This Cruel Design by Emily Suvada Review

This Cruel Design by Emily SuvadaThis Cruel Design by Emily Suvada (This Mortal Coil #2)

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: October 30, 2018

Pages: 394

Summary: The nightmare of the outbreak is finally over, but Cat’s fight has only just begun.

Exhausted, wounded, and reeling from revelations that have shaken her to her core, Cat is at a breaking point. Camped in the woods with Cole and Leoben, she’s working day and night, desperate to find a way to stop Lachlan’s plan to reprogram humanity. But she’s failing—Cat can’t even control her newly regrown panel, and try as she might to ignore them, she keeps seeing glitching visions from her past everywhere she turns.

When news arrives that the Hydra virus might not be as dead as they’d thought, the group is pushed into an uneasy alliance with Cartaxus to hunt down Lachlan and fix the vaccine. Their search takes them to Entropia, a city of genehackers hidden deep in the desert that could also hold the answers about Cat’s past that she’s been searching for.

But when confronted with lies and betrayals, Cat is forced to question everything she knows and everyone she trusts. And while Lachlan is always two steps ahead, the biggest threat to Cat may be the secrets buried in her own mind.

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: This Cruel Design is a sequel that will keep you guessing till the very end! Suvada’s latest book delivers even more twists, new characters, intrigue, action, and a complex plot that changes everything you thought you knew about This Mortal Coil!

Okay–so I loved This Mortal Coil when I read it last year, was on the edge of my seat till the very last page and I wasn’t entirely sure how I’d even manage to wait for This Cruel Design!

So, its safe to say I went into this book with extremely high expectations.

Sequels aren’t easy, but the way Suvada builds on the world and technology all while making the plot go in such unexpected directions is what really surprised me!

It goes into even much more depth and exploration in such a more centralized way (focusing more on Cat) than in This Mortal Coil which made it incredibly unique!

Cat and the crew find themselves in Cartaxus’s grasp and still have hope they can find a solution to the virus that keeps on mutating faster than they expected. So, they find a lead that sends them on a journey to a city of genehackers in the Nevada desert!

They are given 3 days to seek out Regina, the leader of Entropia (city of genehackers) and continue their search for Lachlan and find an antidote!

Cat is coming to terms with the secrets she uncovered in This Mortal Coil, but isn’t losing hope that humanity can still be saved!

There’s new characters and even more development on the fascinating technology explored through the panels and what they are capable of!

The panels from what we know in This Mortal Coil, can be home to a variety of apps and code that can manipulate a person’s appearance and abilities! However, what Suvada does in This Cruel Design is that that she seamlessly introduces numerous hidden facets to these panels that leave us questioning this idea of power and the capabilities of what people can do with them, but also how it can also link people together!

Suvada leaves you thinking about the ramifications of this advanced technology, even with all the benefits it has and I loved how it showed both the dark and light side to the tech she introduced in This Mortal Coil!

If your looking for even more exploration to the intriguing technology–this sequel delivers on that and so much more!

What also makes This Cruel Design such a fascinating sequel is how it explores so many different sides to the characters and world in ways you don’t really expect.

As memories begin to resurface, Cat is coming to terms with a past she barley knows, but that’s inevitably forcing her to question all her choices that’s led her there and what it means for her and those who knew her as Jun Bei.

That conflict was explored through different moments and characters throughout the story, really builds a past we can fully see and realize as This Cruel Design develops.

Which leads me another one of my favorite parts of this book–Mato (aka Somata Watson)! He’s one of Cartaxus’s soldiers who joins the team because he actually used to work in Entropia and knew Cat as Jun Bei!

With his knowledge of Entropia, he’d be able to try & get them a meeting with Regina!

He was such a fascinating character–the development between him & Cat was one of my favorites throughout this book! He’s mysterious, witty, but also kind as he also tries to help Cat better understand her past and what he can do to help her now!

Overall, I really loved Mato, he’s definitely one of my new favorite characters in this series and I won’t spoil anything, but his development throughout the book really surprised me and I’m so interested to see where his story is headed in book 3!

We see him as a friend Cat can really rely on as she’s figuring out the glitches in her tech and as she begins to feel this sense of loneliness as she soon sees that her past as Jun Bei now mostly gone, she can’t really connect with the people that once saw her as a close friend. So I loved seeing how Cat knew she wasn’t entirely alone as she spends her time in Entropia!

There’s also even more development given to basically the entire main cast in ways I really did not see coming and I loved how their depth goes just beyond what’s necessary to the plot and they just felt so real!

The intrigue of this novel is present as Cat meets Regina, learns more about Entropia, her panel tech, and the mutating virus. Overall, there’s this complex web that develops and it just builds till the very end!

Speaking of Regina, I don’t want to spoil too much, but as she takes Cat under her wing we learn more about her and the connection she has with Cartaxus and even some of the main characters!

