month readings · reading challenge

#ConSaborReadingChallenge TBR

Hi all
I just realised I haven’t really committed myself to any challenge or any TBR this year. So when I heard about this amazing Latinx challenge, I knew I had to participate.

Now I won’t go into too much detail about the challenge, you can read all the details about the #ConSaborReadingChallenge on the lovely Dani’s blog, join it and grab some of the cute badges.

Since it is a year long challenge, my goal is to read as many but also collect as many badges as I can, that is why I decided to follow the monthly prompts and have at least 4 books per monthly prompt. There are some books I am not including here, that I also plan to read but as ambitious as I want to be I also want to give myself some leeway to be flexible and play around with the challenge.

I will be keeping track of the books I read and the badges I’ve won on my twitter but I will also be posting longer reviews here, expect lots and lots of Latinx Book reviews!

I hope you join too!

diverse list · recommendation list

Pride and Prejudice (diverse) retellings

If you’ve checked out my twitter I’m sure you’ve seen at least one or two retweets about Jane Austen and/or Pride and Prejudice. I’m a romantic at heart and Jane Austen usually had all the elements to make me love her characters and root for the pairings.

Pride and Prejudice while not being my favourite Jane Austen book (Persuasion takes the no. 1 spot followed closely by Northanger Abbey) is still a story I love and hold dear.

That said, there’s been as many retellings of Pride and Prejudice as the day is long. It’s a book loved by so many that it’s not surprising so many authors have tried their own twist to it. Many have modernised it but the ones I’ve loved especially are the retellings that have ‘remixed’ it. This means usually adding their own particular twist to it with either characters of color and everything that comes with a new culture/new country setting or just queer-ifying it (yes I just invented a word, or I think I did)

And since I’ve started working in Bath, I thought why not share my list of favourite retellings. This list features my favourite retellings from authors of color and two (queer) honourable mentions.

Colour meaning = Pink -> Adult; Yellow -> YA

Netherfield Must Go! by Nikki Payne

Local DJ Liza Bennett has had it with gentrification in her Southeast DC neighborhood. She is a local DJ with a lot of opinions. When a brooding property developer, Dorsey Fitzgerald of Pemberley Development Company, sets up shop right next door at Netherfield Court apartments getting ready to bulldozer her neighbourhood, she is Not. Having. It.

Liza will do whatever she can to make sure they know they are not welcome. She plans to do whatever it takes to ensure that Pemberley and the arrogant and self-assured Dorsey Fitzgerald don’t get their way. But with her family getting in the way at every opportunity, can she outwit the developers and save her neighborhood? Can she keep her mom and family from undermining her every move against Pemberley Development Co?

Pride by Ibi Zoboi

Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable.

When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius.

Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.
But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all.

Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal

A scandal and vicious rumor concerning the Binat family have destroyed their fortune and prospects for desirable marriages, but Alys, the second and most practical of the five Binat daughters, has found happiness teaching English literature to schoolgirls. Knowing that many of her students won’t make it to graduation before dropping out to marry and have children, Alys teaches them about Jane Austen and her other literary heroes and hopes to inspire the girls to dream of more.
When an invitation arrives to the biggest wedding their small town has seen in years, Mrs. Binat, certain that their luck is about to change, excitedly sets to work preparing her daughters to fish for rich, eligible bachelors. On the first night of the festivities, Alys’s lovely older sister, Jena, catches the eye of Fahad “Bungles” Bingla, the wildly successful—and single—entrepreneur. But Bungles’s friend Valentine Darsee is clearly unimpressed by the Binat family. Alys accidentally overhears his unflattering assessment of her and quickly dismisses him and his snobbish ways. As the days of lavish wedding parties unfold, the Binats wait breathlessly to see if Jena will land a proposal—and Alys begins to realize that Darsee’s brusque manner may be hiding a very different man from the one she saw at first glance.

Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors: A novel by Sonali Dev

Only in a family like the Rajes could San Francisco’s most acclaimed neurosurgeon be considered the black sheep. Dr. Trisha Raje has developed groundbreaking technology and won the respect of her peers and the life-long gratitude of her patients. Still, her large, close-knit family—descended from old Indian nobility—has certain rules to uphold. Trusting outsiders is frowned upon. Disloyalty of any kind is unacceptable. Trisha never intended to jeopardize her brother’s political aspirations, yet her long-ago actions inadvertently did just that. At last she has a chance to turn that around.
Up-and-coming chef DJ Caine has known people like Trisha before—people who judge his background and find it lacking, who put pedigree above character. He may need the lucrative, career-making job the Rajes offer, but he has little time for Trisha, especially when he learns that she’s the arrogant surgeon who wants to perform an untested procedure on his sister, Emma.
As the two continually clash, their assumptions shatter like spun sugar on one of DJ’s stunning desserts.  Drawn to DJ’s steadiness, humor, and passion—as well as his extraordinary food—Trisha begins to reexamine her view of the world, while challenging his beliefs about the nature of family. But there’s a past to be reckoned with before they can hope to savor a future bursting with delicious possibility.

Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalauddin

AYESHA SHAMSI has a lot going on. Her dreams of being a poet have been overtaken by a demanding teaching job. Her boisterous Muslim family, and numerous (interfering) aunties, are professional naggers. And her flighty young cousin, about to reject her one hundredth marriage proposal, is a constant reminder that Ayesha is still single.
Ayesha might be a little lonely, but the one thing she doesn’t want is an arranged marriage. And then she meets Khalid… How could a man so conservative and judgmental (and, yes, smart and annoyingly handsome) have wormed his way into her thoughts so quickly?
As for Khalid, he’s happy the way he is; his mother will find him a suitable bride. But why can’t he get the captivating, outspoken Ayesha out of his mind? They’re far too different to be a good match, surely…

Honourable Mentions:
These are two f/f retellings, these authors are not poc but I think they still deserve to be in a diverse retelling list 🙂

The Story of Lizzie and Darcy by Grace Watson

When Lizzy Bennet, an out and proud lesbian, first meets bisexual and biracial Darcy Williams, there is an instant dislike between them. As much as they try to avoid it their paths keep crossing, especially when Lizzy’s sister Jane and Darcy’s best friend Charlie fall in love they have to spend time together.

But as they get to know each other, they start to see a different side. They start to realise maybe they judged too fast? However, their tentative friendship is soon tested, but will they realise how they really feel?

Most Ardently by Susan Mesler Evans

Elisa Benitez is proud of who she is, from her bitingly sarcastic remarks, to her love of both pretty boys and pretty girls. If someone doesn’t like her, that’s their problem, and Elisa couldn’t care less. Particularly if that person is Darcy Fitzgerald, a snobby, socially awkward heiress with an attitude problem and more money than she knows what to do with.

From the moment they meet, Elisa and Darcy are at each other’s throats — which is a bit unfortunate, since Darcy’s best friend is dating Elisa’s sister. It quickly becomes clear that fate intends to throw the two of them together, whether they like it or not.
As hers and Darcy’s lives become more and more entwined, Elisa’s once-dull world quickly spirals into chaos in this story of pride, prejudice, and finding love with the people you least expect.

Have you read any of these retellings? Is there any retellings of Jane Austen, even if it’s P&P, that you especially loved?

book tour · review

Throw Like a Girl Book Tour Review

Throw Like a Girl

by Sarah Henning

Genre: YA Romance
Release Date: January 7th, 2020
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

When softball star Liv Rodinsky throws one ill-advised punch during the most important game of the year, she loses her scholarship to her fancy private school, her boyfriend, and her teammates all in one fell swoop. With no other options, Liv is forced to transfer to the nearest public school, Northland, where she’ll have to convince their coach she deserves a spot on the softball team, all while facing both her ex and the teammates of the girl she punched… Every. Single. Day.

