ARC Review: Cemetery Boys

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Title: Cemetery Boys
Author: Aiden Thomas
Genre/s and Tags: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal/Supernatural, Murder Mystery, Latinx rep, Trans rep, Gay rep, OwnVoices
Content Warnings: Transphobia, deadnaming, ostracism, violence
Publication date: September 1, 2020
Goodreads synopsis:

Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.

When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.

However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie up some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.

PicsArt_05-02-02.12.14

There comes a time when I get so lucky and I get blessed by the book gods. Winning an ARC of Cemetery Boys is one of those times. This book is one of my most anticipated releases for 2020 and I am over the moon to have finally read it!

Cemetery Boys is all kinds of amazing. From the rich world-building, the lush writing, to the lovable characters, and the nuances and struggles of being transgender, this book will not disappoint.

Read More »
What Unbreakable Looks Like BlogTourBanner_ON SALE

ARC Review: What Unbreakable Looks Like [Blog Tour]

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Title: What Unbreakable Looks Like
Author: Kate McLaughlin
Genre/s and Tags: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Content Warnings: Details about human trafficking, sexual assault and sexual harrassment (on page), non-consensual, manipulative/toxic relationship between a minor and an adult, absentee parents, PTSD, anxiety
Publication date: June 23, 2020
Goodreads synopsis:

Lex was taken–trafficked–and now she’s Poppy. Kept in a hotel with other girls, her old life is a distant memory. But when the girls are rescued, she doesn’t quite know how to be Lex again.

After she moves in with her aunt and uncle, for the first time in a long time, she knows what it is to feel truly safe. Except, she doesn’t trust it. Doesn’t trust her new home. Doesn’t trust her new friend. Doesn’t trust her new life. Instead she trusts what she shouldn’t because that’s what feels right. She doesn’t deserve good things.

But when she is sexually assaulted by her so-called boyfriend and his friends, Lex is forced to reckon with what happened to her and that just because she is used to it, doesn’t mean it is okay. She’s thrust into the limelight and realizes she has the power to help others. But first she’ll have to confront the monsters of her past with the help of her family, friends, and a new love.

Kate McLaughlin’s What Unbreakable Looks Like is a gritty, ultimately hopeful novel about human trafficking through the lens of a girl who has escaped the life and learned to trust, not only others, but in herself.

PicsArt_05-02-02.12.14

Hello book nerds! Today is my stop for the blog tour of What Unbreakable Looks Like! Thank you so much Wednesday Books for including me in this blog tour!

What Unbreakable Looks Like was raw and gritty, heartbreaking, and beautiful. It’s a book that explores overcoming trauma, learning to trust, and finding hope.

My thoughts on What Unbreakable Looks Like

Right from the get-go, I knew this was going to be a hard and emotional read. And I was right. This book tackled a lot of issues, the main character went through several traumatic events, and it was such a journey to see the story and the characters progress.

The writing style was great. Reading through Lex’s perspective gave me such a personal and emotional view of the story and the real-life dangers of human trafficking. I could tell the author also did a lot of research for this—to talk about human trafficking, the methodologies of (disgusting) traffickers, the trauma that victims go through, and the aftermath for victims and their families.

The characters were also compelling for me and they made the story more real and heartfelt. We see different kinds of people who are dealing with traumatic events in different ways, families and friends showing support, and more.

I also love that this book also tackled sexual harassment, the importance of consent, the nuances of being a woman and how others unfairly believe women less when it comes to sexual harassment cases.

The only thing I didn’t like about this book was the fact that the main character kept using AAVE (African-American Vernacular English) when trying to look tough or when conversing with people from her old life. Reading the book last month, I remember noticing this, too, but it wasn’t until recently that I came across a tweet from another reader pointing out that the main character (a white girl) was using AAVE.

Overall, What Unbreakable Looks Like is a great read, a gripping tale that will mess with your emotions and make you think about society.


What Unbreakable Looks Like
Buy Link

Buy What Unbreakable Looks Like here!

What Unbreakable Looks Like BlogTourBanner_ON SALE

About the Author 

KATE McLAUGHLIN likes people, so much so that she spends her days making up her own. She likes writing about characters who are bent, but not broken – people who find their internal strength through friends, strife and sometimes humor. When she’s not writing, she likes studying people, both real and fictional. She also likes playing board games with friends, talking and discovering new music. A proud Nova Scotian, she’ll gladly tell you all about the highest tides in the world, the magical creation known as a donair, and people who have sofas in their kitchens. Currently, she lives in Connecticut with her husband and four cats. She’s the author of What Unbreakable Looks Like. Find her on Twitter.

