Gorgeous book covers with phenomenal plots part one

Hello Readers!

Due to some Veterinary issues involving my dog Mimosa, I was not able to complete a video review for Ruin and Rising this week. But don’t worry! I shall not leave you without a blog post this today.

Today, I wanted to share with you my favorite books with aesthetically pleasing covers. Pretty covers give me the urge to impulse buy and never look back! However, beautiful book covers with interesting plots make me want to keep them on my shelf forever.

Don’t worry this is just part one of my list. I hope to add more books in the future.

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My favorite reads of 2020

Happy new year, book lovers! I hope the new year has been treating you well and that you’re not stressing too much, although if you’re a U.S resident, please take time away from the internet to distress and have a mental break. Watch some cat videos or your favorite tv show.

*This post contains an affiliate link to my bookshop store front. If you complete a purchase using this link I earn a small commission.

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Blue Lily, Lily Blue

Hello readers! I am back again with another review of the Raven cycle. This week I jumped into the third installment known as Blue Lily, Lily Blue.  Check out my other reviews of the Raven Cycles series here.

The Raven Boys Dream Thieves

Previously on the Raven Cycles series, Adam learned to control his gift from Cabeswater, Ronan discovered his mother was a dream creation and rewrote his father’s will, Gansey and Blue began taking late-night evening drives but ultimately decided not to date each other because they didn’t want to hurt Adam. Muara Sargent begins dating Mr. Gray, a former assassin, and accidentally gets herself trapped in a cave.

*This post contains affiliate links, If you decide to complete a purchase through one of my links I earn a commission.

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Dreaming with the Raven Boys: Dream Thieves book review

The Raven teens are off on a new adventure in this second installment to Maggie Steifvater’s The  Raven Cycle. If you read my previous review of The Raven Boys, then you know how much I enjoyed the first novel. Luckily the sequel has lived up to my expectations.

 Unlike the first novel, where readers got to learn all about Blue and the Raven Boys, Dream Thieves focuses more on Ronan.

*This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of my links and make a purchase through it I earn a commission.

Summary:

We begin this novel with Ronan confessing to his friends that he can manifest things from his dreams into real life. Meanwhile, Adam’s deal with Cabeswater has taken a toll on him, and he struggles to decipher what is real and what is a vision. Adam’s new vision is negatively impacting his relationship with Blue. As a result,  Blue and Gansey grow closer, leaning on each other when drama becomes too much. And Noah is the same chismoso (gossip lover).

However, a mysterious stranger known as the Grey Man comes to town, and he has a mission to fulfill for his boss, kill the dreamer.

Thoughts:

As I am gathering my thoughts for this review, it has occurred to me that the Dream Thieves reminded me a lot of a Midsummer Night’s dream. Blue is with Adam but wants to be with Gansey, Adam loves Blue but might be catching feelings for Ronan, and Blue’s mother is seeing an assassin. 

Shakespeare’s play is all about messy love triangles and unrequited love. And Dream Thieves also had this similar structure.

I may be reaching, but why name this novel the dream thieves? Hmm. Okay, my tin foil hat is off.

Maggie Stiefvater keeps the same whimsical and gothic atmosphere that the first novel had for the sequel as well. The writing is phenomenal, but the pacing feels like it veers off into character development a little too often for my liking. Unlike the first one, where I was uncomfortable with Ronan’s ignorant comment, I didn’t catch another one this time around. This novel also contains more cute moments with Noah and Blue.

I wasn’t the biggest fan of Ronan in the first novel, and a majority of this novel is through his pov. And Ronan grew on me. Ronan gets a more in-depth backstory, and I was left on edge when he started to hang out with Kavinsky. Of course, if Blue comes from a family of psychics, there has to be more paranormal elements to this series. Anyway, I enjoyed the character study of Ronan more than I thought I would.

I was a little frustrated that Adam didn’t have much focus in this novel, and at first, it seemed like this novel was going to drift away from him and the deal he made at Cabeswater. I wasn’t a big fan that the author withheld this arc of Adam’s story, but it flowed well with the novel overall, so I’ll just pout on my own.

The romantic arc in this novel curves in different directions. As I explained earlier, it felt very Shakesperian. Ronan and Adam are giving me a slow burn romance, which I hadn’t expected at all. However, out of the two of them, I think Adam will be the one to fall in love first. I cannot wait to see what the third novel has in store.

