One of my favorite genres of posts are the “If You Liked X Thing, You Might Enjoy Y Thing” type posts. As someone who very much enjoys very niche interests, I thought why not mix something that’s enjoyed by everyone (music) and something enjoyed by, well, me (poetry). Even as I write this, I’m listening to Chloe X Halle’s newest album UNGODLY HOUR, which is a full jam and a half. When I read, I can’t help but think of songs that would fit into the world of the book and I make endless playlists for the books I read.
That’s why when the idea of pairing albums I enjoy with poetry books it just made sense. Songs are poems with rhythm and melody, and poems can so easily be songs. So I gathered seven albums and paired them with poetry, like a good sommelier. The last two books are novels written in verse (because I’m allowed to cheat at my own game), and I highly recommend listening the audiobooks if you have that access. All book links go to The Lit Bar’s Bookshop.org website, where you can support an Afro-Latinx-owned bookstore and get these incredible texts in the process. Hope you enjoy this!Continue reading “If You Liked This Album, You Might Enjoy This Poetry Book”→
When you’re a rebellious girl in a fantasy setting, you’re defying certain power systems. If you add to that the fact that you’re a queer girl, you end up also going against patriarchal and heteronormative notions of desire.
In this post, brought to you by the Crier’s War Blog Tour (thanks to Karina from AfirePages), I’m talking about fantasy YA books where the main characters are both sapphic and rebelling against the systems they were born into. They all go about it in different ways, and I thought it would be interesting to put them under the microscope and analyze what makes them special (in my heart).
In the debut novel by Nina Varela, CRIER’S WAR, we follow two girls: Lady Crier and Ayla. Both girls are polar opposites and come from different worlds. In this world, beings named Automae (which are sort of cyborgs) have overthrown the humans who made them and rule over them cruel and mercilessly.
Lady Crier is the daughter of Sovereign Hesod, ruler of their lands. Crier is betrothed to a man who seeks power and to eradicate humans from existence to prove how superior Automae are. On the other hand, Ayla is a human girl trying to make her way into the Automae’s castle in order to exact her revenge after her family was killed and she was left to be raised by rebels. When Ayla saves Crier’s life one fateful night, Crier seemingly can’t stop thinking about Ayla and decides to take Ayla on as her handmaiden.
Even as there’s political intrigue going on, Crier seeks to be heard by her father and to join the ranks of the governing body. Ayla, however, still plots her revenge, wishing to take out the Sovereign Hesod and Crier’s fiancé as her feelings for Crier become muddled in her mind and heart.
In a way, Crier learns how to be more human in learning how to love, while, Ayla’s struggling not to give into her burning desire to have revenge and also trying not to fall for her target. In the process, they come together in moments of silent appreciation and admiration, learning a bit of what makes the other tick, realizing that tenderness in the face of violence can be revolutionary in itself.
If you’d like to read more YA books with sapphic girls and radical tenderness, here are some of my personal favorites:
Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova- If you’re searching for a love story about your identity, coming to terms with it as you keep learning about yourself, and along the way fall in love with your best friend, then this is the perfect book for you.
We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia- Sometimes you fall in love with the woman your husband is also married to, and that’s fine, especially when you’re spying on your husband and his family in the name of rebellion. And sometimes romance doesn’t have to look a certain way for it to be valid, which is important considering the patriarchal, machista fictional world of Medio.
Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust- If you like subdued contemporaries like We Are Okay by Nina LaCour, you’ll love this quiet fantasy based on Snow White, where the princess learns that love comes in different shapes and forms and tenderness isn’t always a romantic form of affection.
Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst- In the world of Denna and Mare, Denna is betrothed to Mare’s brother, yet is increasingly attracted to the fierce princess who’s teaching her how to ride horses as a metaphor about learning how to be independent. (Its sequel, Of Ice and Shadows, is available now as well!)
From debut author Nina Varela comes the first book in an Own Voices, richly imagined epic fantasy about an impossible love between two girls—one human, one Made—whose romance could be the beginning of a revolution.
Perfect for fans of Marie Rutkoski’s The Winner’s Curse as well as Game of Thrones and Westworld.
After the War of Kinds ravaged the kingdom of Rabu, the Automae, designed to be the playthings of royals, usurped their owners’ estates and bent the human race to their will.Now Ayla, a human servant rising in the ranks at the House of the Sovereign, dreams of avenging her family’s death…by killing the sovereign’s daughter, Lady Crier.
Crier was Made to be beautiful, flawless, and to carry on her father’s legacy. But that was before her betrothal to the enigmatic Scyre Kinok, before she discovered her father isn’t the benevolent king she once admired, and most importantly, before she met Ayla.
Now, with growing human unrest across the land, pressures from a foreign queen, and an evil new leader on the rise, Crier and Ayla find there may be only one path to love: war.
Nina Varela is a nationally awarded writer of screenplays and short fiction. She was born in New Orleans and raised on a hippie commune in Durham, North Carolina, where she spent most of her childhood playing in the Eno River, building faerie houses from moss and bark, and running barefoot through the woods. These days, Nina lives in Los Angeles with her writing partner and their tiny, ill-behaved dog. She tends to write stories about hard-won love and young people toppling the monarchy/patriarchy/whatever-archy. On a related note, she’s queer. On a less related note, she has strong feelings about hushpuppies and loves a good jambalaya. CRIER’S WAR is her first novel.
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Answer the questions.
Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
Notify the nominees about it by commenting on one of their blog posts.
List the rules and display the sunshine blogger award logo on your site or on your post.
