Spoiler Free Review: Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden

Title: Winter Counts

Author: David Heska Wanbli Weiden

Pub. Date: August 25th 2020

Genre: Adult Fiction

Format: Audiobook

Publisher: Ecco

Pages: 336pages/8 hours & 17 minutes

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“What I’d discovered was that sadness is like an abandoned car left out in a field for good—it changes a little over the years, but doesn’t ever disappear. You may forget about it for a while, but it’s still there, rusting away, until you notice it again.” – Winter Counts

Set on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, we follow Virgil Wounded Horse a local enforcer as he delivers justice. The American legal system and the tribal council can’t be relied upon for cases of rape, petty drugs, kidnapping or domestic violence. Virgil makes a living from hunting down and then beating up criminals who otherwise would go by unscathed. He’s a recovered alcoholic with a failed relationship who is the guardian of his sisters 14 year old son. He’s fair with his nephew and expects that like most teenagers, he will be tempted to experiment with recreational drugs. He has what he thinks is a fairly open line of communication with him and tries to steer him to staying focused on school. When Virgil catches wind of drug cartels making their presence known to the youth of the reservation, he is offered a job by a local politician to deliver some justice. It isn’t until his own nephew gets caught in the middle of these drug wars that Virgil begins to seek answers to a situation that just doesn’t seem right. There’s an influx of pills and heroine making their way onto the Reservation which finally calls the attention of the Feds. Cases of this magnitude typically do because there’s a vested interest. Virgil sees himself having to turn to an unlikely source for guidance, the very Lakota traditions and spiritual beliefs he so adamantly has turned his back on.

If you’re thinking of listening to the audiobook I absolutly recommend it, the narrator does an excellent job with Virgil. This is a medium paced read that is marketed as a thriller however, I didn’t really see it as such. This reads more like Crime Fiction that covers a lot of the real life issues plaguing Native American reservations. It’s a dark and heavy read with tons of content warnings that I’ll try to cover down below. I found myself unable to walk away from this story for too long and ended up finishing it in just about one sitting. Part of the reason I’ll admit is my interest in the issues many Native American’s are currently experiencing. This has now led me to add a few books to my Indigenous TBR for this year. The lack of social justice this book brings puts a giant spotlight on and brings to the forefront is something I can appreciate. This won’t be the book you’ll find any likable characters in since they’ve pretty much all taken a beating in life. However, for me it was more about the social commentary and spotlighting a serious issue within our own legal system. HIGHLY recommend and without a doubt I’d pick up the next book by David Heska Wanbli Weiden.


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WWW WEDNESDAYS 2/3/2021

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On a World of Words and to participate all you have to do is answer the three W’s listed below. Once you’ve posted your WWW, drop a link to your post in Sam’s comments <3’s!

The questions:
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you’ll read next?

Day 3 of a snowy wintry setting in NYC and although I’m working from home, I’m still feeling that cold air in my apartment. Cozy socks & coffee are on, my window blinds are open while I watch the neighborhood help each other dig their cars out of the snow. I also have an ongoing list of “Possible Reads” cause who am I kidding with TBR’s at this point? absolutely no one smh. February is Black History Month however if you’ve been following my blog and/or my Bookstagram for some time now, then you know I read books by BIPOC authors all year long (as one should) and promote their works. I didn’t join any of the Readathons this year since reading has been touch & go for me while I juggle life and physical fitness but my intention is to amp up my reading this month. In case you’re interested in any of these Readathons (run by some of the MOST down to earth people!) I’ll bless ya with the links here:

Black Author Readathon (Check out Steps Romance Book Talk announcement Video)

Blackathon (Check out Jesse @BowtiesandBooks announcement video)

Black buck by mateo askaripour

I’m 30% into this audiobook from Libro.fm and I’ve already had some “the audacity” moments! this is a satirical take on one young black mans shot to stardom when he gets offered a “once in a lifetime” opportunity while working as a Manager at Starbucks. Darren is 22 years old and unambitious, the former Valedictorian of his class at Bronx Science. His mother who he lives with in their family owned Brownstone in Bedstuy wants nothing more than to see him live up to his potential. Rhett Daniels the CEO of Sumwun, NYC’s hottest tech startup sees that potential and is intent on getting Darren on his team. Darren joins and from day 1 is met with some quite infuriating white leadership who dish out every single stereotype there is about black people. I’ve lost track of how many times Darren has been asked whether he’s been told by anyone that he looks like MLK or Sidney Poitier. Darren’s inner monologue has me smiling at times and other times laughing, fast paced and thought provoking this book explores race and ambition through a different lens.

