Cazadora by Romina Garber/Romina Russell Book Review

Book Description

In Cazadora, Romina Garber weaves together Argentine folklore and what it means to be illegal in a timely, intimate, and emotionally powerful narrative.

Werewolves. Witches. Romance. Resistance.

Enter a world straight out of Argentine folklore…

Following the events of Lobizona, Manu and her friends cross the mystical border into Kerana–a cursed realm in Argentina–searching for allies and a hiding place. As they chase down leads about the Coven–a mythical resistance manada that might not even exist–the Cazadores chase down leads about Manu, setting up traps to capture and arrest her.

Just as it seems the Cazadores have Manu and her friends cornered, the Coven answers their call for help. As Manu catches her breath among these non-conforming Septimus, she discovers they need a revolution as much as she does.

But is she the right one to lead them? After all, hybrids aren’t just outlawed. They’re feared and reviled. What happens when the Coven learns of Manu’s dual heritage? Will they still protect her? Or will they betray her?

And after running this far, for this long–how much farther can Manu go before her feet get tired, and she stops to take a stand?

Review

Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing me with an advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for my review.

Thoughts and Themes: This is book two in the Wolves of No World series, with book one being Lobizona. Before reading my review, go and read Lobizona so you don’t get any spoilers for that book.

Just like the first book, it took me a while to get into this one but I push through because I know how much I loved the first book. I knew that I would not be able to put this book down once I got past the more dense parts of it. I have a hard time with fantasy books because of the non-action moments but I do like those parts as that is where we learn about the world we are going to be immersed in through the story.

Something that I really enjoyed about this book was how much the world-building was expanded upon. The first book briefly introduced us to this magical world that Manu was now a part of but this one deep dived into that world. This book gives you so much information about this world and not just the magic involve din it but the politics as well.

I really liked that while this book is a fantasy book it still covers some important topics. The book goes over homophobia, colorism, and anti-immigrant sentiments. I like how the characters in this story point out how these things still exist in their world just like they do on Earth. I thought that was an important aspect of this story because it wasn’t as if Manu and her friends got this dream escape from Earth as they still faced some of the same struggles they would have on Earth.

Characters: In this book we continue reading about the characters that we grew to love in the first book and are introduced to a few more people. Mentioning the characters we are introduced to adds some spoilers so I won’t go into too much detail about those new people.

I loved the romance that happens between Manu and Tiago in this book and how that develops. I love how they quote books to each other to talk about their feelings and how so much of their relationship is just for them to understand.

I also really enjoyed how we get to see the friendships that Manu has developed in this world in which she can be herself. I loved how each of her friends accepts her regardless of if they understand her actions. I also really liked getting to see how her friends respond to some of the things that she does and how clear their emotions are.

Something great about this book is the way that each character’s emotions are captured. I love how the same emotion looks so different on each of these characters and how you can feel what they are feeling as you are reading. I like how you can feel the love that each of these characters have for Manu and the love that Manu eventually allows herself to feel for others.

This one is interesting because I found myself even liking the villains in this story, while still wanting them to lose. I liked learning about the bad guys and seeing how those parts of the story played out. I thought it was interesting to see who the bad guys were and how they played into Manu’s story and who was a bad guy and when.

Writing Style: This story is told through Manu’s perspective and this is probably the best part of this book along with so many other things. I liked how you fear for Manu as you are reading and this puts you in her shoes at times and at other times you are in her friend’s shoes. I loved that we get to know others through Manu’s eyes and we get closer to them depending on how she feels about each of them.

Author Information

Romina Garber is a NYT/International Bestselling YA author who also writes under pen name Romina Russell. Born in Buenos Aires and raised in Miami, Romina currently resides in Los Angeles but would much rather be at Hogwarts. As a teen, Romina landed her first writing gig—“College She Wrote,” a weekly Sunday column for the Miami Herald that was later picked up for national syndication—and she hasn’t stopped writing since. She is a graduate of Harvard College and a Virgo to the core. For more information about her books, follow her on Twitter/Instagram: @rominagarber.

Skyhunter by Marie Lu Book Review

Author Information

Marie Lu is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling series The Young Elites,
as well as the blockbuster bestselling Legend series. She graduated from the
University of Southern California and jumped into the video game industry as an
artist and art director. Now a full-time writer, she lives in Los Angeles, California,
where she spends her spare time reading, drawing, playing games, and getting stuck
in traffic.

Book Description

A broken world.
An overwhelming evil.
A team of warriors ready to strike back.


Talin is a Striker, a member of an elite fighting force that stands as the last defense for the only free nation in the world: Mara.

