Goodreads Monday: March 2

I’m taking part in Goodreads Monday. This was started by Lauren’s Page Turners, in which you choose a book listed on your Goodreads TBR and talk about it.

This week’s post:

Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi

Why I Want To Read It:
When I first heard of Permanent Record, I loved the sound of this romance tale! Two young people trying to make it in New York City, trying to figure out life and love. I ordered the book through Book of the Month last month, so I can’t wait to start it in the future!

Goodreads Monday: February 17

I’m taking part in Goodreads Monday. This was started by Lauren’s Page Turners, in which you choose a book listed on your Goodreads TBR and talk about it.

This week’s post:

The Book Worm Crush by Lisa Brown Roberts

Synopsis:
Shy bookworm Amy McIntyre is about to compete for the chance to interview her favorite author, who hasn’t spoken to the press in years. The only way to win is to step out of the shadows and into the spotlight, but that level of confidence has never come easy.

The solution? A competition coach. The problem? The best person for the job is the guy she’s secretly crushing on…local surfer celebrity Toff Nichols.

He’s a player. He’s a heartthrob. He makes her forget basic things, like how to breathe. How can she feel any confidence around him?

To her surprise, Toff agrees to help. And he’s an excellent teacher. Amy feels braver—maybe even brave enough to admit her feelings for him. When their late night practices become less about coaching and more about making out, Amy’s newfound confidence wavers.

But does Toff really like her or is this just another lesson?

Why I Want to Read It:
I discovered this story on an Instagram giveaway a few months back. I didn’t win, but I would love to pick up a copy because the synopsis sounds like a fun story about two random people finding love!

Goodreads Monday: February 10

I’m taking part in Goodreads Monday. This was started by Lauren’s Page Turners, in which you choose a book listed on your Goodreads TBR and talk about it.

This week’s post:

I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi

Synopsis:
Seven days. Seven days. The Earth might end in seven days.

When news stations start reporting that Earth has been contacted by a planet named Alma, the world is abuzz with rumors that the alien entity is giving mankind only few days to live before they hit the kill switch on civilization.

For high school truant Jesse Hewitt, though, nothing has ever felt permanent. Not the guys he hooks up with. Not the jobs his underpaid mom works so hard to hold down. Life has dealt him one bad blow after another — so what does it matter if it all ends now? Cate Collins, on the other hand, is desperate to use this time to find the father she’s never met, the man she grew up hearing wild stories about, most of which she didn’t believe. And then there’s Adeem Khan. While coding and computer programming have always come easily to him, forgiveness doesn’t. He can’t seem to forgive his sister for leaving, even though it’s his last chance.

With only seven days to face their truths and right their wrongs, Jesse, Cate, and Adeem’s paths collide even as their worlds are pulled apart.

Why I Want to Read It:
I Hope You Get This Message was an OwlCrate selection from a couple months back, and I enjoyed the premise of a group of people trying their best to rectify faults on the brink of the world’s collapse. I can’t wait to take on this story!

Goodreads Monday: February 3

I’m taking part in Goodreads Monday. This was started by Lauren’s Page Turners, in which you choose a book listed on your Goodreads TBR and talk about it.

This week’s post:

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

Synopsis:

The secrets lurking in a rundown roadside motel ensnare a young woman, just as they did her aunt thirty-five years before, in this new atmospheric suspense novel from the national bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls.

Upstate NY, 1982. Every small town like Fell, New York, has a place like the Sun Down Motel. Some customers are from out of town, passing through on their way to someplace better. Some are locals, trying to hide their secrets. Viv Delaney works as the night clerk to pay for her move to New York City. But something isn’t right at the Sun Down, and before long she’s determined to uncover all of the secrets hidden…

Why I Want to Read It:
This story was my Book of the Month selection for January. I enjoy reading anything remotely suspenseful, so I’m looking forward to giving this book a chance!

Goodreads Monday: January 20

I’m taking part in Goodreads Monday. This was started by Lauren’s Page Turners, in which you choose a book listed on your Goodreads TBR and talk about it.

This week’s post:

When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago

Synopsis:
Esmeralda Santiago’s story begins in rural Puerto Rico, where her childhood was full of both tenderness and domestic strife, tropical sounds and sights as well as poverty. Growing up, she learned the proper way to eat a guava, the sound of tree frogs in the mango groves at night, the taste of the delectable sausage called morcilla, and the formula for ushering a dead baby’s soul to heaven. As she enters school we see the clash, both hilarious and fierce, of Puerto Rican and Yankee culture. When her mother, Mami, a force of nature, takes off to New York with her seven, soon to be eleven children, Esmeralda, the oldest, must learn new rules, a new language, and eventually take on a new identity. In this first volume of her much-praised, bestselling trilogy, Santiago brilliantly recreates the idyllic landscape and tumultuous family life of her earliest years and her tremendous journey from the barrio to Brooklyn, from translating for her mother at the welfare office to high honors at Harvard.

