Hello readers! I know you have all been busy living in books, but today I have a review for one of my most anticipated reads of 2020. I read this book back in the Spring, but saved my review for fall. I thought it would be a good spooky read, if you’re in the mood for a paranormal YA romance set in Medieval France.Read More »
Hello readers! Today I’ll be sharing my review for the highly anticipated book Cemetery Boys!
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas has made its way onto the New York Times Bestseller list shortly after its release. But more importantly, this paranormal romance is also an Own Voices read and stars a transgender protagonist.Read More »
Prince Zuko, Ben Solo, and Cardan. The definition of baddies and Princes of darkness take their sweet ass time to see the light.
Their road to redemption may be slow, but they get there in the end.Read More »
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,
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.
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,
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,
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.
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,
Today I thought I would recap my favorite books of 2018.
- 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!
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.
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?