‘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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Paranormal Romance/Blogtober Day 19

I’m participating in The Library Looter & Anniek’s Library Blogtober challenge.

Paranormal romance is such a popular storyline in many books, and I love diving into them! Here are some of my favorite stories within this genre:

Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Minion by L.A. Banks

Zombie Ohio: A Tale of the Undead by Scott Kenemore

The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod Series by Z. Brewer

Feel free to add your favorite paranormal romance tale in the comments!

Orange Book Covers/Blogtober Day 18

Along with yellow and red, orange is a very popular autumn color. Since it’s Blogtober, it’s only fitting that I highlight some books with Orange on the cover!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

The Girl Who Played With Fire by Steig Larsson

Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne Oelke

‘Kingdom Cold’ Trilogy by Brittni Chenelle/Review & Aesthetic Board

I thought of how I’d reacted negatively to meeting Young the night before. How I’d seen him as the chain that would lock me in the castle forever, but the man standing in front of me was different. Each brazen move of his body whispered one thing: predator‘.

I’m happy to be a part of the ‘Kingdom Cold’ trilogy blog tour! Thank you to Shealea and Caffiene Book Tours for giving me the opportunity to review these stories.

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved these stories! It’s a tale of an arrange marriage disrupted due to fractured alliances, and mysterious figures with a questionable past. I was immediately drawn to Charlotte’s leadership abilities in the face of strife. Brittini Chenelle beautifully wrote a story with many twists and turns, and I was delighted to find out what would happen next to Charlotte and Prince Young. These two character were brought together through ‘less-than-ideal’ circumstances, and throughout the books we learn how these two characters triumph in the face of great responsibility thrown upon them in such an early age.

If you love a story that’s filled with strong female characters persevering among great conflict, then these books are for you!

About the Author

5 Fast Facts about Brittni Chenelle (from Goodreads):

1) She lives in South Korea.
It’s true. She does most of her updates in the morning or at night to account for the time difference. She also infuses most of her novels with her observations about Korean culture.

2) She’s a Type 1 Diabetic.
She uses an insulin pump for survival and refers to her diabetes as “Beetie” which is what inspired her children’s book “Life with Beetie”. When she wants something from her parents she tells them, “My Beetie hurts.” It’s a trick that has never failed her.

3) She doesn’t really BELIEVE in fiction.
Despite all the; Dragons, Elves, and Magic present in her novel “Involuted the Tale of the Red Ribbon Tree”, Brittni INSISTS that it’s a true story. I wouldn’t normally believe it but when browsing some of her old pictures, you can find pictures of her with a mysterious red ribbon tied to her wrist.

4) She’s OBSESSED with dark chocolate.
She made me put that in and would also like me to inform you (on an unrelated note) that her birthday is in May.

5) She loves video games, anime, and cosplay.
Favorite games: League of Legends, Stardew Valley, Pokemon. Favorite Anime: Avatar the Last Airbender, Your lie in April, Full Metal Alchemist. Cosplay: She once dressed as Korra from Legend of Korra. She’s hoping there will be more brown characters for her to cosplay in the future.

Come check out the rest of the Blog Tour!


September Reading Blog: Week 3

It’s hard to believe that we’re approaching Fall! While I prepare myself for warm gatherings and spooky celebrations, I have some progress with my reading.

I finished ‘Tunnel of Bones’ by Victoria Schwab, and it was such an enjoyable read! It has the feel of a spooky, Halloween style tale, with a feel-good connection of close friendships.

Today I began reading ‘Kingdom Cold’ by Brittni Chenelle. From what I can tell so far, it’s following the ‘hate-to-love’ trope, that can be very entertaining to read! I’m reading it for a Creative Blog Tour, and some ideas are flowing already!

New Releases for Sept 2019

I get so enthused for the start of the fall season, and seeking new books to add to my collection makes things extra special! I have a few selections listed for this month.