ARC Review: The Extraordinaries

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Title: The Extraordinaries
Author: TJ Klune
Genre/s and Tags: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction, Comics, Superheroes, Romcom, Bestfriends to lovers trope, pining, M/M romance,
Content Warnings: Violence, anxiety, panic attacks, some vulgar words but none too extreme
Publication date: July 14, 2020
Goodreads synopsis:

Some people are extraordinary. Some are just extra. TJ Klune’s YA debut, The Extraordinaries, is a queer coming-of-age story about a fanboy with ADHD and the heroes he loves.

Nick Bell? Not extraordinary. But being the most popular fanfiction writer in the Extraordinaries fandom is a superpower, right?

After a chance encounter with Shadow Star, Nova City’s mightiest hero (and Nick’s biggest crush), Nick sets out to make himself extraordinary. And he’ll do it with or without the reluctant help of Seth Gray, Nick’s best friend (and maybe the love of his life).

Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl meets Marissa Meyer’s Renegades in TJ Klune’s YA debut.

PicsArt_05-02-02.12.14

I received an e-arc of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much Tor Teen!

I have such high expectations for this book. The cover is beautiful, the synopsis sounds promising, and having read Klune’s The House in the Cerulean Sea, I have nothing but excitement and faith for it. And after reading it, damn, I am so glad those expectations are met and more.

This funny, wholesome, and unapologetically queer book will make you laugh, break your heart, and lure you into the start of what seems to be a great trilogy.

My thoughts on The Extraordinaries

This book is just perfect. It’s hella funny, it’s poignant, it’s relatable, it’s heartbreaking, it’s shocking, it’s angsty (two boys pining, come on), it’s heartwarming, the plot twists are amazing, it’s wonderfully-written, it’s EVERYTHING.

But let’s start with the writing style. Klune knows how to tell a story. Yes, he does. The book opens up with a fanfic (a freaking FANFIC, formatted just like in AO3) and I knew this is going to be one hell of a ride. It was funny all throughout, but there were heartbreaking and heartstopping moments as well.

Being neurodiverse himself, I feel like Klune managed to encapsulate Nick’s ADHD onto the pages perfectly. There were times when I just wanted to give Nick a hug, and tell him it’s going to be okay. (This is obviously a clear sign that I got invested with the characters AGAIN) Speaking of characters, I loved that everyone in this book had a part. The minor characters weren’t just there for the sake of it. Instead, they added their own flair and stories, they helped Nick, they helped the plot, they made the story alive, and I loved that.

As for the romance, oh boy. Get ready for a lot of pining and cluelessness and angst. But also, get ready for the fluff and the wholesomeness. Best friends to lovers is one of my favorite romance tropes, and the author wrote that well.

When it comes to the plot of The Extraordinaries, it was definitely entertaining. Nick decides he wants to become an Extraordinary and starts all these crazy methods, and then some…other things happen (which I will not spoil, of course!). I liked that the author knows how to build up a plot twist or revelation. He does that really well all throughout the book using flashbacks, a number of foreshadowing, and more. And though, I already had a hunch early on about a specific big plot twist, it was still so exciting and thrilling to read the book.

The world-building, I feel like it can use a little more polishing. However, this is just the first book, and I have faith that we’ll get to know more about the origin of these Extraordinaries in the next installments.

Overall, The Extraordinaries is such an amazing journey of self-discovery, self-love, the beauty of friendship and family, and challenging the very trope that is “superhero versus villain”.

Quotes from the book 

​“It’s good to talk about how you’re feeling. But it’s even better to fight for the things you believe in.”

​​He thought he was going to cry again, but since he’d done it twice in as many days, he decided it was probably best if he tried to be a man for a little while. Then he thought that was sexist, so he allowed another tear to spill onto his cheek.

“This sucks. Not only am I the comedic relief/ love interest, I’m also the clueless comedic relief/ love interest who is a pawn in a game I didn’t even realize was being played. God, my life is so cliché.”

*Note that these quotes were taken from an advance reader’s copy and may differ from the final copy.


