I am so excited to get a chance to be a part of this book tour hosted by Hear Our Voices 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.
Laekan Zea Kemp is a writer living in Austin, Texas. She has three objectives when it comes to storytelling: to make people laugh, cry, and crave Mexican food. Her work celebrates Chicanx grit, resilience, creativity, and joy while exploring themes of identity and mental health. Her debut novel, SOMEWHERE BETWEEN BITTER & SWEET is forthcoming from Little Brown in spring 2021.
As an aspiring pastry chef, Penelope Prado has always dreamed of opening her own pastelería next to her father’s restaurant, Nacho’s Tacos. But her mom and dad have different plans — leaving Pen to choose between disappointing her traditional Mexican-American parents or following her own path. When she confesses a secret she’s been keeping, her world is sent into a tailspin. But then she meets a cute new hire at Nacho’s who sees through her hard exterior and asks the questions she’s been too afraid to ask herself.
Xander Amaro has been searching for home since he was a little boy. For him, a job at Nacho’s is an opportunity for just that — a chance at a normal life, to settle in at his abuelo’s, and to find the father who left him behind. But when both the restaurant and Xander’s immigrant status are threatened, he will do whatever it takes to protect his new found family and himself.
Together, Pen and Xander must navigate first love and discovering where they belong — both within their families and their fiercely loyal Chicanx community — in order to save the place they all call home.
Thoughts and Themes: There are very few books that I take a lot of notes for and this was one of them. I was glad that Libro.Fm gave me an advanced listening copy so that I could listen to this story while following along with the e-book.
While this book cover and synopsis make it sound like its a romance book, it is so much more than that. I really liked the complexity of this being first love but also adding the feeling of hopelessness and the theme of found family. I thought it was great to see both of these themes played out through Pen and Xander’s storylines because you saw how it affected them differently.
I liked the idea that the restaurant is so much more than just a place that people go to eat at. I liked how it represented something to the neighborhood but also how we see the weight it had on the dad. I thought that it was important to include both of these points in the book because we see how much he wants to help but its to the point that it hurts him. I liked how this portion of the book resolves itself but I can’t say much about this or I’ll ruin the story for you all.
Something else that I loved about this book was the idea of found family both for Xander and for pen. I like watching them both be able to give this to each other and how Xander realizes family isn’t always just blood.
Overall this story was just so heartwarming and it just reminded me of how important community is. I just loved seeing how they all came together to support Pen when she needed them. It reminded me of times that I’ve been in community with others and how much my communities have supported me throughout my life.
Characters: There is not a character in this book that isn’t lovable, well…besides the villain of the story you know. Every other character that you met is just a great addition to the story. You have the main characters Pen and Xander and through them you are introduced to both of their families and the people who work with them.
I really enjoyed the way the relationship between Pen and her father was shown and how that relationship developed and changed throughout the book. I thought it was great to see things through Pen’s perspective and see what she thought her father was thinking of her. I really liked how Xander was thinking the tension between them was because they were the same person. I laughed when I read that piece because it reminded me of my relationship with my dad.
I really liked getting to know both Pen and Xander and seeing how their stories connected to each other. I liked seeing how the themes in both of their stories parallel each other in different ways. I also liked seeing how they slowly fall in love with each other as they learn more about one another.
Writing Style: This story is told through first person dual perspectives of Pen and Xander. It was great to be able to see both of their perspectives to know what was going on in each of their heads. I think the story would not have worked if we only got one side because it is about both of them struggling to belong.
I am so excited to get a chance to be a part of this book tour hosted by Hear our Voices Book Tour . 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.
Publisher: Imprint Release Date: September 22nd 2020 Genre: YA Paranormal Anthology
Eleven fresh vampire stories from young adult fiction’s leading voices!
In this delicious new collection, you’ll find stories about lurking vampires of social media, rebellious vampires hungry for more than just blood, eager vampires coming out―and going out for their first kill―and other bold, breathtaking, dangerous, dreamy, eerie, iconic, powerful creatures of the night.
Welcome to the evolution of the vampire―and a revolution on the page.
Vampires Never Get Old includes stories by authors both bestselling and acclaimed, including Samira Ahmed, Dhonielle Clayton, Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker, Tessa Gratton, Heidi Heilig, Julie Murphy, Mark Oshiro, Rebecca Roanhorse, Laura Ruby, Victoria “V. E.” Schwab, and Kayla Whaley.