Tunnel of Bones by Victoria (V.E.) Schwab

Adventures in Paris unfold in this next installment of Cassidy Blake’s life, as she navigates the Veil with her ghostly best friend Jacob! (Released Sept. 3rd)

‘The Institute’ by Stephen King

A group of children gifted with telekinesis are held captive at a facility, by people whose motives are dangerously unclear. It definitely sounds like a ‘good-vs-evil’ scenario in the making! (Release date: Sept 10)

‘The Testaments’ by Margaret Atwood

This anticipated sequel takes place 15 years after the events told in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. Whether you’re a fan of the books or the Hulu adaptation, it’s sure to be a definite page-turner! (Release date: Sept 10)

‘Red At the Bone’ by Jacqueline Woodson

An unplanned pregnancy intertwines the fate of two families, as Jacqueline Woodson tells a powerful story of multi-generational legacy in Brooklyn. (Release date: Sept 17)

‘The Dutch House’ by Ann Patchett

Ann Patchett expresses the power of sibling bonds in the face of family complications. (Release date: Sept 24)

‘A Dream So Dark’ by L.L. McKinney

‘A Dream So Dark’ is the highly anticipated sequel to ‘A Blade So Black’, which follows Alice traversing through the Nightmare-verse of Wonderland, while making it home in time for curfew! (Release date: Sept. 24)

My TBR list for September

Summer is winding down, which usually means that spooky content is all around us! I saw these Peanuts Halloween cards displayed in Walmart yesterday, and got sooo excited!

I’m also looking forward to reading some books with dark content, as two pre-ordered reads are coming my way next month!

Tunnel of Bones by Victoria Schwab

‘Tunnel of Bones’ is the second installment of the Cassidy Blake series. After almost drowning when she was eleven, Cassidy has the ability to see ghosts, crossing into the ‘Veil’ at any given moment. Her best friend Jacob, a ghost himself, is also back to accompany Cassidy on a new adventure!

‘A Dream So Dark’ by L.L. Mikinney

When I finished reading ‘A Blade So Black last year, I pre-ordered the sequel immediately. I had to. After reading such an action-packed Alice in Wonderland retelling, with THAT cliffhanger, there was no question about it!

Sweet Melody by Heidi McCahan

‘Sweet Melody’ is a lighter read, as it tells the tale of Lindsay, a young entrepreneur and Rhett, a struggling artist as they work together to revitalize Lindsay’s food truck business. I will post my review as part of a blog tour in mid-September!

August 12: Reading Blog

I finally finished ‘Outlander’ the other day. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the story! I loved the historical descriptions of Scotland, especially when it was set in the 1700’s. There were lots of steamy scenes in the book, but I thought it was tastefully written. Will I read the next book in the series? Not right away lol, but I’m curious to find out what happens to Claire in the series.

I moved on to Crown of Feathers, by Nicki Pau Preto. It’s a Fantasy YA novel, and the main character has to masquerade as a boy in order to fulfill her quest. There’s a bond with a sister that’s fractured, so I’m interested in seeing what happens as I get further involved in the story.

I’m also reading ‘Color Me In’ this week, as part of my first blog tour! I’m taking part in Sazon Book Tours, and my day is sometime next week. I can’t wait to see what this story is all about!

August 2019 New Book Releases

I was going to write a July reading wrap-up, but the books I read were all part of The Reading Rush, and I wrote my thoughts on those amazing stories already! So, here is a post about the new book releases happening this month.

House of Salt and Sorrows
Delacorte Press
Genre: YA
Release Date: August 6, 2019

House of Salt and Sorrows is Erin Craig’s debut novel. It is a fairy tale retelling of ‘The Twelve Dancing Princesses’, centering around a young woman set in unraveling the mystery of her family’s immense bad luck. I received a copy through Netgalley a few months ago, and I absolutely enjoyed it!

The Third Mrs. Durst by Ann Aguirre
Midnight Ink Press

Genre: Suspense
Release Date: August 8, 2019

The Third Mrs. Durst by Ann Aguirre is a tale of obsession and control, as a woman sets out to solve her harrowing situation of being a prisoner in her own home. This story truly sounds like an intense read!

The Birthday Girl by Melissa De La Cruz
Dutton Books

Genre: Thriller
Release Date: August 6, 2019

The Birthday Girl tells the story of Ellie, a woman celebrating her 40th birthday with family and friends. While she achieved great success in her life, there are skeletons in her closet that threaten to reveal itself.

