While I don’t watch booktok content, I still spend a lot of time on tiktok and the other day I saw a video from a bookstore (I didn’t save the video so I don’t know who they are), where booksellers talked about books they wish they could read for the first time, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about what books would I choose. So today I want to share the books I came up with:
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia: this book made me feel so many things so strongly when I read it and I don’t think it would be quite the same on re-read. Also, I think the creepy moments and the horror of the reveals hit harder on the first read.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel: this book has so many different elements (a pandemic, a cult, a theater group, some graphic novels) and different timelines, and the first time I read it it was hard to imagine how they all fit together. I would love to experience again the moment when everything made sense and I saw how every thread was tied together.
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern: when I read this, I felt like I was lost in a strange and beautiful world and I was so intrigued by the mystery of this library, and I would love to have that feeling again and I think it may no be as strong on a re-read
Jade City by Fonda Lee: Something happens in this book that broke my heart and I think that feeling can really only be experienced fully the first time around.Also, the not knowing what’s going to happen next and feeling like no one is safe is not the same once you know what happened.
Kate Daniels Series by Ilona Andrews: this series brought me so much joy, I read all 10 books in about 2 weeks and I fell in love with the characters and the world. I would love to experience again that moment when I realized that I had found something special.
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie: This book is full of suspense, secrets and lies, and I would love to read it again without knowing who is behind everything, if the accusations about the characters are true, and if anyone is going to survive. I remember trying to figure out the mystery being a really fun part of the reading experience because it felt like all the clues were there, I would love to have that again.
Only When It’s Us by Chloe Liese: beyond the fact that this book is excellent, I wish I could read it for the first time because it made me confront the things I assume about people when I meet them and it wouldn’t happen on a re-read because I’d go in knowing that the assumption is wrong.
Headliners by Lucy Parker: this book was a great romance and part of the reason why it’s the humor, I laughed out loud so many times because there were so many funny moments that came unexpectedly and I think they won’t be as funny a second time around, so I would love to be able to experience it for the first time again.
What books do you wish you could read for the first time?
Hi everyone! This is my last post of 2020 and that’s so wild! Blogging was such a refuge for me in 2020 and I fell even more in love with it, so I’m excited to keep sharing content with all of you in 2021.
In case you missed it, the last couple of days I posted myFavorite YA Books of 2020 and my Favorite Romance Books of 2020. Check them out if you want to see what other books I loved this year. Today, I want to talk about 10 adult books that I loved in 2020. These are all books that I read in 2020 even if they didn’t come out in 2020 and the only rule that I had was that I couldn’t have two books from the same series.
Without further ado, here are my top 10 adult books of 2020:
The world-building and magic system in this book are unique, captivating and devastating at the same time. The way the society in this book mirrors our society is smart and poignant. There are so many twists, some that I saw coming and some that I didn’t, but they all make sense to the story and make it more interesting. I loved Syenite and Alabaster and I’m heartbroken over everything they went through. What this book has to say and how it says it is so powerful and heartbreaking that it left me feeling hopeless and it took me a long time to recover but I think it was worth it.
The writing in this book makes it feel like reading a myth or fairytale, it is so engaging. The Mayan mythology is captivating and lush, and since it’s a mythology that it’s not often used in fantasy books, this book is full of gods and mythical creatures that feel unique. This book is set in 1920’s Mexico and the mix of the mythological elements and the ‘modernity’ of the Jazz Age works well and gives this story an even more unique touch. Finally, the main characters, Casiopea and Hun-Kamé, who is the Mayan god of death, are both very engaging characters and their journeys and character development were fascinating.
This is a quick, fascinating, and thought-provoking read. It focuses a lot on the scientific and technical side of space travel but the truly interesting thing is that Becky Chambers doesn’t forget about the impact that the discoveries, the advancements, and the search for those things have on people and environments. Also, there are a lot of queer characters in this book, which I love.
This book was so powerful. I was captivated the entire time while reading, I was amazed by the way the author takes all of these different elements (a pandemic, a cult, a theater group, some graphic novels) and different timelines and ties them all together in a way it makes sense and it’s interesting and meaningful. I found all the characters and storylines incredibly fascinating. This book made me really sad while reading it, but it also made me feel thankful and, in the end, it gave me hope.
This book is brilliant. I’m not the biggest fan of Military fantasy, but this series does it so well that I’m really invested in the story. The way this book talks about war and power is grim but fascinating. I think the main reason I enjoy this series and this book so much is that it has given me some characters that I adore. I still love Kitay as much as I did in book 1, this book made me fall in love with Venka and I love the angsty, complicated relationship between Rin and Nezha. Also, this book discusses colorism, colonialism, and the role of religion within colonialism in such a thought-provoking way.
