With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

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💛 Please check out Johely’s amazing, ownvoices review!

“And so at the age of four, I learned someone could cry from a happy memory.”

With the Fire on High is an ownvoices story, following an Afro-Latinx main character named Emoni. Emoni is a young mom, who got pregnant her freshman year of high school, but this book takes place during her senior year, and her school just opened up registration for a culinary class. Emoni has loved cooking and crafting recipes her entire life, but she is apprehensive to sign up for the new class because at the end of the year there is a trip to Spain that she doesn’t think that she can afford.

Emoni lives with her abuela, and even though her daughter’s father is in her daughter’s life, he does not help out with expenses and money is very tight, along with Emoni’s free time. She is always working part time at a burger joint, and for sure doesn’t have time to even think about dating, until a new boy comes to the school, and joins the brand-new culinary class.

Elizabeth Acevedo’s writing is just on another level. Her passages and one-liners leave me breathless and speechless. You can tell that she puts her entire heart and soul into every line she delivers, and it just makes this entire book shines so very brightly.

And the themes, from being a young parent and motherhood and what it means to be both of those things when people judge you for them constantly. To how sometimes family aren’t able to be what you wish they were, whether that means closer in distance and/or support. To being mixed race, and how Emoni’s Puerto Rican half will never erase her Black half, regardless of what ignorant people choose to say.

“The whole of me is whole.”

This is a story about connecting with your culture(s), and loving all of the parts of yourself, through food and through family, and it’s honestly so expertly done and so beautifully executed. Reading this entire story made me crave so many of the recipes that Emoni was making, but it made me crave my family’s food and company so very fiercely. Upon finishing, I actually went to the store, came home, and made Pancit and felt so very happy and so very whole.

Overall, this is just such a beautiful book with such a beautiful message. From feeling the closeness to Emoni, both naturally and her trying her hardest, to seeing the closeness of a community come together, it just made for such a powerful read and really left me feeling every emotion. Elizabeth Acevedo is a gift to the world and I can’t wait to read everything she will ever write.

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Content and Trigger Warnings: Abandonment, loss of a loved one in the past, medical anxiety/scares, talk of abortion, underage drinking, and use of the word g*psy that is 100% completely challenged.

The Reading Rush TBR | 2019


Hey, friends! I’m sure most of you know by now that BookTubeAThon got renamed to The Reading Rush and the first round is happening this July! And this this is my first year on BookTube, it’s also going to be my first year participating and (hopefully) daily vlogging! But without further ado, here is my TBR! 💖


➽ 1.) Read a book with purple on the cover

Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett


➽ 2.) Read a book in the same spot the entire time

Beauty and the Beast Girl by neji


➽ 3.) Read a book you meant to read last year

Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills


➽ 4.) Read an author’s first book

River of Teeth (River of Teeth #1) by Sarah Gailey


➽ 5.) Read a book with a non-human main character

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1) by Martha Wells


➽ 6.) Pick a book that has five or more words in the title

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow


➽ 7.) Read and watch a book to movie adaptation

10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston



And, as always, there is a bonus challenge to read seven books! Which I can hopefully do, even if that means busting out the graphic novels! Are you participating in The Reading Rush? If so, what are you reading? Let me know! And I hope you’re all having the happiest of reading, lovelies! 💖

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Top Ten Tuesday | Auto-Buy Authors

TopTenTuesday
Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018!

Hey, friends! I love this week’s topic so very much! Even though I am not sure how much it is going to surprise you! But I will always be here for any and all opportunities to gush about my favorite authors of all-time! So, I hope you enjoy! 💕


Elliot Wake

Tessa Gratton

Sebastien de Castell

Madeline Miller

Natasha Ngan

Leigh Bardugo

Rin Chupeco

Laini Taylor

Holly Black

N.K. Jemisin



Okay, friends! That’s it! Did I surprise you? I would love for you to comment some of your auto-buy authors! Or even your #1 auto-buy author! I hope you are all having the happiest of reading, and thank you so much for taking the time to read this post! 💗