I normally review books by talking about my thoughts and themes, the characters, and then the writing style. This review has to be a little different thought as there isn’t just one story being told by one person, but a range of stories being told by different people, meaning the characters change constantly and the writing style varies from page to page.
I’ve always been a fan of vampires because of their mysterious nature and all the they can stand for that this book does a great job of exploring. I love how each of the stories that are included in this book talks about different characteristics about vampires and the different lore that is around about them. The vampires in this book all differ from one story to the next and that is part of what is intriguing about this book, you never know what you are in for.
While there were stories that left me wanting more from them, I did think that they all wrapped up well. Something that I enjoyed was the pieces that were included after a story that gave a slight explanation of the story. I really enjoyed these for the stories that I wasn’t sure if I got the message the author wanted me to but I also liked that each posed a question.
I thought about how to review this book and the best way for me to do this is by giving you a short review of each of the stories in this book.
Seven Nights for Dying by Tessa Gratton
This story talks about the transformation into a vampire and puts a different twist on it as the main character is given 7 days to decide if she wants to make the full transformation into a vampire. This story goes a little into the topics of grief, loss, and moving on. I liked that this story gave you a bisexual or pansexual main character, and also introduces a transgender vampire too.
Mirrors, Windows, and Selfies by Mark Oshiro
This story was one of my favorites and brought me back to my years as a teenager when I spent all my time on Xanga (blog site). I was brought back to those days where I felt alone and as if the only people who could understand me were the people I was blogging for or the people whose blogs I was reading.
I really enjoyed reading about the superstitions surrounding mirrors and also getting to learn about why vampires can’t see themselves in them. I also thought it was great to be able to think about Cisco’s parents keeping secrets from him and in a way hiding him from himself.
The House of Black Sapphire by Dhonielle Clayton
This is one of the stories that I was glad a explanation came after because while I liked the story I wasn’t sure what the messaging was supposed to be or what I was supposed to question. I liked that this story brought in other beings not just the vampires and we got to see how they interacted with vampires. I thought it was interesting to see the house reimagined as coffin as I did not understand that point until after the description and that made the re-reading of this story so much better.
The Boys from Blood River by Rebecca Roanhorse
This is another one of my favorite stories and this is one that I had to put the book down for because I made the mistake of trying to read at night and in the dark. I loved how spooky the setting of this one is and how these vampires appeared to be good at first but then things suddenly changed. I liked how this made you think about sacrifice and what you are willing to sacrifice.
Senior Year sucks by Julie Murphy
I was glad to be able to read a story in which we get a body positive character who is confident about themselves. I loved that this story centered around a vampire slayer who was not your typical slayer. I liked reading about her encounter with Alma as it was funny and cute. I wanted more of this story so that I could get more of these two.
The Boy and the Bell by Heidi Heiling
In this story you get a transgender main character who is trying to study in order to become a doctor. I liked how this story focuses on the ways people would try to ensure that the dead didn’t become vampires in the past. I thought this was a great take on the Victorian era when they would bury the dead with a breathing tube and a bell so that they can ask for help if they were not dead. I liked that it was a take on this gone terribly bad for the main character and how this time maybe he wishes that this way of burying people was not a thing.
In Kind by Kayla Whaley
TW: Caregiver Abuse
What I really liked about this one was the idea that even if the main character became a vampire it didn’t suddenly mean that she could walk. I liked that the main character felt that if that was granted to her it would take away part of who she is and she would not longer be herself. This story makes you think about people’s takes on disabilities and being disabled and how their lives are not any less valuable due to those disabilities.
A Guidebook for the Newly Sired Desi Vampire by Samira Ahmed
I liked this books take on colonialism and how to go about getting rid of those people but also being careful not to colonize a place as well. I thought that many of the pieces of this story were funny and light, and liked the way they were easing the new vampire into being a vampires. I liked the references that were made to Indian culture and how this story talks about tourists who come in and do not respect the culture.
Bestiary by Laura Ruby
I liked the way the main character in this story connected to animals. This one was a bit slower for me and one that I wasn’t as much enjoying as the others. I did like some aspects of it and liked the transformation piece about it and thinking about what animal I would transform into if I were a vampire.
