AfroBoricua Reads Book Reviews: Akata Witch (Akata #1) by Nnedi Okorafor

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Summary:

Akata Witch transports the reader to a magical place where nothing is quite as it seems. Born in New York, but living in Aba, Nigeria, twelve-year old Sunny is understandably a little lost. She is albino and thus, incredibly sensitive to the sun. All Sunny wants to do is be able to play football and get through another day of school without being bullied. But once she befriends Orlu and Chichi, Sunny is plunged into the world of the Leopard People, where your worst defect becomes your greatest asset. Together, Sunny, Orlu, Chichi and Sasha form the youngest ever Oha Coven. Their mission is to track down Black Hat Otokoto, the man responsible for kidnapping and maiming children. Will Sunny be able to overcome the killer with powers stronger than her own, or will the future she saw in the flames become reality?

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AfroBoricua Reads Book Reviews: The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton 

Summary: 

Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orléans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orléans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.
But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite—the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orléans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie—that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined. And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision. 
With the future of Orléans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide—save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles—or resuscitate the princess, risk her own life, and change the ways of her world forever. 

My Review: 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Recommendation: YES!! A million times yes!

Disclosure: Received an ARC from a friend. Mild spoilers for problematic content.

Release Date: February 20, 2018 Disney-Hyperion 
Where do I even begin?

 Dhonielle Clayton has created a world that blurs the line between dangerous and beautiful.  The stunning prose and dedication to world building is a testament to Dhonielle’s talent as a writer. From the first page, Dhonielle creates a world so mysterious and inviting that it feels as if Dhonielle herself is a Belle. 

Along with the world building and immaculate prose, she also creates characters that stay in your mind days after reading. Camellia the heroine of this story is one of the best YA heroines I’ve seen in years. She’s resilient and unwavering in herself and her faith in others. She wants to make everyone feel beautiful inside and out but her innocence holds her back at times. Her curiosity is one of her most admirable traits and she’s never afraid to voice her opinions. 

As this review is super early I can’t say too much, but this book is stunning inside and out. Dhonielle Clayton truly made a story that is worth its weight in gold. 

UPDATE 6/05/17

It has come to my attention after reading another review and rereading my ARC that there is problematic content in The Belles.

In the review I’ve linked below it details the transphobia, fatphobia, and queerphobia that occurs in the book. There are mild spoilers for The Belles but as a reviewers it’s necessary to warn readers of harmful content that could be triggering to them. If you have any questions regarding my review you may contact me by email which is 

afroboricuareads@gmail.com

or

On Twitter at @_tatilee through DM which is always open. 

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1970019332

AfroBoricua Reads Book Reviews: The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig 


Summary:

Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination.
As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix.
But the end to it all looms closer every day.
Her father is obsessed with obtaining the one map, 1868 Honolulu, that could take him back to his lost love, Nix’s mother. Even though getting it—and going there—could erase Nix’s very existence.
For the first time, Nix is entering unknown waters.
She could find herself, find her family, find her own fantastical ability, her own epic love.
Or she could disappear.
My Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Recommendation: Yes!

Disclosure: A lovely friend from the UK sent me a copy. No spoilers

I hesitated on wanting to read this book because the whole traveling on a ship and time travel didn’t appeal to me. But then I found out Nix was biracial and based on the author herself and decide to see if I would like it for myself. Spoiler alert if you couldn’t tell by the rating ^ I absolutely loved it!

This story was fresh and original right from the start. From the worldbuilding  to the characters, and plot lines it was an enchanting read. The writing was fantastic, I couldn’t believe that this was Heidi’s debut.

I love the way Nix and the crew have to time travel. Using the maps and the whole concept of learning to steer the ship is ingenious. As a whole the entire world building is so fresh and original it’s refreshing to see in YA. 

One of my favorite parts of this story is Kash. He is so swoon worthy! I’m in love with Nix and Kash’s interactions, the way he cares for is great to see as you see so many harmful relationships in YA.