A refugee, Talin knows firsthand the horrors of the Federation, a world-dominating war machine responsible for destroying nation after nation with its terrifying army of mutant beasts known only as Ghosts.

But when a mysterious prisoner is brought from the front to Mara’s capital, Talin senses there’s more to him than meets the eye. Is he a spy from the Federation? What secrets is he hiding?

Only one thing is clear: Talin is ready to fight to the death alongside her fellow Strikers for the only homeland she has left . . . with or without the boy who might just be the weapon to save—or destroy—them all. 

Review

Thank you libro.fm for the advanced listening copy in exchange for my review.

Thoughts and Themes: This is the first Marie Lu book that I have read, while I have wanted to rea her other books I just haven’t got to it yet. After reading this one though I really want to go back and read her other works. This is one that I had tried to listen to on audio but had to put down since I had other books that I had to get through. I am glad that I came back to this one though and followed along with the e-book. I don’t think I would’ve been able to stick with this book if it wasn’t on audio though because there were parts that I was confused by and had to go back and listen to again.

I really enjoyed this book and the world building in it. I liked learning about the different types of people in this world and the strikers, and shields. I liked the relationships that these two types had and why the relationship was built that way. While the premise of human experimenting is something that I have read before, I think this was done differently. I think that when you put all the pieces of this story together, it becomes something new that I hadn’t read before.

The cover was made a lot prettier as I read the book and understood the cover. I didn’t see a part of the cover until I was halfway through the book and then looked at it again and was amazed. This was a cover that I had to look at several times because the meaning behind each piece comes alive as you read the story.

Something I really enjoyed about this story was the use of signing as the main way that Talin was able to communicate with others. I liked how she uses sign to communicate with others and then finds another way to communicate with Red. I also really enjoyed learning her reason for being mute and seeing how her past affected her ability to speak.

I really liked learning about Red and the reasons that he was produced. I liked learning about how Ghosts were created and why they were created. I thought that this portion of the book was really interesting and I wanted to hear more about this. I liked learning about the federation and how they played into the whole story and how they played into Talin’s past.

Characters: Throughout this story you get to meet several characters but there are four main characters in this story, Talin, Red, Adena, and Jeran. The characters didn’t feel too flushed out and the story relied mostly on plot rather than the characters so I don’t have much to say about them.

I really wanted to learn more about Red and see more of who he is. I felt that we didn’t get enough of him and the relationship between him and Talin just developed out of nowhere. I wanted to see more the build up to this and while we did get the back story between them, I would have wanted more of his personality fleshed out.

I really enjoyed learning about Talin and her past and listening as her story unfolds. While I enjoyed learning about her past and seeing her go through the book, I wasn’t too attached to her character. I was more attached with the relationships that she had with the other characters and how those would be affected by her actions.

Writing Style: This story is told in first person through the perspective of our main character, Talin. I listened to this one in audio so I also want to comment on the narrator and how was it was to listen to. I loved the pacing of each action scene and how that pace quickens and then fades back to a normal pace for the rest of the story. I liked that I was able to listen to the story at 2x the speed and still understand what was happening. The audiobook also included a question and answer with the author which I enjoyed as you get to know more about the book and her decisions behind some scenes.

Summer of L.U.C.K. by Laura Segal Stegman

Thank you to the author for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Author Information

Laura Segal Stegman is a Los Angeles-based arts publicist and author whose middle grade debut novel, Summer of L.U.C.K., was released in September 2020 by INtense Publications and will be followed by a sequel in 2021. Having grown up in Southern California with parents who valued reading, she remains spellbound by kidlit. Some of her favorite middle grade novels, then and now, are The Diamond in the Window, Ellen Tebbits,
All of A Kind Family, Wonder, A Patron Saint for Junior Bridesmaids, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and The Miraculous. Laura’s non-fiction credits include collaboration on the travel book Only in New York, and her feature stories have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Magazine, Westways Magazine and Christian Science Monitor, among others. A long-time publicity consultant, she owns Laura Segal Stegman Public Relations, LLC, which has represented a wide-ranging client list of businesses, arts organizations and
non-profit events over the years. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of UC Irvine with a B.A. in Drama. Laura and her husband live in Los Angeles and part-time in New York City. She loves reading, L.A. Dodgers baseball, classical music and theater.

