Snapshot Review: Truly Madly Royally by Debbie Rigaud

Title: Truly Madly Royally
Author: Debbie Rigaud
Series: N/A
Pages: 304
Publisher: Point
Release Date: July 30th 2019

      “Fiercely independent and smart, Zora Emerson wants to change the world. She’s excited to be attending a prestigious summer program, even if she feels out of place among her privileged, mostly white classmates. So she’s definitely not expecting to feel a connection to Owen, who’s an actual prince of an island off the coast of England. But Owen is funny, charming…and undeniably cute. Zora can’t ignore the chemistry between them. When Owen invites Zora to be his date at his big brother’s big royal wedding, Zora is suddenly thrust into the spotlight, along with her family and friends. Everyone is talking about her, in real life and online, and while Owen is used to the scrutiny, Zora’s not sure it’s something she can live with. Can she maintain her sense of self while moving between two very different worlds? And can her feelings for Owen survive and thrive in the midst of the crazy? Find out in this charming romantic comedy that’s like The Princess Diaries for a new generation. “

“I could not be more shocked if I stuck a wet finger in a janky outlet. The guy hanging out in the library, making anonymous wisecracks through bookshelves? My realest human connection at this school was with someone who. . . is a rightful heir to some throne?”

  • Zora – Zora was such an enjoyable lead character. She’s driven, has the biggest heart, and isn’t afraid of a challenge. I loved how loyal she was and despite the fact that she didn’t always feel accepted at Halstead University during the summer program, she never tried to make herself smaller to accommodate others. Whether she’s dealing with classism or racism, she never tried to be anyone but herself.
  • Black girl at center of a lighthearted novel – This book reminded me that we really need to see more lighthearted contemporaries with Black girl leads because what kind of message is publishing sending when they put so much pressure on Black creatives to produce issues books as though the only stories worth telling are ones where Black characters suffer for the sake of readers learning a “lesson”?
  • Owen – Although Owen is a prince, he wasn’t haughty or above reproach. There is no point where his ego needs to be taken down a few notches because he is always ready to learn and knows that not everyone lives like he does.
  • The romance – I loved the romance in Truly Madly Royally so much. There were the early swoony scenes, including an incredibly adorable meet-cute; but I loved how the relationship between Zora and Owen progresses. Zora immediately challenges him and Owen works to earn her favor. Every scene between the two had loads of chemistry and I could see myself revisiting this one soon just to relive them.
  • Family – I appreciated how much this book focused on Zora’s family. I feel like we got to know her more because of how much time we spent with her and her family.
  • Community – Zora started a program for kids in her community who didn’t have anyone to walk them home. She’s incredibly invested in the program and is always looking to improve life for those in her neighborhood. What’s not to love about this girl?

  • Owen – I kind of wanted more of Owen. There was so much about him that made a reader swoon, but I wanted to see his flaws too.

  • Truly Madly Royally by Debbie Rigaud is a swoon-worthy contemporary with a lovable protagonist and features a healthy romantic relationship built on communication and mutual respect.

★ ★ ★ ★
(4/5)

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2019 Third Quarter Book Haul: A Kind of Modest Book Haul

Okay, so I wrote this intro a couple of weeks ago and I was going to tell you all about my book buying ban and how I wasn’t planning on buying anything until November, but then I went and bought something. But let’s not focus on that because I did manage to stay away from buying books for a month and a half. Yay me! I don’t consider this quarter’s book haul to be too big, but I did let myself splurge once on a book outlet purchase which was my last purchase before I decided a book buying ban was in order (a month and a half, people). Enough talk, let’s get to the books. Titles below are linked to Goodreads.

Preorders and New Releases:

Book haul

1. Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – I’m just going to go ahead and say it, Silvia Moreno-Garcia is one of the most talented and versatile authors I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. She’s become one of my auto-buy authors and Gods of Jade and Shadow once again showcases her how compelling her storytelling ability can be. You can check out my review of this one here.

2. Truly Madly Royally by Debbie Rigaud – There are not a ton of light contemporaries featuring black MCs, so this one was a breath of fresh air. It had me grinning like a fool from start to finish.

