Monday, August 10, 2020

{Blog Tour: Excerpt} Lobizona by Romina Garber



Hey, guys!

Who's ready for a badass fantasy novel based on Argentine folklore mixed with phenomenal, relevant themes? If you love fantasy stories based on lush mythology and lore, paranormal aspects, werewolves, and fascinating characters, you will love Lobizona!

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.

{Buy Here!}


Lobizona: A Novel by Romina Garber, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble®


Early Praise:


“With vivid characters that take on a life of their own, beautiful details that peel back the curtain on Romina's Argentinian heritage, and cutting prose that shines a light on the difficulties of being the ‘other’ in America today, Romina Garber crafts a timely tale of identity and adventure that every teenager should read.”–Tomi Adeyemi New York Times bestselling author of Children of Blood and Bone


“Romina Garber has created an enthralling young adult fantasy led by an unforgettable Latinx character Manu. In Manu, we find a young girl who not only must contend with the injustice of being undocumented she also discovers a hidden world that may explain her very existence. I fell in love with this world where wolves, witches, and magic thrives, all in a rich Latinx setting!” –Lilliam Rivera, author of Dealing in Dreams and The Education of Margot Sanchez

EXCERPT

Chapter 2

I awaken with a jolt.

It takes me a moment to register that I’ve been out for three days. I can tell by the well-rested feeling in my bones—I don’t sleep this well any other time of the month.

The first thing I’m aware of as I sit up is an urgent need to use the bathroom. My muscles are heavy from lack of use, and it takes some concentration to keep my steps light so I won’t wake Ma or Perla. I leave the lights off to avoid meeting my gaze in the mirror, and after tossing out my heavy-duty period pad and replacing it with a tampon, I tiptoe back to Ma’s and my room.

I’m always disoriented after lunaritis, so I feel separate from my waking life as I survey my teetering stacks of journals and used books, Ma’s yoga mat and collection of weights, and the posters on the wall of the planets and constellations I hope to visit one day.

After a moment, my shoulders slump in disappointment.

This month has officially peaked.

I yank the bleach-stained blue sheets off the mattress and slide out the pillows from their cases, balling up the bedding to wash later. My body feels like a crumpled piece of paper that needs to be stretched, so I plant my feet together in the tiny area between the bed and the door, and I raise my hands and arch my back, lengthening my spine disc by disc. The pull on my tendons releases stored tension, and I exhale in relief.

Something tugs at my consciousness, an unresolved riddle that must have timed out when I surfaced . . . but the harder I focus, the quicker I forget. Swinging my head forward, I reach down to touch my toes and stretch my spine the other way—

My ears pop so hard, I gasp.

I stumble back to the mattress, and I cradle my head in my hands as a rush of noise invades my mind. The buzzing of a fly in the window blinds, the gunning of a car engine on the street below, the groaning of our building’s prehistoric elevator. Each sound is so crisp, it’s like a filter was just peeled back from my hearing.

My pulse picks up as I slide my hands away from my temples to trace the outlines of my ears. I think the top parts feel a little . . . pointier.

I ignore the tingling in my eardrums as I cut through the living room to the kitchen, and I fill a stained green bowl with cold water. Ma’s asleep on the turquoise couch because we don’t share our bed this time of the month. She says I thrash around too much in my drugged dreams.

I carefully shut the apartment door behind me as I step out into the building’s hallway, and I crack open our neighbor’s window to slide the bowl through. A black cat leaps over to lap up the drink.

“Hola, Mimitos,” I say, stroking his velvety head. Since we’re both confined to this building, I hear him meowing any time his owner, Fanny, forgets to feed him. I think she’s going senile.

“I’ll take you up with me later, after lunch. And I’ll bring you some turkey,” I add, shutting the window again quickly. I usually let him come with me, but I prefer to spend the mornings after lunaritis alone. Even if I’m no longer dreaming, I’m not awake either.

My heart is still beating unusually fast as I clamber up six flights of stairs. But I savor the burn of my sedentary muscles, and when at last I reach the highest point, I swing open the door to the rooftop.

It’s not quite morning yet, and the sky looks like blue-tinged steel. Surrounding me are balconies festooned with colorful clotheslines, broken-down properties with boarded- up windows, fuzzy-leaved palm trees reaching up from the pitted streets . . . and in the distance, the ground and sky blur where the Atlantic swallows the horizon.

