Mexican Gothic

Mexican Gothic: Moreno-Garcia, Silvia: 9780525620785: Amazon.com: Books

This was a rather disturbing read, to be honest. I think it needs a trigger warning; there is drug use, rape, cults, suicide … but the imagery is beautiful, and the symbolism is on-point. The pictures that Moreno-García paints are stunning, vivid, magical. The world building is beautiful, but the magic system was, admittedly, strange. Even though it was a bit of my comfort zone at times, I really enjoyed the story.

Mexican Gothic takes us back in time to an old-fashioned world, where women are painted as mercurial and melodramatic, and expected to “mind [their] words and learn [their] place”. In an old house darkened by rotting memories, the inhabitants desperately cling to the past. But Noemí Taboada is a modern woman, a bright light, and she will do anything in her power to save her cousin Catalina from wasting away into the darkness. But is she strong enough to save Catalina from the gloom that engulfs High Hill?

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Midnight Sun *spoilers ahead*

I saw a lot of opinions on this book, and I had worries going into it, but I honestly thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

First of all, it is fiction. We aren’t vampires, and nothing is perfect. Including Meyer’s writing. But, despite the problems with this series, it was an entertaining story and I had a good time reading it. I loved the nostalgia and the extra detail we got about Edward’s life, and that’s what makes this book a good read. And, even though Edward is a crazy vampire stalker, we know from the original books that Bella truly loved him back. And I just love a good love story!

But there is so much to unpack in this book. Lets get the problematic statements out of the way. Edwards exclusionary “you don’t belong here” comments. His true belief that humans are not “equal” to vampires. The obsessed vampire stalking. None of that behavior is acceptable, and I can understand why there is criticism around this book. But I enjoyed Midnight Sun for what it was, a new chapter to Edward and Bella’s story.

It had a very Anne Rice vibe to the writing style, with all of Edwards inner dialogue. I have seen a lot of criticism around this particular element of the writing, but I totally understood and appreciated the references to Interview With A Vampire.

I am not a super religious person myself, but I found a lot of religious symbolism in Meyer’s writing. She uses light and dark as symbols for good and bad

The very first page of the book brings up the afterlife and sin. So, I was immediately looking for that as I read through the book. I found lots of religious language, and found references to Edward committing basically all of the 7 Deadly Sins throughout the text. I also found Edward asking all of the existential questions that religion(s) attempt to answer.

“She should have died today, Edward.”

So, the vampires are playing God. Saving Bella’s life. Deciding the rapist should go to jail. Carlisle as a doctor, saving human lives, who believes “every life is precious”, pitted against Jasper’s desire to let fate take its natural course. The fact that Carlisle created another vampire like himself at all is drawing a parallel between God the Father and Carlisle the father. “We tried to live to a higher standard. A gentler, more peaceable standard. Because of our father.” What gives him the authority to make these decisions? What even controls destiny, anyway? Continue reading

Lobizona: Undocumented. Unprotected. Unafraid.

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If you enjoy magical realism, you will love Romina Garber’s newest book Lobizona. I have seen this title around on bookstagram for a while and the cover is what really drew me in. I absolutely love the art style, but the title seemed really interesting also. I was delighted to find the naked book is just as beautiful as the sleeve!

Romina Garber | Zodiac, Beautiful book covers, Book quotes

Netgalley gifted me a free e-ARC of this title, which I am so grateful for! It allowed me to start reading it, which sucked me in after the first few pages. I got about halfway through on Kindle before deciding to buy the physical copy. For one, I wanted to support this author (I devoured her Zodiac series a few years ago!) and two, I ended up taking a lot of annotations which I wanted to keep. And I bounced back and forth between the e-book and the physical copy; the e-book is amazing for reading in bed, but the physical is better for daytime reading (and is less of a strain on my eyes, TBH.)

“We use magical realism in our daily lives too. Consider our superstitions. We are always willing magic into reality—that’s our way.”

I love that this book was stippled with Spanish aphorisms and phrases, and included an impressive amount of vocabulary in-context to help teach Spanish to non-speakers. As someone who is constantly trying to improve my Spanish, this is something I really appreciate seeing in new books. Garber does it well, allowing the reader to infer meaning from context clues without needing to use a translator. However, I can really appreciate having the translation dictionary available if I do need it, conveniently built into my e-reader. It saves a lot of time not having to click out of the book, and as a visual learner I enjoy seeing side-by-side translations because it really helps me understand spelling and pronunciation. Continue reading

Internment

Amazon.com: Internment (9780316522694): Ahmed, Samira: BooksSilence is Violence was the theme for this emotional book. “If we stay silent, whats next?”