This book may have one of the coolest premises ever, it’s like the Godfather with martial arts and magic. It’s such a unique book! Fonda Lee does an amazing job of describing the action scenes in this book and the way she incorporates martial arts is incredible. The clan war element of the story is so interesting, this is a very intense book and I was completely invested in everything that was happening. I think I cared so much because I LOVED the main characters, who are siblings that are incredibly loyal to each other and they won my loyalty too. This book broke my heart at one point, I was devastated but it was SO GOOD.
This book is whimsical, nonsensical, and peculiar and the writing is absolutely beautiful. This book doesn’t have a defined plot; it’s full of metaphors and stories within stories, so it can be very confusing and, by the end, I felt like I only understood parts of it; and since it feels like you are reading a story, a myth, a fable, most of the characters feel like characters in that story and not like real people. But I didn’t dislike any of that. While I read this, I felt like I was lost in a strange and beautiful world. I loved and I was invested in all the stories within stories, I was intrigued by the mystery of this underground library, I was captivated by everything.
I love the characters in this book, monstrous women are my favorite thing in the world, and I love their relationship with each other and the found family aspect of the book. The premise of this is so unique, the daughters of famous scientists from classic gothic literature work together to solve a mystery that it’s linked to their lives. Also, I love the funny and unique structure in which this book is told, the fact that the characters interrupt the narrative to give their commentary on what’s happening. Basically, I love everything about this.
This is a hopeful and heartwarming book that explores the idea that prejudice keeps growing and wins when people stay silent in the face of it and live comfortably in their bubbles. The concept of this book is fascinating, well-executed and it mirrors a lot of real-life situations, this book is set in a world where magical beings exist and there’s a lot of prejudice against them. The main character in this book is so endearing and the children are cute, funny, lovable and so compelling. The sweet, loving relationship between the main character and the kids is my favorite part of the book. Also, there’s a very sweet m/m romance in this!
This creepy, atmospheric, and disturbing book. The writing is beautiful and captivating while being simple and unpretentious, and the main character is three-dimensional and flawed, while being charming and bewitching. This story is so effective in being scary because even when 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. 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. Also, this includes important commentary on sexism, colonialism, and eugenics that gives depth to the story.
What are your favorite Adult books that you read in 2020?
Hi everyone! Blogmas is almost over and while I have enjoyed writing posts, the truth is that since I decided to do Blogmas very last minute, I didn’t have time to write enough content and be prepared, so the last couple of weeks have been really stressful, so I’m looking forward to have a bit less stress after blogmas is over.
Yesterday I shared my Disappointing Books of 2020and today I’m happy to talk about the books that surprised me in a good way this year. These are not my top books of the year, those posts are coming next week, I’m going to talk about top YA books, top Adult books and top romance books. But before that, let’s talk about surprising books of 2020:
I don’t know why I wasn’t expecting to love this book because I loved everything I have read by these authors in the past. Maybe it had to do with the fact that it was YA contemporary, which I don’t read and don’t enjoy that much anymore. Nonetheless, this book surprised me because I ended up LOVING it, it’s one of my favorite books of the year. I loved everything about it from the romances to the friendships to the sibling relationships to the message. I would love to read more about these characters.
This book had two things against it, it was YA which as I said before I’m not really drawn to anymore and it was a love story between a human and ghost and I thought it was going to be a sad book because of that. But despite all that, it surprised it me and it ended up being one of the most comforting books I read in 2020, it gave me so much joy. I particularly loved the main characters, they were adorable, and their relationship.
I’m almost done with the YA books, but this is another one that surprised me, and I ended up enjoying a lot more than I thought I would. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me feel invested in the characters and their relationship, and it was a book that brought me a lot of comfort during a hard year.
This book surprised me because I had heard very mixed things about the first book in the series, since they are companion books, I ended up skipping book one and jumping straight into this one and it was a great decision. I didn’t think I was going to like this as much as I did, I enjoyed the spooky aspect of the book and I liked the characters, but my favorite thing about it was the way the author integrated what has happened in Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria, especially the abandonment of Puerto Rico by the U.S. Government.
I started to read this book with extremely high expectations because everyone was loving it, and I immediately had a problem with the writing, it’s was too purple prose and wordy for my taste. I had to reread passages so many times to be able to understand because the amount of unnecessary and complicated words was A LOT. Nonetheless, this book surprised me because once I got used to the writing and the love story started, I was invested! The romance in this book was so angsty and emotional, the yearning was a beautiful thing to witness and I ended up really enjoying this.
This book was on my tbr for YEARS and there was something about it that made me feel interested in reading it while it also made me thing I wasn’t going to love. So you can imagine my surprise when I started this book and immediately fell in love with it. Emily St. John Mandel managed to weave together storylines that seemed completely unrelated and I loved the complexity of the storytelling.