Vampires Never Say Die by Zoraida Cordova & Natalie C. Parker
This story goes back and forth between two characters who are best friends. I really enjoyed the back and forth between these two and how she comes to the rescue of her friend. It really spoke on the value of friendship and what you are willing to do for others.
First Kill by Victoria “V.E.” Schwab
I loved the back and forth between the two characters in this one and the idea that they can both be the “bad guy”. I loved having both a vampire and a hunter in this story. This story left me wanting more from both of these characters. I want to know more and I need to know what happens, who wins?
Zoraida Córdova is the author of many fantasy novels, including the award-winning Brooklyn Brujas series, Incendiary, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge: A Crash of Fate, and The Way to Rio Luna. Her short fiction has appeared in the New York Times bestselling anthology Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View, Star Wars: Clone Wars Stories of Light and Dark, and Come On In. She is the co-editor of Vampires Never Get Old. She is the co-host of the writing podcast, Deadline City, with Dhonielle Clayton. Zoraida was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador and raised in Queens, New York. When she’s not working on her next novel, she’s finding a new adventure.
Natalie C. Parker grew up in a Navy family finding home in coastal cities from Virginia to Japan. Now, she lives surprisingly far from any ocean on the Kansas prairie with her wife where she writes and edits books for teens including the acclaimed Seafire trilogy.
Dhonielle Clayton was born in the suburbs of Washington, DC and spent her childhood Saturdays at the comic book store with her father and most evenings hiding beneath her grandmother’s dining room table with a stack of books. She earned a BA in English at Wake Forest University. She was an English teacher for three years and worked with educational curriculum. Being surrounded by children, Dhonielle re-discovered her love of children’s literature and earned a masters in children’s and young adult literature from Hollins University. Currently, she is working on both middle grade and young adult novel projects. She moved to NYC where she earned her MFA at the New School’s MFA Program. She is co-founder of CAKE Literary, a literary development studio committed to bringing diversity to high concept content.
Tessa Gratton is the author of adult SFF The Queens of Innis Lear and Lady Hotspur from Tor Books, as well as the YA series The Blood Journals and The United States of Asgard. Her most recent YA is the original fairy tale Strange Grace from McElderry Books and the upcoming Night Shine. Tessa’s novels and short stories have been translated into twenty-two languages, nominated twice for the Tiptree Award, and several have been Junior Library Guild Selections. Though she has lived all over the world, she currently resides at the edge of the Kansas prairie with her wife.
Heidi grew up in Hawaii where she rode horses and raised peacocks, and then she moved to New York City and grew up even more, as one tends to do. Her favorite thing, outside of writing, is travel, and she has haggled for rugs in Morocco, hiked the trails of the Ko’olau Valley, and huddled in a tent in Africa while lions roared in the dark. She holds an MFA from New York University in Musical Theatre Writing, of all things, and she’s written books and lyrics for shows including The Time Travelers Convention, Under Construction, and The Hole. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, son and their pet snake, whose wings will likely grow in any day now. In her debut, The Girl from Everywhere, Heidi Heilig blends fantasy, history, and a modern sensibility with witty, fast-paced dialogue, breathless adventure, and enchanting romance.
Julie Murphy lives in North Texas with her husband who loves her, her dog who adores her, and her cats who tolerate her. After several wonderful years in the library world, Julie now writes full-time.
When she’s not writing or reliving her reference desk glory days, she can be found watching made-for-TV movies, hunting for the perfect slice of cheese pizza, and planning her next great travel adventure.
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), a 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.
Rebecca Roanhorse is a NYTimes bestselling and Nebula, Hugo and Locus Award-winning speculative fiction writer and the recipient of the 2018 Astounding (Campbell) Award for Best New Writer.
Her novel Trail of Lightning (Book 1 in the Sixth World Series) won the Locus Award for Best First Novel and is a Nebula, Hugo and World Fantasy finalist. It was also selected as an Amazon, B&N, Library Journal, and NPR Best Books of 2018, among others. Book 2 in the Sixth World Series, Storm of Locusts, has received starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and Booklist, is a Locus Award Finalist, and has been named an Amazon, Powell’s, and Audible Best of 2019. Her novel, Resistance Reborn, is part of Star Wars: Journey to The Rise of Skywalker and a USA Today and NYTimes bestseller. Her middle grade novel Race to the Sun for the Rick Riordan Present’s imprint was a New York Times Bestseller and received a starred review from Kirkus. Her next novel is an epic Fantasy set in a secondary world inspired by the Pre-Columbian Americas called Black Sun, out Oct 13, 2020.