Gansey and Blue have realized they have feelings for each other. And their friendship deepens in this novel. I predict they are going to have a hard time denying their feelings for each other and start seeing each other in secret. Overall, I very curious to see how they’ll act around each other when they eventually start to date.

“I wish you could be kissed, Jane,’ he said. ‘Because I would beg just one off you. Under all this.’ He flailed an arm toward the stars.”

Dream Theives Maggie Steivater

And to round off this review, I just want to say I don’t know how to feel about the Gray-man. Although he’s an assassin, he gets some morals when he starts dating Mora and compromises his mission. But I thought it was weird to have Mora fall in love with a guy like that. I’ll check back in on how I feel about their relationship in the following novel review.

The ending plot twist! Who let Maura do that? No!!

If you would like to purchase a copy of Dream Thieves or The Raven Boys and help support independent bookstores, you can do so by purchasing through my bookshop link. If you want to purchase more of my favorite books you can do so through my bookshop store!

I’m currently reading the next novel in this series and I hope to have a review for it soon!

Until next time book lovers keep living in libros,

Gaby

Babysitters coven

Babysitter’s coven was one of my most anticipated reads this Halloween season. The cover is gorgeous and aesthetically pleasing, I mean, who wouldn’t want to DIY their jean jacket after seeing this cover?


Esme is the voice of The Babysitter’s coven, and she is an anti-social 17-year-old, who runs a babysitting club with her friend Janice. Esme’s club does not have any members besides her and Janice, so the two besties mostly hangout during their meetings and split up babysitting jobs. Esme’s life is normal until she somehow makes a ball move with her mind during gym class.

The plot thickens when new girl, Cassandra Heaven, becomes adamant about joining the babysitter’s club. Esme assumes Cassandra may need some extra cash, so she allows her to join. However, Cassandra’s first babysitting job reveals she has no experience in childcare and she is forced to reveal her true intentions for joining the club.

Before Cassandra’s mother passed, she left her daughter a note stating that she must find the babysitters. Cassandra assumed the babysitters could help her explain why she can start fires with her mind, but when Esme acts oblivious. Cassandra forces Esme to come to terms with her own powers. The two super teens quickly become friends as they try to figure out the meaning behind the note.

Both girls are sitters, special people with superpowers that have been destined to protect the world from evil. So, when children start to report seeing monsters coming into their rooms, the sitters must save the kids and defeat the demons all before the parents can get home.

Esme is witty, funny, and a fashionista! I love it when characters have a vast knowledge of pop culture. Additionally, her dog, Pig, is awesome and deserves all the belly rubs. Can Pig become an honorary Salem Saberhagen? Anyways, Esme is a fashion icon, she buys most of her clothes from the thrift store and is very creative with her outfits. Every morning before school, she texts Janice her outfit inspiration for the day, which can range from pop culture references to random moods.

Cassandra is cool, but there are times in the novel in which she allows the power to get to her head and uses her new abilities to benefit her life. As a result Esme has a little power trip as well.

I understand why Cassandra chose to use her power selfishly as she has lived a hard life. However, Cassandra’s actions are never addressed in this novel, which leads me to believe that it will become a plot point in a future sequel.

The supporting characters in this novel are all very interesting. As mentioned previously, Janice is Esme’s best friend and a fashionista, but she disappears towards the middle of the novel. Instead, Cassandra takes over as Esme’s main friend. I know that Cassandra is essential to the plot, but I wished that Janice did not have to disappear because I wanted to learn more about Janice. Another major supporting character is Brian, the football coach, who is essentially the sitter’s watcher, if you speak Buffy. I found Brian to be boring, but that’s probably because I’m not a fan of football and this man was obsessed with the sport. I wanted to know more about his previous job as a sitter’s mentor.

Dion is the last supporting character I wanted to discuss because he is Esme’s love interest. Dionysus, or Dion as he nicknamed in this story, is Cassandra’s older brother and her legal guardian. According to Esme, Dion is super handsome, Greek god handsome (HA!), so of course, Esme goes heart eyes for him. However, the two lacked some chemistry, so I wonder if Esme will have another love interest in the future, I have a theory it might be Cassandra, but if that’s the case, where does that leave Dion’s character?

The Babysitter’s Coven does not end in a cliff hanger, but it does end in a way that makes it clear that this book is just the beginning of a series, nevertheless, the ending is satisfying.

I want more answers about the sitters, and I want to know what happens next with Esme, Cassandra, and friends.

If you were wondering about picking up this book for spooky season, do it!

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.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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.

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