Winter Reading Recommendations | Blogmas Day 2

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

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

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

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

Introspective Books

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

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

In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado

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

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

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

We are Okay by Nina LaCour

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

Chilling Thrillers and Horror Books

An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena

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

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

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

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

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

Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica

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

Character-Driven SFF

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

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

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

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

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb

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

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

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

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

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Short Books to Read If You’re Behind in Your Goodreads Challenge | Blogmas Day 10

Hi everyone! While I already completed my Goodreads challenge this year, I know what it’s like to be missing just a few books to reach your goal and that’s why I decided to look through my shelfs and find some short books (under 250 pages) that I would recommend and that may help you complete your Goodreads challenge.

I decided not to include romance novellas since I have so many of those to recommend that I’m writing a separate post about it.

to make monsters out of girls by Amanda Lovelace (168 pages): a poetry collections that explores the experience of being in an abusive relationship and the process of healing after that experience. It’s beautifully written, honest and evocative.

For Every One by Jason Reynolds (102 pages): This is a poem for the dreamers of the world that’s powerful and inspiring.

Have You Seen Marie? by Sandra Cisneros (112 pages): This is beautiful and heartbreaking story told in verse about losing someone you love and the grief that comes with that. Sandra Cisneros manages to convey so many feelings in such a short and simple story.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (182 pages): This eerie, spooky book about a haunted house will make you feel unsettled and doubt what’s real and what isn’t. It has great writing, an unreliable narrator and intriguing characters.

Animal Farm by George Orwell (141 pages): This book has a clever concept, it uses animal to take a fascinating look at fascism. Also, its fantastically written.

Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie (220 pages): Agatha Christie books are always so entertaining that you feel like you finish them in a blink of an eye.

The Wayward Children Series by Seanan McGuire (all the books are under 202 pages): I know this series is very popular, but if you are a fantasy lover and you’re looking for something short, they are the perfect choice. These books have great writing, interesting concepts, complex characters and so much heart.

God Smites and Other Muslim Girls Problems by Ishara Deen (236 pages): An entertaining and diverse YA mystery, perfect for fans of Nancy Drew. This book is about a Muslim teenage girl solving a muder.

We are Okay by Nina LaCour (236 pages): This is a quiet book about grief that’s bittersweet and raw. It’s one of my favorite YA contemporaries of all time, so I highly recommend it.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight (236 pages): A cute and fluffy YA contemporary about a love born when two teenagers get stuck in an aiport. This is entertaining and a very fast read.

What short books would you recommend? How are you doing with your Goodreads challenge this year?

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Top 5 New to Me TV Shows of 2018

Hi everyone! Today I decided to write a post that’s a bit different. It’s the end of the year and since I watched some amazing tv shows during 2018 I wanted to mention them here. If you are looking for something new to watch, I totally recommend the ones on this list!  I chose 5 shows, 3 of them were released in 2018 and the other 2 are shows that were released a few years ago but that I only started to watch them in 2018. They are in no particular order.

La casa de las flores.jpg

La Casa de las Flores (The House of Flowers) 

A dark comedy about a dysfunctional elite Mexican family that runs a reputable flower shop. 

Things I love about this show: EVERYTHING! It has fantastic acting, amazing writing and production values. It’s captivating and intriguing, everyone has secrets, there’s twist and turns and shocking revelations. Also, Paulina and Maria Jose are one of my favorite couples ever.

 

Vida.jpgVida

Two Mexican-American sisters, who couldn’t be more different or distanced from each other, are forced to return to their old neighborhood, where they are confronted by the past. 

Things I love about this show: It has unlikable but fascinating characters, a complicated sibiling relationship, and it explores gentrification of the Eastside of Los Angeles and homophobia in the Latinx community without shying away from the painful ways those things affect people.

 

The haunting of hill houseThe Haunting of Hill House

Flashing between past and present, a fractured family confronts haunting memories of their old home and the terrifying events that drove them from it.

Things I love about this show: The fact that it’s a ghost show that emphasizes the stories of the living, while being sinister, creppy, moving and stylish. It has complex characters that are absolutely unlikeable, but since it shows them not only as adult but also as kids, it makes it hard to hate them.

 

Brooklyn nine nine.jpg

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

A sitcom following the lives of a group of detectives in a New York precinct. 

Things I love about this show: It’s the perfect show to marathon, I watched five seasons in a week! It has likable characters and amazing relationships, it’s funny and charming but it also handles emotional moments really well.

 

the good place

The Good Place

Four people and their otherworldly frienemy struggle in the afterlife to define what it means to be good. 

Things I love about this show: it has lovable characters, clever and unexpected twists and an intelligent concept that makes it a thought provoking show.

