Latinx Heritage Month 2018, Part I: Favorite Reads

Happy Latinx Heritage Month! September 15th marks the first day of Latinx Heritage Month, which continues through October 15th. Every Saturday on my blog a post will go up highlighting Latinx authors in a five-part series. Be sure to stick around and check them out. Also, I am running a Twitter giveaway for #LatinxHeritageMonth be sure to head on over here to check out the tweet. For this first post, I’m listing the top ten eleven books I’ve read over the past year written by Latinx authors. Covers are linked to Goodreads.

Favorite Books By Latinx Authors:

1. Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

But was there any doubt Anna-Marie McLemore would make this list? When I need my magical realism fix, I immediately reach for McLemore’s novels. Wild Beauty is about a generation of bisexual cousins from a family of horticulturalist who try to stop a family curse.

      “For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.
      The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family.”

2. The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The Beautiful Ones is my favorite 2018 read. I love it for its subtlety and the care Silvia Moreno-Garcia took in developing her three lead characters. This will be reread by me very soon.

      “A young woman finding her way. 
It is Antonina Beaulieu’s first Grand Season in the elegant city of Loisail. A chance to take her place in high society, to find a suitable husband, and to leave her checkered past behind. Because Antonina possesses telekinetic powers, powers she can’t control, that have made her the subject of cruel gossip.
      A gentleman with a secret
      Famed telekinetic performer Hector Auvray is also new to the city. He arrives in Loisail with the intent of recapturing the heart of his former flame, the beautiful Valérie Beaulieu, and finds his way into her household by courting Antonina.
      Astounded by Hector’s abilities, which she wishes to master, and flattered by his attention, Antonina does not suspect the duplicitous drama which will unfold.
      A romance with a dash of the fantastic
      Set in a sumptuous world inspired by the Belle Epoque, where scandal is a dreaded weapon, The Beautiful Ones is a tale of desire and betrayal, and the struggle between conformity and passion.”

3. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

I never really thought of myself as a reader who enjoys novels in verse, by Elizabeth Acevedo debut, The Poet X, has changed my mind. Xiomara felt like an extension of who I was as a teen and I felt every emotion reading this one.

      “A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. Debut novel of renowned slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo.
      Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.
      But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.
      So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.
      Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.”

4. Peluda by Melissa Lozado-Oliva

This year not only did I discover that I enjoyed novels in verse, but also poetry. Melissa Lozado-Oliva is a slam poet and if you haven’t checked her out on YouTube, stop what you are doing and do so now. I knew I had to own this one after watching her.

      “One of the most original performance poets of her generation, Melissa Lozada-Oliva has captivated crowds across the country and online with her vivid narratives. Humorous and biting, personal and communal, self-deprecating and unapologetically self-loving, peluda (meaning “hairy” or “hairy beast”) is the poet at her best. The book explores the relationship between femininity and body hair as well as the intersections of family, class, the immigrant experience, Latina identity, and much more, all through Lozada-Oliva’s unique lens and striking voice. peluda is a powerful testimony on body image and the triumph over taboo.”

5. Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova

Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova is probably my favorite sequel I read this year. Labyrinth Lost was one of the first books that made me feel seen. I am beyond stoked for the third novel.

      “Three sisters. One spell. Countless dead.
      Lula Mortiz feels like an outsider. Her sister’s newfound Encantrix powers have wounded her in ways that Lula’s bruja healing powers can’t fix, and she longs for the comfort her family once brought her. Thank the Deos for Maks, her sweet, steady boyfriend who sees the beauty within her and brings light to her life.
      Then a bus crash turns Lula’s world upside down. Her classmates are all dead, including Maks. But Lula was born to heal, to fix. She can bring Maks back, even if it means seeking help from her sisters and defying Death herself. But magic that defies the laws of the deos is dangerous. Unpredictable. And when the dust settles, Maks isn’t the only one who’s been brought back…”

6. Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson

I love books that make me laugh and every Lily Anderson novel as accomplished this. Her characters are so smart and witty and I just love the nerdy world she’s built.