El Retiro is a rundown apartment complex with all elderly residents—mostly Cuban, Colombian, Venezuelan, Nicara- guan, and Argentine immigrants. There’s just one slow, loud elevator in the building, and since I’m the youngest person here, I never use it in case someone else needs it.

I came up here hoping for a breath of fresh air, but since it’s summertime, there’s no caress of a breeze to greet me. Just the suffocating embrace of Miami’s humidity.

Smothering me.

I close my eyes and take in deep gulps of musty oxygen, trying to push the dread down to where it can’t touch me. The way Perla taught me to do whenever I get anxious.

My metamorphosis started this year. I first felt something was different four full moons ago, when I no longer needed to squint to study the ground from up here. I simply opened my eyes to perfect vision.

The following month, my hair thickened so much that I had to buy bigger clips to pin it back. Next menstrual cycle came the growth spurt that left my jeans three inches too short, and last lunaritis I awoke with such a heightened sense of smell that I could sniff out what Ma and Perla had for dinner all three nights I was out.

It’s bad enough to feel the outside world pressing in on me, but now even my insides are spinning out of my control.

As Perla’s breathing exercises relax my thoughts, I begin to feel the stirrings of my dreamworld calling me back. I slide onto the rooftop’s ledge and lie back along the warm cement, my body as stagnant as the stale air. A dragon-shaped cloud comes apart like cotton, and I let my gaze drift with Miami’s hypnotic sky, trying to call up the dream’s details before they fade . . .

What Ma and Perla don’t know about the Septis is they don’t simply sedate me for sixty hours—they transport me.

Every lunaritis, I visit the same nameless land of magic and mist and monsters. There’s the golden grass that ticks off time by turning silver as the day ages; the black-leafed trees that can cry up storms, their dewdrop tears rolling down their bark to form rivers; the colorful waterfalls that warn onlookers of oncoming danger; the hope-sucking Sombras that dwell in darkness and attach like parasitic shadows . . .

And the Citadel.

It’s a place I instinctively know I’m not allowed to go, yet I’m always trying to get to. Whenever I think I’m going to make it inside, I wake up with a start.

Picturing the black stone wall, I see the thorny ivy that twines across its surface like a nest of guardian snakes, slithering and bunching up wherever it senses a threat.

The sharper the image, the sleepier I feel, like I’m slowly sliding back into my dream until I reach my hand out tentatively. If I could just move faster than the ivy, I could finally grip the opal doorknob before the thorns—

Howling breaks my reverie.

I blink, and the dream disappears as I spring to sitting and scour the battered buildings. For a moment, I’m sure I heard a wolf.

My spine locks at the sight of a far more dangerous threat: A cop car is careening in the distance, its lights flashing and siren wailing. Even though the black-and-white is still too far away to see me, I leap down from the ledge and take cover behind it, the old mantra running through my mind.

Don’t come here, don’t come here, don’t come here.

A familiar claustrophobia claws at my skin, an affliction forged of rage and shame and powerlessness that’s been my companion as long as I’ve been in this country. Ma tells me I should let her worry about this stuff and only concern myself with studying, so when our papers come through, I can take my GED and one day make it to NASA—but it’s impossible not to worry when I’m constantly having to hide.

My muscles don’t uncoil until the siren’s howling fades and the police are gone, but the morning’s spell of stillness has broken. A door slams and I instinctively turn toward the pink building across the street that’s tattooed with territorial graffiti. Where the alternate version of me lives.

I call her Other Manu.

The first thing I ever noticed about her was her Argentine fútbol jersey: #10 Lionel Messi. Then I saw her face and realized we look a lot alike. I was reading Borges at the time, and it occurred to me that she and I could be the same person in overlapping parallel universes.

But it’s an older man and not Other Manu who lopes down the street. She wouldn’t be up this early on a Sunday anyway. I arch my back again, and thankfully this time, the only pop I hear is in my joints.

The sun’s golden glare is strong enough that I almost wish I had my sunglasses. But this rooftop is sacred to me because it’s the only place where Ma doesn’t make me wear them, since no one else comes up here.

I’m reaching for the stairwell door when I hear it.

Faint footsteps are growing louder, like someone’s racing up. My heart shoots into my throat, and I leap around the corner right as the door swings open.

