T5W | Favorite LGBTQ+ Reads

T5W

T5W was created by Lainey over @gingerreadslainey in Youtube, and here’s the link to the Goodreads group if you want to join. The theme for this week was top 5 LGBTQ+ reads, and I couldn’t be more excited for it. I love reading diverse books – I usually try to make my reads the most diverse that I can, and I also love recommending them to people who may not know where to start. So, here goes my top 5 LGBTQ+ reads.

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab  (Shades of Magic #2)

Can I make a list without mentioning V.E. Schwab books? Not really. She is my favorite writer and everything I aspire to be. When she added LGBTQ+ characters to her story and made them one of the best couples I ever read about, which I can’t get over with, and when I found out she’s bi, I was just thrilled to see a LGBTQ+ female author being so successful in the fantasy genre. Also! Gay/bi characters on a fantasy book guys. Just like. Praise.

If you don’t know, the Shades of Magic trilogy is set in a world where there are four different parallel universes, with four different Londons – and Kell is one of the only ones who can travel between them. He does a few things on the side, and it gets him in trouble. That’s all I’m saying.

History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

I’m going to cheat here and say I also consider his More Happy Than Not one of my top 5 LGBT reads. Adam Silvera is a latino LGBT writer, and while his books are heartbreaking, they give me hope. I can’t get enough of them (I can’t wait for They Both Die At The End, by the way).

History is All You Left Me, though, is a study on grief, and how people react to it. Adam’s writing is incredible and his story and characters are so beautifully build up and strong. And while it is a contemporary story about character growth, it is not a coming out story. Theo is sure he’s gay – that’s not something he has to “deal” and come to terms with it. It is important to have stories like this, but it’s refreshing to see a character who’s okay with his own sexuality.

Six of Crows Duology by Leigh Bardugo

Leigh Bardugo is other of my favorite authors. Her book series are enthralling, and the world she created for both of them is incredible. The fact that she cared about the diversity of her cast in the spin-off series to the Grisha Trilogy makes me extremely happy. Like I said, we don’t see a lot of LGBT characters in fantasy novels. This book is about an unlikely gang of misfits paired up to complete an impossible heist. And, we have a gay couple. What else could I ask?

Everything Leads to You by Nina Lacour

This book is the softest thing I ever read. And also, unfortunately, the only one on the list that has a lesbian relationship – these are hard to come by, apparently. It’s exactly the type of fluffy contemporary I like to read from to time to time. The main character has an interesting and different career – she builds sets for Hollywood – and has still some unresolved issues with her ex. There is romance, a cool best friend, and a bit of angst. But the love interest is a girl. It was really nice to read a soft contemporary with two girls as the main couple. Also, the MC is biracial, so yay for more diversity!

The Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic

This one I haven’t heard a lot about in the book blogging community, so even though there are a few (lot) more LGBT reads I love, I thought of mentioning this one. The Foxhole Court follows Neil Josten as he joins the Exy – a super violent version of lacrosse, basically – team in a college. Except all the players in the team are the misfits in campus, the kids no one wants, so they’re not that good. Trigger warning for abuse, sexual abuse and violence though! 

It’s a heavy read, but a really good one. The books are super short and the relationships in the team were amazing. I never knew I cared for sports until I read it.

So this is it! My top 5 LGBT reads. If you guys want me to do a bigger list, let me know and I’ll do it! 

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you on the next one!

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro | Review

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4 stars

A Study in Charlotte is a book about the greatgreatgreat (I don’t know how many greats) granddaughter of Sherlock Holmes. The thing is, I don’t like Sherlock Holmes. Don’t throw any stones, please. I don’t like the only version of Sherlock Holmes I watched, which was the BBC one. I liked the show, but the constant arrogance of Benedict’s character made me tired of it. He constantly disrespected Watson and it made me just slowly stop watching it – even though I loved the crimes and the deduction and sometimes, their dynamic. Except, you know, for the times where Sherlock was being rude just for the sake of sounding edgy. I’m looking at you, Moffatt.

So when I heard of this book, I thought “cool!”, just like I thought when I heard of the Elementary tv show, which I haven’t watched, or when I see the Sherlock Holmes books, which I haven’t read, so I didn’t think I would read it. But then I did, and boy, am I happy I did.

