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 Book Tags

The Umbrella Academy Book Tag

Happy Wednesday, bibliophiles!

I figured that I haven’t done many book tags this month, and I’ve been in the mood to do one lately. This one’s been sitting in my sticky note for a bit and I figured it would be a lot of fun since I love the Umbrella Academy graphic novels & the Netflix show!

I found this tag over at Elli @ Ace Reader, and the tag was originally created by  It’s My Birth Write.

Let’s begin, shall we?

the umbrella academy | Tumblr | Umbrella, Under my umbrella, Academy

☂️THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY BOOK TAG☂️

HELLO: Name the best first book in a series

Amazon.com: Honor Among Thieves (Honors, 1) (9780062570994): Caine, Rachel,  Aguirre, Ann: Books

I mean, it’s impossible to choose just *one* best start to a series, but for the sake of not putting down Aurora Rising or Heart of Iron again, I’ll put Honor Among Thieves, because this was a SUPER strong start to the Honors trilogy!

THE HARGREEVES CHILDREN: Name a big book family. (Dysfunctional is optional)

Shared by SexyTrash04. Find images and videos about gif, scene and series  on We Heart It - the app to get lost in w… | Umbrella, Under my umbrella,  Future boyfriend
Amazon.com: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine's  Peculiar Children) (9781594746031): Riggs, Ransom: Books

I suppose the cast of characters from Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children aren’t family by blood, but they’re as close to a family as one can possibly get. And dysfunctional? Absolutely.

THE WORLD ENDS IN EIGHT DAYS: If you only had 8 days left, which book would you choose to be your last read?

ODERINT DUM METUANT; — —everything's left in the ashes;
Looks from Books: Fashion Inspired by Frankenstein - College Fashion

Frankenstein, for two reasons: it’s probably my favorite book, and just so I can have the possible luck of being resurrected. Pragmatism, folks, pragmatism.

SPACEBOY: Name a character who plays the leader, but may not be cut out for it.

Astronaut Spaceman GIF - Astronaut Spaceman TomHopper - Discover & Share  GIFs
Amazon.com: Abandon (9781503946194): Crouch, Blake: Books

BAJSDHFSJDHFSJDHF THIS PROMPT WAS WAY HARDER THAN I’D LIKE TO ADMIT

I just finished this one a few hours ago, and Abigail from Abandon just…wasn’t the best leader. I mean, most of the characters were [coughs] a wee bit interchangeable, but did you really think that going to a supposedly haunted mining town in the middle of nowhere was a good idea?

THROWING KNIVES: What literary weapon would you like in your arsenal?

HONEY ; Mulitfandom Gif Series - Diego Hargreeves ; The Umbrella Academy -  Wattpad

MAN WHY ARE THESE PROMPTS SO H A R D

okay no I’m super stumped for this one, might just have to skip…shame on me

I HEARD A RUMOR: Name a book that has a misleading plot line.

Ellen Page Aidan Gallagher GIF by The Umbrella Academy - Find & Share on  GIPHY
Amazon.com: Night Owls and Summer Skies (9781989365250): Sullivan, Rebecca:  Books

I guess the case with Night Owls and Summer Skies was more of a misleading synopsis, but I was lead to believe that it would be a sort of coming-of-age story about overcoming anxieties and first love. Instead, the anxiety part was barely touched on, and it was honestly just a toxic dumpster fire. Would not recommend.

KLAUS: Name a book that involves the dead/ghosts/etc.

THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY GIFS — 🎂
Amazon.com: Cemetery Boys eBook: Thomas, Aiden: Kindle Store

Cemetery Boys has plenty of ghosts and supernatural shenanigans!

THE BOY: Recommend a book that plays with time (whether it be dual timelines, time travel, etc.)

The Umbrella Academy 1×07 ~ The Day That Was on We Heart It
Goddess in the Machine by Lora Beth Johnson

Um? I guess? Goddess in the Machine sort of deals with time travel…I mean, not really, but Andra wakes up from cryosleep after 1,000 years, so…

VANYA: Name a character who has buried potential.

bargalaxies:“ we hope that you choke,that you choke.“the umbrella academy[1.07]  the day that was” ” | Academy, Umbrella, Movies showing

Zila from Aurora Rising definitely fits in here; a bit of her potential was shown in Aurora Burning, but I

can’t wait to see what else she has up her sleeve, because she absolutely has smarts and prowess to spare.

LUTHER & ALLISON: Name a questionable book couple, and why you do or don’t like them.

Umbrella Academy Netflix GIF - UmbrellaAcademy Netflix AllisonHargreeves -  Discover & Share GIFs
Amazon.com: Spinning Silver: A Novel eBook: Novik, Naomi: Kindle Store

It’s been a bit since I’ve read Spinning Silver, but the relationship between Miryem and Mirnatius raised SO many red flags for me – toxic, abusive, manipulative, and…wasn’t there a significant age gap between them?

