FairyLoot September 2020 | Unboxing

FairyLoot September 2020: Under the Sea

๐—™๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐˜๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—•๐—ผ๐—ผ๐—ธ: Fable by Adrienne Young

Not the best picture, but the edges are sprayed a gorgeous glittery aquamarine colour
Authorโ€™s signature

๐— ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜๐—ต๐—น๐˜† ๐—–๐—ต๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—–๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฑ๐˜€: Nevernight inspired characters illustrated by Katherine Britt

๐—ง๐—ผ ๐—ž๐—ถ๐—น๐—น ๐—ฎ ๐—ž๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด๐—ฑ๐—ผ๐—บ ๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜€๐—ฝ๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐— ๐˜‚๐—ด: designed by @gabrielleragusi

Quote: โ€œItโ€™s like holding a story rather than a poison she feels wild and infinite in my arms.โ€

๐—ง๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฆ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ ๐—ช๐—ถ๐˜๐—ฐ๐—ต ๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜€๐—ฝ๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—ฃ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฐ๐—ถ๐—น ๐—–๐—ฎ๐˜€๐—ฒ: designed by Ink and Wonder

๐—›๐—ฎ๐—ถ๐—ฟ ๐—•๐—ฟ๐˜‚๐˜€๐—ต: with a nautical design

๐—ข๐—บ๐—ฏ๐—ฟรฉ ๐— ๐—ฒ๐˜๐—ฎ๐—น ๐—ฆ๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐˜„๐˜€: with quotes โ€˜โ€™make wavesโ€ and โ€œbeach pleaseโ€

๐—จ๐—ฟ๐˜€๐˜‚๐—น๐—ฎ ๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜€๐—ฝ๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—˜๐—ป๐—ฎ๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—น ๐—ž๐—ฒ๐˜†๐—ฐ๐—ต๐—ฎ๐—ถ๐—ป: designed by Ink and Wonder

Quote: โ€œPoor Unfortunate Soulsโ€

๐—ฃ๐—ผ๐˜€๐˜๐—ฐ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฑ ๐—ณ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—บ ๐—”๐˜๐—น๐—ฎ๐—ป๐˜๐—ถ๐˜€: illustrated by @taratjah

What are your thoughts on this box?

My thoughts: I absolutely love nautical themes and aesthetic, however, this didnโ€™t have the same oomph factor as last months for both items and design. For me, I believe itโ€™s due to the fact that there are so many avenues one can go with a nautical theme. It feels like this month has focused on the โ€˜Little Mermaidโ€™ rather than an overall sea setting or books with a sea setting. I guess this is reflective on the name of the theme. ๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ˜…

In terms of items, I like how useful the mug, hairbrush, and reuseable straws are, but I usually prefer buy my own type of hairbrush. Also, this hairbrush may not be useful for all types of hair. However, I thought the resuseable straws were a great idea.

In terms of design, I love how cohesive this theme is for colour. I love the use of blue and aquamarine. However, the pencil case is not my favourite item nor do I feel like I have much use for the enamel keychain. Nevertheless, the items are gorgeous.

๐๐จ๐ญ๐ƒ: Have you read Fabled? What are your thoughts on it? Otherwise, what did you think of this box?

๐€๐จ๐ญ๐ƒ: Iโ€™m so excited to read Fable! Iโ€™ve heard so many great things about ๐Ÿ˜„ plus I absolutely love books with a sea setting ๐ŸŒŠ

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#ARCAugust Attempt |Book Thoughts

Copy of Copy of to kill a kingdom (3)

Oh no. I think I developed a new bad habit and it’s in the form of constantly requesting titles on Netgalley. What’s Netgalley? Netgalley is a website where you can request Advanced Reader Copies (ARC) of books in exchange for reviews and raising awareness/sharing the love. My little eager heart has been requesting all these amazing books and I know there are various posts recommending you to NOT request away. And yet, here I am…

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I am unsurprised and unimpressed with myself haha. (Why am I like this?)