Enter Grey, the injured star quarterback with amazing hair and a foolproof plan: if Liv joins the football team as his temporary replacement, he’ll make sure she gets a spot on the softball team in the Spring. But it will take more than the perfect spiral for Liv to find acceptance in Northland’s halls, and behind that charming smile, Grey may not be so perfect after all.


Click the image to check out the Tour

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

6 Reasons why you should read this book
* contemporary YA with minimum angst
*sports romance! sports lingo, sports references galore! team camaraderie! healthy competition (wait…no sexism? what?!)
* MC is the star player, headstrong, a bit hothead, too talented for her own good who ends up growing a fair bit of growing up and learning how to be a teammate, also has a great right hook!
* i should talk about the LI but can I say first great cast of friends, family, supporting families and friends ftw! meaningful female relationships ftw!
* LI is the star quarterback, surprisingly not too insta-love
* cute coming of age, highschool sports romance

Throw like a Girl tells the story of hardworking, knows-she-is-amazingly-talented, softball star Liv Rodinsky having to transfer to a new school because she decided to deck her rival for a comment against her sister (cw: homophobic comment). But what to do when the coach of that new school’s softball team tells her that while she’s very talented she’s not enough of a team player, in the words, application: pending.
This is when she meets the coach’s son, the star quarterback Grey who is actually injured and strikes up a deal, if she plays as a temporary quarterback he will help her get a spot in the softball team.

Have I mentioned before how much I’m a total sports fan? If I haven’t well now you know! That said although I think if asked I might understand something of how American Football is played and I could mentioned some basic references (team names maybe some famous players), I have never paid attention to the sport. I’m more of a hockey/football/baseball/basketball fan 🙂
Because of this, I was a bit wary of reading a book that might have a lot of sports references that I might not understand. Not only that but because I am a sports fan I tend to scrutinise every little bit which means I end up not intested in almost all sports books I try to read. Especially sports romance where the focus is more on the romance and sports (most of the time) is practically nonexistent. But this book was the perfect combination of sports, highschool drama, inspirational sports story and the sprinkle of romance. If I who has never watched a football game in her life can follow the jist of the game, don’t worry, you will be able too!

I do have to admit I didn’t fall in love with Grey, he was cute and I thought their romance was cute but something happens in the book [no spoilers here!] that made me reconsider my idea of him.

The cast of the book, however was the best, between the family dynamic, the Rodinskys who were so supportive and even overprotective were amzing to read and I would’nt have minded getting to know more about them, and about Liv and her sister, and Liv and her brother. I mean really every little detail of their dynamic and any scene with them I enjoyed. Then there’s Olivia’s best friend that while I feel like I could have gotten to know more, still was nice to read. And a good counter part to Liv’s personality.

I was pleasantly surprised to read about a book joining an all-male team not having one instant of sexism, it was all about competition, team camaraderie and the usual “i’m feeling threatened by you because you might be taking my spot and I know you’re ridiculously talented” type of attitude from one of the other quarterback, but nothing about being a girl specifically. That was a breath of fresh air, and I was happy to not have to wince and say ah yes of course I should have seen that coming.

And of course, honourable mention to all the sports reference (O-Rod!).

Overall, very quick, enjoyable read.

Thanks to the Fantastic Flying Book Club Tour for giving me the opportunity to participate in this Book Tour. If you want to know more about them check them out.

FBBC is hosting a giveaway for a chance to win 1 of 2 copies of this book (US only, sorry!). Don’t miss the chance, ENTER HERE! This giveaway ends on 21st of January.

book tour · review

She's with Me Book Tour Review

She’s with Me

by Ava Violet

Genre: YA Contemporary
Release Date: January 7th, 2020

When Amelia Collins moves to a new town to escape her dark past, she just wants to keep her head down and finish her senior year.
Her plans change drastically when she runs- literally- into the school’s hottest badass and number one person on the ‘don’t mess with’ list, Aiden Parker.

Amelia needs to find a way to survive senior year while she tries not to fall for the annoyingly handsome Aiden, or his mischievous, cocky player of a best friend, Mason.

With new friends, fun pranks, bitchy queen bees, old rivalries, and a haunting past, Amelia’s senior year is destined to be filled with some drama.


Click the image for more about the Tour

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ .5

6 Reasons you should read this book
*contemporary YA
*highschool teen Romance
* revenge! pranks! rivalry! mystery? there’s something about that MC!
* MC is snarky, confident and assertive, will-not-take-anyone’s-BS type
*best friends-more-like-family, more-like-brothers, friends-as-support-group
*romance is slow-ish burn, broody love interest
*cw for alcohol, slut-shaming, death, bodily injuries

Not very spoiler-y

She’s with Me tells the story of Amelia Collins who has some sort of dark past we are not very sure of, but because of this she and her mom are forced to move to a new city and start her senior year in King City High School mid-semester. Amelia is hoping she will fly under the radar, lay low, graduate and hopefully move on with her life. That, of course, is spoilt in the first few minutes of her first day when she bumps into Aiden Parker and now she finds herself immersed in this new group of friends and rivalries and pranks. Laying low won’t be as easy now.

I have to say I read this book in one sitting down, while I feel like I didn’t particularly attach myself to any character, the plot was different and distinct enough that I couldn’t stop reading it. I needed to know what was going to happen with Amelia and what was her backstory. Especially because, did i mention there was so much drama and mystery in the book? So much, that I would not be satisfied without knowing the end.

While this book seemed it would be centred around romance, I was pleasantly surprised the romance ended up being more slow burn-ish. Most of the book focused around Amelia, her mysterious dark past and her new friends. This really supportive, always there for each other, more-like-family group. I especially love this trope! The romance and relationships between Amelia and Aiden also spent more time understanding each others problems, their personal problems and how these ultimately united them.

I do have to say my main issue with the book was the slut shaming, the name calling was not healthy and not something I would like to see in characters without not addressing or condemning it. Related to that, I didn’t much appreciate the characterisation of the Queen Bee, Kaitlyn, I think she would have been interesting to further flesh out her character as the “villain” or “mean one” but in the end I feel like most of the drama between her and Amelia could have been easily solved or ignored. Luckily, Amelia does that.

The book ends in a cliffhanger and while there are some things that kinda got resolved, there are also so many questions left hanging, what will happen to Amelia? what will happen to Aiden? What do you mean ***** is ****? (no spoilers!)

Overall, this was a quick contemporary read about teenagers in not the greatest of situations but somehow powering through and living each day at a time.

Thanks again to the Fantastic Flying Book Club Tour for giving me the opportunity to participate in this Tour. If you want to know more about them check them out. And thank you to the publishers!

See you next time!

month readings

Anticipated 2020 Reads – Spring Edition

Initially I was planning on doing my most anticipated 2020 books of the first half of the year but while planning this post I noticed how much longer it would be and it’s already long, so why not do it by seasons?
Disclaimer: These are all books I haven’t read or don’t have ARCs of. Those that I do have ARCs I will promote/review them soon enough.
So without further ado, let’s go onto my Anticipated Spring Books List!

