Talk Chisme to Me: July Releases by Latinx Authors

Yes, I am currently on hiatus, but I didn’t want to miss on opportunity to highlight books by Latinx authors coming out this summer. Be sure to check out these releases from your local library or purchase them from an indie bookstore (support these Black-owned bookstores). Summer is usually when book releases slow down a bit, so this list is very small. But that just means you have time to support all of these authors! Graphics are linked to Goodreads and be sure to check out the following links as well.

Check out this Anti-Racist Reading List.

Donate to organizations fighting for racial justice here.

Read up on #8toAbolition.

1. Muse Squad: The Cassandra Curse by Chantel Acevedo

Why I Am Excited? I can’t wait to see more books that diversify well-known myths and this one sounds like such a delight.

The first in a middle grade fantasy duology about a Cuban American girl who discovers that she’s one of the nine Muses of Greek mythology.

Callie Martinez-Silva didn’t mean to turn her best friend into a pop star. But when a simple pep talk leads to miraculous results, Callie learns she’s the newest muse of epic poetry, one of the nine Muses of Greek mythology tasked with protecting humanity’s fate in secret.

Whisked away to Muse Headquarters, she joins three recruits her age, who call themselves the Muse Squad. Together, the junior muses are tasked with using their magic to inspire and empower—not an easy feat when you’re eleven and still figuring out the goddess within.

When their first assignment turns out to be Callie’s exceptionally nerdy classmate, Maya Rivero, the squad comes to Miami to stay with Callie and her Cuban family. There, they discover that Maya doesn’t just need inspiration, she needs saving from vicious Sirens out to unleash a curse that will corrupt her destiny.

As chaos erupts, will the Muse Squad be able to master their newfound powers in time to thwart the Cassandra Curse . . . or will it undo them all?”

2. All These Monsters by Amy Tintera

Why am I excited? You don’t get to see too many YA sci-fi books with Latinx leads, so I am really looking forward to this one. I also heard it has major Pacific Rim vibes which is such a fun movie.

“From New York Times best-selling author Amy Tintera, a high-stakes sci-fi adventure about a teen girl who will do anything to escape her troubled home—even if that means joining a dangerous monster-fighting squad. Perfect for fans of Warcross and Renegades.

Seventeen-year-old Clara is ready to fight back. Fight back against her abusive father, fight back against the only life she’s ever known, and most of all, fight back against scrabs, the earth-dwelling monsters that are currently ravaging the world. So when an opportunity arises for Clara to join an international monster-fighting squad, she jumps at the chance.

When Clara starts training with her teammates, however, she realizes what fighting monsters really means: sore muscles, exhaustion, and worst of all, death. Scrabs are unpredictable, violent, and terrifying. But as Clara gains confidence in her battle skills, she starts to realize scrabs might not be the biggest evil. The true monsters are the ones you least expect.”

3. Running by Natalia Sylvester

Why am I excited? This is the political YA novel I’ve been waiting for and I love that it gets to right down to addressing political views in Latinx households. I am ready.

“When fifteen-year-old Cuban American Mariana Ruiz’s father runs for president, Mari starts to see him with new eyes. A novel about waking up and standing up, and what happens when you stop seeing your dad as your hero—while the whole country is watching.

In this thoughtful, authentic, humorous, and gorgeously written novel about privacy, waking up, and speaking up, Senator Anthony Ruiz is running for president. Throughout his successful political career he has always had his daughter’s vote, but a presidential campaign brings a whole new level of scrutiny to sheltered fifteen-year-old Mariana and the rest of her Cuban American family, from a 60 Minutes–style tour of their house to tabloids doctoring photos and inventing scandals. As tensions rise within the Ruiz family, Mari begins to learn about the details of her father’s political positions, and she realizes that her father is not the man she thought he was.

But how do you find your voice when everyone’s watching? When it means disagreeing with your father—publicly? What do you do when your dad stops being your hero? Will Mari get a chance to confront her father? If she does, will she have the courage to seize it?”


4. The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez by Adrianna Cuevas

Why am I excited? We need more Latinx MG books starring boy characters and I am so excited to see this one also includes a witch which I am always here for.

