Let’s Jam Prime deceptions: sequel to Chilling effect

I read Chilling Effect last year and did not intend to continue the series. Although I loved that it was Latinx space adventure with a badass pilot. My issues with this sci-fi novel involved a slow-paced plot and not enough space cats. 

Recently, I found myself wondering about book two in this series and decided to borrow it from the library. And I’m glad I did. Prime deceptions has a much faster pace and lots of space cats content.

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Books, movies, and Podcasts to enjoy this spooky season

Hey book readers! I hope you have gotten a great start to your October, whether that be diving into your spooky book stack, decorating your space for falloween, or watching some spooky faves.

This past week, I’ve been neglecting my reading of Wayward Witch, and have instead been focusing on spooky crafts. If you follow me on IG, you got to see me work on some Halloween PJ shorts and scrunchies. Since I haven’t been doing much reading, I thought I share with my readers some perfect books, movies, and podcasts to get into the Halloween spirit.

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Why is it called the Wicked King when Cardan is Soft AF?

I finally got my hands on the Wicked King this week, and it did not take me long to finish the book. I was surprised that this book looked thinner than The Cruel Prince however, I knew that thinness doesn’t matter when we are dealing with author Holly Black. Now onto my favorite couple, *looks at the smudged ink on my palm* Cardigan and Juice.

*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of links and complete a purchase through my bookshop I earn a commission.

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Red Queen made me look like a fool, five stars.

Red Queen starts as a typical dystopian novel, but all the twists and turns are like slipping on a banana in Mario Cart. I want to preface this review by stating the first part of this blog post will be the review, while the second part will be me reacting to the plot and will contain spoilers.

I’ve done this a thousand times before, watching the crowd like a wolf does a flock of sheep.

Mare Barrow Red Queen
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An Insanely Cute Fall Read

Witches and vampires dating? Read it. Witches and demons dating also read that. But witches and werewolves, nope never.

When I saw the cover to Mooncakes, I immediately knew I needed to read it this fall.


Mooncakes is a graphic novel written by Suzanne Walker and illustrated by Wendy Xu and came out this October. Nova Hoang is a witch who works at her grandmothers’ magic bookstore assisting customers with that day to day spell work. Nova also helps in solve supernatural happenings in her small town so when she hears about a giant white wolf in the woods Nova decides to investigate. However, when Nova comes face to face with the wolf, she realizes the wolf is none other than her old crush Tam Lang.

“My mother met Einstein, you know. Horribly limited man.”

Mooncakes by Wendy Xu and Suzanne walker

Tam confesses to Nova that while coming back into town, they spotted a horse demon in the woods. Nova agrees to help Tam, but they soon discover that Tam is the only one who can stop the demon by using their werewolf magic. While all this is going on, Nova and Tam decide to pick up where they left off and start dating.


I loved so many things about this book, but here are just a few of them. Nova is hard of hearing, and her blue hearing aids are visible in every panel she appears in. I loved that Nova’s disability remained visible throughout this novel. I returned to previous panels to search for them, and they were always there. My ignorance made me appreciate the visibility of Nova’s disability throughout this book, and it also made me pay closer attention to the artwork and not get swept up in the story.

” A white wolf?”

“Hugh! Like Jon Snow’s. Mrs. Crawford said it came right at her.”

Mooncakes by Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker

I loved that Mooncakes included LGBTQ+ characters. Tam Lang, the love interest, uses they/them pronouns and is a super cool white werewolf. Additionally, I was surprised to learn that Nova has two nanas. All the descriptions of this book I had previously read stated that Nova works at her grandmother’s bookshop, which is technically true, but Nova having two grandmothers is an extra special detail that you do not discover until you read Mooncakes.

Lastly, I want to emphasize that readers pay attention to the background artwork during scenes because there are lots of cute Easter eggs. In particular, popular YA novels are visible behind Nova in the bookshop. This is super cool, considering Wendy Xu is a curator of YA and children’s books.

I do not have many negative points about this novel, but for the sake of this review, I decided to neat pick some details of this story. One thing I could never figure out was Nova’s age. This story takes place during the fall season, and considering that Nova never goes to school, I assumed she was 18 or older. Nova also mentions becoming best friends with Tatyana in high school, and the use of past tense suggests that both of them are older than high school age. Lastly, what happened to Terry? Will we ever know the answer to that mystery?

Mooncakes is up there with Don’t Date Rosa Santos as one of my favorite books this year. Mooncakes is the first graphic novel I have ever read, and I loved the way that the artwork flows with the story. I think I may need to add more graphic novels and even manga to my tbr list based on the artwork alone.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Until my next review continue living in libros,

Gaby

October Review

Remember when I made my October reading list a thick stack of Spooky literature? I had Cute Spooky books such as Babysitters Coven and Mooncakes, to Nostalgic Spooky with Hocus Pocus and the All New Sequel, to Mystery Spooks with Wicked Fox and Ninth House. I knew my October TBR was ambitious, but after completing my Latinx heritage month reading binge, I felt extra powerful.

Apollo cosplaying as a ghost

I started October by reading Permanent Record, a book that was not on my spooks list. However, Permanent Record decided that it was the book that I needed to start my October by arriving early at the library. Since Permanent Record arrived at the library during the first week of October, I simply could not refuse adding it to my pile.

I enjoyed the book, but it was not getting into the spooky spirit. In fact, Permanent Record had more of a winter in February feel.

