Yes his name really is Pablo Neruda

I’m starting October with a not very spooky read, Permanent Record, as I’m currently waiting for my spooky reads to come in at the library. Permanent Record is Mary H.K. Choi’s second novel and as a big fan of Emergency Contact, I was very excited about this book.


Pablo Neruda Rind is a college dropout, confused at life, 20-year-old bodega cashier in Brooklyn, and in credit card debt. Pablo spends most of his nights as a cashier making up stories about his regular customers as entertainment when one day, a very eccentrically dressed woman walks into the store and hands Pablo her credit card. This is when Pablo realizes that this woman is Leanna Smart, an ex-Disney star, turned pop singer. Pablo is captivated by her personality and never expects to see her again after their one-night ice cream sharing snack session. However, a few weeks later, Leanna pops up back into the store, and this time Pablo asks her out. The two begin a very secret romance that is limited to texting, face time, and short phone calls. However, when Pablo is not with Leanna, he’s busy dodging his debt collectors and swerving his mother’s “what do you want in life talks.” The more that Pablo entangles himself with Leanna’s life, the more he neglects his own. But, once Pablo starts to notice just how different Leanna’s life is, he starts to find it harder to ignore what is really going on with him.

I don’t care what any of the assholes I live with tell you. I don’t work at a bodega. It’s a health food store.

Mary H.K. Choi Permanent Record

This book is told through Pablo’s point a view, as a half Korean, half Pakistani twenty-year-old New Yorker. There is a lot of diversity in this book. Almost all the characters are people of color, Pablo’s roommates, his boss, coworkers, school staff, Leanna herself is half Mexican, and one of the handfuls of characters that can speak another language. I loved this aspect of the book because there are many novels set in New York that do not make people of color visible, which I feel is ignorant considering New York’s history of immigration.

Pablo’s parents are both college-educated, his father was born in New Jersey and studied engineering while his mother migrated to the U.S at age nine and studied medicine, so this makes Pablo feel a bit inadequate but not enough to push himself into reapplying to college. College was one of the main topics of this book. Pablo either had friends who graduated or dropped out, Leanna herself wished she could attend college too. Pablo does not know what he wants to study or what he wants to do with his own life, but his goal for most of the book is to get back into NYU as if attending would give him direction in his life. I have very often heard people give the advice, “don’t worry you’ll figure it out” in college, which could be the case for some people but not everyone. I think Pablo was right in holding off on college until he figured himself out. One thing I noticed that is the same from Emergency contact is Choi writing style which includes the character oversharing every small detail and runaway thought. I enjoyed that kind of extra-ness but I don’t think it’s for everyone.

“Pablo Neruda’s my first name.”

“The poet?”

“Yeah,” I say.

“Jesus. That’s emo.”

Mary h.k. Choi permanent record

Choi makes it clear that Leanna is very busy, either touring, taking business meetings, or at meet and greets, but sometimes she only gives Pablo half her attention. Choi makes it clear that Leanna is very busy, either touring, taking business meetings, or at meet and greets, but sometimes she only gives Pablo half her attention. This was a big point made when Pablo is in Korea and, instead of telling him that she’s taking a business meeting in China, Leanna lets Pablo believe that she’s still in Korea and that she could show him Seoul, a place he always wanted to visit. When Leanna finally gets back in Korea, she apologizes to Pablo and gives him her apology but continues to text on her phone that was really when I was done with her. She hardly gets to see her boyfriend, and when she’s finally with him, she decides not to give him her full attention. This was when I started to realize that Leanna wants a boyfriend that can conform to her schedule, or else it would never work out. That’s asking a lot for anyone.

Additionally, when Leanna and Pablo are caught by the paparazzi, Leanna refuses to explain to Pablo what “it’s taken care of” means as if it’s a dirty secret. An explanation would have taken two seconds, Leanna later accuses Pablo of wanting to benefit from her fame. Like really, girl? I’m pretty sure it was made clear that he does not want that, or your money when he turned down that expensive coat, she tried to buy him.

Lastly, I feel like I never got to know Leanna at all. Who was her father? Does she still speak to her mother? What was it like to be emancipated at 15 at then be managed by another teenager? Why Pablo? Pablo acted like he knew a lot about her but maybe he only thought he did.

One thing that I wanted to be addressed was why Leanna chose to use the name Leanna Smart instead of her real name as Carolina Suarez. I think this point would have added to the other Hollywood/ media racism that was brought up by Tice’s tv role. And maybe it could have added a little more insight into Leanna’s character.

The following sentence is going to spoil the ending, so just skip this whole paragraph if you have to. I only like to read books with a happy ending, because I need some fluff and happiness in my life, and I like to see the characters happy. But this book does not give us that, and I was really glad it did not. Leanna and Pablo were not a good fit at this moment in their lives, and although they would have made a great couple, I think they were better apart.

My rating for this book

Until next time continue living in libros,

Gaby

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Latinx TBR Wrap-Up

As Latinx heritage month comes to a close I thought I would share my thoughts on the books I have read for this month.

Don’t Date Rosa Santos has a special place in my heart. I really loved this book because of it’s small town setting. Because Rosa grows up in Port Corral she knows everyone in town and is a very helpful neighbor. The small town in this book reminded me of Star Hallows and I hope to someday find a small town like this. Additionally, the fact that the love interest Alex is both a sailor and a baker made me just as happy.

We Set the Dark on Fire is a book that I didn’t know I needed into my life until I read it. A dystopian, romance and spy narrative, We Set the Dark on Fire is all of these things. I really loved this because the main character Dani is such a bad bitch! Dani really tries to follow the rules of her society but when her husband decides he rather have a trophy wife and not an equal it really pushes Dani to turn against him. I really can’t wait to see what the next book has to offer.

Bruja Born is a book that I began reading at the beginning of the year was able to finish. Jumping back into this book was not difficult I love the world that Cordova has created and I will definitely read more of her books in the future.

Isabel Allende writing is beautiful and captivating. I loved the Trueba women in the house of the spirits especially Clara and her unknown dog/wolf/ mythical being hybrid Barrabas. That being said The House of the Spirits was not the book for me I really wanted to love this book and maybe I would have if Esteban wasn’t so much of a caca head.

Corazón was a book that felt like coming home. I loved Salgado’s descriptive writing and the little anecdotes of her daily life that she turns into poetry. I love the way that Yesika chose to share her corner of Los Angles with nostalgia and to what it is today.


After spending a whole month reading nothing but books written by Latinx authors I noticed that the border was a common theme between all these books. Even though Bruja Born and and We set the Dark on Fire are both fantasy novel there was still this presence of a border.

Although the border theme in Bruja Born is not presence in a way that one would conventional think. I argue that it is still very much presence. The supernatural creatures in this novel must not reveal themselves to humans, instead the brujas practice in secret. In this sense the Mortiz sister split themselves away from what they are as brujas in order to not draw attention to themselves. On top of that, the Mortiz family is latinx and also experience the struggles as people of color.

We Set the Dark Fire interweaves the border narrative into the novel with characters who have had to cross a border into Medio for better opportunities. However, during this crossing one of the characters witnessing something extremely traumatic while the other character remembers her own crossing and they both bond over it.

Rosa Santos lives with the small snippets that her grandmother has shared with her of Cuba and as she enters adulthood she dreams of one day visiting the Island that caused so much joy and sorrow for her family.

When a dictator takes control in Chile, Blanca and Pedro flee the country because it is no longer safe for Pedro, a communist sympathizer, to live there. Additionally, Alba is also given the opportunity to flee her country she decides to stay even though she is in danger as well.

Lastly, Salgado’s Corazón yearns for a El Salvador from her memories and a Silverlake before it was gentrified. Salgado remembers eating mangos in El Salvador and later eating them with her lover this common link between both countries is not coincidental. I believe Salgado links them together to highlight the longing for El Salvador.


This border theme is saddening and highlights that border trauma is something that runs through generations. After discovering this link between the novels I was reminded of Gloria Anzaldua’s Borderlands. In this book, Anzaldua offers many great points that resonated with me but the one quote that has stuck with me is as follows:

“The U.S-Mexican border es una herida abierta where the Third World grates against the first and bleeds. And before a scab forms it hemorrhages again, the lifeblood of two worlds merging to form a third country — a border culture.”

Gloria Anzaldúa Borderlands/ La frontera: The New Mestiza

Have you noticed this theme or other themes during Latinx heritage month? If so leave your thoughts below in the comments I would love to read them.

Until next time continue living in libros,

Gaby

The Bride Test


The spin off to Helen Hoang’s “The Kiss Quotient” tells the story of Khai, Michael’s cousin, who has autism and has never had a girlfriend.

Khai’s everyday routine is to eat a protein bar for breakfast, run to his office, and keep his garden unkempt to annoy his neighbor. Khai likes his life but his Mom thinks Khai is lonely and old enough to be married, so she decides to take matters into her own hands. Khai’s mother, Co, fly’s to Vietnam and makes a deal with My Ngoc Tran, who later changes her name to Esme, one summer in California to fall in love with her son. If the two are incompatible Esme is free to fly home, but Co knows they will work.

Khai aimed a disapproving look at her shoes

“You’re better off walking barefoot than wearing those.”

But they’re useful. It’s like having a shoe and a knife.