Does anyone have any specific criteria as to what they do and don’t request? Because I need an adult.ย How do I control myself?

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I like to read broadly as much as I can, so I’m always open with genres but I can see myself falling into a hole of continuously requesting for books (and I kind of am already?). There are so many great books out there! I don’t want to overwhelm myself with all these commitments (but let’s be honest, I’m always overwhelmed haha). Also, I like to keep my ratio above 80% because lol it tells you to and my vanity likes the badge.

Anyway, I’m a temperamental mood reader, so here’s the plan: I’m going to join #ARCAugust. Or at least, attempt to.

In actuality, I had been planned to binge read all my ARCs and I happened to see a friend post they’re taking part in #ARCAugust so why not join?

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BANNER

Chosen Ones โ€” April (the publishers threw a wishbone at me???? thank you??)

The Girl and the Stars โ€” 30 April (currently reading)

Dark Skiesย โ€” 5 May (writing review help)

Santiago’s Road Home โ€” 20 June *date changed (writing review help)

The Midnight Bargain โ€” 13 October (just go accepted??? wow thank you)

The Tea Dragon Tapestry โ€” 13 October (currently reading)

How to Break an Evil Curse โ€” 13 October (currently reading)

The Stitcher and the Mute โ€” 12 November (my foolish self didn’t realise this was a SEQUEL; currently reading the first one)

The City of Zirdai โ€” 21 June 2021 (AGAIN my foolish self didn’t realise this was a SEQUEL; currently reading the first one)

 

TO DO LIST:

โ˜’ Read book โ˜ write review โ˜ post review close to the published date

There are three steps!! Three!ย Yet why is this so difficult? Why am I like this???

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Anyway, how’s your reading going? Do you read any ARCs? Otherwise, how do you organise your reading?

 

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Lobizona | Review

Copy of Copy of to kill a kingdom (1)

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Title: Lobizona

Author: Romina Garber

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Rating: โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜†โ˜†

Where can I find this? Goodreads | Book Depository | Booktopia | Google Play | Apple

โ€œYouโ€™re saying if no oneโ€™s told my story beforeโ€ฆ I get to tell it the way I want?โ€ ~ Romina Garber, Lobizona

Behold! Marvel at this cover art! Read the synopsis! Isnโ€™t this promising? Doesnโ€™t this make you wish you had a copy? Because, yesโ€”after seeing the cover art and the synopsis, I desperately wanted to read this book. I needed this book. And the bookish gods of Netgalley smiled graciously on me and granted my earnest wish.

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my face @ netgalley. yes, I’m aware I’m probably annoying lol

In Lobizona, we follow Manuela (Manu) as she navigates life without detection. Hiding from both the US government and from the people of her fatherโ€™s past, Manu is undocumented and unprotected. Isolated due to hiding, secrecy is Manuโ€™s constant companion besides Perla and Ma. But hiding Manu isnโ€™t the only secret that gets discovered. When Manuโ€™s mother is taken by ICE, Manu discovers a magical world that is eerily familiarโ€ฆ Now in a magical world, Manu wages forward to uncover the secrets that gnawed on her since childhood. And just like the secrets that fought so hard to remain hidden, Manu must fight harder to uncover the truth.

Plot
The book weaves Argentinean folklore surrounding lobizon and bruja into Manuโ€™s world which presents an interesting aspect into the novel. I liked how Argentinean culture was incorporated into the storytelling. Garber naturally incorporates Spanish into the dialogue. I appreciate how flawless and natural it was. However, the Spanish can make the reading experience disjointed if youโ€™re not familiar with the language. There were times where the narrator (Manu) will translate, and other times where one can gauge the meaning from context and times where you wonโ€™t get it. Iโ€™ll be honest, Iโ€™ve never formally learnt Spanish nor learnt how to read it but can only understand and pick it up from sound (because 1. I’m uneducated hahah and 2. thatโ€™s how I learntโ€”when a family member spoke). Often, Iโ€™d have to pause and read passages aloud for my two brain cells to figure out the translation. Yes, Iโ€™m a child of immigrant parents and as a result, lost my motherโ€™s tongue to assimilating to the culture I lived inโ€ฆ Iโ€™m like the meme:

โ€˜Me? Bilingual? More like, bye-lingualโ€™

Therefore, pausing and rereading some phrases often impacted my reading experience. Iโ€™m already a slow reader haha… ANYWAY! I like how Garber unapologetically and fluidly weaves Spanish into her novel.

