Category Archives: Personal

Books We Want to Read This Summer

Standard

Isis:

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

28458598

This is one of my most anticipated summer releases. It looks like a sweet romantic comedy full of culture and awesome characters. I can’t wait for this to come out so I can get to it. 

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

15724396

I picked this up on a whim a few weeks ago, and I’m eager to read it. Nicole hyped it up for me. I love lighthearted reads so I’m hoping this is one of those for me. And it has the word “summer” in it so it’s perfect. 

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

20820994

This one also feels very summery, though I don’t think it’s as lighthearted. I’m still looking forward to reading this story. I’ve heard it deals with twins in different time periods, which reminds me of a book I didn’t finish for school called “The God of Small Things.” I’m hoping this one isn’t as emotionally draining. 

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

18189606

I’m so behind on Morgan Matson books, but I enjoyed Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, so I’m excited to finally get to this book. Every summer since I got this I’ve been meaning to read it, but it hasn’t happened yet. Hoping this is the year. I know this one is about a close friendship, and I’m fully on board. 

Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky

25184383

I’m also hoping this one is lighthearted. The title alone hooked me from the start. When I think of summer, I think of kidnapping members of a boy band. Not really! But I’m interested to see how this plot is handled in this book. 

 

Nicole:

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

7736182

I’m currently on The Titan’s Curse in the original Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. I’m hoping to finish the series and start on The Heroes of Olympians series this summer. My goal is to finish these series and the Apollo series by the time the third Magnus Chase book comes out. It’s a pretty ambitious goal,  but I don’t want to read The Ship of the Dead until I read Riordan’s other books. Simply because I’ve heard from other people who’ve read all of them that they think it’ll all intertwine. I don’t want to be confused or spoiled so this is my big goal.

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

30095464

I got this from NetGalley, started it, and then never finished. I’m still really interested in it, though I’ve found that I have trouble concentrating when reading on my phone. I have a few others from NetGalley I really need to get to and review soon, but this one is my most anticipated.

Saga Comics by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

29237211

I’ve read the first three of these comics forever ago it seems like. I never continued on since the wait was too much, and I would forget what happened. But Isis has been bugging me ever since to get caught up so she can talk about it with someone. Since she’s planning on reading Magnus Chase, I guess it’s finally time to catch up on this series for her.

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

19161852

I’ve wanted to read from N.K. Jemisin for a while now, and I’m hoping to get to this this summer. I don’t particularly know what this book is about, but I’ve heard nothing but good things. I’ve also really been into fantasy, so that’s all I need to know.

The Diviners by Libba Bray

17899351

This book includes the occult, a supernatural power, and a murder case with a serial killer. It’s right up my alley right now. It’s been a year since I’ve gotten this book, and I think it’s high time for me to read it.

 

10 Tropes We Love

Standard

Image result for trope

About three months ago we did a post about tropes we hate. Today we are gonna do the opposite, and talk about tropes we love.

1. Childhood Friend Romance – I love it when two characters are friends since childhood, grow up together, and eventually realize they belong together. It’s a combination of the “Friends to Lovers” trope, so I’m including that in here too. I love the way these two people know each other so well by the time a romantic relationship is built. It’s sweet. My favorite is the one in Point Pleasant by Jen Archer Wood, between Ben and Nic, who knew each other from birth, seriously.

2. Blond Evil Guys – I’m not sure if this counts, but I’ve seen plenty of these characters in so many books. And I love every single one of them. From Draco Malfoy to Warner to Laurent, there’s so much to love. I love dark characters, and I love that they happen to be blond, and I love that they all have a sad story to explain why they’re so bad. Sometimes it’s super problematic, but it’s a guilty pleasure.

3. The Philosopher – I love a character who can bring philosophical concepts into a novel. They always look for the meaning behind every action and try to see the world in a different light. This can get pretty pretentious if it’s done wrong, which has happened many times *cough, cough–John Green–cough cough* but I think it can also be really great. My favorite example is Aristotle from Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz. 

4. Good Parents – I seriously appreciate good parents, especially in YA. There are countless stories where the parents never appear, are dead, abusive, negligent, close-minded, cruel, and so on and so forth. I’m so tired of reading all of these tropes. We need more books with good, supportive, amazing parents that are there for their children, even when their children are older. Again in Aristotle and Dante, both Ari and Dante had wonderful parents. 