the project by courtney summers

I actually had started my eGalley before getting swept up in Black Buck so it’s on a slight pause for now. I’m sure when I do pick it back up I will breeze right through it since it’s based on cults and YA Thriller/Suspense novels tend to be inhale reads for me. I’ve never read anything by Courtney Summers but I do own the Sadie audiobook I shamefully have procrastinated on starting SMH! Hopefully it’s as good as many of my bookish friends are anticipating it to be *fingers crossed*

winter counts by david heska wanbli weiden

Also a audiobook from Libro.fm that is fantastically narrated! I finished listening to this one on Sunday morning and immediately 5 starred it on Goodreads & Story Graph. Set on an Indian Reservation in South Dakota, we follow Virgil Wounded Horse a biracial Lakota local enforcer who is hired to take care of criminals when the tribal council & American legal system look the other way. Things hit close to home when his 14 year old nephew gets swept up in the middle of cartel drug wars. Virgil must find a way to get him out and get rid of these bad guys who are selling heroine & hard pills to the youth on the reservation. This was a DARK challenging read at times that is mostly character driven. I have a full review coming here on the blog next week but also have a post up on Bookstagram.

Continuing on with my list of “Possible Reads” pretty much makes any of these three a contender for my next read. However, I will definitely be starting The First Sister by Linden A. Lewis next week since it is a buddy read with Melanie over @Meltotheany that I’m really looking forward to. Chances are this may change mid week since I have a couple of library holds that are looking mighty close to coming through…I’m looking at you The Right Swipe & Ring Shout cause y’all are about to throw a wrench in my reading plans haha!


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January 2021 Anticipated New Releases

Hello Bookworms! I decided to try something new (to me) here on the blog since I always have a running list going on my phone of anticipated new releases. It helps me be more aware of what’s coming out in the publishing world even though I don’t particularly like or stick to TBR’s. I debated this past weekend on whether this post should be quarterly or monthly and with the help of a friend decided monthly would be best. The reason being that I read across many different genres and a quarterly list would look Nanas & would probably end up missing a few titles that slip through the cracks. I’m a little late this month since I was unsure on the format but in the future these posts will go up the last week of the month in anticipation of the following months titles. January is typically a slow month in books seeing as we’re gearing up to be overwhelmed with ALL the books come February and I do mean ALL the books haha! So without further ado…


YA & MIDDLE GRADE

LORE BY ALEXANDRA BRACKEN (1/5/2021)-Putting aside the fact that this cover is STUNNING & will make anyone do a double take…this book features Athena the Goddess of wisdom, war and crafts aka my favorite of them all! as punishment for a past rebellion, nine greek Gods are forced to walk the mortal earth while being hunted by ancient bloodlines. Our MC has turned their back on said world until a wounded Athena crosses her path. This one is coming in one of my book boxes & will MOST def be a book I read in February.

ANGEL OF GREENWOOD BY RANDI PINK (1/12/2021)- Historical YA inspired by the Greenwood Massacre of 1921 in Tulsa aka Black Wall Street. We follow two teens with  opposing views on how black people should handle conflict & racism. Isaiah is a follower of WEB Du Bois & believes black people should rise up and claim their place as equals. Angel is a follower of Book T Washington and believes black people should take a slow peaceful approach w/out forced conflict. Things change when a white mob storms their community destroying the town and leaving its residents displaced.

CONCRETE ROSE (THE HATE U GIVE #0) BY ANGIE THOMAS (1/12/2021)- The prequel to the The U Give, here we get the story of Maverick Carter (Starr Carter’s Dad) and how he came to be a young father.  For Mav, life hasn’t been easy but he tries to juggle school and becoming a young dad while also making money on the streets as apart of a gang. Son of a former gang legend, Mav is left to care for his family while his mother works two jobs and his dad is in prison. He’s offered a chance to leave street life behind and go straight but it proves to be much easier said than done. This is Mavericks story of becoming the man we later see in The Hate U Give. STOKED! black men as a whole are under represented in books, Mav is a fictional father I absolutely loved when I first met him on the page!

BE DAZZLED BY RYAN LA SALA (1/5/2021)- After reading and really enjoying Reverie by this author, I knew to keep an eye out for future works. Dubbed as Project Runway goes to Comic con! this a queer m/m YA Contemporary with a MC who loves creating, bedazzling, sewing, stitching, pattern making etc. when he enters a Cosplay competition in hopes of winning a sponsorship. The problem is that his ex boyfriend has also entered the competition and unresolved feelings still linger when they’re partnered to work together! SIGN ME UP!