Helen Hoang

I was a little hesitant to read this book because how often do you hear the story of someone from aboard coming to the U.S to marry an American in order to secure residency status? Often. It feels icky to reduce the immigrant experience to this and because this same story was the main plot point for this novel I was unsure. Although, after reading the Kiss Quotient I had a change of heart. I love Hoang’s writing style and I was eager to read Khai’s story.

Esme may come to the U.S with the intention to gain a residency status but that changes when she falls in love with Khai. Additionally, Esme has a love for learning and enrolls into night school to get a GED. Soon Esme begins to see a future where she can gain temporary residency as a student. By adding Esme’s ambition to her character Hoang adds this layer to the immigrant experience that is often disregarded and ignored. That there is more to someone than people think.

What I really enjoyed about this story was that complexity of both characters. Khai convinced himself a long time ago that he is unable to love someone however, he is willing to marry Esme so that she can gain citizenship if that is what she truly desires. In reality, Khai is secretly in love with her, he just has not admitted it to himself. On the other hand, Esme is driven by the desire to go to University because some colleges will pay for international student’s family members to come to the U.S and Esme really wants to get her family out of poverty.

One of my favorite scenes in this book occurs when Esme visits 99 Ranch market for the first time. Just by visiting this grocery store Esme is reminded of her home. I think this scene is beautiful because it ties together food and culture: it reminds us that places like the grocery store serve as a time capsule of home.

Overall, I give the Bride test 5 stars and would recommend it for fans of romance novels or anyone who is looking for diverse characters in a novel. This book is also spicy and we have a few mature scenes but in my opinion there are way more sex scenes in the Kiss Quotient.

Until next time continue living in Libros,

Gaby

October Tbr

I thought my September Tbr was ambitious but I really played myself with this October book stack.

Without further ado hereis mt Tbr for this month.

I suppose Permanent Record is first on the list since I have picked it up from the library today.

Permanent Record is Mary HK Choi’s second novel and since I loved Emergency Contact I decided I needed to read this one too.

A local deli boy, dodging calls, from his loan providers and a pop star meet in the middle of a Brooklyn snowstorm and fall in love. I am hooked already.

Second on this list is the Babysitter’s coven. The babysitters coven is marketed as a mashup of Buffy (Love) and adventures in babysitting. A group of teenage babysitters discover that they have inherited some super cool magical powers from their ancestors and they use those powers to defeat evil. Sold I need to know what kind of evil they are talking about, Vampires? I am really hoping Vampires.

Third, on the list is Hocus Pocus and the all-new sequel. Okay I have heard some not so good things about this book and that it is basically a remake of the movie, but I’m still going to read it.

25 years after the events of Hocus Pocus and the Sanderson Sisters are back at it again only this time they are messing with Max and Alison’s, 17-year-old daughter, Poppy. Poppy then has to save Salem from the witches’ latest scheme.

Fourth, is Wicked Fox. I was drawn to this book because I watched a kdrama not too long ago titled “My girlfriend is a Gumiho” so I am a little familiar with the folklore not to mention the Kdrama was super cute and the theme song was very catchy. Wicked fox tells the story of Gu Miyoung, who is a Gumiho a nine-tailed fox spirit, that survives by consuming the energy of men. One night, Miyoung comes across Jihoon, a human boy, being attacked by a goblin and against her rules of survival she decides to save him and, in the process, loses her Gumiho power, immortality. Miyoung befriends Jihoon but when a shaman tries to reunite Miyoung with her power’s things go sour, and she must choose between her immortality and Jihoon.

I received an advanced reader copy of this book and could not think of a better month to read it in. The Shrike and The Shadows by Chantal Gadoury and A.M Wright is a Hansel and Greta retelling and fifth on my list. In the village, of Krume, bloody hearts are left on doorsteps making the residents of Krume anxious. Hansel and Gretal are accused of witchcraft and have no choice but to venture into the woods where a witch is rumored to live.

I really want to get to read these books this month but given that they are released sometime in October and I get my books at my library I don’t know if I’ll be able to read them in time. Those books are Ninth House and Moon Cakes.

Ninth House has mystery, it has Rory Gilmore’s alma mater, Yale, and the main character is named Galaxy. Since I love space things, I am already on this train.

Mooncakes not only has a super cute cover but a cute plot too. Nova Hoang works at her grandmother’s bookshop and assists patrons with spells and supernatural investigations. One case leads to childhood crush Tam Lang, a wandering werewolf, who is in trouble. Their romance rekindles amidst the backdrop of drama and spells.

That is all for now until next time,

continue living in libros,

Gaby

All the reason to read “Don’t Date Rosa Santos”

A sleepy beach town, a love interest who can bake, chismoso viejietos, Don’t Date Rosa Santos has it all.


Don’t Date Rosa Santos is my favorite book this year!

Rosa Santos lives in the small seaside town of Port Coral, Florida. The town is very reminiscent of Star Hallows with its array of supporting characters and yearly festivals. What mainly sets this book apart from other books set in small towns is that the majority of the characters of Port Coral are of Latin American descent. Because of the unique cast of characters, readers are immersed in a world of guayaba pastelitos and characters who code-switch between English and Spanish.

Rosa is a high school senior with dual enrollment at a community college which allows her to take her classes online and earn college credit. Rosa is in the middle of finalizing her enrollment to the University of Charleston when she learns that the town may have to cancel their annual Spring festival and sell the Marina because they can no longer afford to maintain it. Rosa gives the town the idea to rebrand their spring festival as a fundraiser, this puts Rosa in the path of Alex Aquino, a new guy in town who she has a crush on. Alex assists Rosa with the fundraiser, and despite her crush, Rosa tries to keep Alex at a distance because of her family’s curse. All the men in Rosa’s family have tragically died because of the sea, and since Alex is a sailor himself, Rosa wants to keep him safe.

“The height difference is very tol and smol. You could climb him or something.”

Don’t Date Rosa Santos pg. 137

Rosa also struggles with her own identity in this novel. Her grandmother, her main caretaker, refuses to talk about Cuba, the country she was forced to flee. Rosa is curious about her roots, so she signs up for a study abroad trip to Cuba through Charleston, the only problem is, Rosa does not know how to tell her grandmother.

As mentioned earlier, the Santos family is cursed. Rosa’s pregnant grandmother, Milagros or Mimi, leaves Cuba with her husband in a small boat he constructed but while navigating the dangerous waters, he drowns. Mimi gives birth to Rosa’s mother, and together the two of them make a home for themselves in Port Coral. In Port Coral, Mimi keeps herself occupied by the various plants she grows and uses to cleanse the house and perform various other rituals she is known as the town’s curandera or a healer.

Rosa’s father was a sailor, who owned a boat at the Port Coral Marina, however when Rosa’s mother is pregnant, her father goes missing at sea. Rosa is born without knowing her father or grandfather. Rosa’s mother is an artist who travels all over the U.S painting murals, but when Rosa turns 9, her mother decides to permanently leave her with her grandmother. Unlike Mimi, who deals with her trauma by healing others, Rosa’s mother’s solution to her trauma is to keep moving, only staying in Port Corral as long as necessary.

The Santos family curse is more of an inherited trauma passed down through the generations. The citizens of Port Coral know that Rosa should never go near the ocean, and when Rosa develops a friendship with Alex, the viejitos begin to gossip about them because he is a sailor.

I wish I could have a concrete answer on whether this curse ends up effecting Rosa’s life but the story ends before I could find out. I like to think the curse is broken due to the final events of the story and I hope the Santos women can heal from the trauma.

Besides the small-town vibe of Port Coral, this book also has a lovely description of food. I was very much craving a Cuban pastelito throughout various points in the novel. I might just have to make a trip to the local Cuban bakery. If you have not had the pleasure of trying a guava pastelito and or Cuban food, in general, I highly recommend you try it. It’s delicious.

“Mrs. Peña delivered a shrimp ceviche served alongside plátano chips still warm from the fryer and crispy chicharrones”

“She left, and I spooned a mountain of ceviche onto a plátano and shoved it in my mouth. The lime and salt sang together in a concert.”

Don’t Date Rosa Santos is a great book to get lost in the plot is interesting but so are the different characters. If you want a good read for Latinx Heritage Month, Don’t Date Rosa Santos is the perfect book.

Until next time continue living in libros,

Gaby

Rich People Problems

“Alamak, it’s that Ed Saranwrap! I love his music!”


Did you miss the hearing about the lives of Nick Young’s crazy rich family and friends?

Well, I am about to give you a brief recap of the events of Rich People Problems. Trigger warning for depiction of attempted suicide during part three, the last few pages of chapter 15.


Su Yi has a heart attack, and all of Nick’s relatives fly out to Singapore to see her while she is in recovery. Nick hesitates because he is still traumatized by his grandmother’s attempt to break up his relationship with Rachel. However, Rachel convinces Nick to make amends because his grandmother is not expected to recover. After hearing the news, Eddie Cheng, Nick’s cousin, becomes the devoted grandson to ensure that Su Yi will leave him Tyersall Park when she passes.

Meanwhile, Astrid and Charlie are both going through very public divorces while also dating in secret. Michael will not let Astrid live happily ever after with a man who actually cherishes her, and he demands five billion for their divorce settlement. Michael does not need the money he is just petty.

