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.


</center

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


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


You Had Me At Hola Review

Hi all!
As mentioned before I planned on doing another recommendation lists, but I thought why not take the time to gush about this amazing rom-com I had the chance to read on LHM.
I will continue doing Latinx recommendations lists even when LHM is over.
For now, let me gush about this lovely book.


You Had Me At Hola

by Alexis Daria

Genre: Adult Romance Contemporary
Release Date:
Publisher: Avon Romance

Leading Ladies do not end up on tabloid covers.
After a messy public breakup, soap opera darling Jasmine Lin Rodriguez finds her face splashed across the tabloids. When she returns to her hometown of New York City to film the starring role in a bilingual romantic comedy for the number one streaming service in the country, Jasmine figures her new “Leading Lady Plan” should be easy enough to follow—until a casting shake-up pairs her with telenovela hunk Ashton Suárez. 

Leading Ladies don’t need a man to be happy
After his last telenovela character was killed off, Ashton is worried his career is dead as well. Joining this new cast as a last-minute addition will give him the chance to show off his acting chops to American audiences and ping the radar of Hollywood casting agents. To make it work, he’ll need to generate smoking-hot on-screen chemistry with Jasmine. Easier said than done, especially when a disastrous first impression smothers the embers of whatever sexual heat they might have had. 

Leading Ladies do not rebound with their new costars.
With their careers on the line, Jasmine and Ashton agree to rehearse in private. But rehearsal leads to kissing, and kissing leads to a behind-the-scenes romance worthy of a soap opera. While their on-screen performance improves, the media spotlight on Jasmine soon threatens to destroy her new image and expose Ashton’s most closely guarded secret.

GOODREADS | AMAZON | WORDERY | INDIEBOUND


Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

6 reasons to read this book
*mc is puerto rican-american, LI is puerto rican
*includes tropes like misunderstandings, pining, coworkers to lovers, broody hero, celebrity romance
*cast is majorly latinx with a lot of diversity, latinx identity with all the messiness of family dynamics
*discusses anxiety, mental health, representation in hollywood, telenovelas, paparazzi, famous life, consent, stalkers
* funny romcom that’ll remind you jane the virgin and ugly betty
*HEA


cw: anxiety, mental health, past instances of stalking

You Had Me At Hola tells the story of Jasmine Lin Rodriguez who finds her face splashed across tabloids thanks to her boyfriend deciding to have a very messy public breakup without telling her beforehand they were over. But thanks okay because Jasmine will star in a new bilingual romcom tv show. And leading ladies are badass queens making jefa moves who don’t involve her new cast mate telenovela hunk Ashton Suarez.
Ashton was just killed off in his last telenovela, he’s worried his career is dead too. But this new American show he’s been casted in could give him the chance to break into the radar of Hollywood casting agents. This of course doesn’t involve having a disastrous first meeting with his costar or that sexual tension between them.
With his career on the line and her wanting to not be in the media spotlight, their moments together rehearsing and kissing and that romance brewing between them might prove challenging, especially as Ashton is trying not to expose his most guarded secret.

There’s so much about this book that I loved, Jasmine was a wonderful main character, she was determined, straightfoward, genuine and funny, I loved her strength of character, I loved her family even with all the craziness but that’s what family is about sometimes. I loved Ashton, his fears, his anxieties, how hard he tried to protect himself and his family.

The overall cast of this story was so latinx, so so latinx, the cast and crew of their tv show is all latinx, apart from maybe one, if I remember correctly, Jasmine’s family in NY was all puerto rican of course, and Ashton’s family who was in Puerto Rico too. This book is infused with latinx references from telenovelas to those romcom tv shows that come from telenovelas. But more than that, it had some very interesting themes of latinx identity and representation in Hollywood. Two themes I am very very passionate about.
So you can see how this book is already touching on things I’m fond of.

But have I mentioned their chemistry? because one interesting aspect of this book was the two stories that ran at the same time, Jasmine and Ashton’s romance at the same time that we read the tv show they’re both starring in and the second-chance romance from their characters. I looked forward to reading both their outside of the cameras romance as well as the telenovela’s plot. I think for me one of the highlights was this and the behind-the-scenes bits of their acting, their rehearsals especially were parts of the novel that I most enjoyed. This is mainly to do with their chemistry and more than that, I love reading about characters who don’t have a great first meet but then have to learn how to deal with each other.

