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.

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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)

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!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books You (and I) Should Pick Up This Summer

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 I’ve Added to my TBR and Forgotten Why.” I actually forgot to do this week’s topic but since I didn’t post last week’s Books that Give Off Summer Vibes post, I will do so now. Reminder that as people begin to go back to their normal routines, there are still people protesting and fighting for justice. I encourage you to visit this site if you aren’t quite sure where to get started. There are so many resources out there and there is no excuse not to stay informed. For this topic, I am listing five contemporaries that are perfect to pick up this summer as well as five that I plan to pick up. Covers are linked to Goodreads.

Five Books You Should Pick Up:

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1. Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno 

2. Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann

3. Truly Madly Royally by Debbie Rigaud

4. Love From A to Z by S.K. Ali

5. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Five Books I Should Pick Up:

6. Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

7. You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

8. The Perfect Escape by Suzanne Park

9. The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa

10. If It Makes You Happy by Claire Kann

Which contemporary book are you planning to pick up this summer? Let me know in the comments and be sure to leave me a link to your own TTT post, so I can visit.