Book Blogger Hop | August 10

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer, in which you answer a book related prompt. The Book Blogger Hop, helps you discover fellow contributors to check out and follow! You can view Coffee Addicted Writer’s post here.

This Week’s Question

Do you read books by diverse authors or books with diverse characters (such as LGBT, ethnic minorities, religious minorities, etc)? If yes, do you have any book recommendations? (submitted by Kristin @ Lukten av Trykksverte)

My book recommendations:

LGBT:

Crier’s War by Nina Varela

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

Religion\Faith:

Something Dark & Holy series by Emily A. Duncan

Latinx Representation

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

Lobizona by Romina Garber

Black Representation

A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney

Minion by L.A. Banks

What are your favorite stories by diverse authors? Are there other stories you would like to add to this list? Feel free to share!

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Top 10 Tuesday | Aug 4

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. You can find the themes/dates for Top 10 Tuesday here.

This Week’s Question

Top 10 Books in my To-Read List With Colors in the Titles

While searching through my list, I was surprised that I had very little stories with a color in the title! This was fun to search through!

  1. Yellow Brick War by Danielle Paige
  2. The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories by Charlotte Perkins Gillman
  3. All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson
  4. Amber & Dusk by Lyra Selene
  5. Black Girl Unlimited by Echo Brown
  6. The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta
  7. Saving Ruby King by Catherine Adel West
  8. Red At the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson
  9. Coral by Sara Ella
  10. The Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

I can’t wait to see your ‘colorful’ stories!



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Book Review | ‘Lobizona’ by Romina Garber

Lobizona by Romina Garber
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Length: 400 pages
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Release Date: August 4, 2020

My Thoughts

**I received ‘Lobizona’ by Romina Garber through NetGalley and Wednesday Books, in exchange for an honest review**

When I first read the synopsis for ‘Lobizona’, I was immediately intrigued. An urban fantasy story, with a Latinx undocumented main character! Romina Garber brings attention to the plight of immigration and family separation beautifully. She paints Manuela (Manu) as a girl who longs to be part of society, yet her undocumented status forces her into hiding. The fact that Manu has an added mark to her identity only heightens the anxiety of being discovered. As Manu enters the world of El Labriento, she learns that her status brings her an additional level of fear, and she evaluates what it truly means to belong in society.

The world of El Labriento (the Labyrinth) introduces valuable connections to Manu. Her ‘undocumented’ status bends the rules of gender and societal norms, and Manu is faced with the reality of risking her life for the sake of discovering her roots. Her lineage delves deeper into the Argentinian folklore that the community of El Labriento abide by within their daily lives. Manu’s presence as an outsider tests everyone what it means to truly belong in this world.

The characters in Lobizona keeps the momentum going in Manu’s quest. They subtly fall in the typical categories of friendship: (Saysa is the close friend, Catalina is the rival, Tiago the love interest), yet they all have an extra layer to their stories that places all having an ulterior motive to their actions. Each interaction places an added piece to the puzzle to Manu’s journey, and it certainly kept me reading!

As I mentioned earlier, Lobizona also speaks on the subject of family separation resulting from immigration status. The story isn’t bombarded with commentary, but Garber covers the situation clearly enough that the reader understands the plight of anxiety dwelling among Manu’s community in hiding. Manu and her mother live with the fear of their social existence getting erased at a moment’s notice. It touches on family separation just enough to share with the reader that this reality happens every day in many communities, and it’s heartbreaking. Lobizona has a perfect blend of current events and the folklore, taking you to a portal of awareness.

I highly recommend Lobizona as a story that you can’t put down. It’s a perfect mix of supernatural lore and the urban plight of a girl struggling to come of age while learning to discover her roots. You will be certainly be swept away!

Synopsis

Some people ARE illegal.

Lobizonas do NOT exist.

Both of these statements are false.

Manuela Azul has been crammed into an existence that feels too small for her. As an undocumented immigrant who’s on the run from her father’s Argentine crime-family, Manu is confined to a small apartment and a small life in Miami, Florida.

Until Manu’s protective bubble is shattered.