She lives in Northern New Mexico with her husband, daughter, and pups. She drinks a lot of black coffee.
A two-time National Book Award Finalist, Laura Ruby writes fiction for adults, teens and children. She is the author of the Printz Medal Winning novel Bone Gap, as well as Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All. Other works include the Edgar®-nominated children’s mystery Lily’s Ghosts, the ALA Quick Pick for teens Good Girls (2006), a collection of interconnected short stories about blended families for adults, I’m not Julia Roberts (2007), and the York trilogy. She is on the faculty of Hamline University’s Masters in Writing for Children Program. She makes her home in the Chicago area.
Victoria “V.E.” Schwab is the #1 NYT, USA, and Indie bestselling author of more than a dozen books, including Vicious, the Shades of Magic series, and This Savage Song. Her work has received critical acclaim, been featured by EW and The New York Times, been translated into more than a dozen languages, and been optioned for TV and Film. The Independent calls her the “natural successor to Diana Wynne Jones” and touts her “enviable, almost Gaimanesque ability to switch between styles, genres, and tones.”
Kayla Whaley lives outside Atlanta, Georgia where she buys too many books and drinks too many lattes. She holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from the University of Tampa and is a graduate of the Clarion Writers’ Workshop. She was named one of Bustle‘s inaugural “Rule Breakers” in 2018.
Whether writing fiction, nonfiction, or the extremely occasional poem, she is fascinated by disability, sexuality, and the body. Among other venues, her work has appeared at Catapult, Bustle, Michigan Quarterly Review, Uncanny Magazine, Book Riot, and in the anthologies Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World (Algonquin) and Unbroken: 13 Stories Starring Disabled Teens (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux).
She has also appeared on the first season of Reese Witherspoon’s podcast How It Is and Slate’s popular Dear Prudence podcast.
Whaley spent four years as senior editor at Disability in Kidlit, an award-winning site dedicated to examining portrayals of disability in middle grade and young adult fiction, and she is currently on the Advisory Board for Research on Diversity in Youth Literature, a peer-reviewed journal published by St. Catherine University. She also holds a Master’s in Public Administration, which is languishing somewhere in her closet, so the less said about that, the better.
I am so excited to get a chance to be a part of this book tour hosted by Hear our Voices Book Tour . 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.
Tehlor Kay Mejia is the author of the critically acclaimed young adult fantasy novel We Set the Dark on Fire as well as its sequel, We Unleash the Merciless Storm; Miss Meteor (co-written with National Book Award nominee Anna-Marie McLemore); and her middle grade debut, Paola Santiago and the River of Tears.
Her debut novel received six starred reviews and was chosen as an Indie Next Pick and a Junior Library Guild selection, as well as being an IndieBound bestseller in the Pacific Northwest region. It has been featured in Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, and O The Oprah Magazine and named a best book of 2019 by Kirkus and School Library Journal.
Tehlor lives in Oregon with her daughter, two very small dogs, and several rescued houseplants.
Anna-Marie McLemore (they/them) was born in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and taught by their family to hear la llorona in the Santa Ana winds. Anna-Marie is the author of The Weight of Feathers, a finalist for the 2016 William C. Morris Debut Award; 2017 Stonewall Honor Book When the Moon Was Ours, which was longlisted for the National Book Award in Young People’s Literature and winner of the James Tiptree Jr. Award; Wild Beauty, a Kirkus Best Book of 2017; and Blanca & Roja, a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. Dark and Deepest Red, a reimagining of “The Red Shoes” based on true medieval events, will be released in January 2020
There hasn’t been a winner of the Miss Meteor beauty pageant who looks like Lita Perez or Chicky Quintanilla in all its history. But that’s not the only reason Lita wants to enter the contest, or why her ex-best friend Chicky wants to help her. The road to becoming Miss Meteor isn’t about being perfect; it’s about sharing who you are with the world—and loving the parts of yourself no one else understands. So to pull off the unlikeliest underdog story in pageant history, Lita and Chicky are going to have to forget the past and imagine a future where girls like them are more than enough—they are everything.
Witty and heartfelt with characters that leap off the page, Miss Meteor is acclaimed authors Anna-Marie McLemore and Tehlor Kay Mejia’s first book together.
