Talk Chisme to Me: Upcoming April 2020 Releases

Yes, I am back again with another Talk Chisme to Me post! This time I am highlighting April releases by Latinx authors. Most are worried about promotion for their books, so this is my way of shining a little light on upcoming releases. Please consider preordering from your local independent bookstore. Graphics are linked to Goodreads.

1. Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega

Why I Am Excited? I have already read this one and people, you are not ready for all the cuteness and fun paranormal adventures! I preordered my copy after finishing the ARC and you need to do the same. Read my review here.

Coco meets Stranger Things with a hint of Ghostbusters in this action-packed supernatural fantasy.

For Lucely Luna, ghosts are more than just the family business.

Shortly before Halloween, Lucely and her best friend, Syd, cast a spell that accidentally awakens malicious spirits, wreaking havoc throughout St. Augustine. Together, they must join forces with Syd’s witch grandmother, Babette, and her tubby tabby, Chunk, to fight the haunting head-on and reverse the curse to save the town and Lucely’s firefly spirits before it’s too late.

With the family dynamics of Coco and action-packed adventure of Ghostbusters, Claribel A. Ortega delivers both a thrillingly spooky and delightfully sweet debut novel.”

2. The Breakbeat Poets, Vol.4: Latinext edited by Felicia Rose Chavez, José Olivarez, and Willie Perdomo

Why am I excited? I am really eager to get into more poetry and specifically by Latinx authors so this is perfect.

“In the dynamic tradition of the BreakBeat Poets anthology, The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 4: LatiNEXT celebrates the embodied narratives of Latinidad. Poets speak from an array of nationalities, genders, sexualities, races, and writing styles, staking a claim to our cultural and civic space. Like Hip-Hop, we honor what was, what is, and what’s next.”

3. Into the Tall, Tall Grass by Loriel Ryon

Why am I excited? I had the pleasure of reading an ARC of this one and was blown away. It was so magical and I really appreciated how it handled grief.  Look for my review this weekend!

“A girl journeys across her family’s land to save her grandmother’s life in this captivating and magical debut that’s perfect for fans of The Thing About Jellyfish.

Yolanda Rodríguez-O’Connell has a secret. All the members of her family have a magical gift—all, that is, except for Yolanda. Still, it’s something she can never talk about, or the townsfolk will call her family brujas—witches. When her grandmother, Wela, falls into an unexplained sleep, Yolanda is scared. Her father is off fighting in a faraway war, her mother died long ago, and Yolanda has isolated herself from her best friend and twin sister. If she loses her grandmother, who will she have left?

When a strange grass emerges in the desert behind their house, Wela miraculously wakes, begging Yolanda to take her to the lone pecan tree left on their land. Determined not to lose her, Yolanda sets out on this journey with her sister, her ex-best friend, and a boy who has a crush on her. But what is the mysterious box that her grandmother needs to find? And how will going to the pecan tree make everything all right? Along the way, Yolanda discovers long-buried secrets that have made their family gift a family curse. But she also finds the healing power of the magic all around her, which just might promise a new beginning.”

4. We Didn’t Ask For This by Adi Alsaid

Why am I excited? I love the sound of this one and anytime you put a bunch of characters together who are very different, it makes for some interesting dynamics.

“Every year, lock-in night changes lives. This year, it might just change the world.

Central International School’s annual lock-in is legendary — and for six students, this year’s lock-in is the answer to their dreams. The chance to finally win the contest. Kiss the guy. Make a friend. Become the star of a story that will be passed down from student to student for years to come.

But then a group of students, led by Marisa Cuevas, stage an eco-protest and chain themselves to the doors, vowing to keep everyone trapped inside until their list of demands is met. While some students rally to the cause, others are devastated as they watch their plans fall apart. And Marisa, once so certain of her goals, must now decide just how far she’ll go to attain them.”

5. What Lane? by Torrey Maldonado

Why am I excited? Yes, I am so excited to see more biracial kids in middle grade books! I love that there are authors out there who will write books like this for kids who rarely see themselves represented.

“STAY IN YOUR LANE.” Stephen doesn’t want to hear that–he wants to have no lane.