Her surrogate grandmother is attacked, lifelong lies are exposed, and her mother is arrested by ICE. Without a home, without answers, and finally without shackles, Manu investigates the only clue she has about her past–a mysterious “Z” emblem—which leads her to a secret world buried within our own. A world connected to her dead father and his criminal past. A world straight out of Argentine folklore, where the seventh consecutive daughter is born a bruja and the seventh consecutive son is a lobizón, a werewolf. A world where her unusual eyes allow her to belong.

As Manu uncovers her own story and traces her real heritage all the way back to a cursed city in Argentina, she learns it’s not just her U.S. residency that’s illegal. . . .it’s her entire existence.

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Book Review | Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

Book Review
Take a HInt, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
Link: https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1592943641l/52090948._SY475_.jpg

Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
Publisher: Avon Books
Length: 361 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: Paperback
Release Date: June 23, 2020

Synopsis

Danika Brown knows what she wants: professional success, academic renown, and an occasional roll in the hay to relieve all that career-driven tension. But romance? Been there, done that, burned the T-shirt. Romantic partners, whatever their gender, are a distraction at best and a drain at worst. So Dani asks the universe for the perfect friend-with-benefits—someone who knows the score and knows their way around the bedroom.

When brooding security guard Zafir Ansari rescues Dani from a workplace fire drill gone wrong, it’s an obvious sign: PhD student Dani and ex-rugby player Zaf are destined to sleep together. But before she can explain that fact, a video of the heroic rescue goes viral. Now half the internet is shipping #DrRugbae—and Zaf is begging Dani to play along. Turns out, his sports charity for kids could really use the publicity. Lying to help children? Who on earth would refuse?

Dani’s plan is simple: fake a relationship in public, seduce Zaf behind the scenes. The trouble is, grumpy Zaf’s secretly a hopeless romantic—and he’s determined to corrupt Dani’s stone-cold realism. Before long, he’s tackling her fears into the dirt. But the former sports star has issues of his own, and the walls around his heart are as thick as his… um, thighs.

Suddenly, the easy lay Dani dreamed of is more complex than her thesis. Has her wish backfired? Is her focus being tested? Or is the universe just waiting for her to take a hint?


My Thoughts

‘Take a Hint, Dani Brown’ is Talia Hibbert’s second book in the Brown Sisters series. We follow Danika’s search for love! Seeking a partner with no strings attached, she finds a kindred connection with Zafir after a rescue that goes viral.

I really enjoyed reading this ‘fake dating’ storyline! Their ‘relationship’ begins according to plan: some public appearances, a few viral ‘couple-esque’ photographs, and Zafir gets his children’s organization promoted. However, things take a dramatic turn when Zafir receives his breakthrough interview. Both characters begin to confide their greatest fears and wants in life. Suddenly, playing fake love interests is no longer that simple with feelings involved!

What I loved the most is the romantic tension, the buildup for these characters to realize there might be more than just lust coming into play. The novel was filled with playful banter and sarcastic remarks, with true compassion at its core. Both characters also endured heavy traumas in their past experiences, and they lean on one another to lift them out of their anxieties.

I love the diverse representation in Hibbert’s novels! There are strong female characters handling chronic illness (Chloe) and extreme insecurities (Dani). Also, Talia Hibbert writes about men who lived through traumas and shares them with trusted support systems. Zafir battles the anxiety left behind after a traumatic life event, yet this motivates him to begin an organization for teenage boys. It’s okay for all people to address anxiety, as everyone handles fear at some point in their life.

I loved everything about Take a Hint, Dani Brown. If you’re searching for a contemporary romance that addresses the value of wonderful support systems, then you will love this story!


What are your thoughts about Take a Hint, Dani Brown? Feel free to share in the comments!



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Top 10 Tuesday | July 14

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. You can find the themes/dates for Top 10 Tuesday here.


This Week’s Topic: Books That Make Me Smile

Top 10 Tuesday
Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
Link: https://i0.wp.com/i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1553318108l/43884209.jpg?w=620&ssl=1

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert


Top 10 Tuesday
The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon
Link:https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52211784-the-boyfriend-project?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=flyN30gS2p&rank=1

The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon


Top 10 Tuesday
Guild of Tokens by Jon Auerbach
Link: https://i0.wp.com/i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1560376259l/45571503._SX318_.jpg?w=620&ssl=1

Guild of Token by Jon Auerbach


Maddy McGuire, CEO: Bring Back the Bees by Emma Bland Smith


Top 10 Tuesday
One Day in December by Josie Silver
Link: https://i2.wp.com/i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1573862622l/38255337.jpg?w=620&ssl=1