WINGS OF EBONY BY J. ELLE (1/26/2021)-A debut fantasy about a black teen from Houston Texas who witnesses the murder of her mother on her doorstep. She’s then separated from her sister by her father and whisked away to an island of magic wielders, Rue is half God/half human. On the anniversary of her mom’s death she wants only to return to Houston and see her sister. When she does, she finds that Evil has taken a hold of the black kids in her community and forced them into crime and violence. Rue must tap into her ancestral magic to try and save her neighborhood before the Gods burn it to the ground.

ROMAN + JEWEL BY DANA L. DAVIS (1/5/2021)-What if Romeo & Juliet got the Hamilton treatment? Yea that’s about all I needed to read to know I want to to read this tbh. Our MC Jerzie wants so badly to land the lead role in what is Broadway’s hottest new show featuring a diverse cast of characters and “modern twists” on the play. She ends up however, being cast as the understudy and also falling for the male lead. The problem is, the mega star who has been cast as the star lead has also set her eyes on him. DRAMA! haha!

AMARI AND THE NIGHT BROTHERS BY B.B. ALSTON (1/19/2021)- Quinton Peters who is living in low-income housing has received two full scholarship offers to Ivy League schools when he mysteriously goes missing. His 13 year old sister Amari wonders why it’s not made a bigger deal. When she discovers a suitcase in Quinton’s closet with an invitation for her to go to a summer tryout at the secretive Bureau of Supernatural Affairs she decides to answer. In search of answers on Quinton’s disappearance, Amari discovers a world of mermaids, dwarves, yetis, magicians and a weredragon as a roommate. Mari must compete against some of the nation’s wealthiest kids who’ve known about the supernatural world all their lives. This just sounds like it’s going to a be a fun time!


SCI-FI & FANTASY

REMOTE CONTROL BY NNEDI OKORAFOR (1/19/2021) –“She’s the adopted daughter of the Angel of Death. Beware of her. Mind her. Death guards her like one of its own.” An African Futurism Novella that features a MC named Fatima who has a fox companion she walks alone searching for answers on the object that fell from the sky changing her forever. STOKED to have a eGalley I’ll be reading tonight!

PERSEPHONE STATION BY STINA LEICHT (1/5/2021)-Dubbed as being for fans of The Mandalorian and Cowboy Bebop will pretty much get anyones attention! a Queer Sci-Fi space opera that takes place in a backwater planet called Persephone station where a bartender named Rosie serves two types of people: Those of the criminal class and those who seek to employ them. When Angel an ex marine and head of a semi-organized crew of criminal bent on doing the honorable thing gets hired by Rosie, she sees herself up against an army. The Serrao-Orlov Corporation is a corporation set on exploiting Persephone Station until met with Angel & crew. THAT COVER & PREMISE!!! ❤


fiction & romance

THE PROPHETS BY ROBERT JONES JR. (1/5/2021)- “A singular and stunning debut novel about the forbidden union between two enslaved young men on a Deep South plantation, the refuge they find in each other, and a betrayal that threatens their existence.” I received an ALC copy from Libro.fm that I’m pretty stoked to get to just from listening to the sample audio.

THE EX TALK BY RACHEL LYNN SOLOMON (1/26/2021)- hate to love romance? seems so. Shay, a producer for her Seattle public radio realizes things have gotten pretty stale on the air and the show needs a new concept.  Her newest colleague Dominic who has just attained a masters program in journalism thinks he knows all there is to know about radio. The idea is born to have exes come on the show and deliver relationship advice. Their boss decides they’re PERFECT to host the show since they already despise each other. This sounds innnnneresting haha!


What are some of the january titles you’re most looking forward to hitting the shelves? drop a comment down below & as always, happy reading <3’s!


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October 2020 Wrap-Up

Ever had a month where you simply needed change? change of scenery or routine? That was October for this book lover. Working from home as well as remote teaching can be hella fatiguing without adding all the other day to day tasks. I was craving fresh air, trees, bodies of water and trails. So, I took my physical fitness journey to the trails in Ramapo New York. It was exactly what I needed to reinvigorate me for LIFE in general. Books were read & lots of thinking and self care was done as well, all in a safe space. I find that detaching from my apartment REALLY helps me ground myself & feed my soul.

I wish I’d taken more photos on the trails but tbh, they were intermediate and for someone like myself who has just started doing these…it can be challenging to say the least (short girl short strides problems haha!) I did get an AWESOME sense of accomplishment whenever I reached the top or pushed myself the extra mile. My reading was top quality this month! I’m behind just two more reviews for October but they’re coming I promise. I just thought it best to wrap up October cause we’re already at the end of November smh.


