February 2021 Anticipated New Releases

Who thought February was going to be a slow publication month? THIS Gal right here! It took me by surprise when I looked at my Notes app and realized I had 22 titles listed for this month and that’s not including any of the BIG hyped up releases (lookin’ at you SJM) but I wanted to spotlight those many may have not heard about. As always, I scout out as many of the BIPOC books hitting the shelves in hopes you too will be as stoked as I am to read these new stories. Yesterday I actually finished reading one of the books on this list (The Project by Courtney Summers) and your girl is still shooketh! I also just received my copy of Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers in the mail from Book of the Month & will be squeezing it into my February “Possible Reads” If you make it to the end of this post, drop some love in the comment box. What new releases are you MOST excited for? any that aren’t listed here? Curious Bookworm here ๐Ÿ˜‰


YA & SCI-FI

MUSE BY BRITTANY CAVALLARO (2/2) – YA Historical set in 1893 during the World’s Fair, we follow Claire who is the daughter of a famous genius inventor. Her father believes that her touch is what has granted him this gift and plans to use her as St. Cloud prepares for war however, Claire plans to claim her life for herself.

WHAT BIG TEETH BYย  ROSE SZABO (2/2) – YA Horror/Paranormal pitched as perfect for fans ofย Wilder Girls this follows Eleanor who has been estranged from her wild family for some years. When an incident takes place at her boarding school she is forced to return home where she struggles to fit in with her monstrous family.

DARK AND HOLLOW STAR BY ASHLEY SHUTTLEWORTH (2/23) – YA Fantasy pitched asย The Cruel Princeย meetsย City of Bones,ย an Urban Fantasy set in the magical world of Toronto. We follow a queer cast of characters racing to stop a serial killer whose crimes threaten to expose the Faerie world to humans. THAT COVER!!! I’m glad this is one I know for sure will be in one of the book boxes I subscribe toย *books shimmy*

ALL THE TIDES OF FATE (ALL THE STARS AND TEETH #2) BY ADALYN GRACE (2/2) – This is the sequel to All the Stars and Teeth (My Review) which was one of my favorite YA Fantasy books in 2020 & had I been able to come up with 20 faves in 2020, it would’ve certainly made the cut! Mermaids, Pirates, curses and a bad a** female heroin who trying to protect her Queendom. Amora is the unlikeable character I absolutely wanted more of, STOKED to pick this one up!

THE GILDED ONES (DEATHLESS #1) BY NAMINA FORNA (2/9) – West African inspired YA Fantasy, we follow a 16 year old MC who prays her blood will run red on the day of her ceremony. When it runs gold (the color of impurity) she must decide whether to stay in her village & live through the consequences or leave and join the emperors army of girls just like her. Near immortals with rare gifts who are the only ones able to stop the threat to the empire.

YESTERDAY IS HISTORY BY KOSOKO JACKSON (2/2) – I heard time travel featuring a m/m romance and decided that was all I needed to know! we have a MC who receives a liver transplant and before he knows it, is time traveling between present day Boston and 1969 where he meets his love interest. The family of the donor explains that time travel is a gift attached to the liver! Can anyone say ORIGINAL?!?! Hella intrigued!

REAPER OF SOULS (KINGDOM OF SOULS #2) BY RENA BARRON (2/18) – I have a non-spoilery review coming later this week but gahhH! if like me you loved Kingdom of Souls then this is an absolute MUST! it’s beautifully written with even more in depth unraveling of the Gods. This was an emotional rollercoaster with many twists and turns, slow to start but when it takes off there’s no getting off the ride!


YA CONTEMPORARY

LOVE IS A REVOLUTION BY RENร‰E WATSON (2/2) – STOKED! a story where our female plus size black MC finds self love! Yes she does so while sorting out some lies she told her love interest who is an activist but STILL, we do NOT have enough or any self-love stories in YA. I’m READY!

FAT CHANCE, CHARLIE VEGA BY CRYSTAL MALDONADO (2/2) – Keeping on with the self-love reads, this a Latinx coming of age story where we follow a brown skinned fat MC who is done having to fit into the image everyone else has for her. Her BFF is the only one who fully accepts her for who she is but things get complicated when Charlie gets asked out by cutie in class Brian. The problem being that Brian asked Charlie’s BFF out first which now brings forth so many questions.

THE INITIAL INSULT BY MINDY MCGINIS (2/23) – First, let it be known I’ll read anything by Mindy Mcginnis! but to be blessed with a Duology is a real treat and to have it be inspired by Edgar Allen Poe? are we even worthy?!? Set in Ohio this one follows Tress & Felicity whose paths are bound to cross and it all is linked back to the disappearance of Tress Montor’s parents. Told in alternating POV’s this dark thriller sets the stage for an unraveling of a friendship that I’m sure I’ll be left reeling from.

THE PROJECT BY COURTNEY SUMMERS (2/2) – I was very lucky to have received a eGalley of this highly anticipated new book by the author ofย Sadie.ย HAUNTING AF Bookworms! SMH I have a full review coming over the next few days with a massive amount of content warnings. I haven’t read Sadie yet but after reading this book, I will absolutely read anything by Summers. If you’re interested in Cults & their inner workings as well as the emotional toll many people experience while being indoctrinated then this is a solid read. I gave it 5 stars but will save my thoughts for my review ๐Ÿ˜‰

A PHO LOVE STORY BY LOAN LE (2/9) – The minute I saw this cover I thought about Tweet Cute which I adored! and then I read the synopsis & it was a no brainer, I NEED this book in my life! Really just pass along any baking/Foodie books because they offer up so much comfort. Here we have two MC’s who are complete opposites as they both work in their families respective Pho restaurants. “For years, the Mais and the Nguyens have been at odds, having owned competing, neighboring pho restaurants. Bao and Linh, whoโ€™ve avoided each other for most of their lives, both suspect that the feud stems from feelings much deeper than friendly competition.”ย THIS!


CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE & FICTION

IT’S BEEN A PLEASURE, NONI BLAKE (2/23) – “Of all the women and men Noni Blake has pleased in her life, there’s one she’s often overlooked–herself. After the end of a decade-long relationship, Noni decides it’s time for that to change. She’s finally going to prioritize her wants and desires and only do things (and people) that feel good in the moment.” –ย This bit right here had me stop dead in my tracks! Having personally seen myself embark on a similar journey, this is one I had to add to my TBR. A 30 something year old woman who sees herself starting over while traveling around the world. This promises to be hilarious and relatable, sign me up!