Questions for Me:
1. If you could change the genre of one of your favorite books, which book would you pick, which genre, and why? One of the books I really love is The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, and I’d really love to see the legend/myth of Achilles and Patroclus as a space opera. I think the drama would translate well and I just like space. Imagine all the lyrical prose you could write about the vastness of a galaxy and being able to find your soulmate right beside you. Fuck me up.
2. Do you read graphic novels? Why or why not? I do, I’m just very picky! The last graphic novel I read was The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks, which was just Okay. Some I really love, though, are Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, and The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins by The McElroys and Carey Pietsch.
3. What’s one book you read that was hyped up so much by other people, yet you were disappointed when you read it? Act Like It by Lucy Parker. I just really don’t like alpha heroes, especially ones who are extremely entitled and borderline abusive.
4. What’s the last book you rated five (5) stars, and why did you love it so much? The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo! I love her verses, and the fact that it made me tear up at the beach while reading the scene where Xiomara confronts her mother. Fuck!!!
5. When rating a book three (3) stars, do you consider that a bad or good rating? Or neither? Show your work! I consider it a mediocre rating. Sometimes I’m just personally unable to give it 4 stars due to my own personal misgivings with the book (see: Lies My Girlfriend Told Me by Julie Anne Peters, which had the first gay Latina I ever read about but the portrayal of her makes absolutely no sense).
6. Share five (5) of your favorite tropes and recommend at least one book to go with each trope!
enemies to lovers – I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest
heists! – The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
latinas defying the patriarchy – Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore
bisexual love triangle – Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova
found family – Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez
7. If you worked in a library and were asked to recommend three (3) YA fantasy books, which would you choose and why? We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia for its complexity in that it’s not a magical fantasy, nor an Earthen fantasy, but it’s a world closely resembling ours with political crises similar to ours. A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi, because you can have a romance full of lush, delicious prose, while still having fun. And Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova, because you can have urban fantasy full of zombies while still being able to talk about trauma and family.
8. Which books are your most anticipated for the rest of 2019? Nocturna by Maya Motayne, Zoraida Córdova’s A Crash of Fate, The Fire Keeper by J.C. Cervantes because I need to know how Zane is doing, The Tenth Girl by Sara Faring, Slay by Brittany Morris, Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron, Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika and Maritza Moulite, Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi dDeyemi, and so many more oh God.
9. Share one author who you think is underrated/underhyped and which book of theirs you think someone should start with to get the best feel for the author’s style. Anna Meriano and Mia Garcia. I loved A Dash of Trouble and I loved The Resolutions, so that should tell you where to start.
10. Alpha males or beta males? Why? Betas! I already gave good reasons, but I still have yet to find an Alpha hero that is fucking respectful toward their LI. Anyway, read Take the Lead by Alexis Daria.
11. What is your GoodReads goal for 2019? My goal is to read 50 books in 2019, but I’m already at 32/50 and it’s mid-April.
What’s an overly hyped book/series that you haven’t been able to get into?
What genre (sci-fi, fantasy, contemporary, etc) do you wish you read more of?
What’s a book you’d hand-sell to anyone and everyone who crosses your path?
Which book has lit up your heart and made you feel loved?
Mention a book with a plot twist that had you gasping out loud.
This is a no-judgement zone: do you dog-ear pages?
What was the last book by a Black woman that you read? The last book by a Latina? By an Asian woman? By a Native or Indigenous woman? Are you conscious of who’s writing the media you consume?
When was the last time words moved you and shifted the perception of something in your head?
Do you review all the books you read or only specific ones?
As book bloggers, we are both consumers and creators: we consume books and proceed to create content about what we’ve consumed, only for someone else to consume what you’ve created. Is there ever a break between being both consumer and creator? ….In all seriousness, what’s your favorite post you’ve created and why?
Thank you all for reading! Tomorrow, my review of Sal and Gabi will be up, so make sure you come back and check it out, since it’s been a long time in the making.
The snow is starting to melt, the trees are looking green again, flowers are beginning to welcome sunshine and showers…
Here? It’s gonna get hotter as Easter approaches, with more people bathing at the beach and more tourists starting to arrive for their Spring Breaks. That’s right, Spring is around the corner. The time between Spring and Summer is my favorite, as it’s cool enough for me to wear cool jackets and but also hot enough that we don’t have to wear coats (I mean, I don’t have to wear coats at any given time here, but I’m being empathetic for those going through harsh winters and who are waiting for Spring to arrive).
Curating these lists is both a joy and a curse, seeing as I’d like to buy every single book but I know that can’t be feasible (I’m both broke and unemployed). Working on these posts is my way to give back to a community of writers that can be often ignored by a community of readers as well as publishing at large when they’re not given ample publicity in comparison to many hegemonic writers.
In any case, I’m proud to present over 70 books that will be releasing between February 15th and May 31st, 2019. It consists of books written and/or illustrated by Latinx authors. The list will be divided by age category (Picture Books, MG, YA, or Adult) as well as genre (Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry, Anthology) and subgenres (Literary, Contemporary, Fantasy, etc.) Each of the books listed will have the title, the name of the author/illustrator, its release date, and a short description written by yours truly. Each category is sorted by release date. Books marked by an asterisk (*) are ones I don’t know their official release date or don’t have enough information about.
Disclaimer: This compilation is by no means exhaustive or comprehensive; it only contains titles I’ve been able to find through extensive research. If you know of a book I didn’t list, or have a correction to make, don’t hesitate to let me know!
This piece is a part of the A Sprinkle in Spirits Blog Tour! If you wanna know how you can win a copy of A Sprinkle in Spirits, scroll all the way to the end. Or, you know, continue reading my post ’til the end.