Blog Tour Stop: Lobizona by Romina Garber [ARC Review!]

Lobizona_BlogTourBanner_Use on+after 8.4

I am so honored that I was gifted an eARC of Romina Garber’s Lobizona and given the opportunity to be a part of this blog tour arranged by Wednesday Books! This novel was such a fun and addicting read, and I can’t wait to tell you more about it below!


ABOUT THE BOOK

Lobizona_Front coverLOBIZONA

by Romina Garber

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Release Date: August 4th, 2020

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal

Age Category: Young Adult

SYNOPSIS

Some people ARE illegal.

Lobizonas do NOT exist.

Both of these statements are false.

Manuela Azul has been crammed into an existence that feels too small for her. As an undocumented immigrant who’s on the run from her father’s Argentine crime-family, Manu is confined to a small apartment and a small life in Miami, Florida.

Until Manu’s protective bubble is shattered.

Her surrogate grandmother is attacked, lifelong lies are exposed, and her mother is arrested by ICE. Without a home, without answers, and finally without shackles, Manu investigates the only clue she has about her past—a mysterious “Z” emblem—which leads her to a secret world buried within our own. A world connected to her dead father and his criminal past. A world straight out of Argentine folklore, where the seventh consecutive daughter is born a bruja and the seventh consecutive son is a lobizón, a werewolf. A world where her unusual eyes allow her to belong.

As Manu uncovers her own story and traces her real heritage all the way back to a cursed city in Argentina, she learns it’s not just her U.S. residency that’s illegal. . . .it’s her entire existence.


REVIEW

Romina Garber’s Lobizona sucked me in and didn’t let me go, to the point where I could barely part with it for more than a short period at a time and ended up devouring the majority of the book in a single day.

My favorite part of this novel was the numerous themes that Garber wove into the story. Not only does she chronicle the daily struggles of being an undocumented immigrant, but she challenges misogyny and systems rooted in a gender binary through the paranormal world of witches and werewolves. Alongside this, we see Manu struggling with the personal battles of taking control of her own destiny and happiness, finding a place where she fits in, and learning how she wants to make her mark on the world.

Another one of my favorite aspects was the Argentinian folklore–inspired paranormal world that Garber crafted! Enchanting details of this world threaded their way onto every page, causing me to fly through the book at an increasing speed. I will say that some areas of the worldbuilding did feel a bit lacking in depth, but this may be a combination of me devouring the book and missing details and Manu still learning about the world. I cannot wait to see this magical world further explored in the sequel!

And not only did Garber bless us with this captivating, hidden world, but she gave us a fellow book nerd and fangirl as a protagonist! As Manu spent most of her days home-schooled under Perla (a grandmother figure in her life), it’s clear how important literature has become to her. Throughout the novel, Manu regularly compares herself and her circumstances to literature, whether it’s Harry Potter or Jane Austen. Another thing that I adored about Manu (and her friends) was that they’re unapologetically feminists, repeatedly challenging micro-aggressions and gender stereotypes. ALSO, there was a surprise f/f side couple (and potentially some additional queer characters that have yet to come out) that just made me so happy!

The only thing that I found that didn’t work for me was the insta-love romance. Manu is quickly drawn and infatuated with her love interest, and I think I would have preferred to see her more focused on exploring this new world of brujas and lobizones. The two seemed to make a decent couple, but I just wished their timeline hadn’t been so rushed.

Overall, I adored this book, and I definitely recommend it to lovers of YA, witches, werewolves, or paranormal fantasy in general! Lobizona is a beautifully balanced book between its relevant conflicts, fun boarding school setting, and captivating worldbuilding, making it a valuable contribution to the YA curriculum.

Trigger Warnings: a misogynistic and homophobic society, sexism, a brief physical assault, a capture and physical abuse by ICE

Rating: 4 stars


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Romina Garber_Credit Drew Bordeaux

ROMINA GARBER (pen name Romina Russell) is a New York Times and international bestselling author. Originally from Argentina, she landed her first writing gig as a teen—a weekly column for the Miami Herald that was later nationally syndicated—and she hasn’t stopped writing since. Her books include Lobizona. When she’s not working on a novel, Romina can be found producing movie trailers, taking photographs, or daydreaming about buying a new drum set. She is a graduate of Harvard College and a Virgo to the core.

Social Links: Twitter | Instagram


Are you excited to read Lobizona? If you’ve already read it, what were your thoughts? Let me know down in the comments!

July Wrap-Up: Wrote 60K Words for Camp NaNo and Drank Way Too Many Sugary Coffee & Tea Drinks

monthly wrap up

I’m both sad and glad July is over! July was a crazy month in that I spent most of my mental and creativity energy (and motivation) on my Camp NaNo project (and thus accomplished like nothing else). My writing buddy and I quickly realized we were most productive during the morning, so I started almost every day with an early writing session. Though I loved the routine of it, my sleep schedule was less appreciative. (My taste buds on the other hand, quite adored all the food and drinks I was bribing myself with.)

