+40 2021 Middle-Grade Releases On My Radar

Hello friends,

Coming late to the party as always, I finally bring you my most anticipated 2021 middle-grade releases. We’re getting so many wonderful books from hard hitting contemporaries about grief to magical adventures. Last year I realized how much I truly enjoy middle-grade and it’s my new passion to put some of these titles on your radar. You’re welcome.

There’s something about this age group, the way it can make you cry in one page and laugh aloud in the next, that just fills me with absolute joy. These books explore difficult topics with hope and honesty, while still allowing kids to be messy with their feelings and save the world. The duality of middle-grade will never stop astonishing me and I’m so impressed with these authors and their wonderful words.

Anyway, here are 40 books I CAN’T WAIT TO READ. Divided in contemporary books about middle-school, fantasy, magical realism, mischievous adventures, hard-hitting contemporaries and science-fiction. Let me know what are some of yours!


Friendship, crushes and middle-school

Meow or Never: A Wish Novel by Jazz Taylor. 01/05/2021. Pets and secret crushes? AND a saphhic main character? Yes, yes, yes! When Avery’s crush convinces her to sign up for the school musical, Avery finds herself in the middle of some adventures. She loves singing but not in front of people. Luckily, her secret cat, Phantom, helps her when she’s stress. Friendship, romance and a lot of mischief.

Amina’s Song by Hena Khan. 03/09/2021. I read Amina’s Voice and More to the Story last year and I enjoyed very much. I was in tears, for sure, but I also laughed so much. All to say, I’m excited to meet Amina once more in what promises to be equally delightful and heartfelt.

Samira Surfs by Rukhsanna Guidroz, illustrated by Fahmida Azim. 03/16/2021. This is a novel in verse about Samira finding friendship and strength in a surf club when her family flees Myanmar for Bangladesh. This promises to be hard hitting book while still being about Samira’s new adventures. Exactly the type of books I love.

The Many Mysteries of the Finkel Family by Sarah Kapit. 03/23/2021. I have heard so many good things about Sarah’s debut, Get a grip, Vivy Cohen! and this looks it will be equally fantastic. Two autistic sisters, one mystery agency and a lot of adventures. Although I’m not a mystery fan, in middle-grade I absolutely love it. Probably reminds me to Harriet the Spy and my long childhood dream of being a spy… ANYWAY, super excited about Sara and Caroline’s cases!

More titles:

The Comeback: A Figure Skating Novel by E.L. Shen. 01/19/2021 Competition, rivalry and learning about love and support
Squad Goals by Erika J. Kendrick. 04/06/2021 Cheerleading + coming of age
The Chance to Fly by Ali Stroker and Stacy Davidowitz. 04/13/2021 (birthday release!!) Love letter to theater featuring a disabled MC.
That Thing About Bollywood by Supriya Kelkar. 05/18/2021 Sonali must figure out what’s happening when her friends and family start unexpectedly breaking out into Bollywood songs.
Generation Misfits by Akemi Dawn Bowman. 6/29/2021. Band + school’s talent show

Magic and Adventures

Root Magic by Eden Royce. 01/05/2021. This sounds perfect for me; ghosts, magic and a story about friendship. Set in 1963, Jez and her twin brother, Jay, start learning about root magic and their family legacy.

Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls by Kaela Rivera. 04/13/2021. This debut novel promises to be tender and delightful story about family and coming to your power. Following Cece Rios, as she embarks in a dangerous adventure to save her older sister. In a world of magical wonders and terrible creatures, Cece must become what everyone despises: a bruja.

Curse of the Forgotten City by Alex Aster. 06/08/2021. Book 1, Curse of the Night Witch, was such a pleasant surprise from last year. This series is doesn’t shy away from darkness, while still being a middle-grade book about friendship, magic and coming of age. Alex really brought Latin American stories to life and I just can’t wait to see what will happen in this next installment.

Paola Santiago and the Forest of Nightmares by Tehlor Kay Mejia. 08/03/2021. Another sequel that I can’t wait for. And also spooky Latinx. Really, we’re getting so many wonderful books this year. Part of the Rick Riordan Presents series, Paola Santiago follows Paola and her terrifying meeting with La Llorona. After everything that happened in book 1, I’m so excited (and scared) to see what awaits Paola and her friends. Hopefully a nice happy ending? Right, Tehlor? No more tears, please?

More titles:

Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston. 01/19/2021. Middle grade urban fantasy HELLO?!
The Last Fallen Star by Grace Kim. 05/04/2021. Korean mythology, story about family, magic and belonging.
The Last Shadow Warrior by Sam Subity. 05/04/2021 Perfect for Percy Jackson fans is all I need to know.
The Healer of the Water Monster by Brian Young. 05/11/2021. Navajo mythology + family
Rea and the Blood of the Nectar by Payal Doshi. 06/01/2021. Perfect for fans of Aru Shah and Chronicles of Narnia, uh, yes?
Josephine Against the Sea by Shakirah Bourne. 07/06/2021. A mischievous girl with a big heart and world inspired by Caribbean mythology!!
The Devouring Wolf by Natalie C. Parker. Werewolves, queer rep and a dark secret that could change everything.
The Magic Paintbrush by Kat Zhang. Intergenerational fantasy adventure, doesn’t it sound wonderful?
Speculation by Nisi Shawl. Ghosts, family curse and historical fantasy.