Concurrently, Kitty Pong, now known as Mrs. Bing, starts a petty war with her stepdaughter, Colette Bing. Although Colette appears to be unaware that the two are feuding. Tension only escalates once Kitty learns that Colette received five billion dollars in the divorce settlement between her parents.

A majority of Rich People problems is told through Nick’s POV. The moment Nick arrives, it is a struggle for him to see his grandmother because everyone is convinced that Nick’s presence will send Su Yi into cardiac arrest. Thanks to Eddie, who started the rumor and convinced himself that he will be the new owner of Tyersall Park. Nonetheless, Nick finds a way to see his grandmother and make amends.

I am happy that Nick received closure from his grandmother as well as an apology for her actions in the previous novels.

Eddie is, of course, an asshole to his family as usual and he is convinced that his grandmother will leave him her house. He is delusional, of course, none of the characters can stand Eddie, especially his grandmother.

Astrid takes a lot of hits in this novel. I thought her story had come to a close when she decided to leave her manipulated husband but, in this book, she has to juggle her ex, Charlie’s ex, as well as her parent’s disapproval over Charlie Wu. Astrid’s parents suck, Eleanor’s personality is tamed compared to both of Astrid’s parents. I thought they would be happy that Astrid left an abusive environment behind, but they were angrier that she chose to date Charlie Wu. Her parents cared more about their social status than their daughter’s happiness and well-being. As a result, of all the toxicity, Astrid ends up rediscovering herself and becomes an even better person. I was skeptical about this new change since Astrid is already awesome but turns out she has lived a lot of her life trying to please her parents, hence her first breakup with Charlie. The conclusion of Astrid’s story made me happy even though the plot twist was unexpected I felt that it resolved everything for Astrid and Charlie.

I was surprised that we got to see more of Kitty Pong’s life. I like Kitty, but I did not expect to hear more about her in this book. I thought her story ended once she decided to marry Jack. I felt that Kitty’s story continued to keep Colette relevant and I did not care to hear about either of them I was more invested in the lives of the other characters, even Eddie, who I have hated since the first book.

I also enjoyed that we were able to hear a lot about Su Yi’s past and how exactly she came to live in Tyersall park as well as what she did for Singapore during the war. I thought her story was fascinating, but I wish we had gotten more details about her earlier life. That could have been a cool prequel.

Rich People Problems also gives us some more Carlton plot which I was happy to see. Carlton is an interesting character; he is not as down to earth as Nick, but he has a good heart. Plus, he gets a new love interest! I was happy to see he overcame his trauma from the previous book.

Overall, Rich People problems did a good job to wrap up the series, and most of the characters ended up with a happily ever after.

Before I go, I wanted to bring attention to what is happening with the The Crazy Rich Asians movies. The wage gap is ridiculous and gross. I want to see these movies made but I want them done correctly.

Until next time continue Living in Libros,

Gaby

Edward sucks, human Jacob is awesome, and I wish Bella would love herself. 😭😭😭

At 12 I proclaimed myself team Edward forever. Now at 22 I am not so loyal.

It’s a wolf thing

Today I will be reviewing the second installment in the twilight series, New Moon. Check out my review of Twilight here.

New Moon was my least favorite book in the series back when I was a teen, mostly because Edward was absent for most of it. As an adult, I have made peace with this book and have also realized that Edward is low key trash.

New Moon begins with Bella dreaming about becoming an old lady while Edward remains youthful. She wakes up from this dream, stressed out because it’s her birthday and she’s officially older than Edward. Later at school, she compares Edward to a pagan god and beats herself up for not measuring up to Edward.

“I pulled into the familiar parking lot behind Forks High School and spotted Edward leaning motionlessly against his polished silver Volvo, like a marble tribute to some forgotten pagan god of beauty”

S. Meyer

Honey no! Love yourself!

Bella has some insecurities about their relationship and rightfully so, how do you date an immortal? You can’t.

After school, Bella forces Edward to sit and watch the 1960’s version of Romeo and Juliet. It’s during this rewatch that Edward begins to tell Bella what exactly happened last Spring when James was hunting her and Bella like the caring person she is, ran away from her bodyguards, Alice and Jasper, to meet up with James. Edward recalls the sheer amount of hopelessness that he was feeling after losing Bella for those short hours, and he even goes as far as to tell her that he contemplated suicide if he hadn’t reached Bella in time. Edward tells Bella how easy it is for humans to die while a vampire can only really die via the Volturi.

I wanted to bring up this scene, not because of the sensitive topic but because it felt a bit manipulative to me. Sure Edward has the right to express his feelings but to say that human life is far easier to take just made me realize that their relationship is toxic.

Fast forward to her birthday party, Jasper almost bites her, Edward pushes Bella into a glass table, Bella ends up with stitches, and this incident convinces Edward that they need to break up.

So how does he do it?

By leaving her in the woods with no way to get back home!!!!

What a caca head.

Bella falls into a depression because Edward was her entire world, and the break up devastates her. Eventually, Bella pieces herself back together and decides to reach out to her old friend Jacob Black. Jacob is 16, at this point and maybe he’s a little naïve, and maybe Bella takes advantage of his kindness, but Jacob’s company helps Bella’s loneliness. And for that reason, I switched to Team Jacob. Their relationship was more friends to potential lovers but, we don’t get to see that happen.

Although, I praised Jacob for his actions that all changes when he is initiated into the pack. I quickly jumped ships when Jacob turned into a wolf and decided to ghost Bella, essentially taking notes from Edward. After Jacob’s transformation, he forgets all about being there for Bella and starts to focus more on the pack. Jacob’s attitude grows worse once Edward comes back. He even goes as far as to break the pact he made with Bella by snitching on her to Charlie about the motorbike she had Jake fix up for her just so Bella would be grounded.

As for Edward, Bella forgives him but she is hesitant to trust him again. Edward is aware of this and begins to communicate with her more. Although Edward still sucks in my opinion he does earn back some points for regretting the pain he put Bella through and apologizing.

I will rate New Moon as 3/5 Stars.

This book was far more easy to maintain my attention and I loved all the scenes with Jacob and his friends.

Also we cannot forget that Charlie Swan is a great dad. Shout out to him for chewing Edward a new one and being awesome.

Stay tune for my review of Eclipse! I plan on reading it soon.

Until then continue living in libros,

Gaby

This sequel SLAPS


Today I am excited to finally review Protect the Prince by Jennifer Estep.

Protect the Prince is the second book in the Crown of Shards series, and it was released this past July. Kill the Queen, the first book in the series, was such an addicting read! An Evil Queen, gladiators, magic, and a kick-ass heroine what more could you want?

“Summer queens are fine and fair, with pretty ribbons and flowers in their hair. Winter queens are cold and hard, with frosted crowns made of icy shards.”

Kill the Queen was all about Everleigh quest to survive after her cousin, queen Vasila, along with the help of Maeven, decided to murder her entire family along with anyone else attending the seven spires ball. Evie, as the only survivor of her family line, runs off and joins the Black Swam Troupe, an old gladiator group. Evie does not reveal her true identity at first but as she grows stronger she comes to the conclusion that she must avenge her family and her Kingdom.

Protect the Prince picks up right where we left off in Book one. Everleigh is the queen of Bellona and she feels undeserving of the title, even though she won the duel to death against her cousin. Along for the ride are old favorites from the Black Swan Troupe: Paloma, Cho, Serilda, and Sullivan who act like political advisors as well as bodyguards. As soon as Evie ascends the throne, she is sent to Andvari on an apology tour: the Andvarian King lost his son and a politician during the Seven Spire massacre. Luckily for Evie, her gladiator crush, Sullivan, is the illegitimate son of the king and sets up a meeting between the two kingdoms. Things heat up in Andvari when the King insists that Evie marry his remaining son thus creating an alliance between both their kingdoms. Maeven and her assassins return to take out Evie and the Prince, complicating their alliance.

After the events of the first book, Evie is surer of herself: she can kick ass without a doubt. However, she is unsure of her role as queen. I wanted to scream at Evie that she is the most powerful queen Bellona could ever have but sadly I could not. Evie is much more powerful than we initially thought. Recall in book one that Evie is immune to magic which thus allowed her to defeat her cousin even after being hit by Vasilla’s lighting.

There is more to Evie’s immunity than deflecting magic, turns out Evie can force that immunity out of her body. Extremely useful when surrounded by a bunch of magic wielders.

I loved this addition to Evie’s power! I’ve read plenty of books that deal with magic, but I’ve never read about a character who is immune altogether. That is a game-changer in my opinion

Sullivan continues to play the same games with Evie by denying becoming her boyfriend. His excuse once again is “noble” because he knows she will not gain anything from their relationship. Conveniently, we learn in this novel how Sullivan developed this insecurity. Sully comes around eventually which made me extremely happy: I have been rooting for these two to get together since their initial meeting. I am a sucker for the prince angst. I don’t want to spoil just how they get together but it is such a beautiful scene.

I felt like Clara Oswald throwing flowers at the 10th doctor when he married the queen. I Love my OTP and cannot wait to read more about them in the next book.


This book is not as bloody as the first one but there is still plenty of mature content. I would recommend these books to anyone who wants to jump into fantasy and wouldn’t mind some spiciness.

Until next time readers continue living in libros,

Gaby

My Latinx Heritage month TBR

I did not learn about Latinx heritage month until, I was in college and even then, I thought, “oh this must be new that’s why I never heard of it”.

