July 2022 Wrap Up: SFF reads, cozy mysteries and good romances

July was such a good reading month and I’m hoping that it’s a sign that my reading slump is finally going away. Not only did I read a lot in terms of the number of books, I also read a few really long ones and I discovered that reading long books – which is the opposite of what I have been doing- may be what I need to get out this reading slump because it makes me feel more invested in the characters and plot. It’s sonething i’ll take into account going forward.

But without further ado, let’s talk about the books:

A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine (4 stars): While I liked the first book more than this one, I think this sequel did a good job and continued the story successfully. This is such a thought-provoking sci-fi series, full of political maneuvering and intrigue, clever and interesting characters, and worldbuilding that is complex without being hard to understand. I really appreciated the addition of new pov characters in the second book, it added so much complexity to the story, it allowed an exploration of the different political factions within both the Teixcalaanli Empire and Lsel Station, and it expanded the world so much in comparison to the first book. This sequel includes some interesting discussions about empires and ethics, cultural assimilation vs cultural isolationism, the value of ancestral knowledge and collective memory, power dynamics in romantic relationships and so much more.

A Master of Djinn by P. Djeli Clark (4 stars): I have been slowly making my way through the novellas and short stories in this series this year and while I have always recognized that the world and characters are fantastic, the short format wasn’t working for me. But this full-length novel was SO GOOD. I got to see more of the two elements that I liked from the novellas: the complex and fascinating world and the flawed but easy to root for characters, while getting a longer mystery plot that I could get invested in with more characters involved and with more moving pieces. Even if the reveal wasn’t that surprising, it was still fun to read.

Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree (3,5 stars): This was good, but I had heard so many amazing things about it that I went into it expecting too much. I loved the characters and the found family, there was interesting world-building, and I appreciated that it was a cozy fantasy book, but I think I needed a bit more plot-wise. Still, I would read more books set in this world and I will check out other books by this author.

Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher (3 stars): I have so many conflicting feelings when it comes to this book. I still think this series is a fun, entertaining and easy-to-read series set in an interesting and complex world. At this point, I’m invested in the characters, so I like seeing how the different characters and relationships evolve. But after the way the last book ended, I thought we would see more of this world and Harry would be more involved with the bigger picture of what’s going on, but it didn’t really happen, there were again only glimpses of that. Because of that, this book feels at points formulaic and repetitive. Honestly, all the plots of the books in this series are starting to feel very similar to me. Lastly, I know these books have a lot of sexism passing for chivalry and hypersexualization of female characters. Nonetheless, this book took it to another level that made me really uncomfortable because there’s hypersexualization of a 17-year-old.

Everything for you by Chloe Liese (4 stars): This is a great grump/ sunshine romance between two professional soccer players who don’t like each other all that much but are forced to be co-captains of their team. I loved the pent-up sexual tension, the amazing chemistry between them and how slowly they started to open up to each other. They shared some very vulnerable moments and they were there for one another, which made their romance believable and realistic. Beyond the main couple, I loved the glimpses we got of the rest of the Bergman family.

I had two minor issues with this: It dragged a tiny little bit in some parts and the love declarations got a bit too cheesy for me at end. but nothing that was a big deal.

To Marry and To Meddle by Martha Waters (4 stars): This book cemented me as a big Martha Waters fan. I have enjoyed all three books in this series so much. This book is a funny, entertaining, and quick read. Both of the main characters were easy to root for, the romance was sweet, without unnecessary conflicts or miscommunication, and there were some good steamy scenes.

How to Fake it in Hollywood by Ava Wilder (3,5 stars): Honestly, for the first 60%, I actually really enjoyed this and thought it was really entertaining. Nonetheless, this ended up being a lot darker and sadder than I thought it was going to be and the ending was so rushed, they resolved a big issue that was the source of conflict throughout the entire book off the page and that didn’t work for me. (full review)

Just Folking Around by Penny Reid (3,5 stars): This was a quick, fun, steamy read that worked perfectly as my palate cleanser after three long SFF books. I really liked both of the main characters and their dynamic and I can’t wait to read the full-length novel about them.

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (4,5 stars): This book is not going to be for everyone, but it worked perfectly for me. It was a charming, quirky and quick read. Seeing a group of old people in a retirement home trying to solve a murder was fun, I liked all the characters, and I was interested in the mystery the entire time. Yes, a lot of convenient things happened but I didn’t care, I still enjoyed the story. The only reason it didn’t get 5 stars is that I didn’t love the ending, but I didn’t hate it either. Out of the three big reveals right at the end, I only liked one, the other two were kind of random and felt forced.

The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman (4 stars): This was a quick and entertaining book. I continued with the series mostly to see the characters again, they are quirky, funny, sweet and clever and I have so much fun reading about their adventures. I didn’t find the mystery in this book nearly as interesting as the mystery in book 1, because the scope of the mystery was so big (spies, mafia, drug dealers, stolen diamonds) that the story, and especially the ending, felt incredibly unrealistic. But as I mentioned before, I read this for the characters, so I didn’t really mind that much.

An Unexpected Peril by Deanna Raybourn (3,5 stars): This was better than book 5 but still not as good as the first 4 books in the series. The mystery plot was ok, the problem was that in the first 50% not a lot happened, Veronica and Stoker didn’t uncover too much, everything was left for the last half of the book, and particularly to the last 20%. So the pacing felt weird and the first half dragged a little. Also, I didn’t really guess who the villain was but that may have been because I wasn’t completely invested in the mystery plot. I still enjoyed this because I love Veronica and Stoker and there were some good moments between them. 

The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie (3,5 stars): The mystery in this was entertaining, and there were so many likely culprits which is always fun. Nonetheless, this is my third Miss Marple book and I was left with the same feeling that I had when I read the other two, I wish Miss Marple showed up more and not only occasionally and at the end when she appears with all the answers to everything, which she pulled out of thin air.

Goddess of Filth by V. Castro (4 stars): This wasn’t scary but it had creepy and gross moments and it was a very different take on possession. I appreciated how it discussed the stereotypes around and the dangers of being a young Latina, as well as the roles that religion, sexuality and female friendships play in the lives of young Latinas. My one issue with this book is that some of the dialogue involving the Goddess was kind of corny and that took me out of the story at times.