One Day in December by Josie Silver


Top 10 Tuesday
Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Link: https://i0.wp.com/i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1580255154l/40597810._SY475_.jpg?w=620&ssl=1

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid


Top 10 Tuesday 
City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
Link: https://i1.wp.com/i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1516638225l/35403058._SY475_.jpg?w=620&ssl=1

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab


Top 10 Tuesday
The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O'Neill
Link: https://i2.wp.com/i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1585566949l/34895950._SX318_.jpg?w=620&ssl=1

The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill


Top 10 Tuesday
Wish by Barbara O' Connor
Link: https://i2.wp.com/i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1472977810l/27414384.jpg?w=620&ssl=1

Wish by Barbara O’ Connor


Top 10 Tuesday 
Nightbird by Alice Hoffman
Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18516113-nightbird?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=iEPQmFWnNY&rank=2

Nightbird by Alice Hoffman


What books put a smile on your face? Let me know down in the comments!


Love and light, Cathleen

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The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon | A Review

The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 368 pages
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: June 9, 2020

My Thoughts

If there’s a story that speaks about the power strong female connections can bring to empower one’s self esteem, it’s The Boyfriend Project! I wish I had a very close female squad like Samiah, Taylor and London in my life. All three women supported each other throughout joys and struggles, beginning with the viral dating mishap that brought the trio together!

The Boyfriend Project follows Samiah Brooks as she bonds with two other women, Taylor and London. Their first encounter was established through Twitter, as each woman realized that they were seeing the same man. After kicking him to the curb, the trio agree to meet weekly and share their life goals, setting the stage for successful lives without dating. Samiah’s journey becomes complicated when a new employee, Daniel, comes into the scene. Harmless playful banter between the two characters become very affectionate, and Samiah wonders how she can maintain her pact with her kindred spirits while navigating through her feelings toward Daniel.

Along with steamy romance, The Boyfriend Project also covers the pressures of being Black and female in the workplace. Samiah constantly feels the pressure to succeed in everything she does, for even slipping for a moment can bring disaster. As Samiah confides to Daniel, “It’s as if I’m living under a microscope, as if I’m expected to fail at any moment…I’m carrying the weight of some many others on my shoulders.” Samiah is at the top of her game in a successful company, yet she’s very aware that it could change for her in an instant.

The Boyfriend Project features strong, independent women succeed in professions they love. Samiah is strong in the technology field, London is a top rated pediatrician, and Taylor is in the works of branching out her thriving personal trainer clientele. Which each woman faces occupational and personal challenges throughout the story, they turn to each other for support and friendship. They gather to vent during hardships and congratulate during success. I feel like this tight knit circle among women is something you rarely see in stories, and I’m here for it!

I had a wonderful time reading The Boyfriend Project! If you want a story filled with romance and strong female bonds, this is the book you should turn to!

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Synopsis

USA Today bestselling author Farrah Rochon launches a new series about three young women who become friends when the live Tweeting of a disastrous date leads them to discover they’ve all been duped by the same man.

Samiah Brooks never thought she would be “that” girl. But a live tweet of a horrific date just revealed the painful truth: she’s been catfished by a three-timing jerk of a boyfriend. Suddenly Samiah-along with his two other “girlfriends,” London and Taylor-have gone viral online. Now the three new besties are making a pact to spend the next six months investing in themselves. No men, no dating, and no worrying about their relationship status . . .

For once Samiah is putting herself first, and that includes finally developing the app she’s always dreamed of creating. Which is the exact moment she meets the deliciously sexy, honey-eyed Daniel Collins at work. What are the chances? When it comes to love, there’s no such thing as a coincidence. But is Daniel really boyfriend material or is he maybe just a little too good to be true?

What do you think of ‘The Boyfriend Project’? Feel free to share!


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Top 10 Tuesday: Books That Give Off Summer Vibes

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. You can find the themes/dates for Top 10 Tuesday here.

This Week’s Theme: Books That Give Off Summer Vibes

A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow

A diverse story filled with mermaids and empowerment. My kind of book!

Beach Read by Emily Henry

Two competing writers trade author tips (and other secrets!) in Emily Henry’s light-hearted summer read!