3. The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary by NoNieqa Ramos – I’ve been eyeing this one for a while now and since it was coming out in paperback, it was really hard to resist the preorder.

4. Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite – I preodered this one back in July and had the pleasure of picking it up for Latinx Heritage Month.

Book Outlet Purchase:

Book haul

5. A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer – I’ve seen this one around a whole lot and was going to wait until the paperback came out to check it out, but it was on Book Outlet, so I thought, why not?

6. Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert – I have had this one in and out of my cart for so long and finally decided to get it. Hopefully I can get to it sooner rather than later.

7. Trouble Never Sleeps by Stephanie Tromly – Yes, I finally have the third book in this highly underrated series. I can’t wait to see how it all ends.

8. Even If the Sky Falls by Mia Garcia – I haven’t had the pleasure of reading Mia Garcia’s debut, but now that I have it, I will soon!

9. Allied by Amy Tintera – I was a bit disappointed with the second book in this series, but I now have the third, so I will at least finish it.

10. The Resolutions by Mia Garcia – I feel really bad that I still haven’t gotten to this one, but I bought it with the express purpose of reading it for Latinx Heritage Month (I failed, lol).

Publisher Sent + Gifts + Giveaways

Book haul

11. Dealing in Dreams by Lilliam Rivera – I was sent a finished copy of Dealing in Dreams from Simon & Schuster. I cannot get over how gorgeous this cover is.

12. Stripped by Zoey Castile – Way back in the end of July, I tweeted out that I was looking for more lighthearted contemporaries by authors of color and the very kind Norma @normajeanesays offered to send me this title and the next one because she is amazing.

13. A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole – Another title that Norma sent me. Getting these have inspired me to want to explore the romance genre more. Also, Alyssa Cole followed me back on Twitter and I’m still freaking out about it.

14. The Library of Lost Things by Laura Taylor Namey – I was so excited when I won a signed copy of this novel. I haven’t been able to pick it up yet, but I’ve heard a lot of good things.

ARCs

Book haul

15. The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi – I actually won a Goodreads giveaway of this one and I am so stoked to read it. The Gilded Wolves was fantastic and I have no doubt this sequel will be as well.

16. Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez – As soon as I could request this one, I did and I am so happy to have been approved for an ARC. I will probably be doing a buddy read of this one with some of my fellow Latinx Book Club cohosts and am so looking forward to it.

17. Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore – I almost burst into tears when I opened this piece of book mail. I’ve been wishing and hoping for an ARC of an Anna-Marie McLemore novel for years. YEARS. I actually have an eARC because Anna-Marie McLemore was able to hook me up, but before that I kind of more or less harassed the publisher for a physical ARC and I didn’t think they heard me, but they did, THEY DID!!!!

Have you read any of these novels? What’s the last book purchase you made? Let’s talk in the comments!

Talk Chisme to Me, Part VI: Looking Ahead at the TBR

It’s time to say goodbye to Latinx Heritage Month, but I hope you’ve enjoyed this series as much as I have putting it together. Today is the final day to enter my Twitter giveaway, so if you haven’t already, you can do so here. Links to my previous posts in the Talk Chisme to Me series can be found below:

Talk Chisme to Me, Part I: The TBR

Talk Chisme to Me, Part II: Favorite Books By Latinx Authors I Read This Past Year

Talk Chisme to Me, Part III: New & Upcoming Releases

Talk Chisme to Me, Part IV: Biggest Influencers

Talk Chisme to Me, Part V: Under the Radar Books Added to My TBR

For this week’s post, I am sharing ten books by Latinx authors I am planning to read in the next year. I will obviously be picking up more, but these are a priority. It’s a mix of backlist books and books that haven’t been released yet. Covers are linked to Goodreads.

TBR Books I’m Planning to Read in the Next Year:

1. The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende

I’m a failure. I’ve never read Isabel Allende. Judge me if you will. No one will judge me more harshly than myself. I even have this one on my shelf, but I need a bit of extra motivation, so…if you would like to buddy read this with me, let me know in the comments!

2. Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez

Ek, I’ve had this one for years now and even have it on my Beat the Backlist TBR (I kind of forgot that this is a thing that I’m supposed to actively be working on…whoops). I haven’t seen any reviews of this one in the blogosphere, so hopefully after I read it, I can bring it some much needed attention. 

3. Dactyl Hill Squad by Daniel José Older

It’s really sad that I can only think of two MG novels by a Latinx authors that I’ve picked up. I’ve literally bought more in the last year than I’ve read. I might have to ask my niece and nephews to let me borrow all those MG Latinx books I gifted them because I am behind in this department. At the top of my list is Dactyl Hill Squad.

4. Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina

 How many years has this one been on my TBR? I can tell you. It was ever since I read Meg Medina’s Burn Baby Burn, which I completely fell in love with. I’ve been meaning to read this and even at one point had it checked out from the library. This year will be the year that I pick up another Meg Medina novel. I might even throw in Merci Suarez while I’m at it. 

5. Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore

Please, people, you know this one is on my list of most anticipated releases by Latinx authors. I somehow by some miracle ended up with a physical ARC of this one. I’ve only dreamed about getting an Anna-Marie McLemore ARC. I also have to boast that I got my hands on an eARC before the physical because Anna-Marie McLemore themselves reach out to me and offered to send it to me. I’m still processing this. **screams internally**

6. Meteor by Anna-Marie McLemore and Tehlor Kay Mejia

You know I’d read anything written by Anna-Marie McLemore, but the fact that they are collaborating with Tehlor Kay Mejia on this one makes it even more intriguing. I love that it is magical realism because I’m always in desperate need of the genre. I heard there’s a Selena-themed diner involved as well. You can’t see my face right now, but it just lit up.

7. Pheus & Eury by Lilliam Rivera

When I first heard that Lilliam Rivera was doing an Orpheus and Eurydice retelling I just about fell out of my chair. I am ready for all the Latinx retellings and this one sounds dark and haunting and I can’t wait!

8. Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

The Poet X is one of my favorite novels ever and I will be forever grateful that it reintroduced me to poetry. I had the pleasure of reading Acevedo’s sophomore novel With the Fire on High during Latinx Heritage Month and can’t even tell you what this one is about, but can guarantee that I will be prerordering it. 

9. Oculta (A Forgery of Magic, #2) by Maya Motayne

Nocturna was such a pleasant surprise, and I fell head over heels in love with the two lead characters, Finn and Alfie. I’m not sure what Maya Motayne has in store for these two in the sequel, but I am desperate for this one. DESPERATE. I just need to know that Finn and Alfie are okay and that they get to be happy. 

10. Untitled (Brooklyn Brujas, #3) by Zoraida Córdova

I really enjoyed Labyrinth Lost, but absolutely fell in love with this series thanks to Bruja Born. It’s now been over a year since the second book and I am hungry for the final book in the series. I need more series about Latinx sisters and Latinx witches.

Have you read or are planning to read any of these? Which 2020 release by a Latinx author are you most looking forward to? Let’s talk in the comments!

Talk Chisme to Me, Part V: Under the Radar Books Added to My TBR

Happy Latinx Heritage Month! Join me September 15th through October 15th as I celebrate Latinx authors with a post every Sunday in my series, Talk Chisme to Me. You can also enter my Twitter giveaway in celebration of Latinx Heritage Month. Simply head on over here. If you missed any of my previous posts, I’ve linked them below:

Talk Chisme to Me, Part I: The TBR

Talk Chisme to Me, Part II: Favorite Books By Latinx Authors I Read This Past Year

Talk Chisme to Me, Part III: New & Upcoming Releases

Talk Chisme to Me, Part IV: Biggest Influencers

For this week’s post, I am sharing ten backlist books that I discovered this year and have added to my TBR. These are books by Latinx authors that haven’t gotten a lot of hype, but I am hoping you add a few of these to your own TBR. I’m also adding a couple of 2019 releases that I don’t think have gotten a lot of attention. Covers are linked to Goodreads.

