Review: Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

Published by: Sourcebooks Fire

Publication Date: September 6, 2016

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Extent: 336 pages

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase


Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange marks on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland.


“It’s my turn to shape the galaxies.”

Are you looking for a story with brujas, brujos, magic, love, and betrayal? Well come here. I have a book to tell you about.

Labyrinth Lost, the first book in the Brooklyn Brujas series, takes you a magic-filled journey that will thrill you from the first to last chapter. Alejandra, also known as Alex, lives in world where magic rules and may take away everything you’ve ever loved. She doesn’t want to claim her powers, yet refusing them is simply unheard of. But when she decides to give them up, her world is torn apart when she inadvertently sends her entire family, living and dead, to Los Lagos.

I’ve been dying to finally crack open this book. Just look at it. It’s gorgeous. I’ve fallen in love with the design already. Sourcebooks Fire, you’ve done great! More importantly the author weaves together a colourful and diverse story where a teenage girl learns of self-acceptance, falls in love, and rises above her former self.

One quality that sets this book apart from other YA fantasy books is Alex’s family structure. It’s paramount in this book. And it’s something I’ve been waiting to read for a long time. How many books do I know of, where the family’s bond is positive? I can’t count on my left hand. She and her sisters share a typical sibling relationship, one I’ve been craving to read. And their mother gives up everything to ensure they’re safe. But the story doesn’t stop there.

Labyrinth Lost is rich in Latin American history. Zoraida incorporates many Latin-inspired traditions and mythology (some she’s created her own). A great aspect to this book is the level of detail in culture and lore. It keeps me turning the page and wanting to explore this world more. When Alex uses magic, it comes with a steep price (when doesn’t it?). A price that all brujas and brujos pay. And given she is a novice bruja, she doesn’t understand the consequences. Alex and Nova, a guide who conveniently knows the way, must travel to the centre of Los Lagos, an Underworld-type dimension. But magic isn’t as it seems in this other world.

 

“We all get scared and want to turn away, but it isn’t always strength that makes you stay. Strength is also making the decision to change your destiny.”

Alex, the leading lady, is a strong protagonist. She’s spunky, lively, reserved, and guarded. Instead of being afraid of her sexuality, she fears her powers, which she cannot control. She even believes that they chased her father away. Throughout the story, she faces many tests so she can save her family. But in doing so, she needs to learn how to trust in who she is, what she can do, and why she owns this power.

Nova is your typical badass. He’s cocky and sometimes self-absorbed. Yet I find his history intriguing. I’m sorry, but not sorry. I’ll always look for a broken character who has a deeper and more caring soul than any other. Rishi is a pleasant surprise. I wasn’t expecting her to be included in Alex and Nova’s journey, because she doesn’t know Alex’s secret. But she offers an airy and uplifting side to this trio. And I love her unwavering faith in Alex.

I think the only negative I have with Labyrinth Lost is Alex’s relationships with the secondary characters. I’m thrilled to read a LGBTQ book. I want to find more strong and positive gay stories. Yet I find the relationship Alex has with Rishi is slightly strained. Rishi, in my opinion, almost worships her, and sometimes I wonder if the relationship Alex has with Nova holds a stronger flame against Rishi. I feel that Alex has more attraction toward him. Even with that negative though, I love Alex’s sexuality. She’s free and not afraid to show who she is. And I adore these parts in the book. Her sexuality doesn’t hold her back, certainly isn’t a struggle she must overcome, and is a natural extension of her. Zoraida beautifully represents the LGBTQ community, and I’m proud she’s done so.

So say your cantos, jump through the portal, and take a trip to Los Lagos. Labyrinth Lost won’t disappoint, and I’m sure you’ll be wanting more when you finish the book. I know I do.

 

“We all get scared and want to turn away, but it isn’t always strength that makes you stay. Strength is also making the decision to change your destiny.”

 

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

Top Ten Tuesday | Book Cover Changes I Either Love or Hate

Happy Tuesday, bloggers!

Covers are the first line of marketing you see in publishing. They are vital, so vital to market a book. Sometimes though, a publishing house will rebrand the series and make a new cover for it. This change is 50/50 though. Either people love it, or they hate it. I want to talk about which book cover changes

Top Ten Tuesday, originally created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is a weekly meme. The next prompt is cover freebie. I’ve chosen book cover changes I either love or hate. This could be from special editions to actual series cover changes.

Enjoy the post!

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Top Ten Tuesday | Cover Redesigns I Loved or Hated

Morning, dearies!

My life will soon turn hectic again. And while I enjoyed that month-long break of not going to hospital visits, I can’t complain all that much.

Top Ten Tuesday, originally created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is a weekly meme. The first prompt of August is cover redesigns you loved or hated. Now, I won’t pick just one. I want to highlight the new covers I love and hate.

I hope you love my choices. Have fun, everyone!