Colour meaning = Pink -> Adult; Yellow -> YA; Orange -> Middle Grade

Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim (Jan 7th)
When Amaya rescues a mysterious stranger from drowning, she fears her rash actions have earned her a longer sentence on the debtor ship where she’s been held captive for years. Instead, the man she saved offers her unimaginable riches and a new identity, setting Amaya on a perilous course through the coastal city-state of Moray, where old-world opulence and desperate gamblers collide.
Amaya wants one thing: revenge against the man who ruined her family and stole the life she once had. But the more entangled she becomes in this game of deception—and as her path intertwines with the son of the man she’s plotting to bring down—the more she uncovers about the truth of her past. And the more she realizes she must trust no one…

Jane Anonymous by Laurie Faria Stolarz (Jan 7th)
Then, “Jane” was just your typical 17-year-old in a typical New England suburb getting ready to start her senior year. She had a part-time job she enjoyed, an awesome best friend, overbearing but loving parents, and a crush on a boy who was taking her to see her favorite band. She never would’ve imagined that in her town where nothing ever happens, a series of small coincidences would lead to a devastating turn of events that would forever change her life.
Now, it’s been three months since “Jane” escaped captivity and returned home. Three months of being that girl who was kidnapped, the girl who was held by a “monster.” Three months of writing down everything she remembered from those seven months locked up in that stark white room. But, what if everything you thought you knew―everything you thought you experienced―turned out to be a lie?

Dark and Deepest Red by Anna Marie McLemore (Jan 14th)
Summer, 1518. A strange sickness sweeps through Strasbourg: women dance in the streets, some until they fall down dead. As rumors of witchcraft spread, suspicion turns toward Lavinia and her family, and Lavinia may have to do the unimaginable to save herself and everyone she loves.
Five centuries later, a pair of red shoes seal to Rosella Oliva’s feet, making her dance uncontrollably. They draw her toward a boy who knows the dancing fever’s history better than anyone: Emil, whose family was blamed for the fever five hundred years ago. But there’s more to what happened in 1518 than even Emil knows, and discovering the truth may decide whether Rosella survives the red shoes.

We Wish you Luck by Caroline Zancan (Jan 14th)
It doesn’t take long for the students on Fielding campus to become obsessed with Hannah, Leslie and Jimmy. The three graduate students are mysterious, inaccessible, and brilliant. Leslie, glamorous and brash, has declared that she wants to write erotica and make millions. Hannah is quietly confident, loyal, elegantly beautiful, and the person they all want to be; and Jimmy is a haunted genius with no past. After Simone – young, bestselling author and erstwhile model – shows up as a visiting professor, and after everything that happened with her, the trio only become more notorious.
Love. Death. Revenge. These age-old tropes come to life as the semesters unfold. The threesome came to study writing, to be writers, and this is the story they’ve woven together: of friendship and passion, of competition and envy, of creativity as life and death. Now, they submit this story, We Wish You Luck, for your reading pleasure.

Black Girl Unlimited by Echo Brown (Jan 14th)
Echo Brown is a wizard from the East Side, where apartments are small and parents suffer addictions to the white rocks. Yet there is magic . . . everywhere. New portals begin to open when Echo transfers to the rich school on the West Side, and an insightful teacher becomes a pivotal mentor. Each day, Echo travels between two worlds, leaving her brothers, her friends, and a piece of herself behind on the East Side. There are dangers to leaving behind the place that made you. Echo soon realizes there is pain flowing through everyone around her, and a black veil of depression threatens to undo everything she’s worked for.

Rogue Princess by B.R. Myers (Jan 21st)
Princess Delia knows her duty: She must choose a prince to marry in order to secure an alliance and save her failing planet. Yet she secretly dreams of true love, and feels there must be a better way. Determined to chart her own course, she steals a spaceship to avoid the marriage, only to discover a handsome stowaway.
All Aidan wanted was to “borrow” a few palace trinkets to help him get off the planet. Okay, so maybe escaping on a royal ship wasn’t the smartest plan, but he never expected to be kidnapped by a runaway princess!
Sparks fly as this headstrong princess and clever thief battle wits, but everything changes when they inadvertently uncover a rebel conspiracy that could destroy their planet forever

Seven Deadly Shadows by Courtney Alameda and Valynne E. Maetani  (Jan 28th)
Kira Fujikawa has always been a girl on the fringe. Bullied by her peers and ignored by her parents, the only place Kira’s ever felt at home is at her grandfather’s Shinto shrine, where she trains to be a priestess. But Kira’s life is shattered on the night her family’s shrine is attacked by a vicious band of yokai demons. With the help of Shiro—the shrine’s gorgeous half-fox, half-boy kitsune—Kira discovers that her shrine harbors an ancient artifact of great power . . . one the yokai and their demon lord, Shuten-doji, will use to bring down an everlasting darkness upon the world.
Unable to face the Shuten-doji and his minions on her own, Kira enlists the aid of seven ruthless shinigami—or death gods—to help stop the brutal destruction of humankind. But some of the death gods aren’t everything they initially seemed, nor as loyal to Kira’s cause as they first appeared.
With war drawing nearer by the day, Kira realizes that if this unlikely band of heroes is going to survive, they’re going to have to learn to work together, confront their demons, and rise as one to face an army of unimaginable evil. 

Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith (Jan 28th)
Divya Sharma is a queen. Or she is when she’s playing Reclaim the Sun, the year’s hottest online game. Divya—better known as popular streaming gamer D1V—regularly leads her #AngstArmada on quests through the game’s vast and gorgeous virtual universe. But for Divya, this is more than just a game. Out in the real world, she’s trading her rising-star status for sponsorships to help her struggling single mom pay the rent.
Gaming is basically Aaron Jericho’s entire life. Much to his mother’s frustration, Aaron has zero interest in becoming a doctor like her, and spends his free time writing games for a local developer. At least he can escape into Reclaim the Sun—and with a trillion worlds to explore, disappearing should be easy. But to his surprise, he somehow ends up on the same remote planet as celebrity gamer D1V.
At home, Divya and Aaron grapple with their problems alone, but in the game, they have each other to face infinite new worlds…and the growing legion of trolls populating them. Soon the virtual harassment seeps into reality when a group called the Vox Populi begin launching real-world doxxing campaigns, threatening Aaron’s dreams and Divya’s actual life. The online trolls think they can drive her out of the game, but everything and everyone Divya cares about is on the line… And she isn’t going down without a fight. 

Blood Countess by Lana Popović (Jan 28th)
In 17th century Hungary, Anna Darvulia has just begun working as a scullery maid for the young and glamorous Countess Elizabeth Báthory.
When Elizabeth takes a liking to Anna, she’s vaulted to the dream role of chambermaid, a far cry from the filthy servants’ quarters below. She receives wages generous enough to provide for her family, and the Countess begins to groom Anna as her friend and confidante. It’s not long before Anna falls completely under the Countess’s spell—and the Countess takes full advantage.
Isolated from her former friends, family, and fiancé, Anna realizes she’s not a friend but a prisoner of the increasingly cruel Elizabeth. Then come the murders, and Anna knows it’s only a matter of time before the Blood Countess turns on her, too.

