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 Grishaverse Book Tag 🐐

Happy Saturday, bibliophiles!

Before I get going with this tag, I thought you’d all appreciate this…I’m currently in Florida helping my grandma clean out her house, and we’ve found all sorts of weird things lying around. But yesterday I found something great that I figured my fellow bibliophiles would appreciate…

…it appears Kaz Brekker left his cane in Florida. (My friend suggested that it was Inej’s revenge for him calling her an investment SKDJFHSKJDFHSKDJFH)

We’re shipping this back home soon, so I might just have a Halloween costume for this year…😳

Now for the book tag! I found this over at Kira Jeanette’s blog, and the tag was originally created by Rebecca McPeake on YouTube. I’m a huge Grishaverse fan, so I had to give this one a go!

Let’s begin, shall we?

🦌THE GRISHAVERSE BOOK TAG🐉

KAZ BREKKER: A book you shouldn’t judge by its cover

be kind. — FREDDY CARTER IN SHADOW AND BONE EPISODE...
Amazon.com: Zero Repeat Forever (1) (The Nahx Invasions) (9781481481847):  Prendergast, G. S.: Books

UHHH THIS PROMPT WAS REALLY HARD –

Anyway, even though the cover for this edition of Zero Repeat Forever doesn’t make a whole lot of sense before reading the book, but I assure you, this one’s a treasure. (Maybe just stick with book 1, though? Book 2 was…weird, to say the least…)

NINA ZENIK: A book that made you feel empowered

Words Are Life — fairytcpia: NINA ZENIK AND MATTHIAS HELVAR...
Amazon.com: Sawkill Girls: 9780062696601: Legrand, Claire: Books

Sawkill Girls was a PHENOMENAL book – not only was the paranormal aspect amazing, but I loved the themes of sisterhood and feminine empowerment throughout. Highly recommended!

INEJ GHAFA: A book with a good balance of character and plot

Just leaving in 2021 | Six of crows, The grisha trilogy, Shadow
Gearbreakers (Gearbreakers, #1) by Zoe Hana Mikuta

Gearbreakers hit the perfect notes for me – I loved the plot, I loved the characters, and those two aspects were balanced so neatly! I am a little partial to all the characters interactions, though, because the chemistry between Eris and the rest of the Gearbreakers was so sweet…🥺

ALINA STARKOV: A unique book, one that is unlike anything you’ve ever read

shadow and bone gif on Tumblr
Amazon.com: Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything  (9781534448636): Gilliland, Raquel Vasquez: Books

I’ve seen a lot of genre-bending books out there, but rarely do ones like Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything come along – a seamless mix of sci-fi, contemporary and magical realism that tugged at all my heartstrings!

MAL ORETSEV: A book that always sticks with you

burns, babble & books
Amazon.com: The Darkness Outside Us eBook: Schrefer, Eliot: Kindle Store

Okay, I only finished this one on Tuesday, but MAN. THIS BOOK. The Darkness Outside Us is my most recent 5-star read as of now – it started out like any other sci-fi thriller, but it quickly took a turn for simultaneous darkness, philosophical musings, existential crises, and a little bit of hope. I could not stop thinking about it, and I still can’t. (Expect a review next week!)

THE DARKLING: A book with a dark plot/storyline

general kirigan on Tumblr
ew
I'm Thinking of Ending Things | Book by Iain Reid | Official Publisher Page  | Simon & Schuster

There’s a lot of dark things about I’m Thinking of Ending Thingsthis one could’ve fit with the last prompt as well, since it’s stuck with me for quite a while too…(the movie’s amazing as well!)

JESPER FAHEY: A book that people always seem to leave out

Jesper Fahey Is The Best Character In "Shadow And Bone"
HEHE the giddy grin on my face when I found this gif –
Amazon.com: Heart of Iron (9780062652850): Poston, Ashley: Books

Okay, okay, I know I put this book in every single book tag I do, but HEAR ME OUT…

As I’m starting to see Ashley Poston’s books get the recognition they deserve, it feels like Heart of Iron is left out of a lot of the discussion, which is such a shame, seeing as it’s everything you could ever want in both a space opera and a retelling…

WYLAN VAN ECK: A book that wasn’t what it seemed at first

Amazon.com: Invincible Compendium Volume 1 (8601420907461): Robert Kirkman,  Cory Walker, Ryan Ottley: Books

I’m just gonna slap this one in here and count the show in too…without spoiling anything, Invincible starts out like most every superhero origin story, but it gets a lot darker VERY quickly, trust me…

MATTHIAS HELVAR: A book that was bad at first but turned out good

SUOMI FINLAND PERKELE — Hello! May I ask for a song prompt for Matthias...
Amazon.com: The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea (9781536204315):  Tokuda-Hall, Maggie: Books

This one was another hard one, so this is the closest I could find…

I wouldn’t say The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea started out badly, per se – it was just a little slow to start. But once it got going, it turned out to be one of my favorite reads of this year so far!

