book review: far from the tree, by robin benway

IMG_0179A contemporary novel about three adopted siblings who find each other at just the right moment.

Being the middle child has its ups and downs.

But for Grace, an only child who was adopted at birth, discovering that she is a middle child is a different ride altogether. After putting her own baby up for adoption, she goes looking for her biological family, including—

Maya, her loudmouthed younger bio sister, who has a lot to say about their newfound family ties. Having grown up the snarky brunette in a house full of chipper redheads, she’s quick to search for traces of herself among these not-quite-strangers. And when her adopted family’s long-buried problems begin to explode to the surface, Maya can’t help but wonder where exactly it is that she belongs.

And Joaquin, their stoic older bio brother, who has no interest in bonding over their shared biological mother. After seventeen years in the foster care system, he’s learned that there are no heroes, and secrets and fears are best kept close to the vest, where they can’t hurt anyone but him.

Far From the Tree can be considered a backlist novel (it was released in 2017), so it is one that has been on my radar the longest. I don’t even think I heard anyone in particular talking about this book, but I walked into a local bookstore once and saw that they had this book in their English section. The premise caught my attention and I sat there to read a couple chapters.

I loved what I read a lot. It got me absolutely wrapped up in the story and I barely saw time passing while I stood there. I obviously didn’t have the chance to finish the whole book in one sitting and I also didn’t have the money to take it home, so I left and prayed I’d have the chance to pick it up soon. It took a few months, but it happened, and I’m so glad it did. It broke my heart and made me feel everything, just as I’d predicted it would.

COISAS BOAS

  1. JOAQUIN. I feel like I have to mention him first, because Joaquin is the light of this book. Actually, it may be the complete opposite, because he’s in fact a very angsty and broken character. Joaquin is the only one out of the three siblings that has never been adpoted and his experiences in foster care have definitely left scars. His perspective was my favorite one to read about, and it broke my heart everytime. I teared-up multiple times reading his thoughts and his backstory. He was a very loyal and carrying person, but felt himself that he didn’t deserve happiness. I just really wanted to hug him forever.
  2. The discussion about being a non-white kid in a white family. Prior to picking up this book, I actually listened to Robin Benway on the First Draft podcast and I really appreciated how she mentioned approaching this discussion. As someone who cares a lot about adoption and follows a lot of interracial families on Youtube and such, it was super interesting reading from the perspective of the kid, who sees himself a in white family and is trying to come to terms with that. Joaquin is also the only one out of the three who is not white, which was a very interesting take.
  3. Demystifying adoption. There are a lot of stereotypes when it comes to adoption and foster care. I am not even aware of all of them, because my country has no such a system as foster care, so I think American readers can take even more from this experience. The author is able to present a very realistic side of things; even though she tries to encompass as many different perspectives as she can, and tries also to break stereotypes around what “giving up” a child means, she makes sure to remind the reader constantly that this entire cycle is based on one thing: love. People adopt because they love. They also give up their kids to adoption because they love them. This book definitely does not lack on love.
  4. The talk on identity. This book is centered around these characters figuring out who they are. For Grace, that means coming to terms with the person she is now, after her baby. She spent 16 years being one person, just to become another after she got pregnant, and is not dealing with the aftermath. Grace 3.0 is broken, but determined to pick up the pieces. Maya’s identity, surprisingly, didn’t rely a lot on her sexuality, because, in fact, she was super unapologetic about it, which I loved. As for Joaquin, his is definitely the most complicated one. Joaquin craves for an identity, a backstory, a past that will allow him to have a future. He doesn’t have childhood pictures or stories. At some point, a teacher asks him to buy tapas from his family, beleving that they’re Mexican, and he doesn’t know how to react to that. He doesn’t even know how to speak Spanish. This book introduced us to so many conflicts on identity and I loved it a whole lot.
  5. Family dynamics absolutely everywhere. I love family dynamics. More than I love romance, most of the time. Like, sure, reading about two characters falling in love is always fun, but the love that comes from a sibling relationship, mother & daughter, father & son… It’s so much more intense. I had a field day with this book, truly. It had the most beautiful family dynamics and quotes I’ve ever read about. We’re constantly complaining about terrible or absent parents in YA, and this book delivers amazing and yet complicated family relationships all around.

COISAS RUINS

  1. Maya. As much as I loved this book, Maya’s character was hard to deal with. She was clearly written to be an unlikeable one. She talks too much, is quite snarky and doesn’t care about being nice to people whom she’s just met. Going through her narration was sort of painful, especially because I wanted to get to Grace’s and Joaquin’s already.
  2. The sisters relationship felt unrealistic. Maya and her sister, Lauren, have quite a complicated relationship. Lauren is a biological daughter and only one year younger than Maya. They’re written to be almost enemies, but also best friends, which I feel like should be realistic, since that’s exactly how I feel about my sister as well. But there was just something about the way they held grudges over the smallest things and kept apologizing that just didn’t work for me at all? If you have a sibling, you know you hardly ever apologize. One minute you’re screaming at each other, the next you’re laughing. That’s the beauty about having a sibling, and I feel like, ultimately, their relationship lacked this natural banter.