The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa (Feb 4th)
A wedding planner left at the altar. Yeah, the irony isn’t lost on Carolina Santos, either. But despite that embarrassing blip from her past, Lina’s managed to make other people’s dreams come true as a top-tier wedding coordinator in DC. After impressing an influential guest, she’s offered an opportunity that could change her life. There’s just one hitch… she has to collaborate with the best (make that worst) man from her own failed nuptials.
Tired of living in his older brother’s shadow, marketing expert Max Hartley is determined to make his mark with a coveted hotel client looking to expand its brand. Then he learns he’ll be working with his brother’s whip-smart, stunning—absolutely off-limits—ex-fiancée. And she loathes him.
If they can survive the next few weeks and nail their presentation without killing each other, they’ll both come out ahead. Except Max has been public enemy number one ever since he encouraged his brother to jilt the bride, and Lina’s ready to dish out a little payback of her own.
But even the best laid plans can go awry, and soon Lina and Max discover animosity may not be the only emotion creating sparks between them. Still, this star-crossed couple can never be more than temporary playmates because Lina isn’t interested in falling in love and Max refuses to play runner-up to his brother ever again… 

Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli (Feb 4th)
Jamie Goldberg is cool with volunteering for his local state senate candidate—as long as he’s behind the scenes. When it comes to speaking to strangers (or, let’s face it, speaking at all to almost anyone), Jamie’s a choke artist. There’s no way he’d ever knock on doors to ask people for their votes…until he meets Maya.
Maya Rehman’s having the worst Ramadan ever. Her best friend is too busy to hang out, her summer trip is canceled, and now her parents are separating. Why her mother thinks the solution to her problems is political canvassing—with some awkward dude she hardly knows—is beyond her.
Going door to door isn’t exactly glamorous, but maybeit’s not the worst thing in the world. After all, the polls are getting closer—and so are Maya and Jamie. Mastering local activism is one thing. Navigating the cross-cultural romance of the century is another thing entirely.

The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper (Feb 4th)
As a successful social media journalist with half a million followers, seventeen-year-old Cal is used to sharing his life online. But when his pilot father is selected for a highly publicized NASA mission to Mars, Cal and his family relocate from Brooklyn to Houston and are thrust into a media circus.
Amidst the chaos, Cal meets sensitive and mysterious Leon, another “Astrokid,” and finds himself falling head over heels—fast. As the frenzy around the mission grows, so does their connection. But when secrets about the program are uncovered, Cal must find a way to reveal the truth without hurting the people who have become most important to him.
Expertly capturing the thrill of first love and the self-doubt all teens feel, debut author Phil Stamper is a new talent to watch.

King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender (Feb 4th)
Twelve-year-old Kingston James is sure his brother Khalid has turned into a dragonfly. When Khalid unexpectedly passed away, he shed what was his first skin for another to live down by the bayou in their small Louisiana town.
Khalid still visits in dreams, and King must keep these secrets to himself as he watches grief transform his family.It would be easier if King could talk with his best friend, Sandy Sanders. But just days before he died, Khalid told King to end their friendship, after overhearing a secret about Sandy-that he thinks he might be gay. “You don’t want anyone to think you’re gay too, do you?”
But when Sandy goes missing, sparking a town-wide search, and King finds his former best friend hiding in a tent in his backyard, he agrees to help Sandy escape from his abusive father, and the two begin an adventure as they build their own private paradise down by the bayou and among the dragonflies. As King’s friendship with Sandy is reignited, he’s forced to confront questions about himself and the reality of his brother’s death.

How to Be Good by Chace Verity (Feb 5th)
Late night talk show host Rian Goodwin will do anything to get a laugh and increase his ratings. He’ll eat spaghetti on top of a rollercoaster, challenge nursing home residents to pudding wrestling, and let his mom shame him on television. Nothing is too out there for fame-hungry Rian, but things get awkward when he meets an incredibly hot public high school teacher while sporting spandex and a fake mullet.
Darrell Stanley teaches English literature, reads manga, wears sweaters, and dedicates his weekends to charity. He’s everything Rian wants, but he doesn’t seem to want anything to do with the comedian, his show, or the paparazzi cameras. The only kind of guy Darrell wants is a good role model for the students. Rian doesn’t quite understand what it means to be a good role model, but he’s willing to learn.
However, the fast-paced world of entertainment demands all of Rian’s time–time that he needs to prove to Darrell he’s more than a work-obsessed celebrity. When a network offer that could secure his legacy arrives, Rian has to decide if this chance to become the king of entertainment is worth throwing away a chance at love with the king of role models.

Heartstopper Volume 3 by Alice Oseman (Feb 6th)
In this volume we’ll see the Heartstopper gang go on a school trip to Paris!
Not only are Nick and Charlie navigating a new city, but also telling more people about their relationship AND learning more about the challenges each other are facing in private…
Meanwhile Tao and Elle will face their feelings for each other, Tara and Darcy share more about their relationship origin story, and the teachers supervising the trip seem… rather close…?

The Train is being Held by Ismee Amiel Williams (Feb 11th)
When private school student Isabelle Warren first meets Dominican-American Alex Rosario on the downtown 1 train, she remembers his green eyes and his gentlemanly behavior. He remembers her untroubled happiness, something he feels all rich kids must possess. That, and her long dancer legs.
Over the course of multiple subway encounters spanning the next three years, Isabelle learns of Alex’s struggle with his father, who is hell-bent on Alex being a contender for the major leagues, despite Alex’s desire to go to college and become a poet. Alex learns about Isabelle’s unstable mother, a woman with a prejudice against Latino men. But fate—and the 1 train—throw them together when Isabelle needs Alex most. 

Untamed Shore by Silvia Moreno Garcia (Feb 11th)
Baja California, 1979.
Viridiana spends her days watching the dead sharks piled beside the seashore, as the fishermen pull their nets. There is nothing else to do, nothing else to watch, under the harsh sun. She’s bored. Terribly bored. Yet her head is filled with dreams of Hollywood films, of romance, of a future beyond the drab town where her only option is to marry and have children.
Three wealthy American tourists arrive for the summer, and Viridiana is magnetized. She immediately becomes entwined in the glamorous foreigners’ lives. They offer excitement, and perhaps an escape from the promise of a humdrum future.
When one of them dies, Viridiana lies to protect her friends. Soon enough, someone’s asking questions, and Viridiana has some of her own about the identity of her new acquaintances. Sharks may be dangerous, but there are worse predators nearby, ready to devour a naïve young woman who is quickly being tangled in a web of deceit.

The Unspoken Name by A. K. Larkwood (Feb 11th)
What if you knew how and when you will die?
Csorwe does — she will climb the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and gain the most honored title: sacrifice.
But on the day of her foretold death, a powerful mage offers her a new fate. Leave with him, and live. Turn away from her destiny and her god to become a thief, a spy, an assassin—the wizard’s loyal sword. Topple an empire, and help him reclaim his seat of power.
But Csorwe will soon learn – gods remember, and if you live long enough, all debts come due.

Turtle Under Ice by Juleah del Rosario (Feb 11th)
Rowena feels like her family is a frayed string of lights that someone needs to fix with electrical tape. After her mother died a few years ago, she and her sister, Ariana, drifted into their own corners of the world, each figuring out in their own separate ways how to exist in a world in which their mother is no longer alive.
But then Ariana disappears under the cover of night in the middle of a snowstorm, leaving no trace or tracks. When Row wakes up to a world of snow and her sister’s empty bedroom, she is left to piece together the mystery behind where Ariana went and why, realizing along the way that she might be part of the reason Ariana is gone.

Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon (Feb 18th)
Will the princess save the beast?
For Princess Jaya Rao, nothing is more important than family. When the loathsome Emerson clan steps up their centuries-old feud to target Jaya’s little sister, nothing will keep Jaya from exacting her revenge. Then Jaya finds out she’ll be attending the same elite boarding school as Grey Emerson, and it feels like the opportunity of a lifetime. She knows what she must do: Make Grey fall in love with her and break his heart. But much to Jaya’s annoyance, Grey’s brooding demeanor and lupine blue eyes have drawn her in. There’s simply no way she and her sworn enemy could find their fairy-tale ending…right?
His Lordship Grey Emerson is a misanthrope. Thanks to an ancient curse by a Rao matriarch, Grey knows he’s doomed once he turns eighteen. Sequestered away in the mountains at St. Rosetta’s International Academy, he’s lived an isolated existence—until Jaya Rao bursts into his life, but he can’t shake the feeling that she’s hiding something. Something that might just have to do with the rose-shaped ruby pendant around her neck…
As the stars conspire to keep them apart, Jaya and Grey grapple with questions of love, loyalty, and whether it’s possible to write your own happy ending.

