A Taxonomy Of Love by Rachael Allen ARC Review

A Taxonomy Of Love by Rachael AllenA Taxonomy Of Love by Rachael Allen

Publisher: Amulet Books

Release Date: January 9, 2017

Pages: 336

Summary:The moment Spencer meets Hope the summer before seventh grade, it’s . . .something at first sight. He knows she’s special, possibly even magical. The pair become fast friends, climbing trees and planning world travels. After years of being outshone by his older brother and teased because of his Tourette syndrome, Spencer finally feels like he belongs. But as Hope and Spencer get older and life gets messier, the clear label of “friend” gets messier, too.

Through sibling feuds and family tragedies, new relationships and broken hearts, the two grow together and apart, and Spencer, an aspiring scientist, tries to map it all out using his trusty system of taxonomy. He wants to identify and classify their relationship, but in the end, he finds that life doesn’t always fit into easy-to-manage boxes, and it’s this messy complexity that makes life so rich and beautiful.

*Received an ARC from Barnes & Noble B-Fest*

My Rating:★★★☆☆ ½

My Thoughts: A Taxonomy Of Love is a plot-driven + complex YA Contemporary that brings such depth to its main characters and weaves in numerous themes of grief, loss, friendship, love and family. The unique format + expansive timeline that unravels, really make Allen’s A Taxonomy Of Love stand out!

What really stayed with me after I finished A Taxonomy Of Love was the writing and how it allowed me to really connect to the main character, Spencer Barton.

Not only was it refreshing to read a YA Contemporary from a male POV, but I’d also never read about a main character with Tourettes before.

A Taxonomy Of Love follows Spencer at 13 up until 19 yrs old as we follow his life and unforgettable friendship with his new neighbor Hope Birdsong.

From their friendship as 13-year olds in middle school, journey through high school, etc. I loved being able to follow these characters through the ups and downs of their life across a wide timeline.

A Taxonomy Of Love really stood out to me because of how its told. Not only through the engaging 1st person POV, but also through the 6-year timeline. For a standalone, I feel that can’t be easy, but Allen executed it in such a way, where it all flowed well and you really see the progression and growth of the main character Spencer.

There are also illustrations of Taxonomies that allow Spencer to make sense of new situations + the world, but also the in-between chapters with letters and messages from Hope. These additions really added more to the story and allowed me to learn a different side to these characters.

The story starts when Spencer meets Hope at 13 when she moves in next door and become friends almost instantly. However misunderstandings arise when its clear they both have feelings for one another but can’t seem to find their way to each other.

Then tragedy strikes Hope and her family when her older sister Janie passes away. We see how they slowly begin to grow apart. Spencer + Hope find their friendship slowly fading away as the years go by. Misunderstandings and misfortune keep them unsure if they’ll ever really reconnect with each other.

Now as to why I rated this book 3.5 stars, my biggest issue was that the time-jumps. It never felt like I got to fully know these characters (aside from Spencer) or feel extremely connected to the story itself because it felt plot points and development would be rushed through. I also felt it dragged particularly through uneventful or average everyday events if that makes sense?

Even when important themes of love, loss and social issues (such as racism) are discussed, the abruptness of the chapters + various time-jumps made it really difficult for me to really feel connected to these important story elements.

As for the diversity represented in this novel, as I mentioned before we have the main character Spencer Barton who has Tourettes + Jayla, Spencer’s girlfriend, who is black. There is also light discussion of mental health, when the passing of Hope’s sister is mentioned and she talks about going to a support group + when Spencer begins medication that helps with his Tourettes. (Though I can’t personally say whether Tourettes was accurately represented, overall it was great to see that represented in YA! + Ablesit language was challenged~)

Not only did I read how Spencer’s Tourettes influenced his life and impacted his confidence (as he mentioned people bullied him when he was younger), but also that friends, such as Hope would give him the patience and support he needed. Throughout the novel its clear that Spencer has friends, family, and people in his life who will support + understand him.