In terms of reading and blogging? July was much less productive. Once again, I read 4 books, which is on track with my reading goal, but not quite as much as I was hoping to get through. I’m finding myself reading in spurts more and more now, and less so on a regular basis–I’m keeping my fingers crossed I can reverse this shift in August!


BOOKS READ:

two books, 'Sorcery of Thorns' and 'I, Coriander' lying against wooden panels with a tiny tea cup between them

1. Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Rating: 4.25 stars

I’ve put this book on so many TBRs and I finally read it! Rogerson crafted an intriguing and gorgeous world and I WANT MORE! This world has such promise for further exploration and I could easily see a dozen companion books written in it! *crossing all my fingers and toes for at LEAST one companion* I LOVED both Nathaniel and Silas’ characters, but tbh I wasn’t much of a fan of the MC, Elizabeth. She was okay, but gave me a lot of ‘stereotypical YA heroine vibes’. Regardless, the story was so fun and addicting and I definitely recommend it!

Buddy-read with the amazing Sammie @ The Bookwyrm’s Den
(My first successful buddy-read! Would have been the second but I failed Sammie back in February, whoops)

2. I, Coriander by Sally Gardiner

Rating: 3 stars

A reread of a book that I originally read in 2009! (I even checked my library’s checkout history to confirm this fact). Definitely noticed some more problematic elements this time around, which is often my fear with rereads. It was still a fun, quick read with some rather unique characteristics, but I’m not sure if it’s one I’ll continue to recommend to others.

3. Pretend You’re Mine by Laura Conway

Rating: 3 stars

This was a super fun f/f romance novella that I devoured in a day (before my KU subscription ended, haha)! It was so cute to see Lauren and Jackie pretending to date while secretly harboring crushes for one another. I adored it, though I do admit the plot was a little lacking (aka there wasn’t much of one).

4. Flunked by Jen Calonita

Rating: 3.5 stars

This was a cute, quick MG read! I’m a sucker for anything related to fairytales, especially when they involve overlapping retellings. I did find the worldbuilding a bit lacking and vague, but with 5 books following it, this issue will likely get addressed. Though I intend to use August to focus on ARCs, I may have to squeeze the next book into my agenda.


Life Updates:

  • I participated in Camp NaNo! (And that was basically my entire month right there, eek)
    • My goal was to complete a 50K new, revamped first draft of an old story idea, and I surpassed my goal by writing a total of 60K words! I’m going to take a break from writing for a couple of weeks before going back and figuring out how to re-plot the monstrous hot mess of a story.
    • Binge-wrote 6.7K words on the last day of July in an attempt to give my draft a semblance of an ending, and wowza, was I dead afterwards!
    • Would not have survived Camp NaNo if it were not for my writing buddy (and all the sugary coffee & tea drinks we bought, lol)! We literally met up every day of July for writing sessions (outside, of course). I totally would have dissolved into a bemoaning puddle of mush if it wasn’t for her. ❤

 Camp Winner 2020 - Twitter Banner

  • ‘Celebrated’ the 4th of July by attending a protest!
  • Was able to see more of my old high school friends at a couple of socially-distant gatherings at parks this month! It was so lovely to see their faces and talk with people who aren’t my family, lol.

Posts by Other Bloggers That I Enjoyed:

  • Jaime @ Jaime Writes Words and Waffles posted a review of The Crow Rider that makes me eager to return to The Storm Crow duology!
  • Destiny @ Howling Libraries wrote a review about Emily Henry’s Beach Read. I didn’t think I could get any more excited about the book, but Destiny’s review did just that!
  • Kay @ Hammock of Books shared some of her spreads from her first year of bullet journaling! Her spreads are so cute and pretty and ahhhh, now I’m itching to attempt to draw something and/or buy a bullet journal.

AUGUST TBR:

I’ve actually made a separate post for my August TBR, if ya wanna check it out! In honor of ARC August, I’m planning on dedicating most of the month to reading ARCs!


How was your July? Did you participate in Camp NaNo? Are you writing anything currently? What are your plans for August?

ARC August 2020 TBR! | Will I Actually Manage to Read My ARCs?

update or TBR blog banner

Welp, it’s that time again! Is it weird that I’ve sorta been looking forward to ARC August all summer in order to catch up on my ARCs? Like, I don’t know why I think it isn’t fitting to regularly read ARCs, but alas, here we are. 😅

Eek, this is embarrassing because there are still some books on here from my August 2019 TBR….

I have 8 ARCs listed below, but since I have only been getting through about 4 books a month lately, I’m not sure how realistic it is to expect me to get through all of these?!? BUT I am taking a short break from writing now that Camp Nano is over (and thus going to try to focus more on reading), so I am still hoping to read the majority, if not all of these books! *crosses all fingers possible*  🤞🤞

For those of you who don’t know: ARC August is an annual, month-long read-a-thon dedicated to reading & catching up on ARCs. It is hosted by Read.Sleep.Repeat.