All in all I adored this book. It was such a great read as it seems like every YA novel is the same. I’m excited for the sequel The Ship Beyond Time which comes out 2/28! 

AfroBoricua Reads Book Reviews: The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

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Summary: When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.

In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha — one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.

Memoirs of a Geisha meets The Name of the Wind in this brilliant new fantasy series by Rin Chupeco!

My Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Recommendation: Yes!!!

Disclosure: Received eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Publication Date: March 7, 2017  No spoilers.

I want to live in this world. PERIOD. Never have I’ve read a book so dedicated to its world and worldbuilding.  The Bone Witch is the epitome of high fantasy.  Rin Chupeco builds a wonderful world straight from the start with Tea and her family, full of ashas and monsters, and of course the raising of the dead.

Tea is an amazing heroine from the very first page as she unknowingly resurrects her beloved brother who her left her side far too soon in her opinion. Then we are whisked away to the magical city of Ankyo where we meet an amazing cast of character who help Tea in her journey to become a full-fledged asha.

I should mention that Chupeco tells this story in two POVs, the past in which Tea is just discovering her powers as a dark asha and the present where Tea talks with a young man exiled from his kingdom and tells him of her past as she sets in motion her plan to save her world from darkness.

I was amazed at how easily Chupeco was able to switch between the past and present of Tea’s life and leave little teases of how Tea fell out of favor with her makeshift family she was just learning to love and accept in the past. Tea’s growth from a girl just discovering how powerful she can be (the past), to relishing in her frighteningly awesome powers (the present).

The worldbuilding in this book was just amazing. Usually with fantasy books set in their own world it can seem confusing and off putting but as we learn more about Tea’s past we experience this breathtaking world firsthand and discover the amazing world of the asha.

This book may seem daunting and slow but in my humble opinion, Rin Chupeco spins an amazing story set in a dangerous world filled with powerful women who deserve their own series! I just loved this book and I cannot wait to see the rest of this series that will hopefully answer that amazing ending. (I was dead on the floor after reading it)

An epic high fantasy with an epic world to match, I hope you check out this wonderful book when it hits the shelves in March!

AfroBoricua Reads Book Reviews: Dead Little Mean Girl by Eva Darrows

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Summary:

Quinn Littleton was a mean girl—a skinny blonde social terrorist in stilettos. She was everything Emma MacLaren hated. Until she died.

A proud geek girl, Emma loves her quiet life on the outskirts, playing video games and staying off the radar. When her nightmare of a new stepsister moves into the bedroom next door, her world is turned upside down. Quinn is a queen bee with a nasty streak who destroys anyone who gets in her way. Teachers, football players, her fellow cheerleaders—no one is safe.

Emma wants nothing more than to get this girl out of her life, but when Quinn dies suddenly, Emma realizes there was more to her stepsister than anyone ever realized.

A meaningful and humorous exploration of teen stereotypes and grief, Dead Little Mean Girl examines the labels we put on people and what lies beyond if we’re only willing to look closer.

My Review:

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Recommendation: Yes!

Disclosure: I received a digital ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Publication Date:  March 28, 2017 . No spoilers.

Dead Little Mean Girl is hysterical, heartfelt, and genuine. Eva Darrows must of dissected a teenage girl’s brain because I have never related to main character like I did with Emma. Quinn was the quintessential mean girl to the T, learning about Quinn made me feel terrible about being so quick to judge people. The family dynamic in this was genuine and so very honest.

Quinn was the quintessential mean girl with the racism, homophobia, and full of privilege. With this in mind I fully went into this preparing to never sympathize with this girl and I was not let down. Although Quinn had her moments and a sad upbringing none of it was an excuse for how awful she acted towards everyone including her own mother. Nevertheless Quinn was a tragic character who ultimately ruined herself.
Although this novel was short it was chock full of nerdy goodness. Emma is one of the best nerds I’ve ever read about in fiction period. Emma is wonderful character who struggles with everything this novel throws at her but she still manages to stay true to herself and have a heart of gold and beautiful outlook on life.