First off, the Holmes in this equation is a girl, which already made me like the book. I also really liked the characterization of the duo (even though I can be biased, since I haven’t consumed a lot of Sherlock Holmes media). The dynamic was just my favorite – Holmes was not senseless and constantly disrespectful to Watson. She felt human to me. Not only that, she felt like a teenage girl, without giving up the main elements that make a Holmes, a Holmes; sarcasm, fast deductions, a tendency to work by herself and a bigger tendency on falling back onto vices. Watson was also incredible. I liked his conflict with his dad, and how he was such a big dreamer. I really liked how his mind worked, and how Holmes taught him to be a detective.

I also really liked the side characters. More specifically, Lena. She’s the typical female character that, if the author wanted to go down the road of Charlotte thinking she’s “not like other girls”, would be hated. Instead, they’re best friends. That was a really welcome surprise – I’m so used to YA novels without female friendships that for a Sherlock Holmes retelling to have one was amazing.

At first, the pacing felt a bit off. It started off slowly, but maybe it was because I was a bit of a reading slump and with college responsibilities breathing down my neck, so I wasn’t exactly reading a lot. But when I got to half of it, I couldn’t stop. I read it until three am. – and I didn’t figure out the mystery until it was revealed, even though I’m usually bad at it.

However, there were a few negative points. I didn’t like the romance in this book. I thought it didn’t have a place there, and it made me roll my eyes a little. It had a few cute scenes, but that was it. But my biggest problem with the book was how it handled serious subjects – or better yet, didn’t handle them. While they were addressed as a huge problem during the book, once the story was wrapped up, I felt like they just disappeared.

Overall, though, it was a really fun book. I had an amazing time, and it even made me more interested in pursuing the original Sherlock Holmes stories and other adaptations. I can’t wait for the sequel too.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you in the next one!

T5W | Books that would make good videogames

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Well, that’s what I call a relapse week. I know, I know. I wanted to do the #feministfriday post last Friday, but college got in the way. Which, unfortunately, happens a lot. But nothing better than a good old top 5 Wednesday to make me post something. T5W was created by Lainey over @gingerreadslainey in Youtube, and here’s the link to the Goodreads group if you want to join. The theme for this week was top 5 books that would make good video games. If you don’t know, I love video games. I alternate my free time in playing and reading – and napping, of course. So, when I saw this theme I was really excited.

Here are my top 5 books that I would like to see as video games.

1. Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

To be fair, I just read this book. And I can’t stop thinking about. Don’t get me wrong – I love Illuminae, the first book of the series, the same as I love Gemina. But the whole plot of the sequel, which I won’t go into for obvious reasons, would make such a great action game, alternating between Hanna and Niklas “stages” would be so amazing. Also, scifi games are so much fun. I loved it so much that I’m thinking of doing a review for it, but I’m not sure yet.

2. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

It is hard for me to make any list without a V.E. Schwab book. She’s definitely my favorite author, and I would die for a game set in the Londons. I almost cried playing Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, and that was in our old plain grey London. Can you imagine how it would be in the red one?

I feel like this trilogy would make an amazing video games series. Maybe something in the format of Dishonored. In the first game you can play only as Kell, but on the sequel, you get to do a playthrough from the

eyes of the badass female character introduced in the first one, Lila Bard.

3. Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

Again, I’m biased. I’m latina and this book’s mythology is heavily based on my religion, so I was thrilled to read it. But, the quest of Alex trying to save her family in the in-between land of Los Lagos makes a great hero quest in the book – and would make an amazing one in a video game.

4. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo 

I think this could be a really good game mainly because of the huge and diverse squad, and everyone has a different and unique ability it would make the gameplay very interesting. Also, there’s a heist. What says video game better than heist?

5. Everything Leads to You by Nina Lacour

This one is the only one that wouldn’t be an action game. I think it really fits the mold of a soft indie game, the interactive story type of game, where you pick what to say and which choices your character make. Please, we need the next Life is Strange.

So, this is it, the five books I would love to see as video games. This post is again a bit short, but college has been really been mean to me these past couple weeks, hope you understand!

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you in the next one.

T5W | SFF books on your TBR

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Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey over @gingerreadslainey in Youtube, and here’s the link to the Goodreads group. The theme for this week was top 5 SFF (science fiction/fantasy) books on your TBR list.