The person who steps out is too light on their feet to be someone who lives here. No El Retiro resident could make it up the stairs that fast. I flatten myself against the wall.

“Creo que encontré algo, pero por ahora no quiero decir nada.”

Whenever Ma is upset with me, I have a habit of translating her words into English without processing them. I asked Perla about it to see if it’s a common bilingual thing, and she said it’s probably my way of keeping Ma’s anger at a distance; if I can deconstruct her words into language—something detached that can be studied and dissected—I can strip them of their charge.

As my anxiety kicks in, my mind goes into automatic translation mode: I think I found something, but I don’t want to say anything yet.

The woman or girl (it’s hard to tell her age) has a deep, throaty voice that’s sultry and soulful, yet her singsongy accent is unquestionably Argentine. Or Uruguayan. They sound similar.

My cheek is pressed to the wall as I make myself as flat as possible, in case she crosses my line of vision.

“Si tengo razón, me harán la capitana más joven en la his- toria de los Cazadores.”

If I’m right, they’ll make me the youngest captain in the history of the . . . Cazadores? That means hunters.

In my eight years living here, I’ve never seen another person on this rooftop. Curious, I edge closer, but I don’t dare peek around the corner. I want to see this stranger’s face, but not badly enough to let her see mine.

“¿El encuentro es ahora? Che, Nacho, ¿vos no me podrías cubrir?”

Is the meeting right now? Couldn’t you cover for me, Nacho?

The che and vos sound like Argentinespeak. What if it’s Other Manu?

The exciting possibility brings me a half step closer, and now my nose is inches from rounding the corner. Maybe I can sneak a peek without her noticing.

“Okay,” I hear her say, and her voice sounds like she’s just a few paces away.

I suck in a quick inhale, and before I can overthink it, I pop my head out—

And see the door swinging shut.

I scramble over and tug it open, desperate to spot even a hint of her hair, any clue at all to confirm it was Other Manu— but she’s already gone.

All that remains is a wisp of red smoke that vanishes with the swiftness of a morning cloud.

AUTHOR BIO


ROMINA GARBER (pen name Romina Russell) is a New York Times and international bestselling author. Originally from Argentina, she landed her first writing gig as a teen—a weekly column for the Miami Herald that was later nationally syndicated—and she hasn’t stopped writing since. Her books include Lobizona. When she’s not working on a novel, Romina can be found producing movie trailers, taking photographs, or daydreaming about buying a new drum set. She is a graduate of Harvard College and a Virgo to the core.


Happy reading and stay safe!
Olivia
Liv the Book Nerd ~



Wednesday, August 5, 2020

{Review} Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes (The Hunger Games #0.5) by Suzanne Collins

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Page count:  439
Published on: May 9, 2020
Published by: Scholastic Press
Genres: YA dystopia, science fiction

Rating: 4 stars

Goodreads synopsis:

It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capital, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to outcharm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute.

The odds are against him. He's been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined -- every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute... and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.

~ ~ ~

Hey, guys!

When Ballad was first announced, I was really excited to dive back into the world of the Hunger Games, but really, I was just ecstatic to read more from Suzanne Collins. Her books and style are just so well done and give me so much nostalgia for a simpler time. When I first read the Hunger Games series, I was in middle school and the class that I was in was so much fun. I've never had a classroom dynamic like that since. Additionally, Collins' Underland Chronicles are just freaking fantastic. I definitely want to do a reread soon because they are flawless. Read them.

Surprisingly, Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes was genuinely a good read and didn't disappoint. I'm not saying that because it was a nostalgic experience, I'm really impressed with how this book was written. 

There are a lot of readers who were just not happy with how this book was laid out and I can see how their reading experience would lead them to their conclusions. However, I fully believe that everyone reads differently. When I started this book I was purely looking to have my questions answered when it comes to how Snow became so freaking evil, how the Capitol became what it was, and how the war went down initially.  

Snow is obviously malevolent and the bad guy in the original trilogy. There was no way that Collins could escape the actual terror that Snow inflicted upon so many people. But -- hear me out. Reading how his villain origin story developed was deliciously fascinating. When I read this book, I found myself really connecting with Snow. His thought processes were flawed, but his grappling feelings about good, evil, morality, justice, etc. were so fascinating. He seems to be a fairly morally gray character at first, but he really dives deep into his flawed, greedy perspective as the novel develops. It's just so interesting to me! To me, Ballad is fascinating because it's a character study, an examination of how a great nation can fall into evil and greed, and how hardship can cause a nation to be incredibly divided and brainwashed into separatist ideals. 