FIRST COMES LIKE (MODERN LOVE #3) BY ALISHA RAI – This is here solely because I’ve just started reading The Right Swipe and can already tell I’ll definitely be binge reading this series in 2021. This one promises a Catfishing story between our love interests & I’m a sucker for a good love story over the interwebZ haha! Beauty Influencer meets Bollywood Soap Opera Star…BUT WAIT! he doesn’t know who she is or rather who would use his name to woo her over the net!

MAKE UP BREAK UP BY LILY MENON (2/2) – Second chance romance trope?!?! YES PLEASE! a Las Vegas fling between two dating app developers that ends up turning into a competitive race to win a contest that if won can keep their apps afloat. “Love, romance, second chances, fairy-tale endingsโ€ฆthese are the things Annika Dev believes in. Her app, Make Up, has been called the โ€œGoogle Translate for failing relationships.โ€High efficiency break-ups, flashy start-ups, penthouses, fast carsโ€ฆthese are the things Hudson Craft believes in. His app, Break Up, is known as the โ€œUber for break-ups.โ€

SERENA SINGH FLIPS THE SCRIPT BY SONYA LALLI (2/16) – A story about an independent strong woman who is trying to prove to her family and many aunties that domestic bliss is not needed in order to have a happy life. We follow Serena who works at a firm in DC as she navigates friendships and reconnecting with family & even her ex-boyfriend while also trying to hold onto her own self-reliance.

HONEY GIRL BY MORGAN ROGERS (2/23) – I’m MOST Stoked for this new release and have since adjusted my expectations to understand that this is NOT a Romance. It’s more of a late coming-of age story set in NYC after our MC impulsively marries another girl while on a girls trip to Vegas. I will MOST likely be reading this book this month cause the anticipation is KILLIN me!


ADULT FANTASY & SCI-FI

WINTER’S ORBIT BY EVERINA MAXWELL (2/2) – A SCI-FI Romance featuring A M/M romance between Royals marketed for fans of Red White and Royal Blue. Early reviews have this one described as more of a Romance set against a Sci-Fi back drop which is something to keep in mind if you’re looking at this as more of a Sci-Fi focused book cause that it is not. I just got my copy from Illumicrate & can’t wait to dive in!

THE WITCH’S HEART BY GENEVIEVE GORNICHEC (2/9) – Norse Mythology I HAVE MISSED YOU! this one is pitched for fans of Madeline Miller’s Circe which I’ve shamefully NOT yet read. We follow a Giantess who falls in love with the legendary trickster Loki and conceives three “unusual children” each with a. secret destiny. Since I scored a eGalley for this one I will be powering through this one later this week with a full RTC ๐Ÿ˜‰

FIREHEART TIGER BY ALIETTE DE BODARD (2/9) – A Sapphic Novella (by Tor!)ย pitched as “The Goblin Emperor meets Howlโ€™s Moving Castle” Mhmm! need I say more?!? I’m READY!

THE BLACK COAST (THE GOD-KING CHRONICLES #1)ย  BY MIKE BROOKS (2/18) – A new EPIC Fantasy series that promises War Dragons! This is a story about two different cultures who have to come together to maintain peace. This is a multiple POV Fantasy featuring queer characters and conversation on gender roles and sexuality. This is one I have high on my TBR.

THE ECHO WIFE BY SARAH GAILEY (2/16) – Pitched for fans of Big Little Lies? why, yes! Yes I am said fan *arms extended* Martine is a genetically cloned replica made from Evelyn Caldwellโ€™s award-winning research. Sheโ€™s patient and gentle and obedient. Sheโ€™s everything Evelyn swore sheโ€™d never be. And sheโ€™s having an affair with Evelynโ€™s husband. Now, the cheating bastard is dead, and the Caldwell wives have a mess to clean up. Good thing Evelyn Caldwell is used to getting her hands dirty. ”ย This honestly sounds like it would also make for a dope book to movie adaptation.


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December 2020 Wrap-Up & Birthday Book Haul

It may be January but your girl is still sorta…kinda…celebrating my birthday! It took many years for me to love celebrating this day (December 31st) but life should be celebrated & I’m very blessed with an awesome little family and friends. December was an odd month, I felt like I was watching everyone try and reach their Goodreads goals while I accepted quietly (of course smh) that it just wasn’t going to happen. I don’t have a post going up with 2020 stats cause honestly that year is dead and gone and I have no desire to go dig it back up. However, I’m happy with the 67 books I read because of the grade A quality stories I discovered (Top 10 of 2020) and the new authors I fell in love with (I’m looking at you Silvia Moreno-Garcia & Fredrik Backman.)ย In the month of December I read 6 books, some of which ended up being my top faves of 2020! Now, onto some non-bookish December happenings…

I very bravely decided to made my very first Pavochon which is a Puerto-Rican style cooked Turkey!!! It was very important for me to make everything from scratch like my dad used to do and I have ZERO regrets on the turnout even if…it was a 3 day process (flashbacks oh no!) but it was also very therapeutic and FUN!!! my loved ones who are some of the TOUGHEST food critics were floored and that honestly made my birthday week. I’ve fallen in love with cooking these past 2 years and can’t wait to try out new recipes in the new year.

Promise to keep these brief since I have reviews for most of the books I read…

SUCH A FUN AGE BY KILEY REID – (Review) โœจ5ย STARSโœจย A more timely book I could NOT have read in 2020, we follow a black young woman who is accused of kidnapping while baby-sitting for a white family in a. predominantly white neighborhood. I listened to the audiobook which had a awesome narrator! this was a rollercoaster ride for me, feeling everything from anger to hopelessness. Although this does cover some very heavy themes of racism, the author managed to weave in some humor and truly captured what it feels like to be a twenty something year old trying to figure out what to do with your life.

BLAZEWRATH GAMES BY AMPARO ORTIZ – (Review) โœจ3.5ย STARSโœจย This was a fast paced YA Fantasy featuring a Puerto-Rican MC who is feeling displaced from the island after her parents go through a separation. There are dragons and a sort of magical olympics where the dragons and their riders compete. There’s also a villain who was formerly a dragon and is on the brink of starting a rebellion for his own gain. I enjoyed the Puerto-Rican rep I just wished there was more character development done on our MC Lana.