Why I Want to Read It:
Along time ago, when I began reaching out to like-minded people who shared my interests, a wonderful soul named Johanna introduced me to When I Was Puerto Rican. We were the only Latina members in this group, and she recommended this story to me since I was seeking out new material. I felt eternally grateful to Johanna! Now that I finally picked up Esmeralda Santiago’s book a couple months ago, I hope to finally read it soon!

Goodreads Monday: January 13

I’m taking part in Goodreads Monday. This was started by Lauren’s Page Turners, in which you choose a book listed on your Goodreads TBR and talk about it.

This week’s post:

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

Synopsis:
Twelve-year-old Aru Shah has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in at school. While her classmates are jetting off to family vacations in exotic locales, she’ll be spending her autumn break at home, in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, waiting for her mom to return from her latest archeological trip. Is it any wonder that Aru makes up stories about being royalty, traveling to Paris, and having a chauffeur?

One day, three schoolmates show up at Aru’s doorstep to catch her in a lie. They don’t believe her claim that the museum’s Lamp of Bharata is cursed, and they dare Aru to prove it. Just a quick light, Aru thinks. Then she can get herself out of this mess and never ever fib again.

But lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees the Sleeper, an ancient demon whose duty it is to awaken the God of Destruction. Her classmates and beloved mother are frozen in time, and it’s up to Aru to save them.

The only way to stop the demon is to find the reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers, protagonists of the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata, and journey through the Kingdom of Death. But how is one girl in Spider-Man pajamas supposed to do all that?

Why I Want to Read It:
I enjoy reading Roshani Chokshi’s stories, so I would love to see how one of her Middle Grade stories are written!

ARC review: ‘Don’t Read the Comments’ by Eric Smith

Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Acquired through NetGalley
Release Date: January 28, 2020

Synopsis:

Divya Sharma is a queen. Or she is when she’s playing Reclaim the Sun, the year’s hottest online game. Divya—better known as popular streaming gamer D1V—regularly leads her #AngstArmada on quests through the game’s vast and gorgeous virtual universe. But for Divya, this is more than just a game. Out in the real world, she’s trading her rising-star status for sponsorships to help her struggling single mom pay the rent.

Gaming is basically Aaron Jericho’s entire life. Much to his mother’s frustration, Aaron has zero interest in becoming a doctor like her, and spends his free time writing games for a local developer. At least he can escape into Reclaim the Sun—and with a trillion worlds to explore, disappearing should be easy. But to his surprise, he somehow ends up on the same remote planet as celebrity gamer D1V.

At home, Divya and Aaron grapple with their problems alone, but in the game, they have each other to face infinite new worlds…and the growing legion of trolls populating them. Soon the virtual harassment seeps into reality when a group called the Vox Populi begin launching real-world doxxing campaigns, threatening Aaron’s dreams and Divya’s actual life. The online trolls think they can drive her out of the game, but everything and everyone Divya cares about is on the line…

And she isn’t going down without a fight.

My Thoughts:

I received Don’t Read the Comments from NetGalley and Inkyard Press, in exchange for an honest review.

Don’t Read the Comments was a very amusing and emotional story about the online gaming community. The characters Divya and Aaron live their lives as young adults trying to make life better for their families while playing their favorite game Reclaim the Sun. Diverse representation was also proudly featured in this story, having the main characters be people of color.

Don’t Read the Comments describes the harassment women face within the gaming community in explicit detail. It was truly heartbreaking reading about Divya’s dilemma as online trolls threaten her very livelihood, and that of her close friends. The story also details the apathy many people carry around when it comes to the safety of children playing online games. These are different times, where many social experiences are communicated online.

The overall themes expressed in this story are friendship and trust. Divya and Aaron live in separate regions, yet they learn to communicate without reservation from the moment they’re placed together by circumstance. It was sweet reading each interaction as they learn more about each other’s lives!

Don’t Read the Comments is a heartfelt book that features the power of community within the gaming world. I highly recommend it!

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Goodreads Monday: January 6

I’m taking part in Goodreads Monday. This was started by Lauren’s Page Turners, in which you choose a book listed on your Goodreads TBR and talk about it.

This week’s post:

Lobizona by Romina Garber

Synopsis:
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.

Why I Want to Read It:
I’m getting into reading urban fantasy stories, and this tale has an all-too-real backstory of family separation. This topic is covered heavily in today’s headlines. I’m hopeful that I can finally read the digital ARC of Lobizona next month!

‘The Dead Girls Club’ by Damien Angelica Walters/A Review

The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters
Genre: Thriller
Length: 282 pages
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Acquired through NetGalley
Release Date: December 10, 2019

Synopsis:
Red Lady, Red Lady, show us your face…

In 1991, Heather Cole and her friends were members of the Dead Girls Club. Obsessed with the macabre, the girls exchanged stories about serial killers and imaginary monsters, like the Red Lady, the spirit of a vengeful witch killed centuries before. Heather knew the stories were just that, until her best friend Becca began insisting the Red Lady was real–and she could prove it.

