hispanic heritage readathon · readathon

Hispanic Heritage Month Readathon Summary

Hi I absolutely did not mean to fall off the face of the earth for a little while! October is always one of my busiest months, and it hit me with a massive reading slump, which in turn made me not want to blog either. I have a backlog of books that I can’t wait to review, starting with the ones I read for the Hispanic Heritage Month readathon!

There were a few books on my TBR for this readathon that I was unable to get to. The first was Solita by Vivien Rainn. This book was released in April but was impossible for me to find anywhere in any format. I was really bummed about it because it’s a gothic paranormal romance, and I hope eventually I can find a copy of it!

The second was Jawbone by Monica Ojeda, which is a contemporary horror that drew inspiration from Lovecraft and creepypastas. I figured it was right up my alley, but I only made it about 50 pages in before putting it down. I found it really difficult to get into, and the paragraphs were long and never-ending. I might pick this up again at some point, but for now it’s on hold. The third was Bindle Punk Bruja by Desideria Mesa, and honestly time just got away from me on this one and I was unable to read it in time. I will definitely be reading it soon, though!

I was able to read the rest of the books for this readathon, including Ophelia After All, which I already wrote a full review of. I’m in the middle of a full review for Together We Burn, so keep an eye out for that! I wrote mini reviews about the rest of the books below!

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review

Review: If We Were Villains by ML Rio

Summary: Oliver Marks has just served ten years in jail – for a murder he may or may not have committed. On the day he’s released, he’s greeted by the man who put him in prison. Detective Colborne is retiring, but before he does, he wants to know what really happened a decade ago.

As one of seven young actors studying Shakespeare at an elite arts college, Oliver and his friends play the same roles onstage and off: hero, villain, tyrant, temptress, ingenue, extra. But when the casting changes, and the secondary characters usurp the stars, the plays spill dangerously over into life, and one of them is found dead. The rest face their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, and themselves, that they are blameless.

Genre: mystery, thriller, contemporary
Rating: ★★★★★

This is a PSA that dark academia has my heart completely and absolutely no other genre in the entire world can compare to how If We Were Villains makes me feel. I know I’ve been throwing out five-star reviews pretty frequently lately, but I truly have not been this enamored with a book since I read The Maidens by Alex Michaelides last year. I know that this book is going to stay with me for a long time, and even though I’m usually not someone who rereads, I cannot wait to revisit this and fall in love all over again.

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review

Review: The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths

Summary: Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. A high school English teacher specializing in the Gothic writer R. M. Holland, she teaches a course on it every year. But when one of Clare’s colleagues and closest friends is found dead, with a line from R. M. Holland’s most famous story, “The Stranger,” left by her body, Clare is horrified to see her life collide with the storylines of her favourite literature.

To make matters worse, the police suspect the killer is someone Clare knows. Unsure whom to trust, she turns to her closest confidant, her diary, the only outlet she has for her darkest suspicions and fears about the case. Then one day she notices something odd. Writing that isn’t hers, left on the page of an old diary: “Hallo, Clare. You don’t know me.” Clare becomes more certain than ever: “The Stranger” has come to terrifying life. But can the ending be rewritten in time?

Genre: mystery
Rating: ★★★

The Stranger Diaries was recommended on a list of gothic horror and mystery novels, and I really loved the creepy atmosphere that Griffiths built here. The story takes place in a school that is rumored to be haunted; there’s a strange horror story written by a dead guy who used to live at the school; some of the students learn to do white magic from their professor; oh, and the English department is being killed off one by one. For as much as I love a good haunted house story, it was refreshing to take place in a different setting, and I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into this story.

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asian readathon · readathon · review

Asian Readathon 2022 Summary

May is always one of my busiest months (birthdays, holidays, the first time in the year when the weather gets nice and suddenly we’re not longer cooped up indoors), so when I signed up for the Asian Readathon for Asian Heritage Month, I was worried I was getting in over my head. I was especially nervous because I’d been in quite a reading slump so far this year, but I surprised myself by not only reading six books for this readathon, but also both of my Book of the Month selections and one (of three, sadly) books from my online book club!

All of the books I selected for this readathon were already on my tbr list, so it felt good to knock that number down a bit. I also made it a goal this year to read more books by POC, so this felt like a perfect reason to do that. If I want to read these books anyway, why not do it during a time to celebrate and bring awareness to these authors and stories (of course, we shouldn’t be reading these books exclusively for one month of the year). What I’m learning is that I really enjoy stories about different cultures, especially those that include mythology and folklore from said cultures. Who knew that young adult fantasy still had my heart?

The Asian Readathon had five simple rules, as follows:
– Read a book written by an Asian author.
– Read a book featuring an Asian character who is a woman AND/OR older.
– Read a book by an Asian author that has a universe you would want to experience OR a universe that is totally different from yours.
– Read a book by an Asian author that has a cover worthy of googly eyes. 
– Read a book by an Asian author that has a high rating OR was highly recommended.

I found that all of these books covered multiple rules. For example, The Ones We’re Meant to Find was written by an Asian author, had a universe that is totally different from mine, had a cover worthy of googly eyes, AND was highly recommended by a handful of my friends. In that regard, it was easy to reach this goals of the readathon, and I loved the loose interpretations here. It took a lot of the stress away from the readathon, and I had a lot of fun with it!

I already wrote full reviews for both The Ones We’re Meant to Find and The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea, but here are some mini reviews for the rest of the books.

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review

Review: My Sweet Girl by Amanda Jayatissa

Summary: Ever since she was adopted from a Sri Lankan orphanage, Paloma has had the best of everything—schools, money, and parents so perfect that she fears she’ll never live up to them.

Now at thirty years old and cut off from her parents’ funds, she decides to sublet the second bedroom of her apartment to Arun, who recently moved from India. Paloma has to admit, it feels good helping someone find their way in America—that is until Arun discovers Paloma’s darkest secret. Before Paloma can pay Arun off, she finds him face down in a pool of blood. She flees the apartment but by the time the police arrive, there’s no body—and no evidence that Arun ever even existed in the first place. Paloma is terrified this is all somehow tangled up in the desperate actions she took to escape Sri Lanka so many years ago. Did Paloma’s secret die with Arun or is she now in greater danger than ever before?

Genre: thriller, mystery
Rating: ★★★

I haven’t intentionally fallen off the face of the earth this last month, but I have been in a complete reading slump. Usually it happens when I read too many mediocre books in a row, which is what happened. I was hopeful that My Sweet Girl would be able to knock me out of it, because 1) the cover art is gorgeous and 2) despite it being a mystery, it sounded refreshing compared to most in the genre.

However, I really struggled to make my way through this. It took me almost three weeks to finish, and I had a difficult time connecting to it initially. At about the half-way point, I found myself wanting to reach the ending because I was interested in seeing how one small story arc played out (and thankfully it delivered!).

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