Once Upon An Eid: Edited by S.K. Ali and Aisha Saeed

A collection of stories that highlight Eid, a joyous holiday that marks the end of Ramadan.

Honeybees and Frenemies by Kristi Wientge

Two former best friends spend the summer (reluctantly) working together, while competing for the coveted honey queen pagent!

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

A young girl attuned to the supernatural (and her ghostly best friend) embark on an adventure during summer vacation!

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

A riveting tale of twin sisters and the stunning secrets that are carried throughout the generations!

Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner

Lots of surprises are in store for two friends at a crossroads while planning the wedding of the summer!

We Are the Wildcats by Siobhan Vivian

A young field hockey team goes out on a wild night of dares and secrets!

The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon

This hot summer read is filled with a close knit friendship and romance!

Lobizona by Romina Garber

I had to include ‘Lobizona’ in this list! I mean, a modern world blending with fantasy, the main character on an adventure to find her true origins. The perfect summer read!

What books bring on summer vibes for you? Feel free to share!

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WWW Wednesday: May 27

WWW Wednesday was originally hosted by A Daily Rhythm, and now maintained by Taking on a World of Words.

There are three prompts for WWW Wednesday:
–What are you currently reading?
–What did you finish recently reading?
–What do you think you’ll read next?

Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi

This book centers around two young adults struggling to figure out their lives while navigating a complicated romance!

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Inconvenient Daughter by Lauren J. Sharkey

This was such a wonderful, powerful story about a young woman’s struggling to discover her identity. Many thanks to NetGalley and Kaylie Jones Books for a copy! You can find my review for ‘Inconvenient Daughter’ here.

Kiss and ‘Telle? by Nadine C. Keels

I received a copy of Kiss and ‘Telle? from the author. I found this to be a quick, romantic read! I’ll share more of my thoughts on this story later this week.

Never Turn Back by Christopher Swann

I received a copy of Never Turn Back through NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books. From what I’ve read in the synopsis, it sounds like quite the thriller, so I’m really looking forward to it!

What books have you read this past week? Feel free to share!

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Maddy McGuire CEO: Bring Back the Bees by Emma Bland Smith/A Review

Maddy McGuire, CEO: Bring Back the Bees
Author: Emma Bland Smith
Length: 112 pages
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Publisher: Calico/Magic Wagon
Release Date: August 1, 2018

As part of a summer assignment, I began reading children’s books to remotely distribute to families in my school district. Being a lover of books, I found this to be an ideal opportunity to expose myself to more children’s fiction, and share my thoughts on them!

Maddy McGuire is a young girl who has natural business skills. While visiting a museum with her family, Maddy becomes aware of the decline in bee colonies. Right away, Maddy and her friends take on the task in bringing a bee hive to her school. During their journey, Maddy discovers that fostering a neighborhood bee colony takes a lot of footwork. Through some tricky situations and teamwork, Maddy learns that bringing an huge idea into fruition requires a community effort!

Bring Back the Bees has diverse representation. Maddy’s close friend Amina is from Syria, and the book provides a brief back story from a previous installment about Maddy’s efforts in making Amina’s family welcome in the neighborhood. Although the story is fiction, it provides some factual information in becoming a young entrepreneur to benefit your community.

This book is definitely beneficial for grade school children who are interested in learning about helping community members through teamwork. It’s great reading material for educators to offer students!

**This book is part of a series, but you don’t need to read them back to back to learn about Maddy and her friends!**

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Synopsis

On a trip to the science museum, Maddy learns that bees are fast becoming endangered. As someone with a strong concern for the environment (and a keen love of honey!), she wants to bring a hive to her school. Unfortunately, the beekeeper at the community garden is struggling with her business. Maddy comes up with her sweetest plan yet: a honey-focused booth at the farmers market. The profits will save the beekeeper’s business and the beekeeper will give Maddy’s school its own hive. Maddy’s learned a lot about business, but things get sticky when she translates her skills to the conservation world. Aligned to Common Core standards and correlated to state standards.

Do you enjoy reading Children’s stories? Feel free to share!

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Friday Reads: May 22

I began reading the book Inconvenient Daughter by Lauren K. Sharkey. I received this story through NetGalley and Kaylie Jones Books. From what I learned about this book so far, it centers around a young woman struggling to find peace with her identity as an adopted person.

What books are you planning on reading this weekend? Feel free to share!

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