I thought this book was just wonderful, it dealt with grief so well especially concerning grief about person who wasn’t exactly in an angel in life.

AfroBoricua Reads Book Reviews: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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Summary: Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Angie Thomas’s searing debut about an ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances addresses issues of racism and police violence with intelligence, heart, and unflinching honesty.

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

My Review:

Rating:5 out of 5 stars

Recommendation: If you wanna be my friend read this book!

Disclosure: I received an ARC from Balzer + Bray in exchange for an honest review. Expected Publication Date: February 28, 2017.  No spoilers.

Dear Four-Year Old Me,

Life is gonna be hard, so hard sometimes that you just wanna quit. But you don’t quit, you keep moving forward. You’ll bury your big hair in books and school, knowing that it’s your ticket out. You’ll try and make friends but nothing really works out and that’s because you have your twin, your brother who you will always love no matter what.

You’ll hear “You’re black?”, “You’re Puerto Rican?”, “But you don’t look it!”, and “Why is your hair always ratty you look like a raccoon!”. You’ll bury this all inside of you until you stop trying. You’ll stop trying to go to school and be ignored. You’ll cut of all your hair in the middle of the night because enough is enough. You’ll be hospitalized twice because you truly believe you’re “disgusting”.

Then slowly everything starts to get better. You’ll get a Tumblr and learn there is a world outside of your bed. You’ll start talking to people and make friends online. You’ll learn more about the world without ever getting on a plane. You’ll start reading 3 or 4 books at a time again and discover your voice for the first time in your life.

You’ll stop being silent and start to speak up about the things that matter to you. Then one day you hear about a book. A book that can change the world. It doesn’t have dragons or wizards but, it’s about a girl. A girl who kinda looks like me, a girl that has two sides of her in order to be seen as “better than them”. A girl who sees something terrible and the whole world has an opinion about it.

I knew this book would mean a lot to so many people and I was so lucky to read this before it’s release. Angie Thomas is a genius and so very brave. She wrote this wonderful and brutally honest book and didn’t spare anyone’s feelings. She touched on so many topics I can’t even list them all, topics that a lot of people are uncomfortable with it but need to be said.

Angie paints a vivid picture of what so many people unfortunately have to go through in this day and age. She portrays a wonderful mixed up family whose love for each other poured off the pages. All throughout this novel she gives us hope, hope that things are going to get better. Hope that means we can’t stop living our lives and enjoying the good things that come with. Hope that terrible things happen but we can’t let it break us no matter how hard the world may try.

Books can change lives, they empower us, they teach us, and give us hope. This book changed my life, it gave me hope that no matter how hard things get I can’t give up.

I cannot stress how important this book will be in the future. It is a novel that can stand the test of time and give us hope for better days. I cannot describe how much of an honor it was to read this book, I will cherish this book for the rest of my life.

Love,

Seventeen-Year old Me

 

 

AfroBoricua Reads Book Reviews: A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #1) by V.E. Schwab

A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic, #2)A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Recommendation: Hell yes!

Disclosure: Borrowed from my local library. No spoilers.

Never in my life have I ever wanted characters plans to intersect so bad. Victoria Schwab is a genius, every page I devoured was a race to see all of these characters finally interact.

She made a world that was so lively and vivid seem even more so with this brilliant sequel. Kell and Lila are some of my favorite characters ever written on page, these characters at times are so alike yet so different it’s nearly indescribable at times.

I didn’t think V.E. could create anymore wonderful characters, then I met Alucard Emery who is brilliant in every scene. She even made me love Rhy who to me in the first book seemed annoying but is now, lovable. I enjoy these characters so much and I can’t believe its over in the next book.

I loved this book and I really hope it wins the GoodReads award for best fantasy book because it was amazing from start to finish.

View all my reviews