HAZEL & CHA-CHA: Pick a deadly book duo.

left-handed capricorn — [muffled screaming]
Amazon.com: How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse: Book One of the Thorne  Chronicles eBook: Eason, K.: Kindle Store

This was another hard one, but Thorsdottir and Zhang from How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse are certainly a force to be reckoned with.

GOODBYE: What’s the best finale?

The Umbrella Academy Gifs [Discontinued] - Gif 24: Vanya - Wattpad
Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Ruin and Rising was the best installment of the Shadow and Bone trilogy, hands down.

I TAG:

Just A Small Girl In A Big World.

Today’s song:

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

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (12/29/20)–Cemetery Boys

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles, and welcome to the last Book Review Tuesday of the year!

I figured this book would be a good note to end a year of reviews on, judging from how much hype it’s gotten this year. I put it on hold a few months back (sometime in the summer, I think?) and it just came into the library a few weeks ago. It’s got a super high average rating on Goodreads (4.41 at present) and no shortage of glowing reviews, but although it didn’t live up to all the hype for me, it was still a cute story of ghosts and #OwnVoices queer joy.

Enjoy this week’s review!

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Cemetery Boys–Aiden Thomas

Yadriel’s conservative family doesn’t accept him as a trans boy, but he remains determined to prove himself to them–by any means possible. His means? Summoning the spirit of Miguel, his murdered cousin. Problem is, Miguel isn’t the spirit he summons–by accident, he summons Julian Diaz, his high school’s troublemaker. Julian joins forces with Yadriel and his best friend Maritza to find out how he died–but they might uncover something more sinister in the process.

Beetlejuice Beetlejuice Beetlejuice GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

This one was easily one of the most hyped YA books of this year, and I was definitely excited for it, even if I tried not to get my expectations too high. I wouldn’t say it was a disappointment for me, but it didn’t live up to the mountain of hype for me. However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t like it, not by any stretch of the imagination.

Let’s start off with the good stuff. First off, the representation! I loved seeing the variety of Latinx representation and culture (and I was especially excited to see that Julian was Colombian-American!), as well as the diversity of gender and sexuality, especially with Yadriel. For some reason, I see hardly any trans boys in YA literature, but I love that we have this fantastic #OwnVoices rep in Cemetery Boys!

And beyond that, this novel managed to be appropriately spooky and lighthearted at the same time. There was definitely a kind of 80’s paranormal vibe to it, which I really enjoyed. I loved the intricacies of the brujx culture, as well as all of the individual laws of what a ghost can/cannot do. It’s always interesting to see each author’s different takes on the limits of ghosts and spirits. Never a dull moment.

However, Cemetery Boys wasn’t without its flaws. My main problem was the writing itself–it seemed to lean too much on telling as opposed to showing, and it felt a bit too bare-bones for my taste. Maybe it’s just me. And even though I love the representation, Yadriel wasn’t the most likable of protagonists, either–he came across as rather entitled and whiny, for me. A bit self-centered.

Also, I feel like there was an opportunity to discuss some of the sexism in Yadriel’s conservative family; I get that the point of the whole “stay behind with the women” scene was to highlight how much of a transphobic jerk Yadriel’s dad was, but especially seeing that Maritza has a significant role in the book, I feel like that could have been addressed instead of ignored completely. Thomas did a great job of highlighting aspects of trans life and tackling transphobia, but there was definitely a missed opportunity to challenge some of the present sexism.

Most of my other issues were more nit-picky though; Yadriel’s dad changed his mind about Yadriel a *bit* too quickly for realism, but honestly? It’s what we need. And you know why? Because queer people need happy endings too. (@ Netflix please tell me you hear me) And Cemetery Boys was the perfect kind of feel-good story of trans joy.

All in all, a feel-good, #OwnVoices tale that struggled in the writing and protagonist department, but made up for some of it with LGBTQ+/Latinx representation and a lighthearted paranormal vibe. 3.5 stars!

Magic Forest Night GIF by Alexandra Dvornikova - Find & Share on GIPHY

Cemetery Boys is a standalone (and Thomas’ debut), but they are also the author of the forthcoming retelling Lost the Never Woods, slated to arrive in March 2021.

Today’s song:

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

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: December 21-27, 2020

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles, and happy holidays! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season.

KSAT Weather: Cloudy skies, drizzle, fog by Christmas Day. Strong storms  after Christmas

I finally got all my finals over with on Monday, and now I’m on break for a little while! After the flaming ball of stress and confusion this semester has been, I’m so grateful for some time off.

I had a kind of hit-or-miss library haul this week, but there were definitely some gems in there. And Christmas was this Friday, and I got some amazing books, as well as a gift card to a local bookstore, so I’m super excited! (My brother also got me Minecraft, and I’ve been having way too much fun with it…he’s the best)

I’ve started editing my sci-fi WIP as well, which has been…interesting, to say the least. Somehow, my writing on that first draft fluctuates from “okay, I actually like this” to “dear lord, this is a dumpster fire.” There is no in between. None.