I don’t know why I had low expectations for this book, maybe because I felt like everyone described this book in vague terms and I like to go into books knowing very clearly what they are about. Now I totally understand why people are so vague when talking about this book, because it’s a bit nonsensical, it has a very vague plot, there’s a lot of stories within stories, but it’s also whimsical and magical. This book surprised me because I loved everything about it.
This was my first Ilona Andrews’ book, and I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that this wasn’t going to be a romance book with a half-baked world and magic system. I loved how complex and interesting the fantasy elements of this book were, and I’m really excited to read more Ilona Andrews’ books in the future.
This book surprised me because my previous experience with Lucy Parker wasn’t great, I really disliked the writing in that book, so I was very hesitant to read another one of her books, but everyone seemed to love Headliners, so I decided to give it a chance and I’m so glad I did. I was so surprised when I finished this book and realized I LOVED it. This book was hilarious, the main characters were adorable together and the best part about this book is that they both acted like adults, who talk to their significant others and trust each other.
I wasn’t expecting to love this book as much as I did, this is my favorite romance of the year, and I was really surprised by it because I read it on a whim when none of my friends had read it or reviewed it, I just saw someone on Goodreads add it and it sounded interesting, so I picked it up and it ended up being a frenemies to lovers, slow burn, angsty and emotional romance that I absolutely loved.
Hi everyone! Today, I’m sharing my list of favorite new-to-me authors of 2020. This list doesn’t include romance authors because I wrote a separate list for my favorite new-to-me romance authors since I read so much romance.
These are all authors I can’t wait to read more from:
Erin Morgenstern: For a while, I have been looking for fantasy books that were more whimsical and magical and less grim and sad and Erin Morgenstern gave me exactly what I wanted. The Starless Sea is so nonsensical and fairytale-esque and the writing is so beautiful.
T.J. Klune: The House in the Cerulean Sea is everything I didn’t know I wanted, T.J. Klune managed to write a story that was hopeful and heartwarming while still talking about serious topics like privilege, prejudice, and complacency.
Romina Garber: Romina Garber took me back in time, Lobizona made me feel so nostalgic, it’s the perfect YA fantasy. Garber does an amazing job of having a unique world and a really cool made-up sport, and at the same time, integrating so many elements from Argentinian culture and discussing difficult topics like immigration.
Amparo Ortiz: The award for the coolest concept ever goes to Amparo Ortiz, the idea of a made-up sport played by humans and dragons is incredible. The expansive world building, the complex history behind the made-up sport and the captivating writing style are some of the strengths of Blazewrath Games.
Fonda Lee: Fonda Lee’s ability to write an intense, fast-paced story, with the coolest and most realistic combat scenes is outstanding. But the true strength of her writing is in her characters, I emotionally invested in all of their lives and suffer with them the entire book.
R.F. Kuang: I’m not the biggest fan of Military fantasy, but it’s so well done in The Poppy War Series that R.F. Kuang has made me feel very captivated and engaged with the story. The way Kuang discusses war, colorism, colonialism, and the role of religion within colonialism is very powerful. But I think the main element I love from her books is the characters, which are very complex, interesting and morally gray.
N.K. Jemisin: N.K. Jemisin created a fascinating, unique and devastating world for her The Broken Earth Series. She made me feel invested in her characters and then she made me pay for it. The way certain elements of the story mirror our society is smart and poignant.
Emily St. John Mandel: The way Emily St. John Mandel included so many different elements in Station Eleven is masterful. She manages to weave together storylines that seem completely unrelated, from a nomad theater group to a cult to a mysterious town in an airport. St John Mandel did an amazing job keeping her story intriguing and captivating.
What are some amazing authors you discovered in 2020?
Hi everyone!!! This is a very weird wrap up, because it’s a wrap up for the first two weeks of September and the two last weeks of October. Since Latinx Heritage Month goes from September 15th to October 15th and I was hosting and participating in the Latinx Book Bingo, I dediced to do separate wrap ups, so there’s a Latinx Book Bingo Wrap Upthat you can check out, if you want my opinions of the 16 books that I read for that.
I haven’t done this is a while and I just wanted to share some good things that have happened lately:
I got invited to participate in a couple of panels for the Latinx Heritage Month Book Festival (organized by the wonderful Paola @ By My Shelf) and it was an amazing experience, you can check them out HERE and HERE.
I started a new job on October 15th and I’m loving it. I have been working towards becoming a social researcher for a while and it finally happened. I’m working as a researcher in subjects related to social innovation in health for a medical research center and I couldn’t be more excited!
Also, I turned 26 on October 28th, I had a lovely time with my family that day, I ate amazing food and I felt so loved by my firends in the bookish community, which was amazing!
