Saturday, 17 March 2018

Cry Your Way Home by Damien Angelica Walters

Title: Cry Your Way Home

Author: Damien Angelica Walters

Date Read: 2.March.2018
On TBR for: 8 days
TBR status after reading: 269 books to read (TBR expected to be cleared in 2036)
Format: Ebook - ePub format
Source: LibraryThing Early Reviewers
Challenges: Pace yourself; Keep things balanced

LibraryThing Early Reviewers
 This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers

"Once upon a time there was a monster. This is how they tell you the story starts. This is a lie."

So starts Cry Your Way Home, a collection of short stories by Damien Angelica Walters. These stories span from fairy tale-like to science fiction to magical realism, with the common thread of being dark, dealing with loss and grief, dealing with monsters (allegorical or not) and things that go bump in the night.

Most of the 17 stories in this collection were enjoyable - only a few didn't quite work for me. The opening story, Tooth, Tongue, and Claw, had me worried that there wouldn't be a happy ending, that that would be the tone of the entire collection. But while most of the endings are not happy, this one included, they are not grim and dark and full of hopelessness has I had feared. In most of the cases there is some kind of closure to be had.

And still speaking of endings, a few of the stories felt incomplete, like the actual story had just started and then it ended. Two others were a variation of this: they felt as the start of something great, something that I would love to read in a longer format. The Serial Killer’s Astronaut Daughter feels like this, and so does The Floating Girls: A Documentary, but the latter still works very well as a short story and was my favourite of the book.

Although some of the stories weren't totally to my liking, I enjoyed this book. It was well written, and vivid enough to leave me with that pleasant-unpleasant feeling in the pit of my stomach that something terrible was about to happen.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Quotes I enjoyed:

Is a final word even important if no one hears? Is a final apology meaningful if every preceding action says otherwise?
You think it’ll kill you, but it’s a hell of a lot more clever than that because it lets you live. Only thing you can do is give it the finger and move on as best you can. Only thing anyone can do.
It’s the sort of floor on which a girl could dance a pirouette and a woman, a waltz. I do neither, afraid I might trip over my own aspirations.
Autumn, like Alzheimer’s, turns everything strange and unfamiliar, and when you look for the shape of the real hidden within, you find only a promise of the winter to come.
This is the way the world breaks you. It takes everything you know and love and turns it inside out. It leaches the color from your hair, yellows your teeth, and curves your spine, and even though you wish you were the same person you’ve always been on the inside, you go grey and stained and frail there, too.


Other Reviews: Vegan Daemon

This Book on: LibraryThing | GoodReads | BookDepository | Amazon UK

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

I'm back (?) and 2018 challenges

As mentioned before, I'm trying to get back to book blogging. I thought I was going to make a comeback last year, back to writing reviews (I started writing one, I swear) - but it didn't pan out. But this year, this is it!

So, what has happened in the last 5.5 years?

Well, I'm still at same job that lead me to read less. The job changed location one time (and will do again soon), I changed house twice, both times to be in walking distance to work, so no reading on commutes (this will change when job changes address). This means that my reading rate skydived to almost nothing.

Look at this! Look at 2013. I don't know what happened in 2013. 

So that's what happened in 2013.
55 Hobbits happened
I also (re-)started to read more fanfiction. So my reading kind of shifted from books to fanfic. Maybe it should count as books? There are some really lengthy fics out there.

Tumblr started to take more of my time, because it's easier to just reblog stuff instead of creating new material, right?

Got my eyes fixed (Yay!) and couldn't read for awhile. I tried audiobooks, and while I liked it, I still prefer reading.

Google Reader died (and I'm still not over it), and it meant that keeping tabs with blogs was harder. Question [to the void, maybe]: How do you guys now keep track of new posts?

Another new hobby is podcasts, which some can count as stories, but I don't really track as such. Ditto for the BBC dramatisations.