Magical Realism

Loteria by Karla Arenas Valenti. 09/07/2021. This book sounds absolutely fantastic and maybe you should add it just because that cover illustrated by Dana Sanmar is breathtaking. A story about fate, legends and life-and-death.

The Insiders by Mark Oshiro. 09/21/2021. Mark’s middle-grade debut about friendship and identity. This sounds like a hard-hitting book, like you know, only Mark can give us. But also an incredible novel about queerness, found family and love.

Mischievous Kids With Big Hearts

Shaking Up the House by Yamile Saied Mendez. 01/05/2021. I’ve loved everything that I have read by Yamile so far and I’m so excited for her newest middle-grade release. This promises to be mischievous, fun and sweet and that’s all I want.

Goldie Vance: Hocus Pocus Hoax by Lilliam Rivera. 01/05/2021. Detective adventures, sapphic dates, and a little bit of magic. Already read this one and it was a delighted. Check out my January wrap up for more thoughts.

Merci Suarez Can’t Dance by Meg Medina. 04/06/2021. I still can’t quite believe we’re getting a sequel to one of my all time favorite books. Merci Suarez is such a powerful, honest and bittersweet story about family, friendship and growing up. Merci gets a lot of trouble usually, with her mischievous nature and big heart, and I’m sure this one will bring a lot of laugher and tears. I AM READY FOR THE PAIN.

Sugar and Spite by Gail D. Villanueva. 04/20/2021. I have heard the greatest things about Gail’s books and this one sounds so good, I can’t even. Fighting bullies with magic potions may sound like a good idea at first, but it quickly turns a lot more complicated for Jolina.

Much Ado About Baseball by Rajani LaRocca. 06/01/2021. I adored Midsummer’s Mayheam last year, which it’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream retelling. I don’t really know much about Shakespeare but if it’s a Rajani’s retelling I must read. Much Ado About Baseball is about rivals to friends (best trope in the planet!), magic , food and baseball. Can’t get any better, honestly.

Hard Hitting Contemporaries

The Sea in Winter by Christine Day. 01/05/2021. A story about mental health, community and family. I have heard so many good things about the author’s debut, I Can Make This Promise, I’m sure this one will be equally good.

Finding Junie Kim by Ellen Oh. 05/04/2021. I love reading stories about family, grandparents and family’s history. Reading the synopsis I was already in tears, to be honest. Ellen Oh promises a story about hope, survival and finding your voice. And I just can’t wait for it.

The Shape of Thunder by Jasmine Warga. 05/11/2021. Friendship, time-travel, grief and trauma, this book is the definition of hard-hitting contemporary. I don’t usually cry while reading synopsis, but this is the second book in this list that made me openly sob. So, now I need this in my life. I have not read Jasmine Warga’s books, so while I wait, I’ll finally get to Other Words For Home.

Hazel Bly and the Deep Blue Sea by Ashley Herring Blake. 05/25/2021. Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World was a book I loved with all my heart, talked about it in my last post. So I knew after reading that one that I must get every single middle-grade book by Ashley Herring Blake. And Hazel Bly? Sounds just perfect for me; a story about grief, friendship, family and mermaids.

More titles:

Clues to the Universe by Christina Li. 01/12/2021. A story about loss, grief and unlikely friendships.
The Year I Flew Away by Marie Arnold. 02/02/2021. Magical realism, immigration and belonging.
Unsettled by Reem Faruqi. 05/11/2021. Immigration, belonging, written in verse. Front Desk meets Other Words for Home.

Science Fiction hijinks


Thirty Talks Weird Love by Alessandra Narváez Varela. 01/01/2021. Contemporary meets science-fiction. Anamaria is a 13 years old girl living in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico in the 90s, one day finding this weird lady that tells her she’s Anamaria from the future, here to help her out. Written in verse, the novel tackles depression and mental health. I’ve been loving these novels that mash different genres coming together in a new and thought-provoking way so this sounds like a new favorite.

The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera. 09/07/2021. Listen to this book, I beg you; relocating to a new planet, all the adults mysteriously disappear, making Petra the new cuentista of the forbidden stories. Mexican folklore, space hijinks, a mystery to solve and a celebration for storytelling. I talked about Donna’s debut, Lupe Wong Won’t Dance in my last post, so of course I cannot wait for my new favorite middle-grade author.

Last Gamer Standing by Katie Zhao. 09/21/2021. Katie’s The Dragon Warrior was incredibly fun, I adored the two books already out in the series (will we ever get a third one? hopefully). I’m so excited to meet this sports anime meets gaming culture, as described by Katie. Seriously? It can’t get better than a Chinese-American girl fighting racism and sexism on a VR battle.

Here We Go Again

Hello friends,

It has been a while. To be honest, I hoped I would eventually make my way back here, but I wasn’t sure if I could/I would. It has been a tough year, tougher for bloggers. All the reasons for why I left in the first place, well yes, they are still there; bloggers are underappreciated and the community refuses to do better. But I miss blogging, I miss writing and talking about books and I miss all of you. I have tried to keep up my bookstagram and I may need to accept that it doesn’t bring the same joy that blogging does.

