Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (6/28/22) – Lakelore

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

I’ve been a huge fan of Anna-Marie McLemore’s books for ages; their prose is always immersive and lush, and their stories never fail to pull at the heartstrings. So I was over-the-moon excited to find out that they had a new book out! I put Lakelore on hold as soon as I could, and I finally got to read it last week. While it wasn’t their best work, Lakelore is still a beautiful tale of the trans experience.

Enjoy this week’s review!

Lakelore – Anna-Marie McLemore

The town where Bastián and Lore live has a secret: under the lake is a strange, unknown world. But they are the only ones who have ventured down into this secret world, and they know something that the other townsfolk don’t know: the world under the lake is blending with the real world. The only way to put the two worlds back in their places is for Bastián and Lore to reunite, but the secrets between them may tear them apart before they reach their goal.

TW/CW: ableism, bullying, racism, transphobia, dysphoria

I loved Lakelore, but it lacked the very thing that makes McLemore’s other books so unique—the magical realism aspect. It was there, sure, but it felt so sidelined when the synopsis emphasized it so much. That being said, Lakelore was still excellent, and it’s sure to resonate with so many nonbinary readers!

The representation in Lakelore was truly fantastic! Both Bastián and Lore are Latinx and nonbinary; Bastián also has ADHD and Lore has dyslexia! This kind of intersectional representation is what I live for, and McLemore wrote it all so gracefully! Each aspect of their identities was so wonderfully written, from Bastián’s journey starting testosterone to Lore’s therapy sessions to cope with school having dyslexia. The whole book is a beautiful testament to being the other in some way, and the way that McLemore explores it with Bastián and Lore was fantastic.

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Anna-Marie McLemore’s unforgettable prose! Their writing is as strong as ever in Lakelore, and the way their signature, magical writing style told Bastián and Lore’s stories made it all the more engaging, emotional, and tender. It’s the kind of writing that feels like looking at pure, unadulterated magic, instantly transporting the reader to the small town and the mysterious lake at its heart.

That being said, I was a little disappointed with the magical realism aspect of Lakelore. At best, it was underdeveloped; we got glimpses of the world beneath the lake, but it was never quite expanded upon. We saw that this underwater realm gave Bastián’s alebrijes (which I also loved—great metaphor for healthy coping mechanisms!) the ability to move, but other than that, it was very vague, save for the urban legend aspect of it. I guess it’s on me for thinking that Lakelore was gonna be some kind of nonbinary Abe Sapien kind of deal, but even so, I wanted so much more from that aspect after how strong McLemore’s magical realism/fantasy game usually is.

All in all, a fantastic addition to Anna-Marie McLemore’s pantheon that lacked slightly in the magical realism department, but made up for it with the beautiful depiction of a Latinx, nonbinary, and neurodivergent experience. 3.75 stars, rounded up to 4!

Lakelore is a standalone, but Anna-Marie McLemore is also the author of The Mirror Season, Wild Beauty, When the Moon Was Ours, Dark and Deepest Red, Blanca & Roja, The Weight of Feathers, and the forthcoming Great Gatsby remix Self-Made Boys.

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Books

YA Reads for Latinx Heritage Month (2021 Edition)

Happy Friday, bibliophiles! Would you look at that…this post isn’t a Goodreads Monday or a Book Review Tuesday…shocking…

Anyway, I thought I’d make a special post today because here in the U.S., Latinx Heritage Month started on September 15! I’m half Latina myself, and celebrating this part of my heritage in the form of literature has been something I’ve loved to do more recently. Representation matters, and there’s nothing like the giddy feeling of seeing part of yourself represented in a book. I did a post like this last year, but I decided to do another one this year to showcase some of the fantastic Latinx books I’ve read lately.

If you want to check out my post from last year, click here!

Let’s begin, shall we?

Latina Hispanic Heritage Month Sticker by Fabiola Lara / Casa Girl for iOS  & Android | GIPHY

THE BOOKISH MUTANT’S YA BOOKS FOR LATINX HERITAGE MONTH – 2021 EDITION

Blanca & Roja, Anna-Marie McLemore

Amazon.com: Blanca & Roja: 9781250162717: McLemore, Anna-Marie: Books

GENRES: Retellings, fantasy, magical realism, LGBTQ+

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

At this point, I’m convinced that Anna-Marie McLemore is the once and future master of magical realism. Their writing never disappoints, always luscious, immersive, and blooming with flowers. Blanca & Roja was no exception!

