Can’t-Wait Wednesday: Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon


Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa @ Wishful Endings where bloggers share which upcoming releases they’re most looking forward to. Join us every Wednesday and watch your TBR list multiply.

I am so happy to see more fairy tale retellings by authors of color being published. I have an urge to buy them all. I am very excited to read Sandhya Menon’s Of Curses and Kisses which is based on Beauty and the Beast. I’ve enjoyed all of her previous novels and have high expectations for this one. Cover is linked to Goodreads.

Title: Of Curses and Kisses
Author:
Sandhya Menon
Series: St. Rosetta’s Academy, #1
Pages: 384
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: February 18, 2020

      “From the New York Times bestselling author of When Dimple Met Rishi comes the first novel in a brand-new series set at an elite international boarding school, that’s a contemporary spin on Beauty and the Beast.
      Will the princess save the beast?
      For Princess Jaya Rao, nothing is more important than family. When the loathsome Emerson clan steps up their centuries-old feud to target Jaya’s little sister, nothing will keep Jaya from exacting her revenge. Then Jaya finds out she’ll be attending the same elite boarding school as Grey Emerson, and it feels like the opportunity of a lifetime. She knows what she must do: Make Grey fall in love with her and break his heart. But much to Jaya’s annoyance, Grey’s brooding demeanor and lupine blue eyes have drawn her in. There’s simply no way she and her sworn enemy could find their fairy-tale ending…right?
      His Lordship Grey Emerson is a misanthrope. Thanks to an ancient curse by a Rao matriarch, Grey knows he’s doomed once he turns eighteen. Sequestered away in the mountains at St. Rosetta’s International Academy, he’s lived an isolated existence—until Jaya Rao bursts into his life, but he can’t shake the feeling that she’s hiding something. Something that might just have to do with the rose-shaped ruby pendant around her neck…
      As the stars conspire to keep them apart, Jaya and Grey grapple with questions of love, loyalty, and whether it’s possible to write your own happy ending.”

Are you participating in Can’t-Wait Wednesday or Waiting on Wednesday? Is this book on your TBR? Be sure to leave a link to your post in the comments and I’ll visit!

Top Ten Tuesday: Last Ten Recent Additions to My TBR

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 “The Ten Most Recent Additions to My Bookshelf.” I feel like I will end up being kind of repetitive if I do this week’s topic because I just did a blog post of my book haul for the end of 2019, which you can check out here. So for this week’s topic, I am going to list the last ten books I added to my TBR (minus the ones I’ve had to re-add on Goodreads because whenever I am adding TBR books to my other shelves, Goodreads likes to mark them as “read”. Anyone else have this issue?). This is super out of order and probably not completely accurate because I have added books since starting this post. Covers/titles are linked to Goodreads.

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1. Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells – Why I Added It: This book came up while I was discussing SFF books that addressed colonialism with Jocelyn @ yogi with a book. It’s one of those books that I’ve tangentially known about, but I had to add it because of Jocelyn’s recommendation.

2. Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody – Why I Added It: Another book I added to my TBR based on the recommendation of another blogger, Caro @ Santana Reads. They have been raving about this one for a while and I had to get my hands on it.

3. Chlorine Sky by Mahogany L. Browne – Why I Added It: I came across the publishing deal for this one on Twitter and immediately had to add it. It’s another novel in verse I am eager to check out.

4. Perfectly Parvin by Olivia Abtahi – Why I Added It: As you know, I like to support Latinx writers, but publishing isn’t so great about recognizing how diverse the community is. Olivia Abtahi is Argentinian and Iranian and her rom-com sounds like an absolute delight.

5. Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson – Why I Added It: Even though I am behind on Tiffany D. Jackson novels (I will read Let Me Hear a Rhyme this year), I quickly added her next book as soon as I heard about it. I don’t even know what it’s about, but I want it.

6. We Are Not From Here by Jenny Torres Sanchez – Why I Added it: I actually didn’t realize I hadn’t added this one to my TBR. I haven’t picked up a Jenny Torres Sanchez novel since Death, Dickinson, and the Demented Life of Frenchie Garcia, but am really looking forward to seeing what she does with this one.

7. You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson  – Why I Added it: Have you seen the cover for this one? It looks like a delight. The synopsis sealed the deal for me, about a girl running for prom queen to help her get into college, but who ends up falling for her competition.

8. I’ll Be the One by Lyla Lee – What I Added It: Again, I am a sucker for a cover with girls of color looking happy and doesn’t she just look so happy? I am already rooting for Skye.

9. Prime Deception by Valerie Valdes – Why I Added It: I loved Chilling Effect, so of course I had to add the sequel once I realized it existed.

10. The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri – Look, Tasha Suri is going to bless us with another novel in 2021!!!! This one is an Indian-based fantasy with f/f romance and the start of a trilogy from one of my favorite writers!

Do you have these on your TBR as well? What’s the last book you added to yours? Any of these going on your TBR after seeing them here? Let me know in the comments and be sure to leave me a link to your own TTT post, so I can visit.

Con Sabor Reading Challenge 2020: Sign-up, Goals, and TBR

Dani @ metamorphoreader, Astrid @ Book Love Book Reviews, Natalia @ Books.Build.Life, and Nox @ Nox the Reader have created the Con Sabor Reading Challenge that runs all year long and challenges readers to pick up more books by Latinx authors. I am so excited for this challenge and have been looking forward to it ever since Dani mentioned wanting to created a year-long challenge focused on Latinx books. Obviously this is my kind of challenge. In addition to challenging readers to pick up as many books as possible, the hosts have also created prompts that you can participate in each month if you so wish. You can earn badges by either reading a certain number of books or by participating in these prompts. Check out the hosts’ posts (which I linked to above) for complete info, including where to sign up!