This was a very sweet slightly angsty at times, romcom story with a few hijinks, miscommunication, a broody hero who has a lot of fears and doesn’t know how to deal with them so he acts all mysterious and detached, and a heroine determined to stop making mistakes but also finds herself too attracted by her co-star when rehearsing together. This joined up with their cute moments together, the cast of Carmen, their families and the overall plot of their tv show proves a perfect mix of everything you need in a romance book.

Overall, You Had Me At Hola was the perfect combination of pining, cute sweet moments between the couple, telenovela/latinx shows references, a cast of great secondary characters and sexy tension filled moments.


Alexis Daria is a native New Yorker and award-winning author writing stories about successful Latinx characters and their (occasionally messy) familias. Her debut TAKE THE LEAD won the 2018 RITA® Award for “Best First Book” and was one of the “Best Romance Novels of 2017” in The Washington Post and Entertainment Weekly. Her super powers include spotting celebrities in NYC, winning Broadway ticket lotteries, and live-tweeting.

WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER


Tomorrow is the last day of LHM, so expect two (yes two!) posts tomorrow, one closing and another talking about upcoming latinx books to check out 🙂

See you tomorrow

A Taste of Sage Review

Hi all,

Late post today. Last week was a bit hectic as I have started working (teaching) again, this involves commuting, wearing a face visor or a mask 24/7 and then commuting back home. I’m a bit rusty on that kind of routine so things piled up.
Good thing about commuting though, getting to read (audiobooks most of the time) books 🙂 so I’ve been doing great in terms of TBR! But we’ll talk about that later!
Today I bring you the review of one of my most anticipated books of this year.


A Taste of Sage

by Yaffa S. Santos

Genre: Adult Romance
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
Release Date: May 19th, 2020

Lumi Santana is a chef with a gift: she can perceive a person’s emotions by tasting their cooking. Despite being raised by a mother who taught her that dreams and true love were silly fairy tales, she puts her heart and savings into opening her own fusion restaurant in Upper Manhattan. The restaurant offers a mix of the Dominican cuisine she grew up with and other world cuisines she is inspired by.
When her eclectic venture fails, she is forced to take a position as sous chef at a staid, traditional French restaurant owned by Julien Dax, a celebrated chef known for his acid tongue as well as his brilliant smile. After he goes out of his way to bake a tart to prove her wrong in a dispute, she is so irritated by his smug attitude that she vows to herself never to taste his cooking.
But after she succumbs to the temptation and takes a bite one day and is overcome with shocking emotion, she finds herself beginning to crave his cooking and struggling to stay on task with her plan to save up and move on as soon as possible. Meanwhile, Julien’s obsessed secretary watches with gnashed teeth as they grow closer and becomes determined to get Lumi out of her way permanently.

GOODREADS | AMAZON | BOOKDEPOSITORY | INDIEBOUND | HIVE


Rating: ⭐⭐⭐.5

6 reasons to read this book
*mc is dominican-american, LI is french-canadian
*feel good rom-com about two chefs, food and love in the kitchen
*perfect for foodies! recipes included within the book
*MC has a form of synesthesia wherein emotions are attached to food
*some tropes include dislike to like, coworkers to lovers, HEA, smitten hero, miscommunication
*Dominican representation, food, culture


cw: serious injury, depictions of being shocked, scars, sex scenes

A Taste of Sage tells the story of Lumi Santana who senses people’s emotions through cooking, she’s been told never to eat someone elses cooking as they could hurt her. All her savings were put into her Dominican/Other cuisine fusion restaurant on Upper Manhattan. But when it starts struggling, she’s forced to quit the restaurant of her dreams and become a sous chef at the traditional French restaurant owned by the arrogant Julien Dax. She’s determined to save up and move on as soon as possible, but when she tries his food and spends more time with him outside of the kitchen, she starts to rethink her opinion of him.

