King of the Rising Tour Moodboard + Review

Hi everyone!
It’s been a while, recently life has caught up with me in different ways and I’ve found myself more hectic than usual which means I drop the ball on some things, like reading or updating this blog.
Hopefully by next week things calm down and I’ll go back to regular posting.

Today I have a very exciting review, I’ve been waiting to talk about this book since I received confirmation I was part of Caffeine Book Tours’ Blog Tour 🙂 I got the chance to receive an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book from the publisher and Caffeine Book Tours as part of my participation in their tour.


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King of the Rising

by Kacen Callender

Genre: Adult Fantasy
Release Date: 1st Dec, 2020
Publisher: Orbit Books

The second novel in the Islands of Blood and Storm series set in a Caribbean-inspired fantasy world embattled by colonial oppression—perfect for fans of R.F. Kuang and Tasha Suri.

A revolution has swept through the islands of Hans Lollik and former slave Loren Jannik has been chosen to lead the survivors in a bid to free the islands forever. But the rebels are running out of food, weapons and options.

And as the Fjern inch closer to reclaiming Hans Lollik with every battle, Loren is faced with a choice that could shift the course of the revolution in their favor-or doom it to failure.

GOODREADS | AMAZON | INDIEBOUND| BOOKSHOP


For more information about the Blog Tour, giveaway and schedule, click the image

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

6 reasons to read this book
*high fantasy story
*Caribbean inspired archipelago
*slow paced book, political
*honest and brutal exploration of slavery and colonialism
*MC is a former enslaved person, former bodyguard to first book MC and now leader of this rebellion
*discusses racism, good intentions, empathetic main character, revolution, the complex world of colonialism, slavery, search for revenge and struggle for freedom


cw: racism, slavery, torture, sexual assault, violence, descriptions of death

First of all, I would like to say if you haven’t had a chance to read the first book of this duology, I am not sure what you are waiting for. This book (and this duology) blew my mind, they were just the high fantasy books I’ve been wanting to read forever. This duology is vivid, brutal, graphic, emotional and I would say a perfect reflection on slavery and racism. That said, it is too easy to get caught up on all the characters and their plots.

King of the Rising is the second book in the Islands of Blood and Storm duology. It continues on the story from Queen of the Conquered but this time the point of view and thoughts of the book change. In book 1 we were presented with Sigourney’s story, her thoughts and motivations to become queen/ruler of the islands. In Book 2 we get to hear of her fate, how she went from that to being imprisoned but from Loren’s point of view, her former enslaved bodyguard/now captor/boy who the spirits wouldn’t let die.

Although it is a continuation of the first book, it follows a few months later when the revolution has already happened led by Loren, two months after the island fell. When we are not sure what will happen, will they find support for their revolution or will they end up captured and killed?
I loved the high stakes of this book, I especially loved that in comparison to other fantasy books the man and the women are not lovers, nor do they have to be. I loved the setting of this book (and the previous), it isn’t everyday I get to read and enjoy a book set inspired by the Caribbean, and it is so easy to see so many aspects of it. I loved the fantasy aspects of the book, the Kraft and the explanation of it, how some were deemed worthy of having it and others should be punished

My favourite thing about this series was how flawed both main characters were, Loren, the main character of this book is a strong, honest man, who at times is too empathetic and lets his feelings and emotions lead him to decisions. While Sigourney was too stuck in her ways and her quest for revenge. They both have distinct motivations and reasons. They’re both not easy to like but like I mentioned before you do get caught up in their plots. Both are not right or even wrong in their ways to go about things, but they make mistakes, and it always feel (like in real life) there’s always things they could’ve foreseen but life is not neat.

I keep wanting to write more about King of the Rising, and write more explicitly about some aspects of it, but if there is one book that shouldn’t be spoiled and everyone should get to read it and enjoy (or not) the ending is this book.

That said, the ending still left me speechless, I am not sure what I expected in the end, but while it left me listless for a while, I can understand why it ended the way it did (do you see how vague I am being so you can be curious and go read this duology? did it work?)

Overall, if you’re looking for a high fantasy, that doesn’t fall into any cliches of fantasy tales, that is not afraid of being brutal and honest and that is not afraid of subverting your expectations, this book might just be the perfect thing for you. Add to that a whole lot of Caribbean inspired fantasy, racism and colonialism discussions, a main character who is not perfect and you end up with the most intriguing storyline you will read in this whole year.


Kacen Callender was born two days after a hurricane and was first brought home to a house without its roof. After spending their first eighteen years on St. Thomas of the US Virgin Islands, Kacen studied Japanese, Fine Arts, and Creative Writing at Sarah Lawrence College and received their MFA from the New School. Kacen is the author of the middle grade novel Hurricane Child and the young adult novel This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story.

WEBSITE | GOODREADS | TWITTER


It’s been really fun getting to talk about this book, I hope I have given you enough to want to check it out.

Thank you to Caffeine Book Tours and to the publishers for letting me enjoy this book before it is released.

A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow Review

Hi all,
I hope you’re all having a, as much as it can be, good week. I’ve been checking twitter every so often for updates on the election, I’m sure I’m not the only one, but reading has been such a good distraction for me.
I had the pleasure to take part of the following book’s Blog Tour which had some of my favourite things combined.


A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow

by Laura Taylor Namey

Genre: YA Fiction
Release Date: Nov. 10th, 2020
Publisher: Simon and Schuster

For Lila Reyes, a summer in England was never part of the plan. The plan was 1) take over her abuela’s role as head baker at their panadería, 2) move in with her best friend after graduation, and 3) live happily ever after with her boyfriend. But then the Trifecta happened, and everything—including Lila herself—fell apart.

Worried about Lila’s mental health, her parents make a new plan for her: Spend three months with family friends in Winchester, England, to relax and reset. But with the lack of sun, a grumpy inn cook, and a small town lacking Miami flavor (both in food and otherwise), what would be a dream trip for some feels more like a nightmare to Lila…until she meets Orion Maxwell.

