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

Cover Reveal: FIRE WITH FIRE by Destiny Soria

I am so excited to bring you today’s post. This is one of the highlights of my blogging career and I feel really honored to be hosting Destiny Soria’s cover reveal for her 2021 Spring release, Fire with Fire. Before we get started, Destiny and I don’t want to distract from what’s happening in this country. We both support Black Lives Matter and want to share a couple of resources with you where you can help either financially or with your signature. Please take a look at these and contribute if you are able. Thank you.

Donate to Birmingham Community Support Fund here.

Help homeless Black trans women by donating here.

Sign this petition that calls for justice for Breonna Taylor.

I was first introduced to Destiny Soria through her debut novel Iron Cast. It’s one of my favorite historical fantasies. If this is your first introduction to this author, I encourage you to check out her previous novels as you eagerly await this 2021 spring release. Before the cover reveal, I asked Destiny a few questions about her upcoming novel Fire with Fire. Check out the interview below along with a few teaser images.

1. Fire with Fire focuses on two sisters, what can you tell us about these characters and their relationship with one another?

Eden and Dani Rivera are from a family of legendary dragon slayers. Eden, the older sister, is ambitious and driven to become the best slayer of her generation. Despite her dedication, Eden is continually frustrated by how effortlessly Dani seems to best her in every aspect of training, even though Dani cares more about her friends and summer job than she does about slaying dragons. The tension between the sisters reaches a boiling point when Dani discovers that she has a magical bond with a dragon and must decide once and for all where her loyalty truly lies.

2. Your previous two novels (Iron Cast & Beneath the Citadel) were both character-driven and friendship focused. Can we expect the same with your upcoming release?

Absolutely! I loved exploring the complexities of friendship in this novel, as well as the even messier complexities of family. Of course, that’s not to say there’s not also a fair supply of magic and mayhem driving the plot. Even though this book has a contemporary setting (the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee), I hope readers of my other books will find familiar enjoyment in the friendships and snark.

3. This is one of the first times I’ve seen a dragon fantasy with Latinx characters (the other is Amparo Ortiz’s upcoming release, Blazewrath Games), tell me why you decided to explore this particular myth with these characters rather than traditional Latin American folklore.

Like Eden and Dani, I’m half-white, half-Mexican-American, but I was raised mostly divorced from my Latinx heritage. There’s often a strange kind of alienation experienced by biracial children. When I was growing up, I knew I wasn’t white (not even passing), but I also had so little connection to my Mexican family and traditions, that I didn’t feel like I was allowed to claim my Latinx heritage either. I’m still learning how to navigate my own biracial identity, and in writing these characters as a reflection of my own childhood experience (minus dragons and magic, alas), I hope there are others who can see themselves represented as well. Latinx and biracial identities are an infinitely rich tapestry, and there are so many wonderfully diverse books out there. I hope we can keep seeing more and more represented in YA literature, especially in books where the characters’ identity isn’t the sole focus of the book.


4. Fire with Fire is your third novel, what was different about writing this one? Anything get easier or harder?

You’d think that writing books would be the sort of thing that gets easier over time, but in my experience at least, writing each new book is like jumping out of an airplane with no certainty that your parachute will open—or that you’re even wearing one. The only thing that gets easier for me is recognizing my own weaknesses. This is my first time writing in a contemporary setting, so that presented a whole new host of challenges. In particular I’ve learned just how outdated my taste in music is, heh.

And now for the big reveal…

I love this cover so much! The color scheme is gorgeous and I cannot wait to see how the colors pop in person. Special shout out to Viv Tanner who illustrated, visit their site here and Mary Claire Cruz who designed the cover, visit her site here.

Learn More About Destiny Soria’s Fire with Fire:

Title: Fire with Fire
Author: Destiny Soria
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s
Release Date: Spring 2021

      “Dani and Eden Rivera were both born to kill dragons, but the sisters couldn’t be more different. For Dani, dragon slaying takes a back seat to normal high school life, while Eden prioritizes training above everything else. Yet they both agree on one thing: it’s kill or be killed where dragons are concerned.
      Until Dani comes face-to-face with one and forges a rare and magical bond with him. As she gets to know Nox, she realizes that everything she thought she knew about dragons is wrong. With Dani lost to the dragons, Eden turns to the mysterious and alluring sorcerers to help save her sister. Now on opposite sides of the conflict, the sisters will do whatever it takes to save the other. But the two are playing with magic that is more dangerous than they know, and there is another, more powerful enemy waiting for them both in the shadows.”