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Dragons and Tea Book Club | August Pick

dragons & tea

Hey, loves! Are you all ready for the August pick for #DragonsAndTeaBookClub? This is the first time we are ever picking a book that hasn’t been released yet, but will in the month of reading it! The author is an author of color, and this book is a romance that stars a Black woman who has created a very successful dating app, and a Samoan man who is a retired football player who is now the current spokesperson for the app. Both characters are in their mid-thirties and I’ve heard that this is the perfect amount of steam and fade to black! August is also my birthday month, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than to fall in love with this book with you all! 💗

And we hope that you all will join us in our Goodreads Group, too! 🐉☕

But we also will be celebrating and talking with you all on Twitter and Instagram using the (hashtag) #DragonsAndTeaBookClub!


But without further ado, our August pick is:

The Right Swipe (Modern Love #1) by Alisha Rai
(which releases on August 6th!)

The Dates & Breakdown:
August 19th: Chapters 1 -5
August 20th: Chapters 6 – 10
August 21st: Chapters 11 – 15
August 22nd: Chapters 16 – 20
August 23rd: Chapters 21 -25
August 24th: Chapters 26 – 30

Content and Trigger Warnings:
Sexual harassment, cyber bullying and harassment, domestic verbal abuse
(From Saniya’s short but amazing review that I love!)


And if you’d like to be friends with me and Amy on any other platform:
🐉☕ Melanie: BooktubeInstagram | Twitter | Goodreads
🐉☕ Amy: BooktubeInstagram | Twitter | Goodreads

 

Blog Tour | The Black Veins (Dead Magic #1) by Ashia Monet

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ARC provided by the blog tour in exchange for an honest review.

“The magic wakes at midnight. It arrives in the form of a song.”

The Black Veins is a YA debut that you are not going to want to miss. This story is set in an alternate version of our world, where a young girl and her family have planted secure roots to protect themselves, their home, and their magic. They run a magical coffee shop that only other magic wielders can see, because if you speak about magic to Common people, the Erasers will come and… erase you. You will never be heard from again, and they are always watching. But the world seems relatively safe.

That is, until one night when Blythe, our main character, is dreaming about a voice in her head, one that is also trying to get her to do something that she does not want to do. Blythe has always known that she was destined to do great things with her magic, even if she doesn’t harness that magic yet. But after her family is attacked and kidnapped, she is forced to get any and all help that she can.

And in this world, there are two magical governments, and a war is beginning:

Black Veins – Old government, who rules the majority, and they have a city called Frost Glade which is supposed to be the safest city of them all, where the Sages’ castle sits.

Trident Republic – New government, the rebels, and they only have one city: Electric City.

And there are seven types of magic that magicians can harness. Yet, when Blythe and six others were little, their families ensured that they would do great things with their magic, but setting them on the path to one day be the Seven Guardians:

Blythe – Ether Guardian. Black, bisexual, and willing to do anything to get her family back.

Cordelia – Mind Guardian. Chinese, great at hacking and coding, and has always worked extremely too hard at being perfect.

Daniel – Nature Guardian. Very sheltered, because his parents have kept him exclusively on their property for most of his life. Oh, and something may be following him.

Antonio – Animal Guardian. Puerto Rican, queer, and the sweetest cinnamon roll and bright light. Oh, and he has wings!

Storm – Time Guardian. Black, and has a secret mission of her own and she is always on rollerblades. And she was probably my favorite character besides Blythe.

Caspian – Death Guardian. Trans, asexual, and who has many secrets and much more story to be told.

Jay – Body Guardian. Black, bisexual, and very charming. Also, he comes from a very famous and prestigious family.

And…

Katia – Lead Imperial Advisor for the Sages, and she is supposed to locate and transport all seven kids to Frost Glade safely, even if they would rather go to Electric City.