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Top Ten Tuesday | Books I Loved with Fewer than 2,000 GR Ratings

Did anyone else struggle with this topic? I had to browse through my entire Goodreads read list just to find some titles. 😅 But fear not. I’ve found something to work with!

Top Ten Tuesday, originally created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is a weekly meme. The next prompt talks about books with no more than 2,000 Goodreads ratings. So don’t expect to see a lot of your favourites on this list.

So I won’t waste any more time. I hope you love this week’s picks!

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Review | Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova

Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova

Published by: Sourcebooks Fire

Publication Date: June 5, 2018

Genre: Fantasy, Magic

Page Count: 352

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Purchase

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository


Three sisters. One spell. Countless dead.

Lula Mortiz feels like an outsider. Her sister’s newfound Encantrix powers have wounded her in ways that Lula’s bruja healing powers can’t fix, and she longs for the comfort her family once brought her. Thank the Deos for Maks, her sweet, steady boyfriend who sees the beauty within her and brings light to her life.


Then a bus crash turns Lula’s world upside down. Her classmates are all dead, including Maks. But Lula was born to heal, to fix. She can bring Maks back, even if it means seeking help from her sisters and defying Death herself. But magic that defies the laws of the deos is dangerous. Unpredictable. And when the dust settles, Maks isn’t the only one who’s been brought back.


“This is a love story. At least, it was, before my sister sent me to hell.”

Magic, lost love, tragic deaths, consequences, and one spell that changes everything, Bruja Born enchants readers who weren’t entranced by Labyrinth Lost. Going into this sequel, I had no expectations, but I can’t imagine skipping it now. I cried. I laughed. And I wanted more. Please, Zoraida, never let it end.

I wanted to love Labyrinth Lost, but it never hooked me like I wanted it to. With the sequel though, I finally understand why people love her work. I’ve been counting down the days when I find a witch story I love. And when it’s here, I am screaming for the final book.

Lula Mortiz tries to heal from the traumatic events that took place in Los Lagos, the in-between dimension her sister, Alex, sent her and their entire family to. I admit that I didn’t like her in Alex’s book. However, her vulnerabilities and her pain are what draws me to her now. And I love her character development. Losing her boyfriend, Maks, overpowers her every thought and self-control though. And the consequences to bring him back are more than she can handle.

The Latina magic system has always intrigued me. And Zoraida reveals more of this intricate world, which is what I’ve been hoping to see, and she raises the stakes. I loved travelling to Los Lagos. And seeing the universe she has created pulls me deeper into this richly layered series. What makes me love this book is how the author effortlessly crafts a believable world and family structure. Even though magic is a strong theme throughout her writing, the Mortiz family is the core. And sisterhood means more than anything to the Mortiz girls.

This fast-paced sequel is what I needed to convince me to stick with Brooklyn Brujas. The mythology wraps around you and sucks you in, and the diversity just makes the story that more compelling. Characters keep the storyline flowing, and I cannot remember the last time I’ve laughed at all the one-liners in a book. The sisterly bond makes my heart swell, but the fantasy finishes off a spellbinding novel.

Bruja Born may start off with a love story, but it ends with the strength of three sisters who defy the gods themselves. If Labyrinth Lost didn’t persuade you to take a chance on Brooklyn Brujas, reconsider. I want to read it again so I can step back into this magical place.

What do you look for in a series that contains witches? Which ones are your favourites? Let’s chat!

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

Okay, I’ve gotten back from my little niece’s first birthday, I’m exhausted and don’t feel like writing a review, so thankfully, this tag is easy peasy to do. Or I’d be crying right now. 😂 I found it on Hammock of Books. You should definitely check out Kay’s blog!

 

Best Book You’ve Read so far this year

Stay calm, Sibby. Stay calm. This book made me cry, scream, and almost had me throw it across the room. But how can I?! It’s so damn pretty.

 

Best sequel you’ve read so far this year

I’ve been waiting a long time for this sequel, and Stephanie doesn’t disappoint you. I never thought that I’d love Tella and Dante, but I’ll eat my own words.

 

New release you haven’t read yet but want to

Kelley addresses school shootings in her latest book, and I cannot wait to read it. I’ll always read her books.

 

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

Lada will make this finale the most bloodiest yet. I’d like nothing more than to see Radu to find love, Lada to slay, and Mehmed to die.

Okay, that escalated slightly too much there.

 

Biggest disappointment

I hate putting this book here. But here it is, and I never knew I’d ever be disappointed with the finale. I love Victoria, but for me, I feel that the ending is what kills this series.

 

Biggest Surprise

I’ll always love reading about faerie stories. They’re one of my favourites! But I never knew I’d adore this book. However, I was wrong. Jude is one of my faves, and Cardan weaseled his way into my heart.