Even though I adored Cat & Cole + their dynamic in This Mortal Coil, Suvada really leaves the reader thinking of where their relationship is headed when secrets are uncovered and Cat finds herself feeling unsure of being able to trust him!

This leads to a very interesting dynamics that Cat develops throughout the book, not only with Cole, but the other main characters and I really loved that.

Onto the world-building! Where with This Mortal Coil, I felt the world could have used just a little more development, this sequel delivers even more than I was expecting! Not only is there more expansion to the dynamics of this technology in another state, but also the government as a whole and the different view we have of it now that we know Cat has a mission to complete while being sided alongside (but also not?) with Cartaxus!

There’s so much intrigue as Cat is learning more about her past and people who knew her as Jun Bei–so, we are left filling in the gaps alongside with Cat as to what happened between those 6 months of her as Jun Bei and when her life as Cat began!

As I mentioned above, this leads to very interesting dynamics that really build between Cat throughout the book that really build into Cat as a character and the loneliness/grief she feels for not remembering and wanting to find that connection with those that knew her!

The intrigue allows for this really unique and more personal atmosphere to develop as we read from Cat’s 1st person POV! Its more character-driven and especially driven by Cat’s struggles with all that she knows now and still has yet to learn as she uncovers more of her past!

While my rating in no way takes away from my absolute enjoyment of this book and how much a fun read it was, I did want to get into and discuss why I rated This Cruel Design lower than Book 1 (;´༎ຶД༎ຶ`)(;´༎ຶД༎ຶ`)!

With the fact that This Mortal Coil its an entirely new world, we don’t really know what to expect and because of that the pacing is really quick. Sadly for me personally, because we know the end goal–the crew finding Lachlan and looking for a way to eradicate a mutating virus before the end of their deadline set to them by Cartaxus–it felt like a lot of the story itself was already laid out, so I was just hoping for the pacing to be much more gripping, even though I truly did love the story!!

So hopefully what I’m saying makes sense??–But basically because we have a goal and know all the things we do after first book and through the first few chapters of This Cruel Design, it made this novel feel much more different in terms of pacing, which I wasn’t really expecting.

There’s also one character (which I don’t want to spoil) who is present later in the book and while it was great to see this character, I found that they took away from the route the book was already taking because they didn’t get too much development & came in somewhat late into the story!

Aside from what I said above however, I truly did have fun reading this book and those last few chapters–just wow!! I’m still in shock and cannot wait for book 3!

This Cruel Design is a fantastic sequel! Suvada delivers on a page-turning and intriguing story! Weaving in continuous development to the world, technology, and cast of characters, even more than in This Mortal Coil, this sequel leaves you with so many answers & even more questions, wondering when Book 3 will arrive!

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Author Interview With Janelle Milanes {Analee, In Real Life}

Its been almost a month since Analee, In Real Life by Janelle Milanes has been released! Janelle MilanesSo, I have her as a guest on the blog today to talk about her latest YA Contemporary, writing, YA Books, and so much more!

Analee, In Real Life is Janelle Milanes’s second YA Contemporary with her first novel + debut being, The Victoria In My Head which released last fall!

Thanks again to Janelle for the opportunity to interview you! (´▽`ʃƪ)

And if your interested, you can check out my ARC review of Analee, In Real Life Here!

Q1: For those who haven’t heard of your latest book Analee, In Real Life, can you tell us what its all about?

Janelle: Sure! The book follows Analee Echevarria, a girl who prefers to live her life online rather than deal with the complications of reality. Since the death of her mother, she spends all of her free time playing as Kiri, her night elf alter-ego at the center of her favorite game, and chatting with the love of her life, Harris (whom she’s never actually met). In the meantime, her father is getting remarried to a yogi named Harlow and her best friend has abandoned her to embrace life with the popular crowd. Things change for Analee when she’s paired with the popular Sebastian Matias as lab partners. The two strike an unlikely friendship, and Analee finds herself venturing out of her comfort zone to deal with real life problems.

Q2: How did you come up with the idea for Analee, In Real Life? + What was the writing process like?

Janelle: I loved the idea of someone with social anxiety living a double life online as a kick-ass warrior. I went through a short but intense World Of Warcraft phase years ago, and it was fun to devise a new persona I could live through-someone tough and fearless and powerful. Role playing online can provide such a unique way to connect with people especially if you have difficulty doing it in person. From there, I got to thinking about a girl like Analee and what a relief an alter-ego could provide her. Throw in some fake dating and family drama, and it was my kind of book.

The writing process came together very easily compared to my first novel. With Analee, I had a better idea of how I wanted her story to end and what needed to happen in her emotional journey. I usually wrote a set number of words every day and followed a vague outline, letting the story take me to different places if it felt right.