Overall it was also great to see him gain so much confidence in himself and learn to navigate and better understand the complex friendships + relationships in his life, throughout those 6 years. He grew so much as a character and I found myself rooting for him & Hope!

An aspect of this novel that I really loved was the various messages Allen weaved into the story. There’s grief, family, independence and friendship that are such important themes throughout the story as we follow Spencer and Hope’s story. Not only were they portrayed pretty well, but they really stuck with me as I progressed through the story.

There was also illustrations of taxonomies that just add more to the story itself and letters from Hope that really allow her to come to life.

A Taxonomy Of Love is a complex YA Contemporary that spans across a rather big timeline as we follow Spencer + Hope and their complicated, but powerful relationship. Important themes of love, loss, and growth weave their way into the story. Allen’s writing really brings such depth to the main character of Spencer and brings his story to life!

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Beneath The Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire ARC Review

Beneath The Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuireBeneath The Sugar Sky (Wayward Children #3)

Publisher: Tor Books

Release Date: January 9, 2018

Pages: 160

Summary: Beneath the Sugar Sky, the third book in McGuire’s Wayward Children series, returns to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children in a standalone contemporary fantasy for fans of all ages. At this magical boarding school, children who have experienced fantasy adventures are reintroduced to the “real” world.

When Rini lands with a literal splash in the pond behind Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children, the last thing she expects to find is that her mother, Sumi, died years before Rini was even conceived. But Rini can’t let Reality get in the way of her quest – not when she has an entire world to save! (Much more common than one would suppose.)

If she can’t find a way to restore her mother, Rini will have more than a world to save: she will never have been born in the first place. And in a world without magic, she doesn’t have long before Reality notices her existence and washes her away. Good thing the student body is well-acquainted with quests…

A tale of friendship, baking, and derring-do.

Warning: May contain nuts.

*Received an ARC through a Goodreads giveaway*

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Beneath The Sugar Sky is a colorful and charming continuation to the Wayward Children Series! Rini finds herself at Eleanor Wests home for Wayward Children looking for Sumi. Following some previous characters from Every Heart A Doorway, Beneath The Sugar takes you on a journey to the sweet and sugary world of Confection!

Though I don’t mention it much, ever since I read Every Heart A Doorway last year, its one of those books I always find myself thinking about & know it will forever hold a special place in my heart. However, there was just something about Beneath The Sugar Sky that just captivated me!

The story starts with Cora, a recent student who’s still fitting into Eleanor Wests Home For Wayward Children. She’s hanging out with her friend Nadya out by a small turtle pond near the home, when suddenly a girl named Rini falls from the sky, stating she came from the land of Confection and needs to find her mother, Sumi! If she doesn’t, Rini Onishi may cease to exist!

Now Cora & Nadya are leading Rini to talk to Kade (currently training to one day run his aunt Eleanor’s home) and Christopher, the boy with the bone flute who may hold the key to getting this journey into motion.

According to Rini they need to find Sumi’s body, essentially rebuild her and bring her back to life, to prevent Rini from disappearing and from travesty to conspire among Confection and hopefully allow Sumi (to live again) and Rini to reunite with her when the timeline is fixed.

I feel what truly made me love this book far more than the previous 2, was Kade & Chris! They are honestly my favorite characters of the entire series. They finally had more page time and I loved their banter + friendship so much! I kept thinking to myself as I was reading that I would honestly love an entire Wayward Children series just revolving around Kade & Chris! We learn much more about them as characters, got more depth to them, and their worlds than we did in Every Heart A Doorway and they just made this book so much fun to read!

Additionally as for diversity, from what I remember in Every Heart A Doorway not only do we have Kade who is trans, but it was mentioned Chris was Latinx, however what made this book so great was that McGuire specifically mentioned his ethnicity (Mexican). Overall I felt the representation for the characters of color Chris, Sumi & Rini (Japanese), were just better represented than in book 1 and I loved that!