My Spoiler free  reviews are linked down below…

FABLE BY ADRIENNE YOUNG – This was a 4 Star read, I love a good father/daughter story and Adrienne Young is an author who really delivers on familial bonds. I listened to the audiobook on Libro.fm, the narrator nailed female pirate with an air of defiance. The world building was A+ and if you’re a lover of high seas adventures, this one will make you feel like your dead smack in the middle of an ocean aboard their ship. Pacing at times can be a bit off but the story & character development more than make up for it.

SPOILER ALERT BY OLIVIA DADE – 5 Star read which had me smiling & at times giggling at its raunchiness haha! this is one for those who love fanfiction OR fandoms in general. Our MC is plus size & very secure of herself in a way that had me thriving to embody her glow. She’s a fan fiction writer & cosplayer who loves living the geeky life. The male love interest is the star of a Gameofthronesque type show…the same show our MC writes fan fiction for. I gushed all about these characters in my non-spoiler review linked above.

LEGENDBORN BY TRACY DEONN – 5 EPIC STARS!!! yet I’m still sitting here wondering why this one made a splash pre-release yet I haven’t seen many reviews out there for it. Those reviews I have seen on Bookstagram from black readers & POC have been rave reviews and I LOVED to see it! This is the ONLY Arthurian re-telling? continuation? I really care for this year. We get a MC who has suffered a very traumatic loss at the start & so her grief is integral to this story. She finds her way into a secret society of the descendants of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. There’s blood magic & a war brewing but it’s all linked back to the racism & generational trauma experienced by the MC’s ancestors. This one moved me on a soul level and is exactly the type of Fantasy I want to read more of.

BLACK SUN BY REBECCA ROANHORSE – 4 Stars & I’m prepared to read more by Rebecca Roanhorse ASAP! this is the start to a new adult fantasy series set in a world inspired by the Pre-Colombian Americas, we follow the Sky Made Clans who are prepping for Winter Solstice. Ya’ll ever read a book with a jaw dropping first passage? cause this one had me shaking my head like, what did I just get myself into? HOOKED! Ok. There’s a prophecy, a clan of Crow people who have been wronged, retribution, Queer characters (one who just so happens to be sort of a siren), multiple POV’s and so much more.

GROWN BY TIFFANY D. JACKSON – 5 Stars simply put this was a Gut wrenching audiobook. Our MC is a teenage black girl who aspires to have a singing career. Her path unfortunately crosses with a narcissistic predator who dangles promises but only seeks to control her mind and body. We see her innocence stripped away while he works to isolate her from a family who loves her and has only sought to take care of her. Many have linked this book to the singer R.Kelly but the author has previously stated that this is not that but is it’s own story. Either way, it was at times disturbing to read and others just sad because too often black girls are subjected to having to grow up way before they’re meant to. HIGHLY recommend to those seeking to read & connect with stories/characters outside of their own culture, ethnicity or youth experience.

AMERICAN DREAMER BY ADRIANA HERRERA – 5 GLORIOUS STARS!!! In this corner of the interwebz we LOVE Adriana Herrera and whatever she writes I will buy and support. Also listened to this on Libro.fm while cooking & doing laundry. We follow our MC who is a Dominican Gay man leaving NYC and moving to Upstate NY in hopes that he can turn his Afro-Caribbean food truck into a restaurant. When he arrives he meets Jude, the cute librarian guy who is a bit shy but also very curious about Nesto’s confidence and swag. Filled with yummy food descriptions and a crew of fellas who are #BFFFriendGoals I ate this book up! haha! Cannot wait to continue on with this series.


Lovecraft Country

This was just about the only TV show I managed to watch in October but WOW! Quality streaming content book lovers! I’m not yet finished, I’ve watched 9 episodes and have been staying away from Twitter spoilers. I hear the ending will break me and I’m just bracing for that. Sci-fi Horror which starts off with a black man who goes on a road trip with his Uncle and friend through 1950’s Jim Crow America. Each episode has you clutched in fear for these characters whose lives are constantly in peril between racist America and the actual monsters/demons which I took to be physical manifestations of the hatred steeped in our history/present day.


I hope you’re all doing well during these tough times, finding things that bring joy and peace to your lives. Big or small, whatever brings your soul joy I hope you’ve found it or are on your way to finding it. I’d LOVE to hear all about what ya’ll have been reading or spending time on/with. Drop some love down below <3’s!