Nope.

While researching this topic, I discovered that Latinx heritage month began as a weeklong celebration in 1968. Later, Regan expanded it to a month-long celebration, starting on September 15th. According to the government’s website, this celebration begins in the middle of the month because the 15th and 16th of September are Independence Days for many Latin American countries.

Now that I am aware of this celebration, I want to celebrate this event by exclusively reading books written by Latinx authors for the whole month. Although Latinx heritage month begins on the 15th, I want to get a head start! I am going to begin my Latinx TBR at the beginning of September so that I can dedicate my attention to them before I get swept up in spooky season.

In this blog post, I want to share with you my ambitious list of Latinx books I hope to read this month.

1. Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno

Rosa Santos is a girl caught between two cultures and a curse. Rosa is supposedly cursed by the sea an because of it no one wants to date her.

2. We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Daniela is the top student at an exclusive school, Medio, that only allows women of pedigree. The school is meant to train young women to be the wife who runs the households or the wife who raises his children. . However, on the eve before graduation Daniela is asked to spy for a resistance group who want to bring equality to Medio.

3. Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova

Lula was only trying to save her boyfriend from the unfortunate car accident that claimed the lives of many of her classmates. Which did not expect was to end up pissing off death herself.

4. The house of the spirits by Isabel Allende

This story follows a family through three generations and mixes both politics and magical realism.

5. Corazón by Yesika Salgado

This poetry book has been on my list for the longest time! Yesika is an LA native with roots in El Salvador, Corázon is her collection of love poems.

This is my list so far but if anyone has suggestions, leave them in the comments below. Until next time continue living in libros,

Gaby

Michael sucks but we been knew these facts

Are you impatiently awaiting the second movie to the Crazy Rich Asians series? Me too. So, I did what any another impatient person would have done, and I read the sequel. If you want to check out my review of Crazy Rich Asians, the novel you can do so here.

Two years have passed since Rachel almost ended her relationship with Nick Young due to his meddling family. Nick has since distanced himself from his family; speaking to everyone except his mother and his grandmother. His relationship with Rachel has never been better. Rachel is ecstatic to become Mrs. Nicholas Young, but she wishes her father could be there on her special day. False lead, after false lead, has led Rachel to think that maybe she will never know her father. However, Eleanor Young can find any one and to no ones surprise she finds Rachel’s father. As a result Nick and Rachel forgive Eleanor and she becomes a part of their lives again. But no one expected Rachel’s biological father to be China Rich aka Richer than God.

Just like in Crazy Rich Asians, China Rich Girlfriend tells the story of multiple rich families. I read Crazy Rich Asians in July, and I still managed to forget the names of characters and family relations. This time around, there was no family tree to guide me so, I got wrecked. However, I did figure it out, for the most part, so do not let that put you off.

For this review I want to explore Astrid’s story arc. Last we saw Astrid her ex-boyfriend Charlie Wu, had purchased Micheal’s company which saved their marriage, or so we thought. Michael does not know how to act with his new riches he goes as far as to covert the bottom floor of their new home into a personal museum for all of his cars. Which would not be so much of a problem if his ego wasn’t so big, I mean the man locked his child in a closet for playing around the cars, get a grip dude. Initially, I was a little happy for Michael, he always wanted the ability to buy Astrid one of her couture dresses and now he could but I never knew that would come at the cost of his values.

Michael is never wrong. When a deal with investors falls through, he blames Astrid because either she did not wear the right outfit, or her earrings looked too cheap. All in all, Michael is very manipulative, and their marriage is toxic. Astrid tries to understand her husband and give him the benefit of the doubt. She reason that his angry is only temporary and it will subside. She continues to follow this logic even when Michael continues to blame her whenever something goes wrong.

Astrid turns to Charlie again and she tells him all about her problems with Michael. Charlie is there for Astrid because he stills loves her, and he believes she no longer loves him, given that she will not leave her husband. Charlie is wrong, of course. Astrid is in denial about her feelings for Charlie and her husband’s behavior.

I almost wished movie Astrid could come to book Astrid’s rescue and deliver the iconic line to Michael again, “It’s not my job to make you feel like a man.” Check out the clip below.

However, book Astrid does deliver another iconic scene when she decides to leave Michael. Michael promises her that he will drag her and her family through the papers but he is wrong.

” Michael, don’t you know by now that my grandmother and Uncle Alfred are the largest private shareholders of Singapore Press Holdings? We’re not going to be in the papers. We’re never going to be in the papers.”

This reprimand is what Michael deserves.

My rating for China Rich Girlfriend is

I am very excited to read Rich People Problems hopefully I will be able to read it soon.

Until next time continue living in libros,

Gaby

PS.

Here is my attempt to recreate the cover.

A Short Review of Crazy Rich Asians

“Aiyoooooh, finish everything on your plate, girls! Don’t you know there are children starving in America?”

Kevin Kwan

I am sure a handful of readers have either read Crazy Rich Asians or seen the movie by now, for today’s blog post I thought I share my thoughts on the book.

Crazy Rich Asians tells the story of Rachel Chu, an NYU Econ Professor, who was raised by a single immigrant mother. Rachel’s boyfriend, Nick Young, another professor at NYU, invites her to spend a summer with him and his relatives in Singapore. Rachel thinks Nick is just an ordinary guy who was born in Singapore and attended school in England. But Rachel is in for the shock of her life when she discovers that Nick’s family is not just rich but crazy rich, and everyone hates her.

This book bore me at the beginning. There are so many characters who act like brats and not enough drama I almost put the book down thirty pages in!

In July, I went camping and had nothing to do but read Crazy Rich Asians on my phone. Naturally, I got sucked into the story and I ended up enjoying it.

One of the things I disliked about Crazy Rich Asians was all the different characters that appeared I found it very confusing. A lot of these characters only had brief introductions and continued appearing in the story but I could not remember what rich family they were tied too.

Luckily, Kwan has a family tree at the beginning; and I found myself constantly flipping back to the family tree to refresh my memory. However, there is no family tree to save you if you forget the name of one of Nick’s friends.

The second thing that annoyed me with this book was all the slang and phrases. I love when authors sprinkle phrases in different languages because it adds depth to the story. But Kwan constantly uses these colorful phrases and only defines them once which confused me and took me out of the story.

I give Crazy Rich Asians 4 stars.

I recommend picking this book up on a lazy Sunday morning when you’re feeling under the weather. All of the drama and scandal might just be what you need to get you out of the funk.

Until next time keep living in libros,

Gaby

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before Review

Dear Readers,

I’m Back! Same hot mess but now with a bachelor’s degree. I fell off the edge of the earth for a bit there, nothing wild happened I just needed extra space and time to focus on schoolwork.

I thought I kick off my new unemployed/ super free status with a review of Jenny Han’s To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. For those of my readers who haven’t read this book or seen the iconic Netflix movie I will quickly summarize the plot. The story centers around Laura Jean Song Covey, a Korean American teen, living on the East Coast. Laura Jean is the 2nd of three sisters and she loves to stay at home, bake, scrapbook, and knit. For the most part Laura Jean’s life is pretty much sheltered, and her sisters are really her only friends. Laura Jean has never had a boyfriend, but she has had plenty of crushes who she writes love letters too with no intention of ever handing these letters out. However, Laura Jean’s letter are accidentally mailed out, and she ends up in a fake relationship with Peter, who she thought she no longer had feelings for.

This story is a slow. After her older sister, Margot leaves for college in Scotland; Laura Jean spends 30 pages sad about her departure. At this point I was tapping my fingers on the desk wondering when Peter would make his grand entrance and the plot would kick off. However, after the initial excitement of their fake relationship I was bored but I continued reading anyways. The book continues with not much excitement happening between Laura Jean and Peter’s relationship until their Ski Trip when everyone becomes super noisy about their sex life.

Unlike other readers on goodreads who were annoyed by Laura Jean’s personality, I found her to be more boring than anything. I have similar hobbies to Laura Jean, and I like staying home but not to the extent that Laura Jean enjoyed her alone time. On the other hand, I found Margot annoying she constantly caused Laura Jean stress about college and reminding her that she was doing things wrong at home. Kitty was more interesting than her two sisters she is sassy and can be a brat but at the end of the day she only wants to help her sisters.

So some of you may wonder how does this book compare to the movie? In my opinion the movie brought a lot of these characters to life and made them more interesting. Movie Peter and Laura Jean are the cutest! And I tolerate movie Margot. The Movie also made Kitty shine even more.

I would recommend this book to readers who are curious about the story behind the movie or if anyone is impatient and wants to find out what happens to Peter and Laura Jean after the events of the movie.

I would give this book 2.5/3 stars as it is a pretty average read and good world to jump into if you need a quick and easy read and a great distraction.

Until next times friends continue Living in Libros,

Gaby

PS.

I began reading the sequel and I had to put it down after 100 pages because I was so bored.

The Selection Series

Dear Readers,

I have been out of touch with the YA community for a long time and I am know just starting to catch up with the great stories that have been published since my absent.  One such story that knocked me out into the next galaxy was The Selection series by Keira Cass.