This book wasn't perfect. There were moments where I felt like things were drawn out too far and the pacing would lag. The romance? -- Shouldn't have happened. However, I enjoyed the dynamic between the two, but I really wish that the book had been broken up between Lucy Gray and Snow's perspective in a sort of dual perspective execution. I feel like it would have really added a sense of complexity to the whole situation. While Lucy Gray was incredibly mysterious and smart, I really wanted a peek into her mind. I have so many questions about her intentions and character development. I would have loved to get a glimpse of her experience in the arena. The parts about the development of the Games and the behind the scenes parts of the Games were interesting, but it grew kind of tiresome and bleh because we weren't in the thick of the action.     

Though the last 40% of the book was a bit slow and the stakes were supposed to be high, but you knew they were pretty low considering you knew Snow would eventually become what he is. But, I still enjoyed so many of the smaller elements. There were so many lovely references to the original trilogy and even more hints toward how Katniss's world became so bleak. I really enjoyed the stepping stones that Collins laid out that led you to discover how so many practices, laws, etc. came to be -- especially in the Capitol and District 12. 

Overall, I really liked this book. It made me incredibly emotional and the analysis that I did while reading this book made me really nostalgic for the original trilogy, really overwhelmed and sad for the world we are in today (because there were so many elements that were far too relevant, and it just made me have even more questions. I would have loved to have a sort of anthology with the history of Panem, the history of the games, and the influence that each of the Games had on Panem's overall culture and way of life. I love Suzanne Collins and I cannot wait to read more from her. 

I definitely encourage you to check this out if you're interested. It's a pretty polarizing read, but I think a lot of HG lovers will find things to take from it.

If you're interested to read my thoughts on the Hunger Games trilogy (2015-reread), I have a full series review up on my blog. If you're interested in reading my thoughts or following a reading vlog where I discuss the books with what I've learned from my last 4 years of college, let me know! I'd love to reread, annotate, and analyze these books. 

Happy reading,
Olivia
~ Liv the Book Nerd ~

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

{DNF} Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller


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Page count: 329
Published by: Feiwel & Friends
Published on: February 26, 2019
Genres: YA Fantasy & Romance

Rating: DNF @ 50%

Goodreads synopsis:

How do you kill a god?

As her father's chosen heir, eighteen-year-old Rasmira has trained her whole life to become a warrior and lead her village. But when her coming-of-age trial is sabotaged and she fails the test, her father banishes her to the monster-filled wilderness with an impossible quest: To win back her honor, she must kill the oppressive god who claims tribute from the villages each year—or die trying.

~ ~ ~

Hey, guys!

"How do you kill a god?"

I'd love to know! 

When diving into Tricia Levenseller's 2019 stand-alone, Warrior of the Wild, I was excited to start another novel inspired by one of my favorite mythologies and ancient cultures, the Vikings, and Norse mythology. The entire premise of this novel had me at the edge of my seat. All I wanted to know was how this story would pan out, would I love the characters, was the god-like Loki? Would I fall in love with the god? Would I fall in love with Rasmira?

Unfortunately, within a few chapters, I wasn't quite enjoying the story. The writing style was really simple, the world-building was incredibly lacking, and the stakes just didn't seem all that pressing to me. Rasmira was incredibly annoying and whiney. When she could possibly have a breakthrough and change her perspective, there wasn't much of an actual period of change. If she was questioned or confronted she just would say "oh okay," explain common-sense ideas and concepts, and then move on. It just was just so surface level to me. I didn't enjoy it. 

Additionally, the relationships established in the first section of the book didn't seem genuine at all. The relationships Rasmira has with her parents and siblings and the guy just wasn't it. They read as very forced and unbelievable to me. It just didn't jive with me. 

While I only managed to read half of the book before marking it as a DNF, I just feel like what I read was really unsatisfactory. It was all so shallow and surface level. The novel is quite short, but it didn't have any substance to keep me interested. The "Viking inspired worldbuilding" was just not there. There was hardly any actual interesting world-building. The only comparison I could make would be the intensity of the society and the use of axes. 