I’ve been reflecting a lot lately about what I want for 2021 and what I want for my space to be. I want to come back to blogging but I want to do it my way. And by that I mean, I want something low-key, something that feels honest and authentic to me (you know, talking more than books, for example) and I don’t want to stress about schedules and deadlines. Although I’m very thankful for ARCs and working with publishers, it definitely has taken a toll on me. And then I realized that I can just don’t do it? You know, I can not review ARCs or do blog tours and post at my own pace. I know this is a huge privilege, too, I can afford to do this because I can read from the library when many international friends cannot.

You may noticed the blog changed, this another thing that I have been thinking about for a long time. When I named this space Latinx Magic was with the idea of promoting Latinx voices, but I’m not sure I can do this anymore. Of course this no one’s fault, but I have felt this pressure of always talking about Latinx releases, Latinx problematic books, Latinx problems… And it’s not fair, it takes so much of my mental health having to scream about how problematic Woven in Moonlight is, or how frustrating American Dirt’s successes is to see. I know, no one actually asked me to do this, but I feel like I have to discuss and share and boost because I’m part of this community. And in part, I feel like it has become my brand and I don’t feel super comfortable about that. So hence, the blog renamed.

Of course, I will keep promoting and reading and loving Latinx authors, of course. But I’m so much more than my Latinx identity (and that’s a whole different subject to talk about, my Latinx identity) and I feel like Cande Reads, which it’s quite simple, reflects all of me.

So here I am again! All I have promised you has been not consistency, more random content (??) and a new image but what does it really mean? I’m not quite sure myself. I’m taking this slow and I’ll figure it out as I go, that’s my 2021 plan. For now, I’m just happy to be back in the blogging community.

Catch me on bookstagram and my new (!!!) bujogram, too.

Happy reading and happy New Year,

Cande

#Goodreadance2020 Goals

image description: title in big white leaders, Goodreadance2020 goals in a black background with yellow flowers at the bottom. in the right corner in white reads: hosted by Shealea (Shut Up, Shealea)

Hello friends,

This is going to be rambling but short post, I just want to talk about this incredible idea Shealea from Shut Up, Shealea came out with. She’s organizing #GoodReadance2020 this September, a challenge to clean up, reorganize and work on our Goodreads shelves. Check out her post for a better explanation.

As Shealea, I find tasks smoothing and I feel like this is the perfect thing for me right now. I will try to keep you all updated, if you’re interested. I did start a sort of thread on twitter if you want to check out that.

So let’s talk about goals!


Catching up with reviews

At the beginning of the year I did pretty well with keeping out with reviews. I do not review all the books I read anymore. I mean, I’m reading 20+ books at month, I don’t have the time, the words or the even the energy to review so much (I applaud folks who can do it, you’re a superhero). But I try to review all my ARCs and my highlighted reads, you know, favorites and disappointments. Sadly, with the pandemic I kind of lost any interest with writing reviews and now I have books from April that I have to finish writing. Yes, April. I haven’t counted but I’m sure the number is higher than 30 reviews. BUT I’M HOLDING MYSELF ACCOUNTABLE NOW. At least I want to catch up from April to July, I will take a break after that. I will deserve it, right?

Cleaning my tbr
how my Goodreads looks right now

Image reads: all books (2053), read (1439), currently reading (4), want to read (495), dnf (67), maybe (22), pausados (20)

I cleaned my tbr back in March when the pandemic started and although I lowered my to be read to less than 500 books, I want that number to be lower. I’ll be soon adding all the 2021 releases and my tbr will grow quickly, I know myself. So my goal is to get my current 495 books tbr to 450 or less.

I also have a shelf called maybe, where I add books that I’m not 100% sure I will want to read. There are 22 books right now. I want to decide if I want to move these books to my TBR and keep them, or just delete them and forget of their existence (not hate, just there are books I don’t care about).

Fixing my Shelves

I regularly changed my Goodreads shelves. I use them as categories and they help me track better my reading. So as my reading goals change, so does my shelves. I have been keeping track of things as LGBTQ+ mc/BIPOC mc/Latinx mc for two years now, before that I shelved books as ‘diverse’ for example, but that I found that label to big and misleading. The thing is, I don’t find these shelves helpful anymore. Maybe because I know I’m not reading a majority of white books, I don’t really need to know how many books with Latinx characters I’m reading. As time passes, I find these categories are just not working for the books I’m reading, or for myself. I don’t know. I’m not sure what I want from my shelves now, however. So I want to figure this out this month.

Please let me know how you use your Goodreads shelves, I would love some input!


So I guess I’ll see you in a couple of weeks with an update. Hopefully my Goodreads is looking better my them.

Happy reading!

Cafe con Bizcochos: an interview with Zoey

Hello friends,

Today we’re having a special guest in our interview section, Cafe con Bizcochos. I got to talk with Zoey from The Dream Weaver, upcoming debut by Reina Luz Alegre. This middle-grade novel follows Cuban-American Zoey and her summer adventures to saver her grandfather’s bowling alley. In the journey, she also makes new friends and reconnects with her Cuban identity.

The book comes out June, 23rd and you can preorder here!


Cande: Hi Zoey! It’s so nice to have you on Latinx Magic today. Can you tell me a little bit about your grandpa’s bowling alley? I heard you’ve really been helping him out. 

Zoey: Hi Cande! Thank you so much for having me!

Gonzo’s has been in my family for generations! It’s a retro bowling alley and arcade on the Jersey Shore where my great grandfather worked as a janitor when he first came to the US from Cuba. It’s the place my abuelos first met and fell in love, because my Poppy was working there as a waiter with his dad. Eventually he and my Abuela bought it and raised my mom there. 