Anything his friends can do, Stephen should be able to do too, right? So when they dare each other to sneak into an abandoned building, he doesn’t think it’s his lane, but he goes. Here’s the thing, though: Can he do everything his friends can? Lately, he’s not so sure. As a mixed kid, he feels like he’s living in two worlds with different rules–and he’s been noticing that strangers treat him differently than his white friends . . .

So what’ll he do? Hold on tight as Stephen swerves in and out of lanes to find out which are his–and who should be with him.

Torrey Maldonado, author of the highly acclaimed Tight, does a masterful job showing a young boy coming of age in a racially split world, trying to blaze a way to be his best self.”

6. The Water Bears by Kim Baker

Why am I excited? I am loving that we are getting so many cute middle grade reads this year. It also sounds like this one may have some fantasy or magical realism elements.

“A story about a boy recovering from a bear attack with the help of his friends and maybe, some magic.

All Newt Gomez wants for his thirteenth birthday is a bike. After surviving a bear attack last year, he thinks this isn’t an unreasonable request. Instead, his hardworking parents give him a former taco truck to help him get around the wacky island where they live in the Pacific Northwest. And then Newt and his best friend Ethan find a life-sized wooden bear washed up on the shore. Ethan is convinced the bear grants wishes; Newt doesn’t know what to think.

Newt also has a big decision ahead: go to middle school on the island, or to the mainland where his warm extended family lives? There, he won’t be the only Latinx kid; he doesn’t have bad dreams about the attack, and not everyone knows what happened to him. Newt secretly plots to move to his abuela’s house, but his truck is stolen with the maybe-magic bear inside. He must confront his fears and adapt to the reality of a world that’s often uncertain, but always full of salvageable wonders.”

7. A Breath Too Late by Rocky Callen

Why am I excited? This one sounds like it is going to have a really unique style and though it sounds incredible sad, it also sounds really moving.

For fans of Girl in Pieces, All the Bright Places, and Girl, Interrupted comes a haunting and breathtaking YA contemporary debut novel that packs a powerful message: hope can be found in the darkness.

Seventeen-year-old Ellie had no hope left. Yet the day after she dies by suicide, she finds herself in the midst of an out-of-body experience. She is a spectator, swaying between past and present, retracing the events that unfolded prior to her death.

But there are gaps in her memory, fractured pieces Ellie is desperate to re-assemble. There’s her mother, a songbird who wanted to break free from her oppressive cage. The boy made of brushstrokes and goofy smiles who brought color into a gray world. Her brooding father, with his sad puppy eyes and clenched fists. Told in epistolary-like style, this deeply moving novel sensitively examines the beautiful and terrible moments that make up a life and the possibilities that live in even the darkest of places. Perfect for fans of the critically-acclaimed SpeakI’ll Give You the Sun, and If I Stay.”

8. Incendiary by Zoraida Córdova

Why am I excited? I am a huge fan of the Brooklyn Brujas series and am so excited for another adventure from this author. Also, I will never say no to Latinx fantasy.

“I am Renata Convida.
I have lived a hundred stolen lives.
Now I live my own.

Renata Convida was only a child when she was kidnapped by the King’s Justice and brought to the luxurious palace of Andalucia. As a Robari, the rarest and most feared of the magical Moria, Renata’s ability to steal memories from royal enemies enabled the King’s Wrath, a siege that resulted in the deaths of thousands of her own people.

Now Renata is one of the Whispers, rebel spies working against the crown and helping the remaining Moria escape the kingdom bent on their destruction. The Whispers may have rescued Renata from the palace years ago, but she cannot escape their mistrust and hatred–or the overpowering memories of the hundreds of souls she turned “hollow” during her time in the palace.

When Dez, the commander of her unit, is taken captive by the notorious Sangrado Prince, Renata will do anything to save the boy whose love makes her place among the Whispers bearable. But a disastrous rescue attempt means Renata must return to the palace under cover and complete Dez’s top secret mission. Can Renata convince her former captors that she remains loyal, even as she burns for vengeance against the brutal, enigmatic prince? Her life and the fate of the Moria depend on it.

But returning to the palace stirs childhood memories long locked away. As Renata grows more deeply embedded in the politics of the royal court, she uncovers a secret in her past that could change the entire fate of the kingdom–and end the war that has cost her everything.”

