Illusionary Blog Tour Review

Hi all!

Long time without writing here. Even though I am technically still in hiatus (from all social media and this blog). I had the absolute pleasure of receiving Illusionary before it was released, and I was asked if I wanted to be a part of the Blog Tour. Of course, I couldn’t say no. Illusionary is the sequel to Incendiary (which I reviewed here), and as you can tell I loved it so much, it’s been one of my most anticipated books of 2021 and May of 2021.

There’s so much I want to talk about this book, but as always I will try to keep it spoiler free as much as I can. I should mention though if you haven’t read Incendiary then a lot of things I will discuss from Book 2 will be spoilers.

So make sure you read that one or don’t mind the spoilers.

Illusionary

by Zoraida Cordova

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Historical, Romance
Release Date: 11th May, 2021
Publisher: Hodderscape

Reeling from betrayal at the hands of the Whispers, Renata Convida is a girl on the run. With few options and fewer allies, she’s reluctantly joined forces with none other than Prince Castian, her most infuriating and intriguing enemy. They’re united by lofty goals: find the fabled Knife of Memory, kill the ruthless King Fernando, and bring peace to the nation. Together, Ren and Castian have a chance to save everything, if only they can set aside their complex and intense feelings for each other.

With the king’s forces on their heels at every turn, their quest across Puerto Leones and beyond leaves little room for mistakes. But the greatest danger is within Ren. The Gray, her fortress of stolen memories, has begun to crumble, threatening her grip on reality. She’ll have to control her magics–and her mind–to unlock her power and protect the Moria people once and for all.

For years, she was wielded as weapon. Now it’s her time to fight back.

GOODREADS | AMAZON | INDIEBOUND| BOOKSHOP


Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

6 reasons to read this book
*young adult historical fantasy/duology with a sprinkle of romance and a lot of action packed adventure
*pirates, villains, spies, magical system, magical quest (to save world), HEA, chosen one
*MC, Renata Convida is a fierce, bit jaded anti-hero with probably the worst power you can get
*slow burn, (childhood friends to) enemies to lovers, expect a lot of urst, uses the tropes, one bed!! fake marriage!!
*LI is the ‘you didn’t expect you would actually like him’ kind of jaded, moody,
*deals with political intrigue, uncovering secrets about yourself (and your magics), trauma, revenge, authoritarian regimes, xenophobia, wars, betrayal


cw for violence, sexual moments

Illusionary continues the story from THAT cliffhanger on Incendiary, Renata Convida and Castian are both on a quest to find the Knife of Memory that would restore peace to the nation and save everything. But along the way they won’t have to only try to escape from King Fernando’s guards, spies and untrustworthy people, they have to deal with their own complex, intense feelings for each other. Feelings that for Ren especially she would rather ignore. Not only that but since everything that happened with Justice Mendez, her powers, The Gray, her mind prison where are the stolen memories are stored, has seemingly disappeared. Now Ren has to fight to understand what is reality and what is not. To win this battle, survive and protect the Moria people she will have to find ways to control her magic and maybe finally unlock her power.

In the great iconic words of Luisa “Zoraida can have my soul in a jar, I have no use for it now”.

This book was in many ways a lot more intense than Incendiary, but in so many ways it was perfect, it was all about Ren and Castian’s character development and well their developing and deepening relationship. I should say even though the book does have romance, the romance at no point feels like it is overpowering the story. It is a fantastical quest with sprinkles of romance, that if you’re like me and love enemies who suddenly discover they are connected (because of whatever reasons), have to work together and also are secretly trying to deny how attracted (love love loveee) they are to each other,, then you’re going to love this book. I won’t talk too much about Ren and Castian together even though i’m literally stopping myself from gushing. I will say I loved the delicious tension between them, i loved their banter, i loved when they started to open up and discover how similar they were, and how much they needed each other. Also the moment where it all comes together I almost wanted to shout out loud and like fist bump, but it was almost 2am, so I stopped myself.

One main theme of this book was trauma, particularly, how Ren accepted, found ways to deal with her trauma and basically where she finds herself and her truth. I especially loved how her trauma was portrayed as a journey, and not just well magical solution and here you go bye years of trauma. Even at the end of the book, you could feel Ren was still trying to find ways to be okay with herself. Also, how her self-loathing, self-hate was showed in the book was so impactful, I swear I could feel it deep in my gut.