NIKOLAI LANTSOV: A witty book

Amazon.com: How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse: Book One of the Thorne  Chronicles eBook: Eason, K.: Kindle Store

How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse had no shortage of sarcasm and tongue-in-cheek parody, and I loved every minute of it!

I TAG:

shadowandbonedit | Explore Tumblr Posts and Blogs | Tumgir

Today’s song:

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

Posted in Books, Mini Reviews, Movies

Back from the void! (Mini reviews of some books I read on my hiatus + general updates)

Hey bibliophiles! Thanksgiving break is here, and that means I’m back to posting semi-regularly!

You betcha - GIF on Imgur

Luckily, after the absolute dumpster fire that October was, November really picked up for me! I’ve started getting my grades up, Biden won the election (!!!!!), and my general mood and mental health have just gotten a lot better.

But before I begin, I’ll just start off with this: I’ll probably start being a little bit more fluid with my posting. I’ll still stick to weekly updates and reviews and such, but depending on how I am that week, I might not do Top 5 Saturdays as much. We’ll see how December goes, anyway. School’s 100% remote now, and everything’s starting to close down again here in Colorado, so I’m fairly certain of another lockdown.

And so this post is for all of the notable novels I read in hiatus, as well as some movies and TV I’ve been enjoying. (Of course, the time I take a break is when I get all the 5-star books…)

Let’s begin, shall we?

WHAT I ENJOYED WHILE I STEPPED INTO THE VOID FOR A FEW WEEKS

BOOKS

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

Amazon.com: Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything  (9781534448636): Gilliland, Raquel Vasquez: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

It’s been three years since ICE raids and phone calls from Mexico and an ill-fated walk across the Sonoran. Three years since Sia Martinez’s mom disappeared. Sia wants to move on, but it’s hard in her tiny Arizona town where people refer to her mom’s deportation as “an unfortunate incident.”

Sia knows that her mom must be dead, but every new moon Sia drives into the desert and lights San Anthony and la Guadalupe candles to guide her mom home.

Then one night, under a million stars, Sia’s life and the world as we know it cracks wide open. Because a blue-lit spacecraft crashes in front of Sia’s car…and it’s carrying her mom, who’s very much alive.

As Sia races to save her mom from armed-quite-possibly-alien soldiers, she uncovers secrets as profound as they are dangerous in this stunning and inventive exploration of first love, family, immigration, and our vast, limitless universe.

WOW. I was excited to read this one, but I didn’t expect it to pack as much of a punch as it did. This is the prime example of a genre-bending novel–all of the sci-fi, contemporary, and magical realism elements blended seamlessly, and even if I separated the different parts, I enjoyed each little cog in the machine just as much as the other. I found myself rooting for Sia at every step of the way, and her journey and struggle were so heartfelt and painful. Add in some #ownvoices representation and no shortage of timely themes, and you get this novel–unexpected, seamless, and nothing short of a joy to read.

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Revolution of Birdie Randolph, Brandy Colbert

Amazon.com: The Revolution of Birdie Randolph (9780316448543): Colbert,  Brandy: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

Dove “Birdie” Randolph works hard to be the perfect daughter and follow the path her parents have laid out for her: She quit playing her beloved soccer, she keeps her nose buried in textbooks, and she’s on track to finish high school at the top of her class. But then Birdie falls hard for Booker, a sweet boy with a troubled past…whom she knows her parents will never approve of.

When her estranged aunt Carlene returns to Chicago and moves into the family’s apartment above their hair salon, Birdie notices the tension building at home. Carlene is sweet, friendly, and open-minded–she’s also spent decades in and out of treatment facilities for addiction. As Birdie becomes closer to both Booker and Carlene, she yearns to spread her wings. But when long-buried secrets rise to the surface, everything she’s known to be true is turned upside down.