Thoughts and themes: After reading several books that had me deep in my feelings it was nice to read something that was joyful. I love that this book is all about family and friendship and how important having a support system can be. I really loved the way that friendship was centered throughout the story and how each character found their strength from these friendships.
I thought it was great that the story centered around Lita disappearing and trying to figure out how to stop that from happening. I thought it was great that she struggled with realizing why the stardust would leave at times and other times more of it would appear. I don’t want to ruin too much so I can’t elaborate on this point but it is a great addition to this story.
Characters: There are several characters that are involved in this book and I really enjoy all of them. You have the main characters Chicky and Lita who are sweet, funny, lovable characters. I love how relatable these two characters are and how their friendship started, falls apart and repairs itself. I thought that the secrets that they kept from each other really added to the story and I loved how Lita made it clear that she never would have asked Chicky to reveal a part of herself that she wasn’t ready to share.
I love the side characters that are included as well, Junior and Cole add a lot to the story and I love that Lita and Chicky have these two guys who have their back no matter what. I love what this friendship means to all of them and how you can see the feelings are there but their friendship comes first.
I like that you get a transgender character as a side character who has a sister who is dating the guy bullying Chicky and Lita. I thought his reaction to Royce and his sister were very important and then loved when he finally stood up for himself. I liked that through the whole book he was concerned with other people and making sure they never felt like they didn’t belong but he put himself aside until he realized that he didn’t have to.
Writing Style: This book goes back and forth from the perspective of Lita and Chicky and is told in first person for both of them. I thought this was a great way to tell the story so that you can see both of their feelings about everything that happens throughout the course of the book. I liked being able to know how they both felt at a particular moment or see what was happening in scenes where not both of them were present. I thought it was great that a scene would play through and then it would play again differently because of who was telling the story.
Ari North is a queer cartoonist who believes an entertaining story should also be full of diversity and inclusion. As a writer, an artist, and a musician, she wrote, drew, and composed the music for Always Human, a complete romance/sci-fi webcomic about two queer girls navigating maturity and finding happiness. She’s currently working on a second webcomic, Aerial Magic, which is about the everyday lives of the witches who work at a broomstick repair shop. She lives in Australia with her husband.
Description of Book
In the near-future, people use technology to give the illusion of all kinds of body modifications — from different colored hair and eyes, to highly- technological implants that change the way they function in the world. But some people aren’t so lucky, plagued with a highly sensitive immune system that rejects these modifications. Maintaining a “natural” appearance, these social outcasts must rely on cosmetics hair dye in an attempt to fit in.
Sunati is attracted to Austen the first time she sees her and is drawn to what she assumes is Austen’s bravery and confidence to live life unmodded. When Sunati learns the truth, she’s still attracted to Austen and asks her on a date. Gradually, their relationship unfolds as they deal with friends, family, and the emotional conflicts that come with every romance. Together, they will learn and grow in a story that reminds us no matter how technology evolves, we will remain… always human.
First serialized on the popular app and website WebToon, Always Human ran from 2015-2017 and amassed over 76,000 unique subscribers during its run. Today, as an archived piece on the site, the title has always over 400,000 unique viewers. Reformatted for a print edition in sponsorship with GLAAD, this beautifully-drawn, soft sci-fi, queer graphic novel will available wherever books are sold in both paperback and hardcover formats.
I’m so happy to get to be a part of this book tour that is being hosted by Hear Our Voices Blog Tours.
Graphic novels have so many things that I can talk about and review. In the case of this book I really enjoyed not just the story that was being told but also the graphics of this novel.
I loved the art style of the book, I liked that I am able to tell the characters apart and they all look different from one another. I really liked how short each chapter was and how each of the panels are of different sizes. I thought that added to the way that the story was told and the feelings of the characters.
I enjoyed how this book depicted a healthy relationship between Sunati and Austen. I thought that it was great to see them have a few misunderstandings and get into arguments but be able to resolve them through communication. I really enjoyed how their feelings towards each other were clear from the start and they were open about discussing those feelings.
Something else that I enjoyed was the side characters that were included, it felt like the world they were living in was just made for queer people. I thought that all the characters we are introduced were queer added so much to the story and gave me more about the world that they live in.
I’m excited to get a chance to read more and learn more about each of the characters and the world that they live in.
You can see more posts that are a part of this book tour if you Click Here.