November Wrap-Up

Hello Bookworms! I come to you with my November Wrap-Up which is only a slight bit different in format than what I typically post here on Lair Of Books. I usually include my Book Haul but that tends to leave me with a lengthy post & so I decided to split them up and I think I may keep it this way. I really didn’t expect to get as many books as I did in November but that’s usually the case whenever I try to convince myself that I can go on a book buying ban smh, check out my My November Book Haulย where I bake my soul for judgment…please be easy, i’m just a woman with a profound love for books, the prettier the better haha!

November was a roller coaster of events for me with close friends and family experiencing loss & sadness. I found myself really wanting to be around my loved ones, people who are known for being strong & always being there for others. It was time to give back & be the source of strength for two very important people in my life. Thanksgiving was bittersweet but I found so much to be thankful for. I’m a little late with this post but I just want to say Thank You to all my blogging buddies both new & old. I’ve enjoyed getting to know a lot of you a bit better & the wonderful conversations we’ve had, many times have changed my day for the better. I appreciate you all & can’t wait to see what 2018 brings us ๐Ÿ™‚

*My reviews for each are linked below

Her Body and Other Partiesย โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… 4 STARS (RTC)

Artemisย โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… 3 STARS

The Closest I’ve Comeย โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… 4 STARS

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstanceย โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… 4 STARS

Renegades โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… 4.5 STARS

After the EPIC month of October, I knew it would be a tough act to follow lol. No 5 star reads but they definitely came close & so I am satisfied. Renegades was my best read of the month, I was just happy to have a new book by Marissa Meyer but it wasn’t w/out its flaws. My overall enjoyment overpowered the fact that there were large chunks of inactivity & it’s a HUGE book so there’s that. Still though, highly recommend to any superhero/villain lovers out there. Be warned though, that ending will leave you begging for the sequel like yesterday. My biggest disappointment was Artemis by Andy Weir & whelp, I wasn’t expecting that to be the case (review linked above). I may still give The Martian a go but I’m not so sure I’ll be continuing on with the follow-up to Artemis that is rumored to be in the works.

December is already lining up to be a pretty EPIC reading month, I’ve already finished my first read & it is a EPIC 5 stars! currently reading The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden & gahhhhh! how I’ve missed Katherine Arden’s LUSH WORLD BUILDING!!!! her books feel like a warm blanket on a cold winter night & I just don’t ever want to leave *sobs* My December TBR will be going up this Friday so stay tuned <3’s!

I was actually surprised that I managed to squeeze in 2 movie dates with the hubby & a Netflix binge but it happened and it was AMAZING!…

Thor Ragnarok

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SO worth the 5 Butterflies!!! I can honestly say I LOVED this movie so much so that it made the 2011 flick fade to black #jussayin Thor Ragnarok had incredible action sequence scenes, EPIC call to action soundtrack, fun plot, and LOTS of screen time with Tom Hiddleston (still not enough though lol). We also get to catch up with Hulk & see where he’s been, those scenes brought some humor & levity to the flick. Similar to how how I felt about Spiderman Homecoming…this movie made me see Thor in a new light. Whereas before I didn’t really care much for the God and his hammer, now I’d like another movie please ๐Ÿ™‚

Justice League

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ย 4 stars to the movie that surprised the heck outta me! I was not expecting to enjoy JL as much as I did after not quite loving Batman VS. Superman but I did! Ben Affleck toned it down several notches & I found him to no be as annoying this time around. I actually really enjoyed his Bruce Wayne scenes especially those with The Flash who wonder & awe added some comedic relief. Didn’t think I’d love this Flash because I LOVE Grant Gustin’s version so much on the CW but surprise surprise lol. Aquaman legit made my heart skip beats & yes! yes I would like more Jason Momoa on the screen please lol. Gal Gadot friggin Killed it, she can do no wrong in my eyes at this point. Cyborg is a essential & awesome new addition to the team, he is constantly evolving as he is part machine which I thought made him all the more interesting. Overall, I really enjoyed Justice League & hope it continues in this new direction.

Punisher

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There’s a new order to my fave Netflix Marvel series & it goes like this…Luke Cage (#1), Punisher, Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Defenders. I haven’t had a Netflix binge since Luke Cage & when I sat down with the hubby for some Pizza & the pilot episode to Punisher, I wasn’t expecting to watch 8 episodes back to back but again, I did. This month was definitely filled with some unexpected goodies in my viewing so yay for that! ๐Ÿ™‚ย  this show is not for the feint of heart, there is a lot of violence & revenge taking place but I just couldn’t tear my eyes away. Frank Castle is seriously bad a**!& I’m here for it! haha!


Happy reading in December Bookworms!!! Hope you all had a wonderful November & an even better start to December. What are you currently reading/watching? drop your comments down below <3โ€™s!