What are the best and worst books you read in July? Was July a good reading month for you?

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May 2022 Wrap Up: a month of reading books by Asian authors that I really enjoyed

Hi everyone! Another month is gone and we are halfway through the year already, I can’t believe it. While I’m sad to say that my weird reading slump is still very much here, I managed to read some good books in May that I want to talk about. Since it was Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, I only read books by Asian authors, nonetheless, I do want to point out that I only read books by Korean, Japanese, Indian, and Arabic authors, so I definitely need to do a better job of reading more books by Pacific Islander authors and authors from other Asian countries.

Let’s talk about the books I read in May:

If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha (4 stars): this was an interesting and thought-provoking book about womanhood in Korea. It addresses so many different topics from beauty standards, the obsession with plastic surgery, sex work, society’s double standards for men and women, sexism in the workplace, disability, and so much more. While all of it is interesting, focusing on such a wide array of subjects means that there’s not too much depth in the way that they are discussed. Nonetheless, it’s still a worthwhile read.

The book has 5 main characters, even if only 4 of them have chapters told from their pov, and the choice of narrators is a bit odd. Overall, there was one character that had a captivating storyline, two characters whose storylines were ok, one that I didn’t particularly like, and one I wish we got more from. The ending felt a bit rushed, and since this book was slice-of-life, most storylines felt unfinished by the end but there were glimmers of hope for the future of the characters, which I appreciated. 

Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi (4 stars): This is a quick, engaging, and emotional read, that manages to be both hopeful and bittersweet at the same time. It includes interconnected short stories that explore relationships facing different challenges: a couple splitting up for external reasons and lack of communication, a marriage fading away due to dementia, two sisters that missed their chance to understand each other, and a mother and a daughter who are destined to meet only briefly. All these stories are captivating and impactful, and I appreciated what each one was trying to say about the human experience. The time travel element with all its rules is captivating and I especially liked how the characters couldn’t change anything when they travel through time, but traveling through time changed their perception and through that, it changed the present.

A Sweet Mess by Jayci Lee (3 stars): The beginning of this was so good, I really liked both of the main characters, and their banter and sexual tension were amazing. This doesn’t really have a plot but I’m usually ok with that as long as the relationship is fun to read about, the problem is that at first the relationship was fun but it lost me like halfway through. Also, the writing wasn’t the best, especially because the dialogue was cringy and stilted at times.

But my main problem with this is that the depth of the main characters’ feelings at the end didn’t match the amount of time they spent together or the experiences they shared, it wasn’t believable to me. Moreover, a trope was used at the end, and while I don’t hate this trope in itself, the way it was used here didn’t work at all, also there was so much miscommunication at the end and the protagonists acted so out of character, so it was a very frustrating ending.

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner (4 stars): I loved the way this book explored so many difficult subjects from the wonderful and complicated relationship between the author and her mother, to how difficult it was to cope with her mother’s illness and death, the author’s grief after losing her mother, the role food played in her relationship with her mother and Korean culture, the hardships of being a biracial person in America and so much more. This was very well written, it was emotional and hard-hitting, it made me tear up, and overall it was an excellent memoir.

White Tears/Brown Scars by Ruby Hamad (4 stars): This book does a great job of exploring the link between white feminism and the oppression of women of color. The author’s points are well made and interesting, due in part to the use of examples from different time periods and of women of different backgrounds. At the same time, while I appreciated that the author tried to address each point she made from a lot of different perspectives, sometimes this made the book feel a bit repetitive and it felt like it was more focused on including a wide range of experiences than on having a more in-depth discussion of the points she was making. Still, this was thought-provoking, well researched and a needed read for all of us.

Home body by Rupi Kaur (4 stars): This collection addresses a lot of different topics from sexual assault, love, racism, trauma, community and much more. I don’t know if it’s because I haven’t read a Rupi Kaur book in a while, but my perception is that she is a lot more explicit while addressing some heavy topics. This feels like a gut punch at times. Just like any poetry collection, there are some poems that are better than others but overall this is raw, powerful, and beautifully written

What are the best and worst books you read in May? Was May a good reading month for you?

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April 2022 Wrap Up: a very meh reading month

In this post, I’m going to talk about the books I read in April, but before that, I wanted to talk about blogging. Because I thought April was going to be the month I came back to blogging consistently but I have had so much work, which makes me feel tired all the time and so uninspired to blog, so posting consistently didn’t happen. Nonetheless, I’m hopeful that May is going to be a great blogging month for me because we finally hired someone to fill a position that has been vacant on my team at work and I’m hoping that is going to reduce my workload a lot and I’ll have the energy and motivation to start blogging more.

With that out of the way, I’ll share my thoughts on the books I read in April:

An Offer From a Gentleman by Julia Quinn (3 stars): this was ok, it was entertaining enough and a quick read but not too memorable. I didn’t dislike the characters, but I know Sophie is a lot of people’s favorite heroine in this series and I thought she was just fine. And Benedict was a little self-centered and spoiled but he was nice and caring sometimes too. I think my main problem with this is that, since it was a cinderella retelling, the relationship starts with instant attraction and connection and I didn’t feel like there was enough relationship development beyond that. Also, I feel like the power dynamics weren’t handled well enough at some points. I did like the ending, Mrs. Bridgerton was a great character in this book, I loved seeing glimpses of the other Bridgertons and I appreciated the way the storyline with the stepmother and stepsisters was wrapped up.

Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn (3.5-4 stars): I was really looking forward to this book but I was nervous because I kept hearing really mixed things about it. I’m happy to say that I ended up enjoying this. Penelope is a great character, my favorite so far in the series, and I loved her development in this book as well as the relationship she developed with Lady Danbury. Colin was a good character even if I had some issues with his jealousy and attitude at the end of the book. This does a good job of establishing the relationship between Colin and Penelope at the beginning as close acquaintances and then the transition to being friends. Their conversations and dynamics were amazing and seeing Colin realize how fantastic Penelope is was wonderful. My main issue is that the last part of the book dragged because it felt like the romance plotline was concluded but they still needed to reveal who Lady Whistledown was so the book kept going. Also, that last part was focused on Colin’s insecurities and jealousy and I didn’t find that interesting.

