August Wrap Up

The end of August is upon us and I cannot even believe it. September means going back to school, for me. September means the fall. I cannot believe that we’re already to September. There are only four more months of the YEAR???? Of 2021???? What is this MADNESS?

Amazon.com: Follow Your Arrow: 9781338640465: Verdi, Jessica: Books
Amazon.com: If It Makes You Happy: 9781250192677: Kann, Claire: Books
The Hidden Knife: Marr, Melissa: 9780525518525: Amazon.com: Books
  • Follow Your Arrow by Jessica Verdi. I picked this book up from the library on a whim. I’d seen some reviews about it, but it wasn’t super hyped, so I decided to try it anyways. And I LOVED it??? Seriously, this book should have more hype. It’s an awesome realistic fiction about the online world and being bi and it was AMAZING. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • If It Makes You Happy by Clara Kann. I enjoyed this a lot, especially some of the elements that you do NOT see in most books. This book had a queerplatonic relationship!!! Also, the sibling relationship in this book was GREAT. ⭐⭐⭐
  • The Hidden Knife by Melissa Marr. This book is…confusing, to say the least. It’s a middle grade book but the actual plot didn’t seem to begin until 50% through and a lot of times, the characters did things that weren’t explained, they just went out and did it. There were no thoughts before they did something, we didn’t get to see what they are planning at all until it happened. ⭐⭐
Amazon.com: The Passing Playbook: 9781984815408: Fitzsimons, Isaac: Books
Amazon.com: The Woman in the Window: A Novel: 9780062678423: Finn, A. J:  Books
Amazon.com: Let's Talk About Love: 9781250136121: Kann, Claire: Books
  • The Passing Playbook by Isaac Fitzsimons. I LOVED this book. It was so sweet and the sports in this book were AMAZING. literally the only complaint I have is that the main event in the summary doesn’t happen until after 50% through the book, but obviously that shouldn’t stop you from reading this. But seriously, the team dynamic here??? Beautiful. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn. My mind is reeling. I am absolutely shocked by this book, I just don’t know where to begin. Every time the MC thought she’d figured it out, there was some new information. I don’t read thrillers often, but this one, oh my gosh!!!⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Let’s talk About Love by Claire Kann. I think this book is a good one for people trying to figure out if they’re ace! It’s also good to see someone who is both asexual and alloromantic because a lot of times, people seem to think that ace people are aromantic as well. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Amazon.com: Hana Khan Carries On: A Novel: 9781443461467: Jalaluddin, Uzma:  Books
Amazon.com: A Universe of Wishes: A We Need Diverse Books Anthology:  9781984896209: Clayton, Dhonielle: Books
The Wrath & the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn): Ahdieh, Renée:  9780147513854: Amazon.com: Books
  • Hana Khan Carries On by Uzma Jalaluddin. This was a super enjoyable book! I loved that Hana was a podcaster because it’s not often we see books with protagonists who like radio and podcasting, and the story itself was important but at the same time sweet. Plus, extra points because they went to a Blue Jays game (I have never been more jealous of a book character) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • A Universe of Wishes (edited by Dhonielle Clayton). I don’t read many anthologies because short stories aren’t my favorite, but overall I enjoyed this one! ⭐⭐⭐
  • The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh. I feel like this one is hyped a lot and overall it was interesting and I did enjoy it, but I wouldn’t say that I loved it. Also, a lot of this book centers around love and I know that there’s plenty of kinds of love but I couldn’t help but feel like it was always talking about romantic love due to context and the general plot of the story, which made me sort of uncomfortable (things that were saying that love is the most important thing and people who don’t love are in hell). ⭐⭐