Add Fire with Fire on Goodreads now!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Destiny Soria is a Young Adult fantasy author and freelance writer. Her debut novel IRON CAST is about magic, mobsters, and two best friends kicking ass in 1920s Boston. Her second novel BENEATH THE CITADEL features rebels, seers, and stolen memories. She lives in Birmingham, AL, where she spends her time trying to come up with bios that make her sound kind of cool. She has yet to succeed.

FOLLOW DESTINY SORIA:

Website: http://www.destinysoria.com/

Twitter: @thedestinysoria

Instagram: @thedestinysoria

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dlsoria

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14757755.Destiny_Soria

Purchase Destiny Soria’s previous work on Bookshop, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon now!

What do you love about the cover? Are you also looking forward to Destiny Soria’s upcoming release Fire with Fire? Let’s talk in the comments!

Talk Chisme to Me: Upcoming June Releases by Latinx Authors

I planned to post this one on Sunday but decided to wait a couple of days to not distract from real-world issues happening right now. Please remember white and non-Black PoC that just because you are now waking up to what it happening in the Black community doesn’t mean that that they have not already been dealing with police brutality for generations. Your comfort is not more important, you having a “safe place” from real-world events is a sign of your privileged and you need to learn when to speak up and when, frankly, to keep your mouth closed. If I sound testy, it’s because I’ve been really appalled by some of the things I have seen in this community. It is not surprising but I am getting tired of the seeing so many asked to be coddled during this time. This isn’t about you. Take a step back and figure out where you stand and then act. There are several ways that you can help right now and I will be listing links where you can financially contribute and add your voice to petitions.

Split your donation between organizations (Black Lives Matter, National Bail Out, etc) here.

Updated Twitter thread of specific bail funds, relief funds, and organizations that are still accepting donations here.

Twitter thread of mutual aid funds that you can donate to here.

Twitter thread of Goggle Docs that include petitions you can sign and calls you can make here.

Another way to help if you aren’t able to contribute money is to give this video a watch/let it run in the background (let it run all the way though, don’t skip ads), the ad revenue will be donated to Black Lives Matter organizations.

I started these posts with the intention of highlighting upcoming books by Latinx authors that need more attention during this pandemic, but I might just keep doing them every month from here on out. As always, if you are able, please buy these from your local indie bookstore (here is a list of Black-owned book stores that you should check out) or check them out from your library (if it’s been reopened). And I am always on the lookout for more books by Latinx authors to read and promote, from middle grade to adult. If there is a book that I don’t mention, please share them with me in the comments. Graphics are linked to Goodreads.

Note: Adriana @ Boricua Reads puts together a more comprehensive list of Latinx releases every season, so be sure to check out their summer 2020 list here!

1. The Way to Rio Luna by Zoraida Córdova

Why I Am Excited? I am such a fan of Zoraida Córdova’s novels and I cannot wait to see what she does with her first middle grade novel. Also, I love books that focus on sibling connections.

For fans of The Land of Stories comes an adventure that reveals the secret warnings hidden inside all classic tales — beware fairyland at all costs.

Eleven-year-old Danny Monteverde believes in magic. He knows that pixie dust is real, that wardrobes act as portals, and that rabbit holes lead to Wonderland. Most of all, he believes that his older sister, Pili, is waiting for him somewhere in Rio Luna, the enchanted land in their favorite book of fairy tales.

Danny doesn’t care what the adults say. He knows that Pili isn’t another teen runaway. When the siblings were placed in separate foster homes, she promised that she’d come back for him, and they’d build a new life together in Rio Luna.

Yet as the years pass, Danny’s faith begins to dim. But just when he thinks it might be time to put foolish fairy tales behind him, he finds a mysterious book in the library. It’s a collection of stories that contain hints about how to reach another world. A map to Rio Luna . . . and to Pili.