The Selection Series for those who were blissfully unaware like yours truly, are a series of books that follow a young woman named American who lives in a future dystopian version of the United States. In this dystopian society the U.S, now renamed the country of llléa, is basically governed by a caste system. The higher the number you are the poorer you live eight being the lowest and as America describes it those who are eights are basically homeless. Being a one of course means you’re living the good life and in the case of The Selection series you’re basically royalty. This fictional USA is also governed by a Monarchy and once the prince becomes of age women all over the country are invited to compete for him as part of the Selection. America, wanting to please her mother, submits her application to the Selection believing that her chance of being picked will be slim. Additionally, our girl America is dating this guy, Aspen, and they’re practically engaged when she decides to enter the contest. However, a stupid fight leaves America heartbroken and on the other side of the country where she meets Prince Maxon and her feelings about both of men become complicated.

Book 2 starts off with America and Maxon cuddling in the gardens their favorite spot in the palace. After an incidence involving America’s bff the two get in a nasty fight and spend the rest of the book detached from each other. In fact, both end up getting close to other people. America of course rebounds to Aspen, her comforting ex, while Maxon ends up getting close to Kriss, one of the remaining members of the selection.

Book 3 is a whirlwind. America comes to the realization that Maxon’s heart might not solely belong to her and decides to really fight for Maxon and breaks things off with Aspen. Additionally, in this book America and Maxon make an alliance with the Northern rebels after finding out that they want the same things. The King tries to get America to drop out of the competition by any means necessary. Moreover the tension builds when it is revealed that the King is abusing Maxon whenever he makes a mistake. America also decides to tell Maxon the truth about Aspen and her feelings for him. Some drama happens and Maxon comes close to marrying Kriss but alas another rebel attack occurs leaving Maxon the only surviving member of the royal family. Now that his father’s gone Maxon is free to marry America and ascend the throne.

So, let’s get to the tea.

I stayed up late to read all of these books and I have no regrets about binging this series.

What I loved about these books was that the writing is pretty easy to follow none of those loaded words that make you feel smart after looking them up in the dictionary. The plot itself is very lighthearted. Even though the world is dystopian nothing overly violent happens. Also, I really want to take a moment to appreciate Prince Maxon for not being a total jerk that was my expectation of him when I initial dived into this series. This is the perfect series to read when you just lose all your focus while studying and need a break.

The big thing that made me disappointed in these books was the lack of peoples of color. The history of this world is that the United States was taken over by China and then after few more world wars the U.S united with Canada, Mexico, and Central America to form Illéa. All of these countries that have formed to become llléa are diverse so where are the peoples of color in this series? Did these women of color not get chosen to compete?

However, after reading book two I discover that Elise, one of the remaining girls in the selection, is Asian! In addition, I also believe that it is briefly mentioned that Maxon’s mother is from a country that sounds similar to Panama, so I am unsure whether that means that Maxon is at least biracial. Regardless I wish the series gave me a more concrete answer for why peoples of color are absent.

Here’s is the map of Illea which I found in collection of short stories about the side characters of these series.

 I also felt it was a bit wack that Maxon and America decide to keep the fact that the King is abusing Maxon a secret between them as they do not want to worry the Queen. However, after being with Queen Amberly throughout this series I feel that if she would have known this was happening, she would have ripped off her husband’s crown so fast and forced the King to step down. Thus, making Maxon the king and putting an end to his father’s toxic reign. That would have probably been a more dramatic ending and more satisfying for me at least.

I did enjoy Celeste redemption arc. I overall enjoy when evil characters go grinch and have a change of heart. I loved that Lucy ended up falling in love with Aspen given that the poor girl has gone through so much. Plus, the way that America describes Aspen, the boy is a cutie.

Although my rant seems like I hated this series that is a stretch. For me these books were a page turner. I spent the early hours of the morning reading these books. And after writing this review I will most likely continue reading this series in order to find out what the sequel “The Heir” is all about.


Anyways continue Living in Libros,

Gaby

My trip to San Miguel de Allende

Travel Diary

Hello friends, book goblins, and wanderlusters!

Today’s post will not be about books but about my recent trip to México. Unlike my previous trips to the motherland my trip to the pueblito of San Migeul de Allende was for a poetry conference sponsored through my Uni. The way this program was set up was through a a study abroad program but unlike a lot of study abroad trips this particular one was for a week rather than a full semester. Which I liked because I don’t think I could be away from Apollo for that long 😊. During my trip I got to participate in a poetry workshop with other U.S poets who have experience writing poetry and publishing poetry. In workshop we would collectively get together and read each other’s poems and express what was working and what was clear within our poetry. It was super awesome! I learned a lot about what I should look out for in my poetry and how to make my images stronger. I wrote a handful of poems during this trip which of course I’ll share on the blog after editing them.

Now if I were to describe San Miguel de Allende in three words these would be it. Flower crowns, Frida Kahlo, and color. Lots and lots of color.

San Miguel is one of the most visited cities in world and has been nicknamed the Venice, Italy of México. Instead of smooth concrete the roads of this pueblito are made from cobblestone which looks aesthetically pleasing but let me tell you these streets were not kind to my shoes. Since I arrived right after Christmas and during the week when Los Tres Reyes de Magos were set to make their grand appearance the town was still decorated with lights, Christmas trees, and nativity scenes, which made me feel like I was still home as my family does not begin to store the Christmas décor until after we have cut the rosca de reyes.

The Starbucks travel mug for this city

For a such a small town there was so much to see in San Miguel. Although the pueblo is known for la parroquia de San Miguel, named after the archangel Michael (you know the one that put Satan in hell) there were a lot of other churches named after various saints within walking distance.


Templo de San Francisco

At night in the jardín there were often mariachi men singing and playing instruments. There were also some people dressed in colonial style clothing, wigs and fake swords, giving history lessons and of course let’s not forget the stray dogs. There was one dog in particular that I continued to see throughout my trip here, a yellow colored lab who although looked a little dusty looked well fed. Anyways every time this dog saw my group of friends, he wagged his tail at us. On one of my early morning walks into town I found this dog trying to wife up another stray dog, this one was white and had brown spots. I think the two formed a pack but I’m not sure.

Now for the food! If I’m being honest, I was not very impressed with a lot of the restaurant food as a lot of it was either American or Italian cuisine. And when I ordered typical dishes from México such as quesadillas and enchiladas I was not impressed. Perhaps I have been spoiled by my mother’s cooking for too long or the restaurants have changed their menu in order to better serve the tourists and the local American retirees. However, the American and Italian dishes weren’t bad but I wanted to experience the taste of México. Luckily, restaurants are not all that this small pueblo has to offer there were various carts selling snacks such as elotes, chicharones, tortas, fruita, and tostilocos, all over the jardín. But the one cart that had me drooling the most was the one for ice cream. In case you didn’t know Mexican ice cream is whole different experience because it is made through a different process to be honest I don’t know how exactly it comes to be, but it’s really good. Like knock me into the next galaxy good. And it’s only 20 pesos, around 1 dollar. Not to mention there are some crazy flavors such as fresa con crema, elote, and horchata. I got to sample the chocolate and devour the elote ice cream. The chocolate ice cream tasted just like abuelita chocolate while the elote ice cream tasted like tamale de elote, if you ever had the pleasure to try those I highly recommend.

As for shopping there were a lot of stores to get souvenirs from. However, the souvenirs I wanted to buy such as coin purses and handcrafted sculptures were expensive in the town square. But after entering the huge Mercado in which they sell food, dvds, clothing, and emerging on the other side there were many alleys selling even more souvenirs. I eventually found the alley of artisanos where people sold a lot of handcrafted trinkets which is what I was looking for. If you are going on a souvenir hunt and want to get something with Frida Kahol on it, you won’t have any problems here.

On one of my last days in Guanajuato my class and I visited a pyramid just outside of town. And upon entering the small lobby of the arachnological site there was the cutest doggy walking around and seeking sunshine for her morning tan. Her feet were a little muddy too as if she had taken a dip in the river earlier.

The pyramid itself was super cool and unlike a lot of pyramids built in México this one faced the sun so that it was the first thing pilgrims who came to this religious site saw once they climbed it. Another interesting thing about this particular site was that not to far from the pyramid the Virgen of Guadalupe appeared on a disc. And so as a result this area was named after la virgen. It’s truly fascinating that religious site has a way of remaining religious forever.

The area where I am standing is what they called the Underworld

On our last day the professor took my class to the local hot springs where we proceeded to play marco polo in the warm pool. Of course, the hot spring had more to offer than just warm pools there was also a man-made cave that you could walk through in order to get to their hottest pool which they called the grotto. This cave had a small waterfall that poured hot water into the pool and guests got in line in order to stand under it. Free back massage! I visited the hot springs with a slight cold so my time in that steamy room just cleared up all my sinuses.

And that concluded my trip to San Miguel de Allende. It was a lot of fun and if given the opportunity I would definitely go again.


8 of my favorite books of 2018

Hello Friends!

Today I thought I would recap my favorite books of 2018.

  1. Emergency Contact

I purchased this book, went to Mary HK Choi’s signing at the LA Festival of Books and then read the book a month later. And it was amazing. Definitely a book I would reread.


2. Labyrinth Lost

This book was amazing. Sure we got famous wizards such as Merlin, The boy who lived but were are our Brujas at? Look no further, Labyrinth Lost has a beautiful mix of different Latinx cultures and religions that make up this world. In addition, we also get a strong Latinx protagonist who is Bi!

