Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Latinx Book Recommendations

In light of an upcoming book which appears to have severe themes of cultural appropriation for the Latinx community, here are some books from the community, with majority being Own Voice novels. Support these books and their authors and let their voices be heard as they tell their histories and their stories and be careful of the damage caused by supporting misinformation and appropriation. 

Goodreads | Book Depository

The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera

After 'borrowing' her father's credit card without permission, Margot finds herself having to work in the grocery store owned by her family as punishment and to pay off her debts. Margot is desperate to maintain her fought-for reputation at her private school, and refuses to let her family get in the way of her attending the ultimate beach party. The Education of Margot Sanchez looks at class and cultural issues, family secrets, and the building of new relationships whilst trying to maintain old relationships, with friends who could never understand the situation that you're in. 


I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez

A YA contemporary telling the story of Julia, a young girl left to pick up the broken pieces after her sister dies in a tragic accident. Unlike her 'perfect' sister, Julia still lives at home and becomes the brunt of their mother's grief as all her failures get pointed out. However, what if her sister wasn't as perfect as everyone thought? This is a story of self-discovery, secrets and what happens to the ones left behind. This book will be released on October 17th, 2017.


Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

Not only being blessed by the world's prettiest cover, this magic-realism story follows the Nomeolvides women who have tended the beautiful estate of La Pradera whose magic entices guests from all over the world. However, these women have a tragic legacy: if they love too deeply, their lovers will mysteriously vanish and after years of this, a strange boy appears in their gardens. One of the women, Estrella becomes enamoured by this mysterious boy who doesn't know where he is or where he has come from. This book will be published on October 3rd, 2017.

Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older

This short but powerful novel follows Sierra Santiago, a budding artist from Brooklyn. She is looking forward to a good summer but that is until a strange guy turns up to a party, starting a chain of unusual events in New York. Sierra soon discovers the Shadowshapers, a supernatural order who can connect with spirits via paintings, music and stories. Finding out not just about this order but also about her family's history, is Sierra ready to face her destiny? The sequel, Shadowhouse Fall, will be released on September 12th, 2017.

Goodreads | Book Depository

Proof of Lies by Diana Rodriguez Wallach

A YA mystery novel following Anastasia Phoenix, the always odd girl out plus black belt plus speaker of four languages. Moving to an International city with her scientist parents is hard enough without being the sister of a mission girl who is presumably dead. Anastasia is the only person certain her sister is still alive and when she finds a trail of evidence, she becomes part of a conspiracy much bigger than she anticipated. But her only goal is to find her sister. Joined by Marcus, your typical bad-boy with a heap of secrets, the two try to uncover the secrets around her sister's disappearance but everything is not as it appears.


The Go-Between by Veronica Chambers 

Being the envy of every teenage girl in Mexico City, Camilla del Valle Cammi is used to a life of private planes and paparazzi. It comes with being the daughter of a telenovela actress and a voice-over artist for blockbuster films. However, when her mum gets cast in an American television show, everything changes when the family move to LA and things aren't quite as glamorous anymore. For once in her life, Camilla is struggling to fit in, especially when her new friends thinks she is a scholarship kid and daughter of a domestic. This book will be released on May 9th, 2017.


They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

Adam Silvera strikes again with a book you just know is gonna make you cry and smile, probably at the same time. Following the story of Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio, this young-adult novel joins them on their last day on Earth as they meet over an app and agree to spend their last hours together. Going from strangers to friends in just a couple of hours isn't something either of them expected but knowing you'll both be dead in a few hours tends to speed things up. Heartbreaking, profound and proof that your entire life can change in a day. This will be released on September 5th, 2017.

Are there any Latinx books that you're anticipating? 
Let us know in the comments ready for the second part of this post.
Love Angharad @

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab

The final instalment in the Shades of Magic series follows our favourite Antari, Kell who is a magician with the ability to travel between alternate Londons. Teaming up with fellow magician, Delilah Bard - cutthroat pirate and thief and his brother, Rhy, heir to the throne, they must put a stop to a murderous force that threatens to take over everything and put everyone under their spell. 
(Trigger Warning - The Magicians in this series use blood magic so there are some detailed descriptions of cutting in this series.)