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Spoiler Free Review: Fable by Adrienne Young

Title: FABLE

Author: Adrienne Young

Pub. Date: September 1st 2020

Genre: YA Fantasy

Format: eGalley + audiobook

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Pages: 357 pages

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🖤ALC provided by author in exchange for an honest review🖤

There are five rules. Only five.

🏴‍☠️Keep your knife where you can reach it.

🏴‍☠️Never, ever owe anyone anything.

🏴‍☠️Nothing is free.

🏴‍☠️Always construct a lie from a truth

🏴‍☠️Never, under any circumstances, reveal what or who matters to you


These are the five rules Fable lives by, the ones her father had her memorize at a very young age. The same rules she thinks about whenever she thinks of making her way back to him. Saint, a well known Pirate with a fleet abandoned Fable on her fourteenth birthday. After experiencing the death of Fable’s mother, he believed Fable would do best away from the world of Pirates. He sailed away leaving her to fend for herself on an island that is pretty tough to survive as it is filled with sketchy cutthroat pirates. He did make her this one promise…

“Get yourself off this island and the next time I see you, I’ll give you what is yours” 

Fable is a Dredger, she hunts for underwater treasure and turns a profit from local merchants. She also has the unique inherited gift passed down to her from her mother of deciphering gems. She manages to hustle a Pirate named West to allow her passage on his crew ship as a Dredger. He begrudgingly grants her passage without first taking a vote with his crew. Fable then has the task of gaining the crews trust and earn the spot she was given without their say. The Marigold sets sail to The Narrows where Fable hopes to find her father Saint. All the while, never revealing that the well known Pirate is her father. It is the one secret he asked her to keep but one thing is clear to Fable…she isn’t the only one keeping secrets on The Marigold!

One thing I feel Adrienne Young does so well is familial bonds, fleshing them out so that the reader really understands the connection. After reading Sky in the Deep I knew I’d want to read more from this author and Fable once again delivered, this time with Fable’s found family. We see her throughout this entire journey revisiting the memories she has of when she had her father & mother together on their ship The Lark. She hasn’t given up on her father despite his abandonment, it just motivates her to prove her worth as a Pirate in his eyes. While on the ship she starts building these connections with the crew members that fill the hole she has for her family. Then there’s the relationship she forms with West which personally had me wondering if there was more to it than them just being crew mates. Their relationship doesn’t take center stage in the story nor is it really a slow burn. Instead we see West having to trust in Fable’s abilities and learn to respect her need to not be restricted. Voice notes with my good friend Taylor over at Nerd Narration helped me see the father/daughter relationship from a different angle. Yes I absolutely ended the night in tears & said to myself yet again, Adrienne Young is an author to keep an eye out for.

P.S. The audiobook only further enhanced the already SUPER atmospheric world building. The narrator really brought Fable to life on the ship, brave & daring!


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Spoiler Free Review: Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Title: Cemetery Boys

Author: Aiden Thomas

Pub. Date: September 1st 2020

Genre: YA Urban Fantasy/Queer

Format: Audiobook

Publisher: Swoon Reads

Pages: 352 pages

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Whenever I think of this book I smile simply because I love the entire cast of characters. Our MC Yadriel is a Latinx trans boy growing up in L.A.who is trying to get his family to accept him for who he really is. This is no easy feat in an extensive family of Brujex who follow the traditions & spiritual beliefs that honor Lady Death. Yadriel hasn’t gone before Lady Death to be recognized as a real brujo & get his portaje (dagger) in large part because his family doesn’t believe she’ll accept him as trans. The ceremony with Lady Death is what grants Brujex the power to sever the ties a spirit has to the living. This in turn allows for the spirits to cross over, a responsibilty that most Brujex celebrate when their time comes. The Brujex community has just been rocked when one of their own goes missing. Search parties are formed, led by Yadriel’s father who is their leader. He has also forbidden Yadriel from participating in the search alongside the other men. Yadriel defies his fathers orders to stay behind & with the help of Maritza a sort of unconventional bruja *heart eyes* sets out to find answers. Performing the ritual for Brujex was HUGE! It meant Lady Death does accept him, what he didn’t expect was to accidentally conjure up the spirit  of the schools residential bad boy, Julian Diaz. Nor that he’d find Julian infuriatingly attractive…
🧡

Adri (Goodreads | Booktube Reading Vlog) who 100% made me run to pick this book up, has also given us the following content warnings: Misgendering, allusions to deadnaming, depictions of gender dysphoria, exploration of parental death, non-violent references to blood magic, some descriptions of self-harm (for ritualistic purposes)

“It’s astrology, and it totally makes sense!” Maritza continued. “His big, obnoxious Scorpio energy is invading your cozy Cancer safe space!”