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

Monthly Wrap-Up: March ’20

Raise your hand if you’ve been blogging less even though you have more time on your hands *raises both hands* You would think that I would just throw myself into blogging as a way to keep busy, but I’ve found it incredibly difficult to concentrate on blogging. I even incorporated a “What I’m Watching” section to this wrap-up because that is where a lot of my energy is going, haha. Luckily I’ve had a few drafts at the ready. I haven’t participated in a meme for the last two weeks but will probably start working on those again in the next week or two. This month I read and listened to (thanks, Scribd) eight books. I was able to read three ARCs which I am really happy about, but it turns out April is going to be full of ARCs as well. With the exception of the Latinx Book Club pick, I don’t have any other definitive reading plans for April. The library is currently closed, so I will have to reach for my own shelves. Never a bad thing.

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

Favorite Book This Month:

I had a really good reading month in terms of ratings, but only one five-star read. My favorite March read was Carmen Maria Machado’s In the Dream House. I listened to the audiobook which she narrates and was incredible moved by this memoir. Her writing is so powerful and her narration gave me chills. If you decide to pick this one up, I highly recommend the audiobook. Cover linked to Goodreads.

Least Favorite Book This Month:

No read received less than three stars.

Reviews Posted This Month:

Books I Read, Review Coming Soon:

(Covers linked to Goodreads)

Books I Read, Not Reviewed:

(Covers Linked to Goodreads)

  1. A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano – This was a reread for the Latinx Book Club (Twitter/Goodreads). It was just as charming the second time around. If you love sweet MG novels this is the perfect series to pick up. Rating: 4/5
  2. A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney – I’ve heard a lot of mixed things about this one, so went into it not expecting to hate it but not expecting to love it either. I really enjoyed Alice and the setting for this one. It was really fun, but I think it faltered a bit in the relationship department. Rating 3/5
  3. Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds – I feel like I’ve been meaning to pick this one up for years and I finally got around to listening to the audiobook. I love how much story Reynolds was able to fit in to such a small book. I loved that he plays with time and how reality is bent in this small stretch of time while the main character takes an elevator ride. Also really enjoyed Reynolds narration of this one. Rating: 4/5

Notable Blog Posts This Month + Looking Ahead:

Talk Chisme to Me: Last Ten Books By Latinx Authors I Added to My TBR – Curious about what books I’ve recently discovered and added to the TBR? Head on over to this post.

Talk Chisme to Me: Spotlighting March 2020 Releases – Here are some March releases you need to know about by Latinx authors.

Top Ten Tuesday: Spring ’20 Releases I’m Excited For – There are some great spring releases coming our way. Check out my top ten most anticipated!

2020 First Quarter Book Haul: Well at Least I Have Some Books – Take a look at the books I’ve acquired so far this year.

Latinx Book Club’s April Pick – The Latinx Book Club will be reading The Victoria in My Head by Janelle Milanes as we wanted to pick up something light. We’d love for you to join us! Find us: Twitter/Goodreads.

What I’m Watching:

Crash Landing on You – This K-drama on Netflix is exactly what I needed. It’s about a South Korean woman who accidentally finds herself in North Korea and the soldier who ends up hiding her. I love it so much and by the time this is posted, I will have finished it. I laughed, I cried, I swooned. It was perfect. Just looking at this gif puts a huge smile on my face. Please, if you have any recommendations of something similar, give them to me in the comments. I have a mighty need.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – I rewatched this one for the sixth…seventh time? Gah, I love this movie so much and demand a live action Miles Morales movie now!!!

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series – I started this one and am really enjoying it so far. I have very fond memories of the original movie and this homage is a lot of fun and filled with so much distracting drama.

On My Block: Season 3 – I love this show so much but the ending for season three was just cruel. If we don’t get a season 4, I am going to riot! Also, what happened to all the Jamal and Abuelita scenes? Did you forget to shoot them? Where are they?!

April Releases I’m Excited For:

What 2020 ARCs have you been reading? Have you been blogging more or less this month? What have you been watching? Let me hear from you in the comments and feel free to leave me a link to your own wrap-up post and I’ll be sure to visit!