Knitting is also a new hobby, but I can't multitask it with reading (maybe I can with audiobooks, provided it is not a very complicated pattern)

So the result: A huge TBR list. Huge. Books to last me till 2035, assuming no more books are acquired, which is a very unrealistic assumption (trust me, I did the math. I have a spreadsheet).

Despite not updating the blog, I've participated on the Goodreads reading challenge every year (because you pledge early in the year, when you're motivated, and that's what new year's resolutions are for - stuff you end up not accomplishing).




Look at all these failed resolutions

So, this year I'll be participating in even more challenges, now with fancy names, because I really can't help myself. Here they are

  • Pace yourself: Read 15 books
  • Keep things balanced: 50% of books by female authors
  • Polyglot: 1/8 of books read in Portuguese, at least 1 in Spanish, and 1 in Galician
  • Orgulho Nacional [National Pride]: 15% of books read from Portuguese speaking authors
  • Tame that pile: Reduce the TBR list by at least 1 book
  • Out of my comfort zone: Read 1 non-fic book
  • Read our own tomes (ROOT, a LibraryThing Challenge): Read 12 books acquired in 2012 or before (with a Fibonacci twist: 1 from 2012, 1 from 2011, 2 from 2010, 3 from 2009 and 5 from before)


Tracking will be semi-live on this page (and live on my spreadsheet).

So, yay to being back. Let's see if I can keep up.


Everything is tied in a neat Excel file that grew in complexity while I was not reading.







Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Ursula K. le Guin

This was not the way I wanted to get back to book blogging (really, I have a draft on rebirth and challenges and whatnot started, but alas, work happened) but I arrived late at home today/yesterday, no power on my cell for at least a few hours, turned up the computer, hoping to work a bit more (presentations to prepare for a meeting the next day) only to find that Ursula K. le Guin has passed away.

And while this was something that was bound to happen during my lifetime (has happened with other authors, will happen again, certainly), I was not prepared.

The works of Ursula K. le Guin have been with me since my early teen years, and have shaped me and my views of the world in many ways. Discovering Earthsea and loving it, moving on from book to book, until there were no more left - until I decided that if there was no more fantasy, I would go read science fiction (which at that time, silly me, I believed I didn't like, and I hadn't realised that like everything else, fixed categories are mostly artificial, and I gravitate towards the spaces in between).

The Left Hand of Darkness was my choice, and it opened up worlds that I hadn't imagined (even if it is in a very gendered version, but that's the Portuguese version for you). Since then, I've tried to read everything she has written (I'm a completist), and although I've made some headway, there are still more stories, and essays, and poetry that I haven't read yet.

According to LibraryThing I have 39 works by Ursula K. le Guin (3 unread, and 3 part of omnibus edition)
The Left Hand of Darkness was followed by Four Ways to Forgiveness and the Lathe of Heaven, before I discovered that her books had been published in Portugal for ages, and at every book fair I would hunt down the books that I could find. Eventually I started reading in English, and I started acquiring those that had yet to be published here.

And while different books have marked me in different ways, and many of her books and stories are my favourite, one that I often remember is Changing Planes, a collection of short stories that feel more like field reports.

You see, I find myself often waiting at airports (something that didn't happen when I read it, but has been a constant while I did my masters, and now that I'm working), and sometimes I work, sometimes I read, sometimes I rush from one place to the other trying not to miss my flight, but often times I'm bored. And wouldn't it be so much fun if we could just jump to another place, see new peoples, new worlds, while we wait for another flight?

It took me awhile to understand (in fact, it took me the time of waiting a few times at an airport) that we can. We can make up our own stories and travel to that world, or make a quick stop to different ones in between the pages of a book. It can be a story that starts to present itself while you listen to a song, or a podcast, or simply starts as if by spontaneous generation. It can be a place you've been so long ago, and now you remember again, and decide to visit. And it doesn't necessarily need to be on airport. It can be while you walk to work, while you stay in line at the supermarket, waiting for your doctor's appointment,...

