Surprising Books of 2020 | Blogmas Day 24

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 2020 and 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:

Miss Meteor by Anna- Marie McLemore and Tehlor Kay Mejia

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.

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

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.

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

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.

Category Five by Ann Dávila Madrigal

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.

This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

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.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

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.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

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.

Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews

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.

Headliners by Lucy Parker

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.  

Only When It’s Us by Chloe Liese

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.

What books surprised you in 2020?

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Books by Latinx Authors that Need Adaptations

Hi everyone! Today is the last day of Latinx Heritage Month and I was planning to post my Latinx Book Bingo wrap up. Nonetheless, I am hurrying to finish one more book to complete the bingo board and I’m pretty sure it’s gonna take me all day today, which is why I’m not posting my wrap up and instead I decided to share this post.

I was inspired to write this after a panel that I did with the other hosts of the Latinx Book Club for the Latinx Heritage Month Book Festival. You can watch the whole live show HERE. During the panel, we talked about some books by Latinx authors that we would like to see adapted as tv shows or movies. My answers during the live show were Miss Meteor and Blazewrath Games, and I’ll talk about them in this post, but I have been thinking about it since then and I came up with other books by Latinx authors that I’ll love to see adapted.

I have done a post like this in the past and you can check it out HERE. In that post, I mentioned two books by Latinx authors, so I won’t repeat those here.

Without further ado, here are some books by Latinx authors that need adaptations:

*click the book titles to go to the Goodreads page and the movies/series titles to go to watch the trailer on Youtube*

Blazewrath Games by Amparo Ortiz

I see Blazewrath Games as a movie that would be a mix between How to Train Your Dragon and Catching Fire. The movie would have the sense of adventure and fun from How to Train Your Dragons, as well as the lovable dragons, but the places would look advance and sleek like the Capitol and the arena looks in Catching Fire, while also sharing with that movie the depiction of manipulation and control by some evil figure. Beyond that, I think an international sport tournement with dragons would make for a very cool movie!

Miss Meteor by Anna-Marie McLemore and Tehlor Kay Mejia

Miss Meteor would be a great tv show that would be like the movie Dumplin’ with a touch of the Rosewell, New Mexico series. It would have the small-town pageant, the messed-up beauty standards, and a main character fighting against them from Dumplin’, but it would also have a small town with a strong connection to space and with beings from space like Rosewell, New Mexico. I think the adorable romances and the complicated siblings’ relationships would make a very compelling tv show.

Tender is the Flesh by Augustina Bazterrica

I think Tender is the Flesh would make an excellent tv show, a crossover between Hannibal and a zombie show, it would have the logical and precise approach to cannibalism while including a bit more gore. I think Tender is the Flesh would be more disturbing than Hannibal and it would lean even more into gray and brown tones for the look of the show, to represent the desperation and loneliness of the future this book takes place in. The whole concept of this book, cannibalism is legal and there’s an entire industry to produce human meat, is very disturbing and fascinating and it would translate well to a tv show.

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

This one is going to sound weird, but I imagine an adaptation of Undead Girl Gang as a Netflix show similar to Julie and The Phantoms. A show with a cool, bright aesthetic that looks like fun and lighthearted but that addresses grief very prominently. I also think the show could be similar to Julie and the Phantoms because they both include people that come back from the dead and they both put a humorous touch to the situation. But Undead Girl Gang would be sadder, darker, and a lot more witchy. I think the plot of this book is so entertaining and far-fetched that it would be perfect for tv.

Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno

I imagine Don’t Date Rosa Santos as a tv show that’s a mix between Jane the Virgin and Gilmore Girls. It would be unapolagetically Latinx and it would be full of vibrant and bright colors, especially blue and yellow, just like Jane the Virgin, and it would be similar to Gilmore Girls because of the small town where everyone knows each other and the complicated and tense family dynamics especially between the women in a family.

What shows do you think need to be adaptated?
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9 Books with Fat Representation

Hi everyone! Today, I bring you a new installment of a series that I write here on my blog. 9 Books Monday is a feature where I talk about 9 books that have positive representation of diverse experiences including the experiences of people of the LGBTQIA community, Native people, people of color, people with physical and cognitive disabilities or mental illnesses, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities.

In the past, I have done posts about 9 book with: 

Bisexual female main characters | Latinx main characters | Black main characters | Muslim main characters | Lesbian main characters | Asian main characters | Trans main characters | Anxiety representation | Autism representation | Depression representation

This time I talking about 9 books with Fat Representation:

5 BOOKS I READ AND LOVED

The Summer of Jordi Pérez by Amy Spalding

This book is about Abby, a pink-haired, fat, lesbian girl, who runs a  plus-size style blog. This is a cute story of summer jobs, friendship and first love. An interesting aspect of this book is that, while Abby is confident and comfortable with the way she looks for the most part, she still has her moments of insecurity because she knows how harsh the rest of the world can be. That aspect of the book felt very realistic.