Under the Radar Books Added to the TBR:

1. Secrets of the Casa Rosada by Alex Temblador

      “Sixteen-year-old Martha and her mother move constantly, never staying anywhere for long. So she knows better than to ask if they’ve been evicted again when her mom says they’re going on a “vacation” to meet the grandmother Martha didn’t know existed.
      Laredo, Texas, is like no other city she has seen. Driving past businesses with Spanish names and colorfully painted houses with burnt lawns, Martha can’t imagine her mother living somewhere so … Mexican. At her grandmother’s pink house, she’s shocked and hurt when her mom abandons her, even though a part of her had been expecting it.
      Suddenly Martha must deal with a way of life that is completely foreign. Her grandmother doesn’t speak English, so communication is difficult, and she’s not the typical, sweet grandma who dotes on her grandchildren. Even weirder, it turns out that her grandmother is revered as a healer, or curandera. And there are tons of cousins, aunts and uncles all ready to embrace her!
      At her new school, Martha can’t be anonymous like before because everyone knows she’s Doña González’s granddaughter. Meanwhile, a girl who has it out for her makes things unpleasant. As Martha struggles to adjust to her new life, she can’t help but wonder why her mother left Laredo. No one is willing to discuss it, so she’ll have to unravel the secret herself.”

2. All the Stars Denied by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

      “In a companion novel to her critically acclaimed Shame the Stars, Guadalupe Garcia McCall tackles the hidden history of the United States and its first mass deportation event that swept up hundreds of thousands of Mexican American citizens during the Great Depression.”

3. Halsey Street by Naima Coster

      “A modern-day story of family, loss, and renewal, Halsey Street captures the deeply human need to belong—not only to a place but to one another.
      Penelope Grand has scrapped her failed career as an artist in Pittsburgh and moved back to Brooklyn to keep an eye on her ailing father. She’s accepted that her future won’t be what she’d dreamed, but now, as gentrification has completely reshaped her old neighborhood, even her past is unrecognizable. Old haunts have been razed, and wealthy white strangers have replaced every familiar face in Bed-Stuy. Even her mother, Mirella, has abandoned the family to reclaim her roots in the Dominican Republic. That took courage. It’s also unforgivable.
      When Penelope moves into the attic apartment of the affluent Harpers, she thinks she’s found a semblance of family—and maybe even love. But her world is upended again when she receives a postcard from Mirella asking for reconciliation. As old wounds are reopened, and secrets revealed, a journey across an ocean of sacrifice and self-discovery begins.
      An engrossing debut, Halsey Street shifts between the perspectives of these two captivating, troubled women. Mirella has one last chance to win back the heart of the daughter she’d lost long before leaving New York, and for Penelope, it’s time to break free of the hold of the past and start navigating her own life.”

4. Maria the Wanted and the Legacy of Keepers by V. Castro

      “‘Word started to get around there was a new enforcer in town. No one knew if she was a demon or an angel, perhaps a mythical mix of both. Maybe the woman in the black hat was one of the old gods that wandered this land before the lash of the cross was introduced. The only thing anyone knew was that no human could run from their devious deeds if Maria and her fist caught you in their sights.’ -Maria The Wanted
      Maria is a wanted woman. She’s wanted by an Aztec trafficker, a cartel boss, the people she fights for, and now the devil she can’t resist.
      Her journey begins as a would-be immigrant turned vampire, until the injustices of the world turn her into something else. She’s not just out for blood, she wants answers.”

5. Westwood Monster Patrol by Andrea Beatriz Arango

      “What would YOU do if you found a dismembered hand in the woods behind your house?
      Ash, Talib, Josefina, Marimar, and Alejandro are pretty used to the not-so-great aspects of life at the Westwood Trailer Park. What they’re not used to is having dead bodies pop up so close to home. Although they’re each dealing with their own complicated problems, they put these aside in order to track down a grisly killer. As the teens delve deeper into a world of haunting visions, bibliomancy, poke tattoos, and even a demon, they are forced to contend with a reality that may be a bit wilder than they anticipated. When one of their own is taken, will they manage to pull together their makeshift crime team and save the day?”

