{Watch, Read, & Listen} Immigration Nation, Lobizona, & La Diaspora

Aug 3, 2020

♥ watch, read & listen is a weekly feature where I share and recommend
my current movie, book, music and podcast obsessions every monday. ♥

Watch: Immigration Nation on Netflix (2020- )

With unprecedented access to ICE operations, as well as moving portraits of immigrants, this docuseries takes a deep look at US immigration today.

The series will examine the processes, pitfalls, and pain of immigration in America. Shot over the course of three years, Schwarz and Clusiau capture the daily workings of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, activists, lawmakers, attorneys, and a wide swath of undocumented immigrants, from desperate recent arrivals to longtime residents to deported U.S. military combat veterans.

CW/TW: xenophobia, racism, detainment/interment camps, ICE brutality/arrests, illegal arrests

ICE agents and Border Patrol are still running rampant through our communities detaining immigrants (even those neutralized/with US citizenship) and "Hispanic-looking" people across the U.S. without warrants and while violating a number of Constitutional laws, especially during a global pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests, and it's important to keep fighting for those ripped from their families and sponsors. This docuseries is an important and raw in-depth look into immigration in the U.S. ICE has tried to block Netflix from showing this docuseries. In this, you will see how "cruelty is the point" rings true for ICE. Below are ways you can do to help immigrants.

Ways to help protect immigrants lives/rights, gain citizenship, legal expenses and attorneys for their immigration trials, and reunite with their families:

Know Your Rights (if stopped by ICE/if ICE comes to your door): ACLU (English and Spanish), National Immigration Law Center (in 7 languages), American Friends Service Committee (English and Spanish)

KIND (Kids in Need of Defense): supportkind.org

RAICES: raicestexas.org

Support/donate to the NILC Immigration Justice Fund: immigrantjusticefund.org

Support TPS for Venezuelans: 5calls.org

Block Indefinite Detention of Migrant Families: 5calls.org

Support/donate to The National Immigration Project: nationalimmigrationproject.org

Low-cost Legal Help: immigrationlawhelp.org

Read: Lobizona by Romina Garber

Some people ARE illegal.

Lobizonas do NOT exist.

Both of these statements are false.

Manuela Azul has been crammed into an existence that feels too small for her. As an undocumented immigrant who's on the run from her father's Argentine crime-family, Manu is confined to a small apartment and a small life in Miami, Florida.

Until Manu's protective bubble is shattered.

Her surrogate grandmother is attacked, lifelong lies are exposed, and her mother is arrested by ICE. Without a home, without answers, and finally without shackles, Manu investigates the only clue she has about her past--a mysterious "Z" emblem—which leads her to a secret world buried within our own. A world connected to her dead father and his criminal past. A world straight out of Argentine folklore, where the seventh consecutive daughter is born a bruja and the seventh consecutive son is a lobizรณn, a werewolf. A world where her unusual eyes allow her to belong.

As Manu uncovers her own story and traces her real heritage all the way back to a cursed city in Argentina, she learns it's not just her U.S. residency that's illegal. . . .it's her entire existence.

Publication date: August 4, 2020

Listen: LA Diaspora -- Nitty Scott x Zap Mama ๐ŸŒˆ

Friendly reminder that Black lives still matter and that Black Lives Matter protests are still going on around the world -- Continue signing petitions, donating (if/when you can), protesting safely, emailing/calling your reps/AG/DA, register to vote/vote-by-mail, and educating yourself and family members. More resources can be found on the sidebar. ➔

{Watch, Read, & Listen} Aswang, Unconquerable Sun, & Bayli

Jul 20, 2020

♥ watch, read & listen is a weekly feature where I share and recommend
my current movie, book, music and podcast obsessions every monday. ♥

Watch: Aswang (2019)

“Aswang” is a term in the Philippines for witches, vampires, ghosts and werewolves—a collection of evil spirits that feature heavily in myths and popular films. But since President Rodrigo Duterte took office, they have been appearing in real life on the streets of Manila.