A teashop clerk with troubles of his own, Orion is determined to help Lila out of her funk, and appoints himself as her personal tour guide. From Winchester’s drama-filled music scene to the sweeping English countryside, it isn’t long before Lila is not only charmed by Orion, but England itself. Soon a new future is beginning to form in Lila’s mind—one that would mean leaving everything she ever planned behind.

GOODREADS | AMAZON | BOOKS-A-MILLION| BOOKSHOP


For more information about the Blog Tour and the schedule click the image

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐.5

6 reasons to read this book
*MC is Cuban-American girl, LI is a white English boy, slowburn romance
*Cuban representation! cuban food, culture, families, traditions
*so much food! perfect for foodie! and latinx/cuban foodies especially
*England setting, but a village in the South East
* explores themes of overcoming grief, accepting change, forgiveness, lots of explaration of family dynamics especially tight-knit family, friendship dynamics,
*light and fluffy read, some sad moments but overall light-hearted with a splash of romance


cw: death of a family member, dementia, grief, loss

Lila Reyes just went through what she calles the Trifecta, her grandmother died suddenly, her best friend without telling her decided not to move in with her and leave the country and her boyfriend of three years decided he needed to ‘find himself’. Things are not going her way and most of all Lila is not dealing well with the grief. Her family scared for her decide the best thing for her to do is some time off and what more is perfect than spending the summer in a quaint nice small village in South East, England with her aunts. But Lila isn’t very happy about this plan or her family making all these decisions over her.
When the book starts Lila is stubborn, she’s stuck in her ways and sees very little nice about England, but as time goes on, as she opens up not only to her aunt and her life in Winchester, but to Orion, his friendship, his group of friends and little by little we can see how she starts overcoming loss.
Orion is an interesting character because we meet him, he seems put together with his nice little tea shop. But he also has been dealing with grief in his own ways.
It was nice to read these two characters meeting, kind of a reluctant to friends dynamic at first, and from there a sweet slow friends to romance happens.
I especially loved the food and culture infusion within the book, the recipes were mouth-watering, some of them made me miss home.

I do have to admit it took me a while to get into the book especially because Orion seemed to good to be true all throughout the book, and I guess the slow pace plus the formatting errors of the E-ARC had me at times pushing myself to finish it.
But this book did remind me of all the things I love about England, it’s not an amazing place sometimes, but some other times, the people I’ve met here, like Lila, made this a place I’m so fond of.

The moments were she grieved over her grandmother were also bits I could relate to, I’m still grieving my grandmother and reading Lila going through that was probably one of my favourite aspects of the book, that overcoming her grief.
I have to comment on the last bit of the book, since it has such a romcom ending, but honestly as it was very light-hearted throughout, it also made sense for the book to end as it did.

Overall, if you’re looking for a light-hearted read of journey to overcoming loss, moving on and accepting change in a village in England with some tint of romance, a sprinkle of family and new (and old) friendships and a big big splash of food, this is the perfect book for you.


Laura Taylor Namey is a Cuban-American Californian who can be found haunting her favorite coffee shops, drooling over leather jackets, and wishing she was in London or Paris. She lives in San Diego with her husband and two superstar children.
This former teacher writes young adult novels about quirky teens learning to navigate life and love. Her debut, The Library of Lost Things, published 10/08/19 from Inkyard Press/HarperCollins. Her #ownvoices sophomore project, A CUBAN GIRL’S GUIDE TO TEA AND TOMORROW is coming November 10, 2020 from Atheneum Simon and Schuster, with a third title to follow fall 2021.

WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER


October Wrap up

Hi all,
I hope this October has treated you well.
I still need to decide my November reads so while I decide on that, here is my wrap up.


This October I participated in the #AceRace Readathon. It was a Readathon for all of October focusing on books with asexual protagonists. My picks were:

The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow
Can a girl who risks her life for books and an alien who loves forbidden pop music work together to save humanity?
Longer review upcoming but I loved this book so much, the setting, the character, the adventure, everything was just beautifully written

That Kind of Guy by Talia Hibbert
She wants a fake relationship. He needs something real.
Talia Hibbert is always an insta-read, insta-love for me. And this book in so many ways made me feel so seen.

Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria
Cassa, the orphaned daughter of rebels, is determined to fight back against the high council, which governs Eldra from behind the walls of the citadel. With her allies, no-nonsense Alys, easygoing Evander, and perpetually underestimated Newt, she uncovers the mystery of the final infallible prophecy, is it too late to save the city — or themselves.

This is another book that has been on my radar, I am using it both for LHM and the Ace Race, because why not

Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee
Natasha “Tash” Zelenka has gone viral, her modern adaptation of Anna Karenina is now on everyone’s mouth and even nominated for a Golden Tuba award, Tash’s cyber-flirtation with Thom Causer, a fellow award nominee, suddenly has the potential to become something IRL—if she can figure out how to tell said crush that she’s romantic asexual.

Such a fun book, I need to review it asap, there’s so much about it I loved it.


Not including those in AceRace, I read books for that were leftover from Latinx Heritage Month, spooky reads and some other mood reads.

Books read: 27
Books DNF’d: 0
Slowburn Books (that I didn’t immediately get caught up in): Leave the World Behind
Fave read out of the 7: It’s hard to pick because I had so many different reads this month, probably between Here the Whole Time, Cemetery Boys and Kingdom of the Wicked
Fave cover out of the 7: Beneath the Citadel
Genre most represented: 11/27 are fantasy but 14/27 are romance, so probably romance 🙂
Overall rating: There’s many I haven’t reviewed here but I think this month was pretty good in terms of whether I liked the books or not, o probably somewhere between 3.5 and 4.5


The UK will be on a lockdown from this Thursday until the first week of December, so I will probably have some more books to read. Tomorrow I will probably finalise my initial November Reads so I can have something to look forward to in this month lockdown.

