ARC Review: Colton’s Terrible Wonderful Year- Vincent Meis

Title: Colton’s Terrible Wonderful Year

Author: Vincent Meis

Publisher: Spectrum Books

Format: e-book

Pages: 239

“Colton’s Terrible Wonderful Year” is centered around 14 year old Colton who lives in San Francisco with his two dads. He discovers acceptance, first love, deception, and disappointment all within a year. His trip to Thailand was one of self-discovery for Colton.
Growing up with his two dads Colton always felt a little different, and he felt they didn’t understand what it’s like being a black teenager. Colton starts to question his roots and where he came from. He decides he wants to meet his surrogate mother. Unfortunately, that meeting didn’t go as he planned and he’s left with this hole in his heart and confusion.

Colton has already went through so many emotions this year. From his first kiss with the girl of his dreams, to having to deal with a long distance relationship, to having to deal with racism from one of his family members, to his dad getting sick. It was just all too much for Colton to bear.
“Colton’s Terrible Wonderful Year” is a coming of age story that deals with a lot of issues set in 2020, when the whole world was uncertain for everyone, especially a teenager. Issues such as: racism, the pandemic, and the BLM movement. Just like every teenager, Colton is becoming “woke” and starts to realize everything going on around him.

I really enjoyed this book a lot. I would’ve definitely finished it on one sitting if it wasn’t for my adult responsibilities :). The author did amazing addressing teenage dilemmas, capturing the love amongst Colton and his diverse family, as well as the drama, and navigating relationships. I also enjoyed the trip we took to Thailand through the author’s writing; Beautiful scenery, and temples. I really commend the author for creating such a fun and diverse set of characters, as well as including different sexualities as well.

Overall, this book was excellent. Touching on a lot of important topics. I’m a huge lover of YA so I already knew the intended audience and writing. I will definitely be reading more of Vincent Meis’s books in the future. Special thanks to @bibliophile.nat (Instagram) and @vincentmeisauthor (instagram) for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Book Released: 3-4-2023

ARC Review: Dear Haiti, Love Alaine- Maika and Maritza Moulite

Title: Dear Haiti, Love Alaine

Author: Maika and Maritza Moulite

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Pages: 432

Rating: 5/5

When an incident at her school gets Alaine almost suspended, she is told to go back to her country and complete a internship at her aunt’s non-profit organization. Its called PATRONAL, which is an app created to help fund children in need in Haiti. While in Haiti she’s able to learn more about her country, and of course develop a cute crush on one of the interns. The book is full of lots of Haitian history and culture(I would’ve liked if this also talked about beautiful areas in Haiti). She learned quite a bit of her family history as well….especially when there’s a curse involved.

Follow Alaine as she takes you through her island, and some rather heart wrenching moments, especially those involved with her mom. I think it’s so important to see how she dealt with her moms dementia. That was honestly one of my fave parts of the story (not in a messed up way). Another great thing about this novel is that it’s written by two sisters. Kudos to Maika and Maritza Mountie. You created a beautiful story full of representation. Thank You to NetGalley and Inkyard Press for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I definitely need a copy of it on my shelf.

ARC Review: Small Spaces- Katherine Arden

Title: Small Spaces

Author: Katherine Arden

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Pages: 218

Rating: 4/5

I’ve had this book for quite sometime and I don’t what took me so long to read it. ‘Small Spaces” is Katherine Arden’s debut middle grade book. I absolutely loved the spooky vibe it gave off. Arden really knows how to tell a story. 
We meet Olivia Adler who goes by the name Ollie. Ollie is a quiet girl who likes to be alone, enjoy the company of her books, and riding her bike. She lives with her dad whom is a solar panel salesman, but whose true gift is being creative….including being an amazing cook and baker. They live in their house that people call: ‘the egg house” because of the easter egg colors her dad painted it. After a situation happens at school and Ollie flees the scene, she goes to her fave river to ride her bike and relax. She then comes across a strange and distraught woman trying to throw a book in the river. Ollie being the book lover she is takes the book from her and runs off. When she gets home, she begins reading it. She falls into a trance by reading the tale. The tale is about a girl named Beth and two young men who are brothers. The brothers are fighting over the girls love, but they also make a deal with someone called: “The Smiling Man”. A highly sinister character who will grant you a great significant wish, but at a cost of course. Ollie is so engrossed in the tale until she goes on a school trip to a farm called: “Smoke Hollow”. When she gets there she learns about its haunted past and the eerily similarities to the tale she’s reading.
When it’s time for the class to go back home, their school bus breaks down and the creepy bus driver says: “Best get moving, at nightfall they’ll come for the rest of you” and with that Ollie’s wristwatch gives her a warning:”RUN”! and so she starts a chilling and scary adventure through a corn maze, the woods, and with scarecrows. While on this scary adventure we also meet Coco Zintner and Brian Battersby.