In Duterte’s drug war, death squads have shot, tortured and kidnapped tens of thousands of drug users, dealers and innocent bystanders over the past three years. Duterte gives police officers free rein to use brutal violence, which is particularly directed at the poorest sections of society. According to Amnesty International, this amounts to state terror and crimes against humanity.

Aswang follows a group of people whose lives have been caught up in these events: a journalist who tries to make a stand against lawlessness, a coroner, a missionary brother who comforts bereaved family members, and a street kid with parents in prison and friends in the cemetery. The film is a shocking account of unprecedented violence and the moral bankruptcy of a regime that still enjoys support from voters.

Directed by Alyx Ayn G. Arumpac

TW: murder, blood, mutilation of corpses, violence, torture, guns

If you can stomach the trigger warnings, you can watch the trailer here. These are real events and policies the Philippines are going through under the Duterte regime and recently, their government just passed the Anti-Terrorism Law that can tag any Filipino who expresses their Right to Dissent as "terrorists."

It's another law that puts more Filipinos in danger while the on-going drug war is simultaneously occurring. Please take 5 minutes of your free time to sign petitions, email Philippine lawmakers, donate what you can, and help amplify Filipino voices. Demand their government to veto the Anti-Terrorism Law.

Read: Unconquerable Sun by Kate Elliott ๐ŸŒˆ


Princess Sun has finally come of age.

Growing up in the shadow of her mother, Eirene, has been no easy task. The legendary queen-marshal did what everyone thought impossible: expel the invaders and build Chaonia into a magnificent republic, one to be respected—and feared.

But the cutthroat ambassador corps and conniving noble houses have never ceased to scheme—and they have plans that need Sun to be removed as heir, or better yet, dead.

To survive, the princess must rely on her wits and companions: her biggest rival, her secret lover, and a dangerous prisoner of war.

Take the brilliance and cunning courage of Princess Leia—add in a dazzling futuristic setting where pop culture and propaganda are one and the same—and hold on tight:

This is the space opera you’ve been waiting for.

Listen: boys lie -- BAYLI ๐ŸŒˆ

Friendly reminder that Black Lives still matter and Black Lives Matter protests are still happening across the U.S. and the world, and it's imperative to continue supporting the movement. Keep signing petitions (updated often), donate if/when you can, protest safely, calling/emailing your reps + AG's, and register to vote. Undercover Feds are kidnapping protestors off the streets in Portland, Oregon (it's as Gestapo as it sounds) and taking them to undisclosed locations and they need our help. More ways to help support Black people and the movement can be found on BLM's official Linktree.

Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For the Second Half of 2020

Jun 30, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish meme, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week's topic is...

Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For the Second Half of 2020


Master of One by Jaida Jones & Dani Bennett (November 10) ๐ŸŒˆ
The Ever Cruel Kingdom by Rin Chupeco (November 10) ๐ŸŒˆ
Vampires of Portlandia by Jason Tanamor (September 29) | I've actually read an early copy already, but I've enjoyed it so much that I'm still (even more so) excited for the finished version.


Dating Makes Perfect by Pintip Dunn (August 18) | I will be on the blog tour for this, so watch this space on August 17th. ๐Ÿ˜Š
A Curse of Roses by Diana Pinguicha (December 1) ๐ŸŒˆ
These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong (November 17)


Ruinsong by Julia Ember (November 24) ๐ŸŒˆ
Burning Roses by S. L. Huang (September 29) ๐ŸŒˆ
Beyond the Ruby Veil by Mara Fitzgerald (October 13) ๐ŸŒˆ


This Is All Your Fault by Aminah Mae Safi (October 13) ๐ŸŒˆ
Finding My Voice by Marie Myung-Ok Lee (October 1)
Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse (October 13)
Miss Meteor by Anna-Marie McLemore & Tehlor Kay Mejia (September 22) ๐ŸŒˆ

♥ I know there's 13 books listed instead of 10, but what can you do
when you are unable to narrow it down any more than you already have?
What books are you anticipating to read for the remainder of 2020? ♥

{Story Diary} Hunted By the Sky by Tanaz Bhathena

Jun 29, 2020

I was supposed to be on a blog tour for Hunted By the Sky (with a company I no longer support) but never received an advanced review copy from the organizers and was declined on Edelweiss by the publisher. Thankfully, my former librarian boss and current friend was kind enough to lend me her copy. And I am so glad to have read it and that it was worth the wait!