Analee, In Real Life by Janelle MilanesQ3: There’s so many different elements and to this story, from the Online RPGs, fake relationship, Analee finding her inner strength, to the grief she continues to struggle with after her mother’s death. You tackled so many topics, themes, and plot threads so organically! Were these elements already in your mind as you started drafting or did they develop as you continued writing? Why do you think its important that Analee face all of these in different ways?

Janelle: I definitely threw a lot at poor Analee. Most of these elements were in my mind when I started drafting. Analee’s father’s wedding served as a catalyst for the story and from there, everything begins to unravel. Analee isolates herself to cope with her grief and the only way she’s truly able to pull herself out of it is by connecting with other people. I wasn’t sure how all these pieces would fit together until I started writing!

Q4: Similar to The Victoria In My Head, Analee, In Real Life features a memorable and diverse cast of characters! (With the MC’s Victoria & Analee identifying as Cuban-American). Another one of my favorite aspects to your books is how inclusive the cast is! How exactly did you go about developing the main cast? Who was your favorite character to write about and were there any moments when writing Analee, that characters surprised you?

Janelle: Thank you! I like diversity to be present in my books without taking center stage. Every character’s cultural experience helps form who they are, but their identities don’t revolve around it. When creating the cast of characters, I wanted Analee to be thrown together with people with which she appears to have nothing in common.

The characters went from stereotypes–the zen yogi, the popular friend, the obnoxious jock–to fully-formed characters who make mistakes and have their own ssues underneath the collected exteriors they project.

I think Harlow surprised me the most in terms of how much I grew to love her. I was a little wary of her when I started writing, much like Analee. She’s the person you love to mock because she seems to be so perfect and unshakable. As the story goes on, though, Harlow becomes more open with her vulnerability and you see her trying to fit into a family with their own set of traditions that she doesn’t quite understand.

She is also very much living in Analee’s mother’s shadow. As I got to know Harlow through writing the story, I started to feel sorry for her in a way I didn’t expect!

Q5: Analee is very opinionated in her head, but can’t exactly find the words to say what she means out loud most of the time! I found her to be such a relatable and inspiring characters as she slowly begins to unlock her her inner strength to say what’s on her mind, while also opening herself up to new experiences! Why do you think its important for readers to read about a character like Analee?

Janelle: I needed character like Analee when I was growing up. I had a small, close group of friends, but I could be timid when it came to expressing myself to other people ad getting to know them. found it was easy to get drowned out by louder voices. Speaking your truth and opening yourself up to new experiences involves stepping out of your comfort-zone that was, and sometimes still is difficult for me. I hope those who read this book realize they aren’t alone in those feelings.

Q6: Seb and Analee don’t exactly get along at first, but soon after they find themselves hatching up a plan for a fake relationship to win back really important people in their lives (Seb’s ex, Chloe & Analee’s former friend, Lily). What can you tell us about their dynamic/relationship and what did you love most about developing it?

Janelle: Seb and Analee are total opposites in many ways and that’s always a fun dynamic to explore. He loves being the center of attention, she desperately avoids it. I loved that Seb nudged her into doing things that took courage, but he was never forceful about it. Their relationship begins as a sham but turns into a deeply meaningful friendship. Seb is there for her when nobody else is, and he reminds her what it feels like to connect to someone in a genuine way. I loved writing every scene with them–he brings out a more confident side of Analee, and she brings out a gentleness in him.

Q7: Were there any scenes in particular that you had a lot of fun writing or any memorable moments that come to mind when you were developing the story?

Janelle: I had a lot of fun writing the first kiss between Seb and Analee when they go to the movies. When you really think about it, the mechanics of kissing are so strange, and I love how Analee over-analyzes everything about it. Her character approaches it like a game, with levels and rules, so she thinks she is maintaining some kind of control in the situation. It was interesting to see her go from that to then getting swept up in her emotions and throwing the rulebook out the window. The scene with Harlow and Analee in McDonald’s was another moment I loved to explore. It was nice to see Harlow lose control a bit.

Q8: What I love about your books so much is the focus on family and the growth of the main characters! It’s always great to see those elements explored in YA Contemporary! Why do you think it’s important that your books feature both of those elements & are at the center of the story?

Janelle: I think the focus on family is inevitable, particularly in young adult books! Nobody lives in a bubble and for me, personally, I could never relate to books in which characters live their lives without much family interaction. As a Latina, my family was (and still is) constantly in my business! Part of growing up is finding your own identity and often seeing the world from a different perspective than your family might. It’s such an integral source of conflict and growth that it would be almost impossible not to explore it.

Q9: Are there any elements of Analee, In Real Life that changed while writing it or any interesting facts about some of the main characters that didn’t make it into the book?

Janelle: Yes! Analee was originally names Anais, but my publishing team worried that too many people wouldn’t be able to pronounce it. The end was something that I tinkered with a bit too.