5. There’s No Place Like Home – I’m a sucker for characters that go on a journey away from home, only to discover that they didn’t have to run away from home to be happy because the home left behind is where they felt truly happy. It sounds cheesy, and it probably is, but I never get tired of seeing this.

6. Hidden Heart of Gold- This character is usually sarcastic, cold, and a jerk to mostly everyone. That doesn’t make them the villain though. They have good intentions, but a bad attitude. Or, they are afraid of getting hurt or even being seen as nice so they hide. Whatever their reasons, I usually love this trope if it’s done well. By that I mean I don’t like when they cross over into being abusive, and I don’t like when other characters forgive them automatically. If they are in need of redemption, it needs to be done well.

7. Magnetic Hero- The hero needs to go on an epic quest, but in order to do that they need some help. A lot of times they have friends, and it’s a no brainer that they will join. It’s when the hero needs someone who is reluctant that this becomes interesting. Usually the hero is simply earnest and being themselves and not even trying that hard to convince them to change their minds. It can be because of the hero’s personality, a hidden connection the person has with the hero, or a connection with the actual quest that they choose to change their minds. It may seem too easy to some, but I typically love when this happens.

8. Fire-Forged Friends- These characters do not like each other. However, they have the same goal. For whatever reason, they have to work together to get that goal. There is usually a lot of banter and fighting and soft nice moments, and I love all of it. Typically, there’s scenes when they fight against the common enemy together, where one of them is determined not to leave the other behind even if they 100% have the choice to do so, and a conversation where they admit that each other isn’t all that bad. And I love all of it. It’s so good.

9. The Unintentional Badass- These characters usually don’t even want to be the hero. Saving the day isn’t on their to-do list, and they complain about it a lot. So, when they do something badass, it’s either a surprise or done in a way that’s not typically considered badass. They can do that by using their previous knowledge that you wouldn’t think would help, or solve the problem in any way that is not with violence.

10. Unlikely Friendships- One is a pessimist while one is the optimist. One is practical while the other is a free spirit. One is creative while one is scientific. One is old and the other young. Whatever opposites they are, if they still love and support each other, I will love their friendship.

My “There Will be Other Summers” Predictions

Standard

tumblr_ooxxtihjTF1s5nnb7o1_540

Last year, I made a post briefly discussing the news that Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is getting a sequel entitled, There Will be Other Summers.

Now that I’ve let my excitement simmer for a while, I have more coherent predictions for the upcoming sequel. First of all, can we talk about how wonderful Benjamin Alire Saenz was in letting us know he’s close to finishing writing the book? I love when authors update their readers on their writing progress.

There’s no release date for TWBOS yet, but I’m hoping it’ll come out in late 2018, hopefully, maybe. I have been waiting for this book pretty much since Saenz first talked about it on his twitter.

I’ve had the privilege of meeting Saenz twice, and I’ve heard him talk about a few things regarding the sequel. So I have come up with a list of things I really want to read in this highly anticipated book. (Spoilers for Ari & Dante ahead).

