[ARC] The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar

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4stars

Title: The Henna Wars
Author: Adiba Jaigirdar
Release date: May 12th 2020
Number of pages: 400 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: It’s diverse and own voices.
Bad things about this book: The main character wasn’t always likable.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 3.75/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

*ARC from NetGalley*

This is a diverse queer contemporary story about a Bengali girl living in Dublin, coming out, having a crush, navigating school while bullied by bigoted homophobes and racists. There’s a lot about family, her sister is very important to her and to the story. Nishat, the mc, doesn’t make the wisest decisions most times, and doesn’t speak her mind much since “it wouldn’t change anything”. The frustration was real. So, while I was angry at her for the miscommunication, I kind of understood why she chose not to say anything, but how can you know if something can make a difference if you don’t do anything?

The writing style was easy to get into, and all the info about the Bengali culture and food really made me see everything that makes it beautiful and fascinating. I must be honest, I don’t think I really know where is Bangladesh, but now I feel like a know a bit more about the culture. I love learning something new while enjoying a nice book. Mixing both things is perfect!

The love story might sound like the dreaded trope of instalove. It’s more of an instacrush and then we have a really slowburn kind of love story. It was a bit frustrating because it’s the first crush, all encompassing, and Nishat didn’t manage it very well. I admit to have been quite angry at her for most of the book, but the last chapters made up for all the anger and shakes of head. It was pretty cute in the end. The sum of all the parts of the book make it good! It was like a journey inside Nishat’s head with all the doubts, the sadness, the anger, the hopelessness.

This is a book I would certainly recommend to everyone.

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[ARC] Curse of the Night Witch by Alex Aster

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4stars

Title: Curse of the Night Witch
Author: Alex Aster
Series: Emblem Island #1
Release date: June 2nd 2020
Number of pages: 336 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: I really liked the magic system.
Bad things about this book: There wasn’t anything I disliked.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

*ARC from NetGalley*

Very interesting magic system, solid introduction to a series, likeable characters only a little whiny so it was perfect, and a lot of adventure!!

I love middle grade fantasy books because the characters are raw and genuine, they have just started to need independence and are ready for whatever life throws at them, even if it’s a quest to go to the opposite side of the world to defeat a witch who cursed them.

Tor, Melda, and Engle each has flaws, weaknesses, and strength, bringing something that will see them victors. It won’t be easy, they are 12 years old, first time away from home, facing all kinds of bad things! But they are lucky to stumble upon good people along their way and they will go back home different when the quest is over.

This is a book about finding what you’re good at, fighting what the world wants you to do with your life, not settling if you’re not okay with it. Maybe it’ll have horrible consequences, maybe not, but if you don’t take a risk, how can you change a situation that’s not good for you?

Love love love how the author used latin america’s myths to create the folklore this book is based on and the magic the people are born into and use in their everyday life. Being latin American myself (Ecuador here!), I love seeing these myths I didn’t know about until now represented one way or the other!

A great first book, a great start. Now I’m really curious to know what other adventures the trio will get to live in the future!

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[ARC] The Raven and the Dove by Kaitlyn Davis

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4stars

Title: The Raven and the Dove
Author: Kaitlyn Davis
Series: The Raven and the Dove #1
Number of pages:
 506 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: Avian-themes and full of magic.
Bad things about this book: Instalove and miscommunication.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

*Arc provided by NetGalley*

Avian-themed novel about starcrossed lovers and a King who will do anything to save the world as they know it. With 4 povs, this book had everything, from dragons, magic, to heavy pining. A bit of angst and relatable characters who didn’t speak their mind. JUST TALK, things are better if you communicate!!

You know when things could’ve been 1000% times better if the characters just told the other characters what was going on in order to avoid the unnecessary drama? Well, that’s exactly what happened here and what made me rate it 4 instead of maybe a bit more. The characters, even with the whole “I’ve spoken to you 5 minutes but I already love you” thing they almost had going on, were likeable and the 4 povs weren’t hard to follow, even if I still need to understand Cassi’s. She’s still a mystery and I’m angry at her, and at one other character who was the worst!

I loved the whole world above the clouds with different floating islands each inhabited by different bird people: doves, ravens, hawks, hummingbirds, and more. Everything was well detailed and it painted a clear picture of the above world in my mind. I can’t say the same about the kingdom beneath the mist, but I’m sure it’ll be cover in the sequel.

