Talk Chisme to Me: Latinx Heritage Month 2021 TBR

Hello, friends! I love putting together posts for Latinx Heritage Month as it gives me a chance to spread the word about the amazing books Latinx authors are writing. As always, be sure to support these authors all year round. This year, I’m taking a bit of a step back with these posts. I am skipping my annual “New & Upcoming Releases by Latinx Authors” post because it takes a lot of time to put together and this year I just do not have the brain capacity. I might revisit doing it at the beginning of next year though, but we will see. I am keeping my TBR for the month relatively straightforward. This year I’m not joining any reathathons as I tend to put too much pressure on myself and I always read more when I am not too stressed. Covers are linked to Goodreads.

Before we get started, be sure to check out the giveaway I am hosting for Latinx Heritage Month on Twitter. You can win a book by any Latinx author! Click on the graphic below for all the info.

My Latinx Heritage Month TBR:

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1. A Mixture of Mischief (Love Sugar Magic, #3) by Anna Meriano – This Latinx Heritage Month, I am going to try to get to a few backlist books that I haven’t gotten a chance to get to. At the top of my list is the final book in the Love Sugar Magic series. This middle grade series is so magical and so sweet and makes me wish I was a better baker.

2. Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam – I’ve heard a lot of good things about this one and it’s been a while since I’ve picked up a novel in verse. Also looking forward to another Ibi Zoboi novel as I’ve enjoyed both American Street and Pride immensely.

3. We Are Not From Here by Jenny Torres Sanchez – I’m really interested in checking out this one and one of the reasons is because I heard it has magical realism elements which I always love.

4. The Library of Lost Things by Laura Taylor Namey – I always feel guilty when I’ve promoted an author, but haven’t read any of their books. I am going to try really hard to get to this one before Namey’s third book comes out.

5. Running by Natalia Sylvester – Last year was probably the perfect time to read this one, but I didn’t get a chance. It’s still feels super relevant and I am especially interested in checking out how Sylvester addresses the often differing politics within a Latinx household.

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6. Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado – The first newer release on my TBR for this month is Fat Chance, Charlie Vega. I missed out on this one earlier in the year and thanks to Ashley @ Socially Awkward Bookworm, I’ve got a copy and am ready to dive in.

7. Like a Love Song by Gabriela Martins – Another new release I really want to get to. Some of these books deal with heavy subject matter, so I know I will have to balance them out with some lighter reads like this one.

8. How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland – I want to read this one so bad. I don’t even know what it is about this one that has me so intrigued, but I just want to devour it.

9. Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed edited by Saraciea J. Fennell – Going to use this Latinx Heritage Month to read and promote a couple of future releases. I was lucky enough to win an ARC of this anthology and I can’t wait to check out what these amazing Latinx writers have in store.

10. The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera – Another ARC that I was lucky enough to get my hands on. I’ve seen a few bloggers love this one, so I am really looking forward to picking it up myself.

ALTERNATIVES: Because I am a mood reader, I also have a few books in my back pocket. This list includes: Muted by Tami Charles, Perfectly Parvin by Olivia Abtahi, Charming as a Verb by Ben Philippe, and Indivisible by Daniel Aleman.

Are you picking up anything in particular for Latinx Heritage Month? What’s a book by a Latinx author that you want to knock off your TBR?

Top Ten Tuesday: Books with Numbers in the Title

Top Ten Tuesday is an original blog meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and is currently being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is “Books With Numbers In the Title.Hello, I am back from my hiatus and back to doing TTT posts. Hope you are all doing well. Today we take a look at books with numbers in the title. This list was a little more difficult than I imagined. I was originally going to go from one to ten but couldn’t find the right title for several numbers. I did discover that variations of “hundred” and “thousand” are pretty popular for titles. Covers linked to Goodreads.

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1. Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

2. Five Midnights by Ann Dávila Cardinal

3. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

4. Seven Deadly Shadows by Courtney Alameda and Valynne E. Maetani

5. 10 Things I Hate About Pinky by Sandhya Menon

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6. One Hundred Nights of Hero by Isabel Greenberg

7. Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

8. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao

9. Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun by Jonny Garza Villa

10. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

Have you read any of these? Let me know in the comments and be sure to leave me a link to your own TTT post, so I can visit!