Analee, in Real Life by Janelle Milanes

This is the story of Analee, a fat girl who has self-esteem issues and social anxiety, and who is going through a difficult time dealing with her mother’s death. Throughout the book, Analee learns to appreaciate and love the people she has in her life and she also learns to accept and love herself more. If you like books centered around character development and growth, you will like this one.

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

This book is about Chloe, a fat, chronically ill, Black computer geek and this is the story of Chloe being brave, loving herself and falling in love. Chloe’s weight is barely even mentioned, it’s not something she wants to change and it’s never presented as something negative. This book includes important discussions about chronic pain and abusive relationships, but it was also adorable, steamy and fun.

Soft on Soft by Mina Waheed

This book tells the love story between two fat, women of color. One of them is a really anxious makeup artist and the other is a model and actress, who is completely comfortable with the way she looks. This is an adorable and short novella, that doesn’t include homophobia or fatphobia. If you are looking for something low on the angst and high on the fluff, you will enjoy this.

b.b. free by Gabby Rivera

This is an amazing comic about a fat, queer, Latinx girl living in a post-apocalyptic world. While there are no comments about b.b. being fat, it’s amazing just to see a fat girl in a comic being brave and smart and fighting against the beliefs and conventions that other people want to imposse on her.

2 BOOKS ON MY TBR

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

This book is about Mila, a fat, Latinx girl, who practices Wicca and who ends up bringing a bunch of murdered teenagers back to life while trying to discover who killed her best friend. While this book has a strange premise, it also portraits some of the real daily microaggressions that fat people have to deal with.

If It Makes You Happy by Claire Kann

This book is about Winnie, a fat, queer, Black girl, who’s trying to win a televised cooking competition to save her grandmother’s dinner. In this book, Winnie doesn’t let anyone make her feel ashamed about her weight, even when people feeling compelled to give her weight loss advice for “her own good”

2 UPCOMING RELEASES

I’ll be the One by Lyla Lee

This book is about Skye, who wants to become a K-Pop star, and to do that, she’s about to break all the rules that society, the media, and even her own mother, have set for fat girls. While Skye is comfortable in her body, the fatphobic beauty standards of the Korean pop entertainment industry still affect her and she has to deal with that. 

Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade

This book is about April, who posts a plus-size cosplay of a character from a beloved tv show that goes viral and after that she has to deal with trolls and supporters alike. Thanks to the attention, she gets to go on an unexpected date with the star of the tv show, who’s secretly posting fanfiction of his own.

What books with Fat rep have you read and loved? Which ones are on your tbr?

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My TBR for the Latinx Book Bingo & the Latinxathon| Latinx Heritage Month 2019

Hi everyone! I’m so excited to be writing this post to let you know what I’ll be reading for Latinx Heritage Month and especifically for the Latinx Book Bingo and the Latinxathon. I used the same books to fullfil the prompts of both readathons, because as much as I wish to read  one book for each prompt, the truth is that I’m traveling to Denmark to study for 2 weeks during Latinx Heritage Month and that means that reading 17 books is just out of the question. Nonetheless, I’ll still try to read 12 books during the month.

For the Latinxaton there are 5 prompts:

  1. VOICES: Read a book written by an Indigenous or Afro-Latinx author.
  2. LATINIDAD: Read a book written by an intersectional Latinx author. 
  3. ROOTS: Read a translated book or a book that features more than one language
  4. HERITAGE: Read a book written by an author from a non-Spanish speaking Latin American country/heritage
  5. #LatinxLitTakeover: Read the group Book

And for the Latinx Book Bingo, the idea is to read books that fit the prompts of this bingo board:

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Without further ado, here are the books that I chose to fullfill the challenges (books 2, 3, 8, 11 and 12 on this list count towars both readathons, in each case I especify what prompts they fulfill):

Blanca & Roja

1. Any book by a Latinx author: Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore

The biggest lie of all is the story you think you already know.

The del Cisne girls have never just been sisters; they’re also rivals, Blanca as obedient and graceful as Roja is vicious and manipulative. They know that, because of a generations-old spell, their family is bound to a bevy of swans deep in the woods. They know that, one day, the swans will pull them into a dangerous game that will leave one of them a girl, and trap the other in the body of a swan.

But when two local boys become drawn into the game, the swans’ spell intertwines with the strange and unpredictable magic lacing the woods, and all four of their fates depend on facing truths that could either save or destroy them. Blanca & Roja is the captivating story of sisters, friendship, love, hatred, and the price we pay to protect our hearts.