We Unleash the Merciless Storm by Tehlor Kay Mejia (Feb 25th)
Being a part of the resistance group La Voz is an act of devotion and desperation. On the other side of Medio’s border wall, the oppressed class fights for freedom and liberty, sacrificing what little they have to become defenders of the cause.
Carmen Santos is one of La Voz’s best soldiers, taken in when she was an orphaned child and trained to be a cunning spy. She spent years undercover at the Medio School for Girls, but now, with her identity exposed and the island on the brink of civil war, Carmen returns to the only real home she’s ever known: La Voz’s headquarters.
There she must reckon with her beloved leader, who is under the influence of an aggressive new recruit, and with the devastating news that her true love might be the target of an assassination plot. Will Carmen break with her community and save the girl who stole her heart—or fully embrace the ruthless rebel she was always meant to be?

The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow (Feb 25th)
Two years ago, a misunderstanding between the leaders of Earth and the invading Ilori resulted in the deaths of one-third of the world’s population.
Seventeen-year-old Janelle “Ellie” Baker survives in an Ilori-controlled center in New York City. Deemed dangerously volatile because of their initial reaction to the invasion, humanity’s emotional transgressions are now grounds for execution. All art, books and creative expression are illegal, but Ellie breaks the rules by keeping a secret library. When a book goes missing, Ellie is terrified that the Ilori will track it back to her and kill her.
Born in a lab, M0Rr1S (Morris) was raised to be emotionless. When he finds Ellie’s illegal library, he’s duty-bound to deliver her for execution. The trouble is, he finds himself drawn to human music and in desperate need of more. They’re both breaking the rules for love of art—and Ellie inspires the same feelings in him that music does.
Ellie’s—and humanity’s—fate rests in the hands of an alien she should fear. M0Rr1S has a lot of secrets, but also a potential solution—thousands of miles away. The two embark on a wild and dangerous road trip with a bag of books and their favorite albums, all the while making a story and a song of their own that just might save them both.

Docile by K.M. Szpara (Mar 3rd)
To be a Docile is to be kept, body and soul, for the uses of the owner of your contract. To be a Docile is to forget, to disappear, to hide inside your body from the horrors of your service. To be a Docile is to sell yourself to pay your parents’ debts and buy your children’s future.
Elisha Wilder’s family has been ruined by debt, handed down to them from previous generations. His mother never recovered from the Dociline she took during her term as a Docile, so when Elisha decides to try and erase the family’s debt himself, he swears he will never take the drug that took his mother from him. Too bad his contract has been purchased by Alexander Bishop III, whose ultra-rich family is the brains (and money) behind Dociline and the entire Office of Debt Resolution. When Elisha refuses Dociline, Alex refuses to believe that his family’s crowning achievement could have any negative side effects—and is determined to turn Elisha into the perfect Docile without it.

Witches of Ash & Ruin by E. Latimer (Mar 3rd)
Seventeen-year-old Dayna Walsh is struggling to cope with her somatic OCD; the aftermath of being outed as bisexual in her conservative Irish town; and the return of her long-absent mother, who barely seems like a parent. But all that really matters to her is ascending and finally, finally becoming a full witch-plans that are complicated when another coven, rumored to have a sordid history with black magic, arrives in town with premonitions of death. Dayna immediately finds herself at odds with the bewitchingly frustrating Meiner King, the granddaughter of their coven leader.
And then a witch turns up murdered at a local sacred site, along with the blood symbol of the Butcher of Manchester-an infamous serial killer whose trail has long gone cold. The killer’s motives are enmeshed in a complex web of witches and gods, and Dayna and Meiner soon find themselves at the center of it all. If they don’t stop the Butcher, one of them will be next.

When We Were Magic by Sarah Gailey (Mar 3rd)
Keeping your magic a secret is hard. Being in love with your best friend is harder.
Alexis has always been able to rely on two things: her best friends, and the magic powers they all share. Their secret is what brought them together, and their love for each other is unshakeable—even when that love is complicated. Complicated by problems like jealousy, or insecurity, or lust. Or love.
That unshakeable, complicated love is one of the only things that doesn’t change on prom night.
When accidental magic goes sideways and a boy winds up dead, Alexis and her friends come together to try to right a terrible wrong. Their first attempt fails—and their second attempt fails even harder. Left with the remains of their failed spells and more consequences than anyone could have predicted, each of them must find a way to live with their part of the story.

The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu (Mar 3rd)
Two siblings. Two brilliant talents. But only one Mozart.
Born with a gift for music, Nannerl Mozart has just one wish—to be remembered forever. But even as she delights audiences with her masterful playing, she has little hope she’ll ever become the acclaimed composer she longs to be. She is a young woman in 18th century Europe, and that means composing is forbidden to her. She will perform only until she reaches a marriageable age—her tyrannical father has made that much clear.
And as Nannerl’s hope grows dimmer with each passing year, the talents of her beloved younger brother, Wolfgang, only seem to shine brighter. His brilliance begins to eclipse her own, until one day a mysterious stranger from a magical land appears with an irresistible offer. He has the power to make her wish come true—but his help may cost her everything.

Wicked As You Wish by Rin Chupeco (Mar 3rd)
Tala Warnock has little use for magic – as a descendant of Maria Makiling, the legendary Filipina heroine, she negates spells, often by accident. But her family’s old ties to the country of Avalon (frozen, bespelled, and unreachable for almost 12 years) soon finds them guarding its last prince from those who would use his kingdom’s magic for insidious ends.
And with the rise of dangerous spelltech in the Royal States of America; the appearance of the firebird, Avalon’s deadliest weapon, at her doorstep; and the re-emergence of the Snow Queen, powerful but long thought dead, who wants nothing more than to take the firebird’s magic for her own – Tala’s life is about to get even more complicated….

Undercover Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams (Mar 10th)
Braden Mack thinks reading romance novels makes him an expert in love, but he’ll soon discover that real life is better than fiction. 
Liv Papandreas has a dream job as a sous chef at Nashville’s hottest restaurant. Too bad the celebrity chef owner is less than charming behind kitchen doors. After she catches him harassing a young hostess, she confronts him and gets fired. Liv vows revenge, but she’ll need assistance to take on the powerful chef.
Unfortunately, that means turning to Braden Mack. When Liv’s blackballed from the restaurant scene, the charismatic nightclub entrepreneur offers to help expose her ex-boss, but she is suspicious of his motives. He’ll need to call in reinforcements: the Bromance Book Club.
Inspired by the romantic suspense novel they’re reading, the book club assists Liv in setting up a sting operation to take down the chef. But they’re just as eager to help Mack figure out the way to Liv’s heart… even though she’s determined to squelch the sparks between them before she gets burned.

A Phoenix First Must Burn by Patrice Caldwell (Mar 17th)
Sixteen tales by bestselling and award-winning authors that explore the Black experience through fantasy, science fiction, and magic.
Evoking Beyoncé’s Lemonade for a teen audience, these authors who are truly Octavia Butler’s heirs, have woven worlds to create a stunning narrative that centers Black women and gender nonconforming individuals. A Phoenix First Must Burn will take you on a journey from folktales retold to futuristic societies and everything in between. Filled with stories of love and betrayal, strength and resistance, this collection contains an array of complex and true-to-life characters in which you cannot help but see yourself reflected. Witches and scientists, sisters and lovers, priestesses and rebels: the heroines of A Phoenix First Must Burn shine brightly. You will never forget them.