Blazewrath Games, Amparo Ortiz

Amazon.com: Blazewrath Games eBook : Ortiz, Amparo: Kindle Store

GENRES: Fantasy, urban fantasy, LGBTQ+

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

If your favorite part of the Harry Potter series was the Triwizard Tournament and all the dragons, then you HAVE to pick this one up! Perfect for readers who love competition-centered books. Plus, dragons. Need I say more?

Sanctuary, Paola Mendoza & Abby Sher

Sanctuary by Paola Mendoza

GENRE: Dystopia, fiction

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This one’s a gut-wrencher, but it should be required reading. Just like Internment, it shows an all-too plausible world where xenophobia and hatred runs even more rampant than today.

Cemetery Boys, Aiden Thomas

Amazon.com: Cemetery Boys: 9781250250469: Thomas, Aiden: Books

GENRES: Paranormal fantasy, romance, LGBTQ+

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

I didn’t like this one quite as much as everybody else seemed to, but it was still a fun read! LGBTQ+ Latinx rep is always super important, and it’s refreshing to see some of the rep in this novel. Plus, one of the few YA books I’ve read with Colombian-American rep!!

Clap When You Land, Elizabeth Acevedo

Amazon.com: Clap When You Land: 9780062882769: Acevedo, Elizabeth: Books

GENRES: Novels in verse/poetry, fiction, LGBTQ+, contemporary

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

At this point, Elizabeth Acevedo can do no wrong. Clap When You Land is just as much of a force of nature as her other novels, and her writing never fails to stir all kinds of emotions up in me.

Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything, Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

Amazon.com: Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything eBook :  Gilliland, Raquel Vasquez: Kindle Store

GENRES: Fiction, contemporary, magical realism, science fiction

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This was an unexpected 5-star read for me! A textbook example of what a good genre-bending novel should be; the sci-fi, realistic, and fantasy elements blended together seamlessly for an unforgettable book.

All These Monsters, Amy Tintera

Amazon.com: All These Monsters: 9780358012405: Tintera, Amy: Books

GENRES: Dystopia, paranormal fantasy, science fiction, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

If finishing the B.P.R.D. comics left an empty space in your heart, what are you doing? PICK UP THIS BOOK! All These Monsters satisfied all of my paranormal needs, and it also has a half white, half Latina protagonist! Seeing characters like me represented always fills my heart with joy.

The Weight of Feathers, Anna-Marie McLemore

Amazon.com: The Weight of Feathers: A Novel: 9781250058652: McLemore,  Anna-Marie: Books

GENRES: Magical realism, retellings, fiction, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Beginning and ending with an Anna-Marie McLemore novel because a) they never disappoint, and b) people need to read their books more! Their debut novel is no exception.

TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK! What are your favorite YA books by Latinx authors? Any recommendations for me? Tell me in the comments!

Happy Latinx Heritage Month Latina GIF - Happy Latinx Heritage Month Latinx  Latina - Discover & Share GIFs

Today’s song:

That’s it for this post! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: August 10-16, 2020

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! (How are we halfway through August already? What’s going on?)

This week has been one of those weeks where quarantine has really felt like…Quarantine, you know? Not quarantine, but Quarantine. There’s plenty to do around the house, but I felt so weird, listless, and down for no identifiable reason for the first half of the week. Things started to pick up by Thursday, but it was still an odd kind of week. On the upside, I went on a short hike with my mom, did some drawing, watched North by Northwest, and took a tour of a museum (for everybody in the Colorado area, I HIGHLY recommend the Morrison Museum!)

Writing-wise, I’ve kind of been stumbling through my current WIP, so I probably need to get back to outlining…thing is, I have no idea what to put in before the climax, which should be coming…soon? So at the moment, I’ve just been tripping over my own feet in that respect. I really need to outline more.

