ARC Review: Blazewrath Games // A fantastic debut fantasy to watch out for

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Title: Blazewrath Games
Author: Amparo Ortiz
Genre/s and tags: Young Adult, Fantasy, Contemporary Fantasy, Adventure, Sports Fiction, LGBTQ+, POC reads, Latinx rep
Publisher: Page Street Kids
Publication date: October 6, 2020
Content warnings: Violence, murder/mentions of murder, manipulation, animal violence (dragons)
Goodreads synopsis: 

How to Train Your Dragon meets Quidditch through the Ages in this debut fantasy, set in an alternate contemporary world, in which dragons and their riders compete in an international sports tournament

Lana Torres has always preferred dragons to people. In a few weeks, sixteen countries will compete in the Blazewrath World Cup, a tournament where dragons and their riders fight for glory in a dangerous relay. Lana longs to represent her native Puerto Rico in their first ever World Cup appearance, and when Puerto Rico’s Runner—the only player without a dragon steed—is kicked off the team, she’s given the chance.

But when she discovers that a former Blazewrath superstar has teamed up with the Sire—a legendary dragon who’s cursed into human form—the safety of the Cup is jeopardized. The pair are burning down dragon sanctuaries around the world and refuse to stop unless the Cup gets cancelled. All Lana wanted was to represent her country. Now, to do that, she’ll have to navigate an international conspiracy that’s deadlier than her beloved sport.

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I received an e-arc from Page Street via NetGalley in exchange
for honest review. Thank you Page Street!

First of all, HAPPY RELEASE DAY TO BLAZEWRATH GAMES! I remember seeing this book the first time on Instagram. I was so excited for it! I mean, dragons? magic? a sports tournament? Hell yes! I already knew it was going to be good, and so it was one of my most anticipated reads for 2020! (It didn’t prepare me for how it was going to play with my emotions though.)

With great character arcs, exciting plot twists, remarkable world-building, and queer rep, Blazewrath Games is a fantastic debut fantasy to watch out for!

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ARC Review: A Neon Darkness // A slow and gripping dark origin story

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Title: A Neon Darkness
Author: Lauren Shippen
Genre/s and tags: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Contemporary, Urban fantasy, LGBTQ+ fiction, POC cast, villain origin story
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication date: September 29, 2020
Content warnings: Manipulation, mild/mentions of dubious consent, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, descriptions of torture (electrocution), murder
Goodreads synopsis: 

The second Bright Sessions novel from creator Lauren Shippen that asks: “What if the X-Men, instead of becoming superheroes, decided to spend some time in therapy?”

Los Angeles, 2006. Eighteen-year-old Robert Gorham arrives in L.A. amid the desert heat and the soft buzz of neon. He came alone with one goal: he wants to see the ocean. And Robert always gets what he wants.

At a very young age, Robert discovered he had the unusual ability to make those close to him want whatever he wants. He wanted dessert instead of dinner? His mother served it. He wanted his Frisbee back? His father walked off the roof to bring it to him faster. He wanted to be alone? They both disappeared. Forever.

But things will be different in L.A. He meets a group of strange friends who could help him. Friends who can do things like produce flames without flint, conduct electricity with their hands, and see visions of the past. They call themselves Unusuals and finally, finally, Robert belongs.

When a tall figure, immune to their powers, discovers them, the first family that Robert has ever wanted is at risk of being destroyed. The only way to keep them all together is to get his powers under control.

But control is a sacrifice he might not be willing to make.

A Neon Darkness is the origin story of Damien and the second stand-alone story in the Bright Sessions Novels.

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I received an e-arc from TorTeen via NetGalley in exchange for honest review. Thank you Tor Teen!

The second book in The Bright Sessions is here! Now this may be a second novel in the series, but it can stand alone on its own. Now, I’ve had the pleasure of reading the first book in the series last year and I loved it. So when I saw the cover and the synopsis of A Neon Darkness, I couldn’t keep my excitement! Fortunately, I was approved of the e-arc!

A Neon Darkness is a slow and gripping origin story that will have you immersed in your thoughts and emotions.

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ARC Review: Furia // Heartwarming and inspiring #ownvoices novel

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Title: Furia
Author: Yamile Saied Mendez
Genre/s and tags: Young Adult, Contemporary, Sports Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Coming of Age, OwnVoices, POC (Latinx)
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Publication date: September 15, 2020
Content warnings: Domestic abuse, misogynist views, femicide
Goodreads synopsis: 

An #ownvoices contemporary YA set in Argentina, about a rising soccer star who must put everything on the line—even her blooming love story—to follow her dreams.