Buy The Extraordinaries

Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Book Depository | Bookshop


This book was my first read for Pride Month and for #spectrumreads and it looks like I’m off to a great start! How are your Pride Month reads?

Also, is this book on your radar already? Tell me in the comments!

ARC Review + Mood board: A Song of Wraiths and Ruin [Blog Tour]

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Title: A Song of Wraiths and Ruin
Author: Roseanne A. Brown
Genre/s and Tags: Young Adult, Fantasy, Mythology, POC, Diverse reads
Content Warnings: Violence, Racism/Oppression
Publication date: June 2, 2020
Goodreads synopsis:

The first in an fantasy duology inspired by West African folklore in which a grieving crown princess and a desperate refugee find themselves on a collision course to murder each other despite their growing attraction.

For Malik, the Solstasia festival is a chance to escape his war-stricken home and start a new life with his sisters in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. But when a vengeful spirit abducts Malik’s younger sister, Nadia, as payment into the city, Malik strikes a fatal deal—kill Karina, Crown Princess of Ziran, for Nadia’s freedom.

But Karina has deadly aspirations of her own. Her mother, the Sultana, has been assassinated; her court threatens mutiny; and Solstasia looms like a knife over her neck. Grief-stricken, Karina decides to resurrect her mother through ancient magic . . . requiring the beating heart of a king. And she knows just how to obtain one: by offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia competition.

When Malik rigs his way into the contest, they are set on a course to destroy each other. But as attraction flares between them and ancient evils stir, will they be able to see their tasks to the death?

PicsArt_05-02-02.12.14

Hello book nerds! Today is my stop for the A Song of Wraiths and Ruin Blog Tour hosted by The Fantastic Flying Book Club. I’ll be reviewing A Song of Wraiths and Ruin and sharing a mood board!

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin is brilliantly done! Though it took a while to build up, the world-building and high-stakes plot are more than enough to get you hooked.

My thoughts on A Song of Wraiths and Ruin

The very first thing that truly struck me as I was reading this book was that it has such a fantastic world-building! It’s intricate and it’s beautiful, and just so mesmerizing! The same goes for the mythology and the magic system that the story has. It’s rich and magical and will definitely hold your attention. To be honest, it also made me want to learn more about West African folklore since this was the main inspiration of the book!

I also thought the author did a good job building these main characters. I was able to see Karina and Malik’s aspirations, their insecurities, their passion, and their perspectives in their contrasting lives. Unfortunately, when it came to the romance, I was left unsatisfied. I just didn’t find it believable enough, and it seemed like one of those pairings that only interacted with each other for a few times but already felt attracted to each other. Still, it doesn’t mean that I didn’t like Karina and Malik’s dynamic. Karina and Malik together is definitely interesting and I think them working together (instead of trying to kill each other) will be such a powerhouse! I can’t wait to see how they are in the sequel!

As for the plot, it definitely took a while to build up. However, everything was so interesting that you’re still invested and you won’t want to take your eyes off the page. It was adventurous and exciting, and some of the plot twists were surprising. I remember thinking, “woah, that was W I L D” after reading this book! Have to say though, I kind of predicted one of the major plot twists in the book. Still, it was damn enjoyable.

In conclusion, GET THIS BOOK. I swear, you will not regret it!

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin Mood Board

Here’s the mood board I created inspired by the book!


A Song of Wraiths and Ruin Buy Links + Campaign

Amazon | Barnes & Noble iTunes | Kobo | Book Depository

About the Author 

Roseanne “Rosie” A. Brown was born in Kumasi, Ghana and immigrated to the wild
jungles of central Maryland as a child. Writing was her first love, and she knew from a young age that she wanted to use the power of writing
—creative and otherwise—to connect the different cultures she called home. She graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor’s in Journalism and was also a teaching assistant for the school’s Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House program. Her journalistic work has been featured by Voice of America among other outlets.

On the publishing side of things, she has worked as an editorial intern at Entangled Publishing. Rosie was a 2017 Pitch Wars mentee and 2018 Pitch Wars mentor. Never content to stay in any one place for too long, Rosie currently teaches in Japan, where in her free time she can usually be found exploring the local mountains, explaining memes to her students, or thinking about Star Wars.