MERRY INKMAS BY TALIA HIBBERTโœจ4 STARSโœจI was looking for some romance/smutty reads around mid-month after reading Fantasy & this novella hit the spot. Yes we can probably all agree that we’re tired of seeing the body boy/dark past trope however, I hadn’t read it in quite some time so it felt new! haha! Here we have Cash Evans who very much love at first sight, falls for Bailey a curvy black woman who he hires to work at his tattoo parlor. Cash invites Bailey over to his family’s home for the holidays and their romance pretty much takes off. Steamy in all the right ways!

FOREVER WILD (THE SIMPLE WILD #2.5) BY K.A. TUCKER – โœจ5ย STARSโœจย I almost feel like this should’ve been a part of Wild at Heart which would’ve then made that a 6 star read. K.A. Tucker novellas really pack in a ton and this was no exception. My fave characters did Christmas and the in-laws in Alaska…PERFECTION! more Calla & Jonah is always a good thing but this time we get backstory on Roy! yea I know, our fave curmudgeon has a past & here we get to see more of him and his happy ending *smiles*

ANXIOUS PEOPLE BY FREDRIK BACKMAN -(REVIEW) โœจ5ย STARSโœจย Simply BEAUTIFUL! I adored this cast of characters & seeing them offer each other sage advice while they remain hostages in a botched bank robbery. The less you know, the better with this book! just bring a box of Kleenex ๐Ÿ˜‰

THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LARUE – (REVIEW) โœจ5ย STARSโœจย FINALLY! a V.E. Schwab book I ADORED start to finish. This book was heartbreaking and yet (hate to use this word again but…) BEAUTIFUL! I lost count of the times I teared up seeing Addie grow hopeful at the possibility of finding love and having that person remember her. Addie has made a deal with good ol’ Lucifer, in exchange for a somewhat immortal life she will surrender her soul when she tires of living. Of course, a deal with Luc doesn’t come without stipulations. Gahhhh! I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH!


 

Blessed with SUPER AMAZING thoughtful friends! these are the books I received for my birthday and Christmas from Taylor @NerdNarration & Lourdes @Chaptersweloveย *heart eyes*ย safe to say I’m set for some good reads for the next couple of months *shimmy shimmy*ย 


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A Diverse Non-Fiction November…

Hola Book Lovers! It’s been quite some time since I picked up a Non-Fiction book, but the mood hit yesterday and before I knew it I had 5 books I’d like to read this month. I’m not too surprised this was a last minute thing since that pretty much sums up most of my reading this year. That it just so happens to be Non-Fiction November is a plus! Earlier this morning I finished listening to ย In The Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado. I expected the horror noir vibes but wasn’t expecting it to hit on a personal level. This is going to be a tough read but for those who are interested in the audiobook, the author does narrate it herself which personally made the delivery that much more profound. I’ll hopefully have a mini-review up forย In the Dream Houseย this weekend.

DIVERSE NON-FICTION I’M READING THIS MONTH


IN THE DREAM HOUSE BY CARMEN MARIA MACHADODocuments the authors own experience within anย abusive same-sex relationship. I wasn’t expecting to listen to this in one sitting but it happened. At times very hard to listen to, raw and unflinching in its honesty. The author wants to raise awareness of how abuse within queer relationships is handled. The fact that often times victims aren’t believed unless there are visible scars & even then it’s sort of swept under the rug. The toxicity in this relationship ranges from emotional to verbal & at times even physical, I’d say you have to be in the right mind space.

BORN A CRIME BY TREVOR NOAHย “Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young manโ€™s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious motherโ€”his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.” I’ve followed Trevor Noah on The Daily Show for some time now & heard amazing reviews about his memoir, it’s time to dig in!ย 

ORDINARY GIRLS BY JAQUIRA DIAZ“Ordinary Girls is a fierce, beautiful, and unflinching memoir from a wildly talented debut author. While growing up in housing projects in Puerto Rico and Miami Beach, Jaquira Dรญaz found herself caught between extremes: as her family split apart and her mother battled schizophrenia, she was surrounded by the love of her friends; as she longed for a family and home, she found instead a life upended by violence. From her own struggles with depression and sexual assault to Puerto Ricoโ€™s history of colonialism, every page of Ordinary Girls vibrates with music and lyricism. Dรญaz triumphantly maps a way out of despair toward love and hope to become her version of the girl she always wanted to be.” Thank YOU Bookstagram for placing this book on my feed cause the minute I saw the cover I ran over to Goodreads for a synopsis. This sounds like itย will be a powerful read!ย 

THE UNDOCUMENTED AMERICANS – “One of the first undocumented immigrants to graduate from Harvard reveals the hidden lives of her fellow undocumented Americans in this deeply personal and groundbreaking portrait of a nation.ย Writer Karla Cornejo Villavicencio was on DACA when she decided to write about being undocumented for the first time using her own name. It was right after the election of 2016, the day she realized the story she’d tried to steer clear of was the only one she wanted to tell. So she wrote her immigration lawyer’s phone number on her hand in Sharpie and embarked on a trip across the country to tell the stories of her fellow undocumented immigrants–and to find the hidden key to her own.”ย Havingย had many of my own family members battle for years to obtain their paperwork for an opportunity to live & work in the USA, this one is HIGH up on my priority list.ย 

HOOD FEMINISM – “Today’s feminist movement has a glaring blind spot, and paradoxically, it is women. Mainstream feminists rarely talk about meeting basic needs as a feminist issue, argues Mikki Kendall, but food insecurity, access to quality education, safe neighborhoods, a living wage, and medical care are all feminist issues. All too often, however, the focus is not on basic survival for the many, but on increasing privilege for the few. That feminists refuse to prioritize these issues has only exacerbated the age-old problem of both internecine discord and women who rebuff at carrying the title. Moreover, prominent white feminists broadly suffer from their own myopia with regard to how things like race, class, sexual orientation, and ability intersect with gender. How can we stand in solidarity as a movement, Kendall asks, when there is the distinct likelihood that some women are oppressing others?”ย I’m MOST stoked to read this one, I have both the audiobook and a physicalย copy I was gifted from a friend. It’s important for me to read books with a focus on intersectional feminism.ย 


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September 2020 TBR

Fall is absolutely in the air, it’s been a long time since I’ve braved posting a TBR here simply because the past 2 years have been mood reading heavy. Unintentionally this TBR is giving off major fall vibes & I am here LIVING for it! although I’ve found a new love for Summer, the Fall season will always be my one true love. It’s when I do the most reading, rock the cute hoodies, and drink all the seasonal drinks…I’m looking at you Starbucks Irish Cream Cold Brew ๐Ÿ˜‰