  • Dante’s new sibling! I want to see Dante interacting with the baby. (I hope he’s a boy and they name him Diego). DANTE AND ARI BABYSITTING! Yes, please.
  • Ari and Dante hanging out with Gina and Susie — maybe double dating? I would love for Gina and Susie to be a couple honestly. They would be so great together.
  • Somehow, Dante convinces everyone to go dancing together and Gina and Susie are on board with the idea, but Ari needs more convincing. Eventually, they go and Ari ends up being an amazing dancer. Hidden talent, obviously. Dante loves it when Ari dips him.
  • Prom? — Saenz mentioned during NTTBF this year that he was writing a sex scene between Ari and Dante. So, if we wanna get super cliche, I think Dante would suggest to Ari to go to prom and have after-prom-sex. I don’t think Ari would have a lot of arguments because he would just be freaking out about Dante just casually tossing around the idea of sex.
  • High school graduation. I would love to see the different graduations, and the boys having to dress up for both, in case they’re on different dates. After graduation, Ari, Dante, Gina, and Susie would all go out to the desert to drink under the stars. They would lose track of time, listening to the radio in Ari’s truck, and they would make it home after sunrise, all full of soft smiles.
  • College life. Where will Ari and Dante go to college? Will they go to separate colleges, and if so, how separate? Will they both attend college? I have no idea. I honestly think Ari would be set on going right away, but Dante would want to take some time to just do art, and both of those options are great.
  • I know this is me hoping for too much, but a road trip would be incredible. Maybe a small one where Ari and Dante take a trip to the beach? They take the truck and Dante begs to drive it sometimes even though he doesn’t have a driver’s license yet, but he swears he’s a great driver. Then Dante wants to swim in the ocean and Ari doesn’t know if he likes sand, but Dante talks him into it because what can’t Dante talk him into? They chase ghost crabs at night and pick up a bunch of seashells and Ari actually gets a tan and Dante loves it.
  • Ari’s brother. Will he eventually get out of prison or will Ari go visit him? Will there be a relationship built between them again? I can see Ari going to see him, but not really knowing how to act around him. Will his brother be involved at all, in any way?
  • Death? I don’t wanna be grim, but Saenz is known for writing tragedy into his stories (I’ve read plenty of them). I know he is wonderful and would not kill off Ari or Dante, but I’m not sure anyone else is safe. I would be so hurt if either one of Ari’s or Dante’s parents die. I love them all so much. But this is me just being super negative ’cause maybe nobody will die and everything will be full of happy moments. (RIGHT?)
  • Will this book take place over two years like the first one, or will it be longer, or shorter? The title alone implies more summers, so I’m thinking it will be set in more than a one-year time period.
  • Again with the title. It sounds sort of depressing. Will Ari and Dante be together throughout the length of the book, or will they break up? If they do break up, I hope it doesn’t last long. I get that they’re young and this is both of their first relationship, which realistically makes it highly unlikely they will last, but this is fiction and maybe we get more privileges here. I would honestly not be surprised if they do break up for a short while. But only to help them realize they don’t want to be apart.
  • I’m certain Ari and Dante will be public in their relationship, but I still wonder if they will be out only to their family and close friends, or to everyone. I think Dante would be on board with being public to everyone, even after what happened to him, but maybe out of their own safety, Ari would want to keep it hidden. Or he would just be ready to fight anyone who tries to hurt him or Dante. Let’s be honest, Ari could take down anyone.
  • I know that this book will be set right around the AIDS crisis, but I want to remain hopeful that that won’t play a role in this story. Saenz wrote Carry Me Like Water, which I believe follows a gay character suffering from AIDS. I haven’t read it yet because the premise is too sad for me to bear, so I really hope neither Ari or Dante get affected by it. I don’t like sad gays, but the good thing is that Saenz doesn’t either.
  • To end on a hopeful note, I think this book will have so many touching moments between Ari and Dante. Think of it this way: we get to see what happens after the night when Ari accepted his feelings for Dante, and he felt no shame for them. That’s such an incredible moment, and I can’t believe we get to see more! Ari and Dante are both amazing characters, and they won’t disappoint.
  • We get to see them as a couple now. And they get to do on a first date, and then many others. We get to see them around their families again, and LEGS. There are endless possibilities for happy moments, and I can’t wait.

Do you guys have any predictions for this sequel?

Camp NaNoWriMo Update #2

Standard

Image result for camp nano 2017

Suggested Word Count: 9,166 

Current Word Count: 2,121

General Thoughts: So after the first two days of meeting the word count goal, everything kind of went downhill. I would write a sentence one day, and maybe two hundred words the next. It wasn’t until today I finished chapter three. I changed the few parts of the story I had decided on, and it took me awhile to figure out how I wanted it to go. I think it ended up pretty good, but now I get to go on and struggle with chapter four.

Small Excerpt: 

        “Look,” Terrance sighed. “You both messed up. Let’s get out of here before someone catches us.”

          “Yeah, you wouldn’t want that to happen,” Lynette announced her presence.

          She watched, amused and sipping on her slushie, as they turned to face her as one stepping closer together as a team as if they weren’t just arguing with each other.   

          “Lynette?”

          “Long time, no see.” She smiled and tilted her head. “So tell me about these powers of yours.”

          The trio looked at each other shuffling about uneasily.

          “Aw, don’t be shy. I’m just curious,” she said.

          They still didn’t answer. Distantly, police sirens rang. Four heads snapped up in panic. Lynette looked back at her old friends to see them ready to flee.

          “Wait!” she called out. “Let me go with you.”

          They looked like that was the last thing they were going to do other than wait here for the police.