It was also great to get even more expansion on the doors that kids go through, especially Kade & Christophers, and I felt the 3rd person narrative really brought further depth to Nonsense and Logic (as they became much more central in this novella, compared to Wickedness & Virtue). Above all, I felt because there was much more detail and depth brought to Nonsense + Logic, it further brought up many fascinating questions and new ideas surrounding all 4 types of worlds!

From candy corn fields to soda seas, and candy corn-colored eyes, the world of Confection was utterly marvelous and magical! The descriptions, characters, setting, all come to life as the mysteries of this peculiar world unravel. 

Beneath The Sugar Sky was just filled with adventure, descriptive writing that shows McGuire’s growth as a writer with this series. The writing also just brought me back to the magic I felt with Every Heart A Doorway, reintroduced and mentioned favorite characters from the previous books and overall was a great addition to the series!

I suppose my only issues with this novel in particular was the bit of adult humor. It just felt odd with the overall tone and carry-on of the series so far. To me, it just personally felt out of place. Additionally, I felt Cora’s character didn’t really click with the rest of the story. I felt she was pretty underdeveloped compared to the other characters, especially one’s introduced for a much shorter amount of time.

+ From what I read on twitter when I posted a pic. of my ARC, is that Seanan McGuire said that this isn’t the end (though I assumed it was 😂😭) of the Wayward Children Series! 💕🎉🚪✨

Colorful, whimsical, character-driven, and filled to the brim with adventure, Beneath The Sugar Sky follows a dynamic cast of characters  you will fall in love with as they go a on a journey through a sweet, dark, magical, and wondrous world to save an old friend!

October 2017 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 7

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore1.Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

Wild Beauty Full ARC Review

Release Date: October 3, 2017

Pages: 320

My Rating:★★★★★

Overall Thoughts: Wild Beauty was such a lush and magical tale, one I’ll never forget! It follows Estrella and the Nomeolvides women as they live on La Pradera, conjuring up the most beautiful flowers. However, when a mysterious boy named Fel appears, Estrella and the cousins uncover more about the mysteries that surround the gardens of La Pradera. The writing is gorgeous, the plot is unique + wonderful, and delves into many themes that weave their way throughout the novel, such as love, family, and sisterhood. There is also such fantastic representation from the Latinx culture, genderqueer, and bisexual characters! Another amazing novel from Anna-Marie McLemore, I highly recommend!! ❤ ❤

The Backstagers Volume 1 by James Tynion IV and Ryan Sygh2.The Backstagers Volume 1 by James Tynion IV + Rian Sygh

The Backstagers Volume 1 Full Review

Publisher: BOOM! Box

Release Date: July 25, 2017

Pages: 112

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Such a fun and diverse graphic novel! When Jory attends a new all-boys school, his mom convinces him to find some sort of after-school activity to join. He soon finds himself joining the drama club and becomes friends with the stage crew aka The Backstagers! He quickly finds out that there’s magical tunnels backstage and soon gets tangled up with the adventures backstage! As for diversity, there’s so much representation from Jory (black) to Aziz (Middle-Eastern), gay and trans rep. too! The Backstagers is a fun graphic novel with a fantastic cast of characters, great magic/fantasy elements, and themes of friendship/adventure woven throughout!

Elizabeth And Zenobia by Jessica Miller3.Elizabeth And Zenobia by Jessica Miller 

Elizabeth And Zenobia Full ARC Review

Publisher: Amulet Books

Release Date: September 19, 2017

Pages: 208

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: This was a fun, atmospheric and light paranormal middle grade story! The plot is so unique and it has a lot of important themes of family, self-growth, and friendship. Following Elizabeth & her imaginary friend Zenobia, they embark on adventures while staying at Elizabeth’s father’s childhood home which is supposedly “haunted” and they learn more about it.