Website| Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

Tour Schedule

See more reviews, interviews, guest posts, playlists, or dream casts from other bloggers included in A Song of Wraiths and Ruin blog tour hosted by The Fantastic Flying Book Club! Click here to see the tour schedule!

Giveaway

Prize: Win an ASOWAR bookplate, bookmark, two trading cards, and access to the exclusive short story (INT)
Starts: June 2 2020
Ends: June 16 2020

Enter here!

ARC Review: The Angel of the Crows

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Title: The Angel of the Crows
Author: Katherine Addison
Genre/s and Tags: Adult, Urban Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Murder Mystery, Lowkey LGBTQ+ rep
Content Warnings: Murders, graphic details about wounds/corpses/murder scenes, crimes
Publication date: June 23, 2020
Goodreads synopsis:

A fantasy novel of alternate 1880s London, where killers stalk the night and the ultimate power is naming.

This is not the story you think it is. These are not the characters you think they are. This is not the book you are expecting.

In an alternate 1880s London, angels inhabit every public building, and vampires and werewolves walk the streets with human beings under a well-regulated truce. A fantastic utopia, except for a few things: Angels can Fall, and that Fall is like a nuclear bomb in both the physical and metaphysical worlds. And human beings remain human, with all their kindness and greed and passions and murderous intent.

Jack the Ripper stalks the streets of this London too. But this London has an Angel. The Angel of the Crows.

PicsArt_05-02-02.12.14

I received an e-arc of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much Tor Books!

The moment I found out about this book, I was so pumped! It just seemed like a book made for me: supernatural fantasy, serial killers, alternate London?! I wanted to read it already! Fortunately, I had the pleasure of reading the e-arc!

Though I feel like it lacked in plot and world-building, The Angel of the Crows is entertaining enough to get you invested.

My thoughts on The Angel of the Crows

The Angel of the Crows is a good read! Did it blow me away as I hoped it would? No. Was it entertaining? Definitely! Did I get invested with the characters? Oh, yes.

As a whole, the story was entertaining. But I’m going to be honest and say that it has no real or main plot. Maybe the part about Jack the Ripper was supposed to be the bigger picture in the story, but it felt disjointed. It also wasn’t fleshed out for me (or maybe I was just looking for closure since Jack the Ripper was never caught in real life and I wanted to see how the author will go about it). The whole book is a series of different cases taken by Doyle and Crow, and we see them meet various people and creatures and solve one problem after another. For me, this allowed the book to be character-focused. It’s not exactly character-driven per se (since there were various sub-plots that moved the story forward), but as a reader, I was able to focus on the characters and get to know them. I adored Doyle and Crow as individual characters, and I also loved their tandem! (I also keep seeing gay subtext between, but that could just be me.)

As for the world-building, oh how I craved for it. It was good, but I wanted more! Details about the other creatures are vague and lacking. There was enough background about angels, but as for the others, no.

To my surprise, there’s also LGBTQ+ rep in The Angel of the Crows. (Watch out for spoilers, highlight/select the following texts to see it!) Doyle was assigned female at birth, and said he’s neither a man or a woman in the later part of the book (I presume this is in regards to his gender identity). Crow is also an asexual being, considering he is an angel and angels feel no sexual attractions. It was also stated that angels can be both male and female. Though it was nice to see these representations, I feel like the author could have expounded more on it.

The author also said in the Author’s Note, that this story began as a Sherlock wingfic. Now, I’m not a fan of Sherlock Holmes (because I’ve never read the book, watched the movies, or anything), but I am very familiar with fanfics (as a fanfic reader myself!) and it was another pleasant surprise for me! Wingfics are fanfictions where characters (usually human) are reimagined with wings. I thought it was great that the author managed to create this story from what was once a fanfic. On the other hand, this also made me understand others’ sentiments about this book being a Sherlock “retelling”.

Overall, The Angel of the Crows is wonderful read. And if you feel like this book will suck you in, please read it!

Quotes from the book 

​“You cannot keep faith with the faithless.”

​​“If you don’t feel sexual desire and someone coerces you into having sexual relations with them, I don’t see how it’s anything other than rape.”

“Curiosity trumps most things.”

*Note that these quotes were taken from an advance reader’s copy and may differ from the final copy.


Buy The Angel of the Crows

Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Book Depository


Y’all, this is my last read for May! I can’t believe I actually finished it despite me being so busy these past few weeks. But anyway. How did your May reading go?