The last few years our family has gone through some serious stuff, and it seemed like Poppy might lose the bowling alley to this big mean developer who wanted to turn the real estate into condos or something.

BUT, I don’t give up that easily! Family has to help family, and I’ve made some amazing new friends in the fight to save my grandpa’s dream. 

Cande: We Latinx folks love talking and thinking about food, so I have to ask. What’s your favorite Cuban dish, Zoey?

Zoey: I love, love, love ropa vieja, which is a shredded beef dish, preferably served with plain rice to soak up every last drop. My goal is to learn my grandparents’ recipe this summer for ropa vieja, and a few other faves like pastelitos and my Abuela’s famous lentils. 

Cande: Do you have any books high on your TBR, Zoey? What upcoming middle-grade novels are you excited for? Give me all the recs!

Zoey: Oh gosh, excited for waaaay too many books to list all of them here, but some of the ones I’m currently reading and loving include Ghost Squad by Claribel Ortega and Efren Divided by Ernesto Cisneros, and I’m over-the-moon excited for The Land of the Cranes by Aida Salazar which comes out soon. Her writing is stunning. I need more of her words in my life.

Also, can I just say, I’m so happy there are more ownvoices Latinx MG books available now than when my Mami was my age in the eighties. I’ve been living in her childhood bedroom since moving in with my grandpa, and her old bookshelf has so much stuff written by dead white guys from like a million billion years ago. Thankfully, I recently discovered there’s an awesome library near Poppy’s house with a great online selection, and an independent bookstore just around the corner with a great website too for when I save up enough to buy books off my TBR!

Cande: You’ve dealt with a lot of conflict lately—from your dad leaving to friend issues to some mean shenanigans from the rival bowling team. And yet, you mentioned you’re also super close to your loved ones and community. Can you explain? 

Zoey: Sigh, people and relationships are so complicated! We all make mistakes. Sometimes kids are wrong. Sometimes adults are even wrong. Sometimes everyone is a little bit right and a little bit wrong but have good intentions and just have different perspectives. I’ve learned it’s so important to find someone you can trust to talk to about your problems. We don’t always agree on everything, but my new friends have really been there for me. And I’m trying to talk things that upset me out with my family too, not just bottle up all my feelings till I want to explode. So yeah, there’s been a lot of conflict, but we’re working through it. I used to think I’d be all alone but it turns out I’m surrounded by love, and I’m super happy about that. 


You can preorder The Dream Weaver here!

Also get the books Zoey mentioned:


ABOLISH THE POLICE

And remember to sign petitions, donate and buy from Black-owned bookstores.

Cafe con bizcochos: an interview with Minerva

Hello friends,

I’m back with another special visit, this time is Minerva Soledad Miranda from On These Magic Shores by Yamile Saied Méndez. This upcoming middle-grade book will be out June, 9th from Tu Books. It follows Minerva and her two sisters as they try to uncover what happened to their mamá and carry on their regular lives. But they are not alone, it looks like someone (maybe something) is looking out for them. Fairies?

I read this book early this year and it’s absolutely fantastic, one of my favorite middle-grade novels of all times. Yes, of all times. Yamile masterfully crafted a story for young audience that’s honest and raw, but also hopeful and sweet. The book talks about Peter Pan and racism, immigration and growing up before your time. With #ownvoices Argentinian representation, I feel like this novel and its characters gave me the biggest and warmest hug. You can read my review here.

Now let’s hear it from Minerva!


Cande: Hola, Minerva! I’m so happy that you could talk with me today. You’re very busy I see, working for your role of Peter Pan, watching over your two sisters, preparing for your future as the first Latina president of the United States.

Cande: The world can be hard and unfair, your family has made many sacrifices. You understand that better than anyone else. What gives you hope in these difficult times? Who gives you the strength to keep dreaming big? Who inspires you?

Minerva: My sisters give me the strength to keep going and they inspire me, too. And also myself. My mom trusts me and believes in me because she knows my strength and even when I don’t  share a lot of things with her, she knows about my dreams and works so hard so I can reach them. My teacher Mrs. Santos also challenged me to look beyond my circumstances. She didn’t know about what was going on at home. It was very annoying when she wouldn’t leave me alone, but she saw me. She was one of the only people who really saw me and pushed me to do things I didn’t want to do, but that in the end really helped me and I ended up loving.  

Cande: You know we can’t talk about your Argentinian heritage without food. I’m sorry, Minerva! You can pick three dishes, any dishes, to eat nonstop. What do you pick? and why?

This is an unfair question. I could never pick only three dishes, but since I must, these are my choices: Pizza argentina: it’s the perfect combination of crunchy and chewy. Not too cheesy, not loaded with complicated ingredients (pineapple? Yuck!), and it makes me happy. Anything with dulce de leche: do I need to explain myself? Tortas fritas: easy to make and so, so delicious and satisfying, especially on a gloomy afternoon. Don’t try to make it without adult supervision though! 

Cande: You have conflicted feelings about fairies and magic, I understand that. It’s pure childish tales, right? *wink* But if you could close your eyes and wish for a fairy tale to come true, which one would you pick?