Below Zero by Ali Hazelwood (4 stars): This was good, a solid novella, but I think it’s my least favorite of this series. It was entertaining, a quick read, and it had some pretty good steamy scenes. I really liked Ian, I think he was swoony, I liked their relationships and while I didn’t love Hannah as a character, she was alright. I think the reason this is my least favorite is that I wish there was a bit more to the storyline of their past together.

Baptism of Fire by Andrzej Sapkowski (4 stars): This was a lot better than the previous book mainly because we saw a lot more of Geralt. I wish that didn’t mean that we basically didn’t see Yennefer and saw very little of Ciri (even tho I didn’t like her storyline in this book so I didn’t want more of it). This book is heavy on the political intrigue which I enjoy so I didn’t have a problem with it and I actually found it very entertaining, but I can see why some people may find this book boring. There’s not a lot of plot beyond getting people to where they need to be and other people making alliances. I did like the new characters that were introduced and the unlikely group that Geralt ends up traveling with, who are part of the main storyline in this book. The one thing that bothered me is the absurd amount of sexual violence against women that was included in this book, while I know sexual violence during a war is common, it felt almost gratuitous at times.

The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami (4 stars): This was a whimsical and nonsensical short story that was very well-written, really captivating, and fast-paced, in the sense that things kept happing in quick succession and there wasn’t much time to dwell on them. It had the sinister tone of old fairytales and the images that are included contributed to the oddness of the book. The theme or the point of the book is not entirely clear and I think it may need more than one reading to see it, but the ending gives a solid clue about the deeper meaning behind the story.

A Cruelty Special to Our Species by Emily Jungmin Yoon (4 stars): This was incredibly powerful. Emily Jungmin Yoon focuses mainly on the experiences of “comfort women”, which were Korean women forced into sexual slavery during the Japanese occupation of Korea in World War II. The poems related to this topic were the highlight of the collection, they were raw, impactful, and really hard to read at times. Also, there were some other good poems about Emily’s experience as a Korean-American woman. While most of the collection was fantastic, there were a few poems that didn’t work quite so well and some that even felt out of place in the collection. Nonetheless, this is a collection that I would recommend to anyone that enjoys poetry.

Vulnerable AF by Tarriona Ball (3 stars): This was ok. I actually ended up enjoying the short prose pieces much more than the poetry. Besides a couple of standout poems, the rest were just fine.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson (3 stars): I didn’t enjoy this nearly as much as I enjoyed the other two books that I have read by this author. I wasn’t that interested in the beginning of this book when she talked about her childhood but once she gets to her college/ adult life I started to enjoy it a lot more. The fact that every story revolved one way or another around animals (dead or alive) was something that I didn’t love about this wither. But I appreciated the way she talked about mental health, miscarriages, relationships, and motherhood in such a frank and witty way. Nonetheless, I had issues with some of her jokes (about sexual assault, eating disorders, race) which crossed lines at certain points.

What are the best and worst books you read in April? Was April a good reading month for you?

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March 2022 Wrap Up | A month for romances and cozy mysteries

Hi everyone! I’m sorry that I haven’t been posting that much lately, but I have been feeling a little uninspired, I come up with ideas for posts but none of them make me excited so I have been struggling to make myself write posts, but I feel like I’m finally getting over that feeling.

In March, I read a lot less than last month but I’m ok with it because while I read 17 books in February, I didn’t watch any movies and I finished only 3 kdramas. This month I read a lot less, only 9 books, but I watched 9 movies and I finished 8 kdramas. So I feel like I’m striking a balance between all of my interests. My wrap-ups for movies and kdramas are coming soon.

But for now, here are my thoughts on the books I read in March:

The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren (4.5 stars): It’s been a while since I read a Christina Lauren book, but I’m so glad I decided to read this one. I read the whole thing in one sitting and loved it. This book not only has an interesting premise, but it also has great main and secondary characters, and the couple has really good chemistry, I enjoyed their conversations and seeing them slowly get to know each other. The only reason this is not a 5 stars book is that the conflict at the end felt a bit rushed and it didn’t quite work for me.

All Rhodes Lead Here by Mariana Zapata (4 stars): It’s been a while since I read a book by the queen of slow-burn romances, but this book absolutely reminded me why I love her books. By the time the main characters get together, you know why they like each other, you feel it’s right for them to be together, you witnessed them falling in love, there was no telling it was all showing and that makes you feel super invested in the relationship. This book has a heroine that it’s so nice and easy to root for, and the hero is grumpy but kind and considerate. Also, the hero has a son, and seeing him also establish his own relationship with the heroine was really special.

Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon (4 stars): This book feels very wholesome and lighthearted even when it deals with tough subjects like depression. It has two lovely, cinnamon roll main characters. Both of them are Jewish, Russell is a fat single dad and Ari has depression, and I feel like all of these parts of their identities are incorporated well into the story. They have a low angst relationship that naturally develops based on their incredible chemistry and the tension that builds between them. Also, this gets really steamy. The plot revolves around them trying to parent-trap their bosses, and while I enjoyed that storyline and the friendships that developed because of it, I’m glad that the author managed to balance it so it didn’t take over the story. Another interesting element was seeing Ari develop a relationship with Rusell’s daughter and I loved that they got along so well. The reason this is not a 5 stars read is that the conflict at the end felt cliche and it didn’t completely work for me.

Stuck with You by Ali Hazelwood (4 stars): Ali Hazelwood’s voice is so captivating and fun to read, her humor works for me, I always find her characters compelling and entertaining, and the steamy scenes are great. This story relies on a misunderstanding and lack of communication, but since there are two timelines and only one of them deals with these issues, for me, they didn’t drag and I didn’t mind those aspects of the story.I know one of the main criticisms of Ali Hazelwood’s stories is that the protagonist are pretty similar and I’m not gonna lie, they are. But since it’s characters and dynamics that work for me, I don’t have an issue with it.