 

Have you watched any of these tv shows? Did you like them? What new tv shows did you watch in 2018? 

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November 2018 Wrap Up (+Tome Topple Wrap Up)

Monthly Wrap Up newest

Hi everyone! There’s no life update this month because not a lot happened in November for me, but December is gonna be so incredibly busy that I guess it compensates. So, without further ado, here are the books I read in November:

What I read 

to make monsters out of girls by Amanda Lovelace

This collection was full of relatable and evocative poetry about heartbreak, abusive relationships and the heart’s ability to heal. My review will be up tomorrow!

Death in the Clouds by Agatha Christie (3,8 stars)

I have discovered that Agatha Christie books are perfect to get me out of reading slumps, because they are really fast reads. This book was definitely not my favorite Hercules Poirot book, I didn’t find it memorable or particulary captivating, the main characters were detestable and  we didn’t get as much of Poirot as usual.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (3,8 stars)

This is a eerie and spooky book told from the pespective of an unreliable narrator that will make you feel unsettled and doubt what’s real and what isn’t. Here’s my full review.

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab (4 stars)

This spooky story full of lovable characters, ghost, history and a captivating setting. I had a lot of fun reading it! Here’s my full review.

The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera  (4 stars)

This is an adult fantasy with an f/f relationships between star-crossed lovers, it’s slow paced and character-based and it’s wonderful. Review coming soon!

Snow in Love  (3,7 stars)

I loved Kasie West’s story, which was a road trip with great characters. I loved the story by Nic Stones, which was about two girls doing a scavanger hunt in an airport, it was cute and it was told in an interesting format using text messages.  Amiee Friedman’s story was okay, it was about a girl working in a department store during christmas, I didn’t like that we got almost no time with the love interest because the plot went in a weird direction for such a short story. Lastly, I really disliked the story by  Melissa de la Cruz, which was about a couple in a small town, I thought the characters actions and motivations were so dumb.

American Panda by Gloria Chao  (4 stars) 

I really liked this story about a Taiwanese-American girl that has to straddle two cultures. I loved the characters, the female friendship, the romance and the development of the mother/daughter relationship. Review coming soon!

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan (4 stars)

I really liked the way this books portraits how different ways girls react to impossible situations, I think it was my favorite part of the book, but I had a bit of trouble immersing myself  in the story. Review coming soon!

Anatomy of  a Player by Cindi Madsen (3,7 stars) 

This book is based on the movie How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and it was a really fun and fast read, it had a likable main character, the guy was alright and they had chemestry. Also, I really liked the female friendship in the book.

Crazy Pucking Love by Cindi Madsen (3,7 stars)

Another entertaining and fast read. The characters had so much chemestry. I would have liked a bit more character development, but this book gave me exactly what I needed at the time. And the female friendships keep getting better and better with each book of the series.

Tome Topple Wrap Up 

I accomplished my goal of reading two books for this readathon and completing three of the challenges! YAY! 🎉 The challenges I completed were: read more than 1 tome, read a tome that is part of a series and buddy read a tome. The books I read were:

Children of Blood and Bone

 

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (5 stars)

I loved Amani and I loved the relationship between the characters and I loved this world and basically I LOVED EVERYTHING! It’s one of the few five star books I read this year and the review is coming soon!

 

lord of shadowsLord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare ( 4 stars)

This is definitely a slow paced book, a lot of planning and scheming take place and I feel like this was a set up book where all the pieces fell into place. It was still really entertaining, I got to know all the characters a lot more, this dealt with some very serious topics really well and THAT ENDING (even if someone had spoiled it for me).

 

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Have you read any of the books I mentioned? Did you enjoy them? Do you want to read any of them?

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Book Review: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

The Haunting of Hill House

Book: The Haunting of Hill House

Author: Shirley Jackson

Publisher: Penguin Classics

Release date: 1959

Pages: 182

Genre: Horror

Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

Goodreads | Amazon

As someone who doesn’t like horror movies, I always assumed that I wouldn’t enjoy horror books either, which turned out to be a lie. Recently, I have discovered that I like a spooky, scary story from time to time. I had never heard about this book or the movie adaptation until recently,  when the Netflix show came out. I really want to watch that show, but I was intrigued enough to give the book a chance before watching it.

I was expecting a really scary book, but that’s not what I got. This is eerie and uncanny, and it definitely made me feel unsettled at times, but I was never truly scared. Shirley Jackson’s writing works perfectly to fuel the feeling that things are not what they seem, her writing not always makes sense and there’s a lot of description to build up the spooky atmosphere.