Mini-Reviews: Velvet Was the Night + The Wolf and the Woodsman

I am back from my blogging hiatus which means I am back with some reviews I wrote while on a break. I’m late with my review of Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Velvet Was the Night, but kept reminding myself while away that it was okay to be late. It’s funny because we as bloggers internalize so many expectations for ourselves and forget that this isn’t a job or school. No one is going to punish us if we are a little late posting a review. I’ve only been book blogging for seven years and it’s finally starting to sink in that the only person who is watching to make sure I review an ARC before publication is myself. Going to sit with that one for a while. Does anyone else have a similar relationship reviewing ARCs?

Title: Velvet Was the Night Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia Series: N/A Pages: 304 Publisher: Del Rey Release Date: August 17th 2021

TW: contains a gay slur and slur for Romani people **Disclaimer: I received a copy of this ARC from the publisher which does not influence my review**

"From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic comes a 'delicious, twisted treat for lovers of noir' about a daydreaming secretary, a lonesome enforcer, and the mystery of a missing woman they’re both desperate to find.. 1970s, Mexico City. Maite is a secretary who lives for one thing: the latest issue of Secret Romance. While student protests and political unrest consume the city, Maite escapes into stories of passion and danger. Her next-door neighbor, Leonora, a beautiful art student, seems to live a life of intrigue and romance that Maite envies. When Leonora disappears under suspicious circumstances, Maite finds herself searching for the missing woman—and journeying deeper into Leonora’s secret life of student radicals and dissidents. Meanwhile, someone else is also looking for Leonora at the behest of his boss, a shadowy figure who commands goon squads dedicated to squashing political activists. Elvis is an eccentric criminal who longs to escape his own life: He loathes violence and loves old movies and rock ’n’ roll. But as Elvis searches for the missing woman, he comes to observe Maite from a distance—and grows more and more obsessed with this woman who shares his love of music and the unspoken loneliness of his heart. Now as Maite and Elvis come closer to discovering the truth behind Leonora’s disappearance, they can no longer escape the danger that threatens to consume their lives, with hitmen, government agents, and Russian spies all aiming to protect Leonora’s secrets—at gunpoint. Velvet Was the Night is an edgy, simmering historical novel for lovers of smoky noirs and anti-heroes.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s latest, Velvet Was the Night, is a mystery-driven noir that made me want to smoke a cigarette while reading and I don’t even smoke. Set against the backdrop of student protests in Mexico City in the 1970s, Velvet Was the Night unfolds at a leisurely pace shifting between two different POVs as characters converge on the truth behind a missing art student. Maite Jaramillo, a bored secretary whose biggest thrill is her weekly consumption of a tawdry romance comic, finds herself swept into her neighbor’s seductive world. El Elvis is nothing better than a hired thug, a member of an unofficial government-ran group tasked with quelling student activists. It’s a way to survive and nothing more. Both characters are playing parts, keeping reality at bay as best they can, but neither can hold on to their distorted and often naive view of the world. Velvet Was the Night will be enjoyed by those fond of the noir genre and those looking for sharp dialogue and antiheroes.

★ ★ ★ ★
(4/5)


Title: The Wolf and the Woodsman Author: Ava Reid Series: N/A Pages: 448 Publisher: Del Rey Release Date: June 8th 2021

TW: racism, antisemitism, self-harm, domestic abuse

"In her forest-veiled pagan village, Évike is the only woman without power, making her an outcast clearly abandoned by the gods. The villagers blame her corrupted bloodline—her father was a Yehuli man, one of the much-loathed servants of the fanatical king. When soldiers arrive from the Holy Order of Woodsmen to claim a pagan girl for the king’s blood sacrifice, Évike is betrayed by her fellow villagers and surrendered. But when monsters attack the Woodsmen and their captive en route, slaughtering everyone but Évike and the cold, one-eyed captain, they have no choice but to rely on each other. Except he’s no ordinary Woodsman—he’s the disgraced prince, Gáspár Bárány, whose father needs pagan magic to consolidate his power. Gáspár fears that his cruelly zealous brother plans to seize the throne and instigate a violent reign that would damn the pagans and the Yehuli alike. As the son of a reviled foreign queen, Gáspár understands what it’s like to be an outcast, and he and Évike make a tenuous pact to stop his brother. As their mission takes them from the bitter northern tundra to the smog-choked capital, their mutual loathing slowly turns to affection, bound by a shared history of alienation and oppression. However, trust can easily turn to betrayal, and as Évike reconnects with her estranged father and discovers her own hidden magic, she and Gáspár need to decide whose side they’re on, and what they’re willing to give up for a nation that never cared for them at all. In the vein of Naomi Novik’s New York Times bestseller Spinning Silver and Katherine Arden’s national bestseller The Bear and the Nightingale, this unforgettable debut— inspired by Hungarian history and Jewish mythology—follows a young pagan woman with hidden powers and a one-eyed captain of the Woodsmen as they form an unlikely alliance to thwart a tyrant."

