Tag Archives: Woven in Moonlight

2020 Bookish Survey

Best Books 2020

2020 Reading Stats: Finally Looking Back

I know it’s already almost March, but it’s been a rough go these last few months. I was kind of on a roll there with my lists and if-we-were-having-coffee posts, and then life threw me a pretty big curveball.

I’m doing better lately, but still having some rough days. Which is why it’s almost March and I’m only just now getting around to posting an abbreviated form of this amazing Annual End of the Year Bookish Survey from Perpetual Page-Turner.

So here it is, in all its belated glory. Let me know if you read any of the books on this list, completed the survey on your own blog, or want to talk about your favorites from last year.


Number Of Books You Read: 140
Number of Re-Reads: 3
Genre You Read The Most From: YA Fantasy

1. Best Book You Read In 2020?

Ooooh, this is tough. I’m going to break this into age groups.

Best middle grade book I read in 2020 is THE LOST TIDE WARRIORS by Catherine Doyle

Best young adult book that I read in 2020 is WOVEN IN MOONLIGHT BY Isabel Ibañez.

(Honorable mention to THE SOUND OF STARS by Alechia Dow.)

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

THE LOST CITY by Amanda Hocking and CINDERELLA IS DEAD by Kalynn Bayron.

I felt like THE LOST CITY read a little too much like a guidebook to the story world or that the world building sometimes dominated the story. So, I wasn’t expecting that, and I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more if the story had been more prominent.

I enjoyed CINDERELLA IS DEAD. I thought the concept for the story was really awesome, I think I just got too wrapped up in the hype. Maybe would have appreciated it more if I’d just read if fresh, no expectations?

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?

THE MONSTER OF MARNMOUTH VALLEY by CJ Greene kind of shattered all my expectations. I loved the characters and found myself “just one more chapter”-ing my way through the whole thing!

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

Hmmm. Wow. I was not the best ambassador for books this year, since most of my bookish friends are real life friends and I’ve barely seen them. Maybe THE TIGER AT MIDNIGHT by Swati Teerdhala? Or maybe FINALLY, SOMETHING MYSTERIOUS by Doug Cornett?

 5. Best series you started in 2020? Best Sequel of 2019? And Best Series Ender of 2020?

Normally I’m horrible about series, but looking over my reading from last year, I actually conquered more series than I thought, including some really big ones.

Best series I started in 2020… FOREST OF SOULS by Lori M. Lee.

Oh my gosh, this book was so good! It has so many things I love: fierce women, unpredictable magic, snarky dialogue, best friends. So, so good.

Best sequel of 2020… THE LOST TIDE WARRIORS by Catherine Doyle.

I love this series with all my heart. It reminds me so much of THE SCORPIO RACES, but for a slightly younger audience. And the relationships between generations are incredible. It’s a fabulous series.

Best series ender of 2020… A SKY BEYOND THE STORM by Sabaa Tahir.

I feel like that’s such a predictable choice, and yet, I think it’s deserved. This book was the one I needed to finish out the year. I longed for it because I wanted more of Elias and Laia’s story, but dreaded it because I knew not everyone would make it out alive, and I knew that was going to be heartbreaking.

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2020?

I have to list two: Elizabeth Acevedo and Kiersten White.

Both have been writing books for a while, and I have owned books by both for a while. With Acevedo, I read WITH THE FIRE ON HIGH, and was just blown away by how immersive and unique and beautiful the story is.

For some reason I requested THE CAMELOT BETRAYAL on Netgalley. I think I was just gambling to see if I would even be able to get a copy of a book by an author as big as Kiersten White is. When I realized it was a sequel, I decided to read the first book in the series first, and I immediately fell in love with the gender-flipped Merlin/King Arthur story. LOVE!

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

I read a bunch of mysteries this year that I really enjoyed. I think my favorites are the series by Margi Preus: Enchantment Lake, A Clue in the Trees, and The Silver Box.

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

WHERE DREAMS DESCEND by Janella Angeles. I felt completely swept away by this story. The magic, the romance, the danger. I dove in, and just couldn’t stop reading.