3. Warcross

Warcross is amazing! If you were a Sword Art Online lover, like me. This book will blow your mind. This story had me at the edge of my sit and I loved that it was set in Tokyo, Japan.

4. Geekerella

Geekerella was so cute. I loved the way the fandom, cosplay, and the con was written. As a sometimes cosplayers I thought this story captured that aspect well. In addition, the characters in this book were awesome. Especially Fairy Godmother Sage.

5. The House on Mango Street

I had not read the House on Mango Street cover to cover until this year and I really enjoyed it! The collection of small poetic stories were really beautiful and Esperanza’s growth through the story was my favorite part of this book.

6. Six Of Crows

I have been meaning to read Six of Crows ever since I had heard about the series but did not read it until this year. This duology honestly blew away my expectations. I laughed. I cried. (I cried a lot). And I will carry the characters with me forever.

7. Kill the Queen

This book was described as a mixture of Game of Thrones and Black sails and it did not disappoint. There was a lot of action but also betrayal and deception as well as the overall growth of the main character, Evie as she prepares herself to take back her Queendom.

8. The Princess Saves Herself in this One

Another collection of poetry I fell in love with. The poems were beautiful and heart wrenching but what I liked the most about them was the way that they filled me with both inspiration and love.

Compiling this list of favorites was a little hard considering there were other great books I read this year that did not make this list. So here are some honorable mentions.

  • The Victoria in my head
  • Alex, Approximately
  • Daughter of the Pirate King
  • The Girl from the other side (read my review for this here)
  • A Dash of Trouble

What was your favorite read of 2018? And what books do I need to check out for 2019?

Wildcard Review

Wildcard

Marie Lu

5 stars

wildcard
My copy of Wildcard came with some free pins


Hello readers and neurolink users,

lol just kidding I think we’d all swerve the neurolink after reading the events of Warcross and Wildcard. That’s the true tea. Anyways I spent my best week putting down my Star Wars fanfiction and instead picking up Wildcard which has been sitting on my shelf since it’s release in September. Now my first impression of this book and I mean page one impression was “dang I missed this world.” For those of you who haven’t read Warcross let me give you a quick summary. Warcross is a scifi ya novel that is mostly set in Tokyo, Japan and stars Emika Chen, a bounty hunter but also a hacker, who finds people that are doing shady shit in the game warcross, a virtual reality game that is popular in this world. Think Sword Art Online. However, the day that Warcross decides to have their championship game Emika accidently glitches herself into the game and leaves everybody shook but most important she impress Hideo Tanka, the creator of Warcross, who hires Emika to look for a particular glitch in his game. And the rest of that story is a crazy whirlwind and I suggest you add it to your Christmas wish list. Anyways now to the real review.

WildCard picks up right where Warcross left off and Emika is still trying to unravel her feelings for Hideo after he basically revealed himself to have a god complex. He would be such good friends with Light Yagami. Any who as Emi is pondering her next move to take down Hideo she ends up getting swept up into Zero’s crew to take down her ex-lover however, as the story continues everything get’s even more complicated.

I finished this book 20 minutes before writing this review and the story is still stuck with me. If you do not want to know my thoughts on the ending look away now. I thought the ending was a kind of bittersweet. Maybe I got a soft spot for villians but Hideo deadass thought mind control was the solution to world peace. However, I was also a bit satisfied that he ends up doing time for trying to mind control everyone and Emika becomes the new CEO of Hideo’s company what a plot twist but I loved it. Emi went from being hated at the beginning of this book to being the person to restart Warcross like what an icon. Additionally I have to say I found it weird that Hideo and Emika’s love story got wrapped in a newspaper blurb at the end. I don’t how long Hideo is under house arrest for but it’s pretty wild that the news is peachy with the idea that Emika is dating the guy that tried to mind control everyone. Like did they just forget or was Hideo’s name cleared?

Anyways my little shipper heart was pleased I just have one complaint. Hideo and Emika didn’t have enough fluffy scenes together it was mostly angst. Compared to Warcross the two were so cute together but in this sequel they’re always dancing aroud their breakup and wondering if the other still likes them. Y’all are both into each other can you make out now.

My final thoughts are that Wildcard was not what I was expecting. As I progressed through the story everything I thought I knew got twisted into a bitter truth. And things were never what they seemed but I enjoyed that and it really kept me guessing so for that I give Wildcard 5 stars.

Protip if you plan on reading this but haven’t picked  up warcross in a while I recommend a reread because there were times when I was like who, what, when? But if you a rebel and persist anyways can’t blame you I did the same thing.

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids

The Summer of Chasing of Mermaids

Sarah Ockler

399 pages

4 Stars

Summer of Chasing Meramaids.jpg

 

Hello readers and book lovers,

Today’s review is a little late. I meant to post it as soon as I finished writing it but I completely forgot I wrote it.

Honestly if you’re looking for that perfect summer book that will give you the sense of being at the beach everyday, and having beach bonfires, and a cute summer crush the Summer of Chasing Mermaids is going to be your book.

This book follows Elyse a teen who has moved from Tobago to Oregon because of an accident that robbed her of her voice. Since Elyse can not physically make sound with her vocal chords because it will end up harming her voice even more she ends up writing her thoughts down on paper, or on walls, or other peoples hands. However, the words she pens with her sharpie are deeply poetic. I loved this about her because it was like every time she had something to say it was always articulated in such beautiful poetry. Elyse meets Christian Kane, her landlord’s son, and the two end up fixing up the Kane’s boat in order to win a contest that will determine the fate of the town.

My review on this book is 4 stars. Whole heartedly. It didn’t feel like YA too me more of a new adult novel. And that’s probably because the characters in this book are older, well they acted older I’m not sure how old Elyse and her friends where. This book was rich in culture specifically Tobago culture, although the author acknowledged that she learned a lot of that history and culture from close friends she also realizes that some things could be incorrect. I personally do not know much about Tobago so every time Elise talked about her life in Tobago I was intrigued and I loved learning about it.

Beside the culture, this novel also tackled a topic I hadn’t expected which was confiding to gender norms. Sebastian Kane, is Christian’s younger brother who in the novel, is around 8 years old, and he loves mermaids. He loves mermaids so much that he wants to dress like one and march in the annual mermaid parade the town hosts. The only problem is they won’t allow him to do it because he’s a boy. I was so frustrated at this point because Sebastian is a kid and kids should be allowed to express themselves however they want. This scene really resonated with me on a personal level because I have people in my family who make jokes about not wanting their sons to paint their nails since that is seen as something feminine. But hello did you just snooze your way through the rock and roll era (especially glam rock)? And it’s not as if actors, male actors included, aren’t getting their makeup done on set. Anyways it’s a pretty ridiculous thing to get all butt hurt about and I’m glad Elyse and friends definitely were mad about it. But it something that still happens today so I can see why the author chose to include this scene.

Anyways this book was great, and I would definitely recommend it to people looking for a diverse read, for people looking for a story set in coastal Oregon, and those looking for a nice summer read. I highly encourage you to add it to your next summer read.

Geekerella Review

Geekerella

Ashley Poston

317 pages

4 stars

LRM_EXPORT_20181010_174222

 

 

Hello Bookworms and Book Goblins!

Today I am reviewing Geekerella, which if you’re a space obessessed Gal like me and you thought this book was going to be star wars-y you are half right!

Geekerella is about 17 year old Daniella who lives with her stepmom, whose mostly evil, and her two step sisters, who are evil most of the time. Geekerella follows the Cinderella trope evil stepsisters, evil stepmom while Cindy, this case Elle, has to tidy up the house. However, unlike the Cinderella trope Elle is also a huge nerd for this space show called Starfield. Starfield is similar to lots of space operas we know today such as Star Wars and Star Trek and like both of these real life fandoms Starfield gets a reboot. Which should make the fans happy right?

Wrong! A lot of the Starfield fans are straight up hating that this guy Darien Freeman from this overly romantic teen drama show has been casted as their beloved Prince Carmindor, Elle included. However, through a crazy turn of events Elle and Darien end up becoming text buddies and talk about all things Starfield. The only problem is they both have no idea they’re texting each others number 1 hater.

 

I loved Geekerella! Firstly the whole fan drama about whose being casted as your favorite character was super real. I remember the magician shade Whovians were throwing at the 12th Doctor. And the huge uproar that happened after Star Wars was sold to Disney. I mean I still encounter these salty fans online so I was very sympathic towards Darien.

And the whole Starfield Storyline was all up my alley. I love Space Princes and tragic love stories, cough star wars. And I was lowkey getting flashbacks to Ten and Rose when Elle brought up that scene where Princess Amara decides to save the world. I wonder if the author was inspired by them.

I also loved the whole convention aspect and the cosplay ball. Clearly I’ve been going to the wrong cons cause I’ve never heard of a cosplay ball but it sounds super fun! And I loved the moment when all the cosplayers decided to jump in and help Elle I though that was super cute and pretty accurate as cosplayers are usually super nice and supportive.

Lastly Sage was a badass! She’s kind of the fairy godmother of this story but with less mystery which was totally fine. Sage knew how to work her own magic via her sewing skills and her crazy swerving in the Magic Pumpkin.

So if you’re looking for something to read this fall season or something to hype you up for your next con. I definitely recommend Geekerella.

