April TBR

Hello readers!

April will be an interesting month – I would like to read more books for the Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist since the shortlist is announced on April 28. I’ve got a few on my TBR and ordered all of those I’m interested in (5 or 6 books in total) and most of them have NOT arrived, which is getting me!! Nervous!!!! But fine, I’ll read them when they get here.

So this is the modest TBR I’ve decided for this month!

  • Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart (already started in February)
  • The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
  • Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (which I started… September 2019)

I had NOT realized I started Mansfield Park so long ago, omg, I need to (as Brazilians say) put some shame on my face and finally read it. I’m considering picking it up anew as an audiobook because – I’m just so bored with it but also don’t want to give up since eventually I want to read all Jane Austen works?? Please send help.

Shuggie Bain depressed the hell out of me with 30 pages in January, so I am hesitant in reading it now, but I think I’ll also add a couple cute reads (I’m thinking Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers or the Becky Chambers books) to make it easier. I really want to read this as soon as possible and not create another Mansfield Park situation!

I’ll probably add more WP books to my list for April as they arrive (I think some arrive this week), plus the cutesy reads I mentioned above. I’m hoping to read at least 10 books this month and get my TBR to around 140 books, although I think that’s a really tough goal, considering that I keep ADDING books to my poor TBR list. Anyway, we will see, but I am quite excited for this month! I am writing this post before the International Booker Prize longlist is announced (today! March 30! So excited), so I’m sure that will influence my April TBR as well!

March Wrap Up: Lots of backlisted titles, Brazilian Lit and two re-reads

Hello readers!

March is finally over – I am so ready to move on to Spring, it’s been so cold and windy and generally not-great weather-wise, so I look forward to warm days. We’ve had double digits for a few days now and even a bit of sunlight, so I’m hopeful.

I was under the impression that I had not really read much in March, but it turns out I read 11 books, which is quite average for me; then I realized a lot of these books are actually pretty short, so my assessment is quite correct. For comparison, I read finished 10 books in February. I had 4 books on my planned TBR, of which I read a mere 2! A new low for me, which is okay – March is a difficult month for me to read anything planned because it’s when the Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist comes out and I tend to try and read all the books I’m interested in until the shortlist comes out in April, so… no surprises there. Could I have put a single more ounce of effort there and picked up a book from my TBR? Sure. But… why. The world is on fire, who cares about a TBR.

I will extrapolate a bit since there are still a couple days left in March, and will assume I finish the two books I’m currently reading until March 31. There’s not much left on either book, and they’re both quite thin, so that’s a pretty likely outcome!

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Review: The Majesties by Tiffany Tsao

The Majesties by Tiffany Tsao

Categories: Literary Thriller, Mystery

First Publication Date: July 2nd 2018

Synopsis: In this riveting tale about the secrets and betrayals that can accompany exorbitant wealth, two sisters from a Chinese-Indonesian family grapple with the past after one of them poisons their entire family.

Gwendolyn and Estella have always been as close as sisters can be. Growing up in a wealthy, eminent, and sometimes deceitful family, they’ve relied on each other for support and confidence. But now Gwendolyn is lying in a coma, the sole survivor of Estella’s poisoning of their whole clan.

As Gwendolyn struggles to regain consciousness, she desperately retraces her memories, trying to uncover the moment that led to this shocking and brutal act. Was it their aunt’s mysterious death at sea? Estella’s unhappy marriage to a dangerously brutish man? Or were the shifting loyalties and unspoken resentments at the heart of their opulent world too much to bear? Can Gwendolyn, at last, confront the carefully buried mysteries in their family’s past and the truth about who she and her sister really are?

Traveling from the luxurious world of the rich and powerful in Indonesia to the most spectacular shows at Paris Fashion Week, from the sunny coasts of California to the melting pot of Melbourne’s university scene, 
The Majesties is a haunting and deeply evocative novel about the dark secrets that can build a family empire—and also bring it crashing down. 