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune (Mar 17th)
A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.
Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.
When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.
But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

Super Adjacent by Crystal Cestari (Mar 17th)
Claire has always wanted to work with superheroes, from collecting Warrior Nation cards as a kid to drafting “What to Say to a Hero” speeches in her diary. Now that she’s landed a coveted internship with the Chicago branch of Warrior Nation, Claire is ready to prove she belongs, super or not. But complicating plans is the newest WarNat hero, Girl Power (aka Joy), who happens to be egotistical and self-important . . . and pretty adorable.
Bridgette, meanwhile, wants out of WarNat. After years of dating the famous Vaporizer (aka Matt), she’s sick of playing second, or third, or five-hundredth fiddle to all the people-in-peril in the city of Chicago. Of course, once Bridgette meets Claire-who’s clearly in need of a mentor and wingman-giving up WarNat becomes slightly more complicated. It becomes a lot more complicated when Joy, Matt, and the rest of the heroes go missing, leaving only Claire and Bridgette to save the day.
In this fresh and funny take on the world of supers, author Crystal Cestari spotlights what it’s like to be the seemingly non-super half of a dynamic duo with banter-filled romance and bold rescues perfect for readers seeking a great escape.

The Honey Don’t List by Christina Lauren (Mar 24th)
Carey Douglas has worked for home remodeling and design gurus Melissa and Rusty Tripp for nearly a decade. A country girl at heart, Carey started in their first store at sixteen, and—more than anyone would suspect—has helped them build an empire. With a new show and a book about to launch, the Tripps are on the verge of superstardom. There’s only one problem: America’s favorite couple can’t stand each other.
James McCann, MIT graduate and engineering genius, was originally hired as a structural engineer, but the job isn’t all he thought it’d be. The last straw? Both he and Carey must go on book tour with the Tripps and keep the wheels from falling off the proverbial bus.
Unfortunately, neither of them is in any position to quit. Carey needs health insurance, and James has been promised the role of a lifetime if he can just keep the couple on track for a few more weeks. While road-tripping with the Tripps up the West Coast, Carey and James vow to work together to keep their bosses’ secrets hidden, and their own jobs secure. But if they stop playing along—and start playing for keeps—they may have the chance to build something beautiful together…

If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane (Mar 24th) If faking love is this easy… how do you know when it’s real?
When her partner of over a decade suddenly ends things, Laurie is left reeling—not only because they work at the same law firm and she has to see him every day. Her once perfect life is in shambles and the thought of dating again in the age of Tinder is nothing short of horrifying. When news of her ex’s pregnant girlfriend hits the office grapevine, taking the humiliation lying down is not an option. Then a chance encounter in a broken-down elevator with the office playboy opens up a new possibility.
Jamie Carter doesn’t believe in love, but he needs a respectable, steady girlfriend to impress their bosses. Laurie wants a hot new man to give the rumor mill something else to talk about. It’s the perfect proposition: a fauxmance played out on social media, with strategically staged photographs and a specific end date in mind. With the plan hatched, Laurie and Jamie begin to flaunt their new couple status, to the astonishment—and jealousy—of their friends and colleagues. But there’s a fine line between pretending to be in love and actually falling for your charming, handsome fake boyfriend…

The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin (Mar 26th)
Five New Yorkers must come together in order to defend their city in the first book of a stunning new series by Hugo award-winning and NYT bestselling author N. K. Jemisin.
Every city has a soul. Some are as ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York City? She’s got five.
But every city also has a dark side. A roiling, ancient evil stirs beneath the earth, threatening to destroy the city and her five protectors unless they can come together and stop it once and for all.

American Sweethearts by Adriana Herrera (Mar 30th)
Juan Pablo Campos doesn’t do regrets. He’s living the dream as a physical therapist for his beloved New York Yankees. He has the best friends and family in the world and simply no time to dwell on what could’ve been.
Except when it comes to Priscilla, the childhood friend he’s loved for what seems like forever.
New York City police detective Priscilla Gutierrez has never been afraid to go after what she wants. Second-guessing herself isn’t a thing she does. But lately, the once-clear vision she had for herself—her career, her relationships, her life—is no longer what she wants.
What she especially doesn’t want is to be stuck on a private jet to the Dominican Republic with JuanPa, the one person who knows her better than anyone else.
By the end of a single week in paradise, the love/hate thing JuanPa and Pris have been doing for sixteen years has risen to epic proportions. No one can argue their connection is still there. And they can both finally admit—if only to themselves—they’ve always been a perfect match. The future they dreamed of together is still within reach…if they can just accept each other as they are.

We Are Totally Normal by Rahul Kanakia (Mar 31st)
Nandan’s got a plan to make his junior year perfect. He’s going to make sure all the parties are chill, he’s going to smooth things over with his ex, and he’s going to help his friend Dave get into the popular crowd—whether Dave wants to or not. The high school social scene might be complicated, but Nandan is sure he’s cracked the code.
Then, one night after a party, Dave and Nandan hook up, which was not part of the plan—especially because Nandan has never been into guys. Still, Dave’s cool, and Nandan’s willing to give it a shot, even if that means everyone starts to see him differently.
But while Dave takes to their new relationship with ease, Nandan’s completely out of his depth. And the more his anxiety grows about what his sexuality means for himself, his friends, and his social life, the more he wonders whether he can just take it all back. But is breaking up with the only person who’s ever really gotten him worth feeling “normal” again?

What are your anticipated reads?
Any you think I should also check out?

book tour · review

Loveboat, Taipei Book Tour Review

Loveboat, Taipei

by Abigail Hing Wen

Genre : YA contemporary
Release Date : January 7th, 2020
Publisher : HarperCollins

When eighteen-year-old Ever Wong’s parents send her from Ohio to Taiwan to study Mandarin for the summer, she finds herself thrust among the very over-achieving kids her parents have always wanted her to be, including Rick Woo, the Yale-bound prodigy profiled in the Chinese newspapers since they were nine—and her parents’ yardstick for her never-measuring-up life. Unbeknownst to her parents, however, the program is actually an infamous teen meet-market nicknamed Loveboat, where the kids are more into clubbing than calligraphy and drinking snake-blood sake than touring sacred shrines. Free for the first time, Ever sets out to break all her parents’ uber-strict rules—but how far can she go before she breaks her own heart?


Click the image to check out the Tour

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

6 Reasons why you should read this book

*own voices contemporary (with a bit of drama and love) journey about understanding and finding your path, family dynamics and accepting and embracing your culture vs feeling like an outsider.
*MC is a first generation chinese-american.
*so many dancing references, ballet!
*insight into taipei (food, sounds), chinese-american culture and experiences, chinese cultural norms vs american cultural norms (even a bit of politics here and there)
*book discusses and handles so well sensitive issues that while very asian-american also can be shared by other minorities like stereotypes, micro-agressions, chinese-american identity vs chinese identity, diaspora feelings, familial expectations and pressure
*deal with themes like sacrificed aspirations vs dreams, financial status vs love and friendship
*love triangle! (more on this below), LI are not what you would expect (in a good way)
*so many dancing references, ballet!

Not very spoiler-y

I had a chance to be a part of FFBC’s Loveboat, Taipei Tour and I couldn’t be more happy to talk about this book.
I should admit I finished in one sitting, 2 or 3 hours went by and the only thing I did was change positions in my bed, that’s how much I couldn’t stop reading this book.