I have to admit this was a very quick read, the book isn’t too long but also the pace of the book helps to make this a quick and fun read. One of the things I most loved about this book was the Dominican representation, not only through food but little mentions here and there that felt real. Lumi, with all her issues and insecurities was a great heroine, one that was flawed but also determined to make it through.
There were some very dramatic issues that happened in the book and even Lumi had some dramatic reactions to a lot of things – no spoilers here – which at times took me out of the story or felt too fantastical.
I loved the magical way food was presented here, Lumi’s connection to food and how she could feel emotions, this was one of my favourite aspects of the book as well as all the recipes included.
Julien was hard to like, it took me a while to get to know him, as when he’s first introduced you immediately think of him as the typical arrogant French rich boy. But it’s nice to see how what we know of him changes as the book goes on.
The pacing of the book was, sometimes, too fast and sometimes not fast enough, and by this I basically mean that I wish there were more moments of their relationship growth. I didn’t get to see enough of their chemistry to fully get 200% (as I usually do) invested in their relationship. But even then, I like seeing the main characters be happy and together by the end of the book.

Overall, this was a good, quick read with amazing food included. I would say don’t read this if you’re hungry.


Yaffa S. Santos was born and raised in New Jersey. A solo trip to Dominican Republic in her teenage years changed her relationship to her Dominican heritage and sparked a passion for cooking and its singular ability to bring people together. Yaffa is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, where she studied writing and visual art. She is a member of RWA. She has lived in New York, Philadelphia, Santo Domingo, and now lives in Florida with her family.

HARPERCOLLINS | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER


We Unleash the Merciless Storm Review

Hi all!
I kinda went into a slump this weekend, not reading wise because i’ve been reading non stop every free time I have, but I couldn’t for the life of me write one word for this review or the other. So today, as promised on my twitter will be a double review day.
The second book review will be A Taste of Sage by Yaffa S. Santos, it will be posted later on the afternoon (my time BST)


We Unleash the Merciless Storm

by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Genre: YA, Dystopian
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: February 25th, 2020

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. She spent years undercover, but now, with her identity exposed and the island on the brink of a 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?

GOODREADS | AMAZON | BOOKDEPOSITORY | INDIEBOUND


Rating: ⭐⭐

6 reasons to read this book
*continues the story where We Set The Dark On Fire left it off but different POV
*MC grew up as a La Voz soldier, one of the best
*sapphic couple
* choosing between love and a rebellion
* deals with the human side of a revolution
*making difficult decisions between trusting blindly or questioning your role models


cw: mentions of torture, death, graphic injuries, mentions of drowning, violence, blood

We Unleash the Merciless Storm picks up where We Set the Dark on Fire left off. Carmen is badly hurt, running away from Dani and the Garcia family.
Carmen is back at La Voz, knowing full well her decisions and actions will be questioned, especially her relationship with Dani. She has to hide how attached she became to Dani, or how not objective she can be about the situation.
When El Buitre, the leader of the La Voz along with the suspicious Ari start to make decision on Dani’s life, Carmen will have to decide between the rebellion he grew up in and she’s loyal to and the woman she fell in love.

Honestly, this book was hard to get through, I wanted so bad to like it, especially since the first book had so many interesting aspects and social commentary, while this book tried to continue, for me it fell short.
I was expecting intriguing things from Carmen’s voice as on the first book she seems so full of mystery and secrets. That ended up being my first disappointment, her inner dialogue felt repetitive, that at times I just wanted something, anything to happen. I’m usually a sucker for pining but the way her thoughts were written, i didn’t really feel that longing or aching that I usually love from pining.
The resolution of the conflict (confronting/fighting against Mateo and his regime) and the plot twist (bad guy infiltrates the rebellion) felt like such a let down, after making the stakes so high, I expected something with the same kind of intensity.
I did enjoy Carmen and Dani’s interactions together but they weren’t enough for me to love this book, or have to stop myself from pausing reading every so often.
Overall, it was an okay book but that didn’t really add much to the worldbuilding or explore more their dystopian situation. I’m disappointed.


Tehlor Kay Mejia is a YA author and poet at home in the wild woods and alpine meadows of Southern Oregon. When she’s not writing, you can find her plucking at her guitar, stealing rosemary sprigs from overgrown gardens, or trying to make the perfect vegan tamale. She is active in the Latinx lit community, and passionate about representation for marginalized teens in media. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @tehlorkay.

WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER


Blazewrath Games Blog Tour Moodboard+Review

Hi all!