My Goals:

1. Become a Latinx Historian – The hosts have included badges every time you reach a certain number of reads. I am going to shoot for the highest number (30), so I can become a Latinx Historian.

2. Become a Latinx Explorer – I’m less confident with this one but I still want to try. You can also earn a special badge by completing 5 prompt reads which I will also be aiming to do.

The TBR:

I don’t want to make a really specific TBR for this challenge because I want the freedom to choose what I read throughout the year. I do want to highlight a few backlist books that I would like to get to however. So here are a few books that I will be picking up in 2020 for this challenge (I hope). Covers are linked to Goodreads.

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1. Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez
2. The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary  by NoNieqa Ramos
3. They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
4. The Library of Lost Things by Laura Taylor Namey
5. Citizen Illegal by José Olivarez

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6. The Book of Lost Saints by Daniel José Older
7. Barely Missing Everything by Matt Mendez
8. In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado
9. By Any Means Necessary by Candice Montgomery
10. Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina

I have also already earned my first badge for this challenge by reading my first book by a Latinx author this year. I read Diamond City by Francesca Flores. Look at how adorable this badge is. I will probably be making a progress post every month here on the blog to track my reading and show off all the badges I’ve earned.

Are you joining the Con Sabor Reading Challenge? Which books by Latinx authors are you hoping to pick up this year? Let’s talk in the comment!

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Four-Star Reads of 2019

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 “Bookish Discoveries I Made In 2019.” This list was really difficult for me. I just couldn’t sit down and come up with enough “discoveries”, so instead, I am sharing my top ten four-star reads of 2019 with you. I had a ton of four-star reads and would love to share my love for them with you. If I was the kind of blogger who gave half stars, most of these would be rated 4.5 stars. Covers are linked to Goodreads.

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1. The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi – I’m still trying to figure out how I read this one a year ago and not ten years ago. If you like smart fantasies with nuanced characters of color, you need to read this one. Also I read the sequel already and am dying to talk to someone about it with someone. Read my review here.

2. The Wicked King by Holly Black – I read this one and the final book in the Folk of the Air trilogy in 2019 and I don’t know if this counts as controversial but I definitely think this one is superior. It’s a lot darker than the third book which feels more congruous with The Cruel Prince. Although I enjoyed the third novel, the tone was different compared to the other two. Read my review of The Wicked King here.

3. We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia – This is one of those reads whose message can get completely lost because so many people want to compare it to The Handmaid’s Tale and leave it at that. But this one explores immigration, religion and politics, classism, and centers two Latina characters in a way that I have never seen done before. Read my review here.

4. Love From A to Z by S.K. Ali – When was the last time you read a book where a female Muslim character of color got to be angry? Zayneb is one of the main reasons I loved this one. And just seeing two Muslim teens being able to have a meet cute and have an epic love story felt so refreshing. Read my review here.

5. There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon – Sandyha Menon’s books ooze charm and never fail to make me laugh and smile. I loved that we got to see a fat Indian-American teen star in a rom-com and hope it leads to more fat characters of color in YA. No review for this one.

6. Nocturna by Maya Motayne – I cannot say enough about how much I loved the main characters, Alfie and Finn. I would die for either one of these characters. This was the first time I’ve seen a Latinx fantasy developed well enough where it doesn’t ignore or try to sweep things like colonization and slavery under the rug. I will forever be bitter about the unfair criticism this book received because of unjust comparisons to the Shades of Magic series, which I love by the way. But these are two very different stories and the fact that Nocturna centers Afro-Latinx characters should have been the first clue, but readers love to give credit to white authors when it comes to groundbreaking “representation” and the like and when it finally comes time for authors of color to have a chance to write series centering their own culture or to put characters of color in fantasy settings, they are told it’s already been done before. But of course white authors got to do it first, it’s one of the consequences of privilege and overrepresentation. Obviously, I have a lot of feelings. Please read this one. Read my review here if you need more convincing.

7. We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal  – If I had gotten a little more in terms of on page character development this would have been a five-star read for me. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say this was among my top ten favorite reads in 2019 in terms of world building. Read my review here.

8. Truly Madly Royally by Debbie Rigaud – Speaking of groundbreaking novels, I loved this one that centers a Black teen girl falling for prince charming (though I might argue it’s more like prince charming falling for Zora). Bonus points for not using misunderstandings to drive the characters apart. Read this contemporary and find yourself smiling the whole time. Read my review here.

9. Analee, in Real Life by Janelle Milanes – Cheers to the author for creating such a genuine teen voice. If you told me Analee was a real teen, I’d believe you. Also has the fake dating trope, which I love, predictabilities and all. I also so appreciated how much focus is put on Analee’s journey in this one rather than the romance. Read my review here.

10. Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdes – This was my final read of 2019 and I knew I was going to love it after the first chapter. I have a mighty need for more Latinx characters in space, but there are so very few. This one was such a fun adult sci-fi novel. I loved Eva with all her flaws and hangups. I loved her entire crew and how her ship comes to inadvertently be home to a bunch of psychic cats. I really had a blast with this whole novel. I don’t have a review for this one, but you need to read it if you enjoy space operas of any kind.

What was your favorite four-star read? Have you read and enjoyed any of these? Let me know in the comments and be sure to leave me a link to your own TTT post, so I can visit.