More Happy Than Not2. Intersectional MC + Read a book written by an intersectional Latinx author: More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera 

Sixteen-year-old Aaron Soto is struggling to find happiness after a family tragedy leaves him reeling. He’s slowly remembering what happiness might feel like this summer with the support of his girlfriend Genevieve, but it’s his new best friend, Thomas, who really gets Aaron to open up about his past and confront his future.

As Thomas and Aaron get closer, Aaron discovers things about himself that threaten to shatter his newfound contentment. A revolutionary memory-alteration procedure, courtesy of the Leteo Institute, might be the way to straighten himself out. But what if it means forgetting who he truly is?

american dreamer.jpg

3. Afro-Latinx MC + Read a book written by an Indigenous or Afro-Latinx author: American Dreamer by Adriana Herrera 

For Nesto Vasquez, moving his Afro-Caribbean food truck from New York City to the wilds of Upstate New York is a huge gamble. If it works? He’ll be a big fish in a little pond. If it doesn’t? He’ll have to give up the hustle and return to the day job he hates. He’s got six months to make it happen—the last thing he needs is a distraction.

Jude Fuller is proud of the life he’s built on the banks of Cayuga Lake. He has a job he loves and good friends. It’s safe. It’s quiet. And it’s damn lonely. Until he tries Ithaca’s most-talked-about new lunch spot and works up the courage to flirt with the handsome owner. Soon he can’t get enough—of Nesto’s food orof Nesto. For the first time in his life, Jude can finally taste the kind of happiness that’s always been just out of reach.

An opportunity too good to pass up could mean a way to stay together and an incredible future for them both…if Nesto can remember happiness isn’t always measured by business success. And if Jude can overcome his past and trust his man will never let him down.

Pitch Dark

4. Out of your confort zone: Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda

Lost to time, Tuck Morgan and his crew have slept in stasis aboard the USS John Muir for centuries. Their ship harbors a chunk of Earth, which unbeknownst to them, is the last hope for the failing human race.

Laura Cruz is a shipraider searching the galaxy for the history that was scattered to the stars. Once her family locates the John Muir and its precious cargo, they are certain human civilization is saved.

When Tuck’s and Laura’s worlds collide―literally―the two teens must outwit their enemies, evade brutal monsters that kill with sound, and work together to save the John Muir . . . and the whole human race.

Take the Lead

5. On cover rep: Take the Lead by Alexis Daria

Gina Morales wants to win. It’s her fifth season on The Dance Off, a top-rated network TV celebrity dance competition, and she’s never even made it to the finals. When she meets her latest partner, she sees her chance. He’s handsome, rippling with muscles, and he stars on the popular Alaskan wilderness reality show Living Wild. With his sexy physique and name recognition, she thinks he’s her ticket to the finals—until she realizes they’re being set up.

Stone Nielson hates Los Angeles, he hates reality TV, and he hates that fact that he had to join the cast of the The Dance Off because of family obligations. He can’t wait to get back to Alaska, but he also can’t deny his growing attraction to his bubbly Puerto Rican dance partner. Neither of them are looking for romantic entanglements, and Stone can’t risk revealing his secrets, but as they heat up the dance floor, it’s only a matter of time until he feels an overwhelming urge to take the lead.

When the tabloids catch on to their developing romance, the spotlight threatens to ruin not just their relationship, but their careers and their shot at the trophy. Gina and Stone will have to decide if their priorities lie with fame, fortune, or the chance at a future together.

Shadowshaper

6. New to you author: Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older

Sierra Santiago was looking forward to a fun summer of making art, hanging out with her friends, and skating around Brooklyn. But then a weird zombie guy crashes the first party of the season. Sierra’s near-comatose abuelo begins to say “Lo siento” over and over. And when the graffiti murals in Bed-Stuy start to weep…. Well, something stranger than the usual New York mayhem is going on.

Sierra soon discovers a supernatural order called the Shadowshapers, who connect with spirits via paintings, music, and stories. Her grandfather once shared the order’s secrets with an anthropologist, Dr. Jonathan Wick, who turned the Caribbean magic to his own foul ends. Now Wick wants to become the ultimate Shadowshaper by killing all the others, one by one. With the help of her friends and the hot graffiti artist Robbie, Sierra must dodge Wick’s supernatural creations, harness her own Shadowshaping abilities, and save her family’s past, present, and future.

7. Fat Rep: Undead Girl GangUndead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson 

Mila Flores and her best friend Riley have always been inseparable. There’s not much excitement in their small town of Cross Creek, so Mila and Riley make their own fun, devoting most of their time to Riley’s favorite activity: amateur witchcraft.