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Review: The Closest I’ve Come by Fred Aceves

Title: The Closest I’ve Come

Author: Fred Aceves

Pub. Date:ย November 7th, 2017

Genre:ย YA Contemporary/Realistic Fiction

Trigger warning: Alcoholism, Physical Abuse, Racism

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pages:ย 320

Format: eGalley/Edelweiss

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Marcos Rivas wants to find love.
Heโ€™s sure as hell not getting it at home, where his momโ€™s racist boyfriend beats him up. Or from his boys, who arenโ€™t exactly the โ€œhug it outโ€ type. Marcos yearns for love, a working cell phone, and maybe a pair of sneakers that arenโ€™t falling apart. But more than anything, Marcos wants to get out of Maesta, his hoodโ€”which seems impossible.
When Marcos is placed in a new after-school program for troubled teens with potential, he meets Zach, a theater geek whose life seems great on the surface, and Amy, a punk girl who doesnโ€™t care what anyone thinks of her. These new friendships inspire Marcos to open up to his Maesta crew, too, and along the way, Marcos starts to think more about his future and what he has to fight for. Marcos ultimately learns that bravery isnโ€™t about acting tough and being macho; itโ€™s about being true to yourself.

The Closest I’ve come follows Marcos Rivas’ life course in a rough neighborhood /violent household & the motivation he finds to want to get out. For Marcos, the daily grind is made up of getting up for school & hanging out with his boys after school to avoid having to go home. Life at home isn’t easy & he is met with either his mothers silence and closed doors or her boyfriends fists. Mentally checked-out, Marcos’ mother is a alcoholic who doesn’t really have much of any relationship with him. Marcos himself would love to play the role of over protective son however, the truth is that internally, more than anything he wishes she would show any signs of caring for him. Life outside his home isn’t exactly the best either but in his community he has developed friendships that have become a safe place to turn to. Academics have never really been Marcos’ main focus & with no one in his corner rooting and or encouraging him to apply himself, he hasn’t given much thought to life after High School. He believes that Maesta is the end all be all for him and many other teens like him. We come across teachers who provide Marcos with the confidence he needs & who most of all, believe in him.

At times, The Closest I’ve Come was difficult to read because of the violence Marcos experiences at the hands of his mothers boyfriend. It seemed like all the odds are set against this kid & with nothing really inspiring him & his own home being so volatile, I wondered when he would catch a break. With little to no money whatsoever, we see our MC try to earn cash the right way by cleaning parking lots but we also see one of his friends who is a straight A student go about it illegally by delivering drugs. Having myself lived in for many years what was considered a “ghetto” neighborhood, the reality is that too many bright futures are dimmed before they even get a chance to begin. There were so many tough themes in this book paired with positive reinforcement from Marcos’ educators that I found myself rooting him on in realizing that he is valued.

We see a tremendous amount of character growth take place within our MC Marcos which is perhaps the strongest aspect of The Closest I’ve Come. Aceves wrote Marcos’ character in first Person POV which allows the reader to really get into his thought process. From the way he views his barely existent relationship with his mother to how he handles rejection, Marcos isn’t a confidant cocky teenage boy. His physical appearance is something he is always hyper aware of because he lacks funds to buy clothes or pay for grooming. Something as simple as a haircut could boost his confidence briefly & a lot of the time he didn’t get the end result he was seeking but the effort was there. I LOVED this character & how humble he is the core, he definitely had me in his corner the whole way through. We meet some of his friends from around his neighborhood, mostly through visits to the courtyard to shoot hoops. There’s a sense of loyalty from these guys that I’ve seen for myself in neighborhoods where most don’t have it to make ends meet. I enjoyed one particular scene where one of the guys sets up shop on his stoop to cut hair for a couple of dollars, very much like a brotherhood. Although we meet many of Marcos’ acquaintances, they aren’t as fleshed out as our MC but nonetheless they serve their purpose in giving the reader a picture of what Marcos has in his life. The friends he has don’t really know how bad his home life is but I was glad to see them rise to the occasion when he really needed them.

Told in first person POV, The Closest I’ve Come is raw & uncensored giving Marcos’ voice & narrative life. Own Voices Latinx author Fred Aceves was raised in a poor working class neighborhood just like the one he brings to life in this book. From the dialogue between Marcos and his friends in the streets to his stream of consciousness on life after High School, our MC is raw & uncut just like the world he lives in. Many who come from similar backgrounds will find this book to be very relatable. To those who don’t, The Closest I’ve Come is a insiders look to a reality that exists in our real world. Not only do we get POC representation but we also see socioeconomic diversity when Marco meets & befriends a HS student from a wealthy background. The challenges Marco has in his life are going to resonate with others & that is one of the biggest reasons I am happy to see this narrative hit the shelves.

*HUGE thanks to HarperTeen, Edelweiss, and Fred Aceves for the eGalley copy of The Closest I’ve Come in exchange for an honest review.

Happy Monday Bookworms! hope you all had a wonderful weekend & managed to squeeze in some good books. With so many diverse reads coming our way, which ones are you looking forward to? any Own Voices on your 2018 TBR?


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