By the time this post goes live I’ll be in the process of reading 2 or maybe 3 of these titles, one is definitely an audiobook. All of the titles listed below are eGalleys/ARCS/ALCS I am very thankful to have received & will be trying to review within this month. If I manage to make my way through these, I have a few add-ons to choose from but ummm…


Crazy Stupid Bromance (Bromance Book Club #3) by Lyssa Kayย Adams-Lyssaย Kay Adams can continue writing in this world & I will buy all of her books. Here we follow Noah Logan the unofficial Bromance Book Club member who is a tech savvy nerd/hacker. As with all of these books there’s a guy who is in need of better understanding the female love interest. I’m only 15% into this book & already it’s getting hard to stop reading so fast. I love that we follow the important themes discussed in the previous book with sexual harassment at the work front. The men are still hard at work shedding toxic masculinity seen first hand at the very start when we learn that Liv (previous female love interest) has entrusted all wedding arrangements to her fiancรฉ Braden Mack. Braden has gathered his book club to make paper carnations & GAH! I LOVE these characters so friggin much!

Horrid by Katrina Leno-In the spirit of continuing to read Horror, this could not have come at a better time. Set during the Autumns season we see a girl whose father has passed away & with her mom returns to her home town. Creepy vibes in this house where there’s a “storage”room that runs out to be a little girls bedroom. Our MC also faces bullying in this town & from what I can gather, this may come down to grieving & mental illness or something actually dark & secret. I’m intrigued but will definitely be reading this with the lights on & no my Kindle back light won’t cut it ๐Ÿ™‚

Fable (Fable #1) by Adrienne Young-Pirates are my drug of choice but give me female pirates & now I don’t know how to act. I LOVED Adrienne Young’s Sky in the Deep & jumped at the chance of reading this on Netgalley. After losing her mother to the Sea, our MC is left to be raised by her father who in turn abandons her. Left alone to fend for herself, she sets out to make her way back to her father to convince him that she is worthy of being a member of his crew. What she doesn’t know is that during the time she was away from him, he’s picked up quite the rivals in his trade business. No one is to be trusted & nothing is as it seems…

A Deadly Education (Scholomance # 1) by Naomi Novak-I am about 15% into this book & I in NO way am here to support she who shall NOT be named. However, this book really does feel like the Slytherin story I never got. This I guess in many ways is Dark Academia with a MC who to many will come across as unlikeable. I happen to LOVE this type of character, her inner monologue has me wicked chuckling smh. She has all this dark power within her & can cast some powerful spells but doing that would bring about destruction. While others are working simpler spells to make life easier, she can’t summon anything basic. In many ways she comes across as a Bitter Betty but I can’t help LOVING her!

When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole-Thought this was just a thriller but early reviewers are saying this leans more towards Horror. This is the year where I’ve started to take an interest in horror so I’m here for it! I’ve already started the audiobook via Libro.fm (my referral code) & the narration is A+! set in Brooklyn we meet a MC who is in the midst of watching her neighborhood go through the changes imposed by gentrification or is it? did the neighbors really relocate to the suburbs? I hear our MC may be a bit of an unreliable character & I love me a paranoid MC! here for it!

Kingdom Of The Wicked (Kingdom Of The Wicked #1) by Kerri Maniscalco-My! My! MY! I have yet to read a Kerri Maniscalco but this author has remained intriguing AF to me. Happy to satisfy my curiosity with this tale of twins, one Is gruesomely murdered & the other is left to find her murderer and avenge her death. Somehow, she gets thrown into meeting one of the Princes of Hell who is in charge of investigating the deaths of numerous women?!? Dark Romance?! HELL YES!

Legendborn (Legendborn #1) by Tracy Deonn– Southern Black Girl Magic? sign me up! Queer characters & secret societies within a school setting? with magical weapons? HIGH hopes! early reviews are all leaning towards this being a potential 5 star *fingers crossed*

Wayward Witch (Brooklyn Brujas #3) by Zoraida Cรณrdova– The 3rd book in the Brooklyn Brujas trilogy & we finally getย Rose Mortiz as the main POV! the littlest sister who is a rebel at heart, I’m beyond stoked! won’t go into deets cause spoilers but this is such a awesome Latinx trilogy to get into filled with magic and adventure.


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Spoiler Free Review: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Title: Mexican Gothic

Author:ย Sylvia Moreno-Garcia

Pub. Date: June 30th 2020

Genre: Gothic Horror/Latinx/Mystery

Format:ย Physical

Publisher:ย Del Rey

Pages: 301 Pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

โ€œ๐‘จ ๐’˜๐’๐’Ž๐’‚๐’ ๐’˜๐’‰๐’ ๐’Š๐’” ๐’๐’๐’• ๐’๐’Š๐’Œ๐’†๐’… ๐’Š๐’” ๐’‚ ๐’ƒ๐’Š๐’•๐’„๐’‰, ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐’‚ ๐’ƒ๐’Š๐’•๐’„๐’‰ ๐’„๐’‚๐’ ๐’‰๐’‚๐’“๐’…๐’๐’š ๐’…๐’ ๐’‚๐’๐’š๐’•๐’‰๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ: ๐’‚๐’๐’ ๐’‚๐’—๐’†๐’๐’–๐’†๐’” ๐’‚๐’“๐’† ๐’„๐’๐’๐’”๐’†๐’… ๐’•๐’ ๐’‰๐’†๐’“”

๐‘ด๐’†๐’™๐’Š๐’„๐’‚๐’ ๐‘ฎ๐’๐’•๐’‰๐’Š๐’„ isย set in 1950โ€™s Mexico, a Gothic Horror that follows our mid-twenties socialite Noemi (gave me young Evelyn Hugo vibes) who has been directed by her father to go check up on her cousin Catalina. Catalina the cousin who has always been a nurturing role model, married in haste & not much is known about her new husband. It is thought that perhaps there were financial motives driving her fiancรฉ to seal the deal but distance has taken Catalina away from home. Now relocated to a more remote area where communication is lack, Catalina is a source of worry when her letter is received & in it she speaks of a haunted house and whispers within the walls. Noemi strikes a deal with her father, in exchange for enrollment in the University of her choosing she will travel to Catalina to secure her mental state. Noemi is a character way ahead of her times in many ways with a wide array of interests. She steers clear of getting emotionally attached to her love interests & instead feeds her unquenchable this for knowledge. Often times thought of as fickle for starting & ditching different subject matters, Noemi is a force to be reckoned with. Quick witted, fiercely independent, charming, headstrong with a dose of class that drips cool. Noemi is the type of character you’ll never forget. High Place, the big house she travels to is a place you’ll never forget. A place where Noemi will question not only the sanity of her cousin but her own as well. A place that has a lot of history, secrets & pain hidden within its walls. In many ways, High Place is a main character in this story…