In this magical middle-grade debut novel from Adrianna Cuevas, The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez, a Cuban American boy must use his secret ability to communicate with animals to save the inhabitants of his town when they are threatened by a tule vieja, a witch that transforms into animals.

All Nestor Lopez wants is to live in one place for more than a few months and have dinner with his dad.

When he and his mother move to a new town to live with his grandmother after his dad’s latest deployment, Nestor plans to lay low. He definitely doesn’t want to anyone find out his deepest secret: that he can talk to animals.

But when the animals in his new town start disappearing, Nestor’s grandmother becomes the prime suspect after she is spotted in the woods where they were last seen. As Nestor investigates the source of the disappearances, he learns that they are being seized by a tule vieja―a witch who can absorb an animal’s powers by biting it during a solar eclipse. And the next eclipse is just around the corner…

Now it’s up to Nestor’s extraordinary ability and his new friends to catch the tule vieja―and save a place he might just call home.”

Which of these are you most excited for? Have you preordered any of these? Any releases by Latinx authors in July I might have missed?

Blogging Hiatus: I’ve Been Running on Fumes

Hello friends, I’ve finally decided that I need to take a blogging hiatus. I am usually really good with taking periodic breaks, but this year has been really rough and blogging became one of the few things I looked forward to. Unfortunately, I have been running on fumes for the last few months and have kept putting off taking a break. I do have one important post (Talk Chisme to Me, featuring books by Latinx authors that come out in July) that I want to go up and I will be scheduling it at the end of the month/beginning of July. I will be back July 10th-ish. I will still be active on Twitter and at least occasionally on IG. I might even do some blog hopping while away. I have been terrible with this and I think part of it is that I am exhausted from blogging and by the time I have a chance to blog hop, I just don’t have the energy. I need to refuel and hopefully come back with renewed vigor.

One last thing, there are a lot of resources out there that you can use to educate yourself about systemic racism, petitions you can sign, and lists of companies you can support. Please check out the following:

A Radical Library

Taking Action for Justice

Black-owned Indie Bookstores

Top Ten Tuesday: 2020 Summer Releases I’m Excited For

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 on My Summer 2020 TBR.” Sorry not sorry, but I had to make this list fifteen books long. I could not narrow it down anymore. Also want to note that I didn’t list books I have already read (**cough** Mexican Gothic **cough**) because I wanted these to be books I am personally looking forward to, even though I am personally looking forward to other people reading Mexican Gothic, haha. Also these should be in publication date order but with everything moving around, it was a losing battle to try to get it to be so. Covers are linked to Goodreads.

Please take a few minutes to sign petitions here and here. Donate to The Okra Project which works to support the Black trans community.

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1. Running by Natalia Sylvester

Publication Date: July 14, 2020

2. The Year of the Witchling by Alexis Henderson

Publication Date: July 21, 2020

3. 10 Things I Hate About Pinky by Sandhya Menon

Publication Date: July 21, 2020

4. Court of Lions by Somaiya Daud

Publication Date: August 4, 2020

5. Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam

Publication Date: September 1, 2020

6. You Had Me At Hola by Alexis Daria

Publication Date: August 4, 2020

7. Paola Santiago and the River of Tears by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Publication Date: August 4, 2020

8. Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger

Publication Date: August 25, 2020

9. Tender Is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica, Sarah Moses (Translator)

 Publication Date: August 4, 2020

10. Wayward Witch by Zoraida Córdova

Publication Date: September 1, 2020

11. Never Look Back by Lilliam Rivera

Publication Date: September 1, 2020

12. Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Publication Date: September 1, 2020

13. Prime Deceptions by Valerie Valdes

Publication Date: September 8, 2020

14. Land of the Cranes by Aida Salazar

Publication Date: September 15, 2020

15. Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson

Publication Date: September 15, 2020

Are you looking forward to any of these as well? Let me know in the comments and be sure to leave me a link to your own TTT post, so I can visit.

ARC Review: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Title: Mexican Gothic
Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Series: N/A
Pages: 352
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: June 30th 2020
**Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, which does not influence my review**

      “From the author of Gods of Jade and Shadow comes a reimagining of the classic gothic suspense novel, a story about an isolated mansion in 1950s Mexico — and the brave socialite drawn to its treacherous secrets.
      He is trying to poison me. You must come for me, Noemí. You have to save me.
      After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find — her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.
      Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough, smart, and has an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.
      Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.
      And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.”