The last chapters were wild af! I expected almost all of it since the beginning; I still have so many questions, though. A couple scenes from the last chapters broke my heart, made me cringe hard. Being inside all of their minds, knowing their thoughts, following each of their journeys, made me more aware of their feelings, and seeing them in certain situations wasn’t easy.

The sequel sounds great! I read the synopsis and colour me intrigued!

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Last Bus to Everland by Sophie Cameron

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4stars

Title: Last Bus to Everland
Author: Sophie Cameron
Number of pages: 325 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: Relatable characters, deep story with a bit of magic.
Bad things about this book: It was nice, so nothing.
Do I recommend it? I do.
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Bittersweet kind of story about not thinking you’re enough or have a place on earth for you to fit in. It tackles lots of hard themes, and it gives you realness mixed with fantasy. I really enjoyed it and couldn’t put it down.

I found Brody a bit too much sometimes like he was really exaggerating things with his moods. But then I thought of myself, and it happens. So often. You get into one bad day mood and even the tiniest of things make you want to wreck the world.

I just felt sad: about how he felt like he was a waste of space, like he wasn’t enough, like people didn’t even notice he was there. I cared about Brody’s wellbeing. He deserved to have the life he pictured in his head, with a boyfriend, his beloved cat, his friends, and I family who saw him and accepted him flaws and all.

Everland sounded pretty amazing. I would’ve used the time there to learn a new language, read a long book, learn to play an instrument. And I could’ve been brave enough to befriend people from around the world and maybe being their pen pals! It sounded like a great idea!

The side characters each had a well rounded personality and the more I read about them, the more I liked them. They seemed carefree even if that really wasn’t the truth. Nico was a rollercoaster: full of life but at the same time full of sorrow, of missed opportunities.

As I said, this was a very bittersweet book that ended in the most hopeful note I could’ve asked for. I really liked it and I would recommend it!

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Martin McLean, Middle School Queen by Alyssa Zaczek

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4stars

Title: Martin McLean, Middle School Queen
Author: Alyssa Zaczek
Number of pages: 272 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: It was very cute and positive.
Bad things about this book: The mc could be a little annoying but he was 12 so it was fitting.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

At first I was skeptic because I realized the book wasn’t own voices and it had an irish cuban boy questioning his sexuality as a main character. Can this author tell this story? It was enjoyable and I was happy to read in the acknowledgments how many different people helped her built this book.

I’ve been to a few drag shows and I’ve been present when the magic, the transformation, happened. And it’s truly magical. Drag queens are fierce and you feel it just being in the same room with them. I loved how our young mc found his calling after a show.

There were tons of mentions of delicious food I too eat since I’m Ecuadorian, but not so often since I live in Italy and italian food is much faster to cook, and my mom thinks ecuadorian food is really fat. Which it is, but that’s one of the reasons it’s delicious!! The random spanish in the conversation can be off putting but I realized that’s exactly how my parents talk. It felt like home.

So, I say you give this little book a chance even if you had your doubts. It can be a pleasant surprise. I will still try, as always, to support own voices. There are just so many books to read, I need more time!!

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[ARC] The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo

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4stars

Title: The Empress of Salt and Fortune
Author: Nghi Vo
Release date: March 24th 2020
Number of pages: 112 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: Very well written and intriguing.
Bad things about this book: Nothing, worked perfectly the way it was.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

*ARC from NetGalley*

Pretty peculiar book, it read as a sort of fairy take giving you little pieces of a puzzle in the shape of stories in each chapter to show you the bigger picture.

It was a bit confusing at first with all the different terms I didn’t know the meaning of, but the more I read the more I was tuned to the story and its characters.

A non binary cleric, a talking animal with fantastic powers, and an old lady with a story. An incredible story.

I don’t think there’s a way to explain this novella. You have to live it.

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Prosper’s Demon by K.J. Parker

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4stars

Title: Prosper’s Demon
Author: K.J. Parker
Number of pages: 112 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: This was very different, in a good way.
Bad things about this book: At the beginning it was kind of confusing.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

The first part had me confused for a bit, because where the hell was Prosper and where were his demons!? Then the second part came and well, this is still pretty confusing but not bad confusing, interesting confusing.

There was Prosper and the exorcist and a project, a big project. And yes, there were demons. Everything was proceeding as expected, at least as I thought was expected, and then EXCUSE ME wth happened??

And the book was over. Wow!!!

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