Ava Reid’s The Wolf and the Woodsman is a stunning and dynamic fantasy with rich world-building. Évike is an outsider in her own village, without family or magic. When the Woodsmen come to take another girl as a sacrifice to their king, magicless Évike is turned over as a ruse. But the scheme is short-lived as Évike and the Woodsmen are attacked. Now Évike and the Woodsman, Bárány Gáspár, must put aside their mutual contempt if they are to survive. Reid does a phenomenal job of painting a complex world of human prejudice and the negative side of religious fervor. There is a lot of juxtaposition between different religions and cultures. We see this play out in the relationship between Évike and Gáspár, whose world-views often clash. However, as they begin to rely on one another, they also begin to see each other as more than the enemy. They have both been defined as interlopers in their own societies, but despite the cruelties they’ve endured, still have a sense of loyalty to their people. With a mercurial lead, The Wolf and the Woodsman, takes off at a swift pace and is entertaining at every turn.

★ ★ ★ ★
(4/5)

Monthly Wrap-Up: July ’21 & August ’21

Hello, friends, I am officially back from my blogging hiatus! I originally planned to come back in August, but I had a few things come up and needed the extra couple of weeks. Still dealing with some things and it’s also the second anniversary of my brother’s passing, so if I’m not readily available or slow to reply to comments, it’s probably because I am still feeling a bit overwhelmed. My hiatus could have been better and even though I didn’t read a ton, it was still nice to have some kind of break. I only read six books during the months of July and August, but considering how stressed I was, I’m going to consider it a win. Latinx Heritage Month is just around the corner and while I’ve been preparing posts, I’ve also decide to give myself a little leeway. My Talk Chisme to Me posts will be limited , but I am still very excited to share with you what I have in store. Hope the latter part of the summer is going well for everyone and I am hoping to do a lot of blogging hopping in the coming week to see what everyone’s been up to ❤

(Book covers below are linked to my reviews, unless otherwise specified.) 

Favorite Books I Read in July and August:

My favorite July read was Jade War by Fonda Lee. I finally picked this sequel up and it had me so stressed out! I screamed out loud so much. I don’t know what the final book in the series is going to look like, but I am kind of terrified. My favorite read in August was Susan Dennard’s Witchshadow. I have such a soft spot for this series. This fourth book is full of action, but at times it did feel like a filler installment. Still, I’ve enjoyed the journey these characters have taken and can’t wait for more.

Least Favorite Book This Month:

No book received lower than three stars from me.

Reviews Posted:

(Covers linked to reviews)

Notable Blog Posts:

2021 Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag – Before going on hiatus, I took a look at my reads so far this year. I didn’t read a ton, but I think I picked up a lot of great books.

What I Watched/Am Watching:

Fear Street: Part 1-3 – The Fear Street movie series definitely had its flaws, but overall these movies were really fun and made me nostalgic for old school slasher movies. I kid you not after I watched these, all I wanted was more scary movies, so I spent most of July only watching horror films.

Strongest Deliveryman – I am still watching horror films, but I’ve peppered in K-Dramas for a little levity. In August I watched Strongest Deliveryman which was so silly and yet the most endearing K-Drama I have ever watched. The male lead, Kang Soo, is literally too good for this world.

September Releases I’m Excited For:

What was your favorite July and August read? Let’s discuss in the comments and feel free to leave me a link to your own wrap-up post and I’ll be sure to visit!