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Mini-Resenha: Canções de atormentar por Angélica Freitas

Canções de atormentar por Angélica Freitas

Categorias: Poesia

Data de Publicação:  5 de Agosto de 2020

Este livro me pegou totalmente de surpresa. Canções de atormentar é meu primeiro contato com o trabalho de Angélica Freitas, e eu imediatamente quero ler Um Útero é do Tamanho de um Punho e Rilke shake! Esta coleção tem um humor seco, um estilo vibrante e forte e cheio de ritmo, abordando uma grande diversidade de temas, sejam assuntos sérios, ou contando como foi crescer no Rio Grande do Sul, ou escrevendo um ode emocionante a Ana C., e até mesmo sobre sereias. Como em todas as coleções de poemas que li até agora, com alguns poemas eu simplesmente não consegui me conectar; alguns são muito curtos, outros eu muitas vezes não entendi. Mas ainda assim, vários se sobressaltaram o suficiente para que a minha impressão geral dessa coleção fosse muito positiva. Cada poema é tão único e diferente que eu imagino que cada leitor consegue encontrar um com que se identifique. Deve ser um livro incrível de escutar – eles têm uma certa cadência hipnotizante e, pelo que li, a autora já apresentou vários desses poemas juntos com a artista Juliana Perdigão. Uma obra incrível.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Weekly Wrap Up 16-22 March

Hello readers!

This was such a good reading week – I’m still busy at work, so it’s nice to have some great books to immerse myself into. None of the books I picked up this week were “cozy reads”, but all were so brilliant. I’m thinking of picking up next a book from the Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist.

Weekly Wrap Up

The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story by Hyeonseo Lee / 5 stars

I’ve been meaning to read this for a loooong time. I finally decided to pick this up on audio, although I have it as an ebook already. The narration is really good, and I like listening to nonfiction, so it’s going pretty well! It’s really eye-opening and well-written.

1808 by Laurentino Gomes / ongoing

I’m highly enjoying this book, which tells the story of the Portuguese royal family escaping Napoleon’s troops and fleeing to Brazil, then being shocked by how the Brazilian colonies differed from Portugal and trying to “improve” it.

The Majesties by Tiffany Tsao / 4 stars

This is a slow-paced literary mystery/thriller (I can’t decide which it is) that I thought would be just okay, with its very dramatic first chapter and slightly overwritten style. But as the story went on, it grew on me – to the point where I think the second half of it was maybe a 5-star! Still, it took a while for me to warm to the story, which is why I gave it 4 stars in the end. I loved the intriguing plot, the twists I sometimes did not see coming at all, the dark tone of the story and its ruthlessness. I’m surprised by how many themes the author managed to put into one highly addictive story – it talks about abuse in marriage, racism, the violence in being absurdly wealthy etc. Truly a fantastic book!

Tender Is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica, translated by Sarah Moses / ongoing

This is a weird book. It tells the story of a man who works at a slaughterhouse, except… in this world, all animal meat has been turned deadly for human consumption because of a virus, and now humans are being bred for slaughter. It’s a stomach-churning concept that is very well executed and brings to light the horrors of slaughterhouses and meat consumption. I have mixed feelings about this because I kind of detest the main character – he feels like a typical sci-fi protagonist written by a white man in the 1950s to me and I resent the lack of discussion regarding consent when it comes to his “relationship” to one of the women bred for consumption. There’s still some of the book to go, so maybe that’s dealt with somehow but I simply don’t like the guy and it makes my enjoyment of the book dwindle. Still, I think the book’s execution of a difficult theme is so amazing – it’s ruthless, crude but the level of (gory) detail does not feel gratuitous.

What did you read this week?