And maybe I don't remember the stories in Changing Planes anymore, some of them didn't feel like stories, after all, more like prompts, given by the author: Here's a world, go imagine a story in it. Or a dare: I built this world, now build yours (I've shown you mine, now show me yours).

But I remember that sense of possibilities, of different worlds. Of daring to imagine a world like our own. A world not like our own. People like us. People not like us. And in all these worlds, with all these characters, there being stories.

So the the world may be poorer now that Ursula K. le Guin has left it, but it is also extremely richer that she has lived in it.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier




Title: Shadowfell

Author: Juliet Marillier

Date Read: 20.July.2012

On TBR for: 1 day

Format: paperback

Source: Won on a giveaway (Raiding Bookshelves)

Challenges: 2012 Outdo Yourself





Shadowfell is the new series by Juliet Marillier and I was so lucky to win a copy in the Raiding Bookshelves giveaway, and not wait till September to read it, and have the gorgeous Australian version of the book. I take this moment to thank both Alex and Juliet for this book. And now, on to the review.

Shadowfell takes place in Alban (read Scotland, oh Beloved Scotland), and the main character Neryn is on the run, soon to be very alone in a country ruled by a tyrant, and where people who have uncanny powers are either executed or made to work for the king against their will. The odds are not very good for Neryn, even worse because she also has an uncanny power herself, one that allows her to see and talk with all sorts of Good Folk. She is in search of a place called Shadowfell, a name that is only whispered and is the synonym to the fight against king Keldec, but that to her it's a place where she can be safe.

And then there is Flint, a stranger who won her in a wager, saved her from the king's Enforcers, and said that all he wanted was to give Neryn a choice. But in these dark times of Alban, trust is a foreign concept, and Neryn would much rather make her way on her own than be with this mysterious man.

The journey to Shadowfell is fraught with dangers and perils and misfortunes, but also with unlikely friends. It's a journey of growth, self-discovery and some healing.

So, did I like it? Yes, of course I did. I didn't fall in love with it from the start, but once I closed that last page, I wished to still be in Alban with Neryn and Co., to not have to wait for book 2 to be written/published. I came to love the characters, main and secondary. Actually, one of strengths of this book is the richness of the supporting characters. I absolutely adored the ensemble of Good Folk characters.

Yet, this book feels like it is just the first leg in a very long journey. I am not sure if I should consider this a good thing or bad thing. I think it ties with the fact that it is written for young adults, and for a Juliet Mariller book, it felt shorter than it should have been. Maybe it was just me wishing it had been longer, because as a reader, I always want more.

And for all the downsides of books targeted to young adults, this one is all that such a book should be. In some ways, I would have loved to have this book as my first contact with fantasy (and Juliet Marillier for that matter). There is magic, but also the price of it, the consequences of actions, and how everything will help you grow. In fact, I think Neryn's growth throughout the book is one of the things that makes you like it so much (besides the Good Folk. And Flint.).

And so, after all this, how much did I like this book? A lot, though it was a gradual love, but like I said before, once I was done with it, I wished I was still there. I will anxiously wait for Raven Flight, hoping there will be more of Flint, of tyrant Keldec, of Good Folk, of Regan and his warriors and, of course, of Neryn.


Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Other Reviews: Raiding Bookshelves | The Silence in the Library 

This Book on: LibraryThing | GoodReads | BookDepository UK | Book Depository US | Amazon UK| Amazon US

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano


Title: The Solitude of Prime Numbers

Author: Paolo Giordano

Date Read: 11.July.2012

On TBR for: 397 days (or 1 year, 1 month and 1 day. Also 397 is prime)

Format: Mass trade paperback

Source: Bought at a bookfair: Feira do livro do Porto 2011

Challenges: 2012 Outdo Yourself, Off the Shelf 2012





Before beginning the review proper, I'll just leave this gif here because it's relevant:



The Solitude of Prime Numbers tells us the stories of Alice and Mattia, from when they were young and something tragic happened to each of them, to how they grew, met, and went their own ways. They are pretty lonesome people, they have their own quirks and weirdness about them, which means that this is not a happy sort of book.

