I’m Reading Shadowshaper

ShadowshaperTitle: Shadowshaper
Author: Daniel Jose Older
Genres:  Urban Fantasy
Pages: 297
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Review Copy: Libary/Overdrive eBook & eAudiobook
Where to Get: LibraryAmazon, Barnes & Noble

Summary from Goodreads:
Sierra Santiago was looking forward to a fun summer of making art, hanging out with her friends, and skating around Brooklyn. But then a weird zombie guy crashes the first party of the season. Sierra’s near-comatose abuelo begins to say “No importa” over and over. And when the graffiti murals in Bed-Stuy start to weep…. Well, something stranger than the usual New York mayhem is going on. Sierra soon discovers a supernatural order called the Shadowshapers, who connect with spirits via paintings, music, and stories. Her grandfather once shared the order’s secrets with an anthropologist, Dr. Jonathan Wick, who turned the Caribbean magic to his own foul ends. Now Wick wants to become the ultimate Shadowshaper by killing all the others, one by one. With the help of her friends and the hot graffiti artist Robbie, Sierra must dodge Wick’s supernatural creations, harness her own Shadowshaping abilities, and save her family’s past, present, and future.

My Review

Shadowshaper is a powerful novel by Daniel Jose Older. The novel is a Young Adult, urban fantasy; set in the Bed-Stuy of Brooklyn, New York. Randomly, a former co-worker suggested the book to me on Goodreads and to be completely honest, I judged the book by the cover (Such a NO-NO).  This book has such a beautiful cover. Just look at the at cover!! You can’t say no to that. I’m glad I read the book because fantasy is a new genre that I am exploring and my only foray into fantasy has been Song of Fire & Ice series by George R.R. Martin.

The book tells the story of Sierra Santiago, an Afro-Latina, who is immersed into a spiritual world and battle; which she has to navigate very quickly. Sierra has been noticing that the graffiti murals in her neighborhood are fading and crying. Soon after her abuelo (grandfather), who has suffered a stroke and doesn’t speak  starts talking and saying the same phrase over and over again; Lo Siento, Lo Siento (I’m Sorry, I’m Sorry). Sierra’s abuelo tells her she will need Robbie’s help to finish her mural. Soon Robbie tells her about secret organization called, Shadowshapers. Shadowshapers are conduit to connect with spirits mostly through paintings. In very short time, Sierra will have to get battle ready to fight an evil Shadowshaper who is using spirits and magic to their own dark means. Not only will she have to fight an evil Shadowshaper; she will have to figure out her family history being kept hidden from her because of the rising conflicts between members of her family.

What I liked best about this novel was the folklore that the book is rooted in. The spiritual magic which is an aspect of Afro-American & Afro-Caribbean culture of still be able to connect with your ancestors’ spirits and the spirit world. It reminded me a lot of Santeria and Dia los Muertos. I loved there was a very diverse cast in the book. There were different ethnicities, nationalities, and sexualities. Older did a great job creating well-rounded main and supportive characters. Many of the everyday teenage things the characters went through reminded me of my teenage years. While saying this I glad, Older did not focus on a lot of teenage angst that many YA authors love to do. He stayed away from that and focused on the problem at hand, Sierra find her identity as Shadowshaper and Afro-Latino, and defeating an evil shadowshaper. It was fascinating how Older so deftly illustrated color-ism many brown minorities face within families and society. How being a darker hue can effect the people treat you, and how you feel about yourself. When Sierra finally stood up her Aunt; I was screaming YESSSS! inside. I know that feeling so well when someone says your skin is too dark and/or your hair is too “kinky.”I really enjoyed Sierra’s strongly asserted voice and the dynamic characters that I came to know in this book.

It’s well-worthing reading, Shadowshaper, because it is not only about magic. It also discusses racism, sexism, gentrification, family ties, and appropriation. I truly enjoyed reading this book! If you are looking to get into fantasy definitely start with this book. I will also suggest listening to the audio-book because it is narrated by the beautiful and talented Anika Noni Rose!

This is definitely a must read!


9 Mini Book Reviews: Kinsey Millhone Alphabet Series

I have been reading the Kinsey Millhone series out of curiosity. It is a popular series that many patrons at the library check out all the time. I wanted to know what all the fuss was about. And now I know. The series is very enjoyable and my first female detective series. I have read the books so quickly that I want to do 9 mini reviews. I will be reviewing A-I. The Kinsey Millhone series is an alphabet mystery series. Sue Grafton, the author, titles each book with a letter of the alphabet.

Let’s Start:Read More »

Goodreads Challenge Completed and Then Some

I completed my Goodreads challenge for 2016! My challenge was to read 20 books and I did plus five more. Last year, I had the same challenge of 20 books and did not make it at all. I think I only read 5 five last year.

One of the main reasons I failed last year is because I am a very slow reader and I have a tendency to put books down and complete them for a while.

For 2016, I incorporated audiobooks into the mix and that helped alot with the completion of the challenge. I’m not sure yet what I will do for next year.



2016 Reading Challenge

2016 Reading Challenge
Kaya has
completed their goal of reading
20 books in

I’m a Casting Movie (If Only)

To be a movie casting director, would be an ideal job. However, I am only able to do it in my mind. One of my favorite things to do when reading a book is to cast the movie adaptions of the book. I recently read the The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. Below is my dream cast of actresses and actors for the roles: Isabelle, Young Vianne, Gaetan, and Julien (the sisters’ father.)

If I need to explain myself:

  1. They are wonderful actresses/actors,
  2. 3 of the 4 are actually French, and
  3. Kit Harington would be a great choice for Gaetan. He is handsome, but can be dangerous and whenever I envisioned Gaetan, it was Kit.

I know there are movie talks in the works; so Hollywood please try these actors out!


I’m Reading…The Nightingale

thenightingalecoverTitle: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Published: : February 3rd 2015 by St. Martin’s Press
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 440
Format: Ebook
Source: Overdrive

Where to GetLibraries, Amazon, B&N,

Summary: From Goodreads

Despite their differences, sisters Vianne and Isabelle have always been close. Younger, bolder Isabelle lives in Paris while Vianne is content with life in the French countryside with her husband Antoine and their daughter. But when the Second World War strikes, Antoine is sent off to fight and Vianne finds herself isolated so Isabelle is sent by their father to help her.

As the war progresses, the sisters’ relationship and strength are tested. With life changing in unbelievably horrific ways, Vianne and Isabelle will find themselves facing frightening situations and responding in ways they never thought possible as bravery and resistance take different forms in each of their actions.Read More »