The story is told from Eleanor’s pov and even before she gets to Hill House, it’s easy to tell that she is a very particular woman. She has always felt trapped and lonely in her life, she gets distracted easily, she is very imaginative and creates entire fantasies in her head, sometimes not very pleasant ones. She is self-consious and doubts herself and from the very beginning you can tell she’s not gonna be a very reliable narrator.  In that sense, even before getting to Hill House, I already had a sense of not knowing what was real.

When Eleanor finally arrives, the other characters are introduced, none of them are very likeable but they are intriguing nonetheless. The book moves slowly, we get to see the characters becoming friends and exploring the house with only a few strange things happening, it takes a while before the spooky events start to happen. I understand that the wait is supposed to increase the suspense, but to me there were points when I was a bit bored and I felt the book was dragging. 

After certain point in the book, once more and more strange events have occured and Eleanor starts to lose her grip in reality, I found the book got a lot more interesting and compelling, because I couldn’t be sure of what was real and what wasn’t. I was especially doubtful about the interactions between Eleanor and some of the other character where the other characters were unpleasant, I couldn’t figure out if the the characters were unpleasant or they just seemed that way because I was seeing them through Eleanor’s eye and she had sucummed to madness at that point.

About the end I’ll say that I saw it coming, but the author managed to make me believe for one second that it wasn’t gonna go as I was expecting. Even if I saw it coming, I found the ending to be fitting with the story.

Overall, I’ll say this is a eerie and spooky book that would make you feel unsettled and doubt what’s real and what isn’t. If you’re just starting to read horror books, this may be a good one to try. 

 Rating: 3,8 stars 
Have you read this book? Did you watch the movie or the Netflix show? Do you have any recommendations for classic horror books that I should read?

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Spooky Books I Didn’t Read in October, But I Still Want to Read

spooky bookI was planning to read some spooky books in October, but unfortunately that didn’t happen, which doesn’t surprise me, because everytime I make plans related to my reading, I fail to actually go through with them. I was hosting the Latinx Book Bingo until October 15th and my idea was to read the spooky books during the last half of the month, but I had forgotten that Kingdom of Ash was coming out the 23rd of October and that it was 900 freaking pages long, so I spent the last days of the month reading this huge book that was the final installment in one of my favorite fantasy series and there was no time for spooky books 😞

Now, the reason I’m writing this post is because for a lot of people, me included, October is THE month to read spooky books, but I don’t want to wait until next year,  I still want to read the books even if October is over, so here’s a list of some spooky books that I’m hoping to read soon:

Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray

This is the third book in The Diviners series, which it’s set in the twenties and follows a group of people with different abilities that have to solve mysteries and face ghosts, curses and evil spirits. 

The Diviners series is one of my favorite paranormal series of all times and I can’t wait to read the next book. The only reason I haven’t read it already is that I’m a bit nervous because we don’t even have a release date for the fourth book yet 😭 WHAT IF THE THIRD BOOK ENDS IN A CLIFFHANGER?!

Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton

Long ago, a village made a bargain with the devil: to ensure their prosperity, when the Slaughter Moon rises, the village must sacrifice a young man. Only this year, the Slaughter Moon has risen early. 

I have been hearing everyone and their mother talk about this book and people seem to love it, so I want to know what all the hype is about. Also, the premise sounds creepy and it has me intriged.

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story—and survive this homecoming. 

I have been meaning to read a Gillian Flynn book for years and I always thought that I would read Gone Girl first, BUT I love Amy Adams and I want to watch the adaptation of Sharp Objects where she plays the main character, so it seems I’ll be starting with this one 🤷🏾‍♀️

 

Miss Peregrine’s House for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs 

A family tragedy sets Jacob journeying to a remote island, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. And somehow-impossible though it seems-they may still be alive.

I never had any intention of reading this book, I watched the movie and thought it was just alright, but I recently met someone who loves this series and it’s their favorite series of all times, so I kind of want to give it a chance.

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

Cass can see ghosts and when she goes to Scotland, Cass is surrounded by ghosts, not all of them friendly. Then she meets Lara, a girl who can also see the dead and she tells Cassidy that their job is to send ghosts permanently beyond the Veil. Cass isn’t sure about her mission, but she knows the sinister Red Raven haunting the city doesn’t belong in her world.

I’m a huge fan of Victoria Schwab and this sounds like a fun and fast read. Something like Ghostbusters in a middle grade version. I’m here for it!

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson 

 It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

I had never heard of this book and I haven’t watched the movies based on it, but the Netflix show was released recently and I want to watch it, so I thought I could give the book a chance as well.

Have you read any of these books? Did you like them? What spooky books would you recommend? What spooky book are you looking forward to reading?  
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