[ARC] The Thing About Alice by Jean-Luke Swanepoel

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3stars

Title: Aurora Burning
Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Release date: May 5th 2020
Number of pages: 512 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: I think it conveys the hardness and hopefulness of life pretty well!
Bad things about this book: It’s very peculiar and I don’t think I understand it.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 3/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

*ARC from NetGalley*

I don’t think I understood what the book wanted to tell me. The writing was a bit hard to follow but I synchronised with it. Then the time jumps started and I got confused. I didn’t understand what was going on, who was who. And the last chapter is where the book lost me.

The story follows Alice, an old woman living with her husband, who knows everything about everyone and feels abandoned when her friends and neighbours start moving on and away. Each chapter focuses on a character important to Alice: it’s often raw, intense, you can’t catch a break, it’s rushed, things happen without you noticing.

I don’t know if I was supposed to feel like Alice, lost and having reality getting away from me, or it was just me who didn’t get what all of this was about. Nonetheless it was a very peculiar novella, one that left me wanting for so many information I didn’t get but wanted to know. I wasn’t expecting what I got, but the book has something that can’t be denied; life, crude life, with all it throws your way.

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[ARC] Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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4stars

Title: Aurora Burning
Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Series: The Aurora Cycle #2
Release date: May 5th 2020
Number of pages: 512 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: Kal!
Bad things about this book: A trope I really hate.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

*ARC from NetGalley*

I have words, and I have feelings, and I have anger. Yes, all three. And while I know this is typical behavior in Kristoff/Kaufman books, I’m still in this position nonetheless. I never learn, right? The writing as usual is full of sass, lots of banter, jokes, innuendos, and while it might seem too much sometimes, it gives the story the lightness it needs to balance the harder parts.

It’s a 99% action packed book, with only a few chapters of a sort of calm for both the readers and the poor characters. They can’t catch a break, and neither can we. Every chapter, with the different POVs is full of fights, blood, secrets, and mysteries.

I loved seeing and learning more about Kal, who is definitely my favorite character of the whole series. He is just the sweetest and it pained me being uncertain about things that have happened and are happening to him and his new friends. The story about his past was heartbreaking and I just wanted to hug him and make him better.

Not all characters were given the same space to allow us to get to know them better (I want more Fin in the next book, please), but the ones that we did get to know more of (Zila) gave the way they interact and grew from the previous book a brand new meaning. I love seeing characters grow into their better selves. It’s refreshing.

One thing I absolutely didn’t like was the use of one particular trope. Every time I see that trope used, my blood boils, and I get so furious! Without spoiling the trope is this one: blaming the children for the sins and crimes of their relatives. And everyone forgetting all the good things of a person because of that, like all their experiences are automatically fake, and now all they feel is hate, everything else cancelled. I really didn’t like that part and I’m still fuming because of it.

That’s why I’m not giving the 5 stars I initially wanted to give it. It’s my subjective opinion because I personally don’t like it, it’s unnecessary and the response of the other characters just ridiculous.

But the book has a lot of fulfilled potential and I can’t wait to have the next book in my hands because I need to know! That ending! They sure know how to leave the readers hanging.

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[ARC] Shorefall by Robert Jackson Bennett

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5stars

Title: Shorefall
Author: Robert Jackson Bennett
Series: The Founders Trilogy #2
Release date: April 21st 2020
Number of pages: 400 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: Full of action and twists and mysteries.
Bad things about this book: I want the last book right now.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

*ARC from NetGalley*

Action packed rollercoaster from beginning to end. I don’t even know what to say, where to begin without giving anything away. Because everything, in every single chapter, is essential for the story, everything is part of something bigger. I love how all is connected and we’re given clues little by little, clues we don’t notice right away until it’s too late.

Old characters and new characters, a new very interesting baddie, new mysteries, flashbacks, heists, surprises around every corner: a wholesome plot in full Robert Jackson Bennett style. As complex as it is and sometimes a bit hard to follow, I love the magic system; both that and the world building are so detailed and mind-blowing.

The way the story was written, the plot unfolding, is just as I’m used from this author, and it never ceases to amaze me. There are so many details you can almost see the whole city of Tevanne if you close your eyes. And I think it’s refreshing how, even if the romance is not the main theme, the main love story is never questioned, it flows naturally and without drama. It seems the whole Founders world is a world where you can love whoever you like, and I think this gives the story more points in my eyes.

The next and last book can’t come soon enough. I need to know how the story is going to end. Every time one of this books gets to the last pages, I know my patience is going to be tested!

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[ARC] Starcrossed by Allie Therin

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5stars

Title: Starcrossed
Author: Allie Therin
Series: Magic in Manhattan #2
Release date: May 18th 2020
Number of pages: 282 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: It was just as great as the first.
Bad things about this book: Nothing.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

*ARC from NetGalley*

This was just a delight. So much cuteness, action, FEELINGS; all in the same amazing magical world I came to love. Arthur and Rory as still as adorable as in the first book. The slow burn from the first book, turned into a soft jealousy and coming to terms to what exactly their relationship means. What they are willing to do to make it work.

The relics mystery is super interesting, and the figure of the Baron as the bad guy is terrifying and he still hasn’t showed his face. He better stay the hell away from my boys because they need to have at least some time for themselves without all the kidnappings and torture.

The writing is still excellent and the magic system is phenomenal. Hyde? Wow! The characters and side characters are all very detailed. Arthur and his nightmares, my heart hurt. Rory being his temperamental self as usual, but understanding he needs to open up a bit and accept what the world is trying to give him, in the form of Arthur and his magnificent non-magical self!

The story, the characters, the magic. I loved it all!

I can’t wait for the next book in 2021!

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[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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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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[ARC] To the Flame by A.E. Ross

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4stars

Title: To the Flame
Author: A.E. Ross
Release date: February 3rd 2020
Number of pages: 72 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: It was really interesting even if short.
Bad things about this book: It was too short, I wanted to know more.
Do I recommend it? Yes, of course.
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

*ARC from NetGalley*

What a cute little book that was more than I was expecting! I knew it was about cryptids, but I got also so many many feelings. My heart!! Emerson was such a sweet guy, and Morrie all mysterious, afraid, and also so so sweet! I loved all the diversity packed in only a few pages; it didn’t feel forced at all, it felt like it should feel in real life, pretty freaking normal.

I’m glad I requested this book and got to read it. Brought a smile on my face. So so cute!

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