* Angharad's Thoughts *

If I could just insert an audio clip of me screaming for my review, then that will probably sum up my experience with this trilogy. Usually with trilogies, the first book is amazing and then the second book is okay and then the third is either a hit or miss but this entire trilogy managed to be A+++ all the way through and nobody could have done it quite like Victoria Schwab. Just a quick summary because if you're reading this review, then you've probably read the previous books. The Shades of Magic trilogy follows Kell who is an Antari, a magician able to travel between worlds, or in this particular case, various Londons. 
This series introduced me to one of my all time favourite characters - Delilah Bard. Thief/pickpocket and wannabe pirate, whose goal in life is to just live it. She is gender-fluid, has a disability, carries a load of knives around with her and is confident and sassy without being cocky. She starts off as something of a side character when she teams up with Kell but by the end of the series, she is the shining star. She goes through so much character development in just three books and grows so much as a person. She was a girl used to running, used to having nothing, used to sleeping with her back against the wall but now she is pure magic (literally and figuratively.)
Another character with huge development is Rhy, heir to the Arnesian throne and Kell's brother (also a queer PoC.) He has no magic and always felt as though he was less because of it but he proves that you don't need magic in order to be a true and just king. I was so so proud of him after reading this book, he's just my royal son. His relationship with Alucard progressed more and we hear more about their backstory - they are just the cutest. Speaking of Alucard, he continued to be a badass in this book, whilst also breaking my heart into a thousand pieces and constantly bickering with Kell. 
Want to know what broke my heart the most? Other than pretty much everything. The award goes to Holland. We get chapters from his POV as he also tells us about his past, from the beginning. Without excusing some of his actions, he has been through so so much, his life has literally been hell on earth and we hear more about his life and the people who have been in it. Holland, Kell, Lila and Alucard even team up in the second half of the book and I enjoyed every second of these people working together. Teamwork (especially between former enemies) is my soft spot in fiction. Also, without giving away spoilers, Kell and Holland go through quite a bit in this conclusion. 
Overall, this book was huge (the paperback being 666 pages, har har, Victoria) but every second was packed with action, emotion and excitement. I read this book in a day and every time I had to put it down, I felt as though I had been pulled from the world. We get POVs from Kell, Lila, Holland - even characters such as Queen Emira & King Maxim which was really interesting. I usually hate secondary characters suddenly having a voice in the final book but this is Victoria Schwab we're talking about so she nailed it. The beginning, middle and end captured my attention and I'll miss this world more than you can imagine. It is rich, diverse and just magical and it will forever be a series I recommend.

* Becky's Thoughts *

It's been a few days since I finished this book and I still can't put my feelings into words. The one thing I can confidently say right now, to sum everything up, is this - although I've loved this series from the start, it was A Conjuring of Light that truly made it one of my favourite series's of all time. 

We are thrown straight into the action with this book kicking off exactly where A Gathering of Shadows left off, and this fast-pacing carries on throughout, because for Kell, Lila, Alucard, Rhy and Holland, it's no longer just a magical power play - it's about saving their world(s). I'm not always a fan of books that are full of action all the way through, but ACOL did this perfectly - yes, the action, tension and plotting never stopped, but it wasn't all action and nothing else. Each of the characters grow and develop more in this book than in either of the previous books, and we get more of a look into their pasts as well - Holland's back story, most of all, destroyed me. I've always loved him (sorry, I just have a thing for antiheroes/villains) and his story arc in this book couldn't have been more perfect. Lila was, as always, amazing, and she definitely grew and matured in this book in my opinion. 

I feel like there isn't much that I can say that Angharad hasn't already said or that wouldn't absolutely spoil this book for anyone else, so I'll just say this - go and read it. If you've already read the first two books in the series, I don't think you need me to convince you to pick this up, and if you haven't started this series yet, take our gushing as encouragement to go and do so. If you want a fantasy series full of complex, well developed and diverse characters, three different worlds with the most perfect atmospheric world building, a fast-paced, emotional plot, and enough twists and cliffhangers to make you dizzy, this is the series for you.