This one was on my TBR for almost two years, and I’m so glad I picked it up now! The Revolution of Birdie Randolph was one of those rare books that manages to discuss a myriad of issues, but in a way that doesn’t make any of them sound preachy. The struggles of all the characters felt refreshingly real and dealt with in a way that serves to raise conversations. Everything about this novel felt so authentic, which brought me immeasurable joy.

And at the same time, tackling all these issues, Colbert didn’t make it overly heavy–there’s certainly parts that are hard to read, but I didn’t leave it feeling sick to my stomach. At times, it even felt like a slice-of-life story, but I enjoyed that 100%. There’s POC and LGBTQ+ representation aplenty too! All in all, a beautiful and diverse piece of contemporary fiction.

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Are You Listening?, Tillie Walden

Amazon.com: Are You Listening? (9781250207562): Walden, Tillie, Walden,  Tillie: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

Bea is on the run. And then, she runs into Lou.

This chance encounter sends them on a journey through West Texas, where strange things follow them wherever they go. The landscape morphs into an unsettling world, a mysterious cat joins them, and they are haunted by a group of threatening men. To stay safe, Bea and Lou must trust each other as they are driven to confront buried truths. The two women share their stories of loss and heartbreak—and a startling revelation about sexual assault—culminating in an exquisite example of human connection.

At this point, every time I read something by Tillie Walden, I’m guaranteed to rate it in the 4.5-5 star range, and Are You Listening? is no exception. A family friend recommended this one to me a few months back, and it wasn’t available at my library at the time, so I ended up reading On a Sunbeam and Spinning beforehand.

I ate this one up in the span of a few hours, and I enjoyed every panel of every page. It’s a story of bonding in the toughest of situations, of sticking together no matter what, of trust. Walden’s artwork is as stunning as ever, turning an unexpected road trip through rural Texas into a strange, desolate, and trippy landscape where nothing is as it seems. And we have two queer women at the wheel–what’s not to love? And a CAT! A CAT!

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Crownchasers, Rebecca Coffindaffer

Amazon.com: Crownchasers (9780062845160): Coffindaffer, Rebecca: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

Alyssa Farshot has spent her whole life trying to outrun her family legacy. Her mother sacrificed everything to bring peace to the quadrant, and her uncle has successfully ruled as emperor for decades. But the last thing Alyssa wants is to follow in their footsteps as the next in line for the throne. Why would she choose to be trapped in a palace when she could be having wild adventures exploring a thousand-and-one planets in her own ship?

But when Alyssa’s uncle becomes gravely ill, his dying wish surprises the entire galaxy. Instead of naming her as his successor, he calls for a crownchase, the first in seven centuries. Representatives from each of the empire’s prime families—including Alyssa—are thrown into a race to find the royal seal, which has been hidden somewhere in the empire. The first to find the seal wins the throne.

Alyssa’s experience as an explorer makes her the favorite to win the crown she never wanted. And though she doesn’t want to be empress, her duty to her uncle compels her to participate in this one last epic adventure. But when the chase turns deadly, it’s clear that more than just the fate of the empire is at stake. Alyssa is on her most important quest yet—and only time will tell if she’ll survive it.

“Perfect for fans of Aurora Rising” [SLAMS THE WANT-TO-READ BUTTON]

This was one of my most anticipated reads for the second half of the year, and I was…a little bit disappointed, not gonna lie. It wasn’t bad, per se–I liked it, but it left me wanting a little more.

There’s no doubt that it was super fast paced and threw me right into the action–a blessing and a curse; a blessing because it kept me reading for a while, on the edge of my seat, and a curse because…we’re given very little information about the world(s) we’re in. I liked the banter between Alyssa, Hell Monkey, and the others, and they had decent chemistry. (Also, there’s quite a lot of LGBTQ+ characters, including Alyssa herself–I’m not sure if she’s bi, pan, or another identity, but she’s definitely shown to like several genders! Woohoo!)

The breakneck speed definitely had me forgetting where everybody was, why x and y was so important, etc. But for a debut novel, I’d say that this is a solid start on Coffindaffer’s part! Not my favorite, but I think I’ll tag along to see what book 2 holds.