Yet it is a good book. Maybe it's the way these stories, or episodes of two lives, are told which makes it quite easy to turn each page, wanting to know more. Maybe it's the fact that some part of me can't help but relate with the solitude of these two characters. The writing is both beautiful and simple (I would say beautifully simple), but manages to convey how different, and sometimes how desperate both Alice and Mattia are. And since we follow them since early childhood into adulthood, we see how they change, how they grow (or do not grow), and how some choices can have repercussions for the rest of a life.

I confess that the reason I was drawn to this book was its title. It's nerdy and quirky, quite up my alley. And I am glad I did end up reading it. Maybe not the most cheerful of reads, but it's a good and enjoyable one.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Other Reviews: The Unread Reader 

This Book on: LibraryThing | GoodReads | BookDepository UK | Book Depository US | Amazon UK| Amazon US| Wook | Wook

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Ins and Outs: April, May and June

I started writing this post thinking it would be about only April and May, but time just vanished and June was suddenly over! :O As it can be seen, blogging hasn't been my top priority, and I don't expect that to change any time soon. I hope there will still be reviews (once in a while), but I will not try to review every single book I've read (not that there have been many of those lately either). The Ins and Outs will continue, though (well, I'll try).

And so, here's for April and , May and June:

INS

April

Bookmooch:

Son of Avonar by Carol Berg

Gifts:

My Bday was on April, so I got some books!
The last unicorn by Peter S. Beagle (Thanks Anita!)
Night Over Water by Ken Follett
Spark: How Creativity Works by Julie Burstein
The Kingdom of Gods by N. K. Jemisin (Thanks Carlita and Sofi)


 


May

Bought:

The Map of the Sky by Félix J. Palma
Breath and bone by Carol Berg
Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore


Bought at a Bookfair

(Feira do Livro de Lisboa)
Marvel 1602 Vol. 2 by Neil Gaiman

 

Bookmooch:

Royal assassin by Robin Hobb
Sourcery by Terry Pratchett

Winking Books:

Black Cat. Volume 1, The man called Black Cat by Kentaro Yabuki

June

Bought at a Bookfair

(Feira do Livro do Porto)
The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien (Marvellous pocket edition!)
A luz do oriente by Jesús Sánchez Adalid [The light of the Orient]





OUTS

April

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Read along with Jen7waters of Cuidado com o Dálmata

I enjoyed Leviathan, although I didn't fall in love with it. I guess Scott Westerfeld's writing is to blame because, while he can tell a pretty awesome story, he just tells the story, he doesn't try to tell it beautifully or with any quirks in the language. But I liked to to read a book set in WWI, even if it's an alternate universe with lovecraftian beasts at the service of men. The two kids in story, Aleksandar and Deryn are really sweet, both with something to prove, and they both manage to get on their own feet and do what they like.

Rating: 4 out of 5


Dune by Frank Herbert

Not a new universe for me, but the first time I actually read the book. However, found it a bit disappointing, especially in terms of characters. The political machinations and survival parts of the story were good, but I just couldn't stand Paul and all the messianic tone of his story. So, I'm glad I finally read it, but I will not read anything else about the Dune universe.

Rating:
3.5 out of 5



Fables. Vol. 2 : animal farm by Bill Willingham

This was better than the first one: the story was more gripping and it didn't feel so much of an introduction, even if there were some new settings and characters. Will keep reading.

Rating: 4 out of 5





John dies at the end by David Wong

I was actually surprised to like this book. It's not that I don't like this type of surreality (although I tend to go for less gore), but usually books like this (and I admit my knowledge about books like this is limited) tend to bore me after a while. I mean, there is only so much surreality and weirdness that you can throw at me without it crossing the line of too much and therefore becoming just plain stupid. Or the author starting repeating himself. Or there stopping being a point to the story. Not with John dies at the end; it kept being interesting throughout its 400+ pages.