*SPOILER ALERT* I knew I wanted the story to be less of a romance and more of Analee coming to love herself. Initially, I struggled over whether I wanted Seb to initiate the break up, but after giving it some thought, I think it turned out much stronger that Analee made the decision to stop seeing him. I’m glad I allowed her to make that choice for herself. *END OF SPOILER*

Q10: What can readers expect next after Analee, In Real Life?

Janelle: I am working on a few different projects but am currently focused on another YA contemporary about a small town girl fighting off big life changes–the worst of which are her growing feelings for her best friend’s girlfriend.

Lightning Round Qs.

1. Current Read? Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne Oelke

2. Describe your book in the 3 words? Growth, family, love

3. If your main characters Analee & Victoria could meet any other YA character, who would it be and why? I would want Victoria to meet Jessica Darling from Megan McCafferty’s Sloppy First series. Both of them are itching to experience life and escape the mundane, and I think they would appreciate each other’s snark. For Analee, I think Lara Jean from To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before would be exactly the kind of caring friend she needs. They can both recount their fake dating experiences. Oh, and Dimple from When Dimple Met Rishi since they share a similar cynicism and love of computers.

4. Favorite YA Book (Or Books) of 2018 so far? Leah And The Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

5. Favorite YA Contemporary Book? For pure gooey light romance, Anna And The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. I swooned so hard.

6.Any upcoming YA Books Your Looking Forward To? So many! At the top of my TBR pile right now is Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno.

7. YA Book you recommend to everyone? I’m not sure I would be writing YA if not for Judy Blume. Just As Long as We’re Together was a huge influence on me, but it’s never talked about as much as Blume’s other books!

8. Other than the Harry Potter Series (which Analee loves) what other books or book series would Analee love to read? I think she’d be into classic fantasy. Maybe His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman? I can also see her getting sucked into the Song of Ice and Fire series eventually! (Analee would never call it Game of Thrones because she would think the books are superior to the show, obviously.)

9. If Analee could play any other video game or RPG, which would she play? Elder Scrolls, Final Fantasy, and some obscure games I’m not cool enough to know.

10. Between both of your books, which character is your favorite? I could never choose! Victoria is my young, sheltered self. Analee is my anxiety x1,000.

Thanks again to Janelle for the awesome interview! 

Analee, In Real Life is out now & its available to add on Goodreads:

Analee, In Real Life

Have you read Analee, In Real Life? If you haven’t yet, do you plan to? ✨🕹📚

Analee, In Real Life by Janelle Milanes ARC Review

Analee, In Real Life by Janelle MilanesAnalee, In Real Life by Janelle Milanes

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: September 18, 2018

Pages: 416

Summary: Ever since her mom died three years ago, Analee Echevarria has had trouble saying out loud the weird thoughts that sit in her head. With a best friend who hates her and a dad who’s marrying a yogi she can’t stand, Analee spends most of her time avoiding reality and role-playing as Kiri, the night elf hunter at the center of her favorite online game.

Through Kiri, Analee is able to express everything real-life Analee cannot: her bravery, her strength, her inner warrior. The one thing both Kiri and Analee can’t do, though, is work up the nerve to confess her romantic feelings for Kiri’s partner-in-crime, Xolkar—aka a teen boy named Harris whom Analee has never actually met in person.

So when high school heartthrob Seb Matias asks Analee to pose as his girlfriend in an attempt to make his ex jealous, Analee agrees. Sure, Seb seems kind of obnoxious, but Analee could use some practice connecting with people in real life. In fact, it’d maybe even help her with Harris.

But the more Seb tries to coax Analee out of her comfort zone, the more she starts to wonder if her anxious, invisible self is even ready for the real world. Can Analee figure it all out without losing herself in the process?

*Requested an ARC from the publisher*

My Rating:★★★★★

My Thoughts: Analee, In Real Life is Milanes’s latest YA Contemporary and one you don’t want to miss! From exploration of anxiety & finding confidence, fake dating, family, a possible wedding on the horizon and so much more Analee’s real life gets a bit more complicated!

Janelle Milanes is easily one of my all-time favorite YA Contemporary authors! After gushing about her debut, The Victoria In My Head, it was no surprise that I would of course pick up her next book!

I’m so filled with emotions right now, I’m not entirely sure how my review will turn out, but Analee, In Real Life has easily become another one of my all-time favorite YA Contemporary books and I HIGHLY recommend you pick it up! I had so many expectations for how Analee, In Real Life would turn out and I’m happy to say it exceeded all of them and surprised me in so many ways!

Milanes delivers her plots in ways I never expect & I love that so much and does it through a hilarious and relatable first person POV!

So Analee Echevarria’s life goes in very unexpected directions: her mother died 3 years ago due to ovarian cancer and is still grieving, her father met someone very different from her mother and is set to marry her (& Analee’s grandparents don’t approve), & her ex-best friend Lily abandoned her when she needed her most!

To escape, Analee plays an online RPG as Kiri a night elf! This character is everything Analee isn’t, but aspires to be: brave, outgoing, never afraid to take chances!