Well, science fiction and fantasy are two of my favorite genres, so it wasn’t hard to comply a list of the books that I want to read – it doesn’t take much for me to want to read a SFF book. It was hard to narrow it down to just five books.

1. The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

This is obviously a sci fi book, and I don’t know much about it – you’ll notice a trend on this list. But the Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy made me fond of big titled sci fi books, and when I heard things as big group of characters and just general space and aliens (which, I mean, duh), I was sold.

2. Uprooted by Naomi Novik

The cover of this book, guys. I was sold the minute I saw it. Again, I don’t know much about it. Something about a village and a sorcerer? Who knows. It just sounds amazing. Samantha (thoughtsontomes) always talks about it and I usually love a lot of the books she does, so there’s that.

3. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

I really do like high fantasy. I feel threatened by huge books as much as the next person, but I can’t deny I have a lot of fun with it. And everyone seems to have read this book and loved it. The magic system sounds so interesting and the whole series just seems right up my alley.

4. The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Again, this is a matter of cover. It’s gold and shiny and beautiful. I heard about it so long ago that I don’t really remember even the tiniest detail of the plot, but I do remember I thought it was amazing. I’m just so drawn to the whole aesthetic of it and can’t wait to read it. Hopefully it will happen soon.

5. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

This one, I know a little about. Finally! Don’t quote me on this, but I’m pretty sure this is basically a roman empire retelling and I’m a sucker for ancient cultures, especially roman. I didn’t hear that many good things about the sequel, but I’m still excited to read at least the first one.

This is a short post because I can’t have too many opinions about books I haven’t read, but I didn’t want to lose another Top 5 Wednesday. I’m a sucker for lists, what can I say?

What are the top 5 SFF books you want to read? And if you read any of the books I listed, did you like them?

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you in the next one.

March Wrap Up (and April TBR?)

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March was not that great of a reading month, number wise. Between a small reading slump and a five days trip, I didn’t read as much as I could have – but I’m okay with that. I really loved almost all the books I read this month and had an amazing time on my trip, so I’m okay with reading only four books.

The first book I read was The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton, which follows the story of a teenage girl who marries into a mysterious family who lives in 1700s Amsterdam. Unfortunately, I didn’t like this book that much. That’s when my reading slump hit, to be honest. I expected something completely different, and while I liked the characters later on the story, I was just so bored through it all. I ended up rating it 3.5 out of 5 stars, since I did like a few things. If you want more in-depth thoughts, read my review here.

Then I (re)read the Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan, the last installment in the Heroes of Olympus series and I had so much fun with it. Compared to the Miniaturist, it flew by. I loved the characters already, and it had the comforting feel of already kind of knowing what would happen. I loved doing a reread of all the Percy Jackson books – I started first reading them so long ago, all the way through middle school to high school, so reliving it in college was incredible. I rated it 5 out of 5 stars.

The third book I read was A List of Cages by Robin Roe, which I also made a review that you can read here. This book is about foster brothers who find each other again after five years of losing contact. The minute I hear about this book, back in January, I think, I wanted to read it, and the only regret I have is taking months to do it.

Finally, I read Windwitch by Susan Dennard, the sequel to Truthwitch, and let me tell you, it was a ride. It was so fast paced and interesting, I kept thinking about it even when I was traveling with my friends and couldn’t touch it. I don’t want to get into what this book is about because I don’t want to spoil anyone, but the first book of this series follows the duo of best friends, Iseult and Safi, who are witches and basically are very good at creating havoc. The dynamics in Windwitch grew so much, and I got to know the characters I already loved a little better. It was amazing and I can’t stop recommending it. 5 out of 5 stars.

Right now I’m reading Gemina, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, but since it’s almost 700 pages long, I wasn’t able to finish it before the month is over. I also don’t know what I want to read in April – I’m not that good to sticking to TBR, but I know I do want to read Persepolis and a Study in Charlotte, so maybe I will get to these two!

And how about you guys? Did you read any of the books I talked about, and if you did, what did you think of them? I would also love to know what you read this month and if you’re any better than me at making TBR lists, what are your plans for April.

 Thanks for reading and I’ll see you on the next one!

A List of Cages by Robin Roe | Review

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 5 stars.