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Silvia Moreno-Garcia continues to be unparalleled in storytelling ability with her first horror novel Mexican Gothic. Socialite Noemí Taboado would rather attend a party than be weighed down by family responsibilities. Despite being called flighty and unfocused, accurate descriptions if she’s being honest, Noemí is determined to attend University to further her education, even if this isn’t the norm for someone of her social standing. When a letter arrives from her recently married cousin, Catalina, claiming she is being poisoned and alluding to the existence of ghosts in her new home, Noemí is sent to assess whether her cousin is any real danger or in need of psychological intervention. When she arrives at High Place, Catalina’s husband’s family estate, tucked far into the Mexican countryside, the only thing gloomier than the dilapidated house are its inhabitants. With each day that passes Noemí becomes more convinced that her cousin’s erratic ramblings are a sign of something worse than what the family physician claims is just a case of tuberculosis. She is convinced she must find a way to take Catalina way from from High Place and her cold husband. But soon Noemí begins to experience the oddest dreams, begins to hear strange noises and see even stranger visions. Could Catalina’s incoherent ramblings be rooted in truth? As Noemi begins to doubt what is real and what isn’t in the dark halls of High Place, it becomes clear that it isn’t just her cousin who may be in danger.

Mexican Gothic is the embodiment of a compelling atmospheric read. The moment Noemí arrives in El Triunfo, the novel takes on an eerie tone. The small town is shrouded by a thick fog and moves ever so slowly. As Noemí travels by car on the uneven roads, the presence of civilization dwindles even more. Noemí is used to the city where there is a constant flow of activity. High Place, the Doyle house, is a shadow of its splendor. It has suffered from years of neglect and yet, it still stands. The electric system is unreliable, forcing inhabitants to rely on candles and oil lamps. The walls are lined with portraits of the Doyle clan, watching over the house. Remnants of the past cling to every nook and cranny. The Doyles once ran a successful mine that employed many of the townsfolk, but a series of unfortunate events forced its closure decades before. High Place is far from town, too far away for any regular visitors, not that the Doyles would ever welcome them. Descended from an English family, they have done their best to recreate their homeland in Mexico. Servants have been brought from England and even the very soil was exported as a way to replicate prized foliage. Most of the family speak only English and demand only English to be spoken within the walls of High Place. Their perceived superiority is present in every corner of their estate. The cemetery is a prime example, housing the English workers who died during an epidemic, honored with tombstones, while Mexican workers are left with unmarked graves, no thought given to honor them. The Doyles are invaders but lack the kind of self-awareness to call themselves such, or maybe they lack the empathy. They are selfish and self-serving; every major event in Mexican history is only understood in the context of how it affected the Doyle family.

The Doyles are stuck in the past. Catalina’s husband Virgil is cold and detached, alluring but in an unsettling way. His father, Howard, the Doyle patriarch, is aged and in constant need of care. He is confident in his race’s superiority over Mexican people and openly spouts views rooted in eugenics, volumes of which line High Place’s library. The first chill down the spine Mexican Gothic elicits is not from a ghostly apparition, but the way in which this man appraises Noemí, assessing her mestizo heritage and determining whether or not she is worthy to sit at his table. Florence, Howard’s niece is even more unwelcoming. She insists that Noemí follow the house rules no matter how arbitrary or infantile. Her son Francis is the only kind face in a very frigid family, but lacks the kind of worldliness Noemí is used to. Her presence disrupts the household, but even more so, this house disrupts Noemí, altering her forever. Used to putting on airs, Noemí’s time at High Place tears away at every mask she wears, strips her down to her most base desires and tempts her to give in to the darkness.

With Mexican Gothic, Silvia Moreno-Garcia offers a different take on the genre, where colonialism is the horror story and how this manifests in ways that become more frightening with each page turned. The exploited are never quite free of the actions of the colonizers. This history seeps into the very soil, altering the land. Its consequences are never innocuous and sometimes they are plain insidious. Mexican Gothic tiptoes to a foreboding climax and will follow readers long after they finish the final page.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

(5/5)