Minerva: I’d love for Rumpelstiltskin to be real, but only the part about girls weaving gold from straw… 

Cande: Younger siblings can be a pain, I feel you! But we can’t imagine a world without them. As older sisters, we learn to do what they want and sometimes our wishes go unheard. So if you could plan the perfect adventure to take your sisters, something very Minerva. What would you do?

Minerva: I’d take them to Disneyland! Can you imagine Avi’s face is she saw Tinkerbell? Or Kota when she saw Tiana from Princess and the Frog? And even though I’d try not to fangirl too much, I’d probably be crying of joy (inside) if I saw Belle from Beauty and the Beast. 

Cande: I’m sorry to say we have to go, so the last question. One you will probably hear a lot when you’re a politician. Do you have any advice for immigrant girls who’re feeling hopeless right now? 

Minerva: I’d say to them to do the small things that don’t seem to matter too much, because everything adds up. Read, be curious about things that make you happy, dream big, and remember to have fun and appreciate the people around you. Every day is a gift and if you look, really look, you’ll see the magic in things that for other people might seem ordinary. 

Cande: That’s a beautiful answer, Minerva! Thank you so much for taking some time to have cafe con bizcochos with me.


Preorder On These Magic Shores!

2020 Stats and Resolutions

Hello friends,

One thing I wanted to do better this year is keep up with my reading plans and stats through out the year. Because I love making graphics and because I want to be a conscious reader. So this year I’ll be doing regular check-ins for my resolutions and stats.

This is kind of a long post and I’m sorry. The first part is all about my 2020 resolutions (read about them here) plus some new ones I’m incorporating. Then I’m pulling out my graphs and talking about my stats.


General resolutions

I guess I should start with my number one resolution: read 200 books. So far I have read 82 books, 32 ahead of schedule according to Goodreads. After some thought, I’ll be bumping this one up to 300 books (i did bumped it out). That was my big secret goal but I wasn’t so sure I would reached it when my schedule was tighter than last year. But things has changed now with the whole pandemic thing and for the future, I’m out of work and with not school. So, yeah more time to read.

About reading books I owned, it has been okay. I’m all motivated by the StartOnYourShelfathon challenge and you can read a recent update I did here. I read a good number of books… and then I bought more, so oops?

I’m going to be honest, I haven’t read as many Latinx authors as I would like. For someone who is always pushing for Latinx support, that only 20% of my books are by Latinx authors is embarrassing. Of course numbers are not important! And even reading one book is AWESOME. But personally, I’m just disappointed on myself because I know I can do so much better.

I’ve been also keeping tracked of how many 2020 releases I’m reading (12) and if I’m getting to my anticipated ones. I have read 9 and dnf 2, some disappointments in there but overall, it has been great. You can watch more about my thoughts about January-March releases in my latest video here.

I’m slowly making progress with finishing series. During these months, I read some sequels and caught up with Wayward Children series and three romance series (London Celebrities, Dirty British Romance and Forbidden Hearts). So you know, for someone who’s terrible at finishing series, this isn’t SO bad. Right? Right?!

In the sapphic department, I haven’t been great. I’ve barely done any progress with my sapphic TBR and only read 10 books so far with main f/f pairings. My favorite so far are Dani and Carmen from WE SET THE DARK ON FIRE. I meant to join #FFFruary but things happened and my soul paid *sigh*

Genre resolutions

*Romance: I have read 13 romance books so far, it’s not bad but that’s only around 17% of all my reading. I’m not doing great, that’s not what I wanted for this year and I have barely looked to my most anticipated releases, ugh Cande. In terms of diving into more subgenres, kind of? I tried some SF slash post-apocalyptic and even a sort of thriller. I already have some new favorites but oof I have had misses this year too.

*Non-fiction: My plan was to read 1 non-fiction per month, and I have read 6 so far! So doing great. I read a good number of books about women erased by history during March. My highlight is for sure Amazons, Abolitions and Activists by Mikki Kendall and A. D’Amico.

*SFF: I’m going to say accomplished, as SFF has been my most read genre so far. Of the 32 SFF books I have read, 20 are written by authors of color. So yeah, accomplishing this one!

Format Resolutions

*Comics and Graphic Novels: I haven’t read many but the ones I have read I have loved, so maybe that should count for something, right? There is still many more graphic novels on my TBR so I’ll work on than the next months.

*Audiobooks: I love audios so much! Especially reading along side with books. With all the driving I usually do for work, audios are a great resource for me. And I have listened to 30 audios so far! WOW I know, I’m so happy. Some new favorite narrators: Roxana Ortega, Michelle Dockrey, Rebecca Mozo, Imani Parks.


I’m adding new goals for the next months:

  1. Look more into mystery, crime and horror (what I have read so far has been okay, want to try more)
  2. Read more anthologies and short story collections (I love them!)
  3. Read more gay content (I’m not reading enough, sad face)

Now let’s talk about stats!

As I said, I have 82 books so far and DNF 16. My average pages per day is 133 and it roughly takes me 4 days to finish a book. 75% of my reads have been backlist titles, published in 2019 or before, with only 20 new releases. Yep, I read way more backlist than frontlist and I’m not super happy about that. I never get to my anticipated releases! But this year I have a series that hopefully will help me keep on track, check out my first video here.

Formats

from the graphic: 37.4% print, 32.3% digital and 30.3% audio

One thing that blew me away a little: I have listened in three months the same amount of audios that I did last year. How have I listened to 30 audios, I have no idea. I’ve also read more physical books (37) than digital (32), so strange!

