Snapshot (ARC) Review: Five Midnights by Ann Dávila Cardinal

Title: Five Midnights
Author:
Ann Dávila Cardinal
Series: N/A
Pages: 288
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: June 4th 2019
**Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley which does not influence my review.**

TW: ableism

      “Five friends cursed. Five deadly fates. Five nights of retribución.
      If Lupe Dávila and Javier Utierre can survive each other’s company, together they can solve a series of grisly murders sweeping though Puerto Rico. But the clues lead them out of the real world and into the realm of myths and legends. And if they want to catch the killer, they’ll have to step into the shadows to see what’s lurking there—murderer, or monster?”

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  • The concept – I love the concept for this one. Cultural myths coming to life in a modern setting and two teens desperate to solve the mystery with a body count that continues to grow.
  • Javier – I love reading about a teen character who didn’t always make the best decisions, but who is doing their best. Javi has been clean for two years, but he still struggled with his drug addiction on a daily basis.
  • A too curious for her own good MC – I’m fondly referring to Lupe as the Latina Nancy Drew. She is driven by her insatiable curiosity and doesn’t easily back down. When there is a mystery to solve, she is going to do whatever it takes to solve it.
  • Family – Lupe doesn’t have a lot of good adult role models in her life, so her relationship with her uncle is so important. I loved scenes between these two and loved that so much of Lupe’s drive to solve mysteries was nurtured over the years by her uncle.
  • Puerto Rican myths – I need more horror books in my life that explore more Latinx myths. I loved the monster in this one, the concept of retribution, and that the past can sometimes come back to haunt you.

  • Lupe – As much as I enjoyed Lupe’s stubbornness, I found her need to argue about everything grating. Any time someone tried to help her or maybe got in her face, Lupe was ready for a fight and/or argument. I was never sure if the author meant for this to be an example of a teen sorting out who she is in the world or if Lupe’s behavior was meant to somehow “prove” what a feminist she was. If the latter, the text completely missed the mark.
  • More banter – I love banter and the synopsis promised banter. What I got was a couple of teens arguing maybe once and one making some poor decisions because she had to prove she was tough.
  • Marisol – I had high hopes when this character showed up. I pictured Lupe and Marisol forging an important friendship, but this character was so mistreated. We aren’t supposed to like her, but she made a lot of sense and most of the characters were so dismissive of her. Her interactions with Lupe especially bothered me because all they seemed to do was tear each other down.

Ann Dávila Cardinal’s Five Mightnights is refreshing when it comes to its monster, but suffers from overplayed tropes like girl-on-girl hate and a protagonist that mistakes combativeness with strength.

★★
(2/5)

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’d Never Lend Out

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 That I Refuse to Let Anyone Touch.” I don’t like to lend books out to people. I’ve had people lose my books, forget they ever borrowed a book and they’ve gotten rid of it, and had them returned to me in less than mint condition. I’m the only one allowed to damage my books. That being said, there might be some exceptions, but these are ones I will absolutely not make an exception for.

1. Any New Book I Get – I’m always a little bit protective of books when I first get them. I’m very careful with them and would never even consider lending them out to someone without me first reading them.

More for TTT

2. My Jane Austen Book Set – Maybe the prettiest set of books I will ever own. I got a great deal on these a few years ago and I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who’s touched them.

More for TTT

3. My P&P Illustrated Edition – This is my favorite P&P edition to date. I absolutely adore the illustrations and would fight you if you ever tried to take it away from me.

No Touch books

4. HP Box Set – This is my only HP box set, though I have drooled over many (many many) others. I’ve never read them and have only taken them out a few times for pictures.

No Touch books

5. HP illustrated Editions – Somehow I was roped into collecting these each year they’ve come out. They are so lovely and I fully intend to collect all 7. I’m really eager to see how thick books 4&5 will be.

No Touch books

6. Any White Books – I love how white books look, but I live in constant fear of dirtying them. I have removed jackets while I read just to ensure that I don’t and have taken the extra precaution of washing my hands right before I handle them.

Do you have any box sets you hold dear? How do you feel about white books? Do they make you nervous too? Let me know in the comments and be sure to leave a link to your TTT, so I can visit!

Storm of Locusts by Rebecca Roanhouse

Title: Storm of Locusts
Author: Rebecca Roanhouse
Series: The Sixth World, #2
Pages: 320
Publisher: Saga Press
Release Date: April 23rd 2019

      “It’s been four weeks since the bloody showdown at Black Mesa, and Maggie Hoskie, Diné monster hunter, is trying to make the best of things. Only her latest bounty hunt has gone sideways, she’s lost her only friend, Kai Arviso, and she’s somehow found herself responsible for a girl with a strange clan power.
      Then the Goodacre twins show up at Maggie’s door with the news that Kai and the youngest Goodacre, Caleb, have fallen in with a mysterious cult, led by a figure out of Navajo legend called the White Locust. The Goodacres are convinced that Kai’s a true believer, but Maggie suspects there’s more to Kai’s new faith than meets the eye. She vows to track down the White Locust, then rescue Kai and make things right between them.
      Her search leads her beyond the Walls of Dinétah and straight into the horrors of the Big Water world outside. With the aid of a motley collection of allies, Maggie must battle body harvesters, newborn casino gods and, ultimately, the White Locust himself. But the cult leader is nothing like she suspected, and Kai might not need rescuing after all. When the full scope of the White Locust’s plans are revealed, Maggie’s burgeoning trust in her friends, and herself, will be pushed to the breaking point, and not everyone will survive.