I’m a sucker for astrology but to see fictional characters get assigned a zodiac sign is genius! I legit had a few moments where I found myself nodding along with Maritza in a “that makes sense cause he’s a Scorpio” moment haha! honestly it just added a layer of fun in getting to know these characters & got me invested. I grew affection towards Yadriel & found myself feeling over protective of his heart/feelings. Julian’s backstory was fleshed out giving us a better understanding as to why he was perceived a certain way. We see how his Columbian ethnicity was used against him to form stereotypes around him & his family. Dubbed a troubled kid who most likely belonged to a street gang, Julian found it easier to let others think what they may. There were moments between Julian & Yadriel where he questions the things he does. If in fact he was going to wait to be granted permission to be accepted as a trans Brujex…

Why do you have to prove anything to anyone?”
“It’s just how it is, how it’s always been. In order for them to let me be a brujo—”
“You don’t need anyone’s permission to be you, Yads”

This has to be one of the sweetest couples I’ve ever read in YA Contemporary. I often found myself asking why Julian had to have passed away to begin with, it gave me a bittersweet feeling seeing them fall for one another. This is a story about acceptance and living in your truth, it’s about friendship & sweet innocent love. There’s a strong family at the core of this story, one that Yads loves wholeheartedly & who in turn love him. The fear Yad’s own father has over him has become a blockage in their relationship. Their relationship in particular had me all in my feelings wishing for the best outcome because the love between them is so great. Yadriel lost his mother at a young age but as a Brujex is able to spend one day with her every year when the veil is at its thinnest between the living and spirit worlds. I personally try to stay away from stories that delve into grief however this was done in a way I’ve never experienced before. I can go on and on for days on why this is a MUST read but the book community is already doing a PHENOMENAL job in singing it its well deserved praises 😉


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August 2020 Wrap-Up

The last official month of Summer has come & gone leaving me sitting here drafting up a wrap-up in warm fuzzies while sipping on my coffee. My reading in August was very scattered and looking back that was probably because I was anticipating September too hard to even focus. I’m a type A personality who organizes & plans for things and so most of my focus was in preparing for a more stress free work from home/remote learning set-up in my apartment. I did still squeeze in a few more trips to the beach in an attempt to stretch out the golden tan I worked so hard for smh. This all is the reason for which I listened to 4 audiobooks & read 3 physical books. Although I found some new authors I’d like to read more from, the only read to truly blow me away was Lobizona by Romina Garber & this now being September aka Latinx Heritage month, I hardcore recommend this read my friends! ❤

THE ROOMMATE BY ROSIE DANAN – (MY REVIEW)✨4 STARS✨FUN, STEAMY & SEX POSITIVE

THE VOTING BOOTH BY BRANDY COLBERT – (MY REVIEW) ✨4 STARS✨ A TIMELY READ THAT BRINGS ISSUES WITH VOTER SUPPRESSION TO THE FOREFRONT

FAITH TAKING FLIGHT BY JULIE MURPHY – (MY REVIEW) ✨3.5 STARS✨CUTE QUEER STORY ABOUT FRIENDSHIPS WITH SOME PACING ISSUES THAT MADE IT CHAOTIC TOWARDS THE END

ONE TO WATCH BY KATE STAYMAN-LONDON -(MY REVIEW)✨5 STARS✨ AUDIOBOOK WAS THE WAY TO GO! QUITE THE ADDICTIVE READ WITH A PLUS SIZE MC ON A DATING SHOW WHO FACES MUCH ADVERSITY & CRUELTY. THIS WAS AT TIMES HARD TO LISTEN TO BECAUSE IT WAS TRIGGERING, STILL ONE OF MY FAVES THIS YEAR

THE FAITHLESS HAWK (THE MERCIFUL CROW #2) BY MARGARET OWEN – (MY REVIEW) ✨ 5 STARS✨ THIS BOOK! AHHH! ALL THE FEELS, TRULY LEFT ME BAWLIN’ MY EYES OUT ON THE VERY LAST PAGE. THIS DUOLOGY  IS NOW SITTING NEXT TO MY MY SIX OF CROWS DUOLOGY AS FOREVER FAVORITES

HIS & HERS BY ALICE FEENEY – (MY REVIEW) ✨ 4 STARS✨ONCE AGAIN LIBRO.FM CAME THROUGH WITH A BONE CHILLING ALC! TOLD IN MULTIPLE POV WITH ONE OF THE 3 NARRATORS USING A VOICE CHANGER…COULDN’T LISTEN TO THOSE CHAPTER AT NIGHT JUSSAYIN.