In Rosario, Argentina, Camila Hassan lives a double life.

At home, she is a careful daughter, living within her mother’s narrow expectations, in her rising-soccer-star brother’s shadow, and under the abusive rule of her short-tempered father.

On the field, she is La Furia, a powerhouse of skill and talent. When her team qualifies for the South American tournament, Camila gets the chance to see just how far those talents can take her. In her wildest dreams, she’d get an athletic scholarship to a North American university.

But the path ahead isn’t easy. Her parents don’t know about her passion. They wouldn’t allow a girl to play fútbol—and she needs their permission to go any farther. And the boy she once loved is back in town. Since he left, Diego has become an international star, playing in Italy for the renowned team Juventus. Camila doesn’t have time to be distracted by her feelings for him. Things aren’t the same as when he left: she has her own passions and ambitions now, and La Furia cannot be denied. As her life becomes more complicated, Camila is forced to face her secrets and make her way in a world with no place for the dreams and ambition of a girl like her.

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I received an e-arc from Algonquin Young Readers in exchange for honest review. Thank you Algonquin Young Readers!

A few weeks ago, Algonquin Young Readers reached out to me and asked if I’m interested in an e-arc of Furia! A Latinx #ownvoices story about a rising female football star who wants to follow her dreams? I was instantly interested!

Furia is a heartwarming and inspiring #ownvoices novel about trying to reach for your dreams no matter how much people and the society tells you no.

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ARC Review: Each of Us A Desert // Thought-provoking and heart-wrenching

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Title: Each of Us A Desert
Author: Mark Oshiro
Genre/s and tags: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fantasy, LGBTQ+, Sapphic love interest, OwnVoices, POC (Latinx)
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication date: September 15, 2020
Content warnings: Minor character deaths, graphic violence, gore (bodies getting dismembered), animal deaths, brief mentions of domestic abuse and physical abuse
Goodreads synopsis: 

From the award-winning author Mark Oshiro comes a powerful fantasy novel about finding home and falling in love amidst the dangers of a desert where stories come to life.

Xochital is destined to wander the desert alone, speaking her troubled village’s stories into its arid winds. Her only companions are the blessed stars above and enimagic lines of poetry magically strewn across dusty dunes.

Her one desire: to share her heart with a kindred spirit.

One night, Xo’s wish is granted—in the form of Emilia, the cold and beautiful daughter of the town’s murderous mayor. But when the two set out on a magical journey across the desert, they find their hearts could be a match… if only they can survive the nightmare-like terrors that arise when the sun goes down.

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I received an e-arc via NetGalley in exhange for an honest review. Thank you Tor Teen!

I didn’t have much knowledge about this book when I first heard of it, but the synopsis got my attention. Now that I’ve read it, I’m glad to say it’s now one of the most beautiful books I’ve read this year. *cue tears*

Each of Us A Desert is an incredibly beautiful story about trying to find yourself. One that’s thought-provoking, honest, and heart-wrenching.

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ARC Review: The Summer of Everything // Beautiful and heartfelt

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Title: The Summer of Everything
Author: Julian Winters
Genre/s and tags: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, LGBTQ+, BIPOC cast
Publisher: Duet Books
Publication date: September 8, 2020
Content warnings: Mild descriptions of anxiety/panic attacks, minor character death
Goodreads synopsis: 

Comic book geek Wesley Hudson excels at two things: slacking off at his job and pining after his best friend, Nico. Advice from his friends, ‘90s alt-rock songs, and online dating articles aren’t helping much with his secret crush. And his dream job at Once Upon a Page, the local used bookstore, is threatened when a coffeeshop franchise wants to buy the property. To top it off, his annoying brother needs wedding planning advice. When all three problems converge, Wes comes face-to-face with the one thing he’s been avoiding—adulthood.

Now, confronted with reality, can Wes balance saving the bookstore and his strained sibling relationship? Can he win the heart of his crush, too?

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I received an e-arc via NetGalley in exhange for an honest review. Thank you Duet Books!

My first impression towards this book? Funny, light, a lot of romcom feels. And this book was that, don’t get me wrong! But oh, I did not expect to be bawling my eyes out as I read the last few chapters.

The Summer of Everything is a beautiful and heartfelt story about family, friendship, and adulthood, meant to make you smile and cry all throughout the book.

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