Gob bluth GIF on GIFER - by Manadar
My last brain cells stumbling around my Pages document in an attempt to make one (1) coherent sentence

Luckily, I got a great library haul, for the most part–I even got a 5-star read in the bunch, so expect a review in the next few weeks! I haven’t read much MG this year, so it was fun to have a few of such books to get into.

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Ice Wolves (Elementals, #1)–Amie Kaufman (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Elementals: Ice Wolves: Kaufman, Amie, Szabo, Levente ...

On a Sunbeam–Tillie Walden (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: On a Sunbeam (9781250178138): Walden, Tillie: Books

Blanca & Roja–Anna-Marie McLemore (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Blanca & Roja (9781250162717): McLemore, Anna-Marie: Books

Show Me a Sign–Ann Clare LeZotte (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Show Me a Sign: LeZotte, Ann Clare: 9781338255812: Amazon.com: Books

Tarnished Are the Stars–Rosiee Thor (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Amazon.com: Tarnished Are the Stars (9781338312270): Thor, Rosiee ...

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

The War that Saved My Life–Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

The War That Saved My Life: Bradley, Kimberly Brubaker ...

Cinderella is Dead–Kalynn Bayron

Amazon.com: Cinderella Is Dead (9781547603879): Bayron, Kalynn: Books

Michigan vs. the Boys–Carrie Allen

Michigan vs. the Boys | Kids Can Press

The Weight of the Stars–K. Ancrum

Amazon.com: The Weight of the Stars (9781250101631): Ancrum, K.: Books

Spinning–Tillie Walden

Amazon.com: Spinning (9781626729407): Walden, Tillie, Walden ...

An Unkindness of Ghosts–Rivers Solomon

Amazon.com: An Unkindness of Ghosts (9781617755880): Solomon ...

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Books, Down the TBR Hole

Down the TBR Hole 5–The Empire Strikes Back

Happy Wednesday (my dudes), bibliophiles!

Thus continues my ongoing “spring” (it’s really just year-round, who am I kidding?)…

Now that I’m scouring the online library for books to read, I’ve been digging further into my TBR to find books to read, and with that, lots more books that I need to remove from the list or that I’ve forgotten about. Here we go again…

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The Rules

  • 1. Go to your Goodreads To-Read shelf
  •  2. Order on ascending date added.
  •  3. Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  •  4. Read the synopsis of the books.
  •  5. Time to Decide: keep it or should it go

 

1. Blanca & Roja, Anna-Marie McLemore 

Image result for blanca and roja book

Blurb from Goodreads: 

The biggest lie of all is the story you think you already know.

The del Cisne girls have never just been sisters; they’re also rivals, Blanca as obedient and graceful as Roja is vicious and manipulative. They know that, because of a generations-old spell, their family is bound to a bevy of swans deep in the woods. They know that, one day, the swans will pull them into a dangerous game that will leave one of them a girl, and trap the other in the body of a swan.

But when two local boys become drawn into the game, the swans’ spell intertwines with the strange and unpredictable magic lacing the woods, and all four of their fates depend on facing truths that could either save or destroy them. Blanca & Roja is the captivating story of sisters, friendship, love, hatred, and the price we pay to protect our hearts.

 

It’s Anna-Marie McLemore. Of course I’m going to keep this one!

VERDICT: KEEP

 

2. Finding Yvonne, Brandy Colbert

Image result for finding yvonne book

Blurb from Goodreads: 

Since she was seven years old, Yvonne has had her trusted violin to keep her company, especially in those lonely days after her mother walked out on their family. But with graduation just around the corner, she is forced to face the hard truth that she just might not be good enough to attend a conservatory after high school.

Full of doubt about her future, and increasingly frustrated by her strained relationship with her successful but emotionally closed-off father, Yvonne meets a street musician and fellow violinist who understands her struggle. He’s mysterious, charming, and different from Warren, the familiar and reliable boy who has her heart. But when Yvonne becomes unexpectedly pregnant, she has to make the most difficult decision yet about her future.

This one sounds like it tackles a lot of important issues, as well as weaving a complex story. Still in 🙂

VERDICT: KEEP

 

3. The Mind’s Eye (SYNSK, #1), K.C. Finn

Image result for the mind's eye k c finn

Blurb from Goodreads:

A girl with a telepathic gift finds a boy clinging to his last hope during the war-torn climate of Europe, 1940.