All The Wind In The World by Samantha Mabry4. All The Wind In The World by Samantha Mabry

All The Wind In The World Full Review

Publisher: Algonquin Books For Young Readers

Release Date: October 10, 2017

Pages: 264

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: Sarah Jac and Jame Holt travel across ranches to gain enough money to one day stop working and settle to have a ranch of their own. However an accident causes them to flee and then they find themselves on the Real Marvelous (which is supposedly cursed). Slowly they find themselves drifting apart and it is heartbreaking to read, but also so emotional 😥 All The Wind In The World is so atmospheric and weaves in contemporary-dystopian/magical realism genres together so well and in such a unique way! Its was also great to see diversity, with Sarah Jac who is mixed-race and an m/m relationship developed through out the novel. 

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada5. This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada (This Mortal Coil #1)

This Mortal Coil Full ARC Review

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: November 7, 2017

Pages: 432

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: This Mortal Coil is a brilliant sci-fi/dystopia debut! I loved this book so much! We follow Catarina Agatta, who is a brilliant gene-hacker and her geneticist father, Dr. Lachlan Agatta who left her with an important mission. Soon she embarks on a journey with Cartaxus soldier Cole to unlock an antidote which could save thousands of people from a rapidly mutating plague. Suvada introduces such fascinating technology in a detailed and complex dystopian future. This is an action-packed, character-driven tale you don’t want to miss!

Life After Legend by Marie Lu6.Life After Legend by Marie Lu (Legend #3.5)

Life After Legend Full Review

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons BYR

Release Date: October 2017

Pages: 21

My Rating: ★★★★★

Overall Thoughts: As a long-time fan of the Legend Trilogy, I was so happy when this short epilogue was announced! It really brought back the emotions of reading all 3 books again. You get a little more background to the world of Legend from Day’s perspective and what happened to him parallel to the events of the Champion epilogue. This was such a fantastic addition to the Legend Trilogy that definitely will leave readers happy!

Forest Of A Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao7.Forest Of A Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao (Rise Of The Empress #1)

Forest Of A Thousand Lanterns Full Review

Publisher: Philomel Books

Release Date: October 10, 2017

Pages: 363

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: An immersive and magical retelling of the evil queen! This novel follows Xifeng on her journey to fulfill her destiny fore-told by her aunt. She has a darkness within her and knows she cannot escape both it and her destiny. The world is rich and atmospheric as we uncover more about Xifeng’s role to become empress and the legends and magic that spread across the land. I will admit a lot of the pre-release hype did impact my enjoyment of the book just a little bit (with some plot/world elements not as expanded on as I would have hoped). However, this is a magical, dark, and immersive retelling that definitely has me eager to read the sequel!

Additional Posts From This Month:

Diverse 2017 YA Books To Add To Your TBR {Fall}

What Books Did You Read This Month? 😄📚✨

+ I have some new blog posts (aside from book reviews) I can’t wait to share for November! 😍📚✨

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada ARC Review

This Mortal Coil by Emily SuvadaThis Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: November 7, 2017

Pages: 432

Summary: Catarina Agatta is a hacker. She can cripple mainframes and crash through firewalls, but that’s not what makes her special. In Cat’s world, people are implanted with technology to recode their DNA, allowing them to change their bodies in any way they want. And Cat happens to be a gene-hacking genius.

That’s no surprise, since Cat’s father is Dr. Lachlan Agatta, a legendary geneticist who may be the last hope for defeating a plague that has brought humanity to the brink of extinction. But during the outbreak, Lachlan was kidnapped by a shadowy organization called Cartaxus, leaving Cat to survive the last two years on her own.

When a Cartaxus soldier, Cole, arrives with news that her father has been killed, Cat’s instincts tell her it’s just another Cartaxus lie. But Cole also brings a message: before Lachlan died, he managed to create a vaccine, and Cole needs Cat’s help to release it and save the human race.

Now Cat must decide who she can trust: The soldier with secrets of his own? The father who made her promise to hide from Cartaxus at all costs? In a world where nature itself can be rewritten, how much can she even trust herself?