Anyway, without further ado, read on to find out why you absolutely need to add Hunted By the Sky to your library, as well as favorite quotes, glossary, aesthetic and a collage of all the food!

Hunted By the Sky by Tanaz Bhathena
Young Adult Fantasy, #ownvoices
June 23, 2020 from Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Gul has spent her life running. She has a star-shaped birthmark on her arm, and in the kingdom of Ambar, girls with such birthmarks have been disappearing for years. Gul's mark is what caused her parents' murder at the hand of King Lohar's ruthless soldiers and forced her into hiding to protect her own life. So when a group of rebel women called the Sisters of the Golden Lotus rescue her, take her in, and train her in warrior magic, Gul wants only one thing: revenge.

Cavas lives in the tenements, and he's just about ready to sign his life over to the king's army. His father is terminally ill, and Cavas will do anything to save him. But sparks fly when he meets a mysterious girl--Gul--in the capital's bazaar, and as the chemistry between them undeniably grows, he becomes entangled in a mission of vengeance--and discovers a magic he never expected to find.

Dangerous circumstances have brought Gul and Cavas together at the king's domain in Ambar Fort . . . a world with secrets deadlier than their own. Exploring identity, class struggles, and high-stakes romance, Hunted by the Sky is a gripping adventure set in a world inspired by medieval India.


Four kingdoms of Svapnalok:

✶ Ambar

Language: Vani

✶ Jwala

Language: Paras

✶ Prithvi

✶ Samudra

Reasons You Need to Add Hunted By the Sky to Your Library

♚ Wonderfully and unapologetically Desi, and medieval India inspired.
♚ It's essentially a revenge story. Gotta love a good revenge plot.
♚ The world-building is intricate, vivid, lush, and wholly Desi. ๐Ÿ›•
♚ The magic caste system is interesting to learn about and see how its utilized in the story. Unfortunately it also brings about the discrimination and separation between the magi (magic-wielders) and non-magi (non magic-wielders) people. ✨
♚ Strong and accurate (according to ownvoices readers/reviewers) cultural representation, influences and mythology.
♚ A chosen one prophecy that hasn't been [over-]done in mainstream YA before which is a breath of fresh air. ๐ŸŒŸ
Fierce vengeful rebel women. There's a group of fierce rebel women warriors who trains in magic, attacks and weaponry to help (Gul) exact in revenge plots and how to be a leader in a rebellion. ๐Ÿ—ก️๐Ÿน
♚ The main characters are passionately loyal to a fault and realistically flawed, and the way they flourish in their journeys will have you rooting for them and eager to see where they go as the story continues in the next book.
♚ Authentic Indian food. The descriptions will make you hungry and wanting to search from some kachoris and sev. ๐Ÿคค
Social commentary on class differences, discrimination, injustices, grief and oppression.
♚ Sexual and gender identities and equality are normalized in this world. ๐ŸŒˆ
♚ THE Y E A R N I N G. The reluctant and tender-hearted romance between these two opposite MC's is just *chef's kiss* Also, the fact that the romance isn't a huge part of the story may be appreciated by some. ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’
♚ The beautiful designs doesn't stop at the cover - it continues within the pages into the map and the chapter headers.
♚ The ENDING. It will have you needing book two immediately.


☀ Ancient India-coded
☀ Desi characters
☀ Indian and Persian mythology
☀ #ownvoices
☀ Chronically ill side character
☀ Sapphic side character
☀ Different religious faiths and non-believers

Content/Trigger Warnings

➤ Slavery
➤ Violence
➤ Murder
➤ Blood
➤ Death of parents
➤ Chronically ill parent
➤ Animal cruelty
➤ Implied sexual slavery