Atmospheric & haunting this is a slow burn tale that will raise the hairs as you read. It is a mystery with smart writing in which Moreno-Garcia weaves in themes of eugenics, misogyny, racism, and colonization. It is character driven & has the ability to transport you out of your own surroundings. I read this on the beach and was easily transported to High Place which is the big house this story is set in. I got the same vibes I’d get whenever reading anything by Edgar Allen Poe which left me shook! I don’t ever run to pick up horror but I’d been hearing about this author for quite some time & decided it was time to see for myself. I devoured this book, engrossed & invested in every single page. Unable to put this one down I even read it while accompanied by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia’s Book Playlist on Spotify for this book. I was instantly sucked in by Noemi’s charm, seeing her work her way around the people living in the house while she tries to extract any bit of info. The creepy AF vibes you get while she wanders the halls & speaks to the residents who seem off and strange. Everything about this book was strange but in such a good way! Noemi didn’t shy away from any challenging topics & seeing her handle certain topics had me admiring her at many points throughout the story. This may be my first Moreno-Garcia book but it certainly won’t be last especially since I currently own a couple of her previous works. I’m looking forward to continue falling in love with this authors work, discovering more Latinx characters in the wide variety of genres she has written in.


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Spoiler Free Review: You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria

Title: You Had Me at Hola

Author: Alexis Daria

Pub. Date: August 4th 2020

Genre: Romance/Latinx

Format: eGalley

Publisher: Avon

Pages: 384 Pages

๐Ÿ–คARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review๐Ÿ–ค

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON| LIBRO.FM

Jasmine Lin has just experienced a messy public break-up & can’t seem to escape the tabloids. At the start of this story, she’s relocating back to her home city of New York because she’s been cast for the role of a bi-lingual telenovela star. As leading lady of “Carmen in Charge” Jasmine will have the chance to represent a goal driven successful Latinx woman. Jasmine is Puerto-Rican/Filipina & can admit that often times she falls in love with being in love. This has led to many break-ups in the limelight & now it’s time to refocus her attention on her career. She’s come up with a small set of rules she’s only shared with her sisters in order to stay on track & put love on the back burner. For Jasmine the only challenge she expects to meet is that of having to speak solely Spanish for the role. As a Nuyorican, Spanish is more of a second language that she picked up on the fly. With her hands full she doesn’t expect to have her recent set of self imposed rules to be challenged by her hot co-star Ashton Suรกrez…

Ashton Suรกrez born and raised on the island of Puerto-Rico is looking to finally land a break-out role that could potentially lead him to the big screen. Often times cast as the male love interest in telenovelas, he’s hit a bit of a rough patch when he was killed off much too soon in his last role. Ashton is also bi-lingual & his biggest challenge can often be his accent because it has hindered him from much bigger productions in the English language. Ashton is also goal driven but he isn’t free of baggage having PTSD after being stalked by a fan. Ashton has a rule of his own, no dating the co-star due to some very personal reasons from his past.

I don’t know about you but 2020 has led me to start keeping a list of all the small blessings that come my way. This year I’ve discovered a few Latinx authors whose writing style feels like home. Alexis Daria gave me a walk down memory lane with this book. As a kid I had no choice but to watch telenovelas with my grandmothers & I LIVED for the over the top dramatics! haha! Now, it’s been quite a few years since I’ve watched one but You Had Me at Hola took such a nuanced approach by giving it a modern day outlook. These characters receive on the set coaches to help them with boundaries & comfort levels when it comes to physical touch. There’s tons of communication, this cast & crew operates more like one big family. This is something Jasmine has NEVER experienced. Seeing all different Latinx cultures on the set & Queer love represented by the staff makes her feel at home. This is what drives her to want to help make Carmen in Charge a break-out hit. Of course she does get side-tracked when she meets Ashton who seems to be super clumsy around her. There’s instant attraction & chemistry but both believe the other not to be interested.

I enjoyed seeing the on the set/off the set interactions between our MC’s because Daria threw in snippets of the lines for Carmen in Charge. We get a whole side story about the characters they’re cast to play & it was interesting seeing Jasmine & Ashton draw parallels between their fictional characters in the telenovela. There’s also a strong presence on behalf of the supporting characters who are the families of our MC’s. We get Spanish in the text that isn’t italicized but instead flows organically & beautifully which made me feel like they could’ve been my own family. There’s talk of stereotypes placed upon the Latinx communities & how that can affect certain career paths for both men & women in the industry of entertainment. There’s also talk of how this is something they take seriously because they’re sort of trail blazers in the Latinx community who can create opportunities for others such as themselves. There’s definitely a higher bar set for people of color & with that comes a lot of responsibilty to bear. What I also appreciated was that our MC’s were self aware of certain behavior patterns they needed to work through in order to change. Therapy is mentioned in a positive light & co-dependency as a toxic trait is addressed & also worked through. Last but not least I LOVED seeing Latinx people of color falling in love, crushing their goals & bringing that passion that makes us so proud of our cultures. Alexis Daria has made a fan out of me!

P.S. for those of you who are wondering…those steamy scenes we all live for in our romance books…they broke the chart!!!! I’ll leave it at that ๐Ÿ˜‰


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Spoiler Free Review: Here to Stay by Adriana Herrera

Title: Here to Stay

Author: Adriana Herrera

Pub. Date:ย August 25th 2020

Genre:ย Latinx/Romance

Format:ย eGalley

Publisher:ย Carina Press

GOODREADS |ย AMAZON | LIBRO.FM

๐Ÿ–คARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review๐Ÿ–ค

Julia Del Mar Ortiz wears her heart on her sleeve which led her to relocating from NYC to Dallas Texas with her boyfriend. She’s landed her dream job & things couldn’t be looking better until she gets dumped. Now stuck with a lofty apartment & a brand new car lease, she has to make the best of it. Running back to her family in NYC (as much as she loves them) is NOT an option! She is a Dominican/Puerto-Rican Afro-Latina running the charitable foundation for one of the mostย iconic high fashion department stores in the world is an honor. The only challenge is the blue eyed dark haired Irish Italian consultant hired to take them public which could mean she’d be out of a job. The foundation helps immigrant families with after school care & activities and advocates on their behalf. For Julia this foundation means everything & protecting it from getting cut off trumps her desire for Rocco Quinn. For Rocco, Julia reminds him of home with her Queens NYC swag and give it to you straight personality. He loves everything about her from the beautiful curls to the curves on her body. He also has one thing clear in his mind, he can’t mess up this opportunity to score a promotion. He has too much personally riding on his career moves & falling for the girl who is running the foundation he may have to advise against funding is just not the wisest.