IMG_0183Overall, I’m just so glad that I read this book. There are so many important topics being talked about in here, and you can see the author made sure to treat it with a lot of respect. It truly puts you in these characters’ shoes, almost transporting you to the inside of their lives, as you follow their narratives.

I will point out, though, that the physical book may be a better fit than the audio book. I listened to it and I didn’t vibe with the narrator that much. Also, it is only one narrator for all three perspectives, which I find can be kinda tedious. If you have the chance to pick up the physical one, I’d definitely recommend doing so!

FAVORITADO

If you survived this over 1k words review, thank you so much! If you have read Far From The Tree, please share your thoughts in the comments below!

Anúncios

discussion: what makes me want to pick up a book?

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Hello, fellow bloggers!

Recently (more like two weeks ago because I’m behind on everything and my life is a mess, don’t @ me), I saw a lot of people taking part in a Top Ten Tuesday prompt for “What Makes Me Pick Up A Book?”

I thought it was a pretty interesting topic and I realized I’ve never shared my buzz words before in this blog, and it would be nice to discuss all the things that make me excited for a book.

To illustrate this post, I’ll be sharing one book with that said concept that I picked up solely for this trait and loved; and another one that I’m dying to read, because I’m pretty sure I’ll love it too.

ONE. Diverse contemporaries.

35704397I know this may come off as too broad; like, there are several diverse contemporaries being released every week, but I am lowkey interested in almost all of them. Contemporary is my favorite genre, and when they get to talk about intersectional main characters (such as neurodivergent POC or disabled queer), I am even more interested to pick them up.

35380157I had never paid much attention to diversity prior to joining the bookish community online. And I’m so glad that I’ve been more aware of its importance, because it truly has changed the way I see books. I am much more inclined to pick up a novel now that it’s able to show me a different reality and introduce me to a new way to see the world, rather than the white/cis/het version we’re already familiar with.

TWO. Boarding school or college scenarios

29589074This is definitely more specific than the first one. The book I’m curerntly writing is definitely set in a boarding school – that is just to show my commitment.

29044I am a nerd for all things academics. I am not necessarily interested in taking classes, but I for sure like learning about how they work. I literally know more about American universities than I probably should (is it a remarkable skill being able to name all Ivy League schools when I’m not even a US resident?), and reading college scenarios is kinda being inside my own researches. It’s amazing.

 

THREE. Bromances

25613472I love bromances. Two bros, chilling in a hot tub, five-feet apart cause they’re not gay. They make every book more worth reading for me.

40170373I adore friendships all around – that’s true. I love learning about strong friend groups, because friendship and loyalty are very important things for me personally. But there’s something special on a friendship between two male characters. It probably has to do with the fact that I obsess over fictional men like I don’t even hate men in real life, so putting them together in a close relationship just makes things even better.

FOUR. Fake dating.

33815781This is my favorite romance trope ever. If you get me two characters that are just going to “pretend” to be in love, I am already interested, because I can not wait to see them, evidently, fall in love for real.

18660447It’s a shame that I haven’t read as many books with this trope as I wish. Or at least not enough that would be able to actually satisfy my *needs*. I read The Wedding Date earlier on this year, and it definitely didn’t have as much fake dating banter as I expected, and I’m still a little sad about it. I need an entire freaking series of this trope alone to make me happy.

FIVE. Bands or singers as protagonists.

8492825If there’s something you should know about me is: I’m obsessed with music artists. There has never been a time in my life in which I wasn’t crying over a boyband or a singer. Music is a huge part of my life, and so is fangirling, so it’s only natural that they’ve always worked together.

And another huge part of my life was also about speculating what lives under the spotlight are for real. We definitely see the tabloids and read the news, but how interesting and fascinating would it be to read from an inside perspective?

40597810The first story I took seriously and actually thought about writing was a story on a girl who posts YouTube videos, gets scouted by a huge record label and moves to the city of angels. (Totally sci-fi, as you can see. Not inspired by *any* artist in specific).

This story never worked out, because the plot sucked, as expected from any book written by a 12 year old. But I am still fascinated by this idea and that’s why I love books that are focused especially on artists, where you can follow their songwriting inspiration and crave for the actual songs afterwards.

SIX. Queer protagonists (especially if they’re asexual).

31625039This could definitely be under “diverse contemporaries“, but I wanted to make it its own thing, because I’ll read about queer characters in any genre, if I’m being honest. Graphic novels, fantasy, sci-fi. Again, especially if they’re asexual.