At fifteen, Kit Cavendish is one the oldest evacuees to escape London at the start of the Second World War due to a long term illness that sees her stuck in a wheelchair most of the time. But Kit has an extraordinary psychic power: she can put herself into the minds of others, see through their eyes, feel their emotions, even talk to them – though she dares not speak out for fear of her secret ability being exposed.

As Kit settles into her new life in the North Wales village of Bryn Eira Bach, solitude and curiosity encourage her to gain better control of her gift. Until one day her search for information on the developing war leads her to the mind of Henri, a seventeen-year-old Norwegian boy witnessing the German occupation of his beloved city, Oslo. As Henri discovers more about the English girl occupying his mind, the psychic and emotional bonds between them strengthen and Kit guides him through an oppressive and dangerous time.

There are secrets to be uncovered, both at home and abroad, and it’s up to Kit and Henri to come together and fight their own battles in the depths of the world’s greatest war.

Oooh, this one looks fascinating! Jean Grey, anyone?

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VERDICT: KEEP

 

4. The Life and Death Parade, Eliza Wass

Image result for the life and death parade

Blurb from Goodreads:

One year ago, Kitty’s boyfriend Nikki Bramley visited a psychic who told him he had no future. Now, he’s dead.

With the Bramley family grieving in separate corners of their home, Kitty sets out to find the psychic who read Nikki his fate. Instead she finds Roan, an enigmatic boy posing as a medium who belongs to the Life and Death Parade–a group of supposed charlatans that explore, and exploit, the thin veil between this world and the next. A group whose members include the psychic… and Kitty’s late mother.

Desperate to learn more about the group and their connection to Nikki, Kitty convinces Roan to return to the Bramley house with her and secures a position for him within the household. Roan quickly ingratiates himself with the Bramleys, and soon enough it seems like everyone is ready to move on. Kitty, however, increasingly suspects Roan knows more about Nikki than he’s letting on. And when they finally locate the Life and Death Parade, and the psychic who made that fateful prophecy to Nikki, Kitty uncovers a secret about Roan that changes everything.

Eh…this one doesn’t look very original…

VERDICT: LET GO

 

5. Because of You, Pip Harry 

Image result for because of you pip harry

Blurb from Goodreads: 

Tiny is homeless. Nola has everything she could ask for. They meet when Nola is forced into volunteer work for the writers’ group at the homeless shelter where Tiny is staying, and at first it seems impossible that two people who are so different could ever be friends. But despite her initial prejudice, Nola quickly learns that there isn’t much separating her from the people who live on the streets. And Tiny begins to see that falling down doesn’t mean you never get back up. Because of You is a story about homelessness, prejudice and the power of words to provide a little hope.

This one looks rough, but it still sounds wonderful.

VERDICT: KEEP

 

6. Ingo, Helen Dunmore

Image result for ingo helen dunmore

Blurb from Goodreads: 

I wish I was away in Ingo, Far across the sea, Sailing over the deepest waters, Where love nor care can trouble me…

Sapphire’s father mysteriously vanishes into the waves off the Cornwall coast where her family has always lived. She misses him terribly, and she longs to hear his spellbinding tales about the Mer, who live in the underwater kingdom of Ingo. Perhaps that is why she imagines herself being pulled like a magnet toward the sea. But when her brother, Conor, starts disappearing for hours on end, Sapphy starts to believe she might not be the only one who hears the call of the ocean.

I’m all for mermaids, but there really doesn’t seem to be much plot here…at all…

VERDICT: LET GO

 

7. Drum Roll, Please, Lisa Jenn Bigelow

Image result for drum roll please lisa jenn bigelow

Blurb from Goodreads: 

Find the confidence to rock out to your own beat.

Melly only joined the school band because her best friend, Olivia, begged her to. But to her surprise, quiet Melly loves playing the drums. It’s the only time she doesn’t feel like a mouse.

Now, she and Olivia are about to spend the next two weeks at Camp Rockaway, jamming under the stars in the Michigan woods.