I also loved how Castian throughout this quest was at many points a source of support and comfort for Ren, now if you’ve just started reading the book or just read the first book you’ll be reading this making a face that you don’t believe me, but you’ll see. And when you get there it’s the best thing ever. Their relationship was

I should mention when I say this book was more intense, while it wasn’t action, action at many times since the book was more introspective, quieter, a bit more personal, it did feel more intense because we were dealing with Ren and her own personal demons. That said, there were many moments of action thrills. At times, this book felt like it was slowly slowly building each of the characters and their journey to reach an explosive end. I’m trying not to spoil too much, but I will say the ending followed kind of the same structure of the book where it felt explosive, but in an emotional way. Like you finally let out that breath you were holding (I had to use the cliche phrase, dont mind me).

I haven’t said much about the side characters which honestly had so much personality that they didn’t at all feel like filler characters, Leo who we previously knew from Book 1 joins Castian and Ren again. He was the perfect contrast to the broody main couple (:]). Lady Nuria who was already such an intriguing character, also from Book 1), and the cast of pirates and Whispers. I should mention Dez probably but honestly there were times I really disliked him, but by the end you’ll probably love him (or at least understand him).

There’s so much about this book that was perfect. I think I’m not exagerating when I say this book just has it all, and it does everything so well. It is the perfect conclusion to any series, and is now considered one of my comfort reads. I kinda feel like re-reading the whole series to capture those moments in my excitement I missed.

In summary, Illusionary, the Hollow Crown series is a perfect fantastical thrilling read that does not disappoint from Book 1 to the ending of Book 2.


Zoraida Córdova is the acclaimed author of more than a dozen novels and short stories, including the Brooklyn Brujas series, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge: A Crash of Fate, and The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina. In addition to writing novels, she serves on the Board of We Need Diverse Books, and is the co-editor of the bestselling anthology Vampires Never Get Old, as well as the cohost of the writing podcast, Deadline City. She writes romance novels as Zoey Castile. Zoraida was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, and calls New York City home. When she’s not working, she’s roaming the world in search of magical stories.

WEBSITE | GOODREADS | TWITTER


I had so much fun reading this book, and I can’t thank Kate Keehan and everyone at Hodderscape for sending me the final copy of the book before it was released. Thank you to Zoraida also for making sure I would receive it.

That said, I am not yet sure if I’ll be back to review regularly, I have been in a bit of a reading slump lately, and even though this book was amazing in getting ready of it, I am still trying to slowly dip my toes into getting back to regularly reading and reviewing.

So I can’t make any promises this blog will come back from hiatus now or anytime soon, but thank you to those still reading and writing comments. I appreciate all of you!

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


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.

8 Latinx Fantasy Series List

Hi all!
I hope you had a good weekend 🙂

Today’s post is dedicated to recommending Fantasy Series by Latinx authors. When I started making this list I noticed I had at least 25 books I could include, and the more I thought about it, the more I added. So instead of making a 20+ recommendations list, I ended up making sure they were more fantasy than sci-fi and more fantasy than dystopia.
There will be another version of this with Latinx authored fantasy books that are not part of a series, duology or trilogy.


Charlie Hernández Series by Ryan Calejo

Book 1 and 2 follow Charlie Hernandez who even though he likes to think of himself as a normal kid. He’s a demon-slaying preteen with an encyclopedic knowledge of Hispanic and Latino mythology who can partially manifest nearly any animal trait found in nature. Join him in his adventures helping La Liga, a secret society of legendary mythological beings sworn to protect the Land of the Living, and La Mano Negra (a.k.a. the Black Hand), a cabal of evil spirits determined to rule mankind. 

GOODREADS | AMAZON | WORDERY | BOOKDEPOSITORY


Muse Squad Series by Chantel Acevedo

The first in an action-packed debut middle grade fantasy duology about a Cuban American girl who discovers that she’s one of the nine Muses of Greek mythology. Along with her “Muse Squad”, she will have to learn how to use their magic to inspire and empower–not an easy feat when you’re eleven and still figuring out the goddess within. Join Callie and her junior muses fighting against the vicious Sirens who only want to create chaos and disaster.