Book Description

Stuttering Darby is never perfect enough for her mother. Justin’s been silent since his dad died. Naz is struggling to learn English. But after they meet at summer camp, mysterious calliope music from an abandoned warehouse grants them power to communicate without words. When they sneak inside, the dark, empty space bursts into a magical carnival. They’re greeted by the ghost of Leroy Usher, who asks for their help convincing his family to restore the carnival to its former glory. In return, he promises to teach the kids how to find their voices. As Darby, Justin, and Naz are swept off on a series of midnight adventures via Mr. Usher’s carnival rides, they discover they’re capable of more than they ever imagined. With each challenge, their confidence in communicating – and in themselves – grows. Meanwhile, they scheme to persuade the Usher family to revive the carnival. But when Darby’s bunkmates trick her into starring in the camp talent show, her budding confidence falters. Can she risk being less than perfect by performing in the show and speaking up to Mr. Usher’s resistant son? If not, she’ll put the carnival in danger and sabotage her most important quest: to believe in herself, stutter and all.

You can Find this book at:

Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ BookShop ~ IndieBound

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I think that this book is great for middle grade readers ages 10+. The fantasy elements to this story were really great and I loved the message that it taught in the end. I think this is a great book for young readers to read on their own or for a parent to read with their child. I also liked that this is a story that adults could enjoy and find things to take away as well.

I really enjoyed that this story teaches kids to embrace themselves and their differences. I like that it also shows the positive effect that friendship can have on someone and how your friends are there to support you when things are hard. I liked that the three children each had something different that they had to overcome yet these things brought them together.

Characters: There are three main characters, Darby, Justin, and Naz. You are also introduced to Mr. Usher and his children throughout the story. I really liked how Mr. Usher was introduced to the story and how these children build a relationship with him. I liked how the friendship between the children and Mr. Usher is developed and how he is used as a way to support them.

I also really liked the interactions that the children have with others at their camp. I thought it was great to see them overcome their challenges not just with each other but with other children. I liked that we got to see two settings in this story and not just the portion with Mr. Usher.

Writing Style: This story is told in third person and gives you three different main view points along with side viewpoints as well. It also goes back and forth from the present times and showing you some of the past with Mr. Usher’s children. I thought that it was great to see each of the children’s perspectives and see how different they were from each other yet how similar they were. I did find the pieces with the adults to be a little distracting from the rest of the story and could see children not being intrigued by those portions. I think that there isn’t too much of it though which was a plus for me and the parts that the adults interact with the children make the story come together.

Chronicles of a Spellcaster: Book One: Orientation Book Review

Thank you to the publisher of this book for a copy of the book in exchange for my review.

Author Information

J.J. Singleton is an author who holds a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and a Master’s Degree in Ancient Studies. Throughout his life, he has dealt with Dyslexia. So, books were never a source of entertainment for him when he was younger. With the difficulties he had with reading and writing, he never dreamed he would one day write a book. He always had a vivid imagination. When he was a young child, he was always pretending that he was the main character in the imaginary stories he created in his mind. Remembering the worlds and characters he created and combining his creative thoughts with historical themes and ideas he learned from his academic career, he has created his first novel Chronicles of a Spell Caster.

When not writing, he likes to play tennis, travel, and watch various tv series, his favorite are historical dramas. His favorite trip was to Greece, one of the many places he studied. He plans to continue his travels to a variety of locations around the globe. His goal is to see many of the historical places he studied and gather inspiration for future projects.

Book Description

With Jet’s freshman year gearing up to start, and the normal pressures of college looming, Jet will have to navigate finding a place to fit in, classes, homework, tests, and papers, but in a world where people have powers and abilities and can do extraordinary things. A new norm has been imbedded into the College curriculum. Students must also complete tasks and assignments within a virtual reality called the AITS to hone their abilities and skills. The idea of who is the strongest, hovers over the whole student body and fighting, backstabbing and betrayal are ever present.

This notion is amplified during the spring semester of every year when the student spends the remainder of the year within the AITS. Over time Jet will find out who his real friends are and what he must do to survive this hostile world of college. What secrets will be revealed this year. Will one of them be Jet’s dark secret? Will he be able to control the aftermath if it’s revealed or will it harm everyone around him?

Review

Thoughts and Themes: When I read the title of this book I was excited to read more because everything that I ever wrote about when I was younger was spellcasters vs another world. The only books that I knew of growing up with magic were Harry Potter and thankfully I never really got into those. I was thrilled to find a book that had magic, a new world, and more. The only thing was I was a bit surprised by how much I actually really enjoyed this book because I was worried that I wouldn’t really enjoy this book because when I started it, it took me a while to get into it. I was also worried that I wouldn’t enjoy this one because of the strong emphasis on sports. I am not a big fan of sports books but I realized that many of the fantasy books that I have enjoyed this year have the sports theme in common.