So when Riley and two Fairmont Academy mean girls die under suspicious circumstances, Mila refuses to believe everyone’s explanation that her BFF was involved in a suicide pact. Instead, armed with a tube of lip gloss and an ancient grimoire, Mila does the unthinkable to uncover the truth: she brings the girls back to life.

Unfortunately, Riley, June, and Dayton have no recollection of their murders, but they do have unfinished business to attend to. Now, with only seven days until the spell wears off and the girls return to their graves, Mila must wrangle the distracted group of undead teens and work fast to discover their murderer…before the killer strikes again.

Iron Cast8. Backlist book + Read a book  by an author from a non-Spanish speaking Latin American country/heritage: Iron Cast by Destiny Soria

In 1919, Ada Navarra—the intrepid daughter of immigrants—and Corinne Wells—a spunky, devil-may-care heiress—make an unlikely pair. But at the Cast Iron nightclub in Boston, anything and everything is possible. At night, on stage together, the two best friends, whose “afflicted” blood gives them the ability to create illusions through art, weave magic under the employ of Johnny Dervish, the club’s owner and a notorious gangster. By day, Ada and Corinne use these same skills to con the city’s elite in an attempt to keep the club afloat.

When a “job” goes awry and Ada is imprisoned, she realizes they’re on the precipice of danger. Only Corinne—her partner in crime—can break her out of Haversham Asylum. But once Ada is out, they face betrayal at every turn.

America, Vol. 29. Non-traditional Format: America Vol. 2: Fast and Fuertona

It begins with the story you’ve been waiting for: the origin of America Chavez! But everyone’s favorite no-nonsense powerhouse soon meets her match — in the form of the deadly and exotic Exterminatrix! Can America stand against this vile villainess, backed by the full power of the ominous Midas Corporation? America gains all-new but untested abilities — and she’ll need them against the oncoming horde! But what does Exterminatrix want with Sotomayor University? With America in lockup, it’s up to Prodigy to find out — and that won’t be easy when campus queen X’Andria is working for the enemy! As the Midas Corporation reignites a decades-old danger, America’s newly discovered home comes under threat — but they’re about to learn that you don’t mess with a Fuertona. And you definitely don’t mess with a Chavez!

 Gods of Jade and Shadow10. Recommended by a Latinx reader :  Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (This book was recommended to me by the lovely Alicia @A Kernel of Nonsense)

The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy cleaning the floors of her wealthy grandfather’s house to listen to any fast tunes. Nevertheless, she dreams of a life far from her dusty small town in southern Mexico. A life she can call her own.

Yet this new life seems as distant as the stars, until the day she finds a curious wooden box in her grandfather’s room. She opens it—and accidentally frees the spirit of the Mayan god of death, who requests her help in recovering his throne from his treacherous brother. Failure will mean Casiopea’s demise, but success could make her dreams come true.

In the company of the strangely alluring god and armed with her wits, Casiopea begins an adventure that will take her on a cross-country odyssey from the jungles of Yucatán to the bright lights of Mexico City—and deep into the darkness of the Mayan underworld.

The Grief Keeper11. Group book + Group book: The Grief Keeper by Alexandra Villasante

Seventeen-year-old Marisol has always dreamed of being American, learning what Americans and the US are like from television and Mrs. Rosen, an elderly expat who had employed Marisol’s mother as a maid. When she pictured an American life for herself, she dreamed of a life like Aimee and Amber’s, the title characters of her favorite American TV show. She never pictured fleeing her home in El Salvador under threat of death and stealing across the US border as “an illegal”, but after her brother is murdered and her younger sister, Gabi’s, life is also placed in equal jeopardy, she has no choice, especially because she knows everything is her fault. If she had never fallen for the charms of a beautiful girl named Liliana, Pablo might still be alive, her mother wouldn’t be in hiding and she and Gabi wouldn’t have been caught crossing the border.

But they have been caught and their asylum request will most certainly be denied. With truly no options remaining, Marisol jumps at an unusual opportunity to stay in the United States. She’s asked to become a grief keeper, taking the grief of another into her own body to save a life. It’s a risky, experimental study, but if it means Marisol can keep her sister safe, she will risk anything. She just never imagined one of the risks would be falling in love, a love that may even be powerful enough to finally help her face her own crushing grief.

News of a Kidnapping12. Non Fiction + Read a translated book or with more than one language: Noticias de un Secuestro (News of a Kidnapping) by Gabriel García Márquez

This astonishing book by the Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez chronicles the 1990 kidnappings of ten Colombian man and women–all journalists but one–by the Medellín drug boss Pablo Escobar. The carefully orchestrated abductions were Escobar’s attempt to extort from the government its assurance that he, and other narcotics traffickers, would not be extradited to the United States if they were to surrender.

Are you participating in these readathons? What are you reading for them? If you made a tbr post, leave me a link in the comments! 
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