          “Just watch and decide.”

          Lynette threw out her hand toward the metal gate, pictured grabbing onto it, and then pulled her hand back. The gate, instead of simply opening like she had wanted, completely separated from the rest of the chain linked fence. The surprised gasps from her audience filled her with pride, but that swiftly turned to panic as the gate was still speeding toward her. She dove to the side, cradling her slushie in the nook of her arm. The gate hit the wall behind her with a bang.

        “So, now will you let me go with you?” Lynette asked, cheerfully.

Camp NaNoWriMo Update #1

Standard

Image result for camp nano 2017

April is here and along with it another round of Camp NaNoWriMo. I’ve tried to do Camp NaNo a couple times before a couple years ago. Each time I got around 3,000 words before quitting. This time I’ve lowered by word goal count to 25K, and I’m doing weekly updates here in hopes of pushing myself to complete it this time. 

A couple months ago, I got a shiny new paranormal idea, and that’s what I’m planning on working on this month. As far as planning, I don’t have much done. I have the main characters vaguely made. I have a summary, and I have a vague beginning outline. So this will be fun. 

My very rough summary for this story:

When Lynette starts to experience a strange, new power, her first thought is to harness it to the best of her ability. She stumbles across some old friends experiencing similar troubles, and starts to wonder if its more than a freak accident that she has this gift. Her suspicions deepen as a mysterious stranger comes along to ask for their help. She is going to have to figure out just who she can trust as she’s shoved headlong into a new adventure. 

Suggested Word Count: 834

Current Word Count: 1,281

General Thoughts: I spent an hour at first simply choosing a font that I thought fit my story, but after that everything came pretty easy for not having any outline. I finished two chapters today, and I’m pretty happy with myself.

Small Excerpt: He dove for her, reaching out her arm. Lynette stumbled back with a yell. She tripped over a rock, and she raised a hand up in front of her. As if that would make him stop. But then the strangest thing happened. A prickling sensation spread through her arm like it had fallen asleep. Along with her hand raising, the gravel did as well. Lynette and the man stared at floating rocks for a moment. Lynette looked back at her hand still raised as well.


Curious, she drew back her hand, and watched as the gravel followed along like an obedient puppy. The prickling intensified as it moved. She furrowed her eyebrows, thinking of another experiment she could do, when from the corner of her eye she saw the stranger step forward to her again. She didn’t have time.


Lynette pushed her hand forward with all her might. The rocks flew into the man’s face. Then, it was his turn to stumble away with a yell, his hands covering his face. She darted forward and lifted her knee straight into his groin. Just to put a little icing on the little rock cake she gave him.

 

Why I Wanted to Give Up Writing This Time

Standard

Image result for writing

According to Nicole, I give up on writing periodically. It’s a vicious cycle. Something happens that sets me back, and I see no way out of it, so I tell anyone who’ll listen that I, Isis, am no longer a writer. I give up on all of my writing projects for a while, until I finally return to them. Then I realize I was wrong in giving up writing and start off once again with a positive outlook.

So, I wanted to really get to the bottom of this issue. Right now, I’m in the middle of my “Giving Up Writing” period. It’s the toughest one I’ve faced yet, and I want to talk about it.

Read the rest of this entry

Our 2017 Reading Plans

Standard

prideprejudice

Happy New Year, everyone! Another year has gone by, but I’m sure nobody is sad to leave 2016 behind. So, here’s to a wonderful 2017, filled with books, books, and more books.

Nicole and I are excited to share our reading plans for this year. Last year, there were many rich, and often one-sided, discussions about diversity in literature. These discussions have been heated, and particularly painful for me because I’m Mexican, and it’s disheartening seeing so many oppositions to something as important as diversity. Due to this, Nicole and I decided to start off 2017 on a positive note by reading only diverse books!

We’re opening this up not only to #ownvoices books, but also to books written by marginalized authors, even if said books are not about diverse characters. We’re also going to read more books by women authors. So, there will be a lot to choose from. We’re hoping that we can both widen our perspectives about different cultures, sexuality, and everything in between.

You can join us on this if you want. Nicole and I will try to tweet about our reading over on our blog’s Twitter account. Go follow us there and feel free to tweet us your favorite diverse books! Later on, we’ll make an update of the books we’ve been reading and recommend our favorites.

Let’s make 2017 a better year!