As his adventure takes him from New York to Ecuador to Brazil, Danny learns that meeting your favorite characters isn’t always a dream come true. But nothing will stop him from finding his sister . . . even if it means standing up to the greatest threat the magical realm has ever known.”

2. Where We Go From Here by Lucas Rocha

Why am I excited? We do not have enough YA novels that talk about HIV, so I am really looking forward to this one. This is also one of the few novels from a Latin American author that has been translated to English. Here’s hoping we see more of these.

An absorbing debut novel about three gay young adults in Brazil whose lives become intertwined in the face of HIV, perfect for fans of Adam Silvera and Bill Konigsberg.

Ian has just been diagnosed with HIV.

Victor, to his great relief, has tested negative.

Henrique has been living with HIV for the past three years.

When Victor finds himself getting tested for HIV for the first time, he can’t help but question his entire relationship with Henrique, the guy he has-had-been dating. See, Henrique didn’t disclose his positive HIV status to Victor until after they had sex, and even though Henrique insisted on using every possible precaution, Victor is livid.

That’s when Victor meets Ian, a guy who’s also getting tested for HIV. But Ian’s test comes back positive, and his world is about to change forever. Though Victor is loath to think about Henrique, he offers to put the two of them in touch, hoping that perhaps Henrique can help Ian navigate his new life. In the process, the lives of Ian, Victor, and Henrique will become intertwined in a story of friendship, love, and stigma-a story about hitting what you think is rock bottom, but finding the courage and support to keep moving forward.

Set in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this utterly engrossing debut by Brazilian author Lucas Rocha calls back to Alex Sanchez’s Rainbow Boys series, bringing attention to how far we’ve come with HIV, while shining a harsh light on just how far we have yet to go.”

3. Category Five by Ann Dávila Cardinal

Why am I excited? I am always on the lookout for diverse horror novels and I am really curious to see what Dávila Cardinal does with the sequel to Five Midnights.

Category Five is a new supernatural thriller from Ann Dávila Cardinal, set against the backdrop of a post-hurricane Puerto Rico

After the hurricane, some see destruction and some smell blood.

The tiny island of Vieques, located just off the northeastern coast of the main island of Puerto Rico, is trying to recover after hurricane Maria, but the already battered island is now half empty. To make matter worse, as on the main island, developers have come in to buy up the land at a fraction of its worth, taking advantage of the island when it is down.

Lupe, Javier, and Marisol are back to investigate a series of murders that follow in the wake of a hurricane and in the shadow of a new supernatural threat.”


4. Dactyl Hill Squad: Thunder Run by Daniel José Older

Why am I excited? I full admit that I have not picked up this fun middle grade series yet, but with the third book coming out, it is the perfect time to binge read them.

“Magdalys’s connection with the dinosaurs has led the US Army to some important victories, but the Civil War’s not over yet and the squad finds itself fighting deep in the Louisiana bayou. Then General Ulysses S. Grant himself entrusts Magdalys with a top secret mission — one that the very success of the Union depends on. Because as the friends will soon find out, the United States has more than one enemy.

Imperial troops are gathering along the Mexican border, forming an alliance with the Confederates in pursuit of spreading slavery, and suddenly the Union is facing battles on two fronts. But they are barely holding their own against one army. How can they possibly defeat two?

As New Orleans is surrounded, and desperate battle plans laid, Magdalys and her friends set off to disrupt a scheme that would destroy everything she cares about. But to do it, she’ll have to push her dinowrangling skills further than she’s ever been able to before. Can Magdalys defeat the fiercest rival she’s ever faced and save the fractured nation?”

5. Curse of the Night Witch by Alex Aster

Why am I excited? Latinx authors of middle grade books are thriving this year and I am so excited to welcome this debut author and her enchanting sounding adventure.

“On Emblem Island all are born knowing their fate. Their lifelines show the course of their life and an emblem dictates how they will spend it.

Twelve-year-old Tor Luna was born with a leadership emblem, just like his mother. But he hates his mark and is determined to choose a different path for himself. So, on the annual New Year’s Eve celebration, where Emblemites throw their wishes into a bonfire in the hopes of having them granted, Tor wishes for a different power.