Because Ypu’re Mine by Rea Frey
St. Martin’s Griffin

Genre: Suspense
Release Date: August 6, 2019

Because You’re Mine by Rea Frey centers around a hard-working single mom named Lee, who leaves her son with a trusted tutor for a much deserved weekend away. A couple days later, someone is found dead, and secrets begin to unravel among Lee’s trusted friends. It definately sounds like a page-turner!

Color Me In by Natasha Diaz
Delacorte Books
Genre: YA
Release Date: August 20, 2019

Color Me In is a story of finding one’s identity in the aftermath of divorce. Neveah Levitz moves to her mother’s childhood home in Harlem, where she confronts hostility and misunderstandings about her biracial identity. I also received this book through NetGalley, and I look forward to sharing my thoughts on this story soon!

Professional Reader

My Disneyathon/August TBR

Next month I’m trying my hand at the Disneyathon (Disney Reasathon) throughout the month of August. I don’t need to read Disney-related stories (but I am tempted in reading the Descendants stories!), but this readathon is divided into teams. I signed up for Team Mulan; I already own one of the group books, and I love Princess Mulan!

The following are the prompts for Team Mulan:

Read a book with at least 500 words

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

I picked up Outlander a couple months ago, so I can’t wait to finally begin reading it! It’s well over 500 pages (almost 800!), and I haven’t watched the program (surprisingly), so it should be fun!

Synopsis:
The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord…1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

Read a book that features a ‘squad’

Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

The moment I heard about Emily Duncan’s debut novel, I wanted to buy it right away! It has a dark premise that I appreciate in stories. Very excited to finally read this book!

Synopsis:

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.
A prince in danger must decide who to trust.
A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings.

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy.


Read a book with a strong female lead

Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Prieto

I also received Crown of Feathers through OwlCrate. They put out great fantasy books! This is Nicki Pau Prieto’s debut novel.

Synopsis:
I had a sister, once…

In a world ruled by fierce warrior queens, a grand empire was built upon the backs of Phoenix Riders—legendary heroes who soared through the sky on wings of fire—until a war between two sisters ripped it all apart.

I promised her the throne would not come between us.

Sixteen years later, Veronyka is a war orphan who dreams of becoming a Phoenix Rider from the stories of old. After a shocking betrayal from her controlling sister, Veronyka strikes out alone to find the Riders—even if that means disguising herself as a boy to join their ranks.

But it is a fact of life that one must kill or be killed. Rule or be ruled.

Just as Veronyka finally feels like she belongs, her sister turns up and reveals a tangled web of lies between them that will change everything. And meanwhile, the new empire has learned of the Riders’ return and intends to destroy them once and for all.

Sometimes the title of queen is given. Sometimes it must be taken.

Read a YA Romance

Again, but Better by Christine Riccio

Again, but Better is Christine Riccio’s debut novel. She is a well known Book Tube personality who took the plunge in writing her first book!

Synopsis:
Shane has been doing college all wrong. Pre-med, stellar grades, and happy parents…sounds ideal—but Shane’s made zero friends, goes home every weekend, and romance…what’s that?
Her life has been dorm, dining hall, class, repeat. Time’s a ticking, and she needs a change—there’s nothing like moving to a new country to really mix things up. Shane signs up for a semester abroad in London. She’s going to right all her college mistakes: make friends, pursue boys, and find adventure!

Easier said than done. She is soon faced with the complicated realities of living outside her bubble, and when self-doubt sneaks in, her new life starts to fall apart.
Shane comes to find that, with the right amount of courage and determination one can conquer anything. Throw in some fate and a touch of magic—the possibilities are endless.


Group Book

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Team Mulan has the option of reading either Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim or Circe by Madeleine Miller. Since I already have a copy of Spin the Dawn (thanks to OwlCrate), this will be my group book of choice!

Synopsis:
Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.

Steeped in Chinese culture, sizzling with forbidden romance, and shimmering with magic, this young adult fantasy is pitch-perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas or Renée Ahdieh.