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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Waiting on Wednesday: June 3

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme originally created by Jill @Breaking The Spine. This post spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.

This Week’s Post

The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi
Wednesday Books
Release Date: September 22, 2020

I was so thankful to receive a NetGalley arc of The Silvered Serpents a few months ago! It has everything I love about the eccentric group I first got to know in The Gilded Wolves. All that I will say is this: Prepare for a story of surprises!

Synopsis

They are each other’s fiercest love, greatest danger, and only hope.

Séverin and his team members might have successfully thwarted the Fallen House, but victory came at a terrible cost ― one that still haunts all of them. Desperate to make amends, Séverin pursues a dangerous lead to find a long lost artifact rumoured to grant its possessor the power of God.

Their hunt lures them far from Paris, and into icy heart of Russia where crystalline ice animals stalk forgotten mansions, broken goddesses carry deadly secrets, and a string of unsolved murders makes the crew question whether an ancient myth is a myth after all.

As hidden secrets come to the light and the ghosts of the past catch up to them, the crew will discover new dimensions of themselves. But what they find out may lead them down paths they never imagined.

A tale of love and betrayal as the crew risks their lives for one last job.

What do you think about The Silvered Serpents? Do you think this will be on your TBR? Feel free to share!

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Waiting on Wednesday: May 27

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme originally created by Jill @Breaking The Spine. This post spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.

This Week’s Post

Lobizona by Romina Garber
Wednesday Books
Release Date: August 4, 2020

I read a NetGalley arc of Lobizona a couple months back, and I instantly fell in love with it! A story about witches and werewolves within present day Miami. This story also has strong Latinx representation, while addressing the issue of family separation. I already pre-ordered my copy! August cannot come soon enough!

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.


What do you think about Lobizona? Do you think this will be on your TBR? Feel free to share!

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Waiting on Wednesday: May 20

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme originally created by Jill @Breaking The Spine. This post spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.

This Week’s Post:

The Project by Courtney Summers

Ever since Courtney Summers shared news about The Project on Twitter, I got so excited! It sounds like it’s going to be one creepy read!

Synopsis

The next pulls-no-punches thriller from New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award-winning author Courtney Summers, about an aspiring young journalist determined to save her sister from a cult.

“The Unity Project saved my life.”

Lo Denham is used to being on her own. After her parents died, Lo’s sister, Bea, joined The Unity Project, leaving Lo in the care of their great aunt. Thanks to its extensive charitable work and community outreach, The Unity Project has won the hearts and minds of most in the Upstate New York region, but Lo knows there’s more to the group than meets the eye. She’s spent the last six years of her life trying–and failing–to prove it.

“The Unity Project murdered my son.”

When a man shows up at the magazine Lo works for claiming The Unity Project killed his son, Lo sees the perfect opportunity to expose the group and reunite with Bea once and for all. When her investigation puts her in the direct path of its charismatic and mysterious leader, Lev Warren, he proposes a deal: if she can prove the worst of her suspicions about The Unity Project, she may expose them. If she can’t, she must finally leave them alone.

But as Lo delves deeper into The Project, the lives of its members, and spends more time with Lev, it upends everything she thought she knew about her sister, herself, cults, and the world around her–to the point she can no longer tell what’s real or true. Lo never thought she could afford to believe in Lev Warren . . . but now she doesn’t know if she can afford not to.

Welcome to The Unity Project.

Are you also excited about The Project? Let me know in the comments!

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April 2020 Reading Wrap Up

You know, I thought that April would slow to a crawl since all we could really do (at least here in New Jersey) was to sit home. But surprisingly it flew right on by! And I actually read quite a bit this month!

During April, I read eight books:
–5 digital books
–3 physical books

Genres read:
–4 Contemporary
–3 Fantasy
–1 book of poetry
–1 Historical Fiction

Physical Books

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
Contemporary (5 Stars)
Purchased through Book of the Month

Silent Shadows (Harbored Secrets #3) by Natalie Waters
Contemporary/Romantic Suspense (4 Stars)
Received complimentary copy from Revell Reads

The Riot Grrrl Thing by Sara Larsen
Poetry (5 Stars)
Purchased at Labyrinth Books; Princeton, NJ

Digital Books

Lobizona by Romina Garber
YA Urban Fantasy/Contemporary (5 Stars)
Acquired through NetGalley

Story Magic by Laurel Gale
Middle Grade Fantasy (4 Stars)
Acquired through NetGalley and Jolly Fish Press

Magic by Mike Russell
Fantasy (4 Stars)
Acquired from the Publisher (Strange Books)

Things in Jars by Jess Kidd
Historical Fiction (5 Stars)
Acquired through Libby App

Formula For a Perfect Life by Christy Hayes
Contemporary (4 Stars)
Acquired complimentary copy from Prism Book Tours

I also began reading Sorcery of Thorns this week, but I will share more about this story in another post. I love the story so far!

