Favorite Adult Books of 2020

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 my Favorite 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:

10. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

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.

9. Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-García

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.

8. To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers

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.

7. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

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. 

6. The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang

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.

5. Jade City by Fonda Lee

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.

4. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

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.

3. The Strange Case of The Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss

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.

2. The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

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!

1. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-García

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?

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Favorite New-to-Me Authors of 2020 | Blogmas Day 21

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?

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Books That Brought Me Comfort in 2020 | Blogmas Day 18

Hi everyone! Writing today’s post brought me so much joy, because I just remember how much I love all of these books and how heartwarming they are.

This was supposed to be a post about funny books or books that made me laugh in contrast to yesterday post of Books that Wrecked Me in 2020, but I didn’t read as many funny books and, I think with everything that happened this year, I really appreciated comforting books a lot, so I decided to share some books that brought me comfort in 2020:

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

Plot: This book is about a caseworker who is assigned to investigate an island orphanage for magical children deemed especially dangerous, and has to make a recommendation about the continuatuon or closing of it.

This book is really heartwarming. It has endearing characters, a fascinating concept, a story that will make you feel happy and hopeful while asking tough questions about privilege, prejudice, and complacency. The most comforting aspect of the book for me are the lovable characters, the relationships between them and the found family aspect.

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Plot: When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his true gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo and ends up summoning the ghost of  the school’s resident bad boy.

This book manages to be sweet, hopeful, and fun, while still including difficult subjects like transphobia, homelessness, gang violence, and abusive parents. The main characters are adorable and the romance between Yadriel and Julian warmed my heart and made me so happy.

Miss Meteor by Anna-Marie McLemore

Plot: Lita Perez enters the Miss Meteor beauty pageant and asks her ex- best friend, Chicky Quintanilla, for help. 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.

This book is fantastic, the friends to lovers romances are adorable, the friendships healed my soul, the siblings’ relationships are wonderfully complicated, the message is so powerful and the character development is great. I can’t think of a book that made me happier this year.

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Thompson

Plot: this is a story about  about Liz, a Black teenage girl living in a very white small town, who has to run for prom queen in order to get a scholarship so that she can attend her dream school.

This is a cute, fluffy, heartwarming YA contemporary with an incredible main character, an adorable romance and a hopeful message. It strikes a balance between the more comforting elements of the story and important discussions about homophobia, poverty and racisms.

The Dream Weaver by Reina Luz Alegre

Plot: This story is about Zoey, a twelve year old, who is trying to save her grandfather’s bowling alley while participating in bowling tournament with a group of friends.

A very sweet middle grade that deals with hard subjects like grief and complicated family dynamics. Despite all that, this book tells a hopeful and happy story about giving yourself time to figure out your dreams, fighting for them but also allowing them to change with time. It includes a bowling team, sleepovers, friendships, a strong sibling relationship, and a lovable grandfather. 

The Strange Case of the Alchemist Daughter by Theodora Goss

Plot: Mary Jekyll is looking for her father’s old partner, the murderous Edward Hyde. Instead she finds Hyde’s daughter, Diana, as well as the daughters of other famous scientists. With the help of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary and the others are going to solve the mysteries of their origins

This is a fun, captivating adventure story told in a unique and often hilarious structure where the characters from the book interrupt the story to add their own commentary. What made it so comforting for me is the found family at the heart of the story, a group of lovable monstrous girls supporting and protecting each others.

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

Plot: Leena is ordered to take a sabbatical from work, so she escapes to her grandmother house to rest. Eileen is newly single, about to turn eighty and she’d like a second chance at love but her tiny village doesn’t offer many options. Leena proposes a two-month swap, Eileen will live in London and Leena will stay in rural Yorkshire.

This is a very cute story and the reason it was so comforting for me is that Eileen as a characters was endering, caring, and comforting. I LOVED her storyline, the friendships she built, how much she helped others, her character development and even her love story.

What books brought you comfort in 2020? Have you read any of the books I mentioned?

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Standalone Fantasy Book Recommendations

Hi everyone! This is an exciting post for me, I tried to write this blog post in 2019 and I realized that I hadn’t read that many standalone fantasy books, so one of the things I tried to do in 2020 was reading more standalones and I had so much luck that a few books on this list are going to make it into my favorite books of the year.

Disclaimer: all the books in this list are standalones at the moment I’m writing this post, but that could change.

