ARC Review: Ever After Always by Chloe Liese

Happy New Year, everyone! This is my first post of 2021, I took the first week of January off because I needed a bit of rest, but I’m excited to be back talking about a book I loved. Ever After Always is the first and only 2021 release that I have read so far, I read it back in December 2020 when I got the eARC and I loved it, so I’m hoping it’s a sign that I’m going to read some amazing new releases in 2021.

This book comes out today, January 12th 2021, and you should go get your copy!

Title: Ever After Always

Author: Chloe Liese

Publishing date:  January 12th 2021

Genre: Romance

Pages: 368

Aiden: I’ve spent twelve years loving Freya Bergman and twelve lifetimes won’t be enough to give her everything she deserves. She’s my passionate, tender-hearted wife, my best friend, and all I want is to make her happy. But the one thing that will make her happiest is the one thing I’m not sure I can give her: a baby. With the pressure of providing and planning for a family, my anxiety’s at an all-time high, and I find myself pulling away, terrified to tell my wife how I’m struggling. But when Freya kicks me out, I realize that pulling back has turned into pushing too far. Now it’s the fight of a lifetime to save our marriage.

Freya: I love my cautious, hard-working husband. He’s my partner and best friend, the person I know I can count on most. Until one day I realize the man I married is nowhere to be found. Now Aiden is quiet and withdrawn, and as the months wear on, the pain of our growing distance becomes too much. As if weathering marriage counseling wasn’t enough, we’re thrown together for an island getaway to celebrate my parents’ many years of perfect marriage while ours is on the brink of collapse. Despite my meddling siblings and a week in each other’s constant company, this trip somehow gets us working through the trouble in paradise. I just can’t help worrying, when we leave paradise and return to the real world, will trouble find us again?

Goodreads | Amazon

*The author kindly provided an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review*

Chloe Liese did it again! Ever After Always is the third book in the Bergman Brothers Series, which is a series of companion novels following the Berman Siblings. I read the first two books in the series as well as this ARC in 2020 and I fell in love with every single one of the books and this is quickly becoming one of my favorite romance series of all time.

Ever After Always is a wonderful and emotional second chance romance between two amazing characters. This book is about a marriage in crisis and two people that love each other so much but that have hurt each other deeply. It’s not a fluffy romance, it’s a story about rebuilding a relationship, accepting that people change and relationships need to change with them or they won’t last, it’s a story about learning to trust again and about being honest and vulnerable with each other even when it’s really hard.

Chloe Liese does a great job with the second chance romance and accomplishes something very difficult, she makes the reader care about a couple that has been together for 10 years and while there are two or three short flashback scenes, the book doesn’t rely on the flashbacks or the couple’s past to make the reader root for them.

Aiden, the hero, has anxiety and the representation was hard and wonderful to read about, I just saw so much of my own struggle with anxiety in Aiden’s experience. This book does a great of showing how much Aiden’s anxiety affects his everyday life and how hard can it be to talk about it with others. I love that this book normalizes going to therapy and taking meds, we need to see more of that in romance and in books in general.

Freya, the heroine, is strong and confident, she is described as being curvy and there are a couple of scenes where body image and social expectations are talked about, but overall Freya loves herself and she just wants society to let her be and let her have the body she does without feeling like she has to show everyone all the time that she really loves herself.

Getting to see the Bergman family again and getting to know them all better added so much to the story, it definitely made it more entertaining. I love the fact that the Bergman Brothers read romance! I can’t wait for the next book, I have been intrigued by the possibility of a relationship between two of the secondary characters since book 2 and I’m so glad we are finally getting their story next!

Have you started the Bergman Brothers series? What romance series have you enjoyed recently?

Add me on
Bookstagram | Twitter  | Ko- fi | Goodreads Bloglovin Pinterest Letterbox

Reviewing 2020 Holiday Romances: The Twelve Dates of Christamas & Written in the Stars | Blogmas Day 14

Hi everyone! This post is so late (it’s almost 10pm in Colombia), but tomorrow is my last day working this year, so I have a lot of work that I need to finish and that has left little time for blogging. The good news is that after tomorrow, I’ll be able to dedicate a lot more time to writing my blogmas posts and sharing them not so late.

Today, I’m sharing my reviews for two holiday romances that came out in 2020:

*The amazon links in this post are affiliate links, so if you use it I may get a small commission, that doesn’t affect the price of your book*

The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss

When it comes to relationships, thirty-four-year-old Kate Turner is ready to say “Bah, humbug.” The sleepy town of Blexford, England, isn’t exactly brimming with prospects, and anyway, Kate’s found fulfillment in her career as a designer, and in her delicious side job baking for her old friend Matt’s neighborhood café. But then her best friend signs her up for a dating agency that promises to help singles find love before the holidays. Twenty-three days until Christmas. Twelve dates with twelve different men. The odds must finally be in her favor . . . right?