In case you missed it, I started a bookstagram account on August. It’s Bookish Wanderess. I would love to check out you accounts, so let me your account name ot a link in the comments!
Reading Wrap Up
Without further ado, here are the books I read in September and October:
My Least Favorite Book
13. Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Keyples (3 stars): I liked Kathleen, I really liked the secondary characters and I didn’t hate Devon, but he was my least favorite out of all the Ravenels. The romance was not great. While the sex scenes were pretty good, I couldn’t understand why the main characters liked each other beyond physical attraction.
The Ok Ones
12. Kane by Sawyer Bennett (3,5 stars): This is ok, I liked the chemistry and the dynamic between the characters and there are some steamy scenes. I had issues with how alpha male the main character is, I didn’t love the ending, the whole relationship felt rushed and if they had taken the time to talk about some things, the conflict wouldn’t have happened. At least, the conflict didn’t drag, it also actually solved pretty quickly.
11. Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey (3,5 stars): I really like Bethany as a character, she is my favorite part of the book. The romance is ok, not too memorable but I didn’t have any issues with it either. My main problem with this book is that a lot of the plot felt unrealistic and rushed, especially when it came to the reality show and to the storyline about Wes being the guardian of his niece.
The One I Liked
10. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman (3,7 stars): This is cute, Nina is relatable and the whole family dynamic is very charming and captivating. The romance starts strong, but then it goes downhill after they start dating, they spend little time together and then they spend a big portion of the second half not talking to each other. This doesn’t really have a plot because it’s a character-driven book and it drags a little in some places. But overall, it is an enjoyable, lighthearted read.
The Ones I Really Liked
9. Each of Us a Desert by Mark Oshiro (4 stars): This is a quiet, introspective fantasy book about the role of stories in our lives and in our communities and the link between the stories we are told and the things we believe in and have faith in. This is a character-driven book with a very loose plot but with strong thematic elements. (Review)
8. Nothanger Abbey by Jane Austen (4 stars): The beginning dragged a little, I didn’t care about the characters and I didn’t like the narrator that interjects with random comments about what’s happening in the book. The one thing I liked from the beginning is the conversations between Henry and Catherine, I enjoyed them as a couple from the start. Once the main characters go to Northanger Abbey, the book gets so much better, it is entertaining and I actually became invested in the characters.
7. Pride, Prejudice & Other Flavors by Sonali Dev (4 stars): This is a great Pride and Prejudice retelling, it’s faithful in a lot of ways to the original but it explores very different themes. This has great complicated family dynamic and amazing main characters that have captivating storylines with their respective families. The only thing that didn’t work for me was the romance. They treated each other pretty terrible for most of this book and while they had some small nice moments, it wasn’t enough for me.
Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean (4 stars): I’m just getting into historical romance but this one was kind of different to everything else I have read, which was fun. Sarah MacLean’s writing is really good and her characters are lovable. The banter in this book gets a 10/10, most of this book is spent with the main characters talking and being witty and funny. They have so much chemistry.
Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn (4 stars): This book is basically perfect until about the 80% mark and after that, it is still pretty good. The way the relationship develops between the main characters is fantastic. Their bantering and bickering at the beginning is very entertaining
Home Before Dark by Riley Sager (4 stars): This book is spooky but not too scary, andswitching between two timelines keeps the book interesting, builds tension, and saves the book from dragging. The mystery is very engaging and I liked the main character. I thought for a second that the ending was going to be disappointing but it wasn’t and then I thought I had guessed the twist but I hadn’t. It actually was a pretty good ending!
A Heart in the Body in the World by Deb Caletti (4 stars): This book is so good. It was a powerful story about ptsd, grief and slowly healing. It’s a quiet book that says a lot about the constant fear that women experience, about women having to be nice but not too nice since it can be misinterpreted, about women carrying the guilt over things men did that are not women’s fault. This is not a story of sexual assault, it’s a book about other ways in which toxic masculinity can hurt people.
My Favorite Books
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern (4.5 stars): I really loved this book, it’s whimsical and magical and peculiar. The writing is absolutely beautiful. While I read this, I felt like I was lost in a strange and beautiful world. I loved and I was invested in all the stories within stories, I was intrigued by the mystery of this underground library and I was captivated by everything.
Station Eleven by Emil St. John Mandel (4,5 stars): This book was so powerful. I was captivated the entire time while reading, I was amazed by the way the author took all of these different elements (a pandemic, a cult, a theater group, some graphic novels) and different timelines and tied it all together in a way it made sense and it was interesting and meaningful. I found all the characters and storylines incredibly fascinating. This book made me really sad while reading it, it also made me feel thankful and, in the end, it gave me hope.
What were your favorite and least favorite books you read this month? Have you read any of the books on this wrap up?