Without further ado, here are some standalone fantasy books that you should read:

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

If you want to rest from dark fantasy books and want a book that has endearing characters and a fascinating concept, a story that will make you feel happy and hopeful and that will ask tough questions about privilege, prejudice, and complacency, I totally recommend this book! (Full review)

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

This book is whimsical, nonsensical, and peculiar. It’s perfect for someone who wants to get lost in the magic and doesn’t care if everything gets explained. The writing is beautiful, there’s not a defined plot, it’s full of metaphors and stories within stories, and it feels like you are reading a myth or a fable.

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno- García

If you like books that revolve around mythology, this book is for you! The Mayan mythology in this book is captivating and lush and the mix of the mythological elements and the ‘modernity’ of the Jazz Age gave this story a unique touch. If you are looking for a fantasy story that’s different to anything you have read before, check out this one!

Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria

This is the perfect book for fans of fast-paced heist stories. This is an entertaining read, with a cast of amazing diverse characters, complex relationships between them and a plot full of twist and turns that will keep at the edge of your seat.

Each of Us a Desert by Mark Oshiro

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, set in a captivating and mysterious world, that has a very loose plot but strong thematic elements. If that sounds like something you would enjoy, give this book a chance! (Full review)

What are some of your favorite standalone fantasy books?

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Ranking all the books I read this month aka My July 2020 Wrap Up

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Hi everyone! I hope you all had a lovely July! Today, I want to update you on some cool things that happened in July and I want to talk about all the books I read this month and as always, I’ll rank them from least favorite to favorite. But before getting into the post, I want to encourage you to support the Black Lives Matter movement in any way you can. If you want to know how to help, click this link.

First, some bookish updates:  1) I’m part of the team behind Colored Pages Book Tours, which is a company that prioritizes international and own voices readers when it comes to blog tours. The Company just launched but we have already started organizing tours, so check out the website or twitter to see if you are interested in participating in any of them. 2) I wanted to share that I was invited to be one of the judges of the 2020 Ripped Bodice Awards for Excellence in Romantic Fiction, which I’m incredibly honored and excited about!

That’s it! Those are my updates and now, without further ado, let’s talk about the books I read in July:

*Click on the title of the book to go to the Goodreads page + the amazon links are affiliate links which means I get a small commission if you decide to use them, it doesn’t affect the price of books* 

My Least Favorite Book of the Month

This month there wasn’t one book that I truly disliked, so for my least favorite of the month I chose a disappointing mystery book:

the hollow

13. The Hollow by Agatha Christie: This book was ok, but I definitely expected and wanted to see more of Poirot. He appeared so little in this and it was almost like the focus of this book was not on the case but on the relationships between the characters. The case was interesting enough, but most of the characters in this were very unlikeable at times, which is not uncommon in Agatha Christie’s book and I usually don’t mind, but for some reason, in this one, I found them a bit annoying. (Amazon)

The “I Mostly Liked Them, But…” Books

These are books that I had significant issues with, but they had redeeming qualities that made me mostly enjoy them:

summer knight

12. Summer Knight by Jim Butcher: This ended up being ok, as always with this series it was a quick and entertaining read but I had issues with it. Some of the plot elements in this book felt forced and unrealistic to me, and while I enjoyed getting to see a new element of the world thanks to the fairies and the role they played, I felt like the fairies acted very out of character a lot in this book, they were introduced as one thing but when Harry needed help they suddenly became entirely different characters. Still, I will continue with the series, because as I said the books are quick and entertaining. (Amazon)

The Ones I Liked

The ones I liked are books that I had really small issues with, but after I finished them I had mainly positive feelings towards them:

Go Deep (Unexpected Lovers #1) by Rilzy Adams

11. Go Deep by Rilzy Adams: This started strong, I really enjoyed getting to know the characters, their relationship as best friends and then seeing how fast that relationship changed. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the conflict, it relied too much on the two characters not talking to each other but since it’s a short book the conflict was resolved easily so it wasn’t a big issue. (Amazon)

Amazon.com: I'm Afraid of Men (9780735235939): Vivek Shraya: Books

10. I’m Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya: This is a short but impactful nonfiction book. The author shares vulnerable and honest insights about gender, sexuality, and toxic masculinity based on their own experience. (Amazon)

Artificial Condition

9. Artificial Condition by Martha Wells: I enjoyed reading this. Murderbot is still an amazing main character and I really liked ART, the sarcastic and slightly rude spaceship that was introduced in this book. The relationship between Murderbot and ART was very entertaining. I really like the humor in this series. My only complaint is that the plot in this one was a lot less interesting than the plot in the first book. (Amazon)