Though she isn’t exactly alone, because she plays alongside warrior Xolkar, who in reality is Harris. They’ve never actually met (with Analee living in Florida & Harris in Seattle), but they talk about so many things, some random, some personal (about family), etc.

And Analee knows she has feelings for him! But she questions whether it can even work, considering they’ve never met.

Not only that, but Analee isn’t exactly all for her father marrying Harlow. She does yoga, is extremely health food conscious, and has asked Analee to write a speech for the wedding, which is only 3 months away!

School isn’t any easier either. Analee doesn’t have any friends and still remembers the times when the popular crowd, like Matt McKinley (who Analee knows is a genuinely mean person) made fun of her name and for years, her now ex-best friend Lily Nadarajah, has moved on to hang out with the popular crowd, including the most popular guy & girl in school Sebastian Matias and Chloe (who are no longer dating).

But things get a bit interesting when Analee and Seb get partnered up for an in-class bio project. Analee is convinced he doesn’t like her all that much and is even more miserable knowing she’s stuck working with him.

Things begin to change however, when Analee overhears Seb trying to get Chloe back. So, Analee offers a bit of advice and Seb comes up with a plan, for Analee to get a chance at having Lily be her friend again, while Seb wins Chloe back!

The two hatch a plan to start a fake relationship!

Now as she’s prepping for her dad’s wedding, trying to figure out who her loved ones felt further away, & getting closer to her soon-to-be stepmom Harlow, & 8-year old step-sister Avery, this fake relationship with Seb forces to step out of her comfort zone and learn more about herself along the way!

Analee was a spectacular main character, though she is shy, when she has something to say, over the course of the story she gets the courage to speak her mind! She cares so much about her friends and family, that she does put them first before herself, but she is an incredibly wonderful main character & I loved follow the story through her!

She’s a fan of gaming and is obsessed with the Harry Potter books!

There were so many incredibly developed aspects to this book from the themes like exploration of family, love, loss, and growth! The writing, the plot, the diversity, the list goes on & on!

Over the course of the book, Analee learns more about Harlow than she expected and begins to understand just how much she misjudged her. Alongside Harlow, the same goes for bubbly Avery, soon to be Analee’s little step-sister. The two throughout the story, teach Analee so much about accepting, changing things for the better, and being more open to new experiences! ❤ Their dynamic was so beautifully explored and I loved Avery’s sass 😂😂 (she definitely gave Analee the push she needed in certain situations).

I loved Seb & Analee’s relationship SO MUCH!! I don’t usually read many books with fake dating, but this one takes the top spot!! It starts off with them creating a fake backstory, Analee going to his soccer games, Seb bringing her lattes in the morning (which was the cutest (´▽`ʃƪ)💕). Then its days at the beach, going to the movies, even Seb making Analee take part in library reading for Harry Potter!

Soon, their fake relationship turns into something more! I just adored the development of their relationship and how each of them grow with each other’s help!! Their banter, how they talked to each other about their families, & how Analee always talked about his “annoyingly” brightly colored shoes we’re the best 💕

And I don’t want to spoil it, but the friendship & especially development between Analee & online friend, Harris definitely took me by surprise, but I loved it so much!

Analee has lost her former best friend and her father. With Lily, we get backstory to their friendship and slowly figure out what caused it to end. I related to Analee with her friendship so much, because I’ve certainly had my fair share of friendships where the person moved on. Throughout the book, I was just rooting Analee on & could understand how difficult it feels to re-connect with a former friend who doesn’t seem to want to be a part of your life! It was heart-breaking to see how Analee (well after) noticed the little things from her comments about being popular, getting a boyfriend, etc. that Lily took the wrong way, when Analee figures out about Lily & bad-boy Colton, & how Analee’s mother’s death was a lot for Lily to handle (considering how close they were too).

As with her father, Analee has sensed his distance since her mother died and although he’s still there, she felt with Harlow & Avery coming in to their lives, that he remained distant (in a different way).

She also struggles with grief/loss as she finds herself constantly reminded of her mother with Harlow in the picture, the upcoming wedding, and the overall delivery of the dynamic between her & her mother weaved throughout.

Not only that, but Analee has gotten so used to feeling alone that she has this outer shell around her & knowing how she’s been left in the past, her anger, fear, etc. can come out in ways she doesn’t mean. I could relate to that at times, but seeing her take up meditation and talk more with her family & Seb was so beautiful to read about! (I cried 😭💕💕)

Additionally this novel also focuses on growth as Analee learns more about Harlow, she gets out of her comfort-zone with Seb, thinks more about friendship as a whole, Lily & becomes comfortable with letting go of the past and moving forward!

Janelle Milanes is a queen at 1st person POVs!! Through Analee we learn so much about her, the people around her, her hobbies, she & the entire cast, become so incredibly real, that everything about Analee, In Real Life just– comes to life!!

