Mini Reviews – Once Upon a Quinceañera, Incendiary & Bruja Born

Hey ya’ll!

I finally got arount to writing up this post for ya’ll. My birthday was last week and then I went on a mini vacation with my mom so I’ve been super busy recently. However, I wan

t to do my best to update this blog with what I share on Instagram so wherever you see me, you’re up to date on what I’m doing. Now, I’ll be sharing the first three reviews I added on that platform: Once Upon a Quinceañera by Monica Gomez-Hira, Incendiary and Bruja Born by Zoraida Cordova.

SO let’s get started!

I received an e-ARC of this book from HarperCollins through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Age: Young Adult

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Format: eARC

Page Count: 432

Content Warnings: mentions of sexual harassment by an employer; underage drinking; mentions of drug abuse

Synopsis: Carmen Aguilar just wants to make her happily ever after come true. Except apparently “happily ever after” for Carmen involves being stuck in an unpaid summer internship! All she has to do is perform! In a ball gown! During the summer. In Miami.

Fine. Except that Carmen’s company is hired for her spoiled cousin Ariana’s over the top quinceañera.

And of course, her new dance partner at work is none other than Mauro Reyes, Carmen’s most deeply regrettable ex.

If Carmen is going to move into the future she wants, she needs to leave the past behind. And if she can manage dancing in the blistering heat, fending off Mauro’s texts, and stopping Ariana from ruining her own quinceañera Carmen might just get that happily ever after after all.

Monica Gomez-HiraGoodreadsAmazon

ONCE UPON A QUINCEAÑERA follows almost high school graduate Carmen working as a Disney princess and performer for her estranged cousin’s quinceañera during the summer in order to get her diploma. This strange situation is further complicated by the arrival of an old flame desperate to earn forgiveness.

I really enjoyed this book! I connected a lot with Carmen and her family struggles and commiserated a lot with how she was affected by her family’s negative expectations of her. Unfortunately, the beginning was slow and filled to the brim with information. I felt like there were a lot of sub plots to keep track of. However, I found the romance endearing and loved Carmen’s personal growth throughout the story. While I wish the epilogue had wrapped up the story a bit differently, I would definitely recommend this book to YA contemporary readers looking for something new!

Age: Young Adult

Genre: High Fantasy

Format: Hardcover

Page Count: 450

Content Warnings: mentions of sex; graphic depictions of violence, murder, and torture.

Synopsis: I am Renata Convida.
I have lived a hundred stolen lives.
Now I live my own.

Renata Convida was only a child when she was kidnapped by the King’s Justice and brought to the luxurious palace of Andalucia. As a Robari, the rarest and most feared of the magical Moria, Renata’s ability to steal memories from royal enemies enabled the King’s Wrath, a siege that resulted in the deaths of thousands of her own people.

Now Renata is one of the Whispers, rebel spies working against the crown and helping the remaining Moria escape the kingdom bent on their destruction. The Whispers may have rescued Renata from the palace years ago, but she cannot escape their mistrust and hatred–or the overpowering memories of the hundreds of souls she turned “hollow” during her time in the palace.

When Dez, the commander of her unit, is taken captive by the notorious Sangrado Prince, Renata will do anything to save the boy whose love makes her place among the Whispers bearable. But a disastrous rescue attempt means Renata must return to the palace under cover and complete Dez’s top secret mission. Can Renata convince her former captors that she remains loyal, even as she burns for vengeance against the brutal, enigmatic prince? Her life and the fate of the Moria depend on it.

But returning to the palace stirs childhood memories long locked away. As Renata grows more deeply embedded in the politics of the royal court, she uncovers a secret in her past that could change the entire fate of the kingdom–and end the war that has cost her everything.

Zoraida CórdovaGoodreadsAmazon

INCENDIARY follows Renata Convida, a young woman with the power to steal memories. After years under the forced servitude of the King of Puerto Leones who is trying to decimate her people, she is now part of the rebellion working against him. She manages to infiltrate the castle from within and must use her wits and powers to find a powerful weapon threatening to squash the rebellion for good.

I absolutely loved this book! Cordova is one of my favorite authors of all time and she literally never disappoints. Renata isn’t the most reliable of narrators but that only makes her journey and growth that much more compelling. There were so many twists and turns in this story that I constantly wanted to keep reading, yet had time to come up with theories thanks to the carefully laid out clues throughout. Absolutely amazing fantasy story, now one of my favorites of all time!

Age: Young Adult

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal

Format: Paperback

Page Count: 336

Content Warnings: self-harm, gore, violence, suicidal ideation, post-traumatic stress

Synopsis: Lula Mortiz may be a bruja with healing powers, but after her family’s battle in Los Lagos, she feels broken in a way she can’t seem to fix. Then tragedy strikes when a bus crash leaves her friends and her boyfriend, Maks, dead. Desperate to reclaim normalcy, Lula invokes a dark spell to bring Maks back. It isn’t until she hears that all of the bodies from the crash have gone missing that she realizes something is wrong. Lula has unwittingly raised an army of casi muertos–creatures between the living and dead–and they’re hungry for freedom…which they can only achieve if Lula dies.

Zoraida CórdovaGoodreadsAmazon

BRUJA BORN follows Lula Mortiz, a young bruja with healing powers who is doing her best to recover from the traumatic experience in Los Lagos caused by her younger sister. She’s doing everything she can to hold it together, to go back to normal but when tragedy strikes, Lula defies the Deos and takes her own desires for normalcy too far. Only she can return the balance of the world, though it might take more of her than she’s willing to give.

It’s really interesting to notice how rereading changes an experience with a book. I found I was more impatient with Lula’s character the second time around; I wanted her to reach her conclusions faster and begin making amends faster. The first time I had a greater connection to her emotional trauma and how this affected her behavior. However, I am still obsessed with the way the magic expands in this book and how the cast of characters grows. I loved Lula and her journey in this novel and I cannot wait to finish this series!

So that’s it for this post! Thank you so much for taking the time to read these! I feel like I still need to work on my mini review style. These have worked well on Instagram but I also want to expand on my thoughts more. Let me know what you think! Have a great day!

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