Today I am very excited to talk about Blazewrath Games, an amazing latinx fantasy book by Amparo Ortiz. Thanks to Caffeine Tour and Page Street Publishing for the opportunity to read an ARC, get to enjoy this lovely book before it was released.

I’m not good at being super creative but I gave my shot on creating a moodboard, hopefully that gives you a little taste of what the book is about.


Blazewrath Games

by Amparo Ortiz

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Release date: 6th October 2020
Publisher: Page Street Publishing

Lana Torres has always preferred dragons to people. In a few weeks, sixteen countries will compete in the Blazewrath World Cup, a tournament where dragons and their riders fight for glory in a dangerous relay. Lana longs to represent her native Puerto Rico in their first ever World Cup appearance, and when Puerto Rico’s Runner—the only player without a dragon steed—is kicked off the team, she’s given the chance.
But when she discovers that a former Blazewrath superstar has teamed up with the Sire—a legendary dragon who’s cursed into human form—the safety of the Cup is jeopardized. The pair are burning down dragon sanctuaries around the world and refuse to stop unless the Cup gets cancelled. All Lana wanted was to represent her country. Now, to do that, she’ll have to navigate an international conspiracy that’s deadlier than her beloved sport. 

GOODREADS | AMAZON | BOOKDEPOSITORY | INDIEBOUND


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

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

6 reasons to read this book
*MC, Lana Torres, is a brown puerto-rican girl
*so much of puerto rican culture, heritage, identity!
*ample queer cast of characters, BIPoC and Latinx characters, so many nationalities and ethnicities and disabled characters! found family!
*fantastical worldbuilding, magic system, magical creatures
*international conspiracy!! dragon-into-a-human form, so many plot twists and turn, action-packed
*sports fantasy, epic dragon sport with unique set of rules


cw: alcoholism, homophobia, physical violence, murder, illness, references of domestic abuse

Blazewrath Games tells the story of Lana Torres, who has always preferred dragons to people. Her dream and life goal has always been to compete in the Blazewrath World Cup representing Puerto Rico, a tournament where dragons and their riders fight for glory in a dangerous relay. When Puerto Rico’s runner is kicked off the team, now Lana has a chance to be a part of the team.
But a global conspiracy is brewing, the Sire, a legendary dragon who’s cursed into human form and a former Blazewrath superstar have teamed up, they are burning down dragon sanctuaries and will not stop until the Cup is cancelled. Now, Lana has to navigate being a part of her beloved sport with this international threat.

I have to admit that from the moment I read the summary of this book, I knew I was going to like it. I mean sports? dragons? fantasy? I’m in!
I’m glad to say it didn’t disappoint, by the third chapter I was already hooked in.

Lana is an amazing heroine, she’s brave and determined but also not the typical ‘chosen one’ from fantasies. I loved that she wasn’t bonded to any dragon or had any special magic and that she took her time to think of other characters particularly the villain’s motivations and intentions, and that’s something that we don’t see very often in such fantasy books. Her inner dialogue was at times too relatable, particularly because of how down to earth she was.
Her friendship with Samira was also one of the highlights of this book, Samira, a big secondary character is her best-friend, co-pilot, co-partner in crime, she’s such a great asset, and through her you really get to know Lana.
I have to praise the diversity, it’s such a breath of fresh air the diverse, we had representation of so many nationalities, ethnicities, different identities, latinx characters, BIPoC, disabled, it was so natural and beautiful to read. It’s what it should be, I mean you’re telling me everyone in a magical fantasy world is able, cis, het, cmon! So thank you Amparo for showing us this wouldn’t be the case.
Also can I just mention how lovely it was to see how much this book was full of Puerto Rican culture, heritage, language, identity, it was in every bit of the book.

The worldbuilding in itself was superbly done, everything was explained so well and with a lot of detail, but also in a way that didn’t feel like an overexposition, it was just done perfectly. The magic system, the sport with all its rules, and how even dragons were, was really engaging.
The pace of the book is fast, i don’t mean this as a negative because I loved how fast paced it was, it fit so well with the world and the stakes. And even more with the many different plot twists, that were so well done they didn’t end up feeling like they were for the shock value.
Many of the things that happen in the book can easily be related to now, and that’s one of the things I most liked, it was fantasy with its own structure, magic system, magical creatures, but also so much of it was comparable to our world.