7 Romance Books by Black British Authors

Hi all
Here in the UK, the month of October celebrates Black History Month, it’s a great opportunity to recognise the contributions of great African and Caribbean descent Britons. I also want to take the chance to highlight some amazing books and authors.

In this final installment of recommending lists for Black History Month and beyond. This time I’m highlighting 7 Romance Books who are

This list is just another way for me to celebrate the amazing Black British authors who publish every year who should be supported and hyped all year around.


If I don’t have you by Sareeta Domingo

A captivating, sexy romance that explores the limits of love at first sight…
Afro-Brazilian filmmaker Ren is recovering from a romantic betrayal. Kayla is a Black British artist and journalist keen to make her mark. Thrown together during a string of interviews in New York for Ren’s latest film, they’re struck by an irresistible attraction. The two surrender to one night of searing honesty and passion, which leaves them with more questions than answers about the future.

With secrets lurking between them, letting their romance continue could upend the separate lives Ren and Kayla have so carefully built. But can they really risk losing their miraculous connection?
[Amazon – Wordery – BookDepositoryJacaranda]

Love in Color by Bolu Babalola

Discover love from times long ago…

Join Bolu Babalola as she retells the most beautiful love stories from history and mythology in this stunning collection. From the homoromantic Greek myths, to magical Nigerian folktales, to the ancient stories of South Asia, Bolu brings new life to tales that truly show the vibrance and colours of love around the world.

The anthology is a step towards decolonising tropes of love, and celebrates in the wildly beautiful and astonishingly diverse tales of romance and desire that already exist in so many cultures and communities.

Get lost in these mystical worlds and you will soon realise that humanity – like love – comes in technicolour.
[Amazon – Hive – BookDepository]

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamorous family’s mansion. The next items?
• Enjoy a drunken night out.
• Ride a motorcycle.
• Go camping.
• Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
• Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
• And… do something bad.
But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.

Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten-thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit.

But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior…
[Amazon – Hive – BookDepository]

Bad Love by Maame Blue

Against a backdrop of enigmatic nights scattered with spoken word poetry in London, Venice, Accra and Paris, Ekuah tries to reconcile her personal journey with the love she struggles with for Dee Emeka, a gifted musician who is both passionate and aloof in his treatment of Ekuah. After 18 months together, he disappears from her life, confirming her worst fears about the unstable foundation of their relationship. She attempts to graduate university whilst retreating into herself, searching for new validations and preoccupations from heartbreak.
Life marches on and Ekuah finds personal fulfilment in her poetry and community work. But when she must choose between her first love, and the promise of a new, unexpected love, in the form of Jay Stanley, can she handle the vulnerability and forgiveness required? Grappling with her examples of love, Ekuah must forge her own path. With an increasingly successful career, she finds herself traveling around the world. When her rise intersects with Dee’s own fame, the two are pushed to reach a final resolution.
[Amazon – Hive – BookDepositoryJacaranda]

From Pasta to Pigfoot by Frances Mensah Williams

Be swept away by sun, sea, self-love and a delicious dollop of romance in this original, multicultural romance novel set between London and Ghana. Introducing your new, favourite girl-next-door Faye Bonsu.Dismissed as a cultural lightweight by the man she is desperate to please, under-achieving PA, Faye Bonsu, is on a mission to find love. A disastrous night out leaves pasta-fanatic Faye’s romantic dreams in tatters and underscores her alienation from her African heritage. Leaving her cosy middle-class life in London’s leafy Hampstead to find out what she’s missing, Faye is whisked into the hectic social whirlpool of Ghana where she meets the handsome Rocky Asante, a cynical, career-obsessed banker with no time for women… until now.

Transported into a world of food, fun and sun, and faced with choices she had never thought possible, Faye is forced to discover that no matter how far you travel, you can’t find love until you find yourself.
[Amazon – Hive – BookDepositoryJacaranda]

Love Again by Rasheda Ashanti Malcolm

Honey Fontaine has spent much of her adult life dodging her mother’s attempts to marry her off, and has had enough.
Her mother, having changed her own life by marrying into comfort and means, is determined to find a similar suitable match for her daughter, much to Honey’s distress. At her wits end Honey decides to enlist the support of Ashley Elliot, a well-off club owner and determined flirt, who will pretend to be Honey’s man.

Ashley is not Honey’s usual type, but she finds herself increasingly drawn to him and what a relationship with him could be like. When the latest of her mother’s picks proves to be unexpectedly attractive to her, Honey finds herself suddenly forced to have to make a choice. Stability or passion, comfort or risk? What will Honey do?
[Amazon – Hive – WorderyJacaranda]

Symona’s Still Single by Lisa Bent

Symona Brown is a 37-year old Jamaican British woman living in South London looking for her Mr. Right whilst her biological clock loudly ticks on. She announces to her close girlfriends after a boozy Sunday brunch, that she is ready to up her game and start actively dating, to their surprise and delight. After being consciously single for a number of years, Symona remembers what worked and what definitely did not in the dating arena. This time, she knows who she is and what she wants.

As Symona reflects through her memories from one Mr. to another, she reveals her sensual, hilarious and downright frustrating encounters. She finds herself asking, “What does it mean to be a Black woman trying to exist, date and find love?” In her pursuit of love, she learns new lessons and different answers. Will these new revelations get her what she wants?
[Amazon – Hive – WorderyJacaranda]

The Vacation Lodge by D.J. Walters

Spiritless, I sat by the pool searching for an excuse to spark up a conversation with a beautiful stranger. A beautiful person. A stranger. Anyone! Booking a holiday alone seemed like such a good idea at the time, despite the harsh reality that I was actually faced with. I was on holiday, in a strange country, alone! How pathetic!