I really enjoyed the world building through this book and how you get the history of this world along with the action scenes that keep you reading. I also liked how the world was being built along with the action scenes that kept taking place. I thought that having those action scenes throughout the world building kept me wanting to know what would happen.

I found that while there were some predictable moments, those moments still had a twist to them. The twists that were included through these predictable moments caught me off guard and made me want to know what would happen to Jet. I was glad to know that this was the first book in a series because I could always use some more magic books.

Characters: While there were parts of the main character that really annoyed me, I grew to really like the main character and the occasional sarcasm that we get from him. At first I was frustrated because he seems to be all powerful and all knowing and I just can’t get into stories where characters have no flaws. I was pleased to find as you read more that he did have a fatal flaw and loved how this flaw plays into his story and how it holds him back at times.

I really enjoyed reading about Jet’s past and how this world’s past was affecting current time. I liked seeing how Jet’s relationships were being affected by who and what he is. I thought it was great to see how the other students reacted to finding out information about Jet. I also really enjoyed getting to learn about the other characters and wanted to learn more about specific ones.

Writing Style: This story is told in first person through the eyes of the main character, Jet. This does at times make it seem like the narrator is all knowing which I found got frustrating at the beginning. Something that confused me at times was there are moments in which the story switches and is told in third person when scenes are included that Jet is not a part of. I found that it might have worked better and more seamlessly if it was kept in first person through another character’s view point.

Blazewrath Games by Amparo Ortiz Book Tour Post

I am so excited to get a chance to be a part of this book tour hosted by Caffeine Book Tours . Make sure you check out the rest of the posts that are a part of this tour by looking at the schedule for the tour found here. 

Author Information

Amparo Ortiz was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and currently lives on the island’s northeastern coast. Her short story comic, “What Remains in The Dark,” appears in the Eisner Award-winning anthology Puerto Rico Strong (Lion Forge, 2018), and SAVING CHUPIE, her middle grade graphic novel, comes out with HarperCollins in Winter 2022. She holds an M.A. in English and a B.A. in Psychology from the UPR’s Río Piedras campus. When she’s not teaching ESL to her college students, she’s teaching herself Korean, devouring as much young adult fiction as she can, and writing about Latinx characters in worlds both contemporary and fantastical.

Author links:

Author website ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads ~ Instagram ~ Twitter

Book Description

Title: Blazewrath Games

Author: Amparo Ortiz

Publisher: Page Street Publishing

Publication date: 06 October 2020

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Synopsis:

Experience the World Cup with dragons in this debut fantasy, set in an alternate contemporary world, in which riders and their steeds compete in an international sports tournament.

Lana Torres has always preferred dragons to people. In a few weeks, sixteen countries will compete in the Blazewrath World Cup, a tournament where dragons and their riders fight for glory in a dangerous relay. Lana longs to represent her native Puerto Rico in their first ever World Cup appearance, and when Puerto Rico’s Runner—the only player without a dragon steed—is kicked off the team, she’s given the chance.

But when she discovers that a former Blazewrath superstar has teamed up with the Sire—a legendary dragon who’s cursed into human form—the safety of the Cup is jeopardized. The pair are burning down dragon sanctuaries around the world and refuse to stop unless the Cup gets cancelled. All Lana wanted was to represent her country. Now, to do that, she’ll have to navigate an international conspiracy that’s deadlier than her beloved sport.

You can find the book at:

Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Book Depository ~ IndieBound ~ Goodreads

Review

Thoughts and Themes: The first thing that I thought when I saw this book and read the first few lines was this reminds me so much of How to Train Your Dragon which I love. Once I made that connection I was not able to put this book down even when I had to because sleep is something I need. This book also reminded me of the soccer world cup that comes every 4 years and while I don’t really watch it my family does so I have fond memories of the game.

I really enjoyed the world building that is not just done through the story but also in the passages that are included in between chapters. I loved getting to see how so many different countries were involved throughout this book and how their dragons were all unique. I thought it was great to see all of their differences and how these dragons would only bond with those that were from that country. All of the dragons included were amazing and you never got the sense that one of these countries was greater than the other, just that they all had their advantages.

I was quite shocked with how quickly an important aspect to the story is revealed to us all and was a bit worried that this revelation would make the rest of the story fall flat but I am glad I was wrong. I think this revelation coming early on really sets the stage for the rest of the story and makes it so that everything else that happens is more interesting.

Characters: I loved getting to know all of the characters throughout this book even if they are all shown through Lana’s perspective. I thought it was great that we not only get to meet her team mates but other team mates, and people from her life prior to joining the team. I thought watching her be torn between those two worlds really adds to the story and her background as a character.