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Suvada’s debut brilliantly explores genetics and gene-hacking in this YA Sci-Fi/Dystopia! This Mortal Coil follows hacker Cat Agatta as she uncovers the secrets her father left behind when he leaves her with a mission to release a vaccine alongside a Cartaxus soldier, Cole!

Ever since I read the summary for This Mortal Coil, I put it on my tbr right away and considering I don’t usually read much YA Sci-Fi, from the summary it sounded like such a fascinating read. I mean a teenage gene-hacker, futuristic genetic tech., and mysterious organizations? This book sounded like something I’d really like & after finishing the last page, I didn’t just like it, I adored it ❤ !!

Due to the technological advancements in this world, everyone has panels connected to their arms which allows them to genetically enhance or alter themselves and for those who are able to hack into these panels, can amplify natural abilities, among other fascinating things! However, there are plauges and viruses that have taken over and because of that, corporate organization Cartaxus has stepped in and taken control of this technology, causing a divide between the people (those protected from the plagues/viruses by Cartaxus  & those left to fend for themselves).

In comes Catarina Agatta, genius gene-hacker and coder, who at the start of the novel attempting to catch a gene-hacked pigeon and examine its DNA in the forest where she's been off the grid, living in a cabin for the past 2 years with her neighbor and friend, Agnes.

Through her geneticist father, Lachlan Agatta, she has learned and taught herself the ins/outs of genetic hacking and coding. With that, she has become part of a secret group called the Skies (an independent network), which hacks into Cartaxus and gathers medical codes that the organization keeps for itself and releases them to the public.

I found the way Suvada developed and introduced Cartaxus was brilliant. There are so many layers and sides to this organization that really added depth to the world.

The story continues to pick up when Cartaxus Lieutenant, Cole Franklin manages to find her and tells her of a vital mission her father left behind for Cat to complete.

It turns out there is a vaccine to bring an end to Hydra, one of the most dangerous viruses. And Cat is the only one who can unlock the vaccine to save the world. Both Cole and Cat have to work together to figure out a way to unlock it and release it, but luckily he father leaves behind clues to get Cat on the right track.

But Cat knows she can’t trust this soldier, considering he’s from Cartaxus the same organization that took he father and childhood friend Dax away from her 2 years ago. Regardless, she undergoes this journey despite the danger ahead of her because as it turns out, Cole has been coded with the latest Gentech to not only help her along the way but also protect her.

The plot went in such unexpected directions and truly surprised me as I found myself flying through each chapter. The world, secret organizations, the gentech, characters, themes, and riveting story all weaved together so perfectly!

I loved the relationships that Cat develops between the characters of this book, especially the mysterious soldier, Cole! With his mission given by Dr. Agatta to take care of her and ensure she unlocks the vaccine, Cat begins to better understand the different sides to her father and Cartaxus along the way through him. While Cat doesn’t really trust him at first, she soon finds that she has to in order to help others, but does grow to better understand him as well throughout the story. The dynamics of their interesting relationship were built so well with the fast-paced plot and intriguing world.

The characters were all so well written! Even those who are only introduced for a brief amount of time, you feel you know them from just a few sentences. I adored Cat as a character, no matter how many times she is put in danger or takes risks, she always considered what was best for others, always. Even when tough decisions need to be made, she always thought of what would be best for the people she wants to save with her mission.

The writing-style was spectacular. Told through a 1st person POV, we follow Cat as she uncovers the mysteries her late father left behind. Suvada really builds in genetics, coding and hacking throughout the whole plot. So if you like stories about female hackers and love genetics, I feel you would really love this book.

I found myself looking up terms and concepts brought up throughout This Mortal Coil which made this book so much fun to read because I found myself learning new things about genetics I’d never considered or knew.

It was an aspect of the book that really stood out and made this book shine. Through it Suvada builds so many layers into her world. Because its through a 1st person POV, the way technology, genetics, politics and the ability for the characters to recode their DNA, works so well in this story, and is weaved together in a unique way and really made sense.

