By Laekan Zea Kemp
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Print Length: 384 pages
Release Year: 2021
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Available for pre-order on Amazon and B&N
Special thanks to HearOurVoicesBT for providing me with an ARC and allowing me to participate in this tour.
As an aspiring pastry chef, Penelope Prado has always dreamed of opening her own pastelería next to her father’s restaurant, Nacho’s Tacos. But her mom and dad have different plans — leaving Pen to choose between disappointing her traditional Mexican-American parents or following her own path. When she confesses a secret she’s been keeping, her world is sent into a tailspin. But then she meets a cute new hire at Nacho’s who sees through her hard exterior and asks the questions she’s been too afraid to ask herself.
Xander Amaro has been searching for home since he was a little boy. For him, a job at Nacho’s is an opportunity for just that — a chance at a normal life, to settle in at his abuelo’s, and to find the father who left him behind. But when both the restaurant and Xander’s immigrant status are threatened, he will do whatever it takes to protect his new found family and himself.
Together, Pen and Xander must navigate first love and discovering where they belong — both within their families and their fiercely loyal Chicanx community — in order to save the place they all call home. (Goodreads)
Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet is yet again another one of those books I wish I had when I was younger. While it’s a considerably short and easy read it still manages to be stock full of hard-hitting and relatable topics and representation of a culture and lifestyle I’m intimately familiar with. Kemp presents this concept in a way that is undeniably relatable to those who have lived similar lives while also managing to write a book that can reach a much wider audience– opening the door for others to learn about life in the chicanx community and the struggles that come from being an immigrant.
The book includes two characters with considerably different circumstances but a similar outlook on life. The book deals with issues ranging from the struggles of being a young undocumented immigrant to finding the courage to follow your dreams at the expense of your parents. Both come with hard expectations the characters must overcome ultimately making this a very emotional read.
I often saw myself and people I know in the characters of this book. The sense of familiarity making it a definite comfort read. I imagine this book will be so for many people, and I hope it manages to reach all that deserve it. I recommend this book to everyone, especially those going through similar struggles. This book makes you feel seen in such a beautiful way.
Developer: Superprism Technology Co., Ltd
Age Rating: 12+
Size: 2.4 GB
Price Range: Free (with in-app purchases)
Available on iOS and Android
Illusion Connect is an overall well-made and entertaining game for even the most casual player. The game allows players to progress at a reasonable pace without hitting an impassable paywall. Additionally, the game boasts real-time PVP battles, so you can battle your friends directly. Considering the type of game this is the real-time battle run considerably smooth and fast-paced for those who don’t have a lot of playtimes but still want to play games with their friends.
With a wide range of characters to choose from and a gameplay format that provides players with plenty to do while advancing at a reasonable pace, Illusion Connect is practically a perfect JRPG. It includes additional gameplay that is entirely optional as well, but if you choose to participate it will only benefit you more.
I recommend this game for anyone looking for a game to enjoy in the long term, that, as of writing this, seems unlikely to join many other similar games fate. This game is so good it’s going to be sticking around for a while.
By Naomi Hughes
Print Length: 412 pages
Release Year: 2021
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Avg. Goodreads Rating: 4.02
Available on Amazon and B&N
Everyone in the Alloyed Empire fears the Destroyer. The metal in her blood gives her incendiary powers, and the coldness in her heart makes her the empress’s perfect weapon…until a rebel attack leaves her with no magic and no memories.
Her bodyguard, Tal, has long since regretted his idealistic hope of saving the Destroyer. Now that she’s powerless he can finally end her reign of terror—if he can stop himself from falling for the wicked, funny, utterly unfamiliar girl she’s become.
Nyx was furious when her brother, Tal, abandoned her to protect a tyrant. Now, she hones herself as a rebel assassin until she can kill the Destroyer and rescue Tal. But the closer she gets, the more she realizes the entire empire hinges on the decisions the three of them will make… (Goodreads)
I absolutely adored this book! I enjoyed the characters and the overall grey morality behind their motivations. They were realistically conflicted with hard decisions and none of them was really good. It was interesting to have multiple points of views that drastically affect how the character feels and approached the conflict.
This story is definitely character-driven complemented by a uniquely fascinating magic system. Hughes does also set up the world quite well but doesn’t venture far from what is necessary. This book manages to include a relatively complex magic system for a YA book but manages to define its parameters without falling into the pit of info-dump despair.
This book is one that deserves much more attention than it’ll probably get. It truly delivers when it promises a story for fans of the Grishaverse, and sets the foundations for a series with the potential to be as successful.
By Talia Hibbert
Print Length: 400 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date March 9, 2021
Special thanks to Avon and HearOurVoices Book Tours for providing me with an ARC and allowing me to participate in this blog tour.
Eve Brown is a certified hot mess. No matter how hard she strives to do right, her life always goes horribly wrong—so she’s given up trying. But when her personal brand of chaos ruins an expensive wedding (someone had to liberate those poor doves), her parents draw the line. It’s time for Eve to grow up and prove herself—even though she’s not entirely sure how…
Jacob Wayne is in control. Always. The bed and breakfast owner’s on a mission to dominate the hospitality industry—and he expects nothing less than perfection. So when a purple-haired tornado of a woman turns up out of the blue to interview for his open chef position, he tells her the brutal truth: not a chance in hell. Then she hits him with her car—supposedly by accident. Yeah, right.
Now his arm is broken, his B&B is understaffed, and the dangerously unpredictable Eve is fluttering around, trying to help. Before long, she’s infiltrated his work, his kitchen—and his spare bedroom. Jacob hates everything about it. Or rather, he should. Sunny, chaotic Eve is his natural-born nemesis, but the longer these two enemies spend in close quarters, the more their animosity turns into something else. Like Eve, the heat between them is impossible to ignore—and it’s melting Jacob’s frosty exterior. (Goodreads)
Hibbert is back at it again making you fall in love with yet another Brown sister. Eve is just as charming as her older sisters Chloe and Dani, and full of life and spunk. Once again we are pulled into an absolutely adorable and hilarious love story with the perfect touch of spice. It’s hard not to fall in love with characters so full of love, sass, and life. And bless Hibbert for once again presenting us with total relationship goals once again!