 

 

 

 

Girl Against the Universe

 

Girl Against the Universe

Author: Paula Stokes

Pages: 382

My Rating: 5 Stars

(No photo because I forgot to take one)

 

“I just wanted to wish you good luck again,” he says. “In fact, I found something for you.” He pulls a wadded-up tissue from his pockets and folds it back to reveal a four-leaf clover. “Put it in your shoe or whatever.”

I loved this book. Normally I don’t really connect very much with a character when they’ve lost a family member or are an orphan. I just find that trope very common among YA so I think maybe I have just come to accept it as a kind of standard for the hero story. However, with Girl Against the Universe, I connected with the story right away.

Girl Against the Universe is about Maguire Kelly, a high school student, who believes without a doubt that the Universe is out to get her. Maguire has a history of walking away from disasters without a scratch and she convinces herself that she is cursed. However after her neighbor’s house catches on fire and Maguire’s family moves to San Diego she begins to attend therapy sessions in order to overcome her fear of the universe. It is there where she meets Jordy, who in is his own way is trying to take back his life. The two decide to help each other overcome their fears while also mastering the art of Tennis. Although Jordy is hoping to go pro while Maguire just wants an outlet. There’s some romance and a lot of cute moments.

I loved this book so much because Maguire’s fears and her curse felt real. I found myself unable to blame the girl for not wanting to ride in the car with other people because of the car accident that took her father, her brother, and her uncle’s life while leaving her unscratched. Maguire’s little rituals, her five minute checks, her positive affirmations, and her good luck charms were I think what really sold me. And it really warmed my heart when Jordy, Jade, and Penn took her fears seriously and offered her good luck charms as well in order to comfort her. That support system was just so beautiful.

I also enjoyed Maguire’s family and how although her mother remarries and has more children Maguire’s stepfather, Tom still claims Maguire as his own while also understanding he only has this new family because Maguire’s previous one had to die. Maguire also loves her steps siblings and she is patient with them and I found that refreshing as other books I read in the past liked to use the evil step siblings trope.

Something that I noticed that seemed off is when Magurie walks in on her therapist in one scene he is describes as eating an in-n-out burger and maybe I was hungry but I was left wondering well what kind? Was it a double double? A cheeseburger? Was it Animal style? I was left kind of curious about that.

I recommend this book to everyone! It was a very cute read. I’m not a fan of sports but this book is still a favorite.

Review on Eliza and her Monsters

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I didn’t have many monsters for comparison but Rey called Kylo a monster in The Last Jedi so I thought close enough.

Eliza and her Monsters

Francesca Zappia

Genre: YA

Pages 385

Reviewing 4.5 stars

 

 

Whoa just Whoa.

 

Eliza and her Monsters follows, Eliza Mirk, a high school student who is the author of the very popular webcomic, Monsters at Sea. Eliza is just living her life as the super private author of Monsters at Sea when Wallace Warland transforms to her school. Wallace as she comes to learn is a popular fan fiction author for Monster at Sea and he starts to work on the transcription of the web comic into books with Eliza of course as the beta reader. However as the two grow closer together Eliza ends up being outed as the author for Monsters at Sea and lots of drama ensues.

These books was cute and fluffy but also brought some very serious issues. Throughout the book Eliza is always alone. Until Wallace transfers she only really has Monsters at Sea and her online friends. That loneliness and frustration that Eliza has through the book continues to fester until towards the end of the book Eliza contemplates taking her own life.

I really enjoyed the world of Monsters at Sea and by the end of the book I was low key a fan but I did end up having to flip back and look at the art in order to figure out which character was which and try to unravel the story. I am honestly still not sure how that story ends but I hear Zappia is working on it.

Okay now for the thing that kind of angered me with this book was after Eliza’s secret is exposed she ends up not wanting to write anymore. Which is understandable as her whole life was put into the spotlight. However Wallace ends up being offered a book deal if he transcribes the comic but only once it’s finish so he kind of pressures Eliza to finish it. Although Eliza explains to him many times that she cannot Wallace persists and makes her feel guilty about it. Honestly that was a very shitty move Wallace and I liked him a lot less after that.

 

Before I read this book I found myself in a writing slump. I gave myself the goal to finish a story by the end of the summer and so far I was not really making progress on that goal. But then while reading Eliza and her Monsters, Eliza reminded me that creating worlds that can be shared is cool and everything but what really motivates a writer or an artist is creating for themselves. Once I told myself that writing became easier as I was doing it for myself and crafting these worlds became something personal and much easier to do.

 

I would recommend this book anyone wanting a contemporary read with a healthy serving of teen angst and self discovery. This book is also recommend for people who want a story within a story as Monsters at Sea is an interesting one.

Living in between two cultures

 

 

 

Growing up Mexican American #1

 

I use to call Corridos Mexican Polka music. It’s true I even wrote my college entrance essay on how my father always had these kinds of songs playing in his car while my mother was more a classic rock fan. Sometimes I wonder if my ignorance was what cost me admission into my number one UC. But I’m probably just overthinking it.

Anyways so why was I calling Corridos Mexican polka music? In short because the prominent sound that always came from my dad’s radio were the notes of an accordion. Especially on drives to my Tia’s house because she lived all the way in San Bernadino County. I remember looking out at the dry landscape and imagining myself in a desert, which California is so I wasn’t far off. Just to think if I was stranded here I’d have to listen to this weird accordion music until I got to safety.

Now a days I have educated myself on the correct term for this kind of music, corridos. However I’m still not a big fan. Interestingly enough though I have developed an ear for cumbias, shout out to Los Angeles Azules. That kind of music is pretty special for me a lot of people like to dance to but I do not even dance at parties only alone in my room where my dog can judge me. I think my new found interest in Cumbias has something to do with growing up this is the kind of music my family played at quinceneras, barbeques, dinners, and while doing housework. Never rock ballads or music in English.

I only half listen to the music on my dad’s radio. I had become a classic rock fan by the age of 11. Thanks mom. However, thanks to my dad listening to hits such as “La Camisa negra” and “Gasolina” I also became a listener of music in my second language. Although I definitely prefer Spanish love songs I will still put on the occasional Shakira song when I feel like moving. So I guess in a way my musical taste has become a fusion of both my parent’s radios. Did any of my readers have the similar experiences?

Corazón

I have been following Yesika Salgado since the release of Corazón. I loved Yesika’s personality and the small snippets of poems she shared on her Instagram, convinced me that I needed to add this book to my list. A few years pass, I find copies of Corazón at my college bookstore and contemplate buying a copy. I decide not to. Yesika releases Tesoro in 2018 and Hermosa this year.

Finally, I decide to purchase Corazón after catching a sale in September. And I wish I had read it while I was in college and yearning for Latinx voices in literature.

Corazón contains a collection of love poems ranging from ex-lovers, family, loss, El Salvador, and Yesika’s life in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Silverlake. But most importantly, Corazón explores Yesika’s life as a fat, brown, Salvadorean, poet. Yesika provides a very unique and much-needed voice to poetry.

The majority of Corazón’s poems deal with ex-lovers ranging from fuck boys to happy and hard moments in relationships. However, Corazón did not speak to me on the romantic level.

I have never had to heal from a breakup, nor have I spent nights missing an ex, however, the nostalgic elements of Corazón, touched my heart. These moments include drinking café con conchas, watching parents carefully slice thorns off of nopales, and even picking Mangos at a grandparent’s house. These are all moments I have of my childhood. Although Yesika’s memories are of Salvador, and mine is of Mexico, I think this resemblance in our lives is pretty cool. 

One of the reasons I loved Corazón, was that Yesika has a way of capturing moments that make you feel like you lived through them too.

By dividing Corazón into different sections, poems follow Yesika’s path to heal herself. In this sense Corazón is very similar to Rupi Kaur’s, “Milk and Honey” and for fans of that collection I would recommend Corazón.

Until next time continue living in libros,

Gaby

We Set the dark on fire is Brilliant, Incredible, Amazing, Show stopping, and Unique


I loved this book!

           

I try to stay away from dystopian novels for the most part because the plot in those books make me put on my tin foil hat and there is only so much time in the day to follow a conspiracy trail through the internet.

           However, We Set the Dark on Fire gave me a different kind of chill. The story follows Daniela Vega a recently graduated student of the Medio school for girls, in which young women learn to take on the role of the Primera or Segunda wife of their husband. Medio society practices polygyny in honor of their Sun God who married the Princess and the Mood Goddess. According to legend, the Sun God respected both of his wives and treated them equally although their titles of Primera, first, and Segunda, second, suggest a hierarchy the women are not in competition with each other.

            Daniela is married off to Mateo Garcia, the son of the head of Medio’s military, and is poised to be the first wife of the Medio’s future president. Mateo’s second wife is none other than Carmen Santos, Daniela’s archnemesis.

“Finally, they had to part, but they didn’t go far, rain slicked foreheads pressed together, strands of storm-tossed hair twisting around each other’s as they smiled and breathed and let the world seep slowly back in”

           

Medio is on the brink of a rebellion. For years those living in border towns and the other side of the island have been mistreated. Their place in Medio society is very low. As a result, the rebellion group, La Voz has risen to fight against a government that oppresses them.