GOODREADS | AMAZON | WORDERY | INDIEBOUND


Shadowshaper Cypher by Daniel Jose Older

Sierra Santiago discovers one summer that she’s a shadowshaper, a thrilling magic that infuses ancestral spirits into paintings, music, and stories. And with the help of a mysterious fellow artist named Robbie, she will have to unravel her family’s past, take down that someone who is killing the shadowshapers one by one in the present, and save the future of shadowshaping for herself and generations to come.

GOODREADS | AMAZON | INDIEBOUND | BOOKDEPOSITORY


Brooklyn Brujas by Zoraida Cordova

This series follows the three Mortiz sisters, Alex, Lula and Rose, three teen witches from a family of witches, as they develop their powers and battle magic through epic questing in the realms beyond. Alex’s story (first book) is set in the mythical fantasy world of Los Lagos, Lula’s stories (second book) is set on the streets of Brooklyn and the third book, Rose’s story is set in the magical lost realm of Adas.

GOODREADS | AMAZON | INDIEBOUND | BOOKDEPOSITORY


The City of Diamond and Steel Series by Francesca Flores

This series follows Aina Solis, trained to be one of the most powerful and dangerous assassins in Sumerand, a kingdom funded by immigrants, built by magic, and still reeling from an industrial revolution that’s led to all-out civil war. Aina will have to act against her boss Kohl and join forces with an unexpected allie to unravel a conspiracy that could rewrite Sumerand’s history and her own future.

GOODREADS | AMAZON | WORDERY | BOOKDEPOSITORY


A Forgery of Magic Series by Maya Motayne

In this Dominican-inspired fantasy, Finnian Voy, a face-changing thief meets Prince Alfehr, a risk-taking prince when Finn is trying to steal a legendary treasure from Castallan’s royal palace. But when their fates collide, they accidentally unlock an ancient, terrible power into the world. Now they must team up to defeat this powerful evil they accidentally unleashed and save Castallan.

GOODREADS | AMAZON | WORDERY | BOOKDEPOSITORY


Wolves of No World Series by Romina Garber

This series follows Manuela Azul, that as an undocumented immigrant who’s on the run from her father’s Argentine crime-family, she has always been confined to her small apartment and a small life in Miami, Florida. But when, things change and now she’s forced to understand her past. She will uncover her own story, trace her real heritage all the way back to a cursed city in Argentina. Now she’ll realise it’s not just her US residency that’s illegal, it’s her entire existence

GOODREADS | AMAZON | INDIEBOUND | BOOKDEPOSITORY


Infinity Cycle Series by Adam Silvera

This series follows the Emil and Brighton, two brothers growing up in New York, who have always idolized the Spell Walkers—a vigilante group sworn to rid the world of specters. Then, in a brawl after a protest, Emil manifests a power of his own-one that puts him right at the heart of the conflict and sets him up to be the heroic Spell Walker Brighton always wanted to be. Now they found themselves caught up in a magical war generations in the making, but also brotherhood, love, and loyalty will be put to the test.

GOODREADS | AMAZON | WORDERY | BOOKDEPOSITORY


Now today was supposed to be a Cemetery Boys Review, unfortunately my Illumicrate box has not arrived yet, and since I kept wanting to make this list post, I thought why not swap it for this.
There is still another Latinx fantasy books recommendations list on the works, since there’s so many books here I left out and want to recommend. That will either be posted tomorrow (if I find the time) or on the 13th.

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.

Never Look Back Review

Hi all!
I was supposed to post this review yesterday but the day flew past me.
Today we’re back to celebrating Latinx Heritage Month with a review!

I received the ARC for Never Look Back a while back thanks to Bloomsbury and Erica Loberg. Unfortunately, it fell down the category of those books I wanted to read but pandemic/grief/real life got in the way. Here are my thoughts on this Latinx fantasy Retelling!


Never Look Back

by Lilliam Rivera

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Romance
Release Date: September 15th, 2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA

Eury comes to the Bronx as a girl haunted. Haunted by losing everything in Hurricane Maria–and by an evil spirit, Ato. She fully expects the tragedy that befell her and her family in Puerto Rico to catch up with her in New York. Yet, for a time, she can almost set this fear aside, because there’s this boy.