This erotic thriller is an instant arouser that tells the tale of Raven, a curious holiday maker, as she sets off in search of a raunchy adventure to remember. When she meets Nelson, a charming fleecer that works at The Vacation Lodge, she is instantly drawn to him. And he’s willing to take her on a thrilling ride. Though she is sceptical, she accepts his proposal until she discovers his dirty secret… As her desire for him intensifies, she uses her taste for strong cocktails and chasers to manage her ever-changing emotions. But with the constant battle between her wavering morals and his irresistible seductions, has she bitten off more than she can chew?
[AmazonAwesomebooksBookDepository]


I hope next year I can make a similar list but it’ll be that much easier to feature a lot more authors and also with new stories!

9 Adult Black British Books to read now and forever

Hi all
Here in the UK, the month of October celebrates Black History Month, it’s a great opportunity to recognise the contributions of great African and Caribbean descent Britons. I also want to take the chance to highlight some amazing books and authors.

I’m continuing on with my little Black History Month recommendations list but this time instead of YA books (see also my instagram post) I’m going Adult.
As I mentioned before this is only a small sample of the many amazing, must read Black British authors and books out there, I picked ones I’ve either heard tons and tons about or I myself have read them. But there’s many others I could have included.
This list is just another way for me to celebrate the amazing Black British authors who publish every year who should be supported and hyped all year around.


Contemporary=👣
Fantasy=✨
Historical=⏳
LGBTQIA=🌈

Mystery=🔍
Romance=💘
Sci-fi=🪐
Short Stories=📚

📚🪐✨👣Nudibranch by Irenosen Okojie

In this stunning new collection of short stories from the award-winning author of Butterfly Fish, offbeat characters are caught up in extraordinary situations that test the boundaries of reality . . .

A love-hungry goddess of the sea arrives on an island inhabited by eunuchs.

A girl from Martinique moonlights as a Grace Jones impersonator.

Dimension-hopping monks sworn to silence must face a bloody reckoning.

And a homeless man goes right back, to the very beginning, through a gap in time.

Nudibranch is a dark and seductive foray into the surreal.

[Amazon – Hive – BookDepository]


👣Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi

Fairytale romances end with a wedding. The fairytales that don’t get more complicated. In this book, celebrated writer Mr. Fox can’t stop himself from killing off the heroines of his novels, and neither can his wife, Daphne.
It’s not until Mary, his muse, comes to life and transforms him from author into subject that his story begins to unfold differently.
Meanwhile, Daphne becomes convinced that her husband is having an affair, and finds her way into Mary and Mr. Fox’s game.
And so Mr. Fox is offered a choice:

Will it be a life with the girl of his dreams, or a life with an all-too-real woman who delights him more than he cares to admit?
[Amazon – Hive – BookDepository]


👣💘The Returnees by Elizabeth Okoh

After a bad break up, 25-year-old Osayuki Isahosa leaves begind everything she holds dear in London to return to Lagos, Nigeria: a country she hasn’t set foot in for many years. Drawn by the transformations happening in the fashion industry in the city, she accepts a job at House of Martha as their Head of PR. While waiting at Milan airport for her connecting flight to Lagos she meets Cynthia Okoye and Kian Bajo.

Cynthia Okoye is a 21-year-old recent graduate whose laissez-faire attitude to life has become her undoing. Unsure of how else to help put her life back on track, her father banishes her ot live with his brother in the capital city where she’s required to attend the National Youth Service Corps.

Kian Bajo is a wannabe Afrobeat star whose left everything he knows in London to make it big in Lagos., Enthralled by the international success of young artists from his motherland, he will go to any lengths to conquer the Lagos music scene.

After the plane lands at the Lagos airport, they all go their separate ways but their lives will intertwine again and change the course of their lives forever.
[Amazon – Hive – BookDepository]


🌈Lote by Shola von Reinhold

Solitary Mathilda has long been enamored with the ‘Bright Young Things’ of the 20s, and throughout her life, her attempts at reinvention have mirrored their extravagance and artfulness. After discovering a photograph of the forgotten Black modernist poet Hermia Druitt, who ran in the same circles as the Bright Young Things that she adores, Mathilda becomes transfixed and resolves to learn as much as she can about the mysterious figure. Her search brings her to a peculiar artists’ residency in Dun, a small European town Hermia was known to have lived in during the 30s. The artists’ residency throws her deeper into a lattice of secrets and secret societies that takes hold of her aesthetic imagination, but will she be able to break the thrall of her Transfixions?

From champagne theft and Black Modernisms, to art sabotage, alchemy and lotus-eating proto-luxury communist cults, Mathilda’s journey through modes of aesthetic expression guides her to truth and the convoluted ways it is made and obscured.
[Amazon – Hive – BookDepository]


🌈⏳👣Rainbow Milk by Paul Mendez

Rainbow Milk is an intersectional coming-of-age story, following nineteen-year-old Jesse McCarthy as he grapples with his racial and sexual identities against the backdrop of a Jehovah’s Witness upbringing and the legacies of the Windrush generation.

In the Black Country in the 1950s, ex-boxer Norman Alonso is a determined and humble Jamaican who has moved to Britain with his wife to secure a brighter future for themselves and their children. Blighted with unexpected illness and racism, Norman and his family are resilient in the face of such hostilities, but are all too aware that they will need more than just hope to survive.

At the turn of the millennium, Jesse seeks a fresh start in London – escaping from a broken immediate family, a repressive religious community and the desolate, disempowered Black Country – but finds himself at a loss for a new centre of gravity, and turns to sex work to create new notions of love, fatherhood and spirituality.
[Amazon – Hive – BookDepository]


🔍True Murder by Yaba Badoe

Eleven year old Ajuba has been abandoned at a Devon boarding school by her Ghanaian father. Haunted by the circumstances of her mother’s breakdown and the ghosts of the life she left behind in Ghana, she falls under the spell of new girl Polly Venus and her chaotic, glamorous family.