Netgalley e-ARCs:

  • Lobizona– I’ve mentioned this on a lot of recent lists lately and that’s because my stop on the blog tour is just around the corner! I actually started this the other day (yay me!) but I need to continue chipping away at it! The beginning already has hooked me & I’m excited to return to it!
  • The Silvered Serpents– Omg, because this release date got pushed back, I’ve actually had this ARC since last fall! But now that the release date is approaching in September, it’s time for me to finally get around to it. Thinking I should probably reread The Gilded Wolves first tho…
  • The Unspoken Name– LOL, so this book has actually been sitting on my ‘currently reading’ shelf since February and I don’t think I’ve actually picked it up since…oh, February. Originally it was a buddy read with Sammie @ The Bookwyrm’s Den but then I totally failed and never got past the first quarter of the book, whoops…

Physical ARCs:

the books 'Ballistic' and 'A Queen in Hiding' standing against a green wall with a tiny pink tea cup in front of them

  • A Queen in Hiding– Won this ARC in a Goodreads giveaway at the end of the last year (it released in January) and I don’t know why I haven’t read it yet?!? Especially since it has such a pretty cover and is about a magical queen forced to become a guerilla fighter!
  • Ballistic– This is an unsolicited ARC from 47North that I received earlier this year. It’s actually a sequel, so I had to go back and read book 1 first. I finished book 1 at the end of June and now I’m curious to see how the series will continue!

Extremely Old ARCs From 2019:

the books 'Gravemaidens,' 'Voices,' and 'Two Girls, a Clock, and a Crooked House' lying against a blue and white blanket

And oh, what do ya know? I’m even reusing the picture I used last year! Yes, these are the ARCs I had on this TBR in 2019! 😅 I got these ARCs from a publishing internship I had last spring (2019) by picking them up from various ‘take shelves’ (which are shelves where employees/imprints put extra ARCs/books they don’t want and anyone is welcome to take from). I may or may not have gotten these books on Good Friday when the PRH building was like 95% empty and scoured the ‘take shelves’ on every single floor with children’s/YA imprints. 😆 But despite this adventure, have I read most of the books I picked up? Errmmm, no.


What books are you hoping to read this month? Are you also participating in ARC August?

If anyone has any interest in buddy reading any of the books I mentioned above, please let me know!

Top Ten Tuesday: Old Favorites I’m Itching to Reread

TTT pretty design(33)

This week’s TTT topic is a freebie! At first, I thought I’d discuss fairytale retellings I’ve loved, but quickly got overwhelmed looking at all the ones I’ve read over the past decade+ (I have been obsessed since middle school, so needless to say, that is a project for another day, not Monday night, lol). Reflecting on past reads from my childhood did get me nostalgic, which then reminded me how I’ve been weirdly itching to reread all these books I loved during my pre-teen and teen years?!?! I’ve already reread Ash and I, Coriander this past summer, and since I seem to failing to pick up new books of late, I’m wondering if I should just start doing all the rereading?!? *nervously edges away from all the new, unread books on my shelves now glaring at me*

To further clarify, I am limiting this list to books that I already own and to standalones or books in a series that I have already completed. I have already talked about books I need to reread in order to finish series’ in a past TTT post.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.


1-3. Graceling Series by Kristin Cashore

My writing buddy and I have been discussing this series of late, and with the 4th companion releasing in January (not sure how I feel about that tbh), I’m eager to revisit the series! There’s so much I don’t remember, and I’m curious to see how they compare to my current standards for fantasy.

4. The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

the goose girl cover

AKA my favorite book ever which I weirdly have not mentioned in a while?!?! So odd. I’ve read this book 3-4 times now but let’s be real: no number of reads will ever be enough! Some day I also want to get around to rereading the companion books, but I weirdly don’t own them? I really need to amend this travesty…

5. Fairest by Gail Carson Levine

183660

In addition to being obsessed with Shannon Hale as a pre-teen, I also adored Gail Carson Levine! This is a Snow White retelling and the protagonist has this cool ability where she can imitate anyone’s voice and can also throw her voice around the room and ahhh, I still think about how cool this magical ability is.

6-8. The Girl of Fire and Thorns Trilogy by Rae Carson

I adored this trilogy as a high schooler! I still think about the first book a lot, though I am afraid I don’t remember a lot of the rest of the series! With a recently released new companion to the series (and because I also received these new editions as a Christmas gift last year), I think it is definitely time I picked up this series again!

9. Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay

18782855

When I originally attempted to compile a fairytale retelling list for this TTT, I was reminded of this sleeping beauty retelling! Well, the protagonist is actually suppose to be Sleeping Beauty’s daughter, but still! Aurora has the ability to control any man she kisses, and wow, even though I know what happens, can you imagine if the author had taken the MC and made her a villain with an army of enchanted men? That would epic…(someone please go write this for me)

10. The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon

29008738. sy475

Not actually a book I read during my childhood, but one I read about 3 years ago. Definitely not a favorite, but I found it to be a decent read, and I am eager to revisit its interesting magic system and world!


Have you read any of these books? What did ya think of them? What books do you keep meaning to revisit?

If you participated in TTT this week, feel free to link up your post in the comments below–I would love to check them out!