Rating: 4 out of 5


Flesh and spirit by Carol Berg


REVIEW

Rating: 4.5 out of 5






I am Mordred : a tale from Camelot by Nancy Springer

A retelling of Arthurian legend from the point of view of Mordred, in a try to humanized him. Doesn't bring much new to the story, and the good thing about taking so long in reviewing books now is that I can comment on how memorable the book is: this one, not much.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5




May

Magic bites by Ilona Andrews

Read this one after Jen7waters raved about the series, but it didn't work out for me. It never left the pages for me, and I never connected with any of the characters. So... Not for me.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5






The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay

I had such high hopes for this one. It's Guy Gavriel Kay, and one of the Fantasy's classics. Well, I didn't like it.
But let me start by talking about the cover, because I love that illustration. I see it, and I imagine an entire story just by looking at it! A guy, tied to a tree, all naked! Why is he there? Is it punishment? Is he a good guy? Does he deserve it? Does he feel like he deserves it? I can see someone broken, and who has abandoned himself to despair. Someone with a hint of darkness inside.
I wasn't far from the truth, but the execution left so much to be desired. The concept was not one that I like: regular, "our world" kids, get transported to a magic world of elves (*by any other name*) where there are prophecies, and wars, and epic battles with gods and other magical beings. And-They-Don't-Even-Bat-An-Eyelash-At-It. Really, after a brief "I don't believe in magic." they all go so jolly into a freaking vortex of magic to go help this random dude (and accompanying dwarf) set up a celebration to his king. So, no, I couldn't suspend my disbelief, and the hopping POVs where too bloody distracting.

Rating: 2 out of 5



Breath and bone by Carol Berg

The continuation of Flesh and Spirit doesn't disappoint. Valen is about the best character ever! And he changes so much since the beginning of Book 1 till the end of Book 2, and it's such a treat to get to read about all that development, how he grows, and learns who he is, and what he is, and goes from not caring about anything but his own neck to becoming a hero. Just go read this series. Now.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5


June

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Ah, Bitterblue, one of my most awaited books of 2012. And I finally read it! Opinion? Not as good as Graceling and Fire, but it does bring closure to the story. I liked how it still deals with Leck and all he had done, and how Bitterblue is trying to find herself as a woman and as a queen.
I can't quite put my finger on why it wasn't as good as the other books, but I just didn't have the same grasping eagerness to get to the end as with the other two (or go back to the beginning once it was done).


Rating: 4 out of 5



I Am the Messenger by Markus ZusakI am the messenger by Markus Zusak

Jen's fault again, but since it is Markus Zusak, I was bound to read it anyway. It is such a sweet book. Yet, quite like The Book Thief, quite prone to break your heart only to mend it again.
If you, like me, are likely to tear up at the first moment of sweetness or at a tragedy, please be warned that you'll be crying your heart out with this book. It is weird, and although you know what's going on, you are never sure why is it going on, and so you read, and are amazed by it, and read some more, and fall in love with it.
However, it is not quite to the level of The Book Thief (in my opinion), the short, fragmented sentences feel a bit forced here. But everything else is simply amazing.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5



The Map of the Sky by Félix J. Palma

Not as good as the first one, somewhat overly long with too much philosophical questions in between. The story is good though, and I especially loved that the little "mistakes" and incongruities that I came across while reading the book were explained at the end of the book, as intended discrepancies. It reads more like a horror story than the previous one (well, 3 horror stories), to the point that you are actually frightened and spooked out. Yet, where H.G. Wells is involved, I was never really able to suspend my disbelief. Maybe it was the fact that I know this author is always up to something, but it just didn't ring plausible, even within the context of this universe.
Oh, and I really liked to see old characters appear, and see how they had changed, and get to know a bit more of them.

Rating: 4 out of 5



TBR Change: +1 (From 225 to 226)



Other Stuff

I was kindly given this stamp by p7 of Bookeater/Booklover:


Thank you so much!