And Blythe feels like if she can get this group together, she just might stand a chance at being able to rescue her family from this rebelling government. And we are whisked away on the adventure alongside her, where she will travel all over the country via the Tempore, which is a magical forest that folds time and space and can teleport you quickly around the world, but it is temporarily shut down and a huge risk to use.

I promise you that you will fall in love with ALL of these characters. And I truly think that it’s a testament to Ashia Monet’s talent and craft that they were able to evoke so much emotion and empathy from me over every single one of their characters.

This is obviously a very inclusive story, and it is ownvoices for the Black, queer, and nonbinary rep. There is a side character who you meet (and will also fall in love with) named Jamie, who is Black, nonbinary, and adopted. This book truly just has so much good in it, I wish I could put it into so many hands, and it was nothing short of a joy to read.

I really do think that the heart of this first installment is family, both blood and found, and the things one is willing to do to protect that family. There is no stronger force in this universe than unconditional love, and Blythe proves that from the first to the last page. Throughout the entire novel Blythe proves that her family is her world, but we also get to see this ragtag group somehow also find room inside her heart.

Yet, I also think this is a story about being brave, and how bravery can take so many shapes and forms. Sometimes the only way to feel like you’re brave is to try your best, sometimes it’s to feel safe, sometimes its to not let anyone in, and sometimes it’s to magically travel across the country to recuse your family. There is no right way to be brave and I really loved seeing all these teens truly be some of the bravest characters I’ve ever read.

“Once upon a time, a young girl lost her family and discovered a new one.”

Overall, I just loved this. I loved the story, being on a magical road-trip adventure was everything, I loved the characters, and was rooting so hard for Blythe and her hockey stick, I loved the twists and turns that occurred throughout, I loved the magic system and how it was complex but familiar at the same time, and I obviously loved how inclusionary this book was, too. Oh, and I’m biased, and I loved spending a little time in Vegas as well. But I just recommend this story with my whole heart and soul, and I really hope you all will give it a try, because it truly is such a magical debut and a bright shining star in 2019 releases.

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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Content and Trigger Warnings:
(This is all from the author at the start of the book and… what a blessing!)

Discussion of deceased parents, siblings, and potential parental and familial death Description of mild bloodshed in violent scenes
Mention of drugs and drug use, primarily marijuana
Gun use Supernatural horror in the form of monsters, primarily found in Chapters 6, 12, and 25
Car accident in Chapter 19
Discussion of anxiety disorders and panic disorders primarily found in Chapters 22, 23, and 25
Racial n-word slur, ending in-a, found in Chapter 21 (before you drag me, yes, I am Black)
Mild anxiety attack in Chapter 25.

✨ Thank you so much CW @ The Quiet Pond for putting together this blog tour. I was so very honored to be a part of it and to help celebrate this beautiful story.

✨ BONUS: Ashia is doing a really cool thread on Twitter, where they are breaking down the characters way better than I did, letting you know their astrological signs, and they are also showing off some breathtaking art, too! I really recommend checking it out!

✨ Buddy read with Fadwa ~ فدوى from Word Wonders! ❤

Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker & Wendy Xu

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ARC acquired at Book Expo in exchange for an honest review.

“The next full moon snuck up on me…”

Oh friends, this was truly the graphic novel I’ve been waiting forever for. From witchy magic, to unconditional family and found family love, to being the person you want to be on your own time, to the cutest F/NB relationship ever, I am so in love with Mooncakes!

One night, in a sleepy and paranormal New England town, a witch follows a white wolf into the woods. She doesn’t know what to expect, but it most certainly isn’t a horse demon fighting with her childhood crush! With the help of one another (and some cute grandmas) they unfold a story about a cult and people wanting to harness werewolf magic for their own.

And the two main characters of this graphic novel are everything! One, being Nova, who is Chinese-American, and still coping with the loss of her parents, while living with her two grandmothers (be still, my heart). All of these women are witches and collect rare spell books! And Tam, who is also Chinese-American, and a nonbinary werewolf who grew up with Nova, but recently left their family who wasn’t very kind to them.