Hook, Line and Sinker by Tessa Bailey (3.5 stars): I liked this book more than the first one, which I know it’s an unpopular opinion. I loved Hannah and I actually really liked Fox too, even if his insecurities made him behave in ways that were a bit irritating. But overall, I really liked both main characters and I loved their relationship. The text conversations at the beginning of the book really helped to quickly create an idea of their friendship. I loved their deep conversations and how supportive they were of each other. Nonetheless, I had two main issues with this book. The first one is the pacing of the book and also the pacing of their relationship development, there was something about it that felt off, it was very stop-start and it didn’t flow. The second issue is that the conflict at the end needed to happen either sooner or not happened at all because the resolution felt rushed at the end.

The Roughest Draft by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka (3,5 stars): I have really complicated feelings about this book, there were things I liked and things I didn’t and I talk more about them in my full review

Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead by Elle Cosimano (4 stars): This was as fun and entertaining as the first book in the series, the characters are easy to root for and the relationships between them are one of the best things about these books, especially the friendship between Finlay and Vero. Nonetheless, while the first book was 5 stars because of how fresh it felt, this one lost that fresh element and felt like more of the same, which is a good thing since it has the same great humor and characters, but I think that’s why it’s not 5 stars. Also, I had a harder time suspending my disbelief because at this point the fact that Finlay has been caught is pretty ridiculous.

Homicide and Halo-Halo by Mia P. Manansala (4 stars): This was a quick, captivating and entertaining read. It has a compelling and endearing cast of characters, and it’s interesting to see the way it includes the culture and food from the Philippines. The mystery was a bit predictable, but I liked how it addressed the trauma and ptsd of the main character after the events of the previous book. The one thing that really didn’t work for me in this was the romance, there was sort of a love triangle and while in the previous book there was more doubt of who the heroine liked more, it’s clear very early on in this book who she is leaning toward. The problem is that she has zero chemistry with that person, he came across as a sweet guy who is just a friend to her.

The Bitch by Pilar Quintana (3.5 stars): Pilar Quintana’s writing is great as always and she does some interesting things in this book. I liked the way she portrays the setting, this settlement on the Pacific coast of Colombia, while it’s very matter-of-fact and not overly descriptive, it’s successful in letting the reader see the complex realities of this territory and its inhabitants. I also enjoyed the complicated and almost visceral way it addresses motherhood. Nonetheless, there was something missing for me, I feel like I failed to grasp the meaning behind this.

What are the best and worst books you read in March? Was March a good reading month for you?

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November 2021 Wrap Up: I’m back and I’m reading lots of romance

Hi everyone! I’m back! or I hope that I’m back. I spent most of this year in a reading slump, it goes away, and then it comes back and I hate it. And as usual, when I’m in a reading slump it translates into a blogging slump too, so that’s why I haven’t been posting consistently. Also, I’m so tired from my job most of the time that I don’t feel up to blogging. But right now, I do feel like blogging so I’m going to take advantage of that.

In this post, I will talk about 2 books I read in the last week of October, which were Dead Beat and Things have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke (the rest of my October reads are in my Latinx Book Bingo Wrap Up), and about the 7 books I read in November. As someone who was reading about 16 books a month at the beginning of the year, it pains me that the number of books that I read in a month keeps dropping lower and lower, but that’s just how it it right now.

Without further ado, here are the books:

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood (5 stars): I LOVED THIS! I usually don’t find that many books funny, but this book actually made me laugh out loud a few times. I really liked both of the main characters, the romance was great, it was a slow burn (in that great way that has you screaming at the character to get together already) and the whole fake dating plotline put them in a bunch of slightly awkward but full of sexual tension situations. Also, it had some good steamy moments.

Battle Royal by Lucy Parker (5 stars): I LOVED both of the main characters in Battle Royal, this book included the sunshine/grumpy trope in all its glory, they had so much chemistry but also from very early on the deeper connection was evident. I love how mature the relationship in Lucy Parker feels and how she manages to write books with relationships that don’t have too much drama and angst, but that is still interesting. The writing in this was really good and the book as a whole was funny and entertaining. Obviously, the whole plot with the royals was a bit unbelievable and unrealistic, but it was fun and I didn’t really care if it was something that would never happen in real life.

While We Were Dating by Jasmine Guillory ( 4 stars): I loved the main characters, their connection and chemistry were fantastic, it has some good steamy moments, and I appreciated the good mental health rep as well as the fact that this book shows therapy in a very positive light.

Isn’t It Bromantic? by Lyssa Kay Adams (3,7 stars): I really enjoyed this book, it was a fun reading experience and the romance was sweet. But the more I think about it, the more little issues I have with it. I really liked Vlad and Elena as the main characters. I enjoyed the little glimpses of Vlad and Elena being friends before they got married and I wanted more of that, just to understand how they fell in love in the first place. They were so sweet together and the sexual tension was definitely there too, but there was no real conflict or reason why they could be together. I feel like Lyssa Kay Adams tends to put too many elements in her books to have more drama or to make up for the fact that there’s no real conflict. And things can end up feeling forced, rushed, or like they don’t make sense. 

Incense and Sensibility by Sonali Dev (3.5 stars): I really enjoy Sonali Dev’s writing and I love the world she created for this series, with this big, wild family at the center of it. I liked both of the main characters, and I could see the tension and angst between them. Nonetheless, I had a hard time believing that they were not over one kiss and a few hours of conversation that happened 10 years ago. Also, I love slow burns, but they took so long to get together and the story definitely dragged a lot in the second half.

A Lot Like Adiós by Alexis Daria (3.5 stars): I want it to love this but sadly it was just ok for me. I have discovered this year that second chance romances where the main characters are reunited after a long time (10 years in this case) without seeing each other, and before parting ways they only had a day or night or a short period of time together, don’t work for me. I thought this was going to be different since they were best friends for a long time before something romantic happened between them, but we only see a little bit of them being friends, so the friends to lovers element wasn’t really there for me. I did like both of the main characters, I enjoyed Gabe’s storyline with his family and his character development, I enjoyed the fake dating aspect of this, and the steaminess was great too. But, while I did enjoy it more towards the end, the romance never quite worked for me.