The technology introduced was so complex but fascinating! The panel within people’s arms allows them to download apps (such as Healing Apps) or if they can hack, allow them to input their own codes to create and use their own apps.

Suvada’s writing also made this book feel very cinematic, so from the fast-pace to the twists, and development along the way, it felt very much like watching a movie and really came to life as I read it!~

Your kept on the edge of your seat as Suvada builds and uncovers the mysteries of the genetic technology and what Cat discovers as she attempts to complete her mission.

Above all, its clear from the brilliant writing and details of the world, that Suvada put so much heart into this story. Its books like This Mortal Coil that remind me why I love Science Fiction~

My only minor issue was that I just wanted a little more background and development on some side characters and the atmosphere of the world.

This Mortal Coil is a brilliantly detailed and immersive YA Sci-Fi/Dystopia that weaves genetics and technology to deliver a fascinating tale! With such originality, the world-building, wonderfully developed characters, fascinating plot, tons of twists, turns, action, and intrigue that will leave you hooked till the final page!

Elizabeth And Zenobia by Jessica Miller ARC Review

Elizabeth And Zenobia by Jessica MillerElizabeth And Zenobia by Jessica Miller

Publisher: Amulet Books

Release Date: September 19, 2017

Pages: 208

Summary:Abandoned by her mother and neglected by her scientist father, timid Elizabeth Murmur has only her fearless friend, Zenobia, for company. And Zenobia’s company can be very trying! When Elizabeth’s father takes them to live in his family home, Witheringe House, Zenobia becomes obsessed with finding a ghost in the creepy old mansion and forces Elizabeth to hold séances and wander the rooms at night. With Zenobia’s constant pushing, Elizabeth investigates the history of the house and learns that it does hold a terrible secret: Her father’s younger sister disappeared from the grounds without a trace years ago.

*Received ARC from a festival

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Elizabeth And Zenobia is a unique middle-grade read! The plot is unique, the gothic + light paranormal atmosphere, and the writing brings so much to this story!

Elizabeth And Zenobia really surprised me! While I knew I would enjoy the story based off the summary, the more I read, the more I really fell in love with this book!

The story starts of with Elizabeth Murmur talking about Witheringe House, her father’s childhood home and the place she’d soon be moving into!

As she waits for the train with her father (a botanist), we get introduced to Zenobia, her imaginary + best friend. She is shown to have quite an opposite personality to Elizabeth (more outgoing/adventurous, etc.) and while at times they had their small clashes, they really made a great duo and seeing those stark differences between the two added a great element to the story!

They board the train and head to the house! It is also revealed that Elizabeth’s mother had left for some time and its clear it took a toll not only on her father, but her as well. Especially, in the beginning we see the somewhat distant father/daughter relationship they have!

It was really interesting to read about how she learned more about her father’s grief and learning a little more about him through reading some of his published books as a botanist.

Over the course of the novel, the story really focuses on Elizabeth’s personal growth/confidence she gains, learning more about her father, and continuing to grow the connection she has with Zenobia as they spend their time going on all kinds of adventures throughout their stay in the Witheringe House.

I felt the writing was so atmospheric and detailed, with such few pages! I loved it~ It was definitely one of my favorite aspects about the book! It was a very descriptive and atmospheric 1st person POV. Characters, writing, atmosphere and plot all flowed so well. Additionally, it really weaved in the light gothic, paranormal, and mystery elements seamlessly. It felt like the perfect October read!

With most books I can usually tell where the plot’s headed, but with this book it was unexpected and I was left surprised with each turn of the page! That made me love this book so much more as I continued reading.

Originally, this was going to be 4 stars b/c I still feel the pacing was pretty slow for me towards the middle and because of that I put down the book for a few weeks & didn’t get back to finishing it until recently! The ending also did feel a little bit rushed. However, the more I continued to read I realized just how much I really loved this book! 

While her mother is gone, it was so great to read that she was still surrounded by supportive female + motherly figures! Such as Zenobia (though they did get into some trouble every now and again) and nearing towards the middle, she meets Ms. Clemency, a tutor, who is very kind towards Elizabeth and helps her overcome some internal struggles along the way.