And if I haven’t already sold you with the plot and the five star rating, this is also just a story about two young adults learning who they want to be, both separately and together. Nova and Tam are both dealing with hurt from their parents, and even though it is a different kind of hurt, they are there for one another, and unconditionally support one another. It’s beautiful, and powerful, and I had the biggest smile on my face while reading from the first to last page.

Overall, this really was the queer, magical story that I’ve always wanted. I loved the rep, I loved the story, I loved the illustrations, I love the banter, and I truly love both of these main characters so very much. I can’t wait to see what Wendy and Suzanne do next! Also, I’m totally buying mooncakes on the way home tomorrow, because your girl has such a craving.

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Content and Trigger Warnings: talk of abusive parental figures, captivity, and loss of loved ones in the past.

I read this for SummerAThon! ❤

[BONUS:] I got to meet both creators at Book Expo and they were so kind! Even though I was probably a little awkward and called Wendy birb royalty.

Runaway Girl (Girl, #2) by Tessa Bailey

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1.) Getaway Girl ★★★★

“This is it. This is the kiss I’ll think about for decades to come, maybe longer. I can feel it ruining me with every mash of his lips against mine…”

After me and my friends completely fell in love with Tessa Bailey’s dirty talk, we devoured Getaway Girl in a day and we knew we had to finish off this duology together. These stories are about the aftermath of what happens when a wedding gets called off. In Getaway Girl, we follow the would have been groom, but in Runaway Girl we follow the girl who left him at the altar and fled to start a brand new life in Florida.

Naomi – A woman who has had her life predetermined for her for as long as she can remember. From finishing schools, to the pageant scene, Naomi hasn’t ever been able to do what she wants, only what is expected from her. That is, until she runs away from her wedding at the start of Getaway Girl.

Jason – A man who is trying his best to take care of his little sister, after his parents bailed on them both because of grief. He is also a Special Forces diver, trying to live with his own PTSD from the military.

Birdie – The girl getting coached by Naomi to enter the pageant scene, while also dealing and living with the loss of her sister, and also the star of Halfway Girl! Also, she is diabetic, and I really loved seeing that rep in this story.

And these three characters are intertwined when Birdie needs someone to help her win a pageant and get some closure after losing her twin, who really wanted to win a pageant, and she thinks that she needs the help of Naomi to do! So, this story is all about Naomi’s two months in Florida, and everything that unfolds while the events of Getaway Girl were also taking place.

I just really loved Naomi and I loved seeing her want to live her life for herself and not her family or society’s expectations. I loved watching her come into her own power, with her sex life and her everyday life. And I also really loved how there was no shaming of pageants or making her feel lesser because of her looks or things that brought her joy. I was so scared that it was going to be a storyline, but it wasn’t, it was just accepted and embraced, and I loved it completely.

And if you have been on this wild journey with me and my friends, you will know that we are all literally obsessed with Tessa Bailey’s sex scenes, and Runaway Girl is no different, they are truly unparalleled. They are very dirty and very explicit, so use caution because I know that isn’t for everyone, and that’s valid. But if you do want to venture into something a little steamier, than I can’t recommend Tessa, and everything she’s written, any stronger.

“Understand I want to drink it out of your belly button. Want to warm it on that perfect skin, sip it into my mouth, then let it drip out all over your pussy.”

Overall, I really enjoyed this one, and Tessa Bailey is the queen of dirty talk, without question, but I just didn’t love the end of this one. It’s a trope that a lot of readers don’t like, and I think many people who read my reviews won’t like it either, so use caution! I also didn’t love Jason completely, even if I did love his mouth, just because I’m not the biggest fan of military men, because my dad is a Marine, but we aren’t going to go there and even think about that right now. But I truly did loved the majority of this book, and I can’t wait to read everything by Tessa Bailey.

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Content and Trigger Warnings: talk of loss of a loved one, grief depiction, PTSD depiction, and depression.

Buddy read with Paloma, Chelsea, Jane, & Madalyn! ❤

I read this for SummerAThon! ❤