6. Silver Meadows Summer by Emma Otheguy

      “Eleven-year-old Carolina’s summer–and life as she knows it–is upended when Papi loses his job, and she and her family must move from Puerto Rico to her Tía Cuca and Uncle Porter’s house in upstate New York. Now Carolina must attend Silver Meadows camp, where her bossy older cousin Gabriela rules the social scene.
      Just as Carolina worries she’ll have to spend the entire summer in Gabriela’s shadow, she makes a friend of her own in Jennifer, a fellow artist. Carolina gets another welcome surprise when she stumbles upon a long-abandoned cottage in the woods near the campsite and immediately sees its potential as a creative haven for making art. There, with Jennifer, Carolina begins to reclaim the parts of the life she loved in Puerto Rico and forget about how her relationship with Mami has changed and how distant Papi has become.
      But when the future of Silver Meadows and the cottage is thrown into jeopardy, Carolina and–to everyone’s surprise–Gabriela come up with a plan to save them. Will it work?”

7. Other: A Collection of Poetry For the Lovelorn Outcast by Elizabeth Reyes-Duiguid

      “OTHER is a collection of poems that tackles topics such as love, loneliness, and fear. It’s for when you’re feeling ignored, small, set aside or otherwise outcasted. It’s for when you need reminding that you are not alone.
      In this collection, Elizabeth Reyes-Diuguid shares decade old experiences and celebrates, and honors those emotional moments in the past that lead to success, love, and joy like she couldn’t imagine when these pieces were written. Now her words plant a seed of hope for the reader that they too can go from moments of sorrow to true joy. A lot can change in a decade. “

8. Plastic Wings by C.T. Callahan

      “When seven-year-old Evie Weiss discovers a strange, sickly boy in her otherwise familiar forest, she has no idea what it holds for her world. He is a dark angel, one of a race of humanoid beings that feed on humanity and tear Evie’s world down around her. Years later, as humanity mounts a counter-attack against the dark angels, Evie remembers the boy in the forest and finds herself torn between her loyalty to her own people and feelings of compassion for these strange creatures that first captivated her as a child. It is the quest of one girl to unite two worlds so separated by war, but how can she close the gap between two races so determined to hate each other?”

9. The Other Half of Happy by Rebecca Balcárcel

      “Quijana is a girl in pieces. One-half Guatemalan, one-half American: When Quijana’s Guatemalan cousins move to town, her dad seems ashamed that she doesn’t know more about her family’s heritage. One-half crush, one-half buddy: When Quijana meets Zuri and Jayden, she knows she’s found true friends. But she can’t help the growing feelings she has for Jayden. One-half kid, one-half grown-up: Quijana spends her nights Skyping with her ailing grandma and trying to figure out what’s going on with her increasingly hard-to-reach brother. In the course of this immersive and beautifully written novel, Quijana must figure out which parts of herself are most important, and which pieces come together to make her whole. This lyrical debut from Rebecca Balcárcel is a heartfelt poetic portrayal of a girl growing up, fitting in, and learning what it means to belong.”

10. Seventh Born by Monica Sanz

      “Abomination. Curse. Murderer. All names hurled at eighteen-year-old Seraphina Dovetail. As the seventh-born daughter to a witch, she’s the cause of her mother losing her powers and, in turn, her life.
      Abandoned as a child, Sera dreams of becoming an inspector and finding her family. To do that, she must be referred into the Advanced Studies Program at the Aetherium’s Witchling Academy. Her birth order, quick temper, and tendency to set things on fire, however, have left her an outcast with failing marks…and just what Professor Nikolai Barrington is looking for.
      The tall, brooding, yet exceedingly handsome young professor makes her a proposition: become his assistant and he’ll give her the referral she needs. Sera is quickly thrust into a world where witches are being kidnapped, bodies are raised from the dead, and someone is burning seventhborns alive. As Sera and Barrington grow ever closer, she’ll discover that some secrets are best left buried…and fire isn’t the only thing that makes a witch burn.”

Have you heard of any of these books? Any of these pique your interest? Which under the radar books by Latinx authors have you added to your TBR recently? Let’s discuss in the comments.