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“I draw my Böker and her eyes go from hate to fear. I’ve decided to let her live, but she doesn’t know that. For a moment I savor the terror I elicit, the control I have over her. It’s a dark emotion, something I’m not proud of, but it’s there nonetheless.”

Rebecca Roanhouse’s Storm of Locusts, sequel to Trial of Lightning, is a tension-filled thrill ride from start to finish. Maggie has slowly been picking up the pieces of her life. But her decision to pull the trigger on one important person to her life and bury another still occupies a great deal of space in her head. She’s been content waiting for Kai’s return, wanting to give him space, but also a little afraid of their reunion. When the Goodacre Twins show up on her doorstep with news that Kai and their little brother Caleb have gone missing, Maggie doesn’t hesitate to join them. But a new foe has risen in Dinétah, the White Locust is spreading the word of another impending apocalypse, and he has taken Kai and Caleb. Maggie and her crew journey across Dinétah and outside the Wall in search of this White Locust. When they discover what the White Locust has in store, it becomes a race to stop him before everything they love comes crumbling down.

Trail of Lightning introduced readers to Maggie Hoskie, whose clan powers made her an unstoppable force. A monsterslayer, destined to be defined by bloodshed. Faced with an impossible decision, Maggie was forced to say goodbye to the one person who was able to get past her walls. Kai helped Maggie learn how to trust and rely on someone else. In Storm of Locusts our protagonist is pushed even further out of her comfort zone. New characters like the young Ben are thrust into her path. This young teen girl has her own traumas she’s working through and Maggie becomes the one person she can count on. For Maggie this is a completely terrifying and unprecedented situation. She’s not used to being someone’s rock. She’s still learning what it means to not be a killer and now she has this girl on her hands who very much believes her purpose is to kill. Ben is a reflection of Maggie’s past self and Maggie isn’t sure she is capable of not being a killer, let alone helping someone else see there’s another way.

As much as I missed Kai’s presence for the majority of this one, I loved seeing Maggie grow and forge new and significant relationships with other people. With Ben she gains someone she can protect and teach. With Rissa Goodacre she gains a peer and a friend. Their relationship is strained from the beginning as Rissa isn’t convinced of Kai’s innocence, but with each obstacle put in their path, they begin to rely on one another more and more. There are a lot earth-shattering action scenes in this one, but the tête-à-tête between Maggie and Rissa near the end might be the most satisfying scene in this series so far. I also love that each person the crew comes across on their journey feels significant in their own way and there’s a subtle humor in so many of these scenes that made me chuckle but never distracted from the tension-filled story.

Roanhouse is masterful in the execution of both build-up and payoff. Maggie’s separation from Kai is like a lump in the throat. His absence is palpable in every scene and Roanhouse kept me turning page after page, desperate for their reunion. I particularly loved the tension leading up to Maggie’s meeting with the White Locust. From the unnatural and unrelenting swarms chasing Maggie and her crew, to his trademark crucifixions, the antagonist is a terrifying villain even before we meet him. I do wish we had a chance to meet some of his followers because to me there is nothing scarier than a charismatic and manipulative leader able to persuade a group of people into feeling grateful to give up full control of themselves.

Storm of Locusts keeps readers on their toes with a new villain, new characters, and action scenes that are as harrowing and crisp as they were in the first.

★★★★★

(5/5)

Latinx Book Club: June’s Book Club Pick

The Latinx Book Club is an online Twitter-based book club, dedicated to reading and boosting Latinx voices. Each month, with the help of readers, we choose a book by a Latinx author to read together. If you haven’t followed us on Twitter yet, you can do so here: @Latinxbookclub. We are also on Instagram: @Latinxbkclub. The Latinx Book Club team members are:

Cande @ Latinx Magic

Carolina @ Santana Reads

Dani @ Metamorphoreader

Jocelyn @ Yogi with a Book

Sofia @ Bookish Wanderess

And me!

We’ve been reading Lilliam Rivera’s Dealing in Dreams this month. You are always free to join. Discussion questions are posted every Friday. All info related to this month’s book club pick can be found on our Twitter, but if you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask. Today we are please to announce June’s book club pick…

We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia! We are so happy to have this one coincide with Pride month. I read this one earlier this year and fell so hard for the characters. I can’t wait for everyone to meet them. Book info is listed below. We will be starting our readalong June 1st, but feel free to read at your own pace. We will be using the hashtag #Latinxbookclub all month long and encourage you to do so as well. We hope you can join us for our June book club pick. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me here or on our Twitter account. Cover is linked to Goodreads.

Title: We Set the Dark on Fire
Author: Tehlor Kay Mejia
Series: N/A
Pages: 336
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: February 26th 2019

      “In this daring and romantic fantasy debut perfect for fans of The Handmaid’s Tale and Latinx authors Zoraida Córdova and Anna-Marie McLemore, society wife-in-training Dani has a great awakening after being recruited by rebel spies and falling for her biggest rival.
    At the Medio School for Girls, distinguished young women are trained for one of two roles in their polarized society. Depending on her specialization, a graduate will one day run a husband’s household or raise his children. Both paths promise a life of comfort and luxury, far from the frequent political uprisings of the lower class.
      Daniela Vargas is the school’s top student, but her pedigree is a lie. She must keep the truth hidden or be sent back to the fringes of society.
      And school couldn’t prepare her for the difficult choices she must make after graduation, especially when she is asked to spy for a resistance group desperately fighting to bring equality to Medio.
      Will Dani cling to the privilege her parents fought to win for her, or will she give up everything she’s strived for in pursuit of a free Medio—and a chance at a forbidden love?”

Will you be joining the Latinx Book Club in June? Have you read this book yet? Let’s talk in the comments!