There’s so much more I could comment on, but I’m trying hard not to spoil anything.

Overall, Blazewrath Games is perfect for fans of fantasy, dragons, and a down-to-earth, regular fan full of determination main character who has so much heart. This is now in my favourite reads of 2020, I can’t wait for the next book and anything else Amparo comes up with.


Amparo Ortiz was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and currently lives on the island’s northeastern coast. Her short story comic, “What Remains in The Dark,” appears in the Eisner Award-winning anthology Puerto Rico Strong (Lion Forge, 2018), and SAVING CHUPIE, her middle grade graphic novel, comes out with HarperCollins in Winter 2022. She holds an M.A. in English and a B.A. in Psychology from the UPR’s Río Piedras campus. When she’s not teaching ESL to her college students, she’s teaching herself Korean, devouring as much young adult fiction as she can, and writing about Latinx characters in worlds both contemporary and fantastical.

WEBSITE | GOODREADSINSTAGRAM | TWITTER


I had so much fun with this book, that I’m preparing soon a second read through.
Let me know if you’ve read this or if you’re planning on reading it 🙂 I’d love to gush with other people about it.

Historically Inaccurate Blog Tour Review

Hi all!
We’re now on the 2nd week of Latinx Heritage Month. And today I bring another new review, this is of an upcoming book by Shay Bravo. Thanks to Colored Pages Book Tour and Wattpad for making me a part of this Blog Tour.


Historically Inaccurate

by Shay Bravo

Genre: YA contemporary
Release Date: Sept. 29th, 2020
Publisher: Wattpad Books

After her mother’s deportation last year, all Soledad “Sol” Gutierrez wants is for her life to go back to normal. Everything’s changed―new apartment, new school, new family dynamic―and Sol desperately wants to fit in. When she joins her community college’s history club, it comes with an odd initiation process: break into Westray’s oldest house and steal . . . a fork?

There’s just one problem: while the owners of the house aren’t home, their grandson Ethan is, and when he catches Sol with her hand in the kitchen drawer, she barely escapes with the fork intact. This one chance encounter irrevocably alters her life, and Sol soon learns that sometimes fitting in isn’t as important as being yourself―even if that’s the hardest thing she’s ever had to do

GOODREADS | AMAZON | BOOKDEPOSITORY | INDIEBOUND


Click the banner for more information about the tour

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

6 reasons to read this book
*MC is a brown questioning mexican-american woman
*Diverse cast of characters, Latinx representation, BIPOC and LGBTQ characters
*romance aspect, LI is a sweet, kinda dorky, Black man
*story deals with deportation, race issues, racism, immigration, social issues, injustices
*honest conversation on sexuality, making decisions about your future, college life/experiences, family dynamics, being Black in america
* slow-paced coming of age story about college experiences and fitting in after traumatic experiences, fun, easy light-read


cw: misgendering, deportation, instances of racism, hazing, microagressions, depictions of a car accident, ICE mentions

Historically Inaccurate tells the story of Soledad Gutierrez, in the middle of starting her third year of college trying to figure out her life a year after her mother got suddenly reported back to Mexico. Soledad was understandably impacted by this drifting away from everyone and her boyfriend. Now, she’s trying to navigate being in a new apartment, new school, new family dynamic. So why not join her community college’s history club since her parents and her bestfriend keep telling her she should get out and interact with other people. But that history club is not everything it seems, she even has to break in to someone’s house and basically steal a fork from them. This B&E will have her encountering the grandson of the owners of the house, Ethan, and kickstart her journey to understanding her new life, and herself.

The first thing that stood out for me from this book was how it handled the deportation/immigration aspect of the story. It felt truthful, you could see from every word the impact this event had on Soledad, you coul hear it in her inner dialogue and how most of her fears revolved around deportation and planning for a future with her mother back to her side. I appreciated that the book was also light-hearted enough, that those moments felt in tone with a teenagers life particularly with how she dealt with this new family dynamic without her mother and her father. I have to admit I also enjoyed the little mentions of food and spanish woven into the story, it gave this book another layer that i really liked.