The next morning Tor wakes up to discover a new marking on his skin…the symbol of a curse that has shortened his lifeline, giving him only a week before an untimely death. There is only one way to break the curse, and it requires a trip to the notorious Night Witch.

With only his village’s terrifying, ancient stories as a guide, and his two friends Engle and Melda by his side, Tor must travel across unpredictable Emblem Island, filled with wicked creatures he only knows through myths, in a race against his dwindling lifeline.”

6. On These Magic Shores by Yamile Saied Méndez

Why am I excited? I have been thinking about this book for months and I cannot wait to read some more middle grade magical realism novels.

Minerva must take care of her sisters after her mother’s disappearance.

Twelve-year-old Minerva Soledad Miranda is determined to reach her goals, despite shouldering more responsibility than the other kids at school–like caring for her two sisters while her mom works two jobs. But one night, Minerva’s mom doesn’t come home, and Minerva has to figure out what to do. Was Mamá snapped up by ICE? Will the girls be sent to foster homes or holding centers for migrant kids? Minerva and her sisters can’t let anyone know Mamá has disappeared. They’ll just pretend everything is normal until she comes back.

Minerva’s plan falls apart the first afternoon, when her baby sister throws a tantrum during Minerva’s audition for Peter Pan. But as the days pass and Minerva grows ever more worried about her mother, something magical seems to be watching out for them: leaving them cupcakes, helping her find money, even steering them to friends and distant family who can help. Eventually, Minerva must make the hardest choice of her life. And when she does, she’ll be prepared to face life’s challenges–with friendship, hope, and a little bit of fairy magic.”

7. The Dream Weaver by Reina Luz Alegre

Why am I excited? I was lucky enough to read an ARC of this one and it is just as sweet as it sounds. You can read my thoughts on this one here.

“Twelve-year-old Zoey comes from a family of dreamers. From startup companies to selling motorcycles, her dad is constantly chasing jobs that never seem to work out. As for Zoey, she’s willing to go along with whatever grand plans her dad dreams up—even if it means never staying in one place long enough to make real friends. Her family being together is all that matters to her.

So Zoey’s world is turned upside down when Dad announces that he’s heading to a new job in New York City without her. Instead, Zoey and her older brother José will stay with their Poppy at the Jersey Shore. At first, Zoey feels as lost and alone as she did after her Mami died. But soon she’s distracted by an even bigger problem: the bowling alley that Poppy has owned for decades is in danger of closing!

After befriending a group of kids practicing for a summer bowling tournament, Zoey hatches a grand plan of her own to save the bowling alley. It seems like she’s found the perfect way to weave everyone’s dreams together…until unexpected events turn Zoey’s plan into one giant nightmare.

Now, with her new friends counting on her and her family’s happiness hanging in the balance, Zoey will have to decide what her dream is—and how hard she’s willing to fight for it.”

8. Julieta and the Diamond Enigma by Luisana Duarte Armendariz

Why am I excited? I really wish we had had these Latinx books around growing up because I would have loved to have followed Julieta on these amazing adventures.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler meets Merci Suarez in this smart young middle-grade mystery about a diamond gone missing from the Louvre and the sweet and spunky girl who cracks the case.

Nine-year-old Julieta is finally about to put a purple pin in her family’s world traveling map! She’s off to Paris to help her art-handler dad collect pieces for a new exhibit at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Sadly, they must leave Julieta’s very pregnant mother behind, but they’re sure they’ll be back before the baby is born. Julieta sees the best of Paris: the Eiffel Tower, the Sacré-Coeur, and plenty of great art. But things go awry when she and Dad walk in on a thief stealing the Louvre’s most prized piece–a priceless cursed diamond with a shady history. When Julieta runs for help, she accidentally frees the thief instead! Now Dad’s job is in danger and he’s become a suspect. Can Julieta determine who the thief really is before it’s too late?”

9. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Why I Am Excited? Did you know I am a fan of Silvia Moreno-Garcia? Trick question because if you know me, you know this. I feel so lucky to have been sent an ARC of this one from the publisher and it really was a dream come true to see the incomparable SMG write a horror novel. I loved this one so much and can’t wait to share my thoughts. Review for this one coming very soon.

“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.”

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