Overall, the half of the book that I read was forced, had unnecessary pining and romance, surface-level world and character building, and a main character that I could hardly tolerate. 

This just wasn't for me at all.

What are some of your favorite mythology-inspired reads?

Happy reading!
Olivia
~ Liv the Book Nerd ~


Sunday, August 2, 2020

{Reading Wrap Up} July 2020

Hey, guys!

This month I read so many books! I'm really excited about the lovely stories I've read this month. August is going to be even better. I'm really excited about my TBR. Please stay tuned because I plan on either posting about it on bookstagram or going live on Instagram and posting it to my IGTV

Here are the books I read!


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5 stars

Chloe Brown has a piece of my heart. When first reading her story, I fell head-over-heels in love with Talia Hibbert's style, wit, and the relationships that come from the story. This book is so masterfully done and will be in my top-tier romance reads for sure. I cannot recommend this one enough! I'm so glad I could reread Chloe's story before the release of Dani's. Definitely pick this one up!

🍑 #ownvoices
🍑MC = black young woman who struggles with chronic pain & an invisible illness (beautiful representation)
🍑 gruff (secret softy) hero with a soft spot for cats - struggles to move on from an abusive past relationship
🍑Salacious, romantic, and will make you swoon
🍑 Adorable slow burn friends to lovers story
🍑 THERE’S A CAT
🍑 Trigger/content warning: discussions and thoughts about recovering from abuse

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Dreams from Many Rivers by Margarita Engle
3 stars - until I reread

This was such a lovely audiobook experience, but I definitely struggled to follow the vignettes through the audio format. I definitely will be picking this one up physically in the future to fully get the history, the beauty of the poetry, and the really cool formatting. This is a must-read. If you want to learn more about the history of the Latinx US community, you will want to check this out. 

✨ Poetry
✨ Latinx history
✨ Stories from the unheard overlooked and ignored voices from US history
✨ Excellent for younger readers, as well as older


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An English Bride in Scotland by Lynsay Sands
2.5 stars

This was a fairly entertaining read, but there were so many elements that didn't jive with what I was hoping to read. While the premise seemed to be up to my standards when it comes to historical romance, this was just too much fluff and not enough substance. 

What You'll Find:
✨ Interesting family dynamics
✨ Lots of discussions about Annabel's breasts
✨ A border-line alpha-hole male lead
✨ Zero complexity


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The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes by Suzanne Collins
4 stars

This was surprisingly wonderful! When Ballad was first announced, I was really excited to dive back into the world of the Hunger Games -- really I was just ecstatic to read more from Suzanne Collins. Her books and style are just so well done and lead to so much nostalgia for a simpler time. When I first read the Hunger Games series, I was in middle school and the class that I was in was so much fun. I've never had a classroom dynamic like that since. Additionally, Collins' Underland Chronicles are just freaking fantastic. I definitely want to do a reread soon because they are flawless. Read them.

Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes was genuinely a good read. I'm not saying that because it was a nostalgic experience, I'm really impressed with how this book was written. 

I'll have a full review on August 5!




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Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian
3 stars

When I started the audiobook for Stay Sweet, I was really captivated by the entire premise and the initial execution. However, once the boy got involved, I started to become quite bored. While this book kept me entertained, I was really disappointed that the female friendship aspect didn't live up to my hype. I also just didn't like the main character all that much. She was really passive and didn't stand up for herself. Though that part of her was where she was supposed to grow by the end of the book, I just wish that her change progressed throughout rather than toward the end. It just felt abrupt.

The parts that really saved this book from a 2-star rating were the parts about Molly. I loved seeing how the ice cream shop came to be, how Molly's life influenced her image and reputation, and how her practices influence the present girls. 

This was an alright read, but it was just too surface level at times and I didn't like the nonexistent female friendship that I was promised. I wanted more from it. 

What You'll Find:
✨ Ice cream creation & innovation
✨ Flashbacks to WW2 through diary entries
✨ All-girl run ice cream shop
✨ YA characters that are on the brink of going to college


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Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall
5 stars

This is a new all-time favorite romance novel, I adore it. 

I have a full review {here}.


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Pet by Akwaeke Emezi
4 stars

TW: Please be aware that there are very heavy discussions in this novel. Be gentle with yourself.

Wow. What a moving and intense read. 