Dead Beat by Jim Butcher (3,5 stars): In the beginning, this book felt a little repetitive and formulaic. Still, there was some character development, which I appreciated. In the second part, when we learned more about what’s happening in the war against the red court, the book gets more interesting. I hope to see Harry more involved with the conflict that it’s affecting the magical world and I feel like that’s the direction the series is taking. I liked seeing the development in Harry and Thomas’ relationship and Butter was also a good side character. As with most of the books in this series, I wish Murphy was in this more. Lastly, I don’t know where the whole storyline with the demon?/goddess? is going, but I’m intrigued.

Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke by Eric LaRocca (4 stars): In the beginning, this was a very bizarre story and it escalated quickly to being gross, disturbing, and even more bizarre. The way the story is told, through emails and chat conversations, left me feeling very intrigued about one of the characters, I wanted to know more about her because she is so mysterious in her messages and emails.

Los Abismos (The Abysses) by Pilar Quintana (4 stars): there’s not an English translation of this book yet, but if you can read Spanish, give it a chance! This is a quick and easy read, beautifully written without being too flowery or pretentious. A slice of life story with a very open ending told from the perspective of a little girl. At its core, it’s a story about women that feel trapped in their own lives and can’t see a way out, as well as the ups and downs of mental illness. And, even if it’s told by a child, it manages to address these topics in a powerful way without shying away from hard moments.

What is your favorite and least favorite book of November? Was November a good reading month for you?

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August 2021 Wrap Up: my reading slump is over!

Hi everyone! Today, I’m excited to share my August wrap up. August was a really good reading month for me, after 3 months of being in a very severe reading slump and reading almost nothing, I got back into reading this month and managed to finish 12 books from various genres. I enjoyed most of them, so I’m happy to share my thoughts!

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Network Effect by Martha Wells (3,5 stars): I love murderbot and ART, and the side characters are really likable as well. I liked the mystery in this one but the pacing was off, it dragged in certain parts and went too fast at the end. Overall enjoyable, but I like the novella format of the other entries in this series more.

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Fugitive Telemetry by Martha Wells (4 stars): This was enjoyable and a really quick read. I loved murderbot in this and seeing it interact with new humans that don’t necessarily trust it was really fun because it is SO passive-aggressive. Seeing people change their minds about murderbot and start to like it is also always really great. The mystery was entertaining and I would love to see murderbot solve more murders in the future.

Across the Green Grass Fields by Seanan McGuire (3,5 stars): This is my least favorite book in this series, but it was still a fast and engaging read. I really liked Regan as the main character, the intersex rep, exploring the hooflands, the discussions about personhood and the character development. But there wasn’t really a plot and what happened at the end made sense but it felt really anti-climatic at the same time. 

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When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain by Nghi Vo (4 stars): I loved this as much as the first novella in this series… maybe a little more. It was so whimsical, the world this was set in was so intricate, the commentary on storytelling and on the “truth” was really interesting and Chih was an incredible main character.

The Guest List by Lucy Foley (4 stars): quick read, interesting characters, the atmosphere of the isolated island was fantastic, there was lots of tension because of all the secrets, and the writing was actually really good. The last 30% of this book was intense, but before that, the book dragged because not a lot happens, and while there are a lot of secrets nothing is revealed until the final part of the book. I would say that the two timelines felt a little pointless since we only get about 3 or 4 pages of the present here and there and nothing happens on those pages, nothing is revealed.

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My sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite (3 stars): This was a quick read and I wasn’t never bored, but I also didn’t entirely see the point of it. There’s not much plot, it’s a character driven story but the exploration of the characters is not that deep and there’s zero character development. Nonetheless, it explores gender dynamics and complex sister relationships in an interesting way and I actually iked the ending.

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A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn (4 stars): I loved the main characters in this book, Veronica and Stoker, and the dynamic between them which is full of bickering and tension. This book starts slow and it’s a lot less about solving the mystery, for the first half the characters know almost nothing and nothing really happens. During the second half, when the characters finally start trying to solve tte mystery, the story gets action packed and engaging. I saw the big reveal coming really early on, but that doesn’t really affect my enjoyment.

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A Perilious undertaking by Deanna Raybourn (4 stars): Give me a slow burn romance full of tension, half confessions and interrupted moments and I’m all in. I honestly read this series because Veronica and Stoker are captivating main characters and I’m really invested in their relationship. Nonetheless, I actually really liked the mystery in this one even if I predicted who the “villain” was as soon as the character was introduced

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A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn (4 stars): I didn’t find the mystery in this one as interesting as the others, but I did enjoyed getting to finally learn what happened with Stoker’s ex-wife and resolving in a way that part of the story. As with the first two books, I loved Veronica and Stoker and their relationship, with all the tension and sutil (kind of) declarations.

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A Dangerous Collaboration by Deanna Raybourn (4 stars): The mystery in this book was interesting enough even if it was a bit predictable, and the setting was really captivating and it worked well for a mystery novel. But honestly I don’t read these books because of the mysteries, I read them because the characters and their relationships. I still love Veronica and Stoker and their dynamic, I was a bit nervious in the beginning about the direction their relationship was taking, but I’m glad that certain aspects weren’t drag out too much. I loved the way things between them progress in this book

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Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix (4 stars): This book was so fun to read. The unique concept, setting, and presentation added to the creepiness of the story. While there was a really gross scene and a couple of creepy moments, it wasn’t too scary. The character development was great.

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With You Forever by Chloe Liese: I’m not going to rate this for now, because i’m coming out of reading slump and i think that affected my enjoyment of the book, so I’ll re-read it later and rate it then. I loved the previous books in the series and I was so excited for this one, so I want to give it a fair chance. For now I can say that I loved Rooney as a main character, as someone who struggles with IBS the depiction of ulcerative colitis resonated with me in a lot of ways and I think it was very well done. There were some cute moments and some steamy moments between Roony and Axel, and I enjoyed a lot of their conversations and seeing them open up to each other. Nonetheless, it felt like I was dropped in the middle of the story and not at the beggining. Also, Rooney and Axel not talking about liking each other (and the internal monologue of I’m sure he/she doesn’t like me) and struggling because nothing could happen between them (when there’s wasn’t any reason for that) made parts of this book feel very slow for me.