There’s also so much focus on family and parents as they play such a central role in this story! Especially when it comes to the discussion of relationships, sex/sex-positivity! Family is very present as is Analee’s dad & Harlow, which so amazing to see in YA Contemporary!

*Also I loved that although we know about Analee’s past + current dynamic with Lily and what she knows about Chloe, there is absolutely NO girl vs. girl hate! Analee wants to be so much like them because they are many things she knows she isn’t, but it was great to see when they did interact, it wasn’t out of hate, jealousy, etc. mostly it was out of misunderstanding (especially with Lily).

I loved all the amazing characters from Analee, her dad, Harlow + Avery, Seb, Chloe, Lily, Harris, etc. Alongside that, Milanes always makes her casts so diverse & inclusive, which is amazing:

We have Analee, her dad & mom who are Cuban (w/ Analee being Cuban-American), Seb who is 1/2 Dominican & Puerto Rican), and Lily (Indian-American).

And similar to Victoria, I loved seeing Spanish throughout the book & mention of platinos, & overall the diverse Latinx rep throughout the book<3 ❤

Analee, In Real Life also just ends in a way that took me by surprise (broke my heart a little), but I loved it so much!! It felt so realistic and I didn’t exactly feel sad, but hopeful for Analee and her future with her family, school, relationships, etc.! The plot just had me so immersed from start to finish, I was so sad when I reached the last page!

Overall, I highly recommend checking out Analee, In Real Life it made me feel so many different emotions, & captured my heart!! ❤

Analee, In Real Life is a spectacular YA Contemporary! With a comedic and delightful narrator like Analee, this relatable coming-of-age story explores family, love, friendship, loss, acceptance & so much more! From Online RPGs, to a diverse cast, unique and memorable plot that goes in ways you don’t expect, Milanes’s latest YA Contemporary is a book I highly recommend!

Latinx Book Bingo TBR {Book Blog Discussion}

Hey, 24hr.YABookBlog here (~˘▾˘)~ ✨💕📚 In today’s post I’ll be sharing my TBR list for Latinx Book Bingo!

If you’ve never heard of Latinx Book Bingo, it takes place from September 15-October 15, in which you read books based off the categories on the Latinx Bingo card! It basically highlights and celebrates books from Latinx authors or that feat. Latinx characters by reading as many as you can! ❤

Latinx Book Bingo was created by booktubers: Allie from Alliembooks, Paola from PaolaMancera & book blogger Sofia from SofiaInBookLand

To start, I’m going to share 1 row of Latinx books I’m planning on reading (or currently reading) for this read-a-thon!

Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova1.SF/F: Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova (Brooklyn Brujas #2)

I remember reading Labyrinth Lost back in 2016 & fell in love with it! From the Latinx rep., themes of family, sisterhood, etc. they were all elements I related to so much! So, for the SF/F category I’m definitely planning to finally start book 2, Bruja Born which released back in June of this year! Really looking forward to returning to another adventure w/ MC Alex in the Brooklyn Brujas series!

Analee, In Real Life by Janelle Milanes2.Contemporary Romance: Analee, In Real Life by Janelle Milanes

If your new to my blog, then you probably missed when I was fangirling over Janelle Milanes’s debut, The Victoria In My Head! Its such a fantastic YA Contemporary and from Milanes’s writing voice, her characters, theme of family, & wonderfully written romances, she easily became one of my all-time favorite authors!

Analee, In Real Life is an incredible YA Contemporary! Milanes’s books in general always leave me feeling so happy & remind me why I love YA Contemporary so much! I’m adoring it & you can also expect my full ARC review of it tomorrow on release day!

If you need more convincing to check out this book here’s what you can expect:
       ⁎Fake dating!
       ⁎ Online RPGs
       ⁎ Complex exploration of family/family dynamics
       ⁎ Diverse + incredible cast of characters

Blanca &amp; Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore3.Magical Realism: Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore

Anna-Marie McLemore is another one of my all-time favorite authors!! Her magical realism novels are just so beautifully written and contain such impactful stories that capture my heart each time! I’m really looking forward to reading my ARC of her upcoming release: Blanca y Roja!

Blanca & Roja is a queer Swan Lake retelling that I am so excited to read! I look forward to another one of McLemore’s lyrical and captivating stories!

The Carrying by Ada Limón4.Poetry: The Carrying by Ada Limón

After looking through Latinx Book Bingo rec. lists, I realized I recognized one of the poets, Ada Limón! I just checked out The Carrying from my library & from what I read of the summary it looks like the poems will explore youth, acceptance, love, & so much more! I’m really looking forward to reading Limón’s collection and I haven’t read too many poetry collections from Latinx authors, so I’m very happy to not only get introduced to a new book, but author too!