That belief got Becca killed.

It’s been nearly thirty years, but Heather has never told anyone what really happened that night–that Becca was right and the Red Lady was real. She’s done her best to put that fateful summer, Becca, and the Red Lady, behind her. Until a familiar necklace arrives in the mail, a necklace Heather hasn’t seen since the night Becca died.

The night Heather killed her.

Now, someone else knows what she did…and they’re determined to make Heather pay.

My Thoughts:
*I received The Dead Girls Club through NetGalley, in exchange of an honest review*

From the start of reading The Dead Girls Club, you could see that Heather Cole is a woman living with the huge burden of guilt from the past. As the story progresses, Heather’s guilt causes her to spiral into delirium, each mysterious ‘gift’ further impacting her situation.

The Dead Girls Club tells the story in a dual timeline, featuring the relationship of Heather Cole and Rebecca (Becca) Thomas: the first timeline featuring Heather in the present time, and the second highlighting Heather and Becca’s relationship when they were 12 years old. Along with two other girls, they share tales about serial killers and other dangerous stories. After some time, Becca begins sharing a tale about the Red Lady, taking the group along a path that forever effects their relationship.

One thing that The Dead Girls Club does wonderfully is feature the complex dynamic of female relationships. Women navigate the complicated process of gaining (and maintaining) trust in each other from a very young age, and this is featured prominently throughout the novel. With the loss of Becca, Heather’s desire to maintain close friendships are thrown in a loop. The realization that someone may be aware of Heather’s past pushes her into deep distrust with everyone around her.

The Dead Girls Club definitely kept me on edge, and reading both aspects of Heather’s life left me with a uneasy feeling as to what might happen next. I really enjoyed reading this story of loss and mystery in the name of friendship.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Anticipated Reads for 2020

As 2020 is rapidly approaching, there are some really great books that I just can’t wait to get my hands on!

Here’s a list of some books that I can’t wait to read during 2020:

Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith
Release Date: Jan. 28

I recently received the eARC of Don’t Read the Comments through NetGalley, and I’m so excited! This story centers around two teens who turn to the gaming world to escape their ‘real life’ dilemmas, yet they soon face harassment from the same online community they trust.

Heart of Flames by Nicki Pau Preto
Release Date: Feb. 11

Heart of Flames is the sequel to Crown of Feathers, and I can’t wait to dive in! I have Crown of Feathers, and I really need to read it before the second book comes out!

We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry
Release Date: March 3

We Ride Upon Sticks tells the story of a women’s hockey team with magic on their side! This novel is also set in the 80s. I’m ready for the nostalgia!

Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan
Release Date: April 7

I’m so looking forward to picking up Ruthless Gods! NetGalley provided me with an eARC recently, and it left me stunned! I can’t wait to purchase a final copy of the book when April rolls around!

Lobizona by Romina Garber
Release Date: May 5

Lobizona is a urban fantasy tale that also tackles the real life headline of family separation. I’m so prepared for the ride!

The Mall by Megan McCafferty
Release Date: June 9

The Mall is set in the early 90s, following the life of a recent high school grad working a summer job, planning her future in college with the man of her dreams. This immediately brings me back to my mall life in the early-mid 90s in New Jersey (where this novel is also set)!

We Free the Stars by Hafsah Faizal
Release Date: July 7

I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am about this book coming out! I absolutely adored We Hunt the Flame, and I know that Faizal’s follow-up will be just as stunning!

More Than Just a Pretty Face by Syed M. Masood
Release Date: August 4

I love a contemporary romance with diverse characters! This story involves finding love and acceptance in the face of familial expectations. I’m definitely intrigued!

The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi
Release Date: September 22

The Silvered Serpents is another of my ‘can’t wait releases’ of 2020! I very much enjoyed the eARC of The Silvered Serpents (thank you NetGalley!), and the end of the story definitely left me wanting more! You should definitely run out and buy this book when it comes out during the Fall!

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab (Cover not yet revealed)
Release Date: October 6

The moment I heard about the plot (a woman who sells her soul to the devil, yet he curses her to be forgotten by everyone she meets), I immediately wanted this in my hands!

**Note: I couldn’t find releases during November and December, so here are two more books–also coming out in 2020–that I can’t wait to read**

Bridge of Souls by Victoria Schwab
Release Date: September 1

Bridge of Souls is the third book in the Cassidy Blake series (a young girl who has the ability to cross over the ‘Veil’ in order to speak to the dead).

A Crown So Cursed by L.L. McKinney
Release Date: September 22

A Crown So Cursed is Book 3 in the Nightmare-Verse series. I can’t wait to learn what happens next in Wonderland!

That’s all of the stories for now! I’m sure that even more tales will emerge as 2020 unfolds!