Not a Witch, a Bruja | Labyrinth Lost ARC Review

Not a Witch, a Bruja | Labyrinth Lost ARC ReviewLabyrinth Lost (Brooklyn Brujas, #1) by Zoraida Córdova
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on September 6th 2016
Genres: Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology, Fantasy & Magic
Pages: 336
Source: ARC from Publisher

"Enchanting and complex. Every page is filled with magic."-Danielle Paige, New York Times best-selling author of Dorothy Must Die
Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.
Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation...and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can't trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange marks on his skin.
The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland...
Praise for Labyrinth Lost:
"Zoraida Cordova's prose enchants from start to finish. Labyrinth Lost is pure magic." -Melissa Grey, author of The Girl at Midnight
"Magical and empowering, Labyrinth Lost is an incredible heroine's journey filled with mythos come to life; but at its heart, honors the importance of love and family." -Cindy Pon, author of Serpentine and Silver Phoenix
"A brilliant brown-girl-in-Brooklyn update on Alice in Wonderland and Dante's Inferno. Very creepy, very magical, very necessary." -Daniel Jose Older, author of Shadowshaper
"Labyrinth Lost is a magical story of love, family, and finding yourself. Enchanting from start to finish." -Amy Tintera, author of Ruined."


My Review

**I was so lucky to receive an ARC of Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova on Netgalley. This by no means effects the honesty of my opinion.**

When I began Labyrinth Lost I hadn’t heard much about it other than it was a diverse book about Latino version of witches (respectfully called bruja). With that being said, I was completely hooked. I love anything that deals with magic and that added with a different cultures spin on it I couldn’t help but pick it up.

This story centers on Alex, a bruja who would rather just be a regular teenager than have anything to do with the magic that flows through her veins. Past events have made Alex terrified of her magic and that fear and want to be normal trigger many disastrous events. These events lead her to the troubled boy Nova, a terrifyingly beautiful brujo that Alex cannot trust but feels a connection with that she has never felt with anyone else.

I felt absolutely immersed in this world of Alex and her family. Cordova paints such a beautiful picture of not only the magic but of Los Lagos, a sort of Limbo that has a very Wonderland mix of oddity and sinister nature. There were actual times where I could imagine this land and how devastated it had become due to events before the story started.

One of the things that I loved the most about this story was how important family and friendship are in Labyrinth Lost. It is weaved into every aspect of this story and that is completely awesome to me. When Alex wasn’t fighting or trying to find her family she had the support of her best friend Rashi. Alex is bisexual and there is a quasi love triangle between Alex, Rashi, and Nova but I was actually okay with it. The relationships and love/lust aspect seem to happen naturally without it seeming that Alex was going to pick one or the other. I especially love that Alex’s bisexuality was not used as a plot point. She just was bisexual and no one seemed to think one way or another about it and it was treated as completely normal.  I have read many stories that when the main character is bisexual that the story seems to lose all plot and it seems to become a story about the characters sexuality. I understand that these books are needed, but I think that books that normalize bisexuality, homosexuality, and all other types of diversity are needed as well!

The only thing that I had an issue with was the fact I did not find any danger to the quest Alex was on. I had a feeling that everything was always going to work out and in a way everything did. I loved the twists and turns that did happen and ultimately despite my issues with the pacing and lack of danger it did damage my overall love of this book. Labyrinth Lost is an excellent diverse read that will make you want to hug your family and believe in magic.


One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Wish by Barbara O’Connor Tour| Book Review + Giveaway


Eleven-year-old Charlie Reese has been making the same secret wish every day since fourth grade. She even has a list of all the ways there are to make the wish, such as cutting off the pointed end of a slice of pie and wishing on it as she takes the last bite. But when she is sent to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to live with family she barely knows, it seems unlikely that her wish will ever come true. That is until she meets 
Wishbone, a skinny stray dog who captures her heart, and Howard, a neighbor boy who proves surprising in lots of ways. Suddenly Charlie is in serious danger of discovering that what she thought she wanted may not be what she needs at all.

LINKS: Amazon | B&N | iBooks


unnamed1]Barbara O’Connor’s awards include the Parents Choice Gold and Silver Award, American Library Association Notable Books, IRA Notable Books for a Global Society, School Library Journal Best Books, and Kirkus Best Books. Her books have been nominated for children’s choice awards in 38 states and voted as a state favorite by children in South Carolina, Indiana, Kansas, and South Dakota.

Barbara was born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina. She draws on her Southern roots to write award-winning books for children in grades 3 to 6.

She currently lives in Asheville, NC. Her latest book is Wish, a middle grade novel published by FSG.

LINKS: Website

The Review

Wish by Barbara O’Conner is the story of Charlemagne Charlie and her story is one that will definitely find a place in my future classroom library. When I started this review I was thinking about doing it the ol’ fashion way and just write paragraphs on why I liked it and why I didn’t but when I came to think of the reasons why I didn’t like it I couldn’t think of any! While MG is not my “typical” fun reading age range, I have decided that as a teacher and future school librarian that I need to expand my horizon and read more books that I could recommend to more than high school aged children.  So, instead of the regular review I am going to give you three reasons why you should read Wish and/or pass it along to someone close to you that would love this book as much as I did.