Next, I decided to jump on the nostalgia boat and pick up Hocus Pocus and the All New Sequel. I saw this title all over Instagram last year, and although the reviews for it were not that great, my stubborn heart wanted to know more about Max and Alison. My fave couple turned out just fine, Alison as a lawyer and Max as a history teacher, oh, and they have a daughter named Poppy. However, my curiosity about Alison and Max could not keep me entertained throughout the book.

Hocus Pocus is a movie that premiered in the 90s and stars famous babes, Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker. Freeform is streaming Hocus Pocus every day in October for this year’s 31 Nights of Halloween. Given all these factors, I felt that the 200-page novelization of the movie was unnecessary. Although the novelization of the movie would guide new readers through the cult classic, a recap would have been quicker.

I considered myself a Hocus Pocus expert because I grew up watching this movie so, I decided to skip this whole section. Once I moved onto The All New Sequel, I realized I made a mistake because the characters bring up the legend of Elizabeth Sanderson. Someone who is not in the movie at all, but was added to this story for the sequel.

I flipped back to the beginning to find out who Elizabeth was and then returned to the present-day chapters. I was hoping to settle into the sequel with this additional information, but I could not. Poppy was bland and uninteresting her hobbies, included photography and a crush on her best friend. Once the story kicks off, Poppy and her friends sneak into the Sanderson Sister Cottage and summon the Sisters which results in horrible consequences very much like the original movie. But in order for the sisters to anchor themselves to this realm, they must trade their places in hell with Max, Alison, and Dani. At this point in the story, I was bored. I didn’t care about these characters anymore and I began my next read.

My next book was The Babysitters Coven, one of my most anticipated reads. I really enjoyed this book and will definitely read any future sequels. Check out my review here.

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Boo

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The Fourth book I read for October was Wicked Fox, and I found this book to be more interesting. I loved the reading about the mythology of the Gumiho and the way the author used Korean words in the dialogue. However, this book is heavy on the teen angst, and towards the end, I was tired of it. You can read my full review here.

Although I did not read as many books as I did in September, I still managed to get into the spooky spirit.

I got to visit the Freeform Halloween House

And a pumpkin patch

Besides these spooky activities I also got to hang out with my friends from university for the first time since graduation.

How was your October? Did you read anything good or enjoy a fun fall activity?

Until my next review continue living in libros,

Gaby

Teen Angst and a Nine Tailed Fox

Wicked Fox is the last book I read in October, and it wasn’t all I hoped it would be. This story is particularly unique as it features a Gumiho. A Gumiho is a fox with nine tails that can turn into a beautiful woman to lure their prey. Gumihos are believed to seduce men in order to feed off their energy. Sound familiar? A Gumiho is the Korean name for this legend, but other names include Kitsune and Huli jing. Although the legends vary from culture to culture, Wicked Fox is the story of Miyoung, a Korean teen living in Seoul, South Korea.

The story begins by introducing both Miyoung, a Gumiho teen, and Jihoon, a human teen, in alternating POVs. Miyoung is out on a full moon hunting a man to sustain herself while Jihoon is out walking his dog the two collide paths when Jihoon confronts a goblin. Miyoung saves Jihoon but in the process reveals her nine tails to him. Soon after this incident, Miyoung becomes the new girl at Jihoon’s school, and she ignores all of Jihoon’s attempts to befriend her. Overtime, Jihoon wears Miyoung down, and the two become friends and start dating.

Jihoon glanced up and met Miyoung’s eyes with his, giving her a wide grin. He had a kimchi stuck in his teeth. And she hated that it made his goofy smile even more endearing.

Wicked Fox by Kat Cho

However, the bubble shatters two hundred pages in when a Shaman ritual goes wrong, and through a sequence of tragic events, Jihoon ends up with Miyong’s fox bead, leaving Miyoung to slowly starve. Miyoung feels like she has no other choice but to leave Jihoon as her mother attempts to find a way for Miyoung to live without her bead.

The story concludes with Miyoung and Jihoon fixing their mistakes and living happily ever after, or so I thought until I flipped the page to the Epilogue, which leaves the novel off on a cliff hanger!

I found myself struggling to get through the first part of this book because I found it to be a little slow. Miyoung, during the first half of this book, does not interact with any other kids at her school, in fact, she tries her hardest to push them away, and it works on all of them except Jihoon and his friends. I got tired of Miyoung constantly pushing Jihoon away because sometimes she was nice to Jihoon while other times she was mean.

However, once everything goes wrong with the Shaman ritual, I found myself engrossed in the book once again until Miyoung decides to leave. The story becomes a bit boring as the two teens have a few more chapters of angst and longing for each other. At this point, I thought to myself what else could happen to these two? Haven’t they suffered enough?


Apparently not! The final chapters of this story provide another wild plot twist, and I was here for it. I wanted this story to end strong, and it did with the last scene. The epilogue reveals that not everything is as it seems, and there is definitely a sequel coming. This frustrated me because I just wanted this story to have a definite conclusion, and the epilogue ruined it. I wish I could say reading the next book will give me the answers I seek, but I am not invested enough in this story to find out what happens next.

I would recommend this book if you love lots of teen angst and stories not set in the U.S.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

If you are intrigued by the legend of the Gumiho and don’t mind reading subtitles, I recommend the Kdrama, “My girlfriend is Gumiho.” This Korean drama features a Gumiho, who saves the life of Dae-Woong by giving him her fox bead. Mi-ho decides to stick around, and Dae-Woong makes sure she is happy by frequently treating her to Korean Barbeque. The drama is super cute and the theme song is catchy.

Have a spooky Halloween and 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.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Until next time continue living in libros,

Gaby