Every October I start getting hyped for Halloween (Witches’ Day in Brazil) and enjoy planning the makeup I will do and the food we’ll cook (the Cockroaches Brownies are a staple by now) and movies to watch and sometimes we throw a small party. It’s a grand time all around, and one of the best parts for me is spending the month reading creepy, atmospheric stuff to make me more excited for Halloween and also come to terms with Summer being now really REALLY over and the cold being here to stay for the next 5 months. We won’t have serotonine anymore but at least there’s books!
Daughter from the Dark by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko
An ARC I am very excited for! This sounds weird and magical and dark and I expect it to make it to my favorite fantasies of the year.
Late one night, fate brings together DJ Aspirin and ten-year-old Alyona. After he tries to save her from imminent danger, she ends up at his apartment. But in the morning sinister doubts set in. Who is Alyona? A young con artist? A plant for a nefarious blackmailer? Or perhaps a long-lost daughter Aspirin never knew existed? Whoever this mysterious girl is, she now refuses to leave.
I received an advance copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Breasts and Eggs tells the story of three women: the thirty-year-old Natsu, her older sister, Makiko, and Makiko’s daughter, Midoriko. Makiko has traveled to Tokyo in search of an affordable breast enhancement procedure. She is accompanied by Midoriko, who has recently grown silent, finding herself unable to voice the vague yet overwhelming pressures associated with growing up. Her silence proves a catalyst for each woman to confront her fears and frustrations.
It’s 1993, and Rory Ramos works as a ranch hand at the stable her stepfather manages in Topanga Canyon, California, a dry, dusty place reliant on horses and hierarchies. There she rides for the rich clientele, including twins June and Wade Fisk. While Rory draws the interest of out-and-proud June, she’s more intrigued by Vivian Price, the beautiful girl with the movie-star father who lives down the hill. Rory keeps largely separate from the likes of the Prices—but, perched on her bedroom windowsill, Rory steals glimpses of Vivian swimming in her pool nearly every night.
After Rory’s stepfather is involved in a tragic car accident, the lives of Rory, June, and Vivian become inextricably bound together. Rory discovers photography, begins riding more competitively, and grows closer to gorgeous, mercurial Vivian, but despite her newfound sense of self, disaster lurks all around her: in the parched landscape, in her unruly desires, in her stepfather’s wrecked body and guilty conscience.One night, as the relationships among these teenagers come to a head, a forest fire tears through the canyon, and Rory’s life is changed forever.Continue reading →
In August I reviewed this unique, amazing book, and I mentioned I wanted to write an Analysis and Discussion post for it, because I thought it had so many layers and interpretations, and while I’ve seen a few articles about it in Portuguese, I hadn’t found a comparable article in English (naturally, as the book is originally written in Portuguese). I tend to avoid spoilers in my review, and to discuss this book in depth I had to write a separate post, so that if you’re looking for a review, check out this post instead: Review: The House in Smyrna by Tatiana Salem Levy.
I’m no Literature graduate, my views here presented are not scholarly but rather a result of reading the book, analysing/interpreting it and reading a few articles. My aim here is to have a layman discussion on the book in case it gets picked up by English-speaking readers who want to talk about it. Where the ideas come not from my personal conclusions but from others, I’ve named the source and linked it in Further Reading at the end of this post.
Also my quotes are free translations of the Portuguese edition and may differ from the official English translation!
Synopsis: Dr Jonathan Murray fears his new-born daughter is not as harmless as she seems.
Sammy Agnew is wrestling with his dark past, and fears the violence in his blood lurks in his son, too.
The city is in flames and the authorities are losing control. As matters fall into frenzy, and as the lines between fantasy and truth, right and wrong, begin to blur, who will these two fathers choose to protect?
I have vacation starting this week! This means little or nothing to you, unfaithful readers who won’t miss me, except that I will not do Wrap Ups for the next couple of weeks. I will be hiking with my husband, drinking several kinds of wine abundantly (it’s called tasting) and partying with our cat (lmao) and at least during the hike we will not bring computers so I won’t be blogging. Do not fret, I would never disappoint my readers (I totally would) and I’ve left lots of posts scheduled.
That is also the reason why I will sadly not participate on Latinx Heritage Month readathons! My reading will be very non-structured the next couple of weeks and I’m also trying to read more ARCs, which are mostly non-Latinx (also sadly). But that’s okay, I’ll catch up on my Latinx reads later on.
Lucy and Jake live in a house by a field where the sun burns like a ball of fire. Lucy has set her career aside in order to devote her life to the children, to their finely tuned routine, and to the house itself, which comforts her like an old, sly friend. But then a man calls one afternoon with a shattering message: his wife has been having an affair with Lucy’s husband, Jake.
The revelation marks a turning point: Lucy and Jake decide to stay together, but make a special arrangement designed to even the score and save their marriage—she will hurt him three times.
As the couple submit to a delicate game of crime and punishment, Lucy herself begins to change, surrendering to a transformation of both mind and body from which there is no return.
As I started the book, it seemed to me it would be too much of an indulgent revenge fantasy story, and it is definitely that, but it’s also an addictive read and with surprising depth. There is definitely no shortage of books about infidelity in marriage, but this one definitely stands out with its daring plot.