I absolutely loved this book even though it was scary and kept you on the edge of your seat, it also teaches you about friendships, standing up for what you believe in, and how to deal with grieving. Yes! grieving. Ollie losing her mom made a huge impact on her behavior overall. Huge thanks to NetGalley and G.P Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers of a copy of this book in a exchange for a honest review.

Harlequin Blog Tour- ARC Review: Tigers, Not Daughters- Samantha Mabry

Title: Tigers, Not Daughters

Author: Samantha Mabry

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Pages: 288

Rating: 5/5

We Start off with all four Torres sisters trying to escape their hellhole home…away from their awful father. The Torres sisters consist of Anna, Jessica, Iridian, and Rosa. With no direction taking them anywhere, the Torres sisters decide to escape in the middle of the night and thanks to their nosey neighbors they were caught. A couple of months later Ana falls to her death from her window.

The family falls completely apart. Everyone stricken with grief…dealing with Ana’s death in their own destructive ways. Jessica is the only one whose really providing for the family, while at the same time dealing with her own grief issues and a abusive boyfriend. Iridian loves to write and just be alone with her thoughts, and Rosa is focusing on the more spiritual side of things…including a loose Hyena in town who she thinks could be Ana reincarnated. But, there’s something no-one was counting on..strange supernatural things have been happening in the Torres home since Ana’s death. Mysterious writings on the wall, mysterious shadows, and mysterious laughter. The Torres sisters think that it’s Ana trying to communicate with them. Even possibly try to run them out of the home they’ve known so they can finally be free of their fathers tyrannical behavior. 

Tigers, not daughters was so beautifully written. Amazing prose. Mary makes you feel the words with every sentence written. The book makes you really realize how much grief changes a person. To what extents they go through to fight the demons. I’ve been seeing ‘Tigers, Not Daughters’ to ‘Little Women’. I’ve never read ‘Little Women’ but, I will definitely put it on my TBR list. Thank You to NetGalley and Algonquin Young Readers for providing me with a physical copy of an ARC in a exchange for a honest review. 

Tigers, Not Daughters comes out March 24, 2020.

Review: Brain on Fire- Susannah Cahalan

Title: Brain on Fire

Author: Susannah Cahalan

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Pages: 266

Rating: 3/5

In all fairness, I liked the book, but didn’t love it. Towards the beginning of the book the author had my interest piqued, but towards the middle it just started feeling repetitive, and being as she was a journalist, her writing resembled that of a journalist. I didn’t get that feeling I usually get when I read a memoir or biography. They’re my absolute favorites.
We start off with the author telling us about her awesome new job at The Post and her new relationship. But, she notices something is wrong with her. She starts noticing all these symptoms and weird things happening to her. When they finally get to diagnose her with a rare auto-immune disease known as: “anti-NMDA-receptor autoimmune encephalitis”. She takes us through her journey dealing with this disease as well as her journey to healing. It was written very well. Using medical terminology and lingo to describe what was going on. I will not deny the book was very good, just wish it had the little bit of umph that I usually get when reading a memoir as I stated earlier.

Review: I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter- Erika L. Sanchez

Title: I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

Author: Erika L. Sanchez

Publisher: Ember

Pages: 368

Rating: 5/5

“I don’t know why I’ve always been like this, why the smallest things make me ache inside. There’s a poem I read once, titled “The World is too Much with Us”, and I guess that is the best way to describe the feeling-the world is too much for me”-
Ericka L. Sanchez

Although many hated Julia (me too at times)I could definitely relate to her on so many levels. What caught my attention was definitely the opening scene. Granted for some it was triggering (including myself) but, I got pulled in because I too have lost someone in my life. My grandmother who raised me. Her death just like Julia’s sister Olga’s death changed me in dramatic ways. Julia’s sister Olga got ran over by a semi-truck. Olga was “The perfect Mexican daughter”. She stayed home, wore boring clothing, was obedient towards her parents. Something that always bothered Julia. Julia however is NOT the perfect Mexican daughter. She’s loud, she obnoxious. She doesn’t like the crazy rules her parents instill within her life. She smokes weed, drinks, and sneaks out to see her boyfriend. She’s tired of being in her town of Chicago. She wants something more from life. Julia is after all a poet and artist. I admire her love for books. She’s just this happy bubble of emotions when she thinks and talks about literature. She’s doing good in school and she can thank Mr. Ingman, her teacher, who gives her advice and pushes her to be all she can be. One of her greatest dreams is to go to college in NYC, something her parents frown upon. What with how strict and old fashion they are. While trying to cope with her sister’s death, and learning how to deal with her parents coldness towards her. Julia comes across some deep dark secrets of her sister. While she goes on a hunt for answers. She also starts to understand why her parents are the way they are. After a major issue that happened, Julia is shipped to Mexico to stay with her Mama Jacinta. When she gets there she understands how and why her mother sacrificed so much for her and her sister. She also realizes she doesn’t have to be like her sister, or act like something someone else wants; it’s okay to be different. 
I absolutely loved this book. It really hit me in my heart strings. Growing up in a strict spanish household, I myself couldn’t do much either I wasn’t allowed to go out or anything. So that I know her struggle and pain. Julia was a tough cookie. She was definitely a feminist as well; an advocate for rights . I admired her feistiness. This book deals with serious issues such as cringe old man issues, underage drinking, smoking weed, grief, mental illness, and crossing the border. I really enjoyed this book and think the author did an amazing job covering those issues.