But all is not what it might seem in the Venus household and Ajuba struggles to make sense of things as they tear each other apart in front of her. One day the girls find what they think are a dead kittens wrapped up in an old coat in the attic of the Venus’ manor house…the bones turn out to be those of a dead baby.Obsessed with the detectives of the American magazine serial “True Murder”, the girls set out to find out what happened to the baby. As the summer draws to a close, three tragedies conflate, with catastrophic results.
[Amazon – AbebooksWaterstones]


👣The 392 by Ashley Hickson-Lovence

Set entirely on a London bus travelling from Hoxton to Highbury and taking place over just 36 minutes, the events of The 392 unfold through a cast of charismatic characters coming from very different worlds.

On the 392 are all the familiar faces you might expect to see on any bus ride through inner-city London in the grips of gentrification: delinquent school kids, the high- flyers, the weird, the wonderful and the homeless.

These Londoners share two things: a bus journey and a threat. A threat which is ready to blow apart everything they know. 

[Amazon – Hive – BookDepository]


Hold by Michael Donkor

Moving between Ghana and London, Hold is an intimate, moving, powerful coming-of-age novel. It’s a story of friendship and family, shame and forgiveness; of learning what we should cling to, and when we need to let go.

Belinda knows how to follow the rules. As a housegirl, she has learnt the right way to polish water glasses, to wash and fold a hundred handkerchiefs, and to keep a tight lid on memories of the village she left behind when she came to Kumasi.

Mary is still learning the rules. Eleven-years old and irrepressible, the young housegirl-in-training is the little sister Belinda never had.

Amma has had enough of the rules. A straight-A pupil at her exclusive South-London school, she has always been the pride of her Ghanaian parents. Until now. Watching their once-confident teenager grow sullen and wayward, they decide that sensible Belinda might be just the shining example Amma needs.

So Belinda is summoned from Ghana to London, and must leave Mary to befriend a troubled girl who shows no desire for her friendship. She encounters a city as bewildering as it is thrilling, and tries to impose order on her unsettling new world.

As the Brixton summer turns to Autumn, Belinda and Amma are surprised to discover the beginnings of an unexpected kinship. But when the cracks in their defences open up, the secrets they have both been holding tightly threaten to seep out.
[Amazon – Hive – BookDepository]


🌈👣💘Mr. Loverman by Bernardine Evaristo

Barrington Jedidiah Walker.
Barry to his friends.
Trouble to his wife.

Seventy-four years old, Antiguan born and bred, flamboyant Hackney personality Barry is known for his dapper taste and fondness for retro suits.

He is a husband, father and grandfather.

And for the past sixty years, he has been in a relationship with his childhood friend and soulmate, Morris.

Wife Carmel knows Barry has been cheating on her, but little does she know what is really going on. When their marriage goes into meltdown, Barrington has big choices to make.
[Amazon – Hive – BookDepository]


Spotlight: Holiday Home Run by Priscilla Oliveras

Hi all!

Back with a new feature, Spotlight from now on will feature newly released or soon to be released books that I think deserve some shout out and I’m super happy to take the time to give them more promotion. Of course this will be followed by a review, once they’re released.

Today’s just released book had me from the moment I read ex-MLB pitcher/event planner and a holiday setting! This is the perfect read for those getting cold days where I know I have to replace my fall coat with the winter and take out those winter hats too.


Holiday Home Run

by Priscilla Oliveras

Genre: Adult Romance, Holiday Romance
Release DateOct. 27, 2020
Publisher: Kensington, Zebra Books

Event planner Julia Fernández is in Chicago for an internship that she hopes to turn into a full-time job. She’s ready to live on her own, out from under her familia’s expectations that she take over their catering business in Puerto Rico and away from their year-round baseball fever thanks to her three ball-playing brothers. Ex-MLB pitcher Ben Thomas knows what it’s like to have different dreams than your family intends for you, but since his injury-caused early retirement, he’s been struggling to find the sense of family baseball once brought him. When he volunteers as the emcee for Julia’s big holiday fundraiser for a local youth center, he finally begins to find a sense of purpose working with the kids and alongside Julia.
She’s focused on organizing the best holiday event the youth center has ever seen, not on romance. But Ben…he’s got a game plan for them that includes both.
Holiday Home Run was previously released as part of the holiday anthology A SEASON TO CELEBRATE.

AMAZON | B&N | IBOOKS | GOOGLE PLAY | KOBO


Priscilla Oliveras is a USA Today Best-Selling author & 2018 RWA® RITA® double finalist who writes contemporary romance with a Latinx flavor. Her books have earned Starred Reviews from Publishers Weekly & Booklist, hit the top 5 on Barnes & Noble’s Top 100 Book Bestseller list, & notched Amazon #1 Bestseller status. Her latest release, Island Affair, made it onto O, The Oprah Magazine’s “28 of the Best Beach Reads of Summer 2020” list. Priscilla earned her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University and currently serves as adjunct faculty in the program while also teaching the online class “Romance Writing” for ed2go. She’s a self-professed romance genre junkie, who’s also a sports fan, beach lover, Zumba aficionado, and hammock nap connoisseur. Follow her at prisoliveras.com and on social media via @prisoliveras and https://www.facebook.com/prisoliveras.

WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER | FACEBOOK


Thank you to the Publisher, Priscilla and RABT Book Tours & PR.

My review of Holiday Home Run will be posted tomorrow 🙂 I had so much fun reading the novella, and I can’t wait to share my thoughts.

9 Black British YA Books for Black History Month and beyond + 3 honourable mentions

Here in the UK, the month of October celebrates Black History Month, it’s a great opportunity to recognise the contributions of great African and Caribbean descent Britons. I also want to take the chance to highlight some amazing books and authors.

