This book made me feel 100% Latina | Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno [ARC]

Don't Date Rosa SantosThe Santos women are cursed by the sea. Any man that they fall in love with will be claimed by the ocean. Rosa has grown up her entire life with this knowledge and has never really grappled with it until now. She’s about to pick which college she wants to go to when she meets Alex. He’s tall, has a beard, ocean tattoos, and…a boat. Rosa knows it’s a bad idea to fall for him, but how can she resist especially when she finds out that he bakes too?

TL;DR – This book will make you wish you had an abuela. The Cuban culture is so authentic throughout that it makes my heart hurt.

eBook | Hardcover

My ethnicity is a mixed bag. I’m a quarter white, half Chinese, and a quarter Hispanic. The grandparent I grew up closest to is my mom’s mother who was born and raised in Panama. Rosa’s abuela, Mimi, reminded me so much of my own grandmother. I could see her doing and saying so many of the things that Mimi did. There are more similarities as well that I’ll address later on. Seriously though, this book made me feel so much more Hispanic than I actually am. During and after reading I found myself gesturing at things to my husband with my lip/chin. I never do that!

First, I just want to say that I absolutely adored this book. It was so close to being a five star read for me! I thought Rosa was a really enjoyable character right off the bat and I loved her dynamic with all of the other characters. She was so interesting and really felt alive for me. I also loved the dynamic and tensions between Rosa, Mimi, and Liliana (Rosa’s mom). All three women were incredibly strong in different ways. I enjoyed that the author was able to portray that differing strength in women. Women can be strong, even if they’re not all strong in the same way.

Secondary characters were amazing! They all felt like they had depth to them and I felt they contributed to the story in an important way. I especially enjoyed Rosa’s best friend and the viejos. Please, I would follow their Instagram in a heartbeat!

The atmosphere of the book also felt so real. The weather was almost another character and I loved how that played into the slight magical/mystical thread throughout the book. It was all very fun. The weather also contributed to the raw emotions that came out at times. There are a few scenes throughout this book where the emotion is just so heavy. Despite that, this isn’t a heavy book and I wholeheartedly recommend it as a Summer read.

***Slight Spoiler Ahead***

This book hit me especially hard because my grandmother just passed away last month in a way that was similar to Mimi. It was kind of sudden and like Liliana, my mom was the one there performing CPR on her own mother until the paramedics arrived. There were some other similarities as well that I won’t go into. It just felt eerily similar to me. When Rosa was dealing with Mimi’s death, I felt it so hard. I saw myself in Rosa and parts of my mom in Liliana. The emotions felt so real and it’s obvious that the author has lost someone close to her. I still forget some days that my grandma isn’t around anymore. I hope, like Rosa, that I can one day make that pilgrimage back to my grandmother’s homeland. The sacrifices that she made to come to America amaze me every day and I would literally not be here without her. I love you, Llaya.

***Spoiler End***

Anyway…I highly, highly recommend this book. I appreciate the call for diversity in YA, but a lot of times I think it’s done poorly or in a way that’s inauthentic. That is NOT the case with this book. If you want to read diversity in YA, then this is the kind of thing you should be reading.

Overall Rating: 4.5
Language: Mild
Violence: None
Smoking/Drinking: Mild
Sexual Content: Mild

Note: I received a copy of this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

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9 books on my Summer TBR

Summer is almost upon us! After we’re done moving, I’m hoping that life will settle down enough for me to read more. I’m going to be transitioning from working to being a stay-at-home-mom for at least a little while and I’m looking forward to it. While I’m not working, I’m hoping to get to these books:

Books That I Own

 

The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag by Alan Bradley – I really liked the first book in this series and I have like…the next six on my shelf. I need to continue with this series!
eBook | Paperback

Legendary by Stephanie Garber – The first book was great and I’ve been looking forward to the second, just haven’t gotten around to it unfortunately. And now the third book is out? I didn’t realize how behind I was!
eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo – Another book that’s just been sitting on my shelf since I got it! I’ve just had so many other things to read, but I really want to make this a priority for this Summer!
eBook | Hardcover

2019 Releases

 

Descendant of the Crane by Joan He – This one sounds awesome and I’ve only heard good things about it. I love the Asian rep!
eBook | Hardcover

The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen – I can honestly say, this is the only book on my list that I know with a deep surety I’ll be reading this Summer. HATE SPINNERBAIT!
Preorder: eBook | Hardcover

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo – I haven’t read Poet X, but I’ve heard amazing things about it, so I have high expectations for this book. It has food and babies, two things that I love!
eBook | Hardcover

Backlist Reads

 

This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills – All of her covers are STUNNING and all of her books sound interesting to me. I’m not really sure why I haven’t read anything by her yet? But I’m hoping to this Summer!
eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black – I had a huge Holly Black phase when I was in junior high. I devoured her Tithe series, but haven’t really been back to visit since. I know everyone and their mother has read this book and is OBSESSED. I’m ready to join the bandwagon.
eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi – Another book that I’ve only heard good things about. I don’t really have a good reason why I haven’t read this yet, I just haven’t gotten to it.
eBook | Hardcover | Paperback (Preorder)

What books are you hoping to read this Summer? Which of these books should I make more of a priority? Let me know in the comments!