This book confronts the concept that bad people do not stop existing even if you refuse to acknowledge that they exist. It's an examination of morality and the ability to stand up for what you think and know is right.

This book was really mind-boggling because there are so many double meanings. My mind was going in so many different directions as I analyzed and took in the story that it took me so much longer to read that I actually anticipated. 

Akwaeke Emezi is such a fantastic writer. I love their prose and their characters. This is such a powerful read and I'd love to discuss it with college readers or even middle grade-aged kids. This book is timeless and has such wonderful promise to educate and inspire conversation. I'm jazzed that this book is in the world. 

What You'll Find:
✨ A+ representation
✨ An all-black cast of characters
✨ A Black trans-MC
✨ Gender-nonconforming characters
✨ A polyamorous relationship


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Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
3 stars

When I picked this book up, I was hopeful and really jazzed to finally read this book, but I was really let down. While the pirate-ness of this book was really entertaining, I really did not like Alosa. She was supposed to be a badass and the best of her profession, but we never got to experience that. This book was just full of so much telling instead of showing. I was just waiting for the story to pick up.

This was just a disappointment, but I did continue with the series. 


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Riden's Chapter (Pirate King #1.5) by Tricia Levenseller
2 stars

This was boring and I didn't need part of Daughter of the Pirate King from Riden's perspective. I just don't like him anymore. 

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Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller
2.75

This was just disappointing. I really hoped that this addition and finale would add to the story and make me love the characters, but I really didn't enjoy it. 

I'm not sure how, but this was so shallow and annoying. Riden is a doormat and I hated the romance between Alosa and Riden. It just was so forced and obnoxious.

I also really didn't like the siren aspect of the book. I love mermaids, but this was just blah. Alosa's half-siren identity was revealed really late into the first book and it just seemed so forced and badly developed in Siren Queen. I find it really unrealistic that Alosa had only just discovered how her powers worked so late into her life. It just felt too convenient. 

Didn't enjoy it much at all.

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(DNF) Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller
DNF 

This was such a massive disappointment. I honestly did not enjoy much of anything. I was really intrigued by the coming of age trial toward the beginning of the book, but it just went downhill once the book kicked into gear. Rasmira is incredibly whiny and lacked common sense. Her angst was just overbearing and annoying to me. 

Once she was released into the wild, I just disliked her more. This was just not for me. 


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The Okay Witch by Emma Steinkellner
5 stars

Oh my gosh, this was everything. I love everything that has to do with witches, the witch hunts, and badass women. This graphic novel was everything I could have hoped for. 

What I Loved:
✨ The main character is a half-witch named MOTH!
✨ Moth questions the integrity of her town that is built on the discrimination against witches.
✨ A talking cat with the soul of their older neighbor that had passed away.
✨ Ghosts!
✨ A world called Hectate, given by Hectate for the witches to live in peace


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Take A Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
5 stars

TW: the death of a parent, death of a sibling, panic attacks/anxiety

How perfect is it that I started the month with a reread of Chloe Brown and ended the month reading Dani Brown?

This was EVERYTHING. An instant 2020 favorite! 

I loved everything about this book, but here is a list of my favorite elements:
✨ Dani is a practicing witch & she's bisexual
✨ Zaf is a Muslim ex-rugby player who struggles with anxiety and panic attacks
✨ Talia Hibbert's wit and humor throughout is spot on and makes me literally laugh out loud
✨ Talia didn't rely on the miscommunication trope. The conflict is genuinely talked about and there are no holes.
✨ Dani has major issues with commitment and having relationships, but in the end, she takes accountability for any hurt she's caused others because of her trauma.
✨ We see Chloe and Red! They're wholesome and lovely!
✨ Zaf is the best love interest. I love him so much.


Genre Break-down: 
- Romance 4
- Fantasy 5
- Contemporary 1
- Science Fiction 1
- Poetry 1

Age Group Break Down
- YA 5
- Adult 4
- Middle Grade 3

Rating Break Down
- 5 ~~ 4
- 4 ~~ 2
- 3 ~~ 3
- 2  ~~ 3
- 1 ~~ 0
- No rating/DNF ~~ 1

Favorite: Boyfriend Material or Dani Brown
Least Favorite: The Daughter of the Pirate Queen


What did you read in July? What was your favorite?

Happy reading!
Olivia
~ Liv the Book Nerd ~