Lock Every Door

8. Lock Every Door by Riley Sager: My reading experience with this book was very weird because it took me a bit to get into this, but after a while, I started to really enjoy it and I actually ended up liking most of the book. Unfortunately, I found the ending a bit disappointing. Riley Sager does a great job of creating tension throughout and I was at the edge of my seat for a big portion of the book and that’s the main reason why I enjoyed this book. (Amazon)

If My Body Could Speak - Button Poetry

7. If My Body Could Speak by Blythe BairdThe writing in this collection was so powerful but so unpretentious at the same time and that made it hit harder. The poems are beautiful and raw. I can’t wait to read more of Blythe Baird’s poetry. (Amazon)

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

6. You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson: This is a cute, fluffy YA contemporary. I loved Liz as the main character and her journey and character development. The f/f romance is so sweet and heartwarming. (Amazon)

The Ones I Really Liked

I consider books I really liked the ones I really enjoyed, but they are not new all-time favorites:

take-a-hint-dani-brown

Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert:  This book has amazing main characters and there’s a lot of character development. This book is so funny, I laughed out loud more than once. The characters have so much chemistry and the relationship is so adorable, I loved all their interactions, I just wish there were a bit more angst and yearning. Also, it has great anxiety rep! (Amazon)

Assassin's Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy, Book 1): Amazon.es ...

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb: this book does a great job of establishing Fitz as a protagonist and making you feel for him and root for him. I found the world fascinating and the political intrigue aspect of this book was very cleverly done, I’m looking forward to the next books when Fitz is older and maybe he will have a bit more agency and be more involved in what’s going on. (Amazon)

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

Always Only You by Chloe Liese:  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.  The heroine is an Autistic woman (#ownvoices) with a chronic illness (rheumatoid arthritis) and the hero is Ren is an Shakespeare-loving Hockey player. Their relationship is so heartwarming! (Review + Amazon)

My Favorite Book of the Month

My favorite books of the month can have different ratings depending on how good a particular reading month was. This month I read two brilliant books that instantly became new favorites:

The House in the Cerulean Sea

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune: This book was adorable. The stars of this were definitely the children, they were cute and funny and just lovable. Also, the main character, Linus, was so sweet and his character development in this book was amazing. I love the relationship Linus forms with the kids and how good he is to them. This is such a hopeful book and it made me so happy. Also, there’s a heartwarming m/m romance. (Review + Amazon)

mexican-gothic

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia: This book is creepy, atmospheric, and disturbing; and the writing is brilliant, beautiful, and captivating. This book has a very three-dimensional and flawed main character and I absolutely rooted for her the entire time,  and the villains are so well crafted. This book includes a very frustrating but interesting depiction of eugenics and a fascinating exploration of sexism and colonialism. (Review + Amazon)

 What were your favorite and least favorite books you read this month? Have you read any of the books on this wrap up? Do you agree with my opinions about them?

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Favorite Books of 2020 So Far

Hi everyone! Today I’m going to talk about the books I have loved the most in 2020 so far. I didn’t include romance because I’m doing a separate post for my favorite romance books of the year since I read so many and since my way of rating and viewing romance vs other genres is so different.

Without fruther ado, here are my top 5 books of 2020 so far + some honorable mentions:

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

Jade City by Fonda Lee

  • This book is like the Godfather with martial arts and magic
  • An incredibly cool and unique book. It’s set in a city, where there are technology and magic and there are two powerful clans who are fighting for dominance, there’s also so much political intrigue and the clans are so powerful that the government has to consider them and negotiate with them.
  • The main characters are siblings that are loyal to each other, I loved them so much and they have my loyalty too.
  • A very intense book and I was completely invested in everything that was happening. This broke my heart at one point, I was devastated but it was SO GOOD.
  • Interesting commentary on profit vs cultural significance

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno Garcia

  • A creepy, atmospheric, and disturbing book.
  • The writing is beautiful and captivating while being simple and unpretentious.
  • The haunted house in this story is a secluded, declining, rotting house with no working electricity and strange echos, it’s located in a small abandoned mining town in the middle of nowhere and it has a cementery in the backyard.
  • This book is set in 1950 Mexico and that brings very unique elements to the story.
  • the villains are so effective because even in this setting where it’s not clear if there are ghosts, magic, or other supernatural things going on, the villains are manipulative, abusive, disgusting men that you could find anywhere in the world and anytime in history.
  • Important commentary on sexism, colonialism, and eugenics.