Yet with each new date more disastrous than the one before–and the whole town keeping tabs on her misadventures–Kate must remind herself that sometimes love, like mistletoe, shows up where it’s least expected. And maybe, just maybe, it’s been right under her nose all along. . . .

Goodreads | Amazon

The Twelve Dates of Chrismas was ok. It was funny at times and I overall enjoyed reading it. It’s definitely chick lit and not romance, so go into it with the right expectations.

The beginning of this book was a lot stronger than the ending. The premise was interesting, reading the start of the whole 12 dates plotline was entertaining, especially since there are quite a few funny moments. Now the problem started because the author focused solely on the dates with random guys and not on the actual romance (which very early on is obvious who the love interest is going to be) and so there was a big chuck on this book where as much as I was entertained, I kept waiting for the main character to actually interact and have cute scenes with the love interest.

And then, when the main character started to spend more time with the love interest, it was easy to see that he was not that great. I mean he wasn’t awful, but he could be inconsiderate and a bit self-serving at times. Also, he owed the main character an apology for things that happened in the past and then he owed her an apology for some things he says in the book and I don’t think he groveled enough or that there was an actual apology. The main couple did have some cute moments but not that many.

Also, this book can get overly descriptive at times. I actually had to skip some of the most detailed descriptions because they made the book drag at times.

In the end, the book was entertaining, I was never bored while reading it, the whole 12 dates plotline was interesting but dragged a bit, and the romance wasn’t great.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur

After a disastrous blind date, Darcy Lowell is desperate to stop her well-meaning brother from playing matchmaker ever again. Love—and the inevitable heartbreak—is the last thing she wants. So she fibs and says her latest set up was a success. Darcy doesn’t expect her lie to bite her in the ass.

Elle Jones, one of the astrologers behind the popular Twitter account, Oh My Stars, dreams of finding her soul mate. But she knows it is most assuredly not Darcy… a no-nonsense stick-in-the-mud, who is way too analytical, punctual, and skeptical for someone as free-spirited as Elle. When Darcy’s brother—and Elle’s new business partner—expresses how happy he is that they hit it off, Elle is baffled. Was Darcy on the same date? Because… awkward.

When Darcy begs Elle to play along, she agrees to pretend they’re dating to save face. But with a few conditions: Darcy must help Elle navigate her own overbearing family over the holidays and their arrangement expires on New Year’s Eve. The last thing they expect is to develop real feelings during a fake relationship. But maybe opposites can attract when true love is written in the stars?

Goodreads | Amazon

Written in the Stars included two of my favorite tropes: the fake dating and opposite attract tropes and I loved that about it. The main characters were both so different and each of them was great in their own way. They had so much chemistry and they were so sweet together.

Both Elle and Darcy had very complicated relationships with members of their families, which added a very compelling element to the story. I love complicated family dynamics and while I wish we got to see a little bit more of Elle’s family, I enjoyed seeing Elle stick up for herself and the way that storyline was resolved. I also loved Margo and Elle’s friendship, it was an amazingly nerdy friendship between two women.

I have two small issues with this book: 1) the pacing was weird, there were places where it dragged a bit, but the ending felt rushed 2) Darcy’s family is very present in this book but I feel like their storyline wasn’t resolved, the situation with her mom went nowhere and Darcy really needed to have a serious conversation with Brendon (her brother) about boundaries that didn’t happen.

Nonetheless, the main characters and romance were so good that I’m really excited to the second book and see Brendon story with Annie (Darcy’s best friend!).

Rating: 4 stars

Have you read these books? what 2020 holiday romances have you enjoyed?

Add me on
Bookstagram | Twitter  | Ko- fi | Goodreads Bloglovin Pinterest Letterbox

Book Review: Lobizona by Romina Garber

Title: Lobizona

Author: Romina Garber

Publishing date: August 25th 2020

Published by:Wednesday Books

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pages: 400

Some people ARE illegal. Lobizonas do NOT exist. Both of these statements are false.

Manuela Azul has been crammed into an existence that feels too small for her. As an undocumented immigrant who’s on the run from her father’s Argentine crime-family, Manu is confined to a small apartment and a small life in Miami, Florida. Until Manu’s protective bubble is shattered.

