
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Reviewing 2020 Romance Books: Something to Talk About, The Marriage Game & The Change Up

Hi everyone! Recently I read 3 romance books that came out in the last couple of months and today I want to share my reviews for them. While I overall enjoyed these books, I did notice that my problems with all 3 of them were related to the way the big conflict in the story was handled, which I found interesting. If you have read any of these books, let me know if you also had a problem with the conflict!

Without further ado, here are my reviews:

*Click the titles to go to the Goodreads page*

Something to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner

This book is about a showrunner and her assistant, who give the world something to talk about when they accidentally fuel the ridiculous rumor that they are dating, but as they spend more time together because of work, they realize the rumor might not be so off base after all.

I went into this book with a lot of hesitation because I had seen very mixed reviews, but from the very first page I enjoyed both of the main characters and their relationship. I could feel the connection and tension between them and I shipped them so hard. I think the power dynamics, since the main characters were an assistant and her boss, were handled well and the author kept the discussions about it present throughout the book. This is a very slow slow-burn romance and it dragged a little bit, but overall I think it worked really well.

The background of the story was the entertainment business – award shows, paparazzi, writing a tv show, producing a tv show- and it added a fun element to the story. This book dealt with sexual harrasment in Hollywood and I think it did a very good job with that as well. Also, the secondary characters were great and I’m hoping there’s another book in this series with Jo’s best friend.

My main issue with this book was the conflict. I think Emma overreacted to something and I thought it was gonna be one of those “I know it doesn’t make sense, but I’m hurt by it” situations, which I would have undertood and found relatable, but no, she was very mad about it and I feel like she acted very unprofessionally because of it and that whole conflict dragged even when it was kind of silly.

Overall, I still really liked the main characters and their relationship.

The Marriage Game by Sara Desai

Desai, S: Marriage Game: Amazon.es: Desai, Sara: Libros en idiomas ...

This book is about an aspiring entrepreneur and a ruthless CEO, who make a wager to see who gets to keep the office that they accidentally end up sharing. The wager involves helping her finding a husband through a series of blind dates that her father arranged. But when the battle for the office becomes a battle of the heart, Sam and Layla have to decide if this is love or just a game.

I liked the main characters in this book, Sam and Layla. She was passionate, impulsive and caring and even when Sam was a bit of an ass at times, he is willing to do anything for the people he cares about.

The concept of the blind dates her dad set up was really interesting and I enjoyed the fact that Sam ended up going on those dates with her and they get to know each other and start liking each other during her dates with these terrible guys, which were very funny to read about. In those moments, I really liked Sam and Layla together and I could see their chemistry. Nonetheless, this book suffers from an issue that I have noticed in a few romance books lately and it’s that it only shows very little glimpses of the characters getting to know and starting to like each other, and then it makes reference to the fact that more has happened between them and their relationship has grown to be stronger. But since I was only told about it and didn’t see it happen, I didn’t feel as invested in their relationship.

I enjoyed the way this book incorporated Indian culture and I really liked how much her family is part of this book. I wish this book showed more of his family because I love complicated family dynamics and I think it would have added a lot to the story and to his character.

My main problem with this book is the fact that the hero messed up in a huge way and I didn’t feel like he tried to be forgiven at all, he didn’t made an effort, he didn’t had to grovel and he barely apologized.

Overall, even when I wasn’t completly invested in the relationship, I was enjoying this book quite a bit but the resolution to the conflict left me feeling disappointed.

The Change Up by Meghan Quinn

Cover Reveal: The Change Up by Meghan Quinn | Candi Kane PR

In this book, The Bad Boy of Baseball falls in love with his best friend after inviting her to live with him so she can accomplish one of her dreams.

I love friends to lovers stories and this one was so good on that front. I could definitely feel the chemistry and tension between the main characters from the start and I enjoyed seeing the way their relationship developed. Also, they had such a cute dog! For the most part, I liked the main characters. Maddox liked his privacy and routine, he was a bit grumpy, while Kinsley was friendly to everyone and she was VERY passionate about the environment and animal. The only thing that annoyed me a little bit is that the heroine cried ALL THE TIME, everything made her cry.

This book did a good job of showing the awkward moments of moving in with someone, even if it’s your best friend, and it also did a good job of portraining healthy conversations about boundaires and also the necessary conversations when those boundaries are not respected.