Content Warning: Alcohol abuse, verbal & emotional abuse, abusive parent

There is SO much to love about this new book by Adriana Herrera who I’ve added to my top favorite Latinx authors! Julia isn’t perfect, she ackonwledges that she can be impulsive & tends to place the needs of the men in her life before her own. This wake up call she gets in Dallas doesn’t go unchecked & she’s determined to make positive changes. I LOVED seeing Julia establish herself within her found family group who dubbed themselves the “Gotham Exiles Club”. The six of them are either from NYC or from Dominican Republic & are looking for some familiarity. They do brunches, baseball games, happy hour and really come through for one another. This is all new to Julia & Rocco who are really outside of their comfort zones but who are also eager to write their new chapters.

Rocco is driven by a need to help his younger sister & niece move from NYC away from their toxic parents. Raised by an alcoholic father & mother, Rocco has some baggage & inner demons he is handling the healthy way. I appreciated seeing a character do the work with therapy & actually apply what he’s learned in moments where he knows he’s being baited. For Julia finding her way in Dallas & living her most authentic life is what she craves. Her family is quite the opposite of Rocco’s in that they are super supportive & loving (best scenes with Papi, Mami & Abue)ย but that can also become a safety net if she lets it. We see two ambitious individuals strive to reach their goals while also trying to abstain from giving into temptation. The conflict of interest in the workplace only makes for some off the meter chemistry & intense flirting. In Julia we get a strongly confident & sexy woman who knows what she wants. She isn’t afraid to ask for it & that for Rocco is a true on. He’s a sweetheart & a gentleman who has a whole different side to him when alone with his love interest. This romance is HOT & vulnerable in the best of ways! can we get more of these characters though? I will be sending wishes to the Book Gods for books following Dani, Jose, Tariq, Salome, and Alba (not a part of the Gotham Exiles Club but a wonderful BFF from back home)ย in what I’m hoping is the near future…ย *fingers crossed*


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2020 Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

Hello Hello Book Lovers! I’m a bit past the mid-point of the year but I was reading some FAB books I couldn’t put down & risk them not making this list. I’m pretty sure there are still some new faves out there I’ve yet to read but I’m also very happy with the ones that did make the cut in this tag. The fact that we’re still finding joy in a hobby we love in such tough times is a blessing in & of itself. This tag took me just about a day to work through but while working on it I caught up with some Booktube videos as well as my binge of The Cold Case Files on Netflix.

Best book youโ€™ve read so far this year

Without a doubt the honor goes to All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson! (My review) this book will forever stay in my heart & soul as a genuine collection of stories (essays) that are raw & powerful. George gives us a intimate look at life growing up as a queer black man in America. At times it was very hard to listen to & others I felt like an honorary guest at the kitchen table. Race, gender, sexuality, and socio-economic differences are all explored here. Poignant & life changing, this is a book you want to have read Luvs!

Best sequel you’ve read so far this year

Out of all the prompts in this tag, this is the one I can say was the reason for this tag going up past the month of June. I was honestly holding out to read a few more sequels that I’m pretty certain are going to blow my mind but for now I have selected Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan! (My review) This was 10 times darker than Wicked Saints & I was sort of anticipating this since I follow the author on Twitter. This book is more focused on Serafin but overall the character development was *chefs kiss*ย & the set-up for the final book which btw will be driven by a Malachiasz POV…was just A+! slower paced sequel & worth every page ๐Ÿ˜‰

New release you haven’t read yet, but want to

The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson (Goodreads)๐Ÿ–ค First off I’ll start by saying that I love reading all things witchy, even before I had read the synopsis this book was in my cart. Described as a feminist fantasy with gothic vibes that takes on race, misogyny, religion and homophobia to name a few. I received my copy in the mail about a week ago & will be reading it in August!

 

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

Wayward Witch (Brooklyn Brujas #3) by Zoraida Cordova the final book in a witchy series I absolutely fell in love with! This book will be following the youngest of the sisters Rose as she comes into her newfound powers. This is the third & final book so I’ll just leave it at that cause spoilers. If you’re looking for more Latinx Representation, Zoraida Cordova is such a talented writer who has become one of my top 3 favorite authors!

 

Biggest disappointment

This is the year I’ve re-discovered my love for reading & that’s partly because I’ve made it a priority to only read what my spider senses detect will be a hit. I’m sort of riding the wave between mood reading & arc timely reading if that’s even a thing. No disappointing reads to report as of yet and a gal is crossing her fingers it stays that way ๐Ÿ˜‰

Biggest surprise

You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria (Goodreads) When I first saw this book announced I knew that I had to read! not only for the Latinx representation but also because it’s centered around telenovela stars which I figured would be pretty nostalgic for me. This book was more than what I expected in the best of possible ways. We see two Latinx characters cast in a major telenovela that is set to break barriers & stereotypes for the Latinx community. This is also the first time I read a book with Latinx characters where the Spanish in text is not italicized which gave me a more organic reading experience. I have a review in the works but for those that are interested, some of the content warnings are PTSD, anxiety, talk of loss of a parent, Cancer, alcohol as coping mechanism.

Favorite new author (Debut or new to you)

I’ve recently fallen down the rabbit hole with buying all of anything written by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia with ZERO regrets! I read Mexican Gothic (review coming) this month while at the beach & was just teleported to High Place with its Gothic/Horror vibes turned all the way up! I’ve legit started collecting Moreno-Garcias books since I plan on binge reading for a future blog post. One thing I have noticed about this author is that she isn’t boxed into any particular genre. So far I’ve seen books she’s written under the Horror, Sci-Fi, Urban Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Mythology, Magical realism genres. The one thing that makes Moreno a favorite for me besides the A+ writing is that her characters are all Latinx. I’m really looking forward to reading all of her back-list books.