Review: The Unseen World by Liz Moore

The Unseen World by Liz Moore

Categories: Literary Fiction, Mystery

First Publication Date: July 26th 2016

Synopsis: Ada Sibelius is raised by David, her brilliant, eccentric, socially inept single father, who directs a computer science lab in 1980s-era Boston. Home-schooled, Ada accompanies David to work every day; by twelve, she is a painfully shy prodigy. The lab begins to gain acclaim at the same time that David’s mysterious history comes into question. When his mind begins to falter, leaving Ada virtually an orphan, she is taken in by one of David’s colleagues. Soon she embarks on a mission to uncover her father’s secrets: a process that carries her from childhood to adulthood. What Ada discovers on her journey into a virtual universe will keep the reader riveted until The Unseen World’s heart-stopping, fascinating conclusion.

After my lukewarm reaction to Long Bright River, I did not expect to like this nearly as much as I ended up liking it. This has such great things going for it: it’s a slow-paced mystery which is far more character-driven than plot-driven, and manages to grip the reader’s attention by how interesting a character Ada is (and David, too). The mystery itself, while being the book’s main driving force, plays a secondary role for a big chunk of the story: you really get to see Ada, watch her grow, choose her own path in life and try to be her own self, apart from David, his lies and her unusual upbringing. I adore stories where tech/science play a big role, so it was to be expected that I’d love the computer science aspect of this novel: this feels like a love letter to coding and it made me think of the brief period in my life when I considered computer science as a career path. I also loved the puzzles (there is a coded message the reader can solve, somewhere in the first half of the novel). I loved this book, and this kind of story is what makes me love reading so much. I had so many feelings reading it and got very invested in the story, each character shining in their flawed ways. I ended up taking a star because around the middle of the novel the pacing felt a bit off and I was not too convinced by the plot twist, which we get lots of hints for since the first chapters. Still, these are rather minor complaints, I truly, truly enjoyed this novel. The Unseen World such a moving story and I was so immersed reading this that I forgot to take mental notes on what to write for a review; which is why this is mainly a collection of impressions hastily put together. If you love books about family secrets and slower, atmospheric stories, you might really like this.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

eARC Review: The Split by Laura Kay

The Split by Laura Kay

Categories: Contemporary Fiction, LGBTQ+

First Publication Date: 18 Mar 2021

I received an advance copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: Brutally dumped by her girlfriend, Ally is homeless, friendless and jobless… but at least she has Malcolm. Wounded and betrayed, Ally has made off with the one thing she thinks might soothe the pain: Emily’s cat.

After a long train journey she arrives home to her dad in Sheffield, ready to fold herself up in her duvet and remain on the sofa for the foreseeable. Her dad has other ideas. A phone call later, and Ally is reunited with her first ever beard and friend of old, Jeremy. He too is broken-hearted and living at home again.

In an inspired effort to hold each other up, the pair decide to sign up for the local half marathon in a bid to impress their exes with their commitment and athleticism.

Given neither of them can run, they enlist the support of athletic, not to mention beautiful, Jo. But will she have them running for the hills… or will their ridiculous plan pay off…?

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Sapphic Books Recommendations Part 3

Hello readers!

I’m finally back with part 3! After I’ve read 10-15 Sapphic books, I like to gather them into one post so as to make it easy for people to find recommendations, especially as I tend to read a variety of genres. Although Sapphic books are talked about a lot more nowadays, there is still this myth that “there aren’t any good F/F / Sapphic stories”, so it’s important for me to show that you can find amazing Sapphic books in any genre, if you care to look for it. In today’s post there is a nice mix of classic lit, fantasy, sci-fi, literary fiction and essays. Curiously, there are no romances this time around – I clearly need to pick up a few more of those.

You can see the other parts of this here:

Sapphic Books Recommendations Part 1
Sapphic Books Recommendations Part 2

Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart is a rather popular new adult fantasy with several main characters, including a F/F couple and it has bone magic, politics, twists and drama, and it reads almost (but not quite) like YA, so it’s a great book if you’re looking for an entertaining read with a very cool magic system and charming characters, this is for you! This was just a little bit too generic for me, but at the same time it was very fun to read and I think most readers will really enjoy it!

Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan le Fanu is a classic that precedes Dracula by Bram Stoker, and inspired it. It tells the story of a young woman who unknowingly houses a vampire, who is attracted to her. It’s an interesting book, a quick read and keeps you guessing on whether they’ll end up together or if Carmilla will kill her. What else do you need?

They Never Learn by Layne Fargo is the indulgent revenge fantasy with Sapphics that you need in your life. A smart, sexy Professor has been killing horrible men for years, but now she’s in danger of getting caught as she falls in love with her next victim’s ex-wife. If you love a femme fatale story, this is a really fun one!

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Resenha: Tupinilândia por Samir Machado de Machado

Tupinilândia por Samir Machado de Machado

Categorias: Mistério, Representação LGBTQ+

Data de Publicação: 7 de Junho de 2018 

Sinopse: O autor vira de ponta-cabeça os clichês dos romances de aventura e ação, e reflete sobre temas como nostalgia, memória e nacionalismo. No início dos anos 1980, com o Brasil rumando para a abertura política, um industrialista constrói em segredo um parque de diversões. Batizado de Tupinilândia, o parque funcionaria como uma celebração do nacionalismo e da nova democracia que se aproximava. Todavia, durante um fim de semana em que se testavam as operações do parque, um grupo de militares invade o lugar e faz funcionários e visitantes de reféns. Duas décadas depois, um arqueólogo especialista em nostalgia, e desde a infância obcecado pelo mito de Tupinilândia, recebe autorização para mapear o local, que está prestes a ser alagado pela hidrelétrica de Belo Monte. Ao chegar com sua equipe, descobre um terrível segredo, e a partir daí as duas pontas do romance se unem numa aventura literária pelo passado recente do Brasil e pela memória dos anos 1980.

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Weekly Wrap Up 9-15 March: Some Brazilian Lit

Hello readers!

I can’t believe it’s been another week. I had a rather chill weekend and got a lot of reading done – I’ve been on the mood lately for reading more Brazilian lit, so I was excited to pick up one mystery/thriller book and a collection of poetry. Next I think I’ll pick up a non-fiction about the history of the royal family escaping to Brazil and starting a series of events that ended with Brazil’s independence in 1822. I’m quite excited for it.

Weekly Wrap Up

The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling / 3 stars

I ended up not enjoying this much. I love the idea of this book (body horror! F/F sci-fi! Exploring caves in other planets!) but the execution was a bit off for me: the pacing was a bit too slow, the story too repetitive, the romance very yucky. I sometimes really enjoyed the story and sometimes I wanted to stop reading. All in all, a mixed reaction. I think this will work for many readers, but it did not work for me.

Tupinilândia by Samir Machado de Machado / 4 stars

I loved this! It’s a book exploring nationalism in Brazil, the country’s history with dictatorship and transition to democracy, but it’s also a thriller/mystery. It’s hard to really sum up this book in just a few words, but this is amazing, so thoroughly researched and full of cultural references. My only complaint is that the writing is a bit too verbose for my taste and the characters are rather flat, but honestly I had such fun reading this it’s still a pretty solid 4 star book.

The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story by Hyeonseo Lee / ongoing

I’ve been meaning to read this for a loooong time. I finally decided to pick this up on audio, although I have it as an ebook already. The narration is really good, and I like listening to nonfiction, so it’s going pretty well! It’s really eye-opening and well-written.

Canções de atormentar by Angélica Freitas / 4 stars

This poetry collection is so strong and full of rhythm! I had not read anything by Angélica Freitas before, despite her previous book (O Útero é do Tamanho de um Punho) being on my radar for a while. I’m quite impressed, even if not all poems resonated with me (I’m not a big poetry person, in any case). I added two of her books to my TBR – and if you’re interested, her debut collection (Rilke Shake) is also available in English (among other languages, I believe).

What did you read this week?