The author tries to give us glimpses of the life of Lucy and how she came to have this violence inside her, how the patterns of the life of her parents repeated themselves and so on, which I found a bit overdone. The interesting thing about the story, for me, was that she could have been any wife, any woman who’s been cheated on and fantasized about taking revenge. By giving Lucy so much backstory, it felt to me that she was over-explained.
If you enjoy stories about messy women making bad choices on purpose (this reminded me a bit of Supper Club in that regard: a story about women’s hunger for darker things than society expects them to), then I think this will be an enjoyable read! If you hope for a literary work with a deep exploration of relationship dynamics, violence and guilt (as I did), then you will be disappointed – this is more a revenge story that also showcases the daily pressures, trauma and violence women go through. I also expected a more lyrical prose (the blurb talks of poetic prose), but found it quite regular. As a last and petty complaint, I love magical realism in a story, and I really liked the harpy allegory, but I did not think the magical part of the story was well-executed, it felt clunky and forced.
In the end, I enjoyed the read and devoured this book, but I doubt it will be very memorable for me down the line. This is Megan Hunter’s sophomore book, and I think it was a very intriguing one even though I did not love it, and I will keep an eye out for her next books.
Vincent is a bartender at the Hotel Caiette, a five-star lodging on the northernmost tip of Vancouver Island. On the night she meets Jonathan Alkaitis, a hooded figure scrawls a message on the lobby’s glass wall: “Why don’t you swallow broken glass.” High above Manhattan, a greater crime is committed: Alkaitis is running an international Ponzi scheme, moving imaginary sums of money through clients’ accounts. When the financial empire collapses, it obliterates countless fortunes and devastates lives. Vincent, who had been posing as Jonathan’s wife, walks away into the night. Years later, a victim of the fraud is hired to investigate a strange occurrence: a woman has seemingly vanished from the deck of a container ship between ports of call.
In this captivating story of crisis and survival, Emily St. John Mandel takes readers through often hidden landscapes: campgrounds for the near-homeless, underground electronica clubs, the business of international shipping, service in luxury hotels, and life in a federal prison. Rife with unexpected beauty, The Glass Hotel is a captivating portrait of greed and guilt, love and delusion, ghosts and unintended consequences, and the infinite ways we search for meaning in our lives.
The Glass Hotel is a literary mystery that explores the consequences of Jonathan Alkaitis’ Ponzi scheme on the lives of several people. Vincent, who pretends to be his second wife, is arguably one of the main characters, but we get insights into the lives of others, old friends, an estranged brother, some victims, whose stories are connected by the crime and form one narrative of broken relationships, unsolved issues, chance, corruption.
I first approached this book expecting a regular mystery, in the line of The Sundown Motel by Simone St. James minus the ghosts or The Hunting Party by Lucy Foyle but more literary, but it reminds me far more of Disappearing Earth by Julia Philips. Like the latter, the beauty of this book is on the portrayal of the lives of the people in the story, some of them only marginally connected to the crime. It’s a lovely book to sit down with for several hours and get lost in.
Because I expected something a bit different from the book, my experience was not optimal, and it took me several chapters to really get into the story; the change in points of view made me get distracted a lot. By the time I was halfway through I had gotten used to the book’s rythm, and then it was a really wonderful read. I would be curious to re-read this knowing now what to expect from the story format.
The beautiful writing really brings this to another level and makes the book a poignant read that I highly recommend.
I like writing these posts because they make me feel in control of my TBR (a lie). These are books that for one reason or another I’ve decided not to add to my TBR, although they are very popular in the bookish community. If you read and loved any of the books below, let me know! I could surely change my mind. I am fairly sure these books all come out on 2020.
I am not including YA books on my list because I have been moving away from YA for the past couple years so a list of popular YA books I won’t read would be redundant.
House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City Book 1) by Sarah J. Maas
I read the entire ACOTAR series, which I definitely don’t regret but also don’t remember fondly either. I think it’s just a matter of having outgrown her books and craving different kinds of stories at this point. I’ve heard that her fans are really enjoying this new book, though!
Welcome to the WordPress Block Editor: we hate it here. In case you just got it (like me) and have more or less understood how it works but insist on using the Classic block because Who Has the Time, I thought gathering a couple tips that helped me actually almost enjoy (gasp!) using it by now would be a good idea. They’re simple things but maybe you find something that helps!
1) Use a fixed toolbar
If you click on a block and every time it drives you crazy when the toolbar hovers over it, you can fix it to the top instead: click on the “…” on the upper right corner of the screen and select “Top Toolbar” (image on the left). See image on the right on how it will look like. The toolbar will stay fixed on the top of the screen even when you scroll down, so no need to scroll back up to use it!
2) Use keyboard shortcuts
If you hate clicking and searching all the time, you can use a few shortcuts to make your life easier:
Enter / to search blocks, for example, if I type /image it will show the options below. Click on any of them to add as a new block.
You can see all shortcuts by clicking on the “…” on the upper right corner of the screen next to the green symbol, and then “Keyboard Shortcuts”, or by clicking Shift + Alt + H.
On a similar note, if you want to write a text and add blank lines, but don’t want to create a new paragraph block for every empty line, just use shift + Enter.