Newest fictional crush

Artwork Credit: Hellhoneyy (Click on photo for artist website)

I’ll admit I’ve never had a fictional crush but then Talia Hibbert went & changed all that with Zafir Ansari in Take a Hint Dani Brown (My review) he is the perfect balance between sweet cinnamon roll & a knight in shining armor. Not that Dani needed one at all but he’s old school & seeing to his ladies needs/wants is at the top of his priorities. Zaf is attentive & nurturing, he’s also super supportive. To top it all off, he has. foundation where he helps young boys shed toxic masculinity by providing a safe space where they can talk about their feelings. Zaf has my heart!

Newest favorite character

Artwork Credit: Melanie Tranchemontagne (click on photo for artist Instagram)

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) by Sarah J. Maas (my review) was the last book I purchased before Quarantine in NYC & I LOVED it to pieces! There are so many stand-out characters but one in particular stole the show…Lehabah the small & curvy Fire Sprite. Lehabah isย bashful & loves watching Fangs & Bangs. Her love for Fangs & Bangs is only rivaled by her love for our MC Bryce Quinlan. Lehabah fretted over Bryce & I just adored her!

Book that made you cry

This may come as a surprise but the book that made me cry was House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) by Sarah J. Maas (my review).ย If you’ve yet to read this one I’d suggest steering clear of the Goodreads synopsis since it’s VERY spoilery & in my opinion also takes away from the emotional reaction it may illicit. However, I will say what I loved most about this book is the awesome ride or die female/female friendship at its core.

 

Book that made you happy

Take a Hint, Dani Brown (The Brown Sisters #2) by Talia Hibbert (My Review) was THE book that made me smile & just radiate happiness all over! Between Zafir being the ideal love interest & Dani being this independent bi-sexual witch Goddess, I was LIVING for their story! the body positivity & acceptance of personalities and differences is #GOALS If I’m being honest for favorite new to me author it was a tie between Sylvia Moreno-Garcia and Talia Hibbert. Love them both so much! but this is the book that put me in a happy place.

Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

Mexican Gothic by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia is STUNNING!!! Noemi our MC is serving 1950’s glamor with a Gothic/Horror Vibe on the cover with what looks to be dead flowers in her grasp. I LOVE this cover & story so much that I have it on display on my bedroom shelves. It is legit a source of inspiration for some upcoming paint/artwork I have planned for my bedroom walls.

 

What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

There are SO many wonderfully Diverse titles as well as some highly anticipated sequels hitting our shelves in the second half of this year that I absolutely can’t wait to read. These are just a few I plan on reading THIS year in an attempt to deliver my Top 20 of 200 by the end of the year…


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April Monthly Wrap-Up & Book Haul

April was a month FULL of bookish events online like the Social Distance Book Festย & YALLWESTย that made it possible to attend Bookish events virtually. I personally was able to watch many panels for debut authors I’ve had on my radar as well as some favorites I’ve never had the opportunity to hear speak. For the Social Distance Book Fest, you can still watch the playlist on Youtube & they are ABSOLUTELY worth watching! My favorite panels included: Navigating Latinx Identity in Fantasy, New Voices in YA Science Fiction & Fantasy and Diversifying Romance. In the realm of books & what I watched, I’d say there really was NO method to my madness. I kinda just went with the flow & read when the mood hit vs. a more structured TBR. I also participated in Riley Marie & Ginger Reads Lainey weekend Smutathon as a last minute thing because by the end of the month my anxiety had seen a peak. Whenever this happens, I put the Fantasy heavy books to the side & go for some lighter reads. Now as far as what I watched…this has to be the STRANGEST month yet! Yes, Yes I did fall down the tiger hole that is the Tiger King & all things cats really smh! haha ๐Ÿ˜‰

These areย definitely not in the order I’ve read them but I figured I’d start with the steamy reads I p/u during Smutathon…

DESPERATE MEASURES – โœจ5 STARSโœจThis reimagining of the Disney Princess Jasmine was NOT what I had expected at all in the best of ways! With her kingdom snatched away & her father thrown off the throne, Jasmine is at the mercy of Jafar who now claims ownership of their lands as well as Jasmine herself. This is a consensual non-consent steamy read that will never allow you to see Jafar in the same light again! I among fully invested in all Katee Robert books & can’t wait to read the follow up with Hades & Meg as the MC’s.

THEIRS FOR THE NIGHT – โœจ4 STARSโœจย Another Katee Robert novella, this was the Smutathon Group pick. HIGHLY enjoyable with A+ chemistry, this one sets the stage for a new series that features a M/M/F relationship. Our female MC is out for the night celebrating her birthday & trying to forget about her ever mounting debt. With her best wing mate she hits up a lounge where she meets two hella mysterious guys who look good enough to make her consider a threesome. SUPER intrigued to see where this goes seeing as there may also be a royal twist? we shall see!

YOUR DAD WILL DO – โœจ4 STARSโœจOk so maybe it was an entirely Katee Robert weekend? SO WORTH IT! this author can write chemistry like no other! these short reads are packed with sparks that leave you wondering about the characters way after you’ve read the last page. This one features a taboo/age gap romance where the MC has just been dumped by her fiancรฉ. Plotting her revenge she shows up at her exes dad’s house with a plan to seduce. That she does! but also she gets a lot more than initially planned. LOVED this!

MY DARK VANESSA -โœจ4 STARSโœจย My darkest read yet! I don’t think any book has ever made me feel this uncomfortable. Following a MC in past & present tense, we get the story of Vanessa at the age of 15 as she is groomed by her teacher while at a boarding school. Present day Vanessa is still very confused about what to feel as she finds out she wasn’t the only one. That perhaps it wasn’t a special relationship she was having but actually a case of grooming. HEAVY trigger warnings for rape, suicide, drug & alcohol abuse.

RUTHLESS GODS – โœจ4 STARSโœจ (My Review)ย The follow up to The Wicked Saintsย took us to a very dark place! the characters we got invested in really show growth here & carry forth their battle wounds. The war between the Kalyazin & the Tranavians is reaching a climax with the underdog Kalyazin surprisingly flipping the script. There are some secrets that come to light & leave everyone questioning the Gods who may very well be more involved than ever. The war on land may just be a subplot to the real war taking place between the Gods. I’m READY for the final installment with will be mostly from Malachiasz’ POV…there is NO other villain in YA that currently holds a place in my heart like Mal! โค

FROM TWINKLE, WITH LOVE – โœจ3.5 STARSโœจ(My Review) This was an audiobook I’d say was just ok. I’ve heard from other fans of Sandhya Menon that this is their least favorite. I still plan on picking up When Dimple Met Rishi in the near future seeing as that’s an ongoing series with a strong fan base.