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

MOVIES/TV:

Fargo: Year 4 (2020)

Fargo' Season 4 to premiere Sept. 27 on FX - UPI.com

Yep, it’s settled: Fargo is officially my favorite show. Noah Hawley is a true mastermind of storytelling, and every ounce of his creativity truly shines through in this season. I’ve always loved his characters, but this is the first season where I’ve really gotten attached to some of them (which, given the rate at which characters are killed off in this show, is…not good…). Episode 9 (East/West) is, hands down, my favorite of the season so far–the characterizations of Rabbi and Satchel, all the weird Wizard of Oz references…I haven’t been so invested in a show in such a long time. There’s only two episodes left in this season, so you can expect a review in a few weeks’ time…

Alien: Covenant (2017)

Alien: Covenant | 20th Century Studios

Nobody:

David: GUESS WHO’S BACK

[ahem] Anyway…

Prometheus is definitely one of my favorite movies now, but Covenant wasn’t quite as good. I still enjoyed it though, don’t get me wrong–I love some good, old fashioned sci-fi action, and the twists were so well-executed (though the big one was a tad predictable…I still loved it, though. No spoilers.). I didn’t get attached to any of the characters, but I still adored David, and the creepy little workshop he had going. Everything felt a little rushed, but with where the movie ended, I’m excited to see what else Ridley Scott’s going to pull out of his hat.

Blood Simple (1984)

Blood Simple (1984) - Watch on HBO MAX, HBO, Cinemax, and Streaming Online  | Reelgood

My family’s Fargo kick has made me put a whole bunch of Coen Brothers on my list. We watched this one last night, and…WHOA. I ASPIRE TO HAVE A DEBUT AS GOOD AS THIS. Sure, it took a while to pick up, but it had that signature tension that makes you get invested in so many of their films. Also, even though I’ve never been to Texas, it definitely captured that weird vibe you get when you’re in the South at night, and you’re super tired, and there’s all this humidity and weird ambience floating around…

Today’s song:

So that’s what I’ve been up to while I was gone. As always, thanks for stopping by! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Books, Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (9/21/20)–Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

So many things happening today…World Peace Day, 🎶the 21st niiiight of September🎶, and it’s the 10th anniversary of the release of The Search for WondLa. The latter’s got me super sappy…that series has absolutely cemented itself into the fabric of my childhood, and my life as a whole. (I almost wrote a whole blog post about it, but I did NOT have any mental energy to spare yesterday, so it might happen…later? Who knows)

Anyway, Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme created by Lauren’s Page Turners. All you have to do to participate is pick a book from your Goodreads TBR, and explain why you want to read it.

This one just came out this August, and it sounds like a fascinating contemporary sci-fi! I requested an eARC of it a while ago and never got a response, so my chances are nil now, but hopefully I can find it at the library soon.

Let’s begin, shall we?

GOODREADS MONDAY (9/21/20)–SIA MARTINEZ AND THE MOONLIT BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

Amazon.com: Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything  (9781534448636): Gilliland, Raquel Vasquez: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

It’s been three years since ICE raids and phone calls from Mexico and an ill-fated walk across the Sonoran. Three years since Sia Martinez’s mom disappeared. Sia wants to move on, but it’s hard in her tiny Arizona town where people refer to her mom’s deportation as “an unfortunate incident.”

Sia knows that her mom must be dead, but every new moon Sia drives into the desert and lights San Anthony and la Guadalupe candles to guide her mom home.

Then one night, under a million stars, Sia’s life and the world as we know it cracks wide open. Because a blue-lit spacecraft crashes in front of Sia’s car…and it’s carrying her mom, who’s very much alive.

As Sia races to save her mom from armed-quite-possibly-alien soldiers, she uncovers secrets as profound as they are dangerous in this stunning and inventive exploration of first love, family, immigration, and our vast, limitless universe.

So why do I want to read this?

gif gifs Glitter beautiful summer sky stars night sky lovely amazing  animated gif cityscape star sunset tropical constellations clarity star  gazing tropical sky some island somewhere imforeverjustyours •

Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything seems like the perfect novel that we need in this day and age; a timely novel about the hard truths of immigration and deportation, but with a sci-fi twist. Contemporary novels with sci-fi twists have always been hit or miss for me, but when they’re hits, they make for some of the most poignant novels out there. Sia looks like it has just the right recipe for that sort of tear-jerker kind of genre-bending novel. I can’t wait to read it!

And CAN WE TALK ABOUT THAT COVER, LADIES, GENTLEMEN, AND OTHERS? The color scheme, the art style, the typeface, the…everything…

I've looked at this for 5 hours now Blank Template - Imgflip

Today’s song:

This inexplicably got stuck in my head this morning…

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