Spoiler-Free Book Reviews For October!

We’re back with another edition of spoiler-free book reviews for some of the latest titles in the CA Library collection — look for them in the New Books Section!

As always, if you want to check out what’s in the collection, head over to the CA Library Catalog. And if you like the reviewer, show them some love by subscribing to their YouTube channel!

We’ve also indicated if the book reviewed is available in the Sora digital reading app as an eBook and/or audiobook.

Let’s get to the reviews!

All The Dead Lie Down by Kyrie McCauley — Reviewed by Cyn’s Workshop

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I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick — Reviewed by Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library

Painted Devils (Little Thieves, Book 2) by Margaret Owen — Reviewed by Still Waiting For My Satyr

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Royal Blood by Aimee Carter — Reviewed by milkstrology

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You’re Not Supposed To Die Tonight by Kalynn Bayron — Reviewed by Kasha’s Book Sematary

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National Hispanic American Heritage Month

September 15 to October 15 is National Hispanic American Heritage Month!

The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, and other cultural institutions join in paying tribute to the generations of Hispanic Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society.

In the latest episode of the Hey YA Podcast, Tirzah and Erica discuss some interesting news stories and celebrate Latine Heritage Month with some fab YA books by Latine authors:

CA Library recognizes National Hispanic American Heritage Month with featured collections of books, eBooks and audiobooks in the library and in the Sora digital reading app. Stop by today and check them out!

Brown : the last discovery of America Brown: The Last Discovery of America by Richard Rodriguez — Explores the experiences of Hispanics in the United States, arguing that Hispanics are becoming Americanized at the same rate America is becoming Latinized, discussing the influence Hispanics have had on American culture, history, and society.

Finding Latinx : in search of the voices redefining Latino identity Finding Latinx: In Search of the Voices Redefining Latin Identity by Paolo Ramo — Debut author and journalist Paola Ramos travels to near and far corners of the country in search of Latino voices that illustrate a growing movement and represent a community of young Latinos that hold more political, social and cultural relevance today than ever before. “A revelatory, celebratory trip through the amazing diversity of Latinx” (Library Journal). Get the Audiobook

The Latin American kitchen : a book of essential ingredients with more than 200 authentic recipes The Latin American Kitchen: A Book Of Essential Ingredients With More Than 200 Authentic Recipes by Elisabeth Luard — A collection of authentic Latin American recipes for dishes from regions ranging from northern Mexico to southern Argentina includes both old favorites and little-known regional specialties that showcase eighty-four key ingredients.

The Latino holiday book : from Cinco de Mayo to Dia de los Muertos--the celebrations and traditions of Hispanic Americans The Latino Holiday Book: From Cinco De Mayo To Dia De Los Muertos — The Celebrations And Traditions Of Hispanic Americans by Valerie Menard — Describes the traditional holiday celebrations of Hispanic Americans, as well as birthday, wedding, and quinceanera traditions, explaining the religious and social history of each day, describing its customs, and including related recipes and craft projects; grouped by season.

Voces sin fronteras : our stories, our truth = nuestras historias nuestra verdadVoces Sin Fronteras: Our Stories, Our Truth = Nuestras Historias Nuestra Verdad — Sixteen young people from the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC) in Washington, D.C. come together to tell their own stories of immigration and transformation in comics.


Don't ask me where I'm from Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From by Jennifer De Leon — Reinventing herself at a privileged white suburban high school to get by in the face of escalating racial tensions, a first-generation American-LatinX teen is forced to take a stand when she discovers that her absent father cannot legally return home. “An energetically paced, boundary-pushing novel that raises important questions of race, identity, belonging, true friendship, and how to stand up for a cause you truly believe in” (Booklist).

How Moon Fuentez fell in love with the universe How Moon Fuentez Fell In Love With The Universe by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland — The Hating Game meets I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter in this Pura Belpré Award–winning novel that’s an irresistible romance starring a Mexican American teen who discovers love and profound truths about the universe when she spends her summer on a road trip across the country. When seventeen-year-old Star Fuentez reaches social media stardom, her polar-opposite twin, Moon, becomes “merch girl” on a tour bus full of beautiful influencers and the grumpy but attractive Santiago Philips. “Readers will fall in love with this poignant, powerful, and poetic coming-of-age tale” (Kirkus Reviews). Get the eBook | Get the Audiobook

I am not your perfect Mexican daughter I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez — When the sister who delighted their parents by her faithful embrace of Mexican culture dies in a tragic accident, Julia, who longs to go to college and move into a home of her own, discovers from mutual friends that her sister may not have been as perfect as believed. “Like Isabel Quintero’s Gabi, a Girl in Pieces, this novel richly explores coming-of-age topics; a timely and must-have account of survival in a culturally contentious world” (School Library Journal). Get the eBook | Get the Audiobook

Our Shadows Have Claws: 15 Latin American Monster Stories, edited by Yamile Saied Méndez and Amparo Ortiz — From zombies to cannibals to star-crossed, shapeshifting lovers to Death incarnate, this cross-genre anthology written by superstar authors from across the Latin American diaspora offers bold new thrills for every monster lover. “The combination of recognizable names from YA literature and superlative stories on a range of themes makes this collection a winner” (Kirkus Reviews).