 

Favourite new author (debut or new to you)

Okay, quite a few readers found this book unoriginal. But I love it, and I can’t wait to see what Sara has in store for the sequel.

 

Newest fictional crush

HELLO, THORNE BABY. I’ve been crushing over him for years, but this year, I’ve only got to this series. I love his conflicting character arc.

 

Newest favourite character

Lira from To Kill a Kingdom. I cannot stop raving over this evil cinnamon roll. I love sirens, and she makes we me want to be one.

 

Book that made you cry

I somewhat dislike Labyrinth Lost, but this sequel is what made me love brujas. Lula, horribly scarred, loses her boyfriend, who breaks up with her just before a bus accident. She wants him to cheat death, but instead, she makes him and the other victims zombies.

 

Book that made you happy

I don’t ever want to stop talking about this series. I know I’ll keep coming back to it. How can I not? I love Cinder, Kai, and the entire Rampion crew!

 

Favourite book-to-movie adaptation you saw this year

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom! Originally based off of Jurassic Park, Fallen Kingdom makes me fall in love with dinosaurs all over again. But I’m still healing from my heart getting ripped out of my chest.

 

Favourite post you’ve written this year

My bad trope discussion post is definitely up there. I’ve been meaning to write this one for such a long time, and I’m glad I got around to it.

 

The most beautiful book you’ve bought this year

I’m loving all the purple covers coming out this year. I love this trend. I truly do. I’ve been wanting to get this sequel for such a long time, and to see it wrapped in white with purple, I nearly squealed when I opened up the box.

 

What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

Practically my entire TBR list. 😂

 

Tag Time!

Mara | Vanessa | Jeanine | Christine | Bree | Teagan and Jess | Kalina | Harshita | Justine | Ashley

You! Anyone who wants to do it can! Just link me to my post because I’d love to see your post. I don’t know who else has done this tag, so go for it.

Top Ten Tuesday | Books That Awaken My Travel Bug

Hi, everyone!

Who’s excited about this topic? I want to talk about real and fictional places. Before I started this post, I wasn’t sure if I’d come up with a list. Now though? It’s too long. So for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, I’ll show you which places I’d love to travel to.

 

Caraval in Legendary

I adore this series! I’m still reading Legendary as I write this post, and my heart is breaking. I don’t want the book to end, but a part of me wants to see what happens. Caraval enchants you, and I love going back to it. I don’t think I can get over the intrigue, magic, and suspense Caraval offers.

And I haven’t been so happy when I heard this duology is now a trilogy!

 

Virtual Japan in Wildcard

I’m still questioning if I like this cover, but I, without a doubt, love this futuristic Japan Marie. Virtual reality is always iffy for me. I don’t know if I’ll enjoy this type of sci-fi. However, I cannot get enough of Warcross. I don’t blame Emika for hacking into the game. I’d do the same.

 

Red London in A Conjuring of Light

I need to finish this series. I’ve been dying to read the second book. Can you imagine living in a world where magic isn’t shunned or hidden? Travelling to Red London is one of the top five places I’d die to get to. Knowing to me, I’d probably get in trouble with Lila.

 

El Brooklyn de las Brujas in Bruja Born

You probably know that I am still disappointed with Labyrinth Lost, so I hope its sequel will be better. But I love the worldbuilding in this series though, and I cannot wait to see how Zoraida weaves magic in and brings more diversity to the streets of Brooklyn.

 

Feudal Japan in Smoke in the Sun

As you can tell, I have a thing for Japan. Flame in the Mist is a culturally rich treat. Betrayal, magic, and smoldering romance, this series gives you just about anything. And since I got my copy of Smoke in the Sun, I need to find out how Okami and Mariko survive.

 

Diavolos Sea in To Kill a Kingdom

I swear I have a siren heart. And while I can’t really breathe under the water (but secretly want to), I’d love to immerse myself in this world. Each region conjures up its own magic, but Diavolos Sea speaks to me.

Top Ten Tuesday | Books I Dislike but Am Glad I Read

 

Yeah, yeah, I’ve rewritten this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. I didn’t like the one I posted earlier, so I’ve decided to stick with this week’s topic. And now it has put me in a funk.

I hope you enjoy my little rants as much as I have. 😉 Here are my picks for books that disappointed me, but I glad I read regardless of the rating:

 

A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

I dislike a Maas book? Come again?! I don’t particularly hate it, but I found it lacking. A Court of Frost and Starlight is one of my top most anticipated reads of 2018. So I had huge expectations. Yes, we get a clean transition from the first series to the second, but I wish Maas cleared up the issue with Mor and Az, but she’ll drag that on for all its worth. Az deserves the truth, and the fandom needs clarification on Mor’s sexuality.

What I do love about ACOFAS is Nesta’s growth. Some readers hate it, but I loved it. Her devolution is more startling than Feyre’s.