Themes of family, and definitely friendship + personal growth were weaved all throughout this story!

There are also fantasy elements hinted at throughout the book and shown much later,  but were so easily weaved into the story and just fit in perfectly! While reading, I could definitely capture the atmosphere and magic of the story through the fantastic writing!

Elizabeth and Zenobia is a light paranormal, but fun and immersive read, perfect for the fall season! It delivers such a unique plot, important themes, fantastic writing, and the perfect atmosphere! Definitely a book to check out if your looking for a fall read or just want to read a unique and immersive middle grade tale!

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore ARC Review

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemoreWild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Release Date: October 3, 2017

Pages: 320

Summary: Love grows such strange things.

For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.

The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family. 

My Rating:★★★★★

My Thoughts: Wild Beauty is a lush and wondrous magical realism tale that explores the magic of girls and gardens. With family, love, and identity as the main themes of this story, Anna-Marie’s latest tale will leave you breathless as you uncover the magic and mysteries that surround La Pradera!

When The Moon Was Ours was the first book by Anna-Marie McLemore that I’d ever read. After being immersed into her lyrical tale following Sam & Miel, McLemore easily became one of my favorite authors! Now having finished Wild Beauty, I can’t truly put into words how much I adore her stories! The vibrant tales and writing she weaves together, always leave me captivated!

La Pradera is home to the Nomeolvides women, who for generations have kept the lush garden estate thriving with their ability to conjure the most beautiful flowers all across the property. However with that, their legacy also harbors a curse.

If any of the women find themselves loving ever too deeply, their lovers will vanish. So centering around the cousins Estrella, Dalia, Calla, Azalea, and Gloria, the novel picks up right away when the girls decide to offer a precious belonging to the garden, understanding they are all in love with the same girl, owner of the estate, Bay Briar. Those offerings could perhaps protect her from disappearing too, just like Nomeolvides loves of the past.

Legacy and family were such present themes of Wild Beauty! Estrella begins to question and consider if the curse cast upon current and previous generations of women in her family can ever be broken. With that, this tale explores the expectations and history we bring with us in an effort to perhaps grow and break away from them, but always knowing we will have those to look back on.

The next day, Estrella finds a boy among the flowers, Fel. Though seen as an offering from the garden for Bay’s protection, regardless the cousins, abuelas and aunts take in this mysterious boy and make him a part of their family.

Fel has no memory of how he got to La Pradera, but believes he is in some sort of after-life and must atone for mistakes of his past. Over the course of the novel, as he builds a strong bond with these women he learns more about who he is and why he found himself at the Nomeolvides gardens. I fell in love with the relationship he develops with Estrella, it was written so beautifully~

I truly adored each and every thing of Wild Beauty (´▽`ʃƪ)♥♥ Through McLemore’s vivid and captivating 3rd person narrative, she forges a tale that encapsulates the magic of girls/women, family, love, legacy, and the everyday!

There’s exploration in the strength of family and sisterhood. As Estrella begins learning more about who Fel is, she also finds the bonds between her and her cousins growing so much. She discovers hidden truths of her family and through that we see how brave and determined she is to protect them, no matter the cost.

As for characters I adored every single one and they truly came to life from page 1! No matter how long/when they were introduced on the page, each character goes on their own journey with their growth and change as the tale grows. From Fel with his fierce kindness and loyalty, to Dalia with her determination and her strong-willed judgement to protect not only her family, but her heart as well.

Throughout Wild Beauty, McLemore beautifully explores differing identities of her fantastic characters with gay representation, the girls bisexuality, and Bay being gendeerqueer!

With love being a central theme of this story, McLemore not only explores but uncovers the depths of love, with all its dangers and its necessities. Wild Beauty perfectly captures the journey of the heart one takes in the trial of love and loss. But overall it delivers a powerful and true message that the love in your heart is forever and always valid.