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Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan (3,5 stars): This is my least favorite book in the series, but I still overall enjoyed it. The setting and atmosphere were still amazing, all the ridiculous characters were entertaining to read about and the plot of this one actually had me invested for most of the book. the problem and the reason the book lost me at times is the pacing because it drags a lot in certain parts, there’s a point where the book should have ended but it still went on for about 100 pages more, and the real ending was rushed and everything was tied up way too nicely. Also, there’s a storyline between Kitty and Colette that I didn’t enjoy reading about and it felt kind of out of place.

What is your favorite and least favorite book of August ? Was August a good reading month for you?

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A Very Late May, June & July 2021 Wrap Up

Hi everyone! I’m back after an unexpected hiatus. I have been in the worst reading slump of my life the last few months and it was the type of slump that extended to include not wanting to blog or be active in the community in any way. This reading slump felt so different from my usual reading slumps. Normally I will feel the desire to read, but not be able to find a book I want to read or a book I can get into, but this time I actually didn’t feel any desire to read, I didn’t miss reading, I didn’t think about book or reading at all and that was really scary because reading has always being such a huge part of who I am and it felt like I was losing that.

I only read one book in may, I forced myself to read 6 books in June but I ended up not loving anything I read which I think it’s because I was forcing myself to read, so I decided to take some time and not make myself read and that turn into not reading anything at all for the entire month of July, I didn’t finish a single book which has never happened in the last 7 years. After that, I started to try to read again and fell asleep every single time I picked up a book, but after consistently trying the last couple of weeks I’m happy to say I’m reading again and enjoying it.

Now, I’m also feeling up to blogging again and that’s why I’m here to talk about the books I read during may and june:

Sweethand by N.G. Peltier (4 star): This book was funny, steamy, and entertaining. The main characters are so well crafted, they feel like real people with real passions and they have so much chemistry. The side characters are great as well, I have never read a book set in Trinidad and Tobago and I really appreciated that aspect, and the plot surrounding the wedding planning was so fun since there were so many shenanigans involving the wedding party. I

Hang the Moon by Alexandria Bellefleur (between 3.5 – 4 stars): I LOVED the first 100 pages of this book, the characters, their chemistry, their conversations, everything. Brandon was really sweet, and Annie was cool but relatable. But I didn’t care for the conflict in the story, I can totally see how Annie’s choice could have been hard, but the way it was presented in the book made it obvious that it wasn’t actually that hard, it felt like the book was dragging. I feel like the author was going for a low-angst romance, but it went too far and it entered boring territory for me. Nonetheless, I still loved the relationship and the characters. I also loved the friend group in this book and the depiction of friendships

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry (3,5 stars): both of the main characters were likable, I love friends to lovers stories so enjoyed that aspect of the book, and the back and forth between the past and the present made the build-up of their relationship interesting to read about. My main problem with this book is that the big reveal of why they stopped talking for 2 years took way too long and it was so anti-climatic, the main characters had been best friends for 10 years and stopped talking for something so minimal that it didn’t make sense. Also, I didn’t love the last part of the book, the conflict after the reveal felt almost like an unnecessary complication.

Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne (3,5 stars): This is more of the sweet, low angst, with a loose plot, kind of romance book. It has likable main characters and side characters that steal the show because they are so funny and have huge personalities. The book focuses a lot on characters development and that’s definitely one of the strong elements of the story. The romance is not bad, but it could have been better. In the end, all the conflicts were resolved a little bit too easily and quickly.

The Dating Plan by Sara Desai (3 stars): The first 50% of this book relied too much on the history between the main characters and that didn’t work for me. I didn’t get why Daisy was still so upset about what happened betwene them so many years ago, and at the same time, she lets a lot of time pass without asking Liam for an explanation. And that’s another thing, it took way too long to find out why Liam stood her up for prom and it started to feel like it was being dragged out for too long. I liked the second half of the book a lot more, they started to spend more time together, get to know each other, and when they get together, their romance was fun and cute. I also enjoyed seeing them work through their individual issues and grow as characters in the second half.

Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig (3,5 stars): I thought this book was going to be less a memoir of Matt Haig’s history with depression, and more of an uplifting, hopeful book from someone who lives with depression. But that was not what this book was or what it was trying to be. Nonetheless, even for what it was, which is mostly a memoir, it felt to me like there was a lack of depth that left me wanting more out of this.

The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side by Agatha Christie (3,5 stars): This was a fun mystery, there were a bit too many coincidences but I actually didn’t mind that. My problem is that Miss Marble wasn’t that present in the book even if she was supposed to be the main character. I know she is an old lady, but I hoped she was going to be a bigger part of the story and not just show up occasionally when people are telling her what they found out about the case and then at the end to solve the whole thing.

The Tunnel by Ernesto Sabato (3 stars): This was a really fast read and it kept me engaged throughout the story, even when the main character is truly unlikeable and the female character is only there as part of his story and we only know what the main character chooses to tell us about her. I understand that this is the kind of book that it’s more about the philosophical ideas that it’s trying to address than about anything else, and while there were some interesting existentialist ideas explored in this, at the end of the day, this is simply not the kind of book I like

What is your favorite and least favorite book of the last few months?

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April 2021 Wrap Up: a lot of books that I really enjoyed

Hi everyone! I’m super excited for this wrap up because I read a lot of books that I enjoyed, I have been having a very good reading year in 2021 and I’m happy about it and happy to be able to share my thoughts about these books with all of you:

Race to the Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse (4 stars): This is a fun adventure full of Navajo mythology and lovable characters. This was really action-packed and easy to read. I really enjoyed that each one of the characters had different strengths and got to use them to help in their quest.

The Shadow Crosser by J.C. Cervantes (3,5 stars): The disbaility rep in this series left a lot to be desired (for more thoughts, here’s my full review). I still loved the characters, they were so fun to read about, always ready for adventure, funny, and easy to root for. The writing is really good, Cervantes manages to give Zane such a captivating and real voice. I also loved all the Mayan mythology and the adventure in this book was really fun. There were some pacng issues especially at the end.