Audience

from graphic: 42.3% young adult books, 32.1% adult, 25.6% children’s/middle grade.

Sure, I have read a little bit more of YA (33) but I love how my middle-grade number (20) is so close to adult (25). This is hard to say, because I’m not sure how I want my numbers to look like at the end of the year. I do want to read more middle-grade! And I definitely want to increase my romance intake. So maybe I should lower my YA books??

Genre

from the graphic: 30.3% fantasy, 18.4% romance, 17.1% general fiction (or contemporary), 14.5% sci-fi, 3.9% horror, general nonfiction and memoir/bio.

Well, I’m glad for once my love for fantasy is showing, follow very closely to my love for romance. I’ve been reading more science fiction than other years and I’m not surprised than my general fiction (anything contemporary) is pretty low. Last year I realized I’m not a contemporary fan so reducing my number has been for the best.

Page Count

You have to know by now that I’m very intimated by big tomes. I just never finish them, even when I’m enjoying them, I can’t. Ugh. But small steps, I guess: I have read only one big tome (The City of Brass) and 4 books above 400 pages (I’ll count them too, these are not small books). I’ll keep pushing myself to read the big books from my shelf, I will do it, I swear!

Book Source

From graphic: 41.5% library, 28.0% own tbr and 6.1% purchased this year, 17/1% review copy, 3.7% borrowed (like kindle unlimited or script because I return the book), 3.7% gift.

I’m not surprise that I have been reading so many books from my library, that’s exactly my problem. I never seem to read my own books but thanks to #StartOnYourShelfathon, I’m hopeful that will change. I would like to say that thanks to libraries being close right now, I’ll be reading my own books. But will I be doing that really? We know the answer is not.


Hope you enjoy this post, friends. I love looking at my stats and spreadsheets but I’m not sure if it’s something you’re interested in reading. Let me know if you do! or if you don’t, I guess.

Also, it took me so long to finally edit this that by now all these stats are old news but whatever! Latinx Magic has been a little messy lately anyway.

Happy reading and stay safe,

Latinx Magic: Ghost Squad Character Interview

Hello friends,

Today I have very special guests, Lucely, Syd and Chunk from Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega! Ghost Squad comes out April 7th and it’s a delightful, spooky middle-grade novel that I absolutely loved. You can read my review here.

Coco meets Stranger Things with a hint of Ghostbusters in this action-packed supernatural fantasy.
For Lucely Luna, ghosts are more than just the family business.

Shortly before Halloween, Lucely and her best friend, Syd, cast a spell that accidentally awakens malicious spirits, wreaking havoc throughout St. Augustine. Together, they must join forces with Syd’s witch grandmother, Babette, and her tubby tabby, Chunk, to fight the haunting head-on and reverse the curse to save the town and Lucely’s firefly spirits before it’s too late.

With the family dynamics of Coco and action-packed adventure of Ghostbusters, Claribel A. Ortega delivers both a thrillingly spooky and delightfully sweet debut novel.

Cande: I feel like you two have gone through a lot of adventures. These are hard times and friends are more important than ever. So tell me, what’s the number one rule for friendships? How do you two stay close especially when things are bad? 

Syd: Number one rule of friendship is don’t be a butthead. 

Lucely: haha and number two is listen to each other. I think we stay close because we don’t really have other kids to talk to, so we talk to each other. But listening is important too, I’m getting better at that. 

Syd: She is! And yep you have to take turns being sad and being the one that cheers the other one up. We’re really good at that…also jokes! 

Cande: If you wouldn’t get in trouble with Babette, what’s a spell you would like to try?

Syd: Warts on everyone in school and uh making Chunk do that thing she knows how to do all the time. 

Lucely: A money tree spell and a teleportation spell. Also a grilled cheese one where you snap your fingers and grilled cheese appears. 

Syd: oooo good one! 

Cande: Let’s talk about food now, Lucely. You knew this question was coming! We Latinxs are very loud about our love for food. So what’s your comfort food? The food that speaks to your soul? 

Lucely: I love fried cheese, mangú and salchichon it’s my favorite food in the whole world with a big glass or morir soñando. 

Syd: I’m not Latinx but everything she said is also my favorite. 

Cande: Last question and I will let you go save the day. Do you have any tips for kids fighting evil spirits? Things to avoid? Must-haves?

Syd: Be prepared. 

Lucely: Respect the dead. 

In unison: and always have a cat! 

Chunk: Meow. 


Buy Ghost Squad Links

Guest Post: 7 BOOKS TO READ IF YOU LOVE BTS Black Swan

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Hello everyone I’m Micaela,  it’s been a while since I made  a Guest Post here and I loved it, and I missed writing something like that so  I talked to Cande and she happily agreed to lend me her blog.

If you follow me on Twitter (@micsreader)  you would probably know that I LOVE BTS (the South-Korean band) and they’re releasing a NEW album this February 21!

Their first single “Black Swan” was inspired by Martha’s Graham quote “A dancer dies twice – once when they stop dancing, and this first death is the more painful.”

The song explores the fear of losing your passion:

“If this can no longer resonate
No longer make my heart vibrate
Then like this may be how
I die my first death “

And since I love reading romance books about dancers I had this amazing idea to recommend you books about dancers particularly dancers who can’t dance due to injuries or age, or idk,  it could be anything. 