Now, I do feel conflicted because while I do think it’s important to take the time to celebrate these amazing authors and have lists like this. I wish it wasn’t just this month, there’s many amazing Black authors who write about life in the UK (and/or their heritage), this is only a sample of 9 I decided to pick. They get published every year and every year they should get the support and the widespread notice, not just this month.
That said, YA in the UK isn’t as divere as I wish it was, there are still gems that come out every year but there aren’t as many as there could be. By supporting these authors who publish every year and screaming at the publishers to start putting their money behind all those ‘we support diversity and Black authors’ statement.
Anyways, I’m going to stop here, be on the lookoutfor more amazing Black authored books 🙂 and of course this won’t be the only time I make a list like this.


Contemporary=👣
Fantasy=✨
Historical=⏳
LGBTQIA=🌈
Magical Realism=🌹
Mystery=🔍

Novella=📖
Poetry=📝
Romance=💘
Sci-fi=🪐
Thriller=😱

🌈🔍😱Eight Pieces of Silva by Patrice Lawrence

Becks is into girls but didn’t come out because she was never in.
She lives with her mum, stepdad and eighteen-year-old Silva, her stepdad’s daughter. Becks and Silva are opposites, but bond over their mutual obsession with K-pop.

When Becks’ mum and stepdad go on honeymoon to Japan, Becks and Silva are left alone. Except, Silva disappears. Becks ventures into the forbidden territory of Silva’s room and finds the first of eight clues that help her discover her sister’s secret life. 

[AmazonWaterstonesHiveBookDepository]

👣And the stars were burning brightly by Danielle Jawando

An emotionally rich and current story of suicide, mental health, bullying, grief and growing up around social media.

When fifteen-year-old Nathan discovers that his older brother Al has taken his own life, his whole world is torn apart.
Al was special.
Al was talented.
Al was full of passion and light…so why did he do it?
Convinced that his brother was in trouble, Nathan begins to retrace his footsteps. And along the way, he meets Megan. Al’s former classmate, who burns with the same fire and hope, who is determined to keep Al’s memory alive. But when Nathan learns the horrifying truth behind his brother’s suicide, one question remains – how do you survive, when you’re growing up in the age of social media?
[AmazonWaterstonesHiveBookDepository]

🌈📝👣The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta

A boy comes to terms with his identity as a mixed-race gay teen – then at university he finds his wings as a drag artist, The Black Flamingo.
A bold story about the power of embracing your uniqueness. Sometimes, we need to take charge, to stand up wearing pink feathers – to show ourselves to the world in bold colour.

This is not about being ready, it’s not even about being fierce, or fearless, IT’S ABOUT BEING FREE. Michael waits in the stage wings, wearing a pink wig, pink fluffy coat and black heels.
One more step will see him illuminated by spotlight.
He has been on a journey of bravery to get here, and he is almost ready to show himself to the world in bold colours …Can he emerge as The Black Flamingo? 
[AmazonWaterstonesHiveIndiebound]

🌈👣Becoming Dinah by Kit de Waal

A YA coming-of-age road trip novel about obsession, self-discovery, female power, and the people we meet along the way – by Costa Award shortlisted author Kit de Waal. The perfect read for anyone who’s ever wondered where they came from and where they might be going next.

Dinah’s whole world is upside down, dead things and angry men and cuts all over her head that are beginning to sting….
Seventeen-year-old Dinah needs to leave her home, the weird commune where she grew up. She needs a whole new identity, starting with how she looks, starting with shaving off her hair, her ‘crowning glory’. She has to do it quickly, because she has to go now.
Dinah was going to go alone and hitch a ride down south. Except, she ends up being persuaded to illegally drive a VW campervan for hundreds of miles, accompanied by a grumpy man with one leg. This wasn’t the plan.
But while she’s driving, Dinah will be forced to confront everything that led her here, everything that will finally show her which direction to turn…
[AmazonWaterstonesHiveBookDepository]

👣Liccle Bit by Alex Wheatle

What’s worse than hiding a secret? Liccle Bit’s about to find out…

Venetia King is the hottest girl at school. Too bad Lemar is the second shortest guy in his year. Everyone calls him Liccle Bit, and his two best friends, McKay and Jonah, never tire of telling him he has no chance with girls. Things aren’t much better at home. His mum is permanently hassled, his sister a frustrated single mum and his dad moved out years ago. Liccle Bit wishes he could do something – anything! – to make life better. A new phone would be a start…
As a new gang war breaks out on his estate, Lemar discovers that South Crongton’s notorious gang leader has taken an interest in him. Before he knows what’s happening, he’s running errands. When he puts his own family in danger, Liccle Bit will be forced to question his choices. How can he possibly put things right? 
[AmazonWaterstonesHiveIndiebound]

⏳💘The Curious Tale of the Lady Caraboo by Catherine Johnson

Cassandra Worrell is beautiful, rich and very, very bored. Trapped in her parents stately home, she dreams of escape. Life suddenly becomes much more interesting with the appearance of a beautiful, disorientated young woman, who speaks a mysterious language… Cassandra is convinced she’s found a princess from a far away land.

Could the princess hold the key to the adventure she’s been seeking?

Or might the escape she desires be found in the arms of the wholly inappropriate but utterly delectable local boy, Will Jenkins?

[AmazonWaterstonesHiveBookDepository]

Oh My Gods by Alexandra Sheppard

Life as a half-mortal teenager should be epic.
But, for Helen Thomas, it’s tragic.

She’s just moved in with her dorky dad and self-absorbed older siblings – who happen to be the ancient Greek gods, living incognito in London!
Between keeping her family’s true identities secret, trying to impress her new friends, and meeting an actually cute boy, Helen’s stress levels are higher than Mount Olympus.
She needs to rein in her chaotic family before they blow their cover AND her chances at a half-normal social life.
Or is Helen fated for an embarrassment of mythical proportions?
[AmazonWaterstonesHiveBookDepository]

📖Hello Mum by Bernardine Evaristo

A fresh and striking story of young lives ripped apart by gang violence and peer pressure.