INCENDIARY – โœจ5 STARSโœจ(My Review) Saving the BEST for last! Zoraida Cรณrdova is my Favorite YA Fantasy author! bringing to our shelves Latinx representation in characters is something she’s been doing since the Brooklyn Brujas Trilogy.ย Here we have a Fantasy inspired by the Spanish Inquisition with a cast of characters that are being hunted & killed for their magical abilities. The Kingdom has turned its back on what they consider heretics & our MC Renata Convida at one point in her childhood was their most formidable weapon. Now that she’s back on the right side of the fence, it’s time to take down the Kingdom once & for all. BIG time page turner with tons of plot twists that will leave you jaw dropped!

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THE SOUTHERN BOOK CLUB’S GUIDE TO SLAYING VAMPIRES | CHECK PLEASE! BOOK 2: STICKS & SCONES

 

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BEACH READ & VALENTINE

*These are all ebooks I found for either $1.99 or $2.99*

BLOOD HEIR | THE LIBRARY OF THE UNWRITTEN | GODS OF JADE AND SHADOW | ONLY FOR A NIGHT | WHEN WE LEFT CUBA | DOMINICANA | XENI | RAFE | BRING ME THEIR HEARTS | KULTIย 

What can I say about the circus that is the Tiger King on Netflix? this documentary-series made me lose track how many times I asked myself & friends…Is this real? LMAO! SMH Joe Exotic is quite the unforgettable character & this is the story of how his Zoo of Tigers was shut down starting with Carol Baskin who is cat activist on a mission to “save the cats” or is she? the jury is still out on Baskin. I binged this in two sittings not for quality but just entertainment.

This documentary is three episodes that are also highly binge worthy. We follow a group of cat lovers as they track down & help in the ultimate take down of a cat/serial killer. If anything this opened up my eyes at just how easy it is to track anyone down as long as they’ve left an internet fingerprint. The Facebook group that pieced together this puzzle as the killer released videos of him killing cats was PERSISTENT! it became a game of cat & mouse that as a viewer is hard to look away from.


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Spoiler Free Review: Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Title: Clap When You Land

Author:ย Elizabeth Acevedo

Pub. Date:ย May 5th 2020

Genre: YA Contemporary/Own Voices

Format:ย eARC

Publisher:ย HarperCollins/Quill Tree Books

Pages: 432ย Pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLES | AMAZON

๐Ÿ–คARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review๐Ÿ–ค

Where to start with what has easily become my favorite read of 2020 thus far? the author writes in her afterward that this story is inspired by the real life events of flight AA587. A flight routinely set from JFK airport to Santo Domingo aka the Dominican Republic. The flight that never made it & crashed in a Queens NY neighborhood was quickly forgotten about. Just two months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, news coverage was focused on other potential terrorist threats but the flight AA587 crash was not terrorist related. 260 Souls who were mostly of Dominican descent lost their lives on this flight.

Clap When You Land is about the ties that bind in a family, grief, and the sometimes messy secrets that cannot be kept hidden. Told in dual POV we follow Camino & Yahaira who don’t know about one another’s existence. They share the same father who travels between New York & Santo Domingo throughout the year. His absence is always explained as “business” & each of his daughters look forward to his arrivals after a long stay away. On his way to Santo Domingo to spend time with Camino his flight falls into the ocean taking the lives of everyone on board. The news of his passing makes waves both in NY & in Santo Domingo. Many of the family secrets their dad was keeping could no longer stay buried. Camino & Yahaira find out about each each other. This is the story of how they come together, see pieces of their dad in one another, and ย work through all of the emotions these truths bring.

Content Warning: Death of a parent, plane crash, heavy grief, attempted rape (not detailed on the page, premature labor, Cancer, Dengue Fever

Camino Rios –ย Born & raised in Santo Domingo, Camino is described as having her fathers features with her mother’s ย slightly lighter complexion. Camino is a strong swimmer with a passion for medicine & a dream to one day study in Columbia University. Camino lives with a aunt who is a Curandera (self taught medical healer)ย & spends her days as an apprentice taking care of the sick in the neighborhood. Their medicine is a mix of natural herbs for home remedies as well as a connection to the Santos. Camino’s aunt is a Santera who has instilled in her love & respect for the saints who open paths & light the way. Camino is a little rough around the edges as a result of where she’s been raised. Camino is my favorite character, she’s been through so much & still manages to have a nurturing touch and soothing presence.

Yahaira Rios –ย Born & raised in NYC, Yahaira is described as being a mirror image of her father. Dark complexion, tight curls, curvy and a Pro at Chess. Yahaira is a rule follower who connects to her dad by way of Chess, it isn’t necessarily her favorite hobby but she’s a natural just like her dad. Yahaira is a Lesbian with a girlfriend who was also her childhood best friend, I LIVED for their nerd/fashionista love! Yahaira also lives with her mother who is described as a beautiful Dominican bombshell who is the daughter of a very important General in Santo Domingo. Yahaira’s mother has been a keeper of her husbands secrets, my heart really broke for the levels of pain she was feeling.

Yano –ย Although the girls dad has passed away & we never get to see him on the page, his presence is deeply felt all throughout. The man who became very good at living a double life was complex in many ways but one thing was true, he loved his daughters.

Elizabeth Acevedo is my Favorite YA author & this book only further solidifies this in my heart. I knew the premise of the book but I didn’t expect to see similarities with my own father in these pages. I lost my dad to natural causes, flew with him to bury him in Puerto Rico and quickly started hearing the rumbles of secrets. Secrets kept from my own father which were very painful & also had to do with paternity. I cried, smiled, and sometimes outright laughed out loud reading this story. There’s something oh so satisfying when you open a book and are met with characters you can relate to. Characters with the same upbringings & even spiritual beliefs.

I appreciated the research that went into flight AA587 as well as Dengue fever & its effects on the island. With a return to Acevedo’s novel-in-verse Format,ย Clap When You Land is a vivid portrayal of the devastation of loss, grief, and forgiveness. It’s also a story that gives us a different perspective, that of the parents who sometimes may be idolized by their children but ultimately are still very humanly flawed. The backstory on Yano & how he came to live two separate lives was painful but not unheard of. This is one I’ll cherish for all the emotions it stirred up in me. Elizabeth Acevedo continues to be such a blessing to Latinx Book Community ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝ


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