TODAY, TONIGHT, TOMORROW by Rachel Lynn Solomon. This book was such an adventure to read– I laughed so much. It was just perfect. I absolutely want to read that one again.

1. New favorite book blog/Bookstagram/Youtube channel you discovered in 2020?

I started following Bowties and Books on YouTube early last year, and I love the reviews, and updates, and more than that, I feel like I learn a lot from their takes on bookish world issues. From diversity representation to bookish drama, they always bring wise perspective that I deeply appreciate.

I want to expand my BookTube subscription list, so if you have any suggestions, please share them!

2. Favorite post you wrote in 2020?

My favorite post might be the one that is a list of 26 Asian-Inspired Fantasy books by Asian authors. Initially it was meant to be a reading list to help us get through another delay in the release of the movie Mulan, but after all the conflicts over the movie, maybe it’s really better as an alternative reading list.

I love lots of things about this photo. The Jane Austen quote. The colorful book spines. The diversity that the titles represent. The fact that I have all these books somehow, and that many of them came from independent bookstores or through review opportunities from blogging.

I’ve been kicking around this idea of doing a weekly community library in our neighborhood. Maybe load up a book cart or two and wheel them outside. Let the neighborhood kids pick through and borrow what they want and return things when they’re done. It’s still a dream at this point, but I’m hopeful, and this photo is at least partly what inspired me.

What are your best bookish thoughts about 2020?

Did you post a 2020 Bookish Survey? If so, please share the link in the comments! Also tell me if you read any of my favorite books, or which favorites you discovered last year that must be on my reading list.

Happy reading, y’all!

Review: Written in Starlight by Isabel Ibañez

Written in Starlight
Isabel Ibañez
Page Street Kids
Published January 26, 2021

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indiebound | Goodreads

About Written in Starlight

If the jungle wants you, it will have you…

Catalina Quiroga is a Condesa without a country. She’s lost the Inkasisa throne, the loyalty of her people, and her best friend. Banished to the perilous Yanu Jungle, Catalina knows her chances of survival are slim, but that won’t stop her from trying to escape. It’s her duty to reclaim the throne.

When Manuel, the son of her former general, rescues Catalina from a jaguar, a plan forms. Deep in the jungle, the city of gold is hidden, home to the fierce Illari people, who she could strike an alliance with.

But the elusive Illari are fighting a battle of their own—a mysterious blight is corrupting the jungle, laying waste to everything they hold dear. As a seer, Catalina should be able to help, but her ability to read the future in the stars is as feeble as her survival instincts. While searching for the Illari, Catalina must reckon with her duty and her heart to find her true calling, which could be the key to stopping the corruption before it destroys the jungle completely.

An adventerous South American Tomb Raider! This hotly anticipated companion to Woven in Moonlight follows an outcast Condesa, as she braves the jungle to forge an alliance with the lost city of gold.

My Review

I always feel super nervous going into the sequel of a book that I adored. WOVEN IN MOONLIGHT was one of the best books I read last year, so I had high expectations for the companion novel, and I really wanted to read Catalina’s story.

I thought the book was great, so let me go no further without saying that. The jungle setting felt so spongy and deadly real. Catalina’s fierceness, her total, unquestioning commitment to her people made her admirable. I liked the slow burn, forbidden romance.

Perhaps the thing that kept me from falling in love with this story the way I did with WOVEN IN MOONLIGHT is that because I’d already walked with Ximena through her journey to understand and love the Llacsan people, it was difficult not to feel like Catalina was being selfish and narrow-minded as she dug into her prejudices and clung to them.

On the other hand, I think the things she felt and believed made a lot of sense for her character. I guess I just wish that the resolve of her hate had begun to crack sooner. That would have allowed more time for her spiritual journey, too, which I would have liked to see.

Even with all that, I enjoyed the book and loved seeing Catalina grow into the person she was meant to become. The jungle setting was fantastic, and the slow burn romance totally delicious.

I think fans of GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson (still one of my favorites) would really enjoy this book. It could probably be read on its own, though some characters and relationships from the first book are referenced. I think it’s written in such a way that you could infer a lot of what happened in the first book. (That said, if you want to read both, definitely start with the first book, otherwise WRITTEN IN STARLIGHT will spoil a lot of the plot.)