The Best at It: Pancholy, Maulik: 9780062866417: Amazon.com: Books
Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen!: Kapit, Sarah: 9780525554189: Amazon.com: Books
Amazon.com: Wilder Girls: 9780525645580: Power, Rory: Books
  • The Best at It by Maulik Pancholy. I honestly don’t remember if I read this in July or August because I kinda forgot about this book altogether but I do remember enjoying it. It’s just a nice quick middle grade read! ⭐⭐⭐
  • Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen! by Sarah Kapit. I could go on and on and on about this book. I could not tear my eyes away from it, it was just so fun and so enjoyable and I just love it so, so much. It centers about a young girl playing baseball, and she’s also a fan of Major League Baseball, which you so rarely see in books and it just made me so happy! (also I rescind my comment above about never having been more jealous in a book–this takes the cake)⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Wilder Girls by Rory Power. This one’s been on my TBR for a long time and I really wanted to read it, but I was also kind of scared. I finally got around to it, thanks to a recommendation (thank you!!!) and it was very good! I really didn’t like the ending though. Nor did I like Reese, honestly. ⭐⭐⭐
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: A Novel - Kindle edition by Reid, Taylor  Jenkins. Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.
Firebreak: Kornher-Stace, Nicole: 9781982142742: Amazon.com: Books
Mo'ne Davis: Remember My Name: My Story from First Pitch to Game Changer:  Davis, Mo'ne: 9780062397546: Amazon.com: Books
  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Reid Jenkins. I feel like EVERYONE has read this book so I finally picked it up. I didn’t really understand the hype at the beginning, but at the end yeah I could see it. Wasn’t as good as everyone made it out to be, but still very enjoyable. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Firebreak by Nicole Kornher-Stace. Another recommendation (I am really reading books I was recommended this month!). This one was okay, the plot was honestly not that interesting to me until the end, but I actually did enjoy the video game theme. It definitely had a 1984-kind of vibe–but much better. ⭐⭐⭐
  • Mo’ne Davis: Remember my Name, by Mo’ne Davis. I’ve actually owned this book for a very long time, probably got it around when it came out in 2015, but I didn’t have much interest for biographies, so I didn’t read it. I LOVED it, though! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Amazon.com: SLAY: 9781534445420: Morris, Brittney: Books
Amazon.com: She's Too Pretty to Burn: 9781250246752: Heard, Wendy: Books
  • Slay by Brittney Morris. Another book I picked up on a whim from the library (I love actually going to the library it means finding books that I wouldn’t have otherwise!) and it was absolutely amazing, I enjoyed all of it! This is the second gamer book that I picked up recently and while I am not a gamer in any way, I thought that this one was especially fascinating! ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • She’s Too Pretty To Burn by Wendy Heard. I honestly have no idea what to think about this book. The first part, I hated. I did not like Veronica, I did not like their relationship, the book was boring. And then it picked up and…wow. That was scary? I think that this book is about messy teens (as well as a psychopath–that person wasn’t a messy teen and I’m not saying they were) and I do think that we need more of those books because the teen years are full of a lot of mistakes, but these books are also hard to write because the characters are often so unlikable. ⭐⭐⭐