1º - Escolher três blogues para passar...
Como eu estou muito atrasada nestas coisas, parece-me que todos os blogs que sigo já receberam este selinho. E bem merecido!
2º - Fazer a ligação de quem te ofereceu:
Mais uma vez, obrigada Bookeater/Booklover.
3º - Escolher 5 factos aleatórios sobre ti:
1. 90% das vezes que como gelado, este é de limão. O resto das vezes o mais provável é não haver gelado de limão.
2. Se saio de casa sem um livro sinto-me despida. Às vezes levo um livro comigo sabendo que não vou ter nenhuma oportunidade de o ler.
3. A forma que mais gosto de conhecer sítios novos é meter os pés ao caminho e andar sem destino pelas ruas de uma cidade nova.
4. Agora que comecei a trabalhar a sério, descobri que não consigo ler tanto como quando era estudante, mesmo em tempo de exames. Conselho para a malta jovem: Leiam, Leiam, Leiam!
5. Adoro a ideia de me apaixonar por um livro, por uma frase, por uma personagem, e fazer isso todas as vezes que tenho um livro novo.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Top Ten Tuesday Rewind: Top Ten Books I Wish I Could Read Again for the First Time

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week a theme for a list is suggested. This week is a Top Ten Tuesday Rewind, and I get to choose to do one of the past topics. I chose Top Ten Books I Wish I Could Read Again for the First Time. A lot of these books will be ones that I love, because there is a very special joy in falling in love with a book for the first time, of being amazed by it, and of being pleasantly surprised.



1. Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
Juliet Marillier is a regular on these lists. It is known that I love her books. But I wish I could go back to that first book I ever read of her, to the feelings and thoughts it provoked, to the magic of something new and good that has been so very hard to find since. And this holds true with the rest of the series and her books.






2. Howl's Moving Castle by Diane Wynne Jones
I would love to read this book again for the first time, but more than that, I would love to read it before watching the Anime, and then compare my views of Howl and Sophie and Calcifer, to those of Miyazaki.






3. Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. Le Guin
I wish I could read this series again, but for the first time, now that I'm older. But at the same time, it's hard to relinquish having read it so young, as these books made me grow up to who I am today.






4. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Almost the same as the Earthsea Cycle, I am torn between wanting to read for the first time now that I am older or cherish the fact that it was so important to my growth and that of my literary tastes. But I would definitely love to plunge into that amazing world for the first time, again.






5. Palimpsest by Catherynne Valente
I read Palimpsest in a strange time of my life, when I could not give it the attention it deserved. I wish I could go back and read it for the first time, but with attention, really soaking in all its imagery and strangeness, basking in its writing, and maybe come to actually love this book.






6. Plain Kate by Erin Bow
Plain Kate is like Daughter of the Forest, as I would love to be overwhelmed by it and the emotions it provokes for the first time again. It would leave me raw again, and broken hearted, but it would be worth it.






7. Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
With the Harry Potter series I am not sure if I wanted to read it for the first time now that I am older, but I wish I could have read the books in a shorter period of time. I'll explain: I started with Harry Potter when I was 13, and it was good, because Harry was 11 and it was still close to my age. But when the final book came, I was 21 and Harry was still 16, going 17. It no longer ran parallel with my own growing up, and I had left him being some time before. So, I wish I could now read it for the first time, but being 13 again (or 11 for that matter), so I could grow up with him.






8. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
I never had the heart to re-read this book, in part because I am afraid not to like it as much, and in part because there are key moments in the story that I already know, and so my perspective will change. But if I read it for the first time...






9. The Voice of Fire by Alan Moore
This is a strange book, and I have been promising a re-read for sometime now, but what I really would love was to read it again for the first time, with the eyes and mind of someone older.






10.Sunshine by Robin McKinley
Sunshine is, like most books on this list, a case of wanting to be plunged into a magical and awesome world for the first time, of having amazing adventures for the first time, and of meeting characters that will stay with me for a long time for the first time. Nothing really beats that feeling, right?