Pheus is a golden-voiced, bachata-singing charmer, ready to spend the summer on the beach with his friends, serenading his on-again, off-again flame. That changes when he meets Eury. All he wants is to put a smile on her face and fight off her demons. But some dangers are too powerful for even the strongest love, and as the world threatens to tear them apart, Eury and Pheus must fight for each other and their lives.

GOODREADS | AMAZON | BOOKDEPOSITORY | INDIEBOUND


Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

6 reasons to read this book:
*Latinx retelling of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice
*Afro-latinx rep, Eury is Puerto Rican and Pheus is Dominican
*touches on issues of cultural identity, mental illness and overcoming trauma and grief.
*touch of magical realism and fantastical elements
* set in three places, Puerto Rico, NYC and the Underworld
*the excitements of a first love


Slightly spoiler-y

cw: mental illness, depression, anxiety, trauma, grief, mentions of Hurricane Irma and Maria, alcoholism, suicide, PTSD, sexual assault

Disclaimer: Because I read the ARC some of the comments here might not be as accurate to the final version, especially some of the stuff I disliked might have changed.

Never Look Back tells the story of Eury and Pheus, Eury goes to the Bronx feeling haunted, she didn’t just lose everything due to Hurricane Maria but she’s being hunted by an evil spirit, Ato. She knows the tragedy will follow her and her family to New York, but meeting Pheus, even if it’s for a little while seems to make everything better.
Pheus, a golden-voiced, bachata playing charmer who is ready to enjoy his summer with his friends on the beach, singing and playing his guitar. But when he meets Eury, everything changes for him. Now he’s ready to fight Eury’s demons to have her smiling. But will their love be enough to conquer all that threatens Eury?

I really really wanted to love this book, i have to admit it took me a while to get into it. My main point of I guess disconnect was the character of Pheus, it took me a while to like him. As a Dominican, I’m too used to Dominican characters written as the suave, charming, flirty ‘seductor’. The first glimpses of his personality honestly had me thinking of him just with those tropes. And while I do admit his character did develop and gained more depth throughout the story, it still wasn’t my jam. I guess I expected a bit more.
On the other hand, I felt Eury was so well fleshed out and developed, I loved her characterisation and her struggle with mental health while fighting this literal demon spirit. She was a perfect heroine and I loved reading her inner thoughts.

Knowing this is a retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice, I knew the love aspect would come very fast, but the insta-love, insta-Pheus changes for Eury was hard to believe. Could also be that this book was kinda divided into a part 1 where they get together and part 2 where’s its closer to the myth, that makes it difficult to see a big big development of their relationship as you’re waiting for the retelling of the myth to start. I did hope to see more of their relationship growing because their moments together when they talked were some of my favourites.
Now part 2 of this book was very close to perfect, I loved the inclusion of the taino goddess Guabancex, I loved the Inframundo and I loved how ultimately it came down to Eury saving herself.

I loved the various themes of this novel and especially the commentary on mental illness and depression. It was beautiful to read and it’s one that resonates so well, coming from a culture that still finds depression and trauma such a taboo to talk. Books like this where they challenge that are ones we need more of.

I do have to say I didn’t appreciate the use of the destruction of Hurricane Maria as a way for Eury to blame herself. Now this, maybe it’s not phrased as such in the final version but having to read how Ato told Eury how he would destroy PR because she rejected him, I didn’t like that. Hurricane Maria is/was a traumatic event that affected so many islands and PR particularly bad, reading this phrased like that hurt and made me pause. There were other little mistakes that I hope were fixed for the final version to do with Dominican references (e.g. Carnaval de Santiago in Santo Domingo, Santiago and Santo Domingo are two very different cities with already a big big historical rivalry, Carnaval de Santiago is in Santiago, Carnaval de Santo Domingo is in Santo Domingo).

Overall, i think maybe i had too high hopes for this book and while it was enjoyable, i didn’t fully get into it. I would still recommend it to everyone, just not for me.


Lilliam Rivera is an award-winning writer and author of the young adult novels Dealing in Dreams, The Education of Margot Sanchez, the middle grade novel Goldie Vance: The Hotel Whodunit, and Never Look Back (September 2020) by Bloomsbury. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Elle, to name a few. Lilliam lives in Los Angeles.
[WebsiteTwitterInstagram]


Next post will follow the LHM calendar with a recommendations list of (probably) some of my favourite Latinx Romcoms! 🙂 I’m excited!

See you soon!

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,