Ever Wong is a 18-year old soon to go to college to study medicine but really wanted to become a dancer and loved and breathed dancing. But, in the Wong household, dancing is not a viable career. Being the oldest, first generation daughter of immigrants means expectations and pressure to suceed for the sake of the family but also for all the sacrifices her parent’s have done for her. Ever knows this, she has lived with her mother breathing down her neck teaching her how to be ‘proper’ and how not to embarrass the family. This means hiding her dreams and agreeing with what her family wants for her.

When she gets the chance to go to Taipei to study Mandarin, well really she was forced to go to Taipei, she finds herself without her family breathing down her neck surrounded by students who didn’t have those boundaries she finds herself making her own decisions, some not so good, some mishaps and stumbles, some good moments and some others that make her grow and realise her own strength.

So much of the book is Ever dealing with how she views her identity and the demands because of her family and her culture. And it is so rich in description, that it feels like you’ve stepped into her shoes, went out clubbing with her, struggled with the language as she did, failed to understand your parents and her demands on you, fell in love, kissed a few boys, did some things you totally regretted, found strength and confidence in yourself.
It might sound like I’m saying this book was very heavy but mostly because the issues were treated so well, it flowed organically and more on the lighter side while being sensitive.

The students she meets also form a part of this growing up, from not hanging out at all with people who share her culture to only being surrounded by people who have experienced the shame she has (in different levels and degrees). There is so much depth to each character from Sophie and her stubborn, headstrong (sometimes not so nice) ways, to Jenna and her struggles, to the ‘take back the tropes’ guys.
But what about love interest? Certainly, a book called Loveboat will of couse have some swoony moments, here is more a love triangle, both characters Rick and Xavier are pretty swoon-worthy and since I’m trying hard not to spoil too much I won’t say who she ends up feeling more interested in.
(I will admit I found myself rooting for the other love interest than this one but that’s just me. This was my only real issue with the book but honestly it’s probably just me)

Overall, Loveboat, Taipei not only presented an amazing story with a kind, caring Ever and her family, her friends, her love and dreams but also gave us so much social and cultural commentary in a way that was sensitive, honest and beautiful.

Thanks to the Fantastic Flying Book Club Tour for giving me the opportunity to participate in this Book Tour. If you want to know more about them check them out.

I should also mention, you have the chance to win 1 of 2 copies of this book (US only, sorry!), FBBC is hosting this giveaway and you shouldn’t miss the chance, ENTER HERE! This giveaway ends on 15th of January.

month readings

[39] It's a new year!

Hi all!
It’s been a while since I wrote anything in this blog and that’s really a shame. As usual real life has caught me and has not let me go, well until now.

One of my new years resolution this year is keeping up with my blog more (and instagram but that’s another topic to talk about). This means being more accountable to myself and to actually post the reviews I have in my drafts. Seriously, there’s so many there I could fill at least a month without having to write a thing.

Being accountable for me means JANUARY TBR!

If this seems ambitious it’s because a) some of these I’ve already read but haven’t written the review or b) I’ve had these books for weeks and weeks on my TBR and I’ve planned and planned but haven’t gotten the motivation to actually open the books.

I’m motivating and pushing myself to get my sh*t together and post some of these reviews/finally read some of these (and then post the reviews)

I hope you join me in this new year new me solution 🙂
Have you planned a January TBR? or are you more of a mood reader?

month readings

[38] November TBR

Hi all

Sorry for the delay in posting, whenever I want to start getting into a rythm of updating the blog more regularly something happens. That’s why I’m trying to keep myself honest and to a schedule by posting my November TBR.

If you’ve seen my latest instagram post:

View this post on Instagram

It’s November! Am I the only one who thinks this year is passing by too fast? 🤔 📚📚📚📚 I got so lucky to win this ARC of Diamond City and because of it I felt prompted to have a little #NovemberARCs. I will explain a bit more about that but first!! 📚📚📚📚 Diamond City by the amazing @francescafloresauthor is a story of a girl who perseveres through poverty, violence, and loss to achieve a future for herself. Good things don't happen to girls who come from nothing… unless they risk everything. I can’t wait to meet Aina and the rest of the cast of this action-packed fantasy novel. I’m doing a buddy read with the lovely @iamrainbou so don’t mind my sporadic instastories about this book. Again thank you so much to @francescafloresauthor for giving me the opportunity to early read her debut. I have to admit I was shaking when I opened the package 🥰 📚📚📚📚 Now about #NovemberARCs since I have a few galleys, physical and on Netgalley that I keep telling myself to read but haven’t. I decided why not have a month to read that pile of 9 books, get my rating up on Netgalley and feel less of a mess with my TBR 😅. I’ll post the full TBR list on my blog today. 📚📚📚📚 Are you doing anything special for November? Any readathons or buddy reads? #diamondcity #francescaflores #yabooks #bookarcs #yabookarcs #yabookstagram #bookstgram #ukbookstagram #latinxbookstagram #latinxbooks #yalatinxbooks #latinxbookarcs

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You’d have noticed I talk about something called #NovemberARCs

This is going to be the theme of this month. I will be trying to read some physical and digital galleys I’ve been telling myself I should but somehow never seem to get the chance to do it. This is kind of inspired by Diamond City which I’m super looking forward to reading and reviewing.

Now what are the books I will be reading? good question!

Book 1: Get a life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert (to be posted on the 5th)

Book 2: Sick Kids in love by Hannah Moskowitz (to be posted on the 8th)

Book 3: Jackpot by Nic Stone (to be posted on the 11th)

Book 4: Diamond City by Francesca Flores (to be posted on the 14th)

Book 5: Dominicana by Angie Cruz (to be posted on the 17th)

Book 6: Natalia Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim (to be posted on the 20th)

Book 7: Side Chick Nation by Aya de Leon (to be posted on the 23nd)

Book 8: Harley in the Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman (to be posted on the 26th)

There’s a few others I would like to read like Infinity Son by Adam Silvera and Most Ardently by Susan Mesler-Evans but so far I’m going to leave as an *, as a possibility depending how well I do with the previous 8.

I’m including dates so I can start building myself a schedule while things might get shifted around after Book 4, I still plan to post 2 times per week.

Next post will be the Latinx Heritage Month wrap up that I should have posted a while back but had no time to do so, so expect that soon 🙂

See you soon!

latinxheritagemonth · review

[37] Love, social issues and a very handsome sexy man

In honour of American Love Story’s book release day I thought why not celebrate by posting my review 🙂
First of all, I was lucky enough to get approved to read an ARC of this amazing book so I have to thank Carina Press and Netgalley for the chance. My review is completely

I’ve already gushed about both previous books of the Dreamer series on my blog and twitter ( and here). I might be a tiny bit biased (the author is dominican 😀 ❤ and so lovely <3) but I love each and everyone of this story, each has its own flavour and personality but ultimately they’re all great explorations of culture, food, friendship, social issues and more importantly love.

My big disclaimer here is basically if you haven’t read this series, what are you waiting for? there’s sooo many reasons to read this whole series i mean good food, queer men, caribbean latinx men on the cover, diversityyyy, beautiful friendship/families, CULTURE SO MUCH CULTURE, did i mention hot queer caribbean latinx men? because yes, and those men having cute sexy steamy romance stories? what more could you ask for!

And if I haven’t convinced you enough, here’s my spoiler free review of the 3rd book of this amazing series

American Love Story
by Adriana Herrera

No one should have to choose between love and justice.
Haitian-born professor and activist Patrice Denis is not here for anything that will veer him off the path he’s worked so hard for. One particularly dangerous distraction: Easton Archer, the assistant district attorney who last summer gave Patrice some of the most intense nights of his life, and still makes him all but forget they’re from two completely different worlds.