This was a crazy read. It is eerily relevant and totally frightening to imagine. Set in a dystopian future where Muslims are herded into internment camps because of the racist president’s Islamophobia, our main character fights for freedom using the only thing she has left: her voice. I liked so much about this book, because it was very realistic and illustrate the consequences if we as a people become complacent and stop fighting for our rights. Continue reading

Lotería

Lotería was the 2013 debut novel of Mario Alberto Zambrano.

With her older sister Estrella in the ICU and her father in jail, eleven-year-old Luz Castillo has been taken into the custody of the state. Alone in her room, she retreats behind a wall of silence, writing in her journal and shuffling through a deck of lotería cards. Each of the cards’ colorful images—mermaids, bottles, spiders, death, and stars—sparks a random memory.

Pieced together, these snapshots bring into focus the joy and pain of the young girl’s life, and the events that led to her present situation. But just as the story becomes clear, a breathtaking twist changes everything.

This book was stippled with Spanish aphorisms and phrases, and included an impressive amount of vocabulary in-context, to help teach Spanish to non-speakers. A full deck of Lotería cards is presented back-to-front, to mark the chapters, as if the reader is flipping a card when turning the page, reminiscent of Isabelle Allende and Salvador Plascencia’s magical realism. Image result for loteria el nopal

“I didn’t feel like remembering today so I laid out the cards close to each other so that they were touching like tiles, like El Nopal.” (175).

Luz associates her memories with the Lotería cards, using them to prompt her, to spark her memories. Than she writes about it in her journal. As we read her diary — addressed to “You”, always capitalized, in reference to the reader, or in reference to a higher power — we understand the trauma she is trying to run from. Continue reading

The Language Of Thorns, Leigh Bardugo

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Love speaks in flowers. Truth Requires Thorns.

The Languge Of Thorns is a collection short stories and prequels included in the triologies and duologies by Leigh Bardugo that function as childhood fairy tales and folklore to the characters of The Grishaverse.

Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times-bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of illustrated stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love. Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.

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Renee Ahdieh, Flame In The Mist

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Despite the rumors, Renée Ahdieh‘s long anticipated Flame In The Mist is more likely inspired by the story of Mulan rather than existing as a retelling of the tale. Many elements seem to echo the popular Disney’s Mulan cartoon (she cuts off her hair, saves the life of an important warrior, and lives a secret double life as a man), including one of the important quotes of the book: “Be as swift as the wind. As silent as the forest. As fierce as the fire. As unshakable as the mountain.” (143) 

 

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A Crown Of Wishes

Image result for a crown of wishesThe sequel to Roshani Chokshi’s debut novel The Star-Touched Queen remains equally adventurous as the first, transporting the reader to the far-away otherworldly lands of Bharata & Ujijain, Alaka and beyond, this time following Mayavati’s younger sister Gauri on her own journey of self-reflection and self-discovery. Filled with adventure, politics, friendships, sisterhood, romance, illusion, transformation, sacrifices, trials and tribulations, A Crown of Wishes weaves an otherworldly story, carried on the wings of birds with feathers of glittering gold.

In A Crown of Wishes we find Gauri, the legendary warrior princess of Bharata, exiled and imprisoned in Ujijain at her brother Skanda’s command. Scorned by her people for the lies Skanda has spread, Gauri faces execution in Ujijain. But Vikram, the cunning ‘Fox Prince’ of Ujijain, sees her potential and offers Gauri a chance at redemption. Together, they enter the Tournament of Wishes with hopes of winning a wish from The Lord of Treasures that would secure them their greatest desires. Continue reading

The Star-Touched Queen

star-touched-queenRoshani Chokshi’s debut novel The Star-Touched Queen is an adventure, taking the reader through far-away otherworldly lands on a journey of self-reflection and self-discovery. Driven to enchanted bazaars and palaces of another time, racing on horseback across barren fields and wild jungles, the story engulfs the reader, allowing readers to become one with the character Mayavati as she bites into fairy fruits of sapphires and pearls and wears a crown of stars in her hair.

Told in horoscopes and embedded in myth, this story captivates and entrances the reader, lulling them with dreamlike images of golden honeycomb archives and gem-laden palace hallways, inviting readers into a world of fantasy, fairytale, lore and beauty. Spoken in riddles, the novel itself encourages deep thinking. Reminding us that “everything is a matter of interpretation” (112) the book promotes thoughtful decision making. Urging readers to practice “a different way of seeing” (143). But reader beware: The Star-Touched Queen bears virtue and valor, but also loses herself to impulsivity and falls victim to rumor. Like any other mortal, Maya must overcome her past in order to triumph in her future. Following her trials the reader learns from her mistakes, understanding as she does the importance of logic, reasoning, and fairness. Her lover Amar helps her in (re)discovering herself, gently encouraging her strengths and challenging her weaknesses, while simultaneously doing his best to protect her from her those who might try and ruin her.

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