The Monthly Bingo is created by A Colorful Bibliophile and it is totally amazing, so please head over there and check it out! It’s such a fun thing to do and I hope you’ll join in on it!
Here’s what I’ve done for this month:

The things that I completed on the bingo this month were fate, enemies to lovers, mystery, [free space], stars/nightscape on cover, middle grade, black on cover, read at night, anthology, and found family. All in all, I was not able to complete a row/column/diagonal.

I also want to bring to attention a blog series that Bertie @Luminosity Reads is doing. I know that this post was published way back in March, but I only just became aware of it this month (thanks to Maria!) and I think it’s very important to spread! This is a discussion series about ableism in the bookish community. It’s something that is, unfortunately barely discussed around books and I learned so many things from Bertie! Please, please, please check out this discussion post as well as the rest of the series that has been written so far!

I managed to publish 4 posts this month which I’m super happy about given that I’ve not been excellent at publishing very many posts! I also really enjoyed writing these, and I’m very happy that I’ve been posting content that I enjoy writing and that I think are fun posts, recently, because that was not always the case!

Sports in Books: A Discussion (post 1/2).
Sports in Books: A List (post 2/2)
The Sal and Gabi Series by Carlos Hernandez, book review
Celebrating my One-Year Blogiversary!

August goals:

  • Finish summer work
  • Exercise some more
  • Play more softball
  • Catch up on goodreads reviews
  • Schedule your day

Yikes yikes yikes. I’m almost done with my summer work, I have exactly two more math problems to do, and I have to read one more book but it’s still on hold from the library and I don’t think I’m going to get it in time so I guess that means finding it some other way. Exercising? Haha wow I’m bad at doing stuff I don’t want to in this case. I have motivation, but I just don’t do it (which raises the question of if I have motivation). I met up with my friends to play softball one day, but other than that I didn’t play any, unfortunately, and I did write several goodreads reviews but I’m pretty sure I’m not entirely caught up. Scheduling my day is hard for me to do, apparently, even though it really worked when I did it in July! Ah, well. School will give me a bit more of a schedule.

September goals:

  • School first!
  • Choose sleep over anything you want to do. (remember, you have to wake up really early again!!!)
  • Stop thinking about what you want to do in the far, far future. It’s affecting what you want to do now.
  • Try to improve your softball skills!
  • Get back into violin some more.

Yeah, that’s a bit of an odd list of goals but hopefully I am able to complete them.

Honestly, August went so fast that I’m not entirely sure what to say here. I don’t remember any of it. I was looking back at the books I read this month and literally thought, ‘I read that in August???’ But here’s a few of the things that I think I did in August

  • Went on vacation! I can confirm I did this one, as I just got back on Saturday. It was really fun, we went hiking and just kind of had a chill stay in a rental house for 4 days.
  • Baseball. Not something I did, but like…Major League Baseball *happened*. I know I’ve said this in every single wrap up since the season started but it’s a big enough part of my life that I feel I should. There’s only one more month in the regular season, so things are heating up!!! The National League West is really the place to be watching right now, and the Wild Card races are super close!
  • I went to an outdoor concert with my family. It was really cool to go to because the venue was super nice and basically they just had this giant stage and a bunch of seats under a roof (but still open) and then beyond that was just a lawn where people could sit wherever. People brought picnics and lawn chairs and some (including us) even brought little fold up tables and we just sat and ate and listened to music!
  • School has not started yet for me, thankfully enough, though it starts this week, on the ninth. So this was my last month of summer!
  • Honestly unsure what else happened–I just keep thinking of things that are about to happen! Next month’s wrap up will definitely be far more packed in terms of life updates than this one.

That’s it for this month’s wrap up! How was your reading month? Did you like the same posts that I enjoyed? And what happened in your August?

Book Review: The Sal and Gabi Series

Hey, everyone! Today I’m here to review a pair of books that I really should have reviewed sooner, given that I read them nearly a month ago at this point. I wasn’t originally going to review these, but I realized how fun and exciting they really are and how much I wanted to share them with my followers! Let’s get to it!

The Sal and Gabi Series | Carlos Hernandez

Published March 5, 2019 (book one)

382 pages | Hardcover

Trigger Warnings: Mentions of death of loved one (off page), references to child abuse, hospitalized baby.

Sal Vidón has not started at his new school under the best of circumstances. It’s the third time that he’s ended up in the Principal’s office in his first three days (though, the first two days were hardly his fault), but this time he’s facing Gabi Reál, who is determined to convince their Principal that Sal did put the dead chicken in Yasmany’s locker–even if no one saw him do it. Even if the chicken was gone when the janitor came to clean it up, and the blood that got on Yasmany’s shoe? Gone.

Not long after, Gabi stumbles on Sal’s most protected secret: Sal can conjure things much bigger than a dead chicken in someone’s locker. Things like his dead mother from an alternate universe. But as the pair gets to know each other better, their universe is being ripped apart by their manipulation of time and space.

All summaries are my own unless otherwise stated. Parts of the summary may be borrowed from goodreads.

I cannot tell you how enjoyable this series is. You would have to read it to understand the joy that this book is made of, all the jokes and friendship and adventure.
But this post is a review, so I’m going to at least give you a preview of everything this book offers. Keep in mind that the actual book? So much more.