 

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

I rated this book too high when I first reviewed it. But the more I think about it, I think the rating should be closer to three stars. I don’t mind when characters push others away. But the way Mare pushed Slade, who she thought was dead, rubbed me the wrong way. The only thing that saved the book is the ending even if it broke my heart.

 

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

I was so ecstatic about winning the Hazel Wood from Indigo Teen. The cover is gorgeous, and the blurb sold me. But unfortunately, the story falls short of what I was anticipating. I like the overall storyline, but I feel the execution killed it.

Secondary characters are the saving grace of this story. I loved them. I’m still not sure if I’ll buy the sequel. Sometimes the hype doesn’t live up to the book.

 

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

I love how Cassie introduces a deadlier and dangerous foe with the Cohorts and Centurions, but I felt too conflicted with everything else. Her books are too dense, and probably a quarter of that book could have been taken out. Even though I love Julian and Emma, their relationship scares me, and it breaks my heart they were put into that situation.

 

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

IT’S SUCH A BEAUTIFUL BOOK. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?! The story killed my love for this book. I bought it on a whim, and while I adored the diversity, especially Alex, I wish it was set apart from high school. I know, I know. It’s a YA book, but I thoroughly enjoyed the last half of the book when the trio went to Los Lagos. I loved immersing myself in the Bruja culture, and I hope to see more of it. But the love triangle felt forced, and the female love interest seems like she worships Alex.

Wrap-up: March 2017

 

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Faeries, a Beauty and the Beast retelling, beautiful storytelling, and political plays? I’m set. This series has been on my TBR list for almost a year, and I regret not reading it sooner. I’d definitely recommend it, but hold out on your opinions on the book until you read the sequel! You’ll be surprised at the turnaround.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book De

 

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

How many times do I say the sequel is better than the first book? RARELY. But A Court of Mist and Fury destroys every expectation you may have. Sarah masters foreshadowing. Perhaps some people didn’t like the pacing in the book, but I enjoyed it a lot. This sequel is definitely on my reread list. I can’t wait to get my hands on A Court of Wings and Ruin.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This book was a huge surprise for me. I wasn’t sure if I’d like it, but surprisingly, I do. I may have liked it better if I weren’t in such a reading slump, when I read it. Labyrinth Lost is a unique, diverse find. Zoraida incorporates many Latin American traditions. The culture in this book makes it shine and stands out against many YA novels. And I’m a sucker for beautifully designed books.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

MOM by Collin Piprell

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

MOM has taken me on a psychedelic trip, and I’m still trying to land on my feet. Picture a futuristic world where the remaining human population lives in malls. And MOM goes from protecting people to becoming self-aware. But their world is turned upside down when they realize MOM may have lied all this time.

Goodreads | Publisher’s Website | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

Book Haul: October 2016

Well, you see, this month I’ve gone through a bit of a buying splurge. I don’t know why. No, I do, but I’m trying to cushion the blow. I still have books waiting on my shelf, but alas, once I see a great deal, I kind of destroy my bank account. Or my savings, to be exact.

I can’t wait to get my hands on these pretties! BUT WHY DID I BLOODY AGREE TO HAVE THE LAST TWO BOOKS BE CHRISTMAS PRESENTS?! What was I thinking? I am a masochist. Through and through. Ahem. Now cue the regularly scheduled squee moment. 😂

16096824.jpgA Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

I’ve been hearing pretty good reviews of this series, particularly the sequel, so I had to buy the first book. I haven’t gotten into fairy tale retellings, though. I’m a little late on this band wagon, but I can’t pass up on a book that retells Beauty and the Beast and also has faeries in it. I hope it’s great!

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

17927395.jpgA Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Why would I start a series and just not buy the sequel? That excuse is what I’m going with. I’m not that much of a masochistic. Screw that. I still am. But I need more faeries in my life, and I’ll be damned if I’ll wait for an already released sequel.

Some of my blogger friends (oh, hi darlings!) have told me that this instalment makes up for a few issues in the first book.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

23299512.jpgThis Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

Don’t hate me, but This Savage Song will be the first Schwab book I’ve ever read. But her Shades of Magic series has been sitting on my TBR list for a year. I love that there are ZERO love stories in this book. ZERO. ZILCH. But tons of monsters. What more can a woman ask for? MONSTERS. Give me monsters.

…And I’m more twisted than my Mom thinks I am. Wonderful. PHEER ME.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

27969081.jpgLabyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

Ah mah gerd. It’s here. Besides Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows, Labyrinth Lost is one of the most gorgeous books I’ve seen this year. And FINALLY I get to see more diversity and LGBTG storylines in books (I have to give Sabaa Tahir more credit here, though).

I also adore how Zoriada has incorporated brujas/brujos and Latin American themes into her book.

A fellow blogger’s post pushed me to buy it. Yeah, I’m talking about you, Danya @ Fine Print!

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository