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.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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

I hate to say it, I hope I don’t sound ridiculous but I hated the novel To All the boys I loved before

I’m Back!

Same hot mess but now with a bachelor’s degree. I breifly 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, when Laura Jean’s letters are accidentally mailed out, 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. Moreover I found Margot annoying, she constantly caused Laura Jean stress about college by reminding her that she was doing things wrong at home. Let your sister be a teen Margot!

Kitty was more interesting than her two sisters, in my opinion, 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. I’m hoping the movies continue to bring life to these characters.

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?

The Girl from the Other Side

The Girl from the Other Side

Story and Art by Nagabe

Page Count: I don’t know it’s a magna

Rating: 5 Stars

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Hello readers!

For today’s post I want to review the first book “The Girl from the Other Side”, a magna series. For those of you who are not familiar with Magna they are similar to comic books except they come from and are translated from Japan. A lot of Magna ends up becoming anime series such as Sailor Moon or Attack on Titan.

So what’s so great about the girl from the other side? In short everything. The series follows a young girl named Shiva who lives in an abandoned village with her demon guardian whom she calls teacher. In the first book we learn that some kind of sickness took over the village and Shiva was left in Teacher’s care. However for some reason Shiva cannot touch teacher or she will catch the curse and turn into some ugly creature…Forever. I know right so crazy.

Anyways Shiva is so sassy! And maybe part of that is because she is so young and kids don’t really have a filter but I found Shiva’s personality refreshing. I also loved that Shiva just rolls with the fact she lives with a demon now as if that is normal. Shiva does not ever show that she’s scared of teacher and I loved that.

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The reason I loved this book and this is what originally drew me to purchasing the first story was that the whole series gave me this Hades and Persephone vibe and as I read the magna that vibe was further validated. I mean Shiva may live with a creature of darkness but that doesn’t stop her from napping out in the woods or collecting flowers to make a cute little crown for Teacher. In addition, Shiva not being easily spooked by Teacher’s otherness reminded me of the duality of Persephone as she is both the Princess of Spring as well as the Queen of darkness.

I’m not sure how the rest of this series will go but I do remember reading a summary of the series that Shiva at some point was going to travel away from the other side, which is where she lives with Teacher, in order to find her grandmother and ask her just why Teacher came to be her guardian. And with the way the first edition to this series left me feeling and left me hanging you bet I’m going to purchase the next installments.

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids

The Summer of Chasing of Mermaids

Sarah Ockler

399 pages

4 Stars

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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.

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.

Review for Bad Bachelor

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Bad Bachelor by Stefanie London

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Page count: 358

My rating: 4 stars

 

“…Darcy recorded all her reading activities and didn’t generally care what people thought of her taste in books. But there had been a phase when she’d read some erotic monster books for fun. Big Foot’s virgin mistress…” (p 157).

 

I don’t think I have read much contemporary romances since my days lurking on Wattpad. However, this month I decided to broaden my reading palette by reading some more romance novels. The two romance novels I read before this weren’t my favorite and honestly, I was feeling a little put off by the genre all together. But one evening I began the task of requesting more library books to read in the following weeks and somehow Bad Bachelor ended up in my pile.

Bad Bachelor is about Reed McMahon, a PR whiz, living in New York city. Reed’s done damage control for a fair share of his celebrity clients but that was all pretty easy compared to the shit storm that got thrown his way because of a budding new dating app, Bad Bachelor. Bad Bachelor is like yelp, it lets women rate the men they’ve dated, and in doing so the app is suppose to help women make their own decisions about the guys they’re seeing. But Reed ends up becoming the most rated guy on the Bad Bachelor app and the reviews aren’t all that nice.

Darcy Greer is out looking for love or at least someone to casually date after her last relationship. So, she starts using Bad Bachelor to look up potential guys who will definitely not break her heart. Darcy ends up meeting Reed through work and it isn’t all love and heart eye emojis at first site. The two hate each other but slowly they become friends and eventually lovers.

I loved Bad Bachelor because Darcy was so adorably quirky. She’s a tattoo covered librarian who loves her graphic tees and doc martens. She also loves to read, and she generally reads whatever she wants like monster erotica books apparently. But what really made me love Darcy was that after she sleeps with Reed for the first time she starts to make snow angels on the silk sheets, get it girl.

In general, this novel was a nice light read that I gobbled up. My only beef with it was that the ending felt rushed to me, but I think that was just because I was surprised I had gotten to the end so fast.

I recommend it for anyone who wants a cute but light romance read.

 

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