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Shadow Frost (Shadow Frost, #1)–Coco Ma (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Shadow Frost (Shadow Frost Trilogy, Book 1) (9781982527440):  Coco Ma: Books

Cemetery Boys–Aiden Thomas (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Amazon.com: Cemetery Boys eBook: Thomas, Aiden: Kindle Store

Alien: Echo–Mira Grant (⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Alien: Echo: An Original Young Adult Novel of the Alien  Universe (9781250306296): Grant, Mira: Books

Unhooked–Lisa Maxwell (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Unhooked (9781481432054): Maxwell, Lisa: Books

The Gravity of Us–Phil Stamper (⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: The Gravity of Us (9781547600144): Stamper, Phil: Books

Fangirl, vol. 1: The Manga–Rainbow Rowell, adapted by Sam Maggs and Gabi Nam (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Fangirl -- THE MANGA -- coming in October! — Rainbow Rowell

Fargo: This is a True Story–Noah Hawley (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Fargo: This Is a True Story: Hawley, Noah: 9781538731307: Amazon.com: Books

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Foreshadow: Stories to Celebrate the Magic of Reading and Writing YA–edited by Emily X.R. Pan and Nova Ren Suma (re-read)

Foreshadow: Stories to Celebrate the Magic of Reading and Writing YA: Suma,  Nova Ren, Pan, Emily X.R.: 9781643750798: Amazon.com: Books

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 Book Tags

Baby It’s Cold Outside Book Tag

Happy Wednesday, bibliophiles! I can’t believe it’s already almost Christmas…and even though the wind’s been howling where I am, there’s no shortage of good vibes in the house…

I was tagged by the wonderful Bertie @ Luminosity Library (thank you!), and the tag was created by the equally wonderful Erin @ Reading On A Star. I knew I had to do this tag sometime this winter, and it looks like today’s the day!

Rules:

  • Thank the person who tagged you and link to their post.
  • Display the banner (copy and paste).
  • Link to the original creator: erin @ Reading On A Star !
  • Answer the questions!
  • Tag however many people as you want

Let’s begin, shall we?

❄️BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE BOOK TAG❄️

SNOW DAY: What’s your comfort book?

Amazon.com: Heart of Iron (9780062652850): Poston, Ashley: Books

I’d have to say Heart of Iron for this one! It’s been a little while since I’ve re-read this one, but I can always count on these space misfits and Ashley Poston’s signature wit to cheer me up.

SNOW ANGELS: What’s a book that you love so much that you would want to be buried with it? (A little morbid, but…)

Amazon.com: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle) (9781524720964): Kaufman,  Amie, Kristoff, Jay: Books

Back at it again with the MISFIT SPACE OPERAAAAAAAA

Anyway, Aurora Rising is easily my favorite book; not only does it have a special place in my heart for the writing, the story, and the characters, but Auri taught me that you don’t have to be brave to change the world. For that, I will always hold these books highly.

WARM SOCKS: What’s a book that makes you feel warm inside?

Amazon.com: Tweet Cute: A Novel (9781250237323): Lord, Emma: Books

(Hey, I’m wearing fuzzy socks today! 🧦)

I read Tweet Cute a few months back, and it was just what I needed at the time–cute romance, wonderful chemistry, and grilled cheese. Can’t go wrong with grilled cheese.

HOT COCOA: What winter-themed novels have you previously read?

Elementals: Ice Wolves: Kaufman, Amie, Szabo, Levente: 9780062457981:  Amazon.com: Books

I suppose Ice Wolves works, right? Ulfar Academy has a pretty wintry atmosphere.

SLEDDING: What’s a book with the best plot twists? Who’s an author that always keeps you on your toes?

Amazon.com: The Pioneer (9780062658067): Tyler, Bridget: Books

I read The Pioneer about a year and a half ago, on vacation in Canada (remember when vacations were a thing?); I specifically remember how blown away I was by THE PLOT TWIST RIGHT AT THE CLIFFHANGER…

UGLY SWEATERS: What’s a book with the ugliest cover?

Nights at the Circus: Carter, Angela: 9780140077032: Amazon.com: Books

This was the cover of the edition of Nights at the Circus that I got from the library, and that art style just does not do it for me…

MOVIE MARATHON: What’s the last book you binge read?

Amazon.com: Cemetery Boys eBook: Thomas, Aiden: Kindle Store

I recently finished Cemetery Boys in close to one sitting. Didn’t quite live up to all the hype for me, but it was definitely a lot of fun. (Expect a review next week!)

LETTER TO SANTA: What’s a book that’s on your wishlist this year?

Among the Beasts & Briars by Ashley Poston
Fargo: This Is a True Story: Hawley, Noah: 9781538731307: Amazon.com: Books
Amazon.com: The Conference of the Birds (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar  Children) (9780735231504): Riggs, Ransom: Books

I put Among the Beasts and Briars, Fargo: This is a True Story, and The Conference of the Birds on my Christmas list this year!

I TAG:

A charlie brown christmas charlie brown peanuts GIF on GIFER - by Gulrajas

Today’s song:

I just listened to this whole album yesterday and IT HAS NO BUSINESS BEING THIS GOOD…”Good News” is probably my favorite track 🥺

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