Hiatus Announcement: I’ll Be Back in August

It’s finally come. I’m really nervous about this hiatus as I will be taking the entire month of July off and I haven’t been away from my blog for so long. I’m feeling a lot of things. I’m sad that I probably won’t interact with most of you while I’m away (I will still be on Twitter, but I don’t know how often), I’m unsure about what I will do with all the free time (other people have hobbies that don’t include reading and blogging???), I’m excited for the break (I love blogging, but it can be stressful), and I’m already thinking about August and stressing a little (I can’t be the only one who likes to blog ahead).

The plan is to stay away from the blog for the entire month of July, but you might see me on the Latinx Book Club’s blog because I am one of the cohosts for the month and that’s where we will be making more formal announcements (no, this is not cheating, how dare you). I mentioned before that I will be on Twitter, will still update Goodreads, post a few pics on Instagram (when did this become a part of my online presence?), so I won’t be disappearing entirely. This hiatus is mostly about me taking a break from working on the blog and constantly trying to keep up with everything. I might do some blog hopping while away, but I promise this every hiatus and I don’t think I’ve ever succeeded.

I will talk to you all soon and know that I will definitely be missing you. See you August 1st!

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Monthly Wrap-Up: June ’19

June was not my month. Everything started out so great and I was on schedule to read more books than I usually average and then BAM! The dreaded reading slump hit me. And nothing and I mean nothing appealed to me. On top of that, I found it really hard to focus on other things as well. I’ve been trying to get everything done in time for my hiatus, but the motivation just kind of disappeared. But then I recovered and read another book (a non-fiction one!!!), making books read in June at that time a total of four. Not too bad considering that huge slump and I could totally get another book done, right? Wrong! I ended up having the worse migraine I’ve had in months. Finally recovered from that and then BAM again! I got sick and got another migraine that took me out for a few days. I finally feel better and I’m just really anxious for both my body and mind to be in a good place. I still haven’t been able to start another book since finishing my last a few days ago and probably won’t until I feel completely better.

Great time for a hiatus though, right? Tomorrow I will be officially announcing my hiatus, but for those who will only see this post, I will be gone from the blog for the entire month of July!

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

Favorite Book This Month:

I was tempted to go with the nonfiction book, but had to go with Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s upcoming release Gods of Jade and Shadow. I am enchanted with this one and cannot wait to hold the physical copy in my hands. Click on the cover to read my review!

Least Favorite Book This Month:

No books received less than three stars from me this month.

Other Reviews Posted This Month:

Read, Review Coming in August:

(Cover linked to Goodreads)

Books I Didn’t Review:

I wasn’t very good with the reading or the reviewing this month. Cover is linked to Goodreads.

I picked up Sandhya Menon’s There’s Something About Sweetie early in June and was so delighted with it. I’m so glad we are starting to see more fat protagonists who are also PoC. I think people forget that being a part of a marginalized race or ethnic group makes your experience being fat, disabled, queer, etc inherently different than your white counterparts. Rating: 4/5

Strangely the only book I could read during my slump/migraine/cold days (weeks?) was a non-fiction book. Te-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me and it was freaking fantastic. I could not stop reading (when I wasn’t dying) and will definitely be reaching for more from him. Rating: 5/5

Notable Blog Posts This Month:

Latinx Book Club: July’s Book Club Pick – These announcements will be appearing on the Latinx Book Club blog from now on. I’m really excited to be hosting next month, so despite my hiatus, I will not be disappearing completely from the online world.

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: Truly Madly Royally by Debbie Rigaud – I am going to be preordering this upcoming release because during my slump, I noticed I did not have very many lighthearted books with PoC leads. Publishing, I want more fluffy books written by and featuring PoC!!!!

Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorite Fantasy Novels – Yes, a chance to talk about all of my favorite fantasies. A dream come true.

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases for the Second Half of 2019 – Might as well say goodbye to all my money now.

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag – I can’t believe that we are already at the half-way point in 2019. How did we get here? In this post I share some of my standout reads.

Reading Challenges:

Aside from the Goodreads challenge, I’m only taking part in one reading challenge.

1. The Beat the Backlist Challenge 2019 is hosted by NovelKnight. This month I failed again. Whoops.

  • Challenge Goal: 10 books; Current Count: 4 books

July Releases I’m Excited For:

 

Did you have a better June than I did? What was your favorite read of the month? Any summer plans you’re excited for? Let me know in the comments and feel free to leave me a link to your own wrap-up post and I’ll be sure to visit.

The Friday 56: Nocturna by Maya Motayne

The Friday 56 is a weekly blog meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. Join us every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you’ve been reading.

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
*Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. It’s that simple.

**Be sure to leave a link to your Friday 56 post in the comments!**

“I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’m a little sauced. I’d like to be in bed at a decent hour. So let’s make this quick.” She tilted her head and slowly looked him up and down. “Unless you’d like to skip the fight and join me there?”