But this summer brings big changes for Melly: her parents split up, her best friend ditches her, and Melly finds herself falling for a girl at camp named Adeline. To top it off, Melly’s not sure she has what it takes to be a real rock ‘n’ roll drummer. Will she be able to make music from all the noise in her heart?

Aah, this sounds so cute! And it’s shelved as LGBTQ+…YES!

VERDICT: KEEP

 

8. The Rising Storm (Paradigm Trilogy, #1), Ceri A. Lowe

Image result for the rising storm ceri a lowe

Blurb from Goodreads: 

What if the end of the world was just the beginning?

15-year-old Alice Davenport was a loner and an outcast before the Storms swept away everything she knew. Saved from the ravaged remains of London by the mysterious and all-powerful Paradigm Industries, her fierce independence and unique skills soon gain her recognition from the highest levels of command. But their plans to rebuild civilisation from scratch mean destroying all remnants of the past – no matter what, or who, gets left behind.

Alice must decide if she will fight for the old world, or the new…

Decades later, 15-year-old Carter Warren is woken from the Catacombs after years of cryonic sleep. He’s determined to do whatever it takes to climb the ranks to Controller General – until he realises the Industry’s control methods have become harsher than ever. The Barricades make sure nothing from the Deadlands can get in to the Community – and no one can get out. And a shocking discovery about his own family causes Carter to question everything he’s ever known…

As Alice becomes entangled in the Industry’s plan for the future, and Carter delves into the secrets of his past, they must make sacrifices which threaten to tear them apart. And both of them are forced to confront an impossible question…

Would you dare to risk it all for the perfect world?

…aaaaaaaand it’s another cliche-ridden dystopia. Oops.

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VERDICT: LET GO

 

9. Scales of Empire, Kylie Chan

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Blurb from Goodreads: 

An exciting new adventure filled with diverse characters, strong heroes and heroines and wild creatures from the bestselling author of White Tiger.

Corporal Jian Choumaliis on the mission of a lifetime – security officer on one of Earth’s huge generation ships, fleeing Earth’s failing ecosystem to colonise a distant planet.

The ship encounters a technologically and culturally advanced alien empire, led by a royal family of dragons. The empire’s dragon emissary offers her aid to the people of Earth, bringing greater health, longer life, and faster-than-light travel to nearby stars.

But what price will the people of Earth have to pay for the generous alien assistance?

Okay, listen. I love space. I love dragons. But I’m not sure if I’m on board with dragons in space.

Image result for what did i just read gif

VERDICT: LET GO

 

10. Lotus and Thorn, Sara Wilson Etienne

Image result for lotus and thorn

Ravaged by a plague known as Red Death, the planet Gabriel, a former colony of Earth, is a barren wasteland. Since being abandoned by Earth 500 years ago, resources are scarce and life is cheap. To stay alive, the survivors, the Citizens, scavenge the remains of a now dead city, trading for food with the resource-rich Curadores, the only other survivors on Gabriel. Every old computer, every piece of wire, every scrap of metal counts. To steal is the ultimate sin. So when tough-as-nails seventeen-year-old Leica is caught doing just that, she’s exiled and left to the mercy of Gabriel’s unforgiving desert for the rest of her life.

While in exile, Leica discovers a mysterious shuttle, which may not only lead her home, but even more impossible—reestablish contact with Earth. Then Red Death rears its head again, killing her entire work crew, leaving Leica all alone until a handsome Curador offers her refuge in the Dome—the only place on Gabriel untouched by Red Death, where a decadent and sultry life awaits. But there’s a catch: Leica can only enter the Dome as his concubine—his Kisaeng. When a rogue group of Citizens see their chance for revolution in Leica’s good fortune, she finds herself unraveling a deadly mystery with chilling answers to the true origin of Red Death and the reason Earth really abandoned them so long ago.

THERE IS NO ESCAPE FROM THE DYSTOPIA RIPOFFS…

VERDICT: LET GO

 

RESULTS:

KEPT: 5

LET GO: 5

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Another successful cleaning, and another 50-50 split! Glad I cleaned out some dystopian cliches from my TBR, and I discovered some that I’ll have to read soon!

Today’s song:

I discovered Oppenheimer Analysis via a Snail Mail interview, and I liked most of this album!

 

That just about wraps up this post! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

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