Acharya: a scholar and religious leader
Almari: a cupboard
Ambarnaresh*: a title for the king of Ambar
Anandpranam*: the happiest of salutations
Angrakha: a long tunic that is tied at the left or right shoulder
Atashban*: a powerful magical weapon resembling a crossbow
Bhaiyya: brother
Chakra: a disc-shaped weapon with sharp edges
Chameli: Jasmine
Champak: an evergreen tree with fragrant orange flowers
Chandni Raat*: the night of the moon festival; native to Svapnalok
Choli: a short blouse; worn with a sari or ghagra
Dev Kah*: the era of the gods
Dhoti: a garment wrapped around the lower half of the body; passed between the legs, and tucked into the waistband
Dhulvriksh*: a desert tree with rootlike branches; native to the kingdoms of Ambar and he Brimlands
Didi: elder sister
Drishti jal*: a magical elixir used by Pashu to travel and communicate with each other; native to the kingdom of Aman
Dupatta: a shawl-like scarf
Ektara: a drone lute with a single string
Fanas: lantern
Ghagra: a full-length skirt; worn by women with a choli and dupatta
Ghat: a set of steps along a riverbank
Gulab: rose
Haveli: a mansion
Indradhanush*: a rainbow-hued metal; native to the Brimlands
Jambiya: a short, double-edged dagger
Jantar-mantar*: an illusion; derogatory term for false magic tricks in Svapnalok
Jatamansi: an herb used to darken hair
Ji: an honorific, usually placed after a person's name; can also be used as a respectful acknowledgement, in the place of "yes"
Jootis: flat shoes with pointed tips
Kabzedar: usurper
Kaccha sari: a sari wrapped in a manner similar to a dhoti, for ease of movement; worn with a choli
Kali: a flower bud (pronounced "kuh-lee"); not to be confused with the Hindu goddess Kali (pronounced "kaa-lee")
Lathi: a long wooden staff, used as a weapon
Levta: a black mudfish
Maang-teekan: a hair ornament; worn by women
Makara*: a Pashu who is part crocodile, part human
Neela chand*: refers to one's mate or soulmate in Svapnalok; literally translates to "blue moon"
Pallu: the loose ends of a sari
Paras*: the language of the kingdom of Jwala
Pashu*: a race of part-human, part-animal beings; native to the kingdom of Aman
Peepul: a sacred fig tree
Peri*: a gold-skinned Pashu who is part-human, part-bird
Putra*: son; when used as a suffix, it means "son of"
Putri*: daughter; when used as a suffix, it means "daughter of"
Raag: a melodic framework used for improvisation and composition of Indian classical music
Raj darbar: the royal court
Raja: king
Rajkumar: prince
Rajkumari: princess
Rajsingha*: a Pashu who is part lion, part lion
Rani: queen
Rekha*: a magical barrier
Rupee*: a silver coin
Sadhvi: a holy woman
Samarpan: the act of dedication, submission, and sacrifice to a person or cause
Sandhi: a symbiosis
Sangemarmar: a white marble; native to the kingdom of Jwala
Sant: saint
Sau aabhaar*: a hundred thank-yous
Shubhdivas*: good day
Shubhraat*: good night
Shubhsaver*: good morning
Shvetpanchhi*: a large, carnivorous bird with white and black feathers; native to Svapnalok
Simurgh*: a Pashu who is part eagle and part peacock with a woman's face
Surma: a black cosmetic, used to line the eyes
Swarna*: a gold coin
Talwar: a long sword with a curved blade
Thanedar: a police officer
Thhor: a multistemmed, cactus-like succulent found in the desert
Vaid*: a magical healer
Vani*: the language of the kingdom of Ambar
Yudhnatam*: a martial art
Yuvraj: heir apparent
Zamindar: an aristocratic landowner

* Note (from the author): many terms common to our world and the former empire of Svapnalok. However, there are a few words that differ slightly in meaning and/or used specifically in the context of Svapnalok. These have been marked with an asterisk (*) wherever possible.

[Glossary can be found in the back of the book]

"Every heart holds a warrior. Some are born, some are made, while some choose to never take up arms. What you are and who you will become will be entirely up to you."

--Tanaz Bhathena, Hunted By the Sky

"People have tongues that wag far too often and minds that don’t think as much."

