Why She Wrote: A Graphic History of the Lives, Inspiration, and Influence Behind the Pens of Classic Women Writers

by Lauren Burke, Hannah K. Chapman, and Kaley Bales


Review:

Why She Wrote is compelling read! The book highlights a significant moment of the writer’s life and retells it through engaging and accessible comics, along with biographical text, bibliographies, and fun facts. The half narrative and half graphic novel combination was unique but very well executed. It highlighted some of the most renowned classic writers like Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott to the relatively lesser known ones (to me anyway) like Edith Maude Eaton, and Anne Lister (I haven’t read her work yet but I fell in love with her). The narrative provided made me appreciate their works (more so than before) and made me eager to get to the ones that I haven’t read (YET).

My to-be-read pile keeps piling up! 

With that being said, I give props to the authors for working with what they had. It was said in the book that there wasn’t much information on some of the authors (for example, Ann Radcliffe) and there was speculation on others (for example, Jane Austen’s life in Bath) and the ‘significant moments’ can also be argued as speculation. Thus, the book isn’t 100% accurate, I personally don’t mind taking everything into consideration, but it’s important to note. 

Question, will this book become a series? Because there were a couple (A LOT) of female authors excluded from this narrative. 

Overall, it was original, very inspiring and a must read for readers of all ages and genders.

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher, Chronicle Books, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank You. 

A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow

by Laura Taylor Namey

Synopsis:
Warnings: Death and Dementia
For Lila Reyes, a summer in England was never part of the plan. The plan was 1) take over her abuela’s role as head baker at their panadería, 2) move in with her best friend after graduation, and 3) live happily ever after with her boyfriend. But then the Trifecta happened, and everything—including Lila herself—fell apart.
Worried about Lila’s mental health, her parents make a new plan for her: Spend three months with family friends in Winchester, England, to relax and reset. But with the lack of sun, a grumpy inn cook, and a small town lacking Miami flavor (both in food and otherwise), what would be a dream trip for some feels more like a nightmare to Lila…until she meets Orion Maxwell.

Playlist for ‘A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow’:
⭐️What a Girl Wants – Christina Aguilera
⭐️Blackbird – The Beatles
⭐️Fall Apart Too – Katelyn Tarver
⭐️Me Prometo – Nia Ocean
⭐️Lost Stars – Adam Levine
⭐️Tu Sangre en mi Cuerpo – Angela Aguilar
⭐️Rie y Llora – Celia Cruz
⭐️Suavemente – Elvis Crespo
⭐️Here For You – Peter Fenn
⭐️Havana – Camila Cabello
⭐️London Boy -Taylor Swift

The ‘A Cuban’s Girl Guide to Tea and Tomorrow’ is perfect for fans of…
⭐️Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
⭐️Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno
⭐️Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
⭐️The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
⭐️With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

REVIEW: A Cuban’s Girl Guide to Tea and Tomorrow
by Laura Taylor Namey

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.75 Stars out of 5 Stars

Review: Possible Spoilers (read w/caution)
After having a trifecta of losses, Lila was forced onto a plane by family and sent to Winchester, England to live with her Tia for the summer. The Miami born and bred Lila finds herself in uncharted territory figuring out her self and her future.
From the beginning, Lila is a strong-minded, stubborn and passionate young Cubana that holds everything in. Lila struggled to accept her situation in Winchester. However, she found new relationship with new friends, her family (her tia) and possible romance. The relationships were build out of trust and zero judgement. It was refreshing to see friendship blossom organically and not forced. Communication was key and how the group friends genuinely wanted the best for each other.
It was also nice to see family bonds that I could relate to. I saw my family in Lila’s familia. They loved her and wanted the best for her. The familial love is evident throughout the entire book and not just Lila’s familial love.
Lila as a character was interesting and relatable. She loves baking. She is passionate about what she sets her mind to. Lila is a filial daughter who loved her abuela. Her confidence was backed up by her achievements.
The clash of cultures, Cuban and British, brought two world’s together to make the perfect dessert. The author infused many culture elements and showed throughout the novel despite the many, and different, traditions.
The reason this novel wasn’t a five star read was due to the pacing and romance. I enjoyed the romance but going from a 3 year relationship break up to a cute London Boy (Yes, Taylor Swift Reference) in months was like WHOA. The novel ended with a pretty bow but I wanted to see the romance flushed out a bit more. Furthermore, the novel is extremely fast paced. Due to the novel being fast paced, I felt as if some things weren’t fully flushed out and just breezed over.
All in all, the novel was fun and witty. I lost track of time when I was reading that I finished it in hours.
OH!!! Beware, do not read this book on an empty stomach!!! I literally wanted to try everything Lila looked and baked. Also, I need my own Orion to find my cup of tea.

Thank You Simon and Schuster for sending me an arc in exchange for a review.

Hold Still by Nina LaCour

How does your life move forward, when all you want to do is hold still.” ― Nina LaCour, Hold Still.

Synopsis:

Devastating, hopeful, hopeless, playful . . . in words and illustrations, Ingrid left behind a painful farewell in her journal for Caitlin. Now Caitlin is left alone, by loss and by choice, struggling to find renewed hope in the wake of her best friend’s suicide. With the help of family and newfound friends, Caitlin will encounter first love, broaden her horizons, and start to realize that true friendship didn’t die with Ingrid. And the journal which once seemed only to chronicle Ingrid’s descent into depression, becomes the tool by which Caitlin once again reaches out to all those who loved Ingrid—and Caitlin herself.

Rating: Hold Still by Nina LaCour ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Trigger Warning: Self Harm, Suicide, Mild Sexual Content

Review: Beware of Spoilers

This was the first book that I read by Nina LaCour and I was not disappointed. Hold Still was utterly heartbreaking yet also filled with hope and optimism. LaCour beautifully explores the range of emotions and actions that are caused by such a tragedy (family and friends). Caitlin was a complex character that took me on a rollercoaster of emotions with her. I was able to empathize and sympathize with her on many levels. The novel dealt with Caitlin’s stages of grief. Caitlin wants answers as to why her best friend committed suicide. Appearances are never what they see and that could not be any true. Ingrid did not leave a suicide letter but she left Caitlin her diary. Through the diary, Caitlin, and the readers, were able to get a glimpse of Ingrid’s mind. Truthfully, although the novel was centered on Caitlin, Ingrid‘s presence was never forgotten evident through her friends, family and classmates. LaCour did a great job in showcasing Ingrid’s mental health and portraying her as a human being and not feeding into negative stigmas. Through the flashbacks and diary entries, LaCour showcased Ingrid’s complexities as oppose to leaving her as a one dimensional character aiding the plot because the subject matter was carefully and thoughtfully dealt with. “Hold Still” was an extremely emotional read that left tears in my eyes.

Natali Reads Books

Hello Everyone,
Like many of y’all, I appreciate Maas introducing me to Rhysand, Azriel and Cassian, and Schwab introducing me to Addie Larue and Lila Bard, to Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman literally taking me out of this world. However, I also aim to highlight novels that introduce diversity and complex characters.
I am a queer latina who grew up reading Gloria Anzaldua, hence my philosophy degree, and whose childhood library was filed with Sandra Cisneros, Pam Ryan Munoz and Viola Canales. I hail from a town that is literally dubbed a borderland town. So with this blog, I hope to give my readers my perspective that may be different from their point of view. I hope to discuss and argue, respectably, about books that raise important questions but also discuss books that let me escape and fantasize.

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