Lobizona is broken down into four phases. I wonโ€™t say much to spoil the story; however, the story really picks up in phase two for me. In phase two, we discover more about this magical world. The world-building felt a little thin and due to that, the story felt more of magical realism rather than fantasy.

This book takes a while to get into the promised action. After the 40%, thatโ€™s where all the action began and it was great. Although, the pacing felt disjointed at times. For example, the first 40-50% of the book we are dragging our feet to this magical world. And then, at the last 15-20% action happens! All! At! Once! Iโ€™d appreciate if there were moments for the audience to process all that is going on.

Despite the pacing, I did appreciate Garber’s writing style. Garber weaves emotions well into her characters without weighing down the narrative with too many descriptions. The read was compelling and I read this novel in one sitting.

Characters
I love an underdog character. With everything going on, you canโ€™t help but root for Manu! I was invested in her and her dreams. Yeah, she has her insecurities and doubts, but Manu is determined despite all odds. She dreams and yearns for more and when an opportunity shows itself, sheโ€™ll take it. I liked that about her. However, the chosen one trope is strong in this one. If youโ€™re not a fan, you may not enjoy the incessant specialness of Manu. Iโ€™m a fan of the chosen trope so Iโ€™m never really bothered by such thingsโ€”in fact, I relish in it.

Other than Manu, there is a large cast in this book (I canโ€™t remember all their names but I remember Cata and Sasyaโ€”the two other girls). I enjoyed Manuโ€™s and Sasyaโ€™s interactions. Sasya is a kind and gentle soul, the welcoming friend to Manu. Whereas, Cata is perceived to be the ‘mean girl’ who is ruthless to Manu. I wasnโ€™t a fan of how that part was portrayed like the typical ‘popular girl mean to the new girl’ trope.

Another aspect I didnโ€™t enjoy was the romance. long sigh yes, the romance. I didnโ€™t like how the romance gave a forbidden vibe to it (spoiler-y: more like almost cheating vibes). And when the truth came out it felt convenient and cheap. Also, I couldnโ€™t understand why the love interest and Manu had feelings for each other? It felt superficial. I would rather focus on other pressing matters, such as Manu’s mother and Manu’s discoveries.

Enjoyment
Aside from the romance, there were many aspects I liked. I liked how alienation and challenging the norm was a major factor in this book. I liked how the themes of alienation and immigration were woven in the story. Manuโ€™s fear of discovery rings true to too many people. Garber writes well, enveloping the reader into Manuโ€™s world that you feel the constant fear and even the threat in living. But despite the fear, thereโ€™s the unyielding hope. It was hope in the characters that I loved in this book. Lobizon grapples with and comments on various themes such as misogyny, privilege, undocumented immigrants, amongst many more and I deeply appreciated it did so.

I, myself am a child of immigrants and I have experienced cultural assimilation so on one side, parts of this book resonated with me. I liked how powerful Garber wrote various aspects (especially the first phase). Again, I liked how she wove another language into her book so naturally and how this book was an easy and compelling read. I just wished there were more. In actuality, I think I had higher expectations due to wanting to really love this book. (Why do I do this to myself?) Despite that, I’m very curious to see where this tale (or… tail) will go.

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Recommended for: fans of fantasy schools with magical creatures, fans of YA fantasy, latinx readers looking for latinx authors, people looking for diverse books

Content warning: xenophobia, sexism, bullying, trauma, misogyny, homophobia

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

 

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