Being Latina myself, I easily connected to not only Estrella and the Nomeolvides women so much, but the wonderfully written Latinx culture McLemore weaved in throughout this magical tale. Additionally, the sisterhood and powerful bonds between the female cousins was something I could definitely relate to!

There is so much I want to say about this novel, but truly cannot put into words. McLemore’s stories always manage to weave there way into the depths of my heart and leave me seeing and wondering in the magic of the everyday!

This novel discusses so much from culture to love, identity, family, sisterhood, and I loved each and every single moment of it!

Wild Beauty is pure magic! Through the lush prose, this novel explores mystery, magic, love and so much more! With a plot that leaves you enchanted, you’ll find yourself immersed into the secret and wonderous world of the Nomeolvides! 🌸🌹🍃✨

+ Keep an eye on the blog for a Wild Beauty Playlist! ✨🎧📚(´▽`ʃƪ)

September 2017 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 4

The Victoria In My Head by Janelle Milanes1.The Victoria In My Head by Janelle Milanes

The Victoria In My Head Full ARC Review

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: September 19, 2017

Pages: 400

My Rating:★★★★★

Overall Thoughts: Victoria Cruz is shy but over the course of the story overcomes her anxieties to try new things (like joining a band) and figures out who she is & wants to be, in this spectacular coming-of-age story! It made me so happy reading how diverse this novel was, there was Cuban, Chinese, and Indian-American rep., Lesbian, Jewish, and biracial representation! Family and friendship were huge themes present throughout the novel which I loved. I adored the writing and reading from Victoria’s phenomenal POV brought tears to my eyes bc I related to her so much (being Latinx)! If your looking for a breath of fresh air in YA Contemporary, The Victoria In My Head is the perfect novel to add to your TBR!

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell2.The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

The Last Magician Full Review

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: July 18, 2017

Pages: 512

My Rating:★★★☆☆

Overall Thoughts: There were so many interesting + great aspects to this novel from the magic system, time-travel, and even to the atmosphere Maxwell creates! However, my biggest issue was the writing. Told through a 3rd Person POV we follow a number of characters, however because the writing is very direct and did more “telling” than showing, the characters + their motivations became very 1-dimensional/flat and the pacing became extremely slow. Additionally, I found the crew in this novel to be extremely similar to the Six Of Crows crew and never really connected with them. While The Last Magician was somewhat disappointing, Maxwell left the ending on an interesting note that has me pretty interested to read what happens! 

Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn3.Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn (Heroine Complex #1)

Heroine Complex Full Review

Publisher: DAW Books

Pages: 378

Release Date: July 5, 2016

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: Heroine Complex follows Evie Tanaka (assistant to San-Fran Superhero Aveda Jupiter) and how she comes to accept who she is and possibly become a superhero herself. I adored reading from Evie’s comedic and real/relatable voice! There was never a dull moment in this book, from taking down monsters, to the friendships, and inner workings of a superhero team. However I did find the pacing to be a little slow and felt more development could have been added to expand on the superpowers/demons would have been great (hence the 4-stars). Regardless,this was a diverse, action-packed adventure that was such a fun and immersive read! I will definitely be reading the sequel!

An Enchantment Of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson4.An Enchantment Of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

An Enchantment Of Ravens Full ARC Review

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Release Date: September 26, 2017

Pages: 300

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Isobel must journey to the land of the fae to clear her name with Autumn prince Rook leading her there, with monsters, intrigue and danger at every turn! I really loved the writing, it was descriptive and flowed really well with the story to add a unique layer to it! There were so many layers to this novel from the political intrigue of the fae, the world, depth to the fae and their adoration with Craft, etc.! I did find the pacing to be rather rushed and felt more of the plot could have been expanded on + given more depth! However, this was a unique and immersive tale that really surprised me and I cannot wait to read more of Rogerson’s books in the future!

Additional Posts From This Month:

Warcross by Marie Lu Reading Playlist

What books did you read this month? 😄📚✨