2020 First Quarter Book Haul: Well, at Least I Have Some New Books

Hope everyone is having at least a bearable week. I was trying to decide how I felt about the amount of books I bought this first quarter of the year since I told myself that I needed to be more strict with the impulse buying. Circumstances have changed and now that my library is closed at least though the month of April, it looks like I ought to be grateful for every single book I ended up buying. Let’s get to the books.

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New Releases and Preorders:

1. Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim – I can’t believe that I haven’t picked up this author and in a moment of weakness, I bought her newest release. It’s a retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo.

2. Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore – My very short list of auto-buy authors includes the incomparable Anna-Marie McLemore. I was lucky enough to read an ARC of this one and it is as beautiful as I imagined it would be. Read them!!!!

3. We Unleash the Merciless Storm by Tehlor Kay Mejia – I haven’t had a chance to read this sequel but I am so excited and only a little worried Tehlor will crush me with this one.

4. Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon – I’ve enjoyed every single Sandhya Menon novel to date and preordered this one based on that. Unfortunately, I didn’t love this one as much as the others.

5. This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone – Considering this a preorder since I preordered the paperback release. When everything started closing, this was my final book buy. A comfort reread is probably coming soon.

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Impulse Buys:

6. Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barton – I got a really good deal on this one and every time I come across an excerpt from it, I grow even more intrigued, so I can’t wait to get to it.

7. Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi – I haven’t even read her debut, but I was really curious about this one and the book itself is just really pretty, okay?

8. If It Makes You Happy by Claire Kann – I LOVED Let’s Talk About Love and immediately bought this one upon finishing it. I cannot wait to read it.

9. Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody – I still haven’t gotten a chance to read this one but once I take care of a few ARCs, this is high on my TBR. I bought this one after reading Caro’s review here.

10. Citizen Illegal by José Olivarez – You can’t make out the book in this photo very well but I absolutely had to have a copy of this collection after I finished my library copy.

11. Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older – I figured it was about time I bought this one as I do want to finally finish the series, but first I need to do a reread.

12. A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano – This was the Latinx Book Club’s pick for March and I am so glad because this one was just as charming the second time around.

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ARCs:

13. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – Friends. FRIENDS. FRIENDS!!!!!! It happened. I have an ARC of one one of my most anticipated 2020 releases. I cannot describe to you this feeling but elation is as close as I can get.

14. Lobizona by Romina Garber – I was also lucky enough to receive an ARC of Lobizona. I am very excited for this one and those who have already read it, seem to love it.

15. Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From by Jennifer De Leon– Another ARC I had the pleasure of receiving. Honestly, I have never received so many ARCs by Latinx authors than I have over the course of the last six month. I am truly blessed.

What is the last book you purchased? Are any of these on your TBR? Which ARC do you wish publishers would send you?

Talk Chisme to Me: Spotlighting Upcoming March 2020 Releases

As everyone knows, there have been several book events that have recently been canceled and as a result there are authors out there who are worried about word of their books getting out. So I will be spotlighting some upcoming releases by Latinx authors every month for the next few months just to give them a little extra attention. If you haven’t added these to your TBR, I encourage you to do so and if you are able, please consider preordering some of these. Graphics are linked to Goodreads.

1. Goldie Vance: The Hotel Whodunit by Lilliam Rivera

Why am I excited? I am not familiar with the comic Goldie Vance, but I always love when YA authors explore Middle Grade and I’ve always been a fan of young female sleuths.

Move over, Nancy Drew–there’s a new sleuth in town! Inspired by the beloved comic series, Goldie Vance is ready to sleuth her way through never-before-seen mysteries in this original middle-grade series by Lilliam Rivera!

Marigold “Goldie” Vance lives and works at the Crossed Palms Resort Hotel in Florida with a whole slew of characters: her dad, Art, the manager of the joint; Cheryl Lebeaux, the concierge and Goldie’s best friend; and Walter Tooey, the hired hotel detective. Her mom, Sylvia, works nearby at the Mermaid Club.

While life at the Crossed Palms is always busy, the resort is currently overrun with Hollywood-types filming the hottest new creature feature, and tensions are at an all-time high. Even Goldie’s mom is in on the movie act, doing what she does best: playing a mermaid. Just when Goldie thinks the movie biz couldn’t get any more exciting, a diamond-encrusted swimming cap goes missing, and all fingers point to Goldie’s mom as the culprit. Can Goldie uncover the true thief before it’s too late?