      “Elliot Gabaroche is very clear on what she isn’t going to do this summer.
      1. She isn’t going to stay home in Sacramento, where she’d have to sit through her stepmother’s sixth community theater production of The Importance of Being Earnest.
      2. She isn’t going to mock trial camp at UCLA.
      3. And she certainly isn’t going to the Air Force summer program on her mother’s base in Colorado Springs. As cool as it would be to live-action-role-play Ender’s Game, Ellie’s seen three generations of her family go through USAF boot camp up close, and she knows that it’s much less Luke/Yoda/”feel the force,” and much more one hundred push-ups on three days of no sleep. And that just isn’t appealing, no matter how many Xenomorphs from Alien she’d be able to defeat afterwards.
      What she is going to do is pack up her attitude, her favorite Octavia Butler novels, and her Jordans, and go to summer camp. Specifically, a cutthroat academic-decathlon-like competition for a full scholarship to Rayevich College, the only college with a Science Fiction Literature program. And she’s going to start over as Ever Lawrence, on her own terms, without the shadow of all her family’s expectations. Because why do what’s expected of you when you can fight other genius nerds to the death for a shot at the dream you’re sure your family will consider a complete waste of time?
      This summer’s going to be great.”

7. Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

Yes, there is a second Lily Anderson book on this list because I was lucky enough to read two by her this year. Mila has the kind of confidence I wish I had; she’s a fierce fat Mexican Wiccan and I wish I was a part of this amazing girl gang (hopefully as a living person and not a zombie.).

      “Mila Flores and her best friend Riley have always been inseparable. There’s not much excitement in their small town of Cross Creek, so Mila and Riley make their own fun, devoting most of their time to Riley’s favorite activity: amateur witchcraft.
      So when Riley and two Fairmont Academy mean girls die under suspicious circumstances, Mila refuses to believe everyone’s explanation that her BFF was involved in a suicide pact. Instead, armed with a tube of lip gloss and an ancient grimoire, Mila does the unthinkable to uncover the truth: she brings the girls back to life.
      Unfortunately, Riley, June, and Dayton have no recollection of their murders, but they do have unfinished business to attend to. Now, with only seven days until the spell wears off and the girls return to their graves, Mila must wrangle the distracted group of undead teens and work fast to discover their murderer…before the killer strikes again.”

8. Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda

I feel like I need to pay more attention to Courtney Alameda after reading her science-fiction/horror novel Pitch Dark. I didn’t even know I needed a Latina protagonist in space until I read this one and now I wish this had a sequel coming out because I need more.

      “Tuck has been in stasis on the USS John Muir, a ship that houses Earth’s most valued artifacts—its natural resources. Parks and mountains are preserved in space.
      Laura belongs to a shipraiding family, who are funded by a group used to getting what they want. And they want what’s on the Muir.
      Tuck and Laura didn’t bargain on working together, or battling mutant aliens who use sound to kill. But their plan is the only hope for their crews, their families, and themselves.
In space, nobody can hear you scream . . . but on the John Muir, the screams are the last thing you’ll hear.”

9. History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

It’s always dangerous to pick up an Adam Silvera book. Seriously, these novels need to come with a box of tissue. One of my favorite things about Silvera’s books is how deeply flawed his protagonists; he has a gift for creating real characters that you can’t help but root for.

      “When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course
      To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart.
      If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.”

10. A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano

This middle grade novel is something I wish I had as a kid. Anna Meriano combines magic and cooking in a charming coming-of-age novel.

      “Leonora Logroño’s family owns the most beloved bakery in Rose Hill, Texas, spending their days conjuring delicious cookies and cakes for any occasion. And no occasion is more important than the annual Dia de los Muertos festival.
      Leo hopes that this might be the year that she gets to help prepare for the big celebration—but, once again, she is told she’s too young. Sneaking out of school and down to the bakery, she discovers that her mother, aunt, and four older sisters have in fact been keeping a big secret: they’re brujas—witches of Mexican ancestry—who pour a little bit of sweet magic into everything that they bake.
      Leo knows that she has magical ability as well and is more determined than ever to join the family business—even if she can’t let her mama and hermanas know about it yet.
      And when her best friend, Caroline, has a problem that needs solving, Leo has the perfect opportunity to try out her craft. It’s just one little spell, after all…what could possibly go wrong?”

11. Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero

This list was originally ten books long, but I just finished Isabel Quintero’s Gabi, a Girl in Pieces this week and had to add it to this list. I fell in love with Gabi almost from the get-go and love how honest her portrayal was.

      “Gabi Hernandez chronicles her last year in high school in her diary: college applications, Cindy’s pregnancy, Sebastian’s coming out, the cute boys, her father’s meth habit, and the food she craves. And best of all, the poetry that helps forge her identity.
      July 24
      My mother named me Gabriella, after my grandmother who, coincidentally, didn’t want to meet me when I was born because my mother was unmarried, and therefore living in sin. My mom has told me the story many, many, MANY, times of how, when she confessed to my grandmother that she was pregnant with me, her mother beat her. BEAT HER! She was twenty-five. That story is the basis of my sexual education and has reiterated why it’s important to wait until you’re married to give it up. So now, every time I go out with a guy, my mom says, ‘Ojos abiertos, piernas cerradas.’ Eyes open, legs closed. That’s as far as the birds and the bees talk has gone. And I don’t mind it. I don’t necessarily agree with that whole wait until you’re married crap, though. I mean, this is America and the 21st century; not Mexico one hundred years ago. But, of course, I can’t tell my mom that because she will think I’m bad. Or worse: trying to be White.

Have you read any of these books or authors? Which book by a Latinx author have you enjoyed recently? Let’s discuss in the comments.

Latinx Heritage Month 2017, Part II: The TBR List

It’s time for part two of my Latinx Heritage Month posts. If you didn’t know, September 15th marks the first day of Latinx Heritage Month. Yesterday I shared some of my favorite books by Latinx authors that I’ve read over the past year. You can check that out here. Today I’m sharing a condensed list of TBR books by Latinx authors that I’m dying to read. Make sure to support Latinx voices by adding and picking up books by Latinx authors all year long! Covers are linked to Goodreads.

TBR Books By Latinx Authors:

1. North of Happy by Adi Alsaid

I haven’t seen anyone really talk about Adi Alsaid’s North of Happy, so I want to make sure I read and review it for the blog. Confession time: I have a thing for baking shows, but have never read a book about baking. It’s a travesty.

      “Carlos Portillo has always led a privileged and sheltered life. A dual citizen of Mexico and the US, he lives in Mexico City with his wealthy family, where he attends an elite international school. Always a rule follower and a parent pleaser, Carlos is more than happy to tread the well-worn path in front of him. He has always loved food and cooking, but his parents see it as just a hobby.
      When his older brother, Felix—who has dropped out of college to live a life of travel—is tragically killed, Carlos begins hearing his brother’s voice, giving him advice and pushing him to rebel against his father’s plan for him. Worrying about his mental health, but knowing the voice is right, Carlos runs away to the United States and manages to secure a job with his favorite celebrity chef. As he works to improve his skills in the kitchen and pursue his dream, he begins to fall for his boss’s daughter—a fact that could end his career before it begins. Finally living for himself, Carlos must decide what’s most important to him and where his true path really lies.”

2. History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

Because I apparently like my heart ripped out of me, I’m going to pick up another Adam Silvera book real soon. I must get to this one because another book of his just came out. Ah!

      “When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.
      To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart.
      If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.”

3. Shadowhouse Fall by Daniel José Older

Sequel to Shadowshaper, Shadowhouse Fall was released just a few days ago. I don’t know about you, but I think Daniel José Older has created such a unique magical system with Shadowshaper and can’t wait to see what happens next for Sierra.

      “Sierra and her friends love their new lives as shadowshapers, making art and creating change with the spirits of Brooklyn. Then Sierra receives a strange card depicting a beast called the Hound of Light — an image from the enigmatic, influential Deck of Worlds. The shadowshapers know their next battle has arrived.
      Thrust into an ancient struggle with enemies old and new, Sierra and Shadowhouse are determined to win. Revolution is brewing in the real world as well, as the shadowshapers lead the fight against systems that oppress their community. To protect her family and friends in every sphere, Sierra must take down the Hound and master the Deck of Worlds… or risk losing them all.”

4. Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

This one doesn’t come out for another couple of weeks, but when it arrives, I’m dropping everything and reading it. Anna-Marie McLemore is shaping up to be one of my all-time favorite authors. Is it weird that I’ve had this preordered since March?

      “For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.
      The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family.”

5. I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez

You’ll have to wait another month before this debut’s releases, but I’m so stoked to read it. I already feel like Julia is incredibly relatable.

      “Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents’ house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family.
      But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga’s role.
      Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. And no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way Julia has failed.
      But it’s not long before Julia discovers that Olga might not have been as perfect as everyone thought. With the help of her best friend Lorena, and her first kiss, first love, first everything boyfriend Connor, Julia is determined to find out. Was Olga really what she seemed? Or was there more to her sister’s story? And either way, how can Julia even attempt to live up to a seemingly impossible ideal?”

6. America, Vol 1: The Life and Times of America Chavez by Gabby Rivera (Illustrated by Joe Quinones)

Because this year I discovered a love for graphic novels, I had to add this one to the TBR. I got to wait until the end of October for it though. Grrr.

      “At last! Everyone’s favorite no-nonsense powerhouse, America Chavez, gets her own series! Critically acclaimed young-adult novelist Gabby Rivera and all-star artist Joe Quinones unite to shine a solo spotlight on America’s high-octane and hard-hitting adventures! She was a Young Avenger. She leads the Ultimates. And now she officially claims her place as the preeminent butt-kicker of the entire Marvel Universe! But what’s a super-powered teenager to do when she’s looking for a little personal fulfi llment? She goes to college! America just has to stop an interdimensional monster or two first and shut down a pesky alien cult that’s begun worshipping her exploits before work can begin. Then she can get on with her first assignment: a field trip to the front lines of World War II – with Captain America as her wingman!

7. The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Another book I have to wait until the end of October for, but it’s so pretty and I have all the confidence in Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s world-building abilities. Can’t I just have this one now?

      “In a world of etiquette and polite masks, no one is who they seem to be.
      Antonina Beaulieu is in the glittering city of Loisail for her first Grand Season, where she will attend balls and mingle among high society. Under the tutelage of the beautiful but cold Valérie Beaulieu, she hopes to find a suitable husband. However, the haphazard manifestations of Nina’s telekinetic powers make her the subject of malicious gossip.
      Yet dazzling telekinetic performer and outsider Hector Auvray sees Nina’s powers as a gift, and he teaches her how to hone and control them. As they spend more and more time together, Nina falls in love and believes she’s found the great romance that she’s always dreamed of, but Hector’s courtship of Nina is deceptive.”

8. Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson

This one immediately went on my TBR when I heard of it and after finishing The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You, I need this book real bad. Mark your calendars for November 21st. I should just preorder this one already. I did it, I preordered it.

      “Elliot Gabaroche is very clear on what she isn’t going to do this summer.
      1. She isn’t going to stay home in Sacramento, where she’d have to sit through her stepmother’s sixth community theater production of The Importance of Being Earnest.
2. She isn’t going to mock trial camp at UCLA.
3. And she certainly isn’t going to the Air Force summer program on her mother’s base in Colorado Springs. As cool as it would be to live-action-role-play Ender’s Game, Ellie’s seen three generations of her family go through USAF boot camp up close, and she knows that it’s much less Luke/Yoda/”feel the force,” and much more one hundred push-ups on three days of no sleep. And that just isn’t appealing, no matter how many Xenomorphs from Alien she’d be able to defeat afterwards.
      What she is going to do is pack up her attitude, her favorite Octavia Butler novels, and her Jordans, and go to summer camp. Specifically, a cutthroat academic-decathlon-like competition for a full scholarship to Rayevich College, the only college with a Science Fiction Literature program. And she’s going to start over as Ever Lawrence, on her own terms, without the shadow of all her family’s expectations. Because why do what’s expected of you when you can fight other genius nerds to the death for a shot at the dream you’re sure your family will consider a complete waste of time?”

9. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Reaching a little further into the future with this one, but have you heard of Elizabeth Acevedo’s Poet X? This one isn’t slated until March 2018, but doesn’t it sound amazing? The cover is so gorgeous too. I cannot wait.

      “Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.
      But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.
      So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.
      Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.”

Are any of these also on your TBR? Adding any thanks to this post? What book by a Latinx author are you most looking forward to picking up? Let’s talk in the comments.

Latinx Heritage Month 2017, Part I: Favorite Books

September 15th marks the first day of Latinx Heritage Month. In celebration, I’d like to showcase some of my favorite books written by Latinx authors that I’ve read over the past year. I also want to share with you a few books on my TBR by Latinix authors that I’m really looking forward to. I made a similar post last year which you can find here and will do my best not to repeat recs. This will be a two-part post because there are so many great books out there that I want to share with you. Part II will be up tomorrow. Covers are linked to Goodreads.

Favorite Books By Latinx Authors:

1. When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading this book, buy it, run to the library, steal it from a fellow bookworm (kidding). It’s one of the most stunning novels I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading and left me as gasping at its beauty. Anna-Marie McLemore’s The Weight of Feathers is also a novel you must get your hands on.

      “To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees, and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town. But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.”

2. Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina

I need more people to talk about this book with. You know those characters that you just kind of understand and it feels like they’re strangely enough an extension of you? This is how I feel about Meg Medina’s protagonist in Burn Baby Burn.

      “After a freezing winter, a boiling hot summer explodes with arson, a blackout, and a serial killer named Son of Sam, who is shooting young people on the streets seemingly at random.
      Not only is the city a disaster, but Nora has troubles of her own: her brother, Hector, is growing more uncontrollable by the day, her mother is helpless to stop him, and her father is so busy with his new family that he only calls on holidays.
      And it doesn’t stop there. The super’s after her mother to pay their overdue rent, and her teachers are pushing her to apply for college, but all Nora wants is to turn eighteen and be on her own. There is a cute guy who started working with her at the deli, but is dating even worth the risk when the killer especially likes picking off couples who stay out too late?”

3. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is one of the most poignant novels I’ve ever read (or in this case, listened to). I related to these characters so much, especially when it came to them grappling with their Mexican-American identities. If you can get your hands on the audiobook, it’s fantastic and is narrated by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

      “Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.”

4. The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera

I loved Lilliam Rivera’s debut The Education of Margot Sanchez. I love when authors allow their teen protagonists room to grow. Margot makes a ton of mistakes in this one, but I felt myself rooting for her the whole way.

      “After “borrowing” her father’s credit card to finance a more stylish wardrobe, Margot Sánchez suddenly finds herself grounded. And by grounded, she means working as an indentured servant in her family’s struggling grocery store to pay off her debts.
      With each order of deli meat she slices, Margot can feel her carefully cultivated prep school reputation slipping through her fingers, and she’s willing to do anything to get out of this punishment. Lie, cheat, and maybe even steal…
      Margot’s invitation to the ultimate beach party is within reach and she has no intention of letting her family’s drama or Moisés—the admittedly good looking but outspoken boy from the neighborhood—keep her from her goal.”

5. Iron Cast by Destiny Soria

I loved nearly everything about Iron Cast. The world-building is wonderful. I haven’t come across another magical world like this one. At the center of this story is two best friends and I really think it’s their friendship that makes this one so amazing.

      “In 1919, Ada Navarra—the intrepid daughter of immigrants—and Corinne Wells—a spunky, devil-may-care heiress—make an unlikely pair. But at the Cast Iron nightclub in Boston, anything and everything is possible. At night, on stage together, the two best friends, whose “afflicted” blood gives them the ability to create illusions through art, weave magic under the employ of Johnny Dervish, the club’s owner and a notorious gangster. By day, Ada and Corinne use these same skills to con the city’s elite in an attempt to keep the club afloat.
      When a ‘job’ goes awry and Ada is imprisoned, she realizes they’re on the precipice of danger. Only Corinne—her partner in crime—can break her out of Haversham Asylum. But once Ada is out, they face betrayal at every turn.”

6. Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

If world-building is your thing, check out Certain Dark Things. Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s world is so impressively fleshed out, it raises the bar for urban fantasy in my opinion.

      “Welcome to Mexico City, an oasis in a sea of vampires. Here in the city, heavily policed to keep the creatures of the night at bay, Domingo is another trash-picking street kid, just hoping to make enough to survive. Then he meets Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers. Domingo is smitten. He clings to her like a barnacle until Atl relents and decides to let him stick around.
      But Atl’s problems, Nick and Rodrigo, have come to find her. When they start to raise the body count in the city, it attracts the attention of police officers, local crime bosses, and the vampire community. Atl has to get out before Mexico City is upended, and her with it.

7. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

This book ruined me. Ruined me. This is not an understatement. Reading Adam Silvera’s More Happy Than Not is the closest I’ve ever come to putting a book in the freezer to hide from all the emotions I was feeling.

      “In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again–but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely.
      When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.
      Why does happiness have to be so hard?”

8. The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You by Lily Anderson

I can’t believe I didn’t hear about this novel until this year. I just finished it and it was smart and funny and I loved it so so much. If you’re looking for a modern retelling of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, this is your book.

      “Trixie Watson has two very important goals for senior year: to finally save enough to buy the set of Doctor Who figurines at the local comic books store, and to place third in her class and knock Ben West–and his horrendous new mustache that he spent all summer growing–down to number four.
      Trixie will do anything to get her name ranked over Ben’s, including give up sleep and comic books–well, maybe not comic books–but definitely sleep. After all, the war of Watson v. West is as vicious as the Doctor v. Daleks and Browncoats v. Alliance combined, and it goes all the way back to the infamous monkey bars incident in the first grade. Over a decade later, it’s time to declare a champion once and for all.
      The war is Trixie’s for the winning, until her best friend starts dating Ben’s best friend and the two are unceremoniously dumped together and told to play nice. Finding common ground is odious and tooth-pullingly-painful, but Trixie and Ben’s cautious truce slowly transforms into a fandom-based tentative friendship. When Trixie’s best friend gets expelled for cheating and Trixie cries foul play, however, they have to choose who to believe and which side they’re on–and they might not pick the same side.”

Have you read any of these wonderful novels? Will you be adding any of these to your TBR? What’s your favorite book by a Latinx author? Let’s talk in the comments.

Kernels of Nonsense: In Celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month

Kernels of Nonsense (2)Kernels of Nonsense is a discussion feature here on the blog where I like to talk about various book and blogging related subjects. This week I’m doing something a little different in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month.

This post is a little late, as Hispanic Heritage Month began more than a week ago, but with my blogging hiatus approaching, I didn’t have time to finish putting this post together in time. There are still a few weeks left in Hispanic Heritage Month, so I hope you’ll forgive me. This month is special to me because I am Latina and it’s really important to me that we recognize and celebrated all of the wonderful contributions Latinxs have made in the world. As a book blogger and avid reader, I want to see more books that feature Latinxs. I want to see myself on the pages, not as an illegal immigrant, maid, or sassy best friend. I want Latinxs to be anything and everything. I want dragons and magic, I want kingdoms and castles, I want sword fights and hand-to-hand combat, I want it all. And until we make a demand for these stories, until we showcase the Latinx authors already writing, Latinxs will continue to be underrepresented in publishing. For this post I’m featuring some of my favorite books written by Latinx authors as well as an assortment of books on my TBR also written my Latinxs (small note: the last three books haven’t been released yet, so look for them in the future). I hope you add some of these to your own TBR. Covers are linked to Goodreads.

Books Written by Latinxs That I’d Recommend:

TBR Books Written by Latinxs:

Have you read any of these or are planning to? Are there any books by Latinx authors that I should add to my TBR? Let me hear from you in the comments!