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 14 up.

Characters are Latinx-coded.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Mild profanity used pretty infrequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between boy and girl. At one point they bathe together but stay pretty far apart.

Spiritual Content
Catalina was raised worshipping the moon goddess, Luna, and believing that her people were the only ones to do so. Other people worship the earth goddess or the sun god. Some prayer and meditation rituals are shown, and some characters speak with and experience the presence of the gods.

Violent Content
Situations of peril. The jungle is full of dangerous animals and people who attack Catalina and her allies. A vicious monster literally tears some limb from limb. Magic wielders use their magic against Catalina and the others.

Drug Content

Note: I received a free copy of WRITTEN IN STARLIGHT in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support running this blog.

Review: Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez

Woven in Moonlight
Isabel Ibañez
Page Street Books
Published January 7, 2020

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Goodreads

About Woven in Moonlight

A lush tapestry of magic, romance, and revolución, drawing inspiration from Bolivian politics and history.

Ximena is the decoy Condesa, a stand-in for the last remaining Illustrian royal. Her people lost everything when the usurper, Atoc, used an ancient relic to summon ghosts and drive the Illustrians from La Ciudad. Now Ximena’s motivated by her insatiable thirst for revenge, and her rare ability to spin thread from moonlight.

When Atoc demands the real Condesa’s hand in marriage, it’s Ximena’s duty to go in her stead. She relishes the chance, as Illustrian spies have reported that Atoc’s no longer carrying his deadly relic. If Ximena can find it, she can return the true aristócrata to their rightful place.

She hunts for the relic, using her weaving ability to hide messages in tapestries for the resistance. But when a masked vigilante, a warm-hearted princess, and a thoughtful healer challenge Ximena, her mission becomes more complicated. There could be a way to overthrow the usurper without starting another war, but only if Ximena turns her back on revenge—and her Condesa.

My Review

I’m kind of a sucker for books that explore post-war relationships between former enemy groups. In this case, they’re still enemies, still at war, but in WOVEN IN MOONLIGHT, Ximena finds the hate she’s nursed for Lllacsans her whole life may be based on things that aren’t true. Or based on only parts of truth.

Her emotional journey as she lives among her enemies really drew me into the story. It was complex and sometimes rough or ugly, but felt so real and understandable. I loved her character and all the layering to it. Condesa. Decoy. Survivor. Weaver. She’s so many things, and it’s really only through seeing all those things about herself that she begins to see what her future could be and what her place in that future would look like.

I kind of have to talk about El Lobo, the masked vigilante. I loved the way those threads were woven into the story. And the scenes where Ximena meets him. I was pretty sure I knew who it was from early on, but I don’t think that detracted anything from the story. I also think the author may have meant for there to be a trail of breadcrumbs, because a few of the clues were pretty pointed. So it was kind of fun feeling like I was figuring out El Lobo’s identity right along with Ximena.

I kind of wish the tapestries had had more of a role in the story. They do have a role, for sure. I guess I wanted there to be more to them – something special they could do. There is something critical to the plot that happens because of them, so it’s not like they were pointless. I loved how creative and unusual they were.

Overall, I loved so many things about this book. I can’t tell from the ending– it might be that there’s a sequel or at least a companion novel to follow? I would love to see more of this story world, and especially would love to know what happens next with Ximena and the Condesa.

If you’re a fan of stories like Zorro or the Scarlet Pimpernel– put WOVEN IN MOONLIGHT on your list! I think it’s also a great pick for fans of fantasy like The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta.

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 12 up.

Characters are POC – this is a Latinx-inspired fantasy.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
A couple instances of swearing in Spanish.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between boy and girl. One scene shows a girl waking with a boy in her bed.

Spiritual Content
Each people worship different gods/goddesses. Ximena worships Luna, a moon goddess, who blesses her weaving. Each character has some kind of magical ability.

Violent Content – trigger warning.
Battle scenes, references to torture and brief descriptions of execution. Some graphic violence described. There is also one scene in which a man gets violent with a woman.

Drug Content
Characters drink wine.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support the costs of running this blog. I received a free copy of WOVEN IN MOONLIGHT in exchange for my honest review.