It’s a hot summer afternoon.
Tension is in the air.
A gang of youths on bikes gathers outside a chip shop.
A teenage boy is stabbed and left bleeding on the street.

The boy’s mother wonders how this could have happened to her son. She is full of questions, but when the answers lie so close to home, are they really what she wants to hear?

[AmazonWaterstonesHiveBookDepository]

✨🪐💘Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman

‘Stop it! You’re all behaving like animals! Worse than animals – like blankers!’
Sephy is a Cross: she lives a life of privilege and power. But she’s lonely, and burns with injustice at the world she sees around her.
Callum is a nought: he’s considered to be less than nothing – a blanker, there to serve Crosses – but he dreams of a better life.
They’ve been friends since they were children, and they both know that’s as far as it can ever go. Noughts and Crosses are fated to be bitter enemies – love is out of the question. Then – in spite of a world that is fiercely against them – these star-crossed lovers choose each other. But this is love story that will lead both of them into terrible danger . . . and which will have shocking repercussions for generations to come.
[AmazonWaterstonesHiveIndiebound]

I’m including these three books that even though they are not YA, the characters are young adult and are coming of age stories.

👣The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney by Okechukwu Nzelu

The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney is a comic novel about Nnenna, a half-Nigerian teenager living in modern-day Manchester with her mother Joanie. As Nnenna approaches womanhood she starts trying to connect with her Igbo-Nigerian culture. Her once close and tender relationship with her mother becomes strained as she asks probing questions about her father who she’s never met and whom her mother who refuses to discuss.

Each chapter begins with a biblical quote which harks back to the beginning of Maurice and Joanie’s relationship – meeting in a church group in a café in Cambridge – but is really Nnenna’s diary headings which she is trying to hide from her mother’s prying eyes. Nnenna is asking big questions of how to ‘be’ when she doesn’t know who she is as Joanie wonders how to truly love when she has never been loved.
[AmazonWaterstonesHiveIndiebound]

👣🌹26a by Diana Evans*

Identical twins, Georgia and Bessi, live in the loft of 26 Waifer Avenue. It is a place of beanbags, nectarines and secrets, and visitors must always knock before entering. Down below there is not such harmony. Their Nigerian mother puts cayenne pepper on her Yorkshire pudding and has mysterious ways of dealing with homesickness; their father angrily roams the streets of Neasden, prey to the demons of his Derbyshire upbringing. Forced to create their own identities, the Hunter children build a separate universe. Older sister Bel discovers sex, high heels and organic hairdressing, the twins prepare for a flapjack empire, while baby sister Kemy learns to moonwalk for Michael Jackson. It is when the reality comes knocking that the fantasies of childhood start to give way. How will Georgia and Bessi cope in a world of separateness and solitude, and which of them will be stronger?
[AmazonWaterstonesHiveIndiebound]

👣Fruit of the lemon by Andrea Levy*

Faith Jackson knows little about her parents’ lives before they moved to England. Happy to be starting her first job in the costume department at BBC television, and to be sharing a house with friends, Faith is full of hope and expectation. But when her parents announce that they are moving “home” to Jamaica, Faith’s fragile sense of her identity is threatened. Angry and perplexed as to why her parents would move to a country they so rarely mention, Faith becomes increasingly aware of the covert and public racism of her daily life, at home and at work.
At her parents’ suggestion, in the hope it will help her to understand where she comes from, Faith goes to Jamaica for the first time. There she meets her Aunt Coral, whose storytelling provides Faith with ancestors, whose lives reach from Cuba and Panama to Harlem and Scotland. Branch by branch, story by story, Faith scales the family tree, and discovers her own vibrant heritage, which is far richer and wilder than she could have imagined.
[AmazonWaterstonesHiveIndiebound]


I am kinda late on celebrating Black History Month, so on Wednesday expect another list but this one is about Adult Black British Books and on Saturday I will be posting about Black British Romance books.

Cemetery Boys Review

Hi all,
I’m a bit late with this review as I said I would post in on Tuesday. Life as always getting on the way. I know I mentioned it in my instagram, but I’ll also mention it here, I have been dealing with some medical issues, nothing too bad nothing covid related, but things that have meant all my mental energy has gone to either worrying about those issues or trying to take care of myself.
I am getting better, so I find the best thing to relax myself is to escape to wonderful books like the one below 🙂


Cemetery Boys

by Aiden Thomas

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Release Date: September 1st, 2020
Publisher: Swoon Reads

Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.
When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his true gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.
However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie off some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.

GOODREADS | AMAZON | WORDERY | INDIEBOUND


Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

6 reasons to read this book
*MC is a gay trans boy
*diverse cast of latinx, haitian representation, cuban representation, puerto rican representation, colombian representation, trans representation
*so latinx! latinx food, found families, latinx myths
*sensitively and respectfully deals with day to day transphobia
*strong themes of acceptance in a family and community that’s very traditional, about being queer in a traditional setting
*mystery story that deals with latinx traditions, Dia de Muertos


cw: misgendering, gender dysphoria, transphobia, depictions of death, violence death, mentions family abuse, rituals/sacrifices

Cemetery Boys tells the story of Yadriel, a brujo who wants his traditional Latinx family who is struggling to accept his true gender. He becomes determined to prove himself to them, so with the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual by himself. But when he finds out his cousin was murdered, now his focus is on finding who murdered him and his ghost.
That night though he ends up summoning the ghost of Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy. Julian can’t remember what happened the night he died, he is set on finding out what happened and tying up loose ends before Julian helps him cross. Yadriel decides to help him, knowing that by helping him he might get his family acceptance. But will it be easy for Yadriel to let Julian leave?