The history club turned out to be an interesting piece of the plot, that while at first I didn’t think it would have a major role in it, in the end it gave the book its moments of biggest tension and even where the conflict between the cast of the book happens. I do like how it was resolved and I especially liked how diverse the cast was, and how this diversity didn’t feel forced. Although I have noted criticism on how it’s not okay we don’t know the LI is Black until halfway through the book.

I do have to warn about misgendering a trans character, as I am cis I don’t know impactful those two mentions could be, but there is two instances where the LI, Ethan, misgenders a trans character, it’s done in a way that reveals the character is trans, while before we weren’t really aware of it.

Soledad as the hero of this story was really relatable, she’s anxious, full of sass but also had great deprecating humour that sounds so realistic for her age. The setting and the way Sol was written also made her basically be the perfect representation of a college student. Her character development and her friends and friendship with her friends were so well fleshed out and beautifully constructed. The interactions between Sol and Carlos, and Sol and Diane were constructed in a way that gave them so much depth and you could easily feel the friendship between them. There’s also the romantic aspect of the book, Ethan is the sweetest love interest, I won’t spoil but I did like their cute interactions, and how it grew from something awkward to something cute.

Overall, I thought this was a good fun quick read, I do get that the slow-pace might not be for everyone, but I liked the way it portrayed a Mexican-American college student with some crazy hijinks to make it more interesting.


Shay Bravo is a Mexican born author who has now lived half of her life in the USA. She began sharing her work online through Wattpad when she was fifteen years old and has connected with over 114,000 followers. Historically Inaccurate won the 2019 Watty Awards and is her first novel. Shay currently resides in Houston, Texas.

WEBSITE | GOODREADS | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER


Next post will not be focused on Latinx Heritage Month.

Thanks to Simon & Schuster I had the opportunity to be part of the Legendborn Tour, so the post will be something fun to do with Legendborn and the author Tracy Deonn.

Furia Blog Tour Review

Hi all!
Another late post today, I keep trying to post early but life is always getting in the way lately.
Today’s post is another book which I had the chance to read before it was released. You know I’m a sports fan (if you don’t know then now you know I love sports) so as soon as I read this book’s blurb I knew I wanted to read it. Spoiler to my review, I loved it!


Furia

by Yamile Saied Mendez

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Sports
Release Date: Sept 15th, 2020
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

In Rosario, Argentina, Camila Hassan lives a double life.
At home, she is a careful daughter, living within her mother’s narrow expectations, in her rising-soccer-star brother’s shadow, and under the abusive rule of her short-tempered father.
On the field, she is La Furia, a powerhouse of skill and talent. When her team qualifies for the South American tournament, Camila gets the chance to see just how far those talents can take her. In her wildest dreams, she’d get an athletic scholarship to a North American university.
But the path ahead isn’t easy. Her parents don’t know about her passion. They wouldn’t allow a girl to play fútbol—and she needs their permission to go any farther. And the boy she once loved is back in town. Since he left, Diego has become an international star, playing in Italy for the renowned team Juventus. Camila doesn’t have time to be distracted by her feelings for him. Things aren’t the same as when he left: she has her own passions and ambitions now, and La Furia cannot be denied. As her life becomes more complicated, Camila is forced to face her secrets and make her way in a world with no place for the dreams and ambition of a girl like her.

GOODREADS | AMAZON | BOOKDEPOSITORY | INDIEBOUND


Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

6 reasons to read this book:
*set in Rosario, Argentina filled and infused with Argentinian culture
*Argentinian MC that is resilient, strong-willed
*all about sports (football/futbol), perfect for sports fanatics
*touches on issues like sexism, domestic abuse, femicide, toxic and macho environments, patriarchy, women’s role/rights
* story very much about female empowerment and hardships and about rising beyond what people expect of you, strong feminist story!
*complex family dynamics, truthful and honest portrayal of women (as in not perfect, sometimes judging other women)


cw: sexism, domestic abuse, emotional abuse, feminicide, mysoginistic violence, allusions to rape and cheating.

Furia tells the story of Camila “La Furia” Hassan, who lives and loves for playing football, but being the sister of a professional footballer with a family that has different expectations leads her to have a double life. One where she’s the careful daughter hiding her passion from her abusive father who wouldn’t allow her to play and her mom who wants her to study and be a doctor. The other, where she’s ‘La Furia’, an athelete with inmense talent and skill who could even have the chance to play in regional tournaments or even go play in the National Women’s League in the US.
When her childhood friend/former lover now turned international football star, Diego, comes back from Italy where’s playing with the famous Juventus club, their romance rekindles. He’s never wanted to forget her, and he’s willing to take her with him back to Turin. But Camila has her own dreams, ones where she might have to go against her family or take the easy-ish route and go with him forgetting her dreams.