One of the best things about these books is the friendship and the sense of community. While Sal and Gabi don’t start off on the best note, they quickly become amazing friends. The best part about it is that they are only friends, the author never tries to turn them into romantic partners, and it’s extremely clear that they are not going to, throughout the books. The adults in the books, especially Sal’s parents, suggest several times that Sal might have feelings for Gabi, but Sal quickly shoots them down. They’re friends. And, as Sal says, he is ‘not a sexual beast yet’. I was especially glad that it was acknowledged, even if it was quite quick, that Sal might be aromantic, because yes he is only twelve and this is a middle grade book, but despite what some people believe, alloromantic twelve year olds do, in fact, experience romantic attraction at that age. There are so many books in which a character hasn’t experienced romantic feelings until xxx comes along (mostly YA), or something like that, but it’s never mentioned that they might be somewhere on the aromantic spectrum and it was super refreshing to see it mentioned here. It wasn’t analyzed or discussed by anything, it was just a suggestion, a quick statement. It was also said very casually and no big deal was made about it, Gabi just said one sentence and that was it. I believe it was something like ‘if you were any more aro, I could shoot you from a bow’ and then they just moved on to the next topic.

I also mentioned the community in this book, and it really was AMAZING. Sal is surrounded by a lot of different communities and just the sense of belonging in these places, the familiarity among the people and how well most everyone got along, was so beautiful. I thought that his school was the best example of this. He attends a school focused on the arts, so there are a lot of times when very creative things are happening. The teachers are also very fun and get along well with the students which was cool! I think my favorite part centering around the school was in book two, when they are all putting on a performance. I won’t give you the specifics, but they end up doing it in an extremely unique way that first of all, sounds absolutely amazing, and second of all, required a lot of people to work together and it just felt like the whole school came together to help out and create something beautiful.

Sal was an extremely enjoyable character. At first, I was wondering if we’d get Gabi’s point of view as well, and I was a little sad when I realized that we wouldn’t, but it ended up being amazing anyways! The narration was really funny and I’m actually glad now that it was only from Sal’s POV because I feel like it would have been less entertaining if the voice switched every chapter or so. I also loved the author’s ability to describe characters, and give each one a very distinct personality. While Sal and Gabi were the only two main characters, there were many many side characters, some mentioned only once or twice, whereas some appeared continuously. A few were even our main characters but from another universe! And each one was very different and all amazing and entertaining in their own way.

The HUMOR. Once you read this book, you will not be able to get enough of the humor. Sal himself, as a magician, lives to make people laugh and this often gets the reader to laugh as well, but you will also find yourself laughing at his mishaps and the multiple amusing characters! I mean, his school’s logo is a rotten egg and there’s a giant statue of it on top of the school, complete with spewing smoke from a crack. There’s a talking toilet that can offer you life advice AND bleeps out any swear you come close to telling. The entire book is just extremely entertaining!

But the last thing that I wanted to hit on, is that despite the fact that the book is almost always very light and hilarious, it also touches real issues. Sal has diabetes and the books describe a lot about what that is like. There is also child abuse mentioned in the book, and It’s great how the author absolutely does not shy away from these things. There are a lot of middle grade books that are all light and fluffy, the only issues mentioned being those which assist the main plot of the book, and I think a lot of people are afraid that things like child abuse are ‘too heavy’ for people in the middle grade audience. Hernandez does none of this but also presents it in a more gentle manner than might be discussed in a YA book.

I would highly recommend the Sal and Gabi series to anyone looking for a fun book. Full of humor and brimming with creativity, this book is exactly what all middle grade books should be, and it’s fun for any age! My review absolutely does not do justice to this wonderful book and I encourage you to pick these books up to experience the full magic.

Have you read Sal and Gabi Break the Universe and its sequel? What did you think of it? If not, does this review make you want to pick it up? Let me know in the comments below!
As always, thank you so much for stopping by! Stay safe and keep on reading!