My main issue with this book was that the conflict at the end, which was related to the hero’s anger management issues. Something very unrealistic happened and he treats the heroine REALLY badly out of anger and doesn’t believe her explanation. While I did liked the apology and the groveling in this book, I do think that his anger management issues are not deal with, they simply disappeared and that’s not very realistic or a healthy thing to portrait. Also, it really bugged me that he doesn’t believe her until someone else shows him proof of what truly happened (proof btw that was so unrealistic).

Overall, I mostly enjoyed this one and I totally recommend it for fans of friends to lovers romances.

Have you read any of these books? Are you planning on reading any of them? What romance books have you enjoyed lately?
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Mini Reviews: The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon + Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai

Hi everyone! Today I have mini reviews of a couple of romance books I read recently: one that just came out and another that will be out soon. Without further ado, here are my thoughts on them:

The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon

(Release date: June  9th 2020)

Samiah Brooks never thought she would be “that” girl. But a live tweet of a horrific date just revealed the painful truth: she’s been catfished by a three-timing jerk of a boyfriend. Suddenly Samiah-along with his two other “girlfriends,” London and Taylor-have gone viral online. Now the three new besties are making a pact to spend the next six months investing in themselves. No men, no dating, and no worrying about their relationship status . . .

For once Samiah is putting herself first, and that includes finally developing the app she’s always dreamed of creating. Which is the exact moment she meets the deliciously sexy, honey-eyed Daniel Collins at work. What are the chances? When it comes to love, there’s no such thing as a coincidence. But is Daniel really boyfriend material or is he maybe just a little too good to be true?

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

I really liked Samiah, the main character in this book, she is a smart, hard-working and successful woman working in a tech company, which is a very white and male environment. This book did a good job of showing all the hardships that she, as a black woman, faces in STEM and how those hardships are different than the ones faced by other people of color like the love interest, Daniel, who is part-Korean and part-Black.

Samiah’s relationship with the two women that she meets at the start of the book when they all find out they were dating the same guy without knowing it, was the highlight of the book. Their support for one another and their unconditional friendship were things I really enjoyed reading about. And the first 10% of this book when they all find out the truth was hilarious and maybe my favorite part of this book.

My main problem with this book was that so many moments between the main characters when they are getting to know each other and start flirting and liking each other happened off page and I was so frustrated! I’m reading a romance book, I obviously want to see them fall in love, I don’t want to be told that they fell in love in all this little moments that I didn’t get to read about. Also, the fact that he lied to her for almost 90% of this book didn’t sit well with me.

Despite not loving the romance in this book, I loved the female friendship so much that I will read the rest of the series to get the other two women’s love stories.

Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai

(Release date:  April 21st 2020)

One minute, Katrina King’s enjoying an innocent conversation with a hot guy at a coffee shop; the next, a stranger has live-tweeted the entire episode with a romantic meet-cute spin and #CafeBae is the new hashtag-du-jour. The problem? Katrina craves a low-profile life, and going viral threatens the peaceful world she’s painstakingly built. Besides, #CafeBae isn’t the man she’s hungry for…

With the internet on the hunt for the identity of #CuteCafeGirl, Jas Singh, bodyguard, friend, and possessor of the most beautiful eyebrows Katrina’s ever seen, comes to the rescue and whisks her away to his family’s home. Alone in a remote setting with the object of her affections? It’s a recipe for romance. But after a long dating dry spell, Katrina isn’t sure she can trust her instincts when it comes to love—even if Jas’ every look says he wants to be more than just her bodyguard…

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

I went into this book with low expectations after liking but not loving the first book in the series, The Right Swipe. Thankfully, I enjoyed this book more than the first. Girl Gone Viral has two sweet, kind main characters – Katrina and Jas – and I loved them both and I really enjoyed their slow burn romance. I was really glad that Alisha Rai didn’t feel the need to use miscomunication as a plot device, there were two big moments were miscomunication could have been used to create more drama and angst, but it wasn’t, the characters actually talked to each other and expressed their feelings and concerns.

Most of this book takes place in Jas family farm and because of it, his family is a big part of the book and I really liked them as secondary characters and I enjoyed seeing the complex family dynamics and the conflicts between them and how they had to learn to communicate better and how their relationship evolved. Besides the storyline of Jas and Katrina in the farm with his family, this book had subplots revolving each character – the going viral storyline and the trial/pardon storyline – which I didn’t find interesting and so I was glad those were small parts of the book and at the end I liked the way they were both resolved.

Have you read any of these books? Are you planning on reading them? What good romance books have you read lately?
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