I really really really loved this book. The brutal honesty how it was written, the setting in Rosario, the characters and how not even one of them was one dimensional, they were all complex and so vivid. I loved Camila’s strength, how fierce, passionate and determined she is in just surviving, making the best of what she’s got all while managing and dealing with her family.
This book is not at all apologetic about how raw and brutal the world can be for women, it shows the best and worst of women, what some will do to survive even if it’s surviving in the worst of situations. We have the example of Camila’s mom, their dynamic is beautiful to read, it’s complex, it’s full of love but there’s still a gap between what her mother wants from her, what she beliefs she can be and what Camila wants. When they finally open up to each other – I can tell you I almost cried. Their relationship especially reminded me of my mom’s, not as extreme but at some points I felt I could relate all to well to Camila’s reactions.
I should also mention this book shows the #NiUnaMenos (Not One Less) movement with its struggle to hold society and men accountable for femicides, those moments are accompanied by the usual sexism, it’s difficult to read, you will probably cringe, and there are some other moments that as a women you might find uncomfortable, as always read the CWs because this book will remind you of the worst things about living in ‘Macho’ cultures.
That said, Furia still leaves you a sense of hope, we follow Camila’s story from overcoming all this obstacles to her getting closer to her dream (no spoilers).
For romance readers, I also have the warning how the couple ends might not be satisfying for people who expect a romance. While this book does have love, i wouldn’t classify it as romance (romance have a HEA) but I should say, and this might be a spoiler, it is left open enough for you to imagine whatever you want.

As a sports fan, I loved how much it was infused with sports talk, the references to footballers, the culture but also the mysogyny/not so casual sexism that sports like football is so full of. It was a powerful tool to showcase this and make this book as much about a woman from a poor background following her dreams no matter the obstacle in front of her and smashing the ceiling of patriarchy. I don’t know if I’ve made this clear enough but this book is fiercely feminist and such joy to read, when I tell you I cried a couple of times, it’s not a lie.

The last thing I have to mention is how real the setting was, a book set in Argentina, you might always expect it to be in Buenos Aires being the most famous city and the capital but having it in Rosario, a kind of industrial city also gave this book a different flavour. The language used, the little tidbits and description of the city made it all the more real to read.

Overall, Furia is a story about hope, about challenging familial expectation, about not being afraid of working towards your goals and believing in yourself. It’s a fabulous feminist sports read that I couldn’t recommend enough.


Yamile (sha-MEE-lay) Saied Méndez is a fútbol-obsessed Argentine American who loves meteor showers, summer, astrology, and pizza. She lives in Utah with her Puerto Rican husband and their five kids, two adorable dogs, and one majestic cat. An inaugural Walter Dean Myers Grant recipient, she’s a graduate of Voices of Our Nations (VONA) and the MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Méndez is also part of Las Musas, the first collective of women and nonbinary Latinx middle grade and young adult authors. Furia is her first novel for young adult readers.

WEBSITE | GOODREADS | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER


Thanks to AlgonquinYA for letting me be a part of the blog tour and the ARC.

Until then,

Each of Us a Desert Review

Hi all!
Third day of Latinx Heritage Month and a bit of a late post today.
Today is book review day!

I recently had the opportunity to read Each of Us a Desert before it was released, and of course I enjoyed every second of reading it and ended up loving it. It’s easily one of my faves I’ve read this year. I also had the honour and joy to interview Mark Oshiro (Thanks to Colored Pages Blog Tour). It was my first author interview ever! and he was amazing and so insightful with his answers. If you haven’t read that, I really think you should, it even includes 10 songs you might put on a playlist for when you read this book 🙂


Each of Us a Desert

by Mark Oshiro

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBT+
Release Date: Sept 15th, 2020
Publisher: Tor Teen

From award-winning author Mark Oshiro comes a powerful coming-of-age fantasy novel about finding home and falling in love amidst the dangers of a desert where stories come to life.