How can I start explaining how much I loved this book? First of all, I have to say Cemetery Boys was one of my most anticipated reads of 2020, we all know those can go either way, but this one I’m happy to say it blew my expectations. I got even more than I expected and a story so filled with love and ultimately acceptance.
Yadriel is an amazing main character, his voice is so easy to relate and so easy to love from the first moment you meet him. I loved how determined he was to prove himself, to be a force of good, and so full of love and magic.
Maritza as the sidekick, best friend, is someone I wish I had next to me, she’s fierce and wonderful, and I loved her connection to her magic (no spoilers here so I won’t tell you what).
Yadriel’s family dynamics were interesting, because while you could see the love from everyone from his abuela to his aunts, and everyone who surrounded him, but it was also enveloped in a lot of hurt and a lot of having to swallow those moments where your family is the most toxic thing. This is an experience that most queer latinx people (and others who have this sort of connection and this tight-knit family) will have and feel so deeply. Your family can be your source of support, comfort and love, but it can also be the single force who hurts you and makes you have scars.
This was one aspect of the book that had my heart in my throat because I can easily relate.

The book was so full of latinx characters, had so much latinx representation, I could feel it embedded in Latinx myths and traditions, which made it feel more mine than anything. I think the only thing I would have liked to see more it’s more influence from other cultures, it was nice to hear of the Cuban grandmother or Maritza who had a Haitian father (and I think a Puerto Rican mother?). But at the same time I would’ve liked to have seen aspects of those cultures since I think we didn’t really get much of that.

Can I also gush about Julian? There’s so much to say about him because he’s the perfect counterpart to Yadriel, but also as a characters he’s so loveable, he’s prone to outburts and is a total hothead, but he cares so deeply. I mean how could you not fall for him right away. His and Yadriel’s dynamic is so cute, because Yadriel would prefer to hide away and Julian pushes him so much, and talks so much. They have so many banter-y moments, but also serious ones where you can see how each of them have been hurt by the world and would prefer to hide those in whatever way they can. I loved reading the progress of their relationship.

The setting and the pace of the book were perfect, it gave enough time to explore the day to day life of Yadriel and Maritza, like dealing with school but magical enough that it didn’t feel slow, or like something wasn’t happening.

This book in general had so many funny, sweet moments but also little heart-wrenching moments. That said, this book does fall more into the light-hearted side of fantasy because even when it presents instances of misgendering or gender dysphoria it does in a very respectful, sensitive way, it ultimately does it in a way where hopefully you’ll be able to engage and be able to take those moments with little harm. And more than anything this book ends with so much hope and love. Also I will just mention the last few pages of the book? I was crying of joy, I read the last line and closed the book and I felt so full.

Overall, Cemetery Boys is a fantastic magical read about a trans boy on his road to acceptance by himself and his family. It blends perfectly romcom moments, fantasy, mystery, real life (sometimes awful situations) with love and family and community.


Aiden Thomas is a New York Times Bestselling author with an MFA in Creative Writing. Originally from Oakland, California, they now make their home in Portland, Oregon. As a queer, trans, Latinx, Aiden advocates strongly for diverse representation in all media. Aiden’s special talents include: quoting The Office, finishing sentences with “is my FAVORITE”, and killing spiders. Aiden is notorious for not being able to guess the endings of books and movies, and organizes their bookshelves by color.
Their debut novel, CEMETERY BOYS, was published on September 1st, 2020.

WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER


28 Books feat. Supernatural Creatures

#SpookyCreatureBookChallenge

When I saw this video by Sil (who is amazing and keeps getting my TBR to grow every day) I knew I wanted to try my hand at seeing how many books I could come up with that featured one of these Spooky Creatures.
For some creatures I ended up with more than one book while with others I really struggled to even name one. This list ended up taking way longer than I thought, and I’m still trying to remember if I missed any.


Adult=  🟩
YA= 🟪
Fantasy=✨
Horror=💀

LGBTQIA=🌈
Romance included=💘
Sci-fi=🪐
Urban Fantasy=🌇


Any books you’ve read from this list? or any books you would recommend? I would love to see your #SpookyCreaturesBookChallenge list.

LHM Wrap-up

Hi all

It is now officially not-Latinx Heritage Month, I hope you’ve all had a good one. And more importantly, I hope this month gave you an idea of how many amazing stories and fantastic stories are out there waiting for you to start them and support them.


Books read: 9
Books DNF’d: 0
Slowburn Books (that I didn’t immediately get caught up in): Never Look Back
Fave read out of the 7: You Had Me At Hola
Fave cover out of the 7: I would say You Had Me At Hola again, but to pick another one I would say Muse Squad
Genre most represented: I think it’s pretty evenly divided, there’s three contemporary, three fantasy and three romance, i guess if you count some of those contemporary and fantasy have some romance in it I guess romance
Overall rating: 4 stars, there’s still two books of those (Happy Hour At Casa Dracula & Island Affair) that I haven’t reviewed, but I think overall it’s a 4.


There’s still more to come this month, especially spooky reads.

First tomorrow I have Sil’s #spookycreaturebookchallenge post which will basically recommend you a book with one spooky creature, I’m really excited to share my list with all of you and see how many you know or have read. Or even how many I can convince you to read 🙂

Apart from that I have planned reviews for:

  • Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
  • Island Affair by Priscilla Oliveras
  • Here the Whole Time by Vitor Martins
  • The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow*
  • Make a Scene by Mimi Grace
  • That Kind of Guy by Talia Hibbert*
  • Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco
  • Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee*
  • Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria*

*Are all books part of the #AceRaceReadathon.

And of course there’s more recommendation lists on the works. I might be working on some trope-y ones and romance of course.


What is your TBR looking for the rest of the month? Any spooky reads?