A List of Cages follows the unlikely friendship between two boys, Adam and Julian. They used to be foster brothers, but haven’t seen each other for the last five years. Adam got the elective as the school’s psychologist and he has to make sure a freshman who constantly misses his appointments starts showing up for them. Of course, that freshman is Julian.

This book broke my heart. I cried more than one time, and I cared so deeply for both Julian and Adam I just couldn’t make myself stop reading. I just wanted to know what happened, and to make sure they would be okay. There were so many quotes that hit just the right spot, especially the one that Julian talks about a list of cages means. Which, of course, I won’t spoil.

And the characterization. It felt so on point for me. The boys are so different from each other, they see the world in such unique ways and have such unique struggles – Julian with his current life situation and dyslexia and Adam with his ADHD – and it translates into text so well. I’m not that into books with first person POVs, especially with multi characters narrating it, but their voices were so fluid and fit so well with their character I can’t even complain.  I have only one complain, though. Adam’s group of friends deserved a little more development – I understand that maybe the length of the book and the fact that it was first person didn’t allow that much depth to them, but I loved Emerald a lot, and I wish we could see more of her motives and feelings. Still, I loved the cast of side characters and not even this fault was enough for me to drop a star.

I think I loved this book so much because of the message and the feeling of it. It’s about pain and hardship but it also is about kindness and love. It reminded me of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which I read when I was a freshman in high school and touched me deeply, and reading this book now warmed my heart – even though I cried through it.

T5W | Favorite SSF books

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Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey over @gingerreadslainey in Youtube, and here’s the link to the Goodreads group. The theme for this week was favorite SFF (science fiction/fantasy) books.
This was a hard list to make. There were so many books I could put in here – these are two of my favorite genres, even though I haven’t read that many science fiction books, but I’m definitely excited to get into more. I will try to stray from the obvious. I love Harry Potter and Percy Jackson as much as the next person. But I also know that these books will be on a lot of lists. So I tried to put some different books on it! Here are my top 5 SFF books.

1. A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

Ok, I actually love every V.E. Schwab book I ever read – and I read almost all of them. She has a way with words that is really special to me, and her ideas and worlds are so unique and refreshing, I can’t help falling in love with them over and over. But a Conjuring of Light was something special. The final book to the Shades of Magic trilogy kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the whole book. It was the perfect conclusion to a perfect trilogy – I have literally no complaints, but maybe I’m biased.

The Shades of Magic trilogy follows our main protagonist Kell, who’s an Antari – which means he’s a blood magician who can travel between alternative realities Londons. He gets into trouble when he starts smuggling objects from one world onto the other. And the rest is history.

2. The Rose Society by Marie Lu

Again, I love this whole trilogy. It was exhilarating, and it was such a new feeling to not know at all what to expect from a young adult fantasy trilogy. These books follow Adelina, a young elite – someone who survived a plague outbreak and as a collateral effect of it, got magic powers – on her path to becoming a villain.

I love the whole world building of this, the magic system and the characters. I read these three books so fast, and I couldn’t make myself stop. The sequel is my favorite because we get to see Adelina’s strength – and bitterness – grow.

3. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

This book follows a group of six outcasts and criminals while they go on an impossible heist. It’s set in the same universe as the Grisha trilogy – which is also one of my favorite series.

I love the pacing of this book. I know not everyone agrees with me, but it worked so perfectly in my opinion. It makes you wonder what’s happening in the beginning, it makes an excellent job at introducing the characters and the plot develops without you even realizing it did. There is also so much diversity, I can’t get over it.

4. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

The first science fiction book on this list, Illuminae is basically the records of a spaceship’s black box. That’s all I’m going to say – it’s better if you go into it not knowing much.

My favorite thing about this book is the design. Alternative media is so much fun to read, and this story carries every aspect of science fiction that I love. This book flew by me, and the characters and plots are so complex and interesting, it couldn’t not make this list.

5. We Are The Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

Ok. I’m cheating. This is not completely science fiction, but it has aliens, so I’m going for it. The book follows Henry, a depressed teenage boy, who recently lost his boyfriend to suicide. But there is something else – Henry gets abducted by aliens. Constantly. And they offer him the chance to save the world – all he has to do is press a button. However, he doesn’t think the world is worth saving.

This book is heartbreaking and raw, and one of my favorites of last year. Such a huge existential and ethical debate, alongside with the heavy emotional weight of the story alongside aliens, it’s impossible not to love it.