LOBIZONA BY ROMINA GARBER – (MY REVIEW) ✨5 STARS✨ROMINA GARBER DELIVERED SUCH A SOLID STAND OUT DEBUT! IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR SOMETHING TO REPLACE SHE WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED…LOBIZONA WILL DEF GIVE YOU HP VIBES.

PROJECT POWER EXCEEDED EXPECTATIONS, SET IN NEW ORLEANS WE FOLLOW A TEEN WHO TEAMS UP WITH A COP & EX SOLDIER TO GET TO THE BOTTOM OF A VERY SERIOUS DRUG THAT HAS HIT THE STREETS. A DRUG THAT GIVES YOU UNPREDICTABLE SUPER POWERS FOR 5 MINUTES.  HIGH ADRENALINE DELIVERED BY JAMIE FOX WHO HAS YET TO DISAPPOINT ME.

“A COVERT TEAM OF IMMORTAL MERCENARIES ARE SUDDENLY EXPOSED AND MUST NOW FIGHT TO KEEP THEIR IDENTITY A SECRET JUST AS A UNEXPECTED NEW MEMBER IS DISCOVERED” I HAD NO IDEA THIS ORIGINATED FROM A COMIC BUT I WAS LEFT WITH A NEED FOR MORE! I TRULY WISH THIS HAD BEEN MADE A SERIES BUT THAT COULD JUST BE MY BIAS TOWARDS ANYTHING HAVING TO DO WITH IMMORTALS. LOVED THESE CHARACTERS (NOT ENOUGH TIME) AND THEIR OLD TIES TO ONE ANOTHER. AGAIN, JUST WISH WE GET MORE.


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Spoiler Free Mini Reviews: The Faithless Hawk and His & Hers


THE FAITHLESS HAWK (THE MERCIFUL CROW #2) BY MARGARET OWEN

✨ 5 STARS✨ 

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

The Faithless Hawk is absolutely making my Top 20 of 2020 list at the end of the year! I had for some reason thought this was a trilogy but in fact it’s the conclusion to a duology. The Merciful Crow (Spoiler free review) was one of the best new Fantasy books I picked up last year leaving me wanting more. The first book was more character driven whereas the conclusion expanded on world building & the magic system. We got a comprehensive look at the caste system this world is ruled by which further highlighted the issues with how the Crows have been mistreated. We also get more interaction from the villainous Queen Rhussana who takes the cake for EVIL, she could give Levana from the Lunar Chronicles a run for her money. If you’re someone who enjoys Fantasy that leans more towards the adult spectrum then this is one I HIGHLY recommend. It’s a dark world filled with the stench of death while our Crows deliver mercy as best they can while watching their own backs. One thing I can honestly say balanced out all that death was the humor Margaret Owen gave us in the second half of this book. Court politics, scheming, infiltration & CATS! yes, Barf is back and has managed to acquire some friends haha! the crew is focused on removing Rhusanna from the throne and crowning Jasimir as the rightful heir/ruler. Fie + Jasimir showed the MOST character development in this book and their friendship is unrivaled. Satisfying conclusion that left me bawling in tears! it’s pretty safe to say I’ll read anything Owen writes in the future


HIS & HERS BY ALICE FEENEY

✨ 4 STARS✨ 

✨ ALC received from Libro.fm in exchange for an honest review✨ 

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | LIBRO.FM 

“There are two sides to every story: yours and mine, ours and theirs, His & Hers. Which means someone is always lying.”

I’ll preface this by saying, If you plan on reading this book then audiobook should be seriously considered. The sampler gives you a taste of what’s to come with one of the narrators giving a bone chilling performance. Told in multiple POV we follow Anna Andrews a TV presenter, DCI Jack Harper working the case, and the third narrator whose identity is undisclosed. This web was thick & I had a hard time trying to even place a bet on who the actual killer is. A murder has gone down in Anna’s hometown of Blackdown in London & it just so happens to be a childhood friend.  A Toxic friend who left behind a trail of frenemies from their younger years in school. Jack also knows the victim and pretty soon realizes he has become a suspect in his own case. Both Anna & jack know something but they’re holding their cards close to their chest. This is one of those books you just have to go in blindly to truly experience very twist & turn as intended. I listened to this audiobook every waking hour & finished it in 2 days. Every time I started a chapter with the unknown person of interest, I felt a bit of fear…enough to not want to read this one alone. Both Anna & Jack are not what you’d call honorable people, they are self centered and indulge in just about anything to dull whatever pain they’ve experienced. This is another author I hope to be reading more from in the near future.