All-around golden boy Easton forged his own path to success, choosing public service over the comforts of his family’s wealth. With local law enforcement unfairly targeting young men of color, and his career—and conscience—on the line, now is hardly the time to be thirsting after Patrice again. Even if their nights together have turned into so much more.

For the first time, Patrice is tempted to open up and embrace the happiness he’s always denied himself. But as tensions between the community and the sheriff’s office grow by the day, Easton’s personal and professional lives collide. And when the issue at hand hits closer to home than either could imagine, they’ll have to work to forge a path forward…together.

6 reasons to read this book
*queer romance, diversity FTW!
*MC is a gay hunky, sexy haitian man
*LI is a gay rich priviliged white boy but who recognises his privilege and doesn’t try to excuse/justify his background or family
*real honest discussions on issues of privilege, being black in the US, driving while black, social responsibility, immigration, love, sexuality, cops in the US, racial issues, social activism, Black Lives Matter, racial justice
*deals with the complication of loud and proud black gay man wanting justice and falling in love with someone who benefits/lives with privilege
*still such a hopeful, sooo sexy, steamy romance

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

CW: racism, past cheating, microaggressions, police aggression, homophobia, racial profiling, Haiti coup, political asylum, family neglect, Driving While Black, past forced outing

American Love Story is a book that deals with complicated issues posing complicated questions that are not black and white or easy to resolve but it does it in a way that by the end of the journey you feel hopeful. Not only for Patrice and Easton’s relationship which feels like it’s just starting and finally on the right foot. But also because one of the main messages of this book is that, struggles are better shared with someone else. There might be miscommunication and privilege in the middle but no one can do it alone specially when you’re the one being wrongfully trated by racial and/or social injustices.
The main character of this book is, Patrice a (hunky, steamy, sexy) Haitian-born professor who strongly and loudly believes in racial justice for black people who have been attacked (and continue to be attacked) by the system. One of the main plots of the book is racially motivated traffic stops but I won’t go too much into detail with that. He moves to Ithaca to work as a tenured professor for an Ivy League where one of his bff (Nesto) lives and where he met Easton, the LI.
Easton, a white rich DA who of course has massive privilege who works for the same system Patrice fights against while still believing and fighting for social justice. But is he doing enough? That’s another question found within this book. What to do with the privilege you have, and how much is enough?

I love this book because of how honest and realistic it was about these really tough issues that being in an interracial relationship can bring out. Not to mention the off the charts chemistry and attraction of Patrice and Easton. Those sex scenes were *fans self*. But mostly I just loved how truthful it was about beginnings sometimes needs work and couples sometimes need a bit of extra help to find their happiness and balance and I will leave it here so I don’t spoil anything of the ending.

I hope you enjoyed reading this review like I enjoyed writing it.

Please check out/buy the Dreamers series:

American Dreamer #1: Amazon and B&N .
American Fairytale #2: Amazon and B&N .
And the today released American Love Story #3: Amazon and B&N.
You can connect with the Adriana Herrera on her website, twitter or instagram.

Until next time,

latinxheritagemonth · review

[36] wrapping up the readathon!

Hi all!
Long time without posting, real life has been a bit hectic lately with a conference, travelling and back to uni/teaching. I am making a resolve to post at least once in the week and once in the weekend.
Totally yell at me if a week has passed and you don’t see anything from me.

That said, let’s start with the first thing in order, talking about Latinx Heritage Month.
I can’t believe it’s close to being over and I haven’t really been promoting or posting as much as I wanted to.

As I mentioned before I was/am participating in #LatinxLitTakeover, that is the #LatinxBookBingo which I won’t be posting about today (but soon) and the already finished #Latinxathon.
Just as a reminder, the #Latinxathon consisted of 5 prompts:

1. VOICES Read a book written by an Indigenous or Afro-Latinx author: With the fire on high by Elizabeth Acevedo
2. LATINIDAD Read a book written by an intersectional Latinx author: Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera
3. ROOTS Read a translated book: The Shape of the Ruins by Juan Gabriel Vasquez (recommended by Luisa)
4. HERITAGE Read a book by a non-hispanic latinx author: American Street by Ibi Zoboi
5. Group Book: The Grief Keeper by Alexandra Villasante (also part of the Bingo)

Out of these I have to very disappointedly say I only read 2, American Street and With the fire on high. I am planning on reading both Juliet Takes a Breath and The Grief Keeper as they both are on my #LatinxBookBingo picks but for this, I didn’t have the time to do it.

Also I just recently received Juliet Takes a Breath (as you probably saw on my instagram)

But let’s talk a little about American Street and With the Fire on High.

6 Reasons to read With the Fire on High
*ALL THE FOOD! seriously don’t read this book when hungry should be a warning
*main character is afrolatinx, a teen mom in high school and raising her child with the support of her grandma and the father
*MC has an amazing support system behind her and so much love surrounding her
*very real, very raw, very honest talk about teen pregnancy, love, expectations, opportunities, sexuality, sex, culture, puerto rico, colonisation, food as love, food as culture, food as a way to connect to ones roots, love so much love
*LI is so soft, the softest boy who cooks and supports the main character
*i’ll just mention Abuela because she’s an amazing character who needs no further introduction


I don’t think anyone is suprised I’m giving this book 5 stars, I’m 100% biased towards Elizabeth Acevedo, she’s one of my insta-reads insta-buy insta-love authors not only because she’s dominican but because her writing always has a way of burrowing into my heart and making a place for each word and sentence.

This book is a bit different from The Poet X dealing with issues to do with teen pregnancy and food and love. It still has the magic Elizabeth Acevedo I can make any line sound like magic and everything good in this world. But mostly what I loved about this book was how honest it was, it explored a topic that we all have an opinion on good or bad and made it feel real like someone you know or someone in your family. It wasn’t all about the bad things about teen pregnancy because it had so much love and support surrounding the main character and their family.

This is another one of those books I really can’t say enough and much about because I just want to push it to everyone’s hands and make them read it, please go read it!

6 reasons to read American Street
*ownvoices author!
*Haitian culture!!!! Haitian food! vodou faith! creole slang! SO! MUCH! HAITIAN!
*not a happy story but also a very much needed story on immigration, being an immigrant, black culture, haitian culture, the reality ofchildren who move to a country like the US seeking the “dream”.
*CW for drugs, drug use, violence, violent abuse, abuse by a lover/boyfriend, crime, OD’ing
*really truthful and gritty discussions on slut-shaming, wrong vs right, lesbian romance,
*diversity! so much diversity! lesbian romance, muslim love interest, black excellence!


I have to admit when I finished this book I had been crying for a while and felt like I just went through this emotional journey, the more I think back to this book, the more I realise how special it was. I’ve heard some say it feel unresolved but I feel like it shouldn’t have ended in any other way. The issues this book talked about with so much heart and so much emotion aren’t easy or a quick-fix. I loved this book so much because it didn’t try to pretend to end everything with a nice bow and a ‘they lived happily ever after’. It’s not pretty, it won’t leave you feeling like this is an uplifting book but it will leave you feeling like Ibi Zoboi is one of the best authors youve come across (at least that was my experience).

American Street so far, is one of the best YA contemporary novels I’ve read because of how authentic it was, how pure and truthful it was to the immigrant story, that while leaving your country might be the best thing in the moment not everything will be roses and rainbows, and most of all i liked how bittersweet the ending was.

I could go on and on about both of these books so just please go check them out 🙂

You can buy American Street @ IndieBound, and B&N, and/or Amazon! and the author @ website, instagram or twitter

You can buy With the Fire on High @ IndieBoundAmazon and/or B&N! and the author @ website, instagram or twitter

Until next time,