What books did you read during April? Feel free to comment below!



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‘Lobizona’ by Romina Garber/Mini Book Review

Lobizona by Romina Garber
Publisher: Wednesday Books
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. A story that blends in urban fantasy and folklore, while bringing the issues of immigration/family separation in America to the forefront! Romina Garber brings attention to these conflicts beautifully, painting Manuela (Manu) as a girl who longs to be part of society, yet her undocumented status forces her into hiding.

I loved how Manu explores both worlds (her family life in Miami, and her school life within El Labriento (The Labyrinth) with the urgency to belong, yet her status in both of these realms make this desire risky. Manu learns many lessons about her lineage along the journey, one that bends the line of gender and social norms!

‘Lobizona’ is a novel that highlights a girl becoming aware of her strengths while seeking her true lineage, while encountering obstacles and valuable connections. It’s a book that addresses the crisis of family separation through a young woman quest to discover her truth. I can’t wait for this book to come out in August!

Rating: 5/5 Stars

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 Quotes: Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan (April 11)

I hope everyone is having a smooth Saturday!

Since Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan (Wednesday Books) was released a few days ago, I decided to post some book quotes that really resonated for me while reading it.

Make sure you order your copy of both Wicked Saints and Ruthless Gods. It’s a wonderful gothic fantasy!

Book Quotes:

‘I know the truth of the darkness you harbor’.

“Her grasp of…reality is questionable.”
“Speak for yourself,” Nadya muttered.

‘The gods had a twisted sense of humor to send him right back to her right when she was trying to save an abomination of a boy instead.’

‘If this is all a game to you, I don’t want any part of it.’
“Yes,” he said sharply. “Because I’m nothing but a monster. It’s what I always will be.”

“Please don’t make me want to toss you over the edge more than I already do.”
He glanced down dubiously. “Oh, I’d survive that.”
“Pity.”

“She…cares,” he finally said.
“Not enough to help me keep my throne.”

I hope everyone has a calm weekend!

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Friday Reads: April 10

I’m about halfway through Lobizona by Romina Garber. I’m just swept away by the reality of the Miami, Florida setting and the Argentinian folklore woven into the story. I’m sure it’s going to be quite a ride once things pick up!

I did discover one thing that I’m not too thrilled about…nothing story related, but the face that the publication date is pushed back to August. I should have expected it, considering the pandemic we’re all experiencing has caused delays and postponements all around. I was surprised about the news, but I can wait. It will just build up the excitement!

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Reading Blog: April 9

Today I began reading ‘Lobizona’ by Romina Garber. It’s a YA novel handling the relevant issues of immigration and family separation intensely. Thank you to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for providing me a digital copy!

I’m about 30% through, and it’s revealed quite a lot about Manu and her existence. She’s lost so much and gained so much knowledge within a 24 hour span. I’m curious to see what happens next as the book progresses!

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‘Ruthless Gods’ by Emily A. Duncan/OwlCrate edition

Happy book birthday to ‘Ruthless Gods’ by Emily A. Duncan!

I read and reviewed an ARC from NetGalley a few months ago, and I was so glad that I received one (thank you NetGalley and Wednesday Books for the digital ARC)! My review for Ruthless Gods can be found here!

When OwlCrate put out a notice that an exclusive edition was being released, I immediately purchased one. I couldn’t wait to own a copy of the sequel to the ‘Something Dark and Holy’ series!

After patiently waiting, the book finally arrived! It also came with some interesting treats that I can’t wait to share with you!

This pin looks so lovely!
This book looks so stunning!
Such gorgeous artwork inside the cover jacket!

Thank you OwlCrate for this wonderful special edition of ‘Ruthless Gods’!