CW: death of a child, alcohol/drugs, cheating, parent w/Dementia, domestic violence, fat shaming, eating disorders, grooming, rape, bullying


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July 2020 Wrap-Up

This summer could’ve easily been a bust but I’m happy to report that July was possibly the BEST month I’ve had this year. After being stuck indoors for quite some time, I spent most of my personal time by some body of water. It was a blessing to be able to escape the city & experience some freedom while also reading some great books. I also rediscovered my love for all things Grease & listened to the soundtrack whenever possible…to be understood as all the time 🤷🏻‍♀️😌😂 When I wasn’t listening to Grease or reading, I went down the rabbit hole that is Unsolved Mysteries on Netflix. The thing is, this show creeps me out & I could only watch it with someone OR during the day. Otherwise I was for sure having dreams of cracking cases in my sleep & startling awake at all hours of the night. All that being said, I already have plans to watch I’ll Be Gone in the Dark on HBO MAX cause a part of me enjoys scaring myself to sleep smh…

Quality wise, I enjoyed all of the five reads I picked up in July and found some new authors I’m really excited to read more from. I’m considering making a special post dedicated to Silvia Moreno-Garcia as I make my way through her back-list. As always, the goal is to prioritize reading diverse books with an emphasis on intersectionality. This has made reading way more pleasurable and put a lot of black & Latinx authors on my radar. I have reviews posted for all of the books listed below for what I feel is the first time in a very long time. 

HERE TO STAY BY ADRIANA HERRERA – ✨4.5 STARS✨ (My ReviewI cannot stress this enough…Adriana Herrera is an author to keep an eye out for! we get Latinx characters who fall in love while crushing their goals and taking care of their mental health & space. There’s also an awesome friend group here that I would’ve loved to be a part of myself! for now I’ll comfort myself thinking I’m an honorary member of the Gotham Exiles Club 😉

FOREST OF SOULS BY LORI M. LEE – ✨4 STARS✨ (My ReviewThis story contains one of the best F/F friendships I’ve ever seen & if you’re one looking for a more adventure/platonic based Fantasy then this is a solid choice. Hella atmospheric with imagery that will give you the creeps when you enter the Dead Wood. Shamans practicing elemental magic + an ending to leave you reaching for more!

YOU SHOULD SEE ME IN A CROWN BY LEAH JOHNSON – ✨5 STARS✨(My Review) I listened to the audiobook version on Libro.fm & LOVED our MC a queer black teen who comes from a poor family with a lot of love. This is a story about second chance friendships, living your truth, and being seen when you feel invisible.

MEXICAN GOTHIC BY SILVIA MORENO-GARCIA – ✨5 STARS✨(My Review) Atmospheric & haunting; this book teleported me from a sunny day on the beach IRL to the gothic vibes inside of High Place, the mansion where it all takes place. Our MC is headstrong & way ahead of her times, I truly enjoyed being led into this mystery despite my aversion to anything creepy/scary.

YOU HAD ME AT HOLA BY ALEXIS DARIA – ✨5 STARS✨ (My ReviewSave the best for last? I don’t know cause Mexican Gothic really competes with You Had Me at Hola for my fave read of the month. Gahhh! an ode to telenovelas aka soap operas! it was everything I could’ve asked for & more! I wasn’t expecting mental health, PTSD, codependency & physical consent on the set while filming as themes in this book but I’m beyond grateful for this book. To take Latinx characters & portray them in a positive light as they climb the success ladder and experience heartbreak at a time where we simply just don’t have these stories…feels AMAZING!

Binge worthy they say? I was HOOKED from the very first episode but as previously mentioned, I couldn’t watch this by myself for the life of me 😂 I did watch the majority with my boyfriend who pulled up Google & further intensified my obsession with this show. We were those people who googled to see where they were with each of these cases & STILL are following the page for any updates smh. Shortly after finishing this show I found myself needing closure & so I ventured into this next show…

Although this is a very old show, in 2017 Netflix streamed one of their seasons & yes yes I did binge this right after Unsolved Mysteries. However, unlike the previous show which left me feeling hopeless (still a well put together show) this one has solved cases. Through the great strides in technology & DNA, all of these cases were solved usually within a 30 year span. This show gave me hope that the new cases in Unsolved Mysteries will be solved.


JUly WAS a month of relaxation & honestly just taking a step back from stressors which called for a change of scenery.I did do some retail therapy (BOOK HAUL)while also unhauling/donating 100+ books from my shelves. In many ways july was when i centered myself & in turn laid out some new goals in my journey. drop some luv in the comments book lovers! i hope you’re all doing well & reading some great new books! ❤


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