The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan (4 stars): at the beginning of this book this is slow but it still interesting since there’s so much to learn about the world. Then close to the end, the action picks up and it doesn’t let up. This book introduces new bad guys, who are so much more interesting and easy to hate than the nebulous big bad guy of the series. My one complaint about this book, besides the uneven pacing, is that something happened right at the end in terms of the relationship between some of the characters that I didn’t understand and I think it points to a direction that I don’t like.

The Time of Contempt by Andrzej Sapkowski (3,5 stars): This starts slow and there’s not enough Geralt. I love Yennefer and Ciri, so I enjoyed their parts of the story. But the author changed perspectives in a way that didn’t work for me, it felt clumsy and it felt like the characters I know and love weren’t in the book as much. After the slow first half, things picked up so much speed and I enjoyed the action-packed part of this book. The political intrigued, the different players, the different factions was really interesting. The main thing I didn’t like about this was the ending, this handled sexual assault badly.

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs (4 stars): This was a fun, quick read. Mercy is an amazing main character, strong, compassionate, a bit too reckless, flawed, she was captivating and easy to root for. The other characters and the dynamics between them are interesting and compelling. The plot was entertaining and fast-paced, and the writing was good.

Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs (4 stars): I liked this one even more than the first one because the plot and the villain are more interesting, darker, and more twisted. I still love Mercy as the main character, she is just very likable, and all the other characters are pretty great too. I usually don’t like love triangles but I’m not disliking the relationships in this one, because I like both guys and their relationships with Mercy and also because it’s very clear who she is going to end up with.

Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs (4 stars): I loved most of this book, it was fun getting to see more of the fae and finding out some of their secrets. As always all the characters were great and I enjoyed the way this resolves the love triangle storyline. Now, that ending was fucking brutal. I wish I had seen content warnings before reading, because what happened shocked me, left me reeling and absolutely devastated me. CW: rape

Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle (4,5 stars): This is such a sweet slow burn, sunshine/grumpy romance with a good dose of forced proximity. It has great character and very low angst. (Full review)

The Intimacy Experiment by Rosie Danan (4 stars): the main characters are very compelling, likable and easy to root for, and their relationship is so sweet. It talks about religion in an intersting way. It’s a bit longer than it needs to be (full review).

To Love and to Loathe by Martha Waters (4 stars): the main characters have a lot of chemistry, the banter is great and the whole “teach me how to be good in bed” part of the story allows some great representation of communication during sex. The one thing I didn’t like about this book is that there’s a sapphic side character in this book and the portrayal is not great, also the main character outs her to her friends, which sucks.

Meet Me in Paradise by Libby Hubscher (4 stars): this is women’s fiction and not romance. It does a great job of ecploring the main character’s personal growth and her relationship with her sister. There’s a romance and it sweet, but I wish they had a bit more chemistry. The ending is heartbreaking and made me cry. (Full review)

Damaged Goods by Talia Hibbert (4 stars): Samir was so sweet!!! I loved him and Laura together. And Laura’s character development was incredible for such a short novella. this is a story about healing after an abusive relationship and it depicted that in a beautiful, painful, and very honest way.

Blind Date with a Book Boyfriend by Lucy Eden (4 stars): This was a quick, fun and sweet novella. I usually don’t like romances that take place in one day because they feel unrealistic, but this one I didn’t mind. The characters were great, their chemistry and connection worked really well. 

Dance All Night by Alexis Daria (3,5 stars): This was fun, but a bit too insta love-y for my taste. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the plot, which revolved around a deal they made to have three dates that will make her fall in love with him and with Christmas and both of the main characters (especially the hero) were likable and captivating, particularly when they were together.

Well Played by Jen DeLuca (3 stars): This is a weird book because it was easy to read, entertaining and I loved seeing more about the ren faire (even if I wish there was more of it). But I had big issues with it: The catfishing goes on for way too long and it’s treated like it’s not a big deal, the main characters get zero character development, the hero doesn’t grovel enough (or at all) at any point).

Much Ado About You by Samantha Young (4 stars): This was a sweet, low-angst romance. I really enjoyed the way the relationship slowly develops, how the main characters become friends but from the first moments, there’s this attraction and tension between them that they can’t deny. I loved the small English rural town setting and all the side characters were great. Once the characters get together, their relationship was sweet and there are quite a few steamy moments between them throughout the book. My one complaint is that the conflict at the end felt forced, even if it was foreshadowed.

One by One by Ruth Ware (4 stars): This was a very fun and satisfying read. I love how atmospheric it is, how the mystery slowly unravels, and the tension increases. The last part was very intense and I was very invested, but I do think it that the last chase took a bit too long.

What is your favorite and least favorite book of May? Was May a good reading month for you?

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March 2021 Wrap Up: the Kate Daniels series, These Violent Delights and a bunch of romance books

Hi everyone! Today I’m going to talk about the books I read in March, which were mostly the books in the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. I literally did nothing else with my free time the last two weeks but read these books and it was such a fun experince.

Without further ado, let’s talk about the books

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong (4 stars): Roma and Juliette felt so real and I really enjoyed their complicated, angsty relationship. Also, the side characters were pretty interesting and there was a sort of romance between some side characters that gave me life. Also, the way this book explore political struggles and colonialism was fantastic (full review)

An Introduction to the World of Kate Daniels for New Readers | Den of Geek

The Kate Daniels Series by Ilona Andrews (4 stars): I read the 10 books and 3 novellas in a period of 2 weeks and absolutely loved it, I gave all the books 4 or 4,5 stars except for the last one that got a 3,5 but was still a good book. The series has an amazing main character, who is strong, smart and compassioante but also very flawed, and it also has so many lovable side characters, I was so invested in all of their stories. The main relationship was a slow burn, dislike to love romance and it was so good. Also, the world and magic system were so intricate and interesting, this series included mythologies from all over the world and it was really fast paced, easy to read, full of action. Reading these books was such a fun experince. My main issue with this series is that the writing got a bit repetitive because they recounted who all the organizations and charcters were and what happened with them in previous book over and over again throughout the series.

Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert ( 4 stars): I loved reading about Eve and seeing her grow throughout the book. The tension between Eve and Jacob gave me life, their chemistry was so evident and their bickering, especially at the beginning, was so entertaining. The way they both accepted and made space for the needs of the other person was incredibly sweet. Also, this book has some really steamy scenes.

Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron (4 stars): I enjoyed seeing the main character work to improve different aspects of her life. Also, the romance was really sweet, I liked seeing Reena and Nadim become friends and then seeing that friendship evolve into something more. Also, Nadim was really sweet and considerate. (Full review)

First Comes Like by Alisha Rai (3,7 stars): I like the two main characters and the exploration of complicated family dynamics. I also really appreciated having more traditional Muslim heroine in a romance novel. My main issue with this book is that the chemistry and tension between the characters weren’t there. (Full review)

Anchored Hearts by Priscilla Oliveras (3,5 stars): A full review is coming closer to the release date. But for now, I really liked this slow burn, second chance romance. The tension and chemistry between the characters was great. My issues with this had to do with the writing and the fact that I found the hero a bit frustrating.

Marriage and Murder by Penny Reid (3,5 stars): My enjoyment of this series comes in a big part from nostalgia. The characterization of Cletus is very good, even if he can be irratating at times, he has a very strong personality, but Jenn got a bit lost in the background, even when she had some important realizations in this book. The strength of this book is definitely Cletus and Jenn together.

Tarot magicomístico de estrellas (pop) - Amalia Andrade | Planeta de Libros

Tarot magicomístico de estrellas (POP) by Amelia Andrade (4 stars): this is an introduction to the tarot but the illustrations in the tarot cards are famous people who embody the essence of the card. It’s done by a Colombian author and illustrator and it’s really cool, so if you speak Spanish and you are interested in the tarot, I would recommend this.

What is your favorite and least favorite book you read in March? What book are you looking forward to reading in April?

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February 2021 Wrap Up: a new favorite Black romance author and so much more

Hi everyone! I was in a bit of a reading slump during February, which is why I mostly read short books and especially romance books. This month a discovered a new favorite Black romance author, which was super exciting and that’s why I read 5 of her books in a row. Overall, february was a month of reading some amazing books by Blakc authors and I’m excited to share my thoughts aobut them with you.

Without further ado, here are the books I read in February:

How to Catch a Queen by Alyssa Cole (4 stars): I couldn’t stop reading this, it was SO GOOD! It was a very engaging read. I really liked the main characters, they were both very flawed but they put in the work and I really enjoyed the way they grew throughout the book. Their relationship starts really slow but I enjoyed the way it developed.

I Think I Might Love You by Christina C. Jones (4 stars): This was a quick, entertaining novella. I particularly liked the main characters, they both had captivating and unique voices and great chemistry between them. I also liked the discussion about how someone’s past doesn’t have to define their entire lives. Lastly, there are some great side characters in this book and even a side romance which was a good addition.

I Think I Might Need You by Christina C. Jones (4 stars): I really liked the main characters and the plot was very engaging. In the beginning, I was sure the chemistry was there between the two main characters, but they won me over and by the end, I was a huge fan of their relationship. The only issue I had was that the secret of who the baby’s dad was dragged a bit too long for such a short novella.

I Think I Might Want You by Christina C. Jones (3 stars): This was my least favorite book of the series. I liked Jemma, but I didn’t like Levi that much. The way he spoke didn’t feel natural at all and it was kind of pretentious. Also, it felt like Jemma spent the entire time going in circles, which wasn’t very entertaining to read about.

Getting Schooled by Christina C. Jones (4 stars): This was such a fun book! A great hate to love romance, the main characters had so much chemistry and the banter between them was great. Also, I really enjoyed Jay’s relationship with his family as well as Reese’s relationship with her mom and Devin; including those relationships added a lot to the stories.

Pulling Doubles by Christina C. Jones (3.5 stars): This sounded like a book I would love, but sadly, it was only ok for me. I think mainly it had to do with the fact that I don’t like the “He acted like he hated her to hide that he liked her” trope, so in the beginning, I wasn’t that invested in the relationship. But also, there were some conflicts that were thrown in there but not really resolved, and something happens at the end that was unnecessary, didn’t work well, and made the ending feel abrupt.

A Rogue of One’s Own by Evie Dunmore (3.5 stars): This was definitely not as good as the first book in the series. Mainly because the main characters were really unlikeable at times and because the connection and chemistry between them weren’t really there at the beginning. Nonetheless, the second half of the book is a lot stronger in terms of the romance. I enjoyed the subplot revolving around Lucie’s activism and the suffragette movement, and the discussions about how romantic love and feminist activism are not mutually exclusive.

Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor (4 stars): This was a quick read, but it was very captivating and it accomplished a lot in terms of world-building and character development for such a short amount of pages. The concept is very interesting and the execution delivers on the promise of that concept.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig (4 stars): This book has a great message about letting go of regrets and Matt Haig communicates that message through incredible writing. I’ll say that it never feels like the main character and her particular journey are the actual focus of the book, it feels like they a vehicle to deliver the message that Haig is trying to convey. But this doesn’t mean that the character and her journey are not an engaging part of the book, it’s simply that they are not the most important part.

In the beginning, Haig does a better job of making sure that reading about the different lives of the main character isn’t boring, but once the main character starts to stay longer in these lives, the book does drag a little. Especially, because the message of the book is so obvious that you know what the main character is going to discover and in which life she is going to end up

So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo (5 stars): Ijeoma Oluo covers so many topics in a concise, clear and very smart way. I learned a lot, especially when it came to ways to reframe conversations and actions that can help in uncomfortable and hard situations when discussing race.

Stamped by Jason Reynolds (4,5 stars): This book was thoughtful, clear, and concise. It’s told in a tone and style that it’s easy to read and understand, the amount of skill that Jason Reynolds shows with the way he wrote this book is outstanding.

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin (4 stars): This is a powerful book that’s part essays and part memoir. It talks about the race issue in America in a way that it’s sobering and it does it through excellent writing. The way James Baldwin talks about different religions in this book and the link between religion, power, race and racism was very interesting.

Homie by Danez Smith (4 stars): This was a really good poetry collection about friendship, blackness, grief, politics, queerness, and community. As with every poetry collection, there are some poems that I liekd more than others but all of the poems in this collection are worth the read.

What is your favorite and least favorite book you read in February? Was February a good reading month for you?

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