Sanctuary Sanctuary by Paola Mendoza — In 2032, when sixteen-year-old Vali’s mother is detained by the Deportation Forces, Vali must flee Vermont with her little brother, Ernie, hoping to reach their Tia Luna in the sanctuary state of California. “Though the novel’s unflinching honesty and real-world parallels deliver uncomfortable truths, its propulsive narrative and its message of hope and resilience will carry readers through” (Publishers Weekly).  Get the eBook | Get the Audiobook

5-Star Book Reviews: Fantasy

We continue our series of posts highlighting some of the best books in the CA Library collection, featuring outstanding books in a specific genre — today’s featured titles are all Fantasy Fiction. Follow the links for each book to learn more from the CA Library catalog … and if an eBook and/or audiobook version is available in our Sora collection, there are links for those, too!


Children of Ragnarok Children of Ragnarok by Cinda Williams Chima — Desperate to escape her demon master, runecaster Reggin Eiklund flees to the Grove, while Eiric Halvorsen, falsely accused of murdering his modir and stepfadir, journeys to the Grove at the behest of a powerful jarl interested in restoring magic to the world. “This innovative story with a satisfying ancient mythology baseline strikes a refreshing note for the genre” (Kirkus Reviews). Get the eBook

Forging silver into stars Forging Silver Into Stars (Book 1) by Brigid Kemmerer — When the King’s Courier, Lord Tycho, stops in the small town of Briarlock he is quick to befriend Jax and Callyn, but the town has long been an outpost for the anti-magic Truthbringers, and soon they find themselves embroiled in a world of shifting alliances and ancient magic. “With fresh takes on familiar fantasy tropes, plus gorgeous world building, this book spins one intriguing mystery after another” (Booklist). Get the eBook | Get the Audiobook

Nightbirds Nightbirds by Kate J. Armstrong — At the mercy of well-paying clients, four Nightbirds, girls who have a unique and powerful magic they can gift with just a kiss, get a chance to remake the city that dared to clip their wings when the truth about their magic was revealed. “With a pace that never flags and a harrowing, high-stakes plot, this distinguished read boasts texture, heft, and heart” (Publishers Weekly). Get the Audiobook

Our crooked hearts Our Crooked Hearts by Melissa Albert — Told in alternating voices, years after it began, seventeen-year-old Ivy and her mom Dana’s shared story comes down to a reckoning among a daughter, a mother, and the dark forces they never should have messed with. “Atmospherically tense prose and vividly sketched, true-to-life characters add depth, resulting in a tale both spellbinding and bingeworthy” (Publishers Weekly). Get the eBook | Get the Audiobook

Painted devils Painted Devils (Little Thieves, Book 2) by Margaret Owen — “Reformed” jewel thief and scam artist Vanja accidentally starts a cult around a Low God, the Scarlet Maiden, who claims Emeric as her virgin sacrifice, and desperate to save the only man she’s ever cared for, Vanja seeks a dangerous alternative. “Owen writes at the top of her game, with this installment even stronger than Little Thieves. This series is a must-have for library collections” (School Library Journal).  Get the eBook | Get the Audiobook

Reclaim the stars : 17 tales across realms & space Reclaim The Stars: 17 Tales Across Realms and Space, edited by Zoraida, Córdova — Proving that stories are truly universal, this brilliant collection that features contributions from best-selling and acclaimed authors, as well as two new voices, takes the Latin American diaspora to places fantastical and out of this world. “Intertwining Spanish and English and weaving cultural elements and traditions of Latinx culture throughout, these stories offer a much-needed reflection of representation to the Latinx diaspora community” (Booklist).

Rust in the root Rust In The Root by Justina Ireland — It is 1937, and Laura Ann Langston lives in an America divided—between those who work the mystical arts and those who do not. Ever since the Great Rust, a catastrophic event that blighted the arcane force called the Dynamism and threw America into disarray, the country has been rebuilding for a better future. And everyone knows the future is industry and technology—otherwise known as Mechomancy—not the traditional mystical arts. “This novel tackles important social issues while providing an exciting and fast-paced adventure that’s hard to put down” (School Library Journal).  Get the eBook

Sing me to sleep Sing Me To Sleep by Gabi Burton — Forced to accept a job guarding the crown prince, siren-in-hiding Saoirse Sorkova, a soldier who survives on lies, finds herself drawn to Prince Hayes, especially when they must work together to stop a deadly killer, who, unbeknownst to him, is Saoirse, herself. “Burton spins an unforgettable debut that boasts impeccable characterizations and fresh takes on well-trod tropes that promise an amorous adventure centering a devoted, rag-tag family, stirring mythos, and sweetly budding romance” (Publishers Weekly). Get the eBook | Get the Audiobook

A thousand steps into night A Thousand Steps Into Night by Traci Chee — When Miuko, a girl who’s never longed for adventure, is hit with a curse that begins to transform her into a demon, she embarks on a quest to reverse the curse and return to her normal life, but along the way is forced to confront her true power within. “Chee once again creates a lush fantasy world that revolves around a girl discovering her own power. Just like Miuko, the story never takes the path that’s expected” (School Library Journal). Get the eBook

Unraveller Unraveller by Frances Hardinge — Fifteen-year-old Kellen’s unique ability to unravel curses unfortunately does not protect him from becoming cursed, and unless he and his best friend and ally Nettle can remove his hex, Kellen is in danger of unravelling everything — and everyone — around him. “Another deeply atmospheric, compulsively readable yet utterly unsettling offering from Hardinge. Highly recommended” (School Library Journal).

When the angels left the old country When The Angels Left The Old Country by Sacha Lamb — When a young emigrant from their tiny village goes missing while heading to America, angel Uriel and demon Little Ash set off to find her and encounter many humans in need of their help as they face obstacles ahead of them as difficult as what they’ve left behind. “Richly imagined and plotted, this inspired book has the timeless feeling of Jewish folklore, which is further enhanced by the presence of two magical protagonist” (Booklist). Get the eBook | Get the Audiobook