Are you participating in Latinx Book Bingo? + What Latinx books are on your TBR? 😍✨📚

Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch Review

Love & Luck by Jenna Evans WelchLove & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: May 8, 2018

Pages: 320

Summary: Addie is visiting Ireland for her aunt’s over-the-top destination wedding, and hoping she can stop thinking about the one horrible thing she did that left her miserable and heartbroken—and threatens her future. But her brother, Ian, isn’t about to let her forget, and his constant needling leads to arguments and even a fistfight between the two once inseparable siblings. Miserable, Addie can’t wait to visit her friend in Italy and leave her brother—and her problems—behind.

So when Addie discovers an unusual guidebook, Ireland for the Heartbroken, hidden in the dusty shelves of the hotel library, she’s able to finally escape her anxious mind and Ian’s criticism.

And then their travel plans change. Suddenly Addie finds herself on a whirlwind tour of the Emerald Isle, trapped in the world’s smallest vehicle with Ian and his admittedly cute, Irish-accented friend Rowan. As the trio journeys over breathtaking green hills, past countless castles, and through a number of fairy-tale forests, Addie hopes her guidebook will heal not only her broken heart, but also her shattered relationship with her brother.

That is if they don’t get completely lost along the way. 

My Rating: ★★★☆☆ ¾

My Thoughts: Love & Luck is Welch’s spin-off to Love & Gelato, which follows Lina’s friend Addie, as she spends her time in Ireland for her aunt’s wedding. Though a quick detour offers Addie the chance to mend her broken heart and her complex relationship with her brother! Character-driven and filled with adventure, Love & Luck is perfect summer contemporary!

Back in 2016, I read a book called Love & Gelato! I was expecting a light summer YA Contemporary set in Italy, but what I got was so much more!

So, of course when I saw that the author would have another YA Contemporary, I knew I had to pick it up!

Where to start with Love & Luck! Well, I really loved its focus on family and sibling relationships/dynamics!

Addie has 3 older brothers: Ian, Walter, & Archie! They all are really into sports and though tease each other every now & again, are always there for one another.

However at the start of Love & Luck, when Addie & Ian’s argument leads them to go rolling from a cliff, they definitely have some issues to work out.

Their mother has had enough of their arguing and so, as punishment, they are forced to stay together and make their way to Italy and get along!

With Addie’s soccer & Ian’s football on the line, if they don’t get past their arguing, its also a chance for them to overcome their own heartaches and mend their relationship.

The main focus of this book is really Addie & Ian learning to get along again as Ian’s detour through Ireland forces them both to stick together as Addie’s anticipated trip to Italy (to see Lina) comes to a halt!

The sibling dynamics are at the heart of this story and having sisters myself, found the complexity of those dynamics were explored really well!!

Along the way Addie follows a guide book she found in the hotel during her stay for the wedding titled: Ireland For The Heartbroken: An Unconventional Guide to the Emerald Isle!

She follows the guide when she learns that the trip to Italy will take a bit longer than expected and along the way, uses it to overcome her recent break-up with Cubby and the difficulties that came with it!

What made Love & Luck such an immersive read, was how character-driven it was! From Addie, Ian, & their new friend/tour guide Rowan, I felt I really got to know them and understand them fully by the end of this story!

What I find so great about Welch’s books is how invested you become in the characters! She really builds her main cast and as you learn more about them you also get more insight into their strengths, doubts, insecurities, etc.!

There’s also so much more to Ian & Addie’s difficult dynamic ( & argument) that gets revealed as the story progresses!

With much more to Ian & Rowan than Addie first expects, I was just as surprised as she was when I learned more about them.

Another plus of Love & Luck is how atmospheric it was and how Welch really builds the setting and gives it a life of its own through her characters!

I really loved Rowan! He is actually an online friend of Ian’s and as the secrets about their detour to Ireland get revealed, it turns out Ian wants to follow the different memorable sites of his (& Rowan’s) favorite band Titletrack, to in the end see them live at a festival: Electric Picnic!

He also becomes the tour guide of sorts as all 3 of them stop at various spots throughout Ireland!

I really loved his character! While he seems to be just an average guy, there’s so much more to him that gets revealed as he & Addie become closer on their journey through Ireland!

What also made Love & Luck so wonderful was that because it wasn’t really focused on romance, we really get to see the wonderful friendship between Addie & Rowan as they rely on each other to overcome their heartbreak!

+ There’s also a certain cameo I was waiting for, so of course I really loved seeing Lina & Ren again!!

Now as to why I didn’t love this book as much as Love & Gelato:

~Well, because it runs parallel to Love & Gelato, the pacing felt incredibly slow because I knew where the story was headed! (+ the in-between tour guide sections (though I liked them) really slowed the pacing for me too!)

~ Beside’s Addie, Ian, & Rowan, the other characters seemed pretty forgettable

~ There’s also the plot point of the entire reason Addie & Ian are arguing & while things are revealed, I felt that the major history to it was shared way too late in the story! Because of that, it felt that most of their problems could have been fixed with better communication, considering how quickly it was rushed through when more backstory to it is finally mentioned!

& to me what I personally found odd throughout the book, was that if Addie & Ian were being punished and had to get along, why was their mother leaving them alone & expecting them to get to Italy on their own with no problems? (This is just an odd personal gripe I had).

Overall though, what really made this book good was the focus on the main characters, their growth and the emphasis on friendship, overcoming heartache & sibling dynamics!

Love & Luck is a YA Contemporary that is perfect for summer! The story really shines through its characters and the development they undergo!  Its a character-driven, immersive and atmospheric story that focuses on overcoming heartache & the complex bonds of siblings! 

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman Review

Starfish by Akemi Dawn BowmanStarfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: September 26, 2017

Pages: 340

Summary: Kiko Himura has always had a hard time saying exactly what she’s thinking. With a mother who makes her feel unremarkable and a half-Japanese heritage she doesn’t quite understand, Kiko prefers to keep her head down, certain that once she makes it into her dream art school, Prism, her real life will begin.

But then Kiko doesn’t get into Prism, at the same time her abusive uncle moves back in with her family. So when she receives an invitation from her childhood friend to leave her small town and tour art schools on the west coast, Kiko jumps at the opportunity in spite of the anxieties and fears that attempt to hold her back. And now that she is finally free to be her own person outside the constricting walls of her home life, Kiko learns life-changing truths about herself, her past, and how to be brave.

*This novel discusses sexual assault + there’s also mention of suicide*

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Starfish is a beautifully written, but impactful and powerful YA Contemporary that follows Kiko, who dreams of getting into her dream art school! Bowman discusses and handles numerous heavy topics throughout this novel, but above all through Kiko we understand there is always hope!

Starfish was one of those novels I’d always planned on reading in 2017, but sadly never got to. I’d heard such amazing things from fellow book bloggers & made it a goal to read it in 2018! While I knew it would be a pretty impactful read, I did not expect it to be so heart-wrenching. This book was thought-provoking, beautiful and truly an unforgettable YA Contemporary.

Kiko is finishing up high school and ready to graduate. As a passionate artist/painter, she dreams of getting into Prism, one of the top art schools in the country.

Her home life and family isn’t the easiest. She hardly feels she has close relationships with her two brothers, Taro and Shoji and her mother is constantly emotionally abusive towards her.

She feels her mother will never understand her no matter how hard she tries. My heart broke for Kiko, reading just how neglected she felt, how ignorant her mother was and how she never felt like she’d have a family who understood her truly.

Not only does she constantly belittle and criticize her, but Kiko also has to deal with her mother’s ignorance and self-absorbed personality throughout the entirety of the novel.

As her final days of high school are close by, she and her friend Emery get invited to a party. There she reconnects with her childhood best-friend + crush who had moved to California years ago, Jamie.

When she learns her uncle (who she was assaulted by as a child) will be staying at her house, Kiko struggles to convince her mother to keep him out. With that, as Jamie & Kiko slowly but surely rekindle their friendship + he’s by Kiko’s side when he understands she needs to get away from home for a bit.

In order to escape the anxiety, frustration and all the other complex emotions of being with her mother, Kiko heads to California with Jamie to forge a new path for herself and find a place where she can belong.

I loved the beautiful relationship between Kiko and Jamie. Jamie was so understanding about Kiko’s anxiety and he always did his best to support her in her dream of finding a new art school!

I also loved how Bowman showed this new step of their friendship now that they are older and more grown-up. While we know from Kiko how close they were, seeing her form a different but even stronger bond with him as the story develops was so beautifully done!

Also because I read Starfish in about a week than the usual 2~3 days it usually takes me to read books, I felt it allowed me to really connect with Kiko and her story!

The writing was just so lyrical and flows beautifully with the heaviness of the story. It really allowed you to fully understand Kiko and her story. Additionally, it just allows you to see the depth of the characters in such an interesting way.

There’s also descriptions of Kiko’s paintings at the end of each chapter & they added so much to understanding the depth of her emotions and heart & they were written so vividly that you could really envision her artwork!

Plot-wise, it is compelling and heart-wrenching. Seeing Kiko go on her journey to not only find herself, but also to better understand what family means to her and how she can let go of the people or places that hold her back was truly inspiring. The plot not only weaves together in such a brilliant way, but honestly there were moments too, that just left me surprised!

As for representation, this novel follows our main character Kiko who is biracial being 1/2 Japanese & 1/2 white (as are her brothers Taro & Shoji) additionally Kiko also has social anxiety (Both Social Anxiety + Japanese-American Rep are #OwnVoices!)

Starfish is novel that really fills your heart through each turn of the page as you connect more with Kiko and her story.

Starfish is a character-driven, phenomenally written YA Contemporary that stays with you long after the final page! From the important and heavy topics discussed to the empowering journey of the main character Kiko, Starfish is a novel that inspires you to find your voice!