  1. The characters: I’m not going to lie, I completely connected to Charlie right off the bat. Coming from a broken home, Charlie is upset and unable to fully verbalize what is making her upset. So, like most children they have to learn things the hard way. I think that not only Charlie’s character but that of her friend Howard will be a delight for all students!


  1. Dogs: Hey, I’m normally a cat person but I absolutely loved Wishbone. This story and especially Wishbone gave me such found memories of another series that I absolutely loved growing up called Shiloh by . I’m not saying that they are alike but even as a cat person I couldn’t help but love the relationship that grew between these two! Ah, made my heart melt (and don’t tell my husband but maybe get a dog too!)


  1. The message: Finally, I want to talk about the message that this book is trying to tell. Now, I’m not going to say that I know exactly what message that is for 100% sure, but I know what it says to me. It says that despite the way your life begins, you can always find a home, some where you belong. Stories like this make my heart melt!


I recommend Wish for any teacher to add to their collection of stories to not only have their students read independently but for you to read TO them. I know, I know, but I know for a fact that even older kids love to be read to and this book is just the book to do it! It is a heart melting tale of one spunky girl and her wish to have somewhere to call home.


One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

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The Book that Should have Never Been| Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Review

Harry_Potter_and_the_Cursed_Child_Special_Rehearsal_Edition_Book_CoverHarry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne
Published by
Arthur A. Levine Books on July 31st 2016
Pages: 328

The Eighth Story. Nineteen Years Later.
Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.
It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.
While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.


Upon closing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child I had so many mixed emotions. I knew going in that it was going to a play but still felt somehow…disappointed. I don’t know what I was expecting, maybe I had my hopes up too much, but I felt disappointed that this was not a book. I know, I know, get over it isn’t going to happen. But I can’t help after reading it that this book was a money grab. Bare with me as I try and explain this the best that my mind can form it. Maybe I should do a list.  Two points, but they’re doozies

  • This story NEEDED more, more, and more: Honestly, I know that it’s a play but I feel that the story of Harry Potter was NEVER meant to be a play. I give it props for trying but come on? Could you imagine Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone as a play? No. If I couldn’t imagine the SMALLEST book in the series as a play this would remain the same for the other books as well. Why? There is just TOO much story, too many characters, and eventually too much sentiment attached to this story to do such a thing. You can’t spend 10,000 pages coming up with this story and end it by a 300 page play. It’s not cool. There is SO much potential that if flushed out would have been such a good read. But the translation did not work very well from theater to book.
  • W-T-F Happened to these Characters: The second thing that I am having a problem grasping are the characters. I have one main gripe with all of the characters in this book (besides one and I’ll get to that again). But my main gripe with the characters of this story is how flat they are. I’m not talking marginally flat but I’m talking flat as pancakes. Now, this might be because it’s a PLAY and not written to be a book but if this is the case WHY make it a book? Money grab. If you wanted the world to be able to see this story as it was intended it should be offered not as a book but AS A PLAY. There was already the fact that all of the information about the past 19 years was crammed into x however production, but to cram it into a 300 or so page book? Nah. The only character I liked in this book was Scorpius, Draco Malfoy’s son. Why did I like him? He was the character that everyone growing up with Harry Potter WISHED Draco would have become plain and simple. He’s everyone’s love for Draco. I get it, I loved Draco. But this is just the reality. There was too much time skipping to REALLY get to know his characters like we did his father or Harry, Ron, Hermione, or even Neville for Christ stake. Neville is one of my favorite characters in the story because we get to SEE him evolve. We get to see him go from this sniveling coward beaten down by life to succeed at something most people would have thought he  would fail at. Think about it. Would Neville’s successes at the end of Harry Potter if his bumbling scenes washed over because there wasn’t enough time to get to his scenes and the ones with Harry and his friends? Nope. This goes along with the character dislike up there but characters that were JUST as vital didn’t even show up in the play? Not cool


So these are my main gripes about this book. All in all, it was OKAY. But I am afraid to recommend it for any hard core Harry Potter fans purely for the fact that unfortunately, it does NOT and should not have been made into a book. It does not feel complete to me and I just am left with an empty feeling of there should have been MORE. I get that the characters have aged but I want to SEE it, feel it, not just read about it. Again these are my own opinions. Please don’t shoot me.


One StarOne Star

I Would Give My Eye For These Books (That would make reading difficult)

Top Ten Tuesdays1

You know, as odd is it to say this is one of the hardest topics that I have had to think about during Top Ten Tuesday. Why? When considering the sheer amount of books out there and which ones I would pick it is a daunting task. How do I choose behind all of the interesting and lovely books. Sadly my list is going to disappoint you because it’s only going to include seven books.