--Tanaz Bhathena, Hunted By the Sky

"Power comes in many shapes and forms. You keep doubting yourself, Gul. That’s your biggest weakness. When you don’t, you can take down men twice your size."

--Tanaz Bhathena, Hunted By the Sky

"The sky has fallen, a star will rise."

--Tanaz Bhathena, Hunted By the Sky

[Quotes are taken from an advanced review copy and is subject to change in the final copy]


Bajra roti: a flatbread made with pearl miller
Chaas: a cold drink made of yogurt
Chandrama*: a sweet, circular pastry, garnished with edible foil and rose petals
Ghee: clarified butter
Kachori: a round, fried pastry stuffed with a sweet or savory filling
Kadhi: a cream-colored gravy, made of yogurt, chickpea flour, spices, and vegetables
Khichdi: a rice-and-lentil dish
Khoba roti: a thick flatbread made with indents on the surface
Madira: alcohol
Mawa: a sweet paste made by simmering milk on the stove
Methi bajra puri: a fried flatbread made with spinach and pearl miller
Moong dal: split green gram
Paneer: a type of curd cheese
Pakoda: a vegetable fritter
Prasad: food used as a religious offering, normally consumed after worship
Pulao: a rice dish made with spices and vegetables and/or meat
Rabdi: a sweet, creamy dish made with condensed milk and nuts
Rajnigandha: tuberose
Sabzi: cooked vegetables
Sev: vermacelli
Sohan halwa: a sweet made of ghee, milk, flour, and sugar
Tulsi: holy basil

Tanaz Bhathena writes books for young adults. Her sophomore novel, The Beauty of the Moment, won the Nautilus Gold Award for Young Adult Fiction and has also been nominated for the Ontario Library Association’s White Pine Award. Her acclaimed debut, A Girl Like That, was named a Best Book of the Year by numerous outlets including The Globe and Mail, Seventeen, and The Times of India. Her latest book, Hunted by the Sky, (releasing June 23 2020) is the first of a YA fantasy duology set in a world inspired by medieval India. Her short stories have appeared in various publications including The Hindu, Blackbird, Witness, and Room.

Born in India and raised in Saudi Arabia and Canada, Tanaz lives in Mississauga, Ontario, with her family.

{Watch, Read, & Listen} The Trans List, The Black Flamingo, & Bronze Avery

♥ watch, read & listen is a weekly feature where I share and recommend
my current movie, book, music and podcast obsessions every monday. ♥

Watch: The Trans List ๐ŸŒˆ

The Trans List explores the range of experiences lived by Americans who identify as transgender (an umbrella term for people whose gender identity does not conform to that typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth). No two experiences of trans people are exactly alike. Transgender, transsexual, gender-queer, bi-gender, and non-binary are just a few of the multitude of self-identifiers in the trans community. This film gives a platform to a diverse group of eleven individuals to tell their stories in their own words of their experience with identity, family, career, love, struggle and accomplishment.

Starring: Buck Angel, Kyler Broadus, Caroline Cossey, Lavern Cox, Alok Vaid-Menon

Read: The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta ๐ŸŒˆ

A fierce coming-of-age verse novel about identity and the power of drag, from acclaimed UK poet and performer Dean Atta. Perfect for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo, Jason Reynolds, and Kacen Callender.

Michael is a mixed-race gay teen growing up in London. All his life, he’s navigated what it means to be Greek-Cypriot and Jamaican—but never quite feeling Greek or Black enough.

As he gets older, Michael’s coming out is only the start of learning who he is and where he fits in. When he discovers the Drag Society, he finally finds where he belongs—and the Black Flamingo is born.

Told with raw honesty, insight, and lyricism, this debut explores the layers of identity that make us who we are—and allow us to shine.

Listen: Boys! -- Bronze Avery ๐ŸŒˆ

Please continue to support Black lives by signing petitions (BLM carrds update daily), donating if/when you can, volunteering with Black-owned/run orgs, shopping at Black-owned businesses, protesting, calling state/city officials and police commissioners/DA/AG, vote, and educating yourself and family members. Links to resources of petitions, action guides, and orgs to donate to can be found on the sidebar. 
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