Life, man. It happens. [Life Update] [Obviously]

Okay, okay. I know I said I’d be back this month after last month’s two weddings and a funeral, but more things are happening! My husband just graduated with his Master’s in Public Administration and had been applying for jobs all last semester. Well, we finally decided on one so we’re going to be moving! (Yay…) No, but seriously I am excited, just moving is always a beast and this is the first time I’ll be moving out of state with like…STUFF. We’re currently living in Utah, but around the beginning of June we’ll be moving to Central California!

It’ll be a big change with location and we won’t be near family anymore. I’m going to take a break from working for a bit (at least while we get settled) so I’ll be spending a lot more time at home with the baby and maybe (hopefully?) that’ll give me more time to blog? I’ll have to play it by ear, but maybe don’t expect too much from me this month. My reading has actually been going pretty good, but I haven’t had much of a chance to sit down at my computer to post reviews. Thanks for bearing with me and I hope to get back in the groove soon!

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You get a gang, YOU get a gang, EVERYBODY GETS A GANG!!! | King of Fools by Amanda Foody [ARC]

King of FoolsEnne and Levi are in trouble after the Shadow Game has ended. Not only did they kill two of the most influential people in New Reynes, but they still have to deal with Vianca’s omertas. With an election coming up, Vianca has some things that she needs them to do. When Levi is approached by her estranged son, Harrison, and given a counter-offer, he will have some tough decisions to make including whether or not to let Enne know what’s going on. Meanwhile, Enne is out for revenge and she wants it in blood. As the election gets closer, the stakes keep getting higher.

TL;DR – While this book contains much intrigue and action, most of the “why” was unclear.

Hardcover | ebook

I had a really hard time getting into this book in the beginning. I just felt like the story took a while to get going and I couldn’t remember why I liked any of the characters from the first book. They all seemed annoying and there were plot points that were confusing to me. Vianca wants Levi and Enne to set up profitable gangs…why? I mean, I know she takes money from them, but was that the only reason? And then I’m not sure about Harrison’s deal either. Why does he need to know who the next don is? It’s all just kind of confusing.

As far as characters go, again, in the beginning I found everyone annoying. Over time, Enne grew on me–I think the same thing happened for me in the first book too. I really liked who she ended up being, but I don’t think her developmental arc made a ton of sense. I wasn’t super convinced. I don’t like Levi very much at all and I can’t quite put my finger on why. I don’t really buy him and Enne together, so that might be part of it. Neither character gives a convincing reason why they want to be together. Their relationship has no base, no foundation. What do they even like about each other aside from looks? I’m just not a fan of their relationship. There are a ton of secondary characters too who are all fine. I thought character diversity was done pretty well and authentically.

Overall, this book was just LONG and kind of confusing to me. Plot points and character reactions didn’t always seem logical. There were also all these excerpts from the legends of the North Side scattered throughout and I couldn’t see how they related to the story at all. The ending was intriguing and confusing and while it does make me want to read the third book, I’ll probably feel the same way about it as I do this one.

Overall Rating: 3.5
Language: Moderate
Violence: Heavy
Smoking/Drinking: Heavy
Sexual Content: Moderate

Note: I received a copy of this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

The Umbrella Academy: Graphic Novel vs Netflix Show [spoilers]

If you haven’t heard of The Umbrella Academy by now, where have you been? It’s a super popular Netflix show based off of the graphic novels by Gerard Way (of My Chemical Romance fame). I, personally, watched the show first and quickly became OBSESSED. The show is quirky and fun while also having a generous amount of darkness and violence. After finishing the show, I turned to my library to read the graphic novels and was surprised by the differences I found. This is actually a case where I prefer the on-screen version, but there are things I like about the graphic novels as well. I’m going to do a character by character comparison and then at the end I’ll do a general comparison.

The Umbrella Academy netflix

The Umbrella Academy vol 1: Apocalypse Suite – eBook | Paperback

The Umbrella Academy vol 2: Dallas – eBook | Paperback

The Umbrella Academy vol 3: Hotel Oblivion (preorder) – eBook | Paperback

Luther/Spaceboy (Number 1)

maxresdefault

First, let’s all just agree that Luther is the worst. Like, actually the worst. He’s not quite as bad in the comics, but in the show he’s SO moody and self-righteous and escalated things in a terrible way. In the GN, he’s still a bit of a baby but he’s more tolerable. Maybe that’s just because we don’t see quite as much of him…

Diego/Kraken (Number 2)

Diego Umbrella Academy

In the GN, Diego is missing an eye for a reason that has not been explained. Obviously, they felt they didn’t need that in the show. Perhaps in a later season? In both the show and the GN, Diego has a lot to prove and feels that he should be the leader, not Luther. I feel like the GN makes that tension feel a little more angsty though. Netflix Diego is a lot more likable.

Allison/The Rumor (Number 3)

Allison Umbrella AcademyAllison is a pretty sympathetic character in the show, for me, even if I think she’s too easy on Luther. In the comic, Allison is super angry and we don’t get to see as much of her backstory with her husband or Claire. I think the way they’ve extrapolated Allison’s power for the show into helping her achieve fame, etc. is really interesting. Even though it’s not quite “canon”, I find her Netflix backstory very compelling.

Klaus/Seance (Number 4)

Klaus Umbrella Academy

In the GN, Klaus is a way more helpful character. In fact, he’s actually the one that stops the apocalypse…kind of. In the show, I wondered how helpful he would actually be in battles. His only power is to summon the dead and he’s scared to do it. So how does that help? In the GN, he’s not scared of summoning the dead and uses his communications with them to get information that is helpful for the rest of the team. Also, he has telekinesis. The Klaus in the GN is a more enjoyable character for me, but Netflix Klaus is more interesting.

Number 5

Number 5 Umbrella AcademyNumber 5 is CRAZY in the GN. Like, seriously unhinged. Netflix Number 5 appears to be more human and actually cares about his family, whereas I’m not convinced GN Number 5 does. (Actually, I’m not really convinced that any of them care about each other). Another interesting difference, GN Number 5’s power is to jump through time. He uses microjumps to make it appear like he’s moving from place to place. Netflix Number 5’s power is to teleport, essentially, and then he figures out how to travel forward through time as well as space.

Ben/The Horror (Number 6)

Ben Umbrella Academy

Similar to the show, the GN doesn’t say what happened to Ben. Unlike the show, the only time we see Ben in the GN is in the flashback scenes (and his statue in the courtyard). I liked that the show made Ben more of a character by having him hang around Klaus (because OF COURSE). I’m excited to learn more about him in both future volumes and episodes.

Vanya/The White Violin (Number 7)

Vanya Umbrella AcademyVanya is a lot more angry in the GN than she is in the beginning of the show. Her progression to becoming the White Violin is more subtle and measured in the show, where the GN it just kind of happens to her. Also, in the GN she and Diego seem to have had a thing in the past? Weird. Overall, she seems a lot less rational in the GN than the show (even though she has her moments in the show too).

Reginald Hargreeves (The Monocle) – In the show, it’s a little confusing who Hargreeves is, where he came from, or what he wants with the kids. The GN makes it clear right away that he’s an alien? And that his face is actually just a mask. Also, his monocle plays a much bigger role in the GN as it seems to have some kind of extra power–that doesn’t really play into the show at all.

Mom – She seems to have a lot more awareness in the GN than in the show. I like the GN version a bit more, but I found her origin story on the show pretty interesting.

Cha-Cha and Hazel – Netflix has definitely humanized Cha-Cha and Hazel by 1,000,000%. In the GN, they are ruthless killers and we never see their faces. In the show, you actually have sympathy for them.

Pogo – Netflix Pogo seems nicer. That’s kind of my only take-away.

Show vs Graphic Novel

As I said before, I like the show a little better than the graphic novel because I feel like we get to know the characters on a deeper level. I thought the diversity that they included in the show seemed really genuine–it makes sense that these babies would be of different races. The medium of the show lends itself to taking more time with characters and plot points and I think that’s important with a story this complex. The GN is still enjoyable, but feels like it’s much faster paced because it is. The way that the Academy stops the apocalypse is quite different between the Netflix show and the GN, so I’ll be interested to see where season 2 takes it–whether they incorporate more things from volumes 2 and 3 of the GN or not.

Have you watched the show or read the graphic novels? What did you think? Who’s your favorite character?

23 Best Book Deals for 5/7/19: Shadow of the Fox, And I Darken, Bridget Jones’s Diary, and more

As of this posting, all of these deals are active, but I don’t know for how long!
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