I’m late today and that’s because I’ve been sick, but today I woke up feeling better. Still a little out of it, but I’m getting there. Today I’m sharing an excerpt from one of my favorite 2019 fantasies. Maya Motayne’s debut Nocturna was such a fun debut. I loved both leads, was incredibly taken in with the world building and with each page I read, grew more and more in love with it. Read my review here. Cover is linked to Goodreads.

From the Goodreads Synopsis:

      “Set in a Latinx-inspired world, a face-changing thief and a risk-taking prince must team up to defeat a powerful evil they accidentally unleashed.
      To Finn Voy, magic is two things: a knife to hold under the chin of anyone who crosses her…and a disguise she shrugs on as easily as others pull on cloaks.
      As a talented faceshifter, it’s been years since Finn has seen her own face, and that’s exactly how she likes it. But when Finn gets caught by a powerful mobster, she’s forced into an impossible mission: steal a legendary treasure from Castallan’s royal palace or be stripped of her magic forever.
      After the murder of his older brother, Prince Alfehr is first in line for the Castallan throne. But Alfie can’t help but feel that he will never live up to his brother’s legacy. Riddled with grief, Alfie is obsessed with finding a way to bring his brother back, even if it means dabbling in forbidden magic.
      But when Finn and Alfie’s fates collide, they accidentally unlock a terrible, ancient power—which, if not contained, will devour the world. And with Castallan’s fate in their hands, Alfie and Finn must race to vanquish what they have unleashed, even if it means facing the deepest darkness in their pasts.”

ARC Review: Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Title: Gods of Jade and Shadow
Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Series: N/A
Pages: 352
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: July 23rd 2019
**Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through NetGalley which does not influence my review**

      “The Mayan god of death sends a young woman on a harrowing, life-changing journey in this dark, one-of-a-kind fairy tale inspired by Mexican folklore.
      The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy cleaning the floors of her wealthy grandfather’s house to listen to any fast tunes. Nevertheless, she dreams of a life far from her dusty small town in southern Mexico. A life she can call her own.
    Yet this new life seems as distant as the stars, until the day she finds a curious wooden box in her grandfather’s room. She opens it—and accidentally frees the spirit of the Mayan god of death, who requests her help in recovering his throne from his treacherous brother. Failure will mean Casiopea’s demise, but success could make her dreams come true.
      In the company of the strangely alluring god and armed with her wits, Casiopea begins an adventure that will take her on a cross-country odyssey from the jungles of Yucatán to the bright lights of Mexico City—and deep into the darkness of the Mayan underworld.”

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With Gods of Jade and Shadow Silvia Morena-Garcia proves once again that she is a master at storytelling with this Mayan-inspired fantasy. In the dreary town of Uukumil in southern Mexico, Casiopea Tun toils away her youth, treated more as a servant than family to her affluent but ailing grandfather. The other members of her family look down upon her for her Indigenous heritage and those like her cousin Martín do not even consider her to be a real member of the Leyva family. Though she dreams of leaving and experiencing all the revels to be had during the 1920s, she has all but accepted this as her lot in life. Until one day when she opens a mysterious box, unleashing an imprisoned God and accidentally binding herself to him. Casiopea has no choice but to follow Hun-Kamé as he recovers missing pieces of himself hidden by his brother in a quest to regain the throne of Xibalba.

Moreno-Garcia draws from Mayan folklore to build the bones of Gods of Jade and Shadow. Hun-Kamé and his twin brother Vucub-Kamé have been locked in a battle of wills for centuries. The former was content to accept the Gods’ diminished role and growing indifference from mortals while Vucub-Kamé wishes to usher in a new era of adulation and sacrifice. The Gods’ power is irrevocably tied to the worship of mortals. Though they yield a great deal of influence, I found it really interesting that in this world mortals were given more freedom. Though a God cannot change fate, mortals have the autonomy to change their fate, making them unpredictable pieces in a game of chess.

Moreno-Garcia pays equal attention to both the mortal and immortal worlds. Readers are taken on a journey across Mexico and into the very heart of the Underworld known as Xibalba. Mexico City is both dazzling and overwhelming, having profited off the U.S.’s prohibition era. Here there is music and dancing and a celebration of life. Xibalba, though the land belongs to the dead, is subtle in its allure. Dangerous and misleading, but dark and mysterious. Through Hun-Kamé’s eyes, Casiopea begins to see that Xibalba is a place of beauty, despite its nefarious creatures, and a home to those who were born there.

Casiopea is a protagonist I grew fond of rather quickly. Though she longs for another life she isn’t consumed by her fantastical daydreams. She is too practical to drown in the sorrow of her insipid life. Though she has been treated as a servant and expects to give deference to the more prominent members of her family, Casiopea is stubborn and willful, defiant in the face of those with more power than her. This makes for an interesting dynamic with the haughty God Hun-Kamé, who expects obedience. Their bond chips away at Casiopea’s strength, but also makes Hun-Kamé more human with each passing day. Their relationship is slow to develop, subtle yet beautiful.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Gods of Jade and Shadow is a quiet, yet intoxicating fantasy with delicate prose and a satisfyingly, yet bittersweet romance.

★★★★
(4/5)