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

  • This is a hopeful and heartwarming book
  • It 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
  • The main character is so endearing
  • A fascinating and well-executed concept. In this world, magical children are sent to orphanages or special schools and the main character’s job is to make sure the children are in safe environments while staying objective and detached. The problem is that the kids are “safe” doesn’t mean that their situation is fair or right.
  • the children are the absolute stars of this book. They are cute, funny, lovable and so compelling.
  • There’s a very sweet m/m romance in this!

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

  • This book was really dark and unexpectedly fast-paced
  • Inspired by the Second Sino-Japanese War, it portraits the horrors of war in a very realistic and grim way. This is a grimdark/military fantasy.
  • This is action-packed and there are a lot of brutal, violent scenes
  • it has a power-hungry main character. She starts as ambitious and driven but as she faces discrimination and unfairness and sees the terrible things that are happening, she goes through a huge transformation and becomes very ruthless
  • Once I finished this book I was shocked and I truly didn’t know how to feel.

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno Garcia

  • I have a thing for Moreno-Garcia’s writing if it’s not obvious by the fact that two of her books made it to the list. The writing in this book made it feel like reading a myth or fairytale, it was so engaging.
  • The Mayan mythology was captivating and lush, and since it’s a mythology that it’s not often used in fantasy books, this book was full of gods and mythical creatures that felt very new and unique.
  • This book is set in 1920’s Mexico and the mix of the mythological elements and the ‘modernity’ of the Jazz Age worked well and gave this story an even more unique touch.
  • 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.

Honorary Mentions

My favorite YA book

Incendiary by Zoraida Cordova: this book has an intricate magic system, vivid characters, twist and turns that will keep you at the edge of your seat and an ending that will leave you wanting more.

My favorite novellas

To be Taught If Fortunate by Becky Chambers: This was such 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’s a lot of queer characters in this book, which I loved.

All Systems Red by Martha Wells: a quick and entertaining story. Murderbot, the security bot that is the main character, is likable and engaging and their voice captivated me from the very beginning. This book has great humor and an interesting plot.

What are the best books that you have read in 2020 so far? Have you read any of my favorites?
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Book Review: The House of the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

Title: The House in the Cerulean Sea

Author: T.J. Klune

Published by: Tor Books

Publishing date:  March 17th 2020

Pages: 393 

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

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

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

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have you read this book? Did you enjoy it? Do you agree with my opinion?
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June 2020 TBR (Pride Month + New Releases)

Hi everyone! Today I want to share my June tbr, which has a lot of books by queer authors because June is Pride Month. I also included some new releases that are coming out in June and that I’m really excited for!

As always, I have a list below with the goals and challenges that I want to keep track of in 2020 and I chose an emoji that represents each one. Next to each of the books on my tbr, I’ll put the emoji of the goal or challenge that that book is going to help me fullfil.

  • Read 20 fantasy books in 2020 (🔮)
  • Read 35 books by Latinx authors in 2020 (🔥)
  • Keep reading diverse books: by Asian authors (☁️), by black authors (🌞), other #ownvoices rep (🌈)
  • Read 50 books by the #StartOnYourShelfathon challenge (⭐)
  • Read the 20 books on my tbr for the #StartOnYourShelfathon challenge (💫)
  • Read a book from a genre that’s not fantasy or romance (🦄)

Without further ado, here’s my June tbr:

🔮🌈⭐The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon: I need more f/f relationships in fantasy and I’m hoping this book delivers a great one. Also, I’m trying to read the nominees for the Booktube SFF Awards and this is one of them! #ownvoices queer rep.

🔮🌈The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune: this book not only has a really cool premise, but also it has a gay main character and the representation is #ownvoices, I can’t wait to read this!!!

🔮🌈Reverie by Ryan La Sala: so I got an earc of this and never read it because the reviews of this book are kind of bad, but I’m trying to increase my Netgalley feedback ratio and this has #ownvoices queer rep, so I’m going to give it a chance.

🔮🌈🔥⭐Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore: #ownvoices queer and Latinx rep…what else can I ask for?! This is my perfect read for pride month.

🌈Something to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner: I’m so excited to read an #ownvoices f/f romance novel, especially since the premise sounds great!

🌈The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite: In April, I read my first historical romance and loved it, I really want to explore this genre more and what better way that with an f/f romance.

🌞Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert: I loved the first book in this series and I can’t wait to get to know Dani and read her story with Zafir.

Loud Mouth by Avery Flynn: I really liked the first 2 books in this series, I’m a fan of Hockey romances and this one sounds like it’s gonna be really dramatic, I’m all for it!

🌞Part of Two by Jasmine Guillory: I really liked the first three books in the series, I skipped the fourth book, but I’m really excited for this one!!

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

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