Some of the main characters of these books go through a phase where they have to, in a way, learn to live again but without dance being a big part of their lives.

Second Position by katherine Locke

Tropes: Friends to lovers +  second chance romance.

Four years ago, a car accident ended Zedekiah Harrow’s ballet career and sent Philadelphia Ballet principal dancer Alyona Miller spinning toward the breakdown that suspended her own. What they lost on the side of the road that day can never be replaced, and grief is always harshest under a spotlight…

a season to dance by rebecca heflin

Tropes: Highschool sweethearts + Second chance romance.

Olivia James and Zach Ryder were high school sweethearts, but at age eighteen, she left small-town Georgia for the bright lights and satin pointe shoes of Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet. Seventeen years later, Olivia’s come home for her mother’s funeral, nursing an injury that could likely end her meteoric dance career.

undone by the ex-con by talia hibbert

Tropes: Enemies to lovers + Beta Hero.

After a recent diabetes diagnosis, Lizzie is losing control of her body, her career—and, it seems, her desires. She shouldn’t want a man as coarse and cruel as Isaac, but the lust between them burns just as bright as their hatred. And when Lizzie’s beloved brother is threatened, the issue is taken out of her hands.

Dance with Me by Alexis Daria

Tropes:  fuck buddies to lovers, second chance romance.

Living in close quarters shows Dimitri a side of Natasha he’s never seen before, and he likes it. A lot. Too bad she’s doing everything in her power to keep him at arm’s length. When an injury forces Natasha to take it easy or risk her ability to dance, it’s his chance to show her that the rules have changed, and she can trust him with her heart.

AMOROUS LIAISONS by Sarah Mayberry

Tropes: Friends to lovers, second chance romance.

When Maddy’s world falls apart, it’s only natural that she turns to Max for support. But fall into his bed? Never until one steamy night, that is. And having had a taste of him, she’s hungry for more. Then she has the chance to resume her career, although it means leaving him. Can she throw away the best sex and the best friend she’s ever had?

PAS DE DEUX by Lynn Turner

Tropes: Enemies to lovers, opposites attracts, workplace romance.

Wilhelmina Allende is a prima ballerina. When tragedy turns her beloved Paris into a gilded cage, she jumps at the chance to work with one of the most prolific choreographers she’s ever seen. But Zack’s style is way out of her comfort zone. So is his teaching method. And his humor. And his everything. He’s a charming little connard. It’s hard not to like him. Merde. What has she gotten herself into?

HEART OF OBSIDIAN by Nalini Singh

Tropes: Childhood friends to lovers, second chance romance.

A dangerous, volatile rebel, hands stained bloodred.
A woman whose very existence has been erased.
A love story so dark, it may shatter the world itself.
A deadly price that must be paid.
The day of reckoning is here.

I know, I know you’re probably thinking WTF is  making “Heart of Obsidian” here, even if dance wasn’t a major part of the plot there’s a memorable scene where Kaleb and Sahara dance  together and it was so meaningful and beautifully written that I couldn’t help but to add this book on the list.


This post is full of a lot of things I love, romance books, “friends to lovers” and “second chance” trope and of course BTS  (f you haven’t listened BLACK SWAN  please do yourself a favour and listen to it!  you can watch BTS dance practice too because their moves, MY God! Killer!).

I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did while writing it, this is the first part of a series of post inspired by upcoming  BTS album “Map of the Soul: 7”. So look forward to them. 

Have you read any of these books?  Do you have a specific profession you like reading about? Do you like BTS? 


I’m Micaela (Mics). 21.  Argentinian. I love reading own voices romances. My favorite tropes are friends to lovers, marriage of convenience, second chances and bodyguards. I’m also a full time ARMY (I love BTS!). So when I’m not reading romance books I’m listening or watching BTS content.

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2020 Resolutions

Hello friends,

Yesterday I talked about my 2019 stats and my resolutions. I’m happy that I crushed some of them, but I’m definitely want to challenge myself more this upcoming year, I want to do better.

I’m looking to dive into subgenres of genres I really enjoyed reading this year, going back to things I used to read, keep supporting marginalized authors, and be aware of the books I’m getting.

I’m also challenging myself to talk more about the books I find problematic. This year I read a couple that where so hurtful and I was so scared to share my thoughts because these are loved books. I did end up writing a review for The Storm Runner, for example, a book that I mostly enjoyed but its ableism was so painful. That’s what I mean, I think, I want to discuss aspects of books that hurt me and don’t feel like I can’t or I shouldn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that I’m very loud about the stories I love but I don’t feel honest if I’m ignoring the books I didn’t enjoy. And I know that you friends will listen.

I also want to be more consistent about content both here and on my bookstagram. And for that, I’m going to find and stick to a schedule. I can definitely do this! I really want to keep growing these spaces and I have so many plans for the future! As a big goal, I want to reach 500 followers for Latinx Magic and 1000 for my bookstagram by the end of 2020. Hey, I said they were big goals!

One: Read 200 books

If I’m honest, I do want to reach 300 books again. But I’m not sure how my 2020 is going to be and I already have so much on my mind that I don’t want to pressure myself. Goodreads challenge is usually my biggest motivator, but my year is so uncertain right now and I don’t even know how I’m going to feel. Or maybe I’m still exhausted by 2019 and the holidays and work and finals and I don’t want to think about challenges right now… Let’s leave this one with a question mark.