So here is my pitiful excuse of a list…..




That’s right, I would want all seven Harry Potter books in the Juniper Ravenclaw edition. With a price tag of almost 300 dollars can you blame me for wanting someone else to heft the bill for this? But look at the jackets! Now I will go and drool. There are many other books that I wish but I feel that these are the ultimate of ultimate if I had a gift card I would want to get these books.


Thanks for stopping by! What do you think of my choice? What would yours be?

The Reason Why I’ve Had the Original Theme Song of Pokemon on Repeat ALL WEEK In My Head

readthemallthonWhen I heard about this read-a-thon I had a mild heart attack with the amount of awesome being thrown in my direction. Come on! Books and Pokemon? I’m so in I was in the moment the idea was conceived by the awesome Aentee  over at Read At Midnight. So on with the technical stuff because I know you’ll want to join in too.

What The Hell is this Read-a-thon?

The Pokemon Indigo League #ReadThemAllThon is a 3 weeks long reading challenge based on the Kanto’s Indigo League. Long-time fans of the series would recognize this as the first set of gyms Ash Ketchum had to conquer in his quest to become the Pokemon Master. Now you, my friends, will also embark on a journey to become the very best. Instead of fighting gym battles, you’ll be reading books instead!

When is it?

The read-a-thon will run for 3 weeks between Sunday 14th August to Sunday 4th September.

You can sign up anytime between now and the end of the read-a-thon.

One of the really cool parts about this readathon is that you get to play as a trainer with a Pokemon, evolving and leveling them up as you finish books. Now I agonized over this chose. I’m serious, you should see the notes with scribbled Pokemon! What I finally settled on is…..




I mean look at this freaking cutie! I fell in love the moment I saw it. I have been absolutely gaga over foxes and one of my favorite first generation Pokemon is Vulpix and I love fire Pokemon so this is the perfect Pokemon for me! This Pokemon does have 3 evolutions so I hope that I can make it work!


On to the books

Note: I am also participating in ARC August so a good chunk of these are going to be ARC’s)


Pewter Gym: The First Book In A Series

This Rock-type gym is the first gym Ash and the Pokemon player ever encounters. Finish this challenge to win a Boulder Badge.


21843172 Nameless by Jennifer Jenkins

320 pages = 32 points possible

23688792These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas

320 pages = 32 points possible points

+ 20 for completion


84 points possible

Cerulean Gym: A Book That Might Make You Cry
This Water-type gym has a badge that looks like a droplet of your tear, so read a book that will rip your heart out. Finish this challenge to win a Cascade Badge


Gemina by Amy Kauffman and Jay Kristoff

653 Pages = 65 points possible


Heartless by Merissa Meyer

449 pages = 49 points possible


20 Completion points


134 points possible


Vermillion Gym: A Book With Thunderous Hype
Vermillion City is the home to Lt. Surge and his many Electric-type Pokemon. For this challenge, read a book that’s been hyped all over bestseller’s list and the internet.  Finish this challenge to win a Thunder Badge.

Caraval_final cover (1)

Caraval by Stephine Garber

402 pages = 40 points possible

+ 20 for completed badge


60 points possible


Celadon Gym: A Book That Focuses on Diversity
Celadon Gym is one of my favourites, because of it’s colourful Grass-type aesthetics. Read a diverse book and you will earn yourself a Rainbow Badge.


A House Without Windows by Nadia Hashimi

402 pages = 40 points possible


20 points for completion


60 points possible


Fuschia Gym: A Book With A Great Romance
I’ve always been confused by the fact that a Poison-type gym has a heart-shaped badge. Can someone explain please. Read a book that features romance prominently and earn a Soul Badge.

I have absolutely no idea what is going to read for this. Most of the books I have to read I’m not sure if they have a romance that could be labeled “great”.


Saffron Gym: A Book With Fantasy/Supenatural Elements
Saffron City is where all the Psychic-types hang out, so for this challenge, read a book with fantasy, magical realism, or paranormal elements. Finish this challenge to win a Marsh Badge.

rat-queens-vol-01-releases RatQueensV2_Cover 28762820

Rat Queens Vol 1-3

Volume 1: 128 pages

Volume 2: 136 pages

Volume 3: 160 pages

424 pages = 42 points possible


20 completion


62 points possible


Cinnabar Gym: A Book With A Red Cover
Cinnabar Island is famous for red earth and Fire-type Pokemon. For this challenge, read a book with a red cover. Complete this challenge to win a Volcano Badge.

27015399A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

422 pages = 42 points possible


20 points for completion


62 points


Viridian Gym: A Book With Post-Apocalyptic Setting
The final gym is home to a Team Rocket Leader (OK, if it’s been out 10+ years you can’t cry spoilers) and Ground-type Pokemon. For this challenge, read a book featuring a ruined, post-apocalyptic Earth. Finish this to win yourself an Earth Badge.


Metaltown by Kristen Simmons

380 pages = 38 points


20 points for completion


58 points possible