Her surrogate grandmother is attacked, lifelong lies are exposed, and her mother is arrested by ICE. Without a home, without answers, and finally without shackles, Manu investigates the only clue she has about her past–a mysterious “Z” emblem—which leads her to a secret world buried within our own. A world connected to her dead father and his criminal past. A world straight out of Argentine folklore, where the seventh consecutive daughter is born a bruja and the seventh consecutive son is a lobizón, a werewolf. A world where her unusual eyes allow her to belong.

As Manu uncovers her own story and traces her real heritage all the way back to a cursed city in Argentina, she learns it’s not just her U.S. residency that’s illegal. . . .it’s her entire existence.

Goodreads | Amazon

CWs: ICE raids, anti-immigration sentiments, homophobia, sexism, and gender essentialism.

Lobizona takes elements that are common in the fantasy genre like an alternate dimension, werewolves, witches, a magical school and a magical sport, and it infuses them with Argentinian folklore and culture, which makes this book unique and captivating.

Magical World and Argentinian Culture

In this book, there’s the regular world, a magical dimension and also in-between spaces where Lobizones (werewolves) and witches live, and the history of the creation of these magical beings and this in-between spaces, as well as the explanation of why they are kept hidden from humans in the regular world, is incredibly well thought out and seamlessly incorporates Argentinian myths. Moreover, it’s amazing how many little details in this book come from Argentinian culture. Romina Garber included mate, tango, conversations about soccer and Leonel Messi, and even a whole magical sport that’s inspired by soccer.

Lovable Characters and Captivating Relationships

The protagonist of Lobizona is Manu, an Argentinian girl who has a very isolated life because she is an undocumented immigrant and also because she has very distinctive eyes that mark her as different. Romina Garber manages to transmit Manu’s loneliness, anger, and frustration at her situation so perfectly, which makes it easy to connect with her and root for her as she goes on this journey to find out who she is, where she comes from, and where she belongs.

The friends that Manu makes along the way area a big part of her journey. Tiago, Cata, and Saysa are great characters, they all have their own obstacles that they need to overcome and things that they need to work on, which makes them very engaging. I loved the friendship between the three girls, it has a rocky start but seeing them grow closer and learn to care for each other warmed my heart. The main romance in this book is cute, Manu and Tiago are growing and learning as individuals and I think that’s going to make their romance even better in the next book. Also, there’s a sapphic romance in this and honestly, I had to stop reading and take five minutes to freak out about it, I hope we get to see more of it in the sequel.

Important conversations

Lobizona does a great job of addressing immigration and the current situation that a lot of immigrants are facing right now in the States. This book portraits the constant fear that immigrants live in, the limitations that they have to endure, and the cruelty that they suffer at the hands of organizations like ICE.

This book also includes discussions about sexism and gender essentialism within this magical world and even the Argentinian society. According to the myth, all women are witches and all men are Lobizones, and this is not the only thing determined by gender in this world, women are expected to have children so their species doesn’t disappear and they have certain restrictions place on them like the fact that they can’t play the magical sport that exists in this world. Of course, the fact that Manu is a Lobizona renews the discussion about the unfairness of these gender roles that some people were trying to have even before Manu showed up. By addressing how limited this view of the world is, the book also starts conversations about how transphobic and queerphobic the system in this magical world is and, beyond that, how transphobic and queerphobic Latinx cultures are too.

Latinx Readers’ Opinions

Before finishing this post, I want to share some posts about this book by other Latinx readers that you should check out: Ten Reasons why You Should Read Lobizona and ARC Review: Lobizona

Have you read Lobizona? What fantasy book have you loved lately?
Add me on
Bookstagram | Twitter  | Ko- fi | Goodreads Bloglovin Pinterest Letterbox

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

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

GIVEAWAY

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/24842cbd18/

Have you read or are you plannign to read Miss Metero? What’s your favorite magical realism book?
Add me on
Bookstagram | Twitter  | Ko- fi | Goodreads Bloglovin Pinterest Letterbox

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?
Add me on
Bookstagram | Twitter  | Ko- fi | Goodreads Bloglovin Pinterest Letterbox

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?
Add me on
Bookstagram | Twitter  | Ko- fi | Goodreads Bloglovin Pinterest Letterbox

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?
Add me on
Bookstagram | Twitter  | Ko- fi | Goodreads Bloglovin Pinterest Letterbox

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? 
Add me on

Goodreads Bloglovin Twitter  | Pinterest Letterbox

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.

Have you read this book? Did you enjoy it? Do you agree with my opinion?
Add me on

Goodreads Bloglovin Twitter  | Pinterest Letterbox

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!

Have you read this book? Did you enjoy it? Do you agree with my opinion?
Add me on

Goodreads Bloglovin Twitter  | Pinterest Letterbox