Two: Read more romance

I’m happy that I’m slowly diving more into romance and finding exactly what I like and what I don’t. For 2020 I want to try more historical romance, maybe some SFF romance? I used to read a lot of historical when I just started with the genre but then I found contemporary and I kind of never looked back. But there are so many historicals on my tbr! Like Alyssa Cole’s The Loyal League and Beverly Jenkins’ Rebel. With SFF romance, I’m not sure where to start. I may have read like 5 books from this subgenre, oops. I feel like I’m going to enjoy it, as I love romance and I love SFF. Let me know if you have any recommendations!

Three: Tackle unread books

I’m participating in CW’s StartOnYourShelfathon challenge, so I’m going to be motivated to crash this one. I’m also very embarrassed by the number of unread books. I can’t keep doing this. Mostly, it makes me angry because these are all books I’ve been looking for to reading. And I’m going to start the decade good. Here I go?

Four: Read more non-fiction

I used to read a lot of non-fiction. As a kid, I was so interested in history and social themes, I read a good number of books about colonization and Latin American. I thought it was essential for me to understand these things. And I still do. So yeah, 2020 is the year I go back to non-fiction. I’m not sure what I stop reading it, I guess I got interested in other things, but I shouldn’t have abandoned it like I did.

Five: Finish series

Yeah, this was something I was talking about in my wrap up yesterday. I don’t know how to finish series, I’m very good at starting them and then just not reading them anymore. But 2020 Cande is a new Cande! Some of my favorite series are coming to an end and I’m going to be ready this time. At least I could, I don’t know, finish 5 of my series? Please future me, I beg you, do better this time.

Six: Read all the sff

I keep saying I love this genre but I still feel like I don’t read enough. I want to try some new sub-genres like steampunk and keep exploring the ones I enjoy (like high fantasy). I also want to actually read science-fiction because I barely touched it this year. I have so many books on my radar and I have read zero. My biggest thing for 2020 is, I’m prioritizing my authors of color. I don’t need to explain this, I’m sure. I didn’t do a good job in 2019 and I’m challenging myself to do better.

Seven: 2020 releases

Well yes, of course! I want to read all my anticipated releases. I wrote two blog posts about them, one about YA and the other one about MG books by Latinx authors. I’m sure I will be adding many more in these lists, and my romance lists too. But yeah, read my anticipated releases!

Things I do regularly and I want to keep doing

  • Read comics and graphic novels
  • Listen to audiobooks
  • Support Latinx creators
  • Get into all the sapphic books

Let me know what your resolutions are!

Happy reading,

6 MG books by Latinx authors that I can’t wait to read

Hello friends,

Yesterday I did my most anticipated YA releases, so now it’s time to talk about middle-grade! I feel like this year I have read more MG, although I have always liked it. There’s something so special about MG contemporaries that I never find anywhere else. And MG fantasy? Oh, one of the greatest thing of this universe! So I’m incredibly excited for all the Latinx authors debuting next year plus some my favorites’ work. Let 2020 be the year of Latinx middle-grade takeover!

As a note, this is not an exhaustive list of MG releases by Latinx authors, maybe I will do one later in the year. If you’re looking to support more Latinx voices, check out Adriana’s list of releases by season.

I also highly recommend checking out Laura’s post because she has over 40 MG books coming out next year.

April

Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega: chanclas, abuelas, cute cats, malicious spirits and two best friends that have to save their town. Pitched as Coco meets Stranger Things, so you can imagine how excited I am. It also has a delightful cover! Claribel is such a vital part of the community, always advocating and supporting everyone and I can’t wait to support their book.

June

The Way to Rio Luna by Zoraida Córdova: middle grade by Zoraida!!!! AAAAAAAH  so excited so excited! Okay, okay I’m calming down now but not really? I’m going to scream about this book for the rest of my life and I haven’t even read it yet! “For fans of The Land of Stories comes an adventure that reveals the secret warnings hidden inside all classic tales — beware fairyland at all costs.” I don’t need anything else, please and thank you.

Curse of the Night Witch by Alex Aster: “A fast-paced series starter perfect for fans of Aru Shah and the End of Time and filled with adventure, mythology, and an unforgettable trio of friends.” Adventures, fast-paced and mythology? Sign me up! It looks so fun and cute, the cover is gorgeous and I’m so excited for all the Latinx fantasy we’re getting.

August

Paola Santiago and the River of Tears by Tehlor Kay Mejia: La Llorona retelling by my queen Tehlor, pretty cover and the Rick Riordan presents series. Yeah, give me give me. Plus it looks like a spooky and very emotional read, maybe I’m projecting what Tehlor makes me feel? Oh for sure it’s going to break my heart, we can rename it Paola Santaigo and the River of Cande’s Tears?

To be announced

On These Magic Shores by Yamile Saied Méndez: Middle grade with magical realism elements, story that deals with immigration and being the oldest daughter and impossible and discouraging situations. Beautiful cover and Argentinian rep. So yeah, this is Cande’s ghost speaking now.

Efrén Divided by Ernesto Cisneros: Another novel that deals with immigration, the weight of being the oldest and kids in terrible situations trying to do the best they can. This book sounds like a gut-punch and I’m very much excited for that pain. It’s an ownvoices story with Mexican main character.

What MG books are you excited for?

Happy reading,