Some of the other characters I was glad that were included were all of the political people that we met throughout. I was worried that the political storyline would be too much but I actually really enjoyed that being tied up with everything. I think that it made good commentary about athletics and politics and how everything we do is inherently political.

I also loved that there were so many queer characters in this story and how they were all amazing characters. This really added to my love for this book because I love seeing queer characters just living their lives and in this case being athletes and riding dragons. Seeing queer characters in fantasy books is always a plus for me because then I can see a little bit of me in a different world, one in which I could be among dragons.

Writing Style: This story is told through Lana’s perspective and while I would have liked to see what the others thoughts were throughout I liked that we didn’t. Us being given only her perspective added to the mystery of what was happening and made me feel worried for her at all times.

Each of Us A Desert by Mark Oshiro Book Tour Stop

I am so excited to get a chance to be a part of this book tour hosted by Colored Pages Make sure you check out the rest of the posts that are a part of this tour by looking at the schedule for the tour found here

Author Information

Mark Oshiro is the author of Anger is a Gift (Tor Teen), winner of the 2019 Schneider Family Book Award and nominated for a 2019 Lammy Award (in the LGBTQ Children’s/Young Adult category). Upcoming novels include Each of Us a Desert (Tor Teen), a YA Fantasy novel out September 15, 2020, and The Insiders (Harper Collins), an MG Contemporary with magical elements out Fall 2021. When they are not writing, crying on camera about fictional characters for their online Mark Does Stuff universe, or traveling, Mark is busy trying to fulfill their lifelong goal: to pet every dog in the world. 

Author Links: 

Website ~ Goodreads ~ Instagram ~ Twitter

Book Description

Title: Each of Us a Desert 
Author: Mark Oshiro 
Publisher: Tor Teen 
Publication Date: September 15th, 2020
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBTQ+ 

From award-winning author Mark Oshiro comes a powerful coming-of-age fantasy novel about finding home and falling in love amidst the dangers of a desert where stories come to life.

Xochitl is destined to wander the desert alone, speaking her troubled village’s stories into its arid winds. Her only companions are the blessed stars above and enigmatic lines of poetry magically strewn across dusty dunes.

Her one desire: to share her heart with a kindred spirit.

One night, Xo’s wish is granted—in the form of Emilia, the cold and beautiful daughter of the town’s murderous conqueror. But when the two set out on a magical journey across the desert, they find their hearts could be a match… if only they can survive the nightmare-like terrors that arise when the sun goes down.

You Can Find This Book At:

Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Book Depository ~ Barnes & Noble ~ IndieBound ~ Kobo ~ Indigo ~ Google Play ~Apple Books

Review

5 Stars

Thoughts and Themes: I don’t know if I have any words to describe this book and how beautiful it is. I loved so many parts of this book but my favorite thing was how this book was written. I liked that the book was written as a prayer to Xochitl’s God and how you got to see that relationship change through the course of the book. This part of the book felt like going home to me and felt familiar to me. It is hard to describe how much impact this book has and how connected I felt with the story. I feel like this is one of those books where everyone who reads it is going to read a different story and get something different from it and I think those are the best books.

My favorite part about this book is the discussion about the truth and when Xochitl finds out the truth. I thought it was beautiful to see her struggle with what the truth it and try to figure out what was true, what she knows or what other people were now telling her. I thought it was good to see how the truth could change her relationship with Solis and how she struggled with what that would mean. I liked seeing that there isn’t one “right answer” when it comes to faith and belief systems, and how there can be multiple truths that don’t cancel out each other.

I also liked that the main focus of this book is Xochitl finding her place in the world and realizing that she is not defined by what she can give to others. I liked watching as she discovers that there is more to the world than taking on others pain and suffering, and how she can learn to also feel for herself without losing the community aspect that being a cuentista gave her.

When I read this scene in the book it stood out to me and I had to draw it.

Characters: I thought that everyone you meet throughout this book added a lot to the story whether they were there for a few pages or the majority of the book. I liked getting to know Xochitl throughout the book and hear about her relationship with others. I also enjoyed the introduction of Emilia to the book and how that affected Xochitl.

While the love story between Xochitl and Emilia isn’t the main focus of the story, I also thought that it added to the story. I liked that their relationship was slow and subtle throughout the book. I thought it was great to see how their growth as individuals contributed to the growth of their relationship with each other.

Writing Style: This book is written in many different formats, you get the perspective from Xochitl as she talks to her God, Solis, you get some poems included throughout the story, and there are stories from other people being shared with Xochitl and Solis included as well. I liked that this book included so many different forms of writing and how all these forms worked with each other to tell the story.

I recommend this to those of you who enjoy books with interpersonal growth and character development.