Hope Larson and Brittney William’s critically acclaimed Goldie Vance comic series explores never-before-seen mysteries in this thrilling, original middle-grade debut by Lilliam Rivera. Features a full-color comic chapter that’s essential to unraveling the mystery.”

2. The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio

Why am I excited? We need to prioritizes voices like Karla Cornejo Villavicencio when we talk about immigration stories and rely less on people trying to be voices for undocumented immigrants.

One of the first undocumented immigrants to graduate from Harvard reveals the hidden lives of her fellow undocumented Americans in this deeply personal and groundbreaking portrait of a nation.

Writer Karla Cornejo Villavicencio was on DACA when she decided to write about being undocumented for the first time using her own name. It was right after the election of 2016, the day she realized the story she’d tried to steer clear of was the only one she wanted to tell. So she wrote her immigration lawyer’s phone number on her hand in Sharpie and embarked on a trip across the country to tell the stories of her fellow undocumented immigrants–and to find the hidden key to her own.

Looking beyond the flashpoints of the border or the activism of the DREAMers, Cornejo Villavicencio explores the lives of the undocumented–and the mysteries of her own life. She finds the nation of singular, effervescent characters often reduced in the media to political pawns or nameless laborers. The stories she tells are not deferential or naively inspirational but show the love, magic, heartbreak, insanity, and vulgarity that infuse the day-to-day lives of her subjects.

In New York, we meet the undocumented workers who were recruited into the federally funded Ground Zero cleanup after 9/11. In Miami, we enter the ubiquitous botanicas, which offer medicinal herbs and potions to those whose status blocks them from any other healthcare options. In Flint, Michigan, we learn of demands for state ID in order to receive life-saving clean water. In Connecticut, Cornejo Villavicencio, childless by choice, finds family in two teenage girls whose father is in sanctuary. And through it all we see the author grappling with the biggest questions of love, duty, family, and survival.

In her incandescent, relentlessly probing voice, Cornejo Villavicencio combines sensitive reporting and powerful personal narratives to bring to light remarkable stories of resilience, madness, and death. Through these stories we come to understand what it truly means to be a stray. An expendable. A hero. An American.”

3. Efrén Divided by Ernesto Cisneros

Why I am excited? This is one of the first Middle Grade novels that I can recall that deals with immigration (there are more coming out this year like Aida Salazar’s upcoming novel The Land of Cranes) and I know there are definitely young readers out there who are looking for books like this.

“Efrén Divided is a not-to-be-missed debut middle grade novel for readers who love Front Desk or Merci Suérez Changes Gears–or for anyone working toward a more loving world–about family, friendship, and tearing down the walls being built between us.

Efrén Nava’s Amá is his Superwoman–or Soperwoman, named after the delicious Mexican sopes his mother often prepares. Both Amá and Apá work hard all day to provide for the family, making sure Efrén and his younger siblings Max and Mía feel safe and loved.

But Efrén worries about his parents; although he’s American-born, his parents are undocumented. His worst nightmare comes true one day when Amá doesn’t return from work and is deported across the border to Tijuana, México.

Now more than ever, Efrén must channel his inner Soperboy to help take care of and try to reunite his family.”

4. Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor

Why am I excited? Witches!!! I just came across this one and already can tell that this is going to be dark and atmospheric which speaks to my soul.

“The Witch is dead. And the discovery of her corpse—by a group of children playing near the irrigation canals—propels the whole village into an investigation of how and why this murder occurred. Rumors and suspicions spread. As the novel unfolds in a dazzling linguistic torrent, with each unreliable narrator lingering on new details, new acts of depravity or brutality, Melchor extracts some tiny shred of humanity from these characters that most would write off as utterly irredeemable, forming a lasting portrait of a damned Mexican village.

Like Roberto Bolano’s 2666 or Faulkner’s greatest novels, Hurricane Season takes place in a world filled with mythology and violence—real violence, the kind that seeps into the soil, poisoning everything around: it’s a world that becomes more terrifying and more terrifyingly real the deeper you explore it.”

Are you also looking forward to any of these? Which March release by a Latinx author are you most looking forward to?