Double the Historical Fiction: “Dominicana” and “Lair of Dreams”

I am loving this mini review thing. I’m posting everything so quickly that I’m now all caught up and have just one more review to go before my review queue is empty. Yeah me!

In this post, I’ll discuss two novels that share some similarities but are very different: The first is a historical fiction novel set in the 1960s about a 15-year-old girl’s immigrant experience as she leaves the comfort of her family in the Dominican Republic to move to New York City with a man twice her age. The second is a YA paranormal, historical fiction novel set in New York City in the 1920s about dreams that threaten the lives of the city’s inhabitants.

Both were good reads I enjoyed.


Dominicana by Angie Cruz

Genre:

Historical Fiction; Magical Realism

Series:

n/a

Pubbed:

September 2019

Goodreads summary:

Fifteen-year-old Ana Cancion never dreamed of moving to America, the way the girls she grew up with in the Dominican countryside did. But when Juan Ruiz proposes and promises to take her to New York City, she has to say yes. It doesn’t matter that he is twice her age, that there is no love between them. Their marriage is an opportunity for her entire close-knit family to eventually immigrate. So on New Year’s Day, 1965, Ana leaves behind everything she knows and becomes Ana Ruiz, a wife confined to a cold six-floor walk-up in Washington Heights. Lonely and miserable, Ana hatches a reckless plan to escape. But at the bus terminal, she is stopped by Cesar, Juan’s free-spirited younger brother, who convinces her to stay.

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Comics Roundup #34: Tea Dragon Society, Monstress, & the Fullmetal Alchemist

And I’m back with another set of mini reviews. I might consider making this a thing.

This set contains two graphic novels, a comic book, and one manga, and all are great. I consider them all favorites and look forward to continuing with the stories.

The two graphic novels center on two of my favorite things: tea and dragons. The comic book is the third volume in one of my favorite series, and the manga is a collection of volumes of one of my favorite stories. Reading these were a treat and hopefully I’ll convince you all to try them too.


The Tea Dragon Society and The Tea Dragon Festival by Katie O’Neill (illus.)

Genre:

MG Fantasy

Series:

Tea Dragon, book 1
Tea Dragon, book 2

Pubbed:

October 2017
September 2019

Quick summary:

The Tea Dragon Society introduces us to Greta, a young blacksmith apprentice, who finds a lost a tea dragon while at the market and returns it to its owner, a kind teashop owner named Hesekiel. Greta befriends Hesekiel and his partner Erik and learns from them the dying art of caring for tea dragons, small, gentle creatures that grow tea leaves from their horns. While visiting them, Greta runs into Minette, a shy, young girl who lives at the teashop who Greta hopes to befriend. It’s a sweet story about the beginning of a friendship. (Goodreads)

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“The Secret Lives of Color” by Kassia St. Clair

This is one of the best nonfiction books I’ve read this year. I learned much from it, and I’m glad I own a copy. Not only is it a great read that presents facts about a common topic in an engaging way, but I also love the design and format of the book.

The edition I own is a white, naked hardback with spots of color on it. From a distance, one gets the impression that it has a dust jacket that hides a rainbow cover beneath. The cover is appealing and matches well the title — The Secret Lives of Color.

Indeed, it is as if we are being told scandalous tales about colors, in some cases. I was unaware of most of the information I learned from this book, which covers 75 colors, shades, and hues and shares fascinating stories and facts about each. The book is divided into broad color families. A section is dedicated to each — white, yellow, orange, pink, red, purple, blue, green, brown, black — with chapters within each section that discuss variations of the particular color. For example, the first color discussed is white. First, we get an overview of the color as an introduction to the section, and then we begin a chapter on a variation/type of the color. The first is lead white, the second chapter is on ivory, and the third is about silver. The amount of chapter in each section varies, but the chapters are no more than three or four pages, and each page contains a simple border in the color being discussed.

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Triple the Fantasy: “Silver in the Wood,” “Kiss of the Spindle,” “The Lost Years of Merlin”

I hardly ever post mini reviews of novels. I prefer to dedicate a full post to each one. But things are getting ridiculous because it’s now November and there are books I read in August that I haven’t yet talked about on here. Not that it’s a big deal, but I like to post a review for every book I read so being this behind on reviews irks me. It makes me feel as if I’m not progressing with my reading goals, even if I am.

Although the stories I’ll discuss in this post are all fantasy, they are quite different from each other. The first is a Tor novella about a Wild Man of the woods whose life is upended when he receives a visit from an unassuming human. The second, a paranormal, historical fiction romance with some steampunk influence that’s inspired by the fairytale Sleeping Beauty. And the third is a middle-grade fantasy novel about the boyhood years of the famous wizard Merlin.

I enjoyed reading two of the three, but one was surprisingly boring. However, I’m glad to have read them all. Here’s what I thought of each.


Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh

Genre:

Fantasy

Series:

n/a

Pubbed:

June 2019

Goodreads summary:

There is a Wild Man who lives in the deep quiet of Greenhollow, and he listens to the wood. Tobias, tethered to the forest, does not dwell on his past life, but he lives a perfectly unremarkable existence with his cottage, his cat, and his dryads.

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Let’s Rewind: October 2019

Blogging hasn’t been going great lately. I was in a blogging slump in October and now I’m participating in NaNoWriMo, which was unexpected, so I’ll have less time to blog in November and am barely managing to read any books. Super busy this month, y’all!

I’ll try to drop a post when I can, and hopefully I’ll be able to visit everyone’s blogs as well, but if not, I’ll see y’all in December instead.

But anyway, let’s rewind to October…

Let’s Rewind is my version of a monthly wrap up but instead of talking about only books, I include all types of other stuff, like articles… bookish news… commercials… random-ass links… movies… art… podcasts… cartoons… and whatever else happened to me in the month. You know, the usual stuff that people talk about in monthly wrap ups. So read on to see what I did and read this month. You might stumble upon something that interests you.

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Halloween Song Book Tag

I don’t celebrate Halloween, but I sure do enjoy the holiday and seeing people dress up for it. Like I do every year, I’ll honor the holiday on my blog by posting a Halloween-inspired book tag.

Here’s the Halloween Songs Book Tag. I found it on the blog Adventures with a Side of Espresso, but it was created by booktuber A Beautiful Chaos of Books. She also created a playlist for the tag on Spotify based on the songs included in the tag.

Thriller: A book that was an absolute page turner

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

It’s a nonfiction book that reads like a thriller. It had me hooked from the first page and kept me interested the entire time, mostly because I couldn’t believe that everything I was reading is true. It’s about Elizabeth Holmes and her startup company Theranos that lied about having built a machine that can run a variety of tests using a single drop of blood. Many invested millions into the company for a machine that never worked.

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