ARC Review: The Infernal Machine- C.W. Snyder

Title: The infernal Machine

Author: C.W. Snyder

Publisher: The Parliament House

Pages: n/a

Rating: 4/5

There was so much that was good with this book. A steampunk tale with some supernatural vibes (and some gore too!), philosophical situations, flashbacks that don’t overwhelm you like some other authors do when they write them. 
Arthur White, Mr. Black, and Ava take you on a dark and promising adventure. Arthur meets Mr. Black while he was working as a cemetery caretaker. Mr. Black gifts him an a immortal clockwork heart so Mr. White could do all of Mr. Black’s dirty work. We follow Arthur’s journey with his rather questionable behavior. After they find out a mutual friend has passed away, they both find that Lucifer’s heart is out there and they need to find it. 
The Flashbacks and dreams give you a gist of what happened in their lives prior to get to where they did; take you through the dark times. The infernal machine is an amazing work of art. Making you think about all the “what ifs”. You’ll find demons, devils, and some nazi’s. 

Thank you to Parliament Press for providing me with a copy in a exchange for an honest review and thank you for allowing me to participate in this blog tour.

Review: Gods Of Jade and Shadow- Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Title: Gods of Jade and Shadow

Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Publisher: Del Rey

Pages: 352

Rating: 4/5

Casiopea Tun is named after a constellation, but under the most rotten one. Casiopea has been having a hard time. After the death of her father and her mother not being completely mentally stable, Casiopea has felt pretty lost and unloved. Especially having to live with her tyrant grandfather and abusive cousin. She has to cater to them, especially her cousin Martin. But Casiopea has a pretty sharp tongue of her own. One of the things I admire about her is her strength and determination. One day while in her grandfather’s room she see’s a chest, she opens it and the God of Death escapes. Then we meet the dreamy God Hun-Kame who accompanies Casiopea on this journey. At first he’s this arrogant idiot who though he knew everything, but once his human traits started to surface you couldn’t help but fall for him (even Casiopea’s feelings towards him start to change). They continue unto their journey to recover Hun-Kame’s throne from his evil brother. Hun-Kame and Casiopea take you on a beautiful adventure through Mexico City, while talking Mythology. 
I truly loved this book, at first it started off slow for me, but I guess I’m not familiar with folklore and there were always distractions while I was trying to devour this book. I’m glad I gave it a chance. Garcia did a great job wrapping your head around mythology and describing the beauty of Mexico City, as well as some insightful information.

Review: More Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark- Alvin Schwartz

Title: More Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark

Author: Alvin Schwartz

Publisher: HarperCollins

Pages: 100

Rating: 5/5

I read this very scarcely when I was a kid. I kept seeing the books around, but I never actually picked them up until I went to target the other day. I bought 1 and 3 (no more #2). I read both of them in less than an hour. These are definitely great stories to tell around a cool campfire. Some may be a bit strong for smaller children. The great thing that adds that horror factor is the black and white illustrations. These books are definitely a treasure that must be kept forever. I’ll list some of my favorites below:

The Wreck-

The Bride-

Wonderful Sausage-

The Deadman’s Hand-

The Brown Suit-

Review: Scary Stories 3 More Tales To Chill Your Bones- Alvin Schwartz

Title: Scary Stories 3 More Tales To Chill Your Bones

Author: Alvin Schwartz

Publisher: Harpercollins

Pages: 128

Rating: 5/5

I read this very scarcely when I was a kid. I kept seeing the books around, but I never actually picked them up until I went to target the other day. I bought 1 and 3 (no more #2). I read both of them in less than an hour. These are definitely great stories to tell around a cool campfire. Some may be a bit strong for smaller children. The great thing that adds that horror factor is the black and white illustrations. These books are definitely a treasure that must be kept forever. I’ll list some of my favorites below:

The Bus Stop

Just Delicious



The Dead Hand

Such Things Happen

The Wolf Girl

Maybe You Will Remember

The Red Spot

I forgot to say also that I really appreciate the bibliography and the added notes and sources about these myths and folklores at the end of the books. The stories were even better in this addition. Would it be much to ask for a part 4?