Xochitl is destined to wander the desert alone, speaking her troubled village’s stories into its arid winds. Her only companions are the blessed stars above and enigmatic lines of poetry magically strewn across dusty dunes.

Her one desire: to share her heart with a kindred spirit.

One night, Xo’s wish is granted—in the form of Emilia, the cold and beautiful daughter of the town’s murderous conqueror. But when the two set out on a magical journey across the desert, they find their hearts could be a match… if only they can survive the nightmare-like terrors that arise when the sun goes down.

GOODREADS | AMAZON | BOOKDEPOSITORY | INDIEBOUND


Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

6 reasons to read this book:
* enemies to lovers, slow-ish burn f/f relationship
*set in a fantasy apocalyptic desert landscape
* prose is so lyrical and beautiful, unapologetic use of spanish
* fantasy story that deals with issues about self-discovery, finding your place in the world, overcoming fear
*touches on themes of religion, beliefs, colonisation, community, destiny
*engaging world building system! powers as something that can be harmful


cw: descriptions of death, injuries, graphic violence, animal deaths, emotional abuse and domestic abuse, nightmares, grief, addiction to alcohol, child abuse, trauma

Each of Us is a Desert tells the story of Xochitl, a cuentista, who is destined thanks to her powers to wander the desert alone, speaking the troubled stories of her village to the dusty dunes. She finds only the blessed stars and some mysterious lines of poetry as her companion. But what she really desiers is to have someone to share her heart with, someone that might understand her and where she can tell her story.
When her wish is granted with the cold but beautiful daughter of her village’s murderous conqueror, Emilia. She will find herself on a magical journey across the desert. This journey will have Xochitl and Emilia discovering that their spirits are kindred and their hears can match. But there’s nightmare-like terrors everywhere and they will have to find ways to survive them. And maybe, Xochitl will finally come to figure out what her destined path really is and means in this world.

The first thing that captured me about this book was the writing, the prose of this book is basically poetry, it’s magical, it’ll take you in and then you find yourself hours later near the last page and you don’t know here time went. No really, it’s seriously captivating and magical!
Xochitl is an interesting character as when you meet her, she has dreams and hopes but at the same time she feels tied down by the expectations her powers, and her destiny because of her powers, tie her.
I loved the little poems she finds in the desert. This is where I think I should mention that if you’re not a spanish speaker you will find little words here and there in spanish. And the poems especially are presented first in spanish but they include the english translation. This use of spanish that is so unapologetic, not in cursive, had my emotions all over the place.
If you read Mark’s interview he had a very insightful way of talking about this decision, but I won’t go too much into that here.

I mentioned Xochitl being a cuentista, for a bit more information, in this fantasy world it means she has the ability to retain and almost take into herself the story her village tells her. She takes them into herself and then releases them into Solis, their god, allowing the person to feel relieved and unburdened by the story. Now while Xochitl does forget their stories, it is draining and she tends to feel sick afterwards. I mention this especially because this story has an interesting way of making aspects like stories into a kind of material reality. The same could be said with the nightmares but I won’t spoil with that.
This story has magical all around and it’s always in a kind of physical and material way, but when I say magical it’s not all happy, this book is brutally honest with its portrayal of surviving. So do expect to be shocked sometimes and watch out for those CWs I mentioned above.

That being said, what I loved about this book is how much hope and love it has, it’s honestly brutal at times, it can be tragic, it’s thought provoking, heart-wrenching, honest, but ultimately it’s about challenging your beliefs in the search for happiness. At the end of this book it left me with a strong impression of community, finding yourself in a community and love.

I want to say so much about Emilia, but it’s hard to say a lot without spoiling. I will say, the way their relationship unfolds is so organic and beautiful, you might be left wanting to know more about them and about Emilia.

Overall, Desert is a magical book that will take you on a journey of self-discovery through Xochitl’s search for freedom and discovering her place in a community (and love).


It’s really hard to talk about this book because I always end up getting a bit emotional over it. I hope my review wasn’t too all over the place and I somehow, in between all the rambling, convinced you to pick up this book.

Anyways! Next up in the schedule is the Review of Furia by Yamile Saied Mendez. Thanks to Algonquin Young Readers for letting me be a part of the blog tour, and you can expect my post on the 19th!

Until then,