            On the eve of Daniela’s graduation, La Voz attacks her school and make contact with Daniela. Daniela was born on the other side of the Medio border and crossed with her family to settle into a border town. When Daniela became older, her parents bought her forged documents. Without Daniela’s forged documents, she would have never been considered to attend such a prestigious school. La Voz uses this information against Daniela to recruit her into becoming one of their spies, given that her new family has a lot of political influence. As events in the novel progress, Daniela starts to feel less guilty about betraying her country.

The plot of this novel is already very interesting, but the caramelo on top was the romantic subplot. After Daniela and Carmen marry Matteo, they go from enemies to friends to lovers. This is my all-time favorite trope, and it is well written in We Set the Dark on Fire. And by well written I mean there is angst and a slow burn romance.

“Their Lips met like swords sometimes do, clashing and impatient and bent on destruction”

I think the reason I ended up enjoying this novel so much, aside from the romance, was that the author embedded real issues that the Latinx community struggles with. The pain of bordering crossing, uprising against crooked governments, the prejudice of coming from the wrong side of a border, the guilt of having to succeed because if you don’t your parents struggle is wasted. I am glad these themes came up in this novel and were brought into the struggle of this fictional world. It made the characters and the experiences that much more real.

This is the second to last book on my Latinx tbr and soon I will be reading Yesika Salgado’s Corazon. I cannot wait.

Until next time continue living in libros,

Gaby

Bruja Born

Art of Frida by Spooksieboo on IG https://www.instagram.com/spooksieboo/

Bruja Born is the second installment of the Brooklyn Brujas series.

The series follows the Mortiz family, a family of three sisters and their mother. During the first book of the series, Labyrinth Lost middle sister, Alex, struggles to come to terms with her identity as a bruja and on her death day she cast a spell that accidentally sends her whole family to the underworld. Alex and Nova, another brujo, both travel to the underworld to free her family.

Bruja Born is Lula’s story and it begins with Lula trying to readjust after living in the underworld. Lula is struggling, and she becomes even more stressed when her boyfriend, Maks unexpectedly breaks up with her right before his soccer game. On the bus ride over to his game, the group of soccer player and cheerleader are involved in a tragic accident that kills everyone on board. Lula survives because her family combines their powers to heal her while she’s in the hospital. Lula is heartbroken to learn that Maks is in a coma and healing him might end up doing more harm than good, but Lula convinces her sisters to help her bring him back to life but upsetting the balance of nature comes with huge consequences. Lula ends up pissing off Death herself.


The monsters, the monsters, they crawl in the night. The monsters, the monsters, they hide in plain sight.


Lula’s inability to let go of her relationship to Maks is one of the main plot points of this book. Although, Maks clearly ended things with her the night of the accident. After he is brought back to life, both of them act as if nothing happened and go back to somewhat being in a relationship.

Maybe I am overanalyzing this a bit too much, considering Maks, conveniently does not remember the accident but I thought it was odd that he would not remember what happened before the accident.

One of the things I really enjoyed about Bruja born is that Death is a woman, which is rare in pop culture and other stories that make Death into a character. This depiction of death reminded me of the Earth mother goddess from Aztec mythology, Coatlicue, as she is also the deity of life and death. Although physically, the two goddesses look nothing alike, I believe they are both meant to be unnerving. La Muerte is not a kind diety she is mostly angry at Lula throughout this book, rightfully so, but towards the end of the novel, La Muerte ends up helping Lula. Which made me a little less of afraid of her.

Hooray, Nova gets a redemption arc! I won’t spoil what he did in Labyrinth lost but homeboy really had a lot of atoning to do. I’m curious to see how his story evolves in the next book.

Something I found a bit off about this sequel was the introduction of other supernatural creatures. I need to refresh my memory of Labyrinth lost because I don’t remember the sisters ever mentioning the existence of other supernatural creatures.

Additionally, Lula gets another love interest, but his introduction is very brief that I forgot he existed. When Rhett is introduced again and positioned to be the love interest I felt thrown off. The two have one scene together in which they decide to kind of flirt before jumping back into the action. It was a very fast enemy to friends’ transition and I personally did not feel the chemistry between the two. Maybe I’ll see it more in the next book.

I really love that that the Mortiz sisters are proud of their roots and won’t let anyone disrespect them by calling them witches because they are brujas.

When you think witch, you think Hogwarts or some other European tradition of witchcraft. One of the main reasons I enjoy this series is that Cordova blends different religions and traditions from different Latinx cultures to create this world. I am here for this kind of representation! Truthfully, the Mortiz sisters are not witches because their world revolves around the traditions and legacies of Latinx cultures.

I give Bruja Born 4 Stars because it’s awesome. Definitely a good read for Latinx heritage month.

Until next time continue living in libros,

Gaby

The Trueba Women are awesome and Esteban can pout in the corner

“Psst! Father Restrepo! If that story about hell is a lie, we’re all fucked, aren’t we…”


I have a lot of feelings about The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende. This book did not go as I expected, and in the end, I think I liked it.

Before I begin my review I want to let my readers know that this books deals with a lot of mature topics such as rape, violence, and abuse. In my review I will be mentioning these things so feel free to skip this review if you need to.


The House of the Spirits tells the story of the Trueba family beginning with Clara De Valle, a clairvoyant young girl with an eccentric personality. Esteban Trueba narrates almost all of the story and he is engaged to Clara’s older sister, Rosa the most beautiful woman in the city, but after her tragic death Esteban decides to rebuild his family’s rancho, Tres Marías. At Tres Marías Esteban is tortured by dreams of Rosa and because of his horniness, he decides to rape many of the young girls in Tres Marías until he decides he needs a wife.

Clara De Valle spends most of her day speaking to ghosts and predicting future events. Clara also has a sidekick in the form of Barrabás a mysterious creature that resembles a very large dog.

After the death of Rosa, Clara becomes mute and on her 19th birthday she announces to her family that she will marry her sister’s ex fiancé, Esteban Trueba, even though she does not love him. At Clara’s engagement ceremony her childhood companion, Barrabás dies in her arms signaling the beginning of her adult life. Clara and Esteban are married and have three children Blanca, Jaime, and Nicolas.

Blanca does not inherit her mother’s ability to divine the future but, like her aunt Rosa, Blanca has a talent for creating fantasy creatures out of clay. Blanca also falls in love with Pedro Tercero, her childhood friend from Tres Marías. However, when Esteban discovers that Blanca has been sneaking out to meet her lover, he beats her and knocks Clara’s teeth out when she attempts to intervene. After the incident mother and daughter leave Tres Marías for their home in the city where they live with Blanca’s sibiling’s Jaime and Nicolas. Back in the city, Blanca discovers that she is pregnant, and Esteban marries Blanca off to a French count. However, Blanca discovers her husband’s secret photography room, she decides to leave him and gives birth to Alba at her parent’s home in the city.

Alba inherits her aunt Rosa’s green hair and is an overall a happy child raised by a single mother and her uncle Jaime. Alba, unlike the rest of the family members, is the only one who regularly talks to her grandfather Esteban and because of this Esteban decides that Alba will be the person to inherit Tres Marías.

In College Alba falls for Miguel, a communist advocate, who tries to steer Alba away from the danger of becoming involved in the political protests. During Alba’s arc of the story, the country, which I assumed was chile, experiences a transition from democracy, but was really oligarchy, to communism, and last to a military dictatorship. Alba has a good heart and she ends up feeding the poor and hiding the country’s most wanted men. Miguel leaves Alba to become a guerrilla fighter and soon after that she is kidnapped by Esteban Garcia, a descendant of the first woman that Esteban Trueba rape. Alba is tortured and raped during her time with Esteban but when she is eventually freed, she returns to her grandfather and the two decide to write this story.

I hated Esteban Trueba so much. He had a savior complex and always needed to be in a position of power. Esteban always compared his peasant workers to children in order to justify why they should not have certain privileges such as being paid. In addition, Esteban is a rapist and he beat his family members, so he is a shitty person. Towards the end of the novel Esteban’s has a change of heart and begins to regret his actions as a politician and he helps Blanca and Pedro Tercero flee the country as well as freeing his granddaughter Alba. However, Esteban is the reason all these bad things happened in the first place. He created the villain, Esteban Garcia, by raping his grandmother, and Esteban was the one who put him in power by recommending him to the police academy.

 Almost all of the novel is told through Esteban’s perspective, so this gave me mixed feelings however, I loved Clara and her descendants. What I took away from this novel is that the women in this family are resilient. After Esteban knocks Clara’s teeth out, she continues to live her life. She does not leave Esteban, but she spends the rest of their life together not speaking to him which is worse.

Blanca goes on after her father beats her bloody for sleeping with Pedro Tercero. And she continues to see Pedro against her father’s wishes. Eventually she runs away with him and Esteban has no choice but to help them.


“Pedro Tercero García, whom she would imagine among the clouds of sunset and or in golden wheatfields of Tres Marías.”

Lastly, Alba continues to live her life despite the trauma she went through at the hands of her cousin Esteban. This becomes Alba’s revenge against her abuser and maybe that is something she learned from the women in her family.

Right now, my rating of this novel is 3 stars.

I would not recommend this book to everyone given all the depictions of sexual violence contained within the pages. I overall enjoyed Allende’s writing and I hope there is another book of hers that I enjoy even more.

Until my next review continue living in libros,

Gaby