37880094There’s not much that I can relate to when reading a book these days. I don’t think I’ll be able to read a YA contemporary from a South-American author in this lifetime (okay, I’m being overdramatic. Hopefully, I’ll find one before I die!) and I can not relate with neurodivergences or disabilities.

However, I can relate when reading about asexual characters and that’s what I need more of. Especially those books in which they have happy endings – with someone or by themselves.

SEVEN. Family relationships

33830437I talked before about how much I love bromances, but this one is brothers for real. I don’t care whether they’re brothers, sisters, mother/daughter, father/son… All it matters is that I’ll be able to read about a family relationship that is likely to break my heart.

25062038I find that these dynamics are more heart-wrenching than romance, most of the time. I do appreciate myself a good & old love story, but what can really move to tears is the all encompassing love that comes with being part of a family.

 

 

I think these are all the things that make me instantly want to read a book. Let me know down below some of your personal buzz words and if you relate to any of my own!

a trip to my homecountry: high school sucks worldwide

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Hello, fellow bloggers!

First of all, I really want to say thank you for all the love this feature got on my first post. I’m happy that you all are willing to support it, because I was very hesitant on sharing these posts, as I didn’t know if they’d perform well compared to my other ones. But you guys seemed to really like the idea of me sharing more about life in Brazil, so I’m excited to carry on with it.

For today’s post, I’ll be sharing a little bit about my high school experience – how schools work in Brazil, the college entrance process, etc. Please, share in the comments down below any particular memories from your personal high school experience, as I’d love to know!

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how we all thought high school was going to look like

FIRST. Public schools vs. private schools

My country definitely has a lot of issues, politically-wise. I’m sure you’ve heard that our country just elected a guy worse than Trump and all of our many corruption scandals. The reason why I’m mentioning this is because poor administration is reflected a lot on public schools.

Most public schools in my country have very bad infra-structure. The teachers aren’t well paid and, sometimes, are required to teach subjects they’re not even specialists on. The books are outdated, kids don’t have meals and it’s pretty bad conditions overall.

So private schools are, in fact, very, very common. I was privileged enough to only study in private schools throughout my whole life. The infrastructure is definitely a lot better, we have updated materials and some of the best teachers we could have. The better the school is, obviously, the more expensive it is.

This is just a general overview. There are a few public schools who are outstanding in their methods and have very good results in national exams. These are exceptions, though, and you have go through an admission process in order to get into them.

SECOND. Public universities vs. private universities

Now, if you got the idea that: “private schools are better than public schools“, you actually have the opposite when it comes to universities.

Public universities are some of the most prestigious institutions in the country. Obviously, the admission process is a lot harder too. A few private universities also hold the same prestige – though they’re hella expensive -, but most don’t offer as good of an education.

(Just to clarify: public and private here mean exactly what they’re supposed to mean. I know that for universities in the US, you have to pay expensive tuitions no matter what, but in Brazil, public institutions mean you don’t have to pay a single thing).

It’s a huge paradox, if you really think about it.

People who can afford private schools end up being much ahead of the ones who can’t, obviously. They have better infrasctruture, teachers and curriculums. So for public college entrance exams, these people tend to get the best grades, and get in. Which means that people who can not afford private schools also can not afford private universities and it becomes a much more complex problem than I can describe. But just to show that education is a huge issue in my country’s reality.

THIRD. College entrance exams

In Brazil, college entrance exams are called “vestibular“. It’s an exam covering all subjects, from Sociology to Physics, and it pretty much defines whether or not you’ll get into college. You can only take them once a year.

I know some countries take into consideration your entire high school performance, such as awards and GPA, but not around here, sadly. It’s all up to that one test.

Each institution has their own exam, so it’s not like a general SATs. The only exam that is accepted by several universities is called ‘ENEM‘ and you can enter to both private and public colleges with this one.

FOURTH. What high school truly looks like

Now, this is the part of the post in which I share my personal experiences. In any way, this is an example of the life of every Brazilian student. My experience was pretty out of the ordinary, but I wanted to briefly share anyway.

For my last year of high school, I had tests every Satruday morning. Waking up on a weekend and going to school is just as awful as it sounds. Every week, I had to study for a different subject. In my country, you can’t really take electives and “choose” what you’re going to study. Every subject is mandatory for your graduation.

Imagem relacionada

My favorite subjects were History and Maths. I absolutely loathed Chemistry, Philosophy and Literature.

On top of that, some Sundays, I had to be in school again, taking tests that we call “simulados“. It’s basically a prep for our college entrance exams: looks exactly the same, has similar questions, takes the same time. It’s the best way to prepare for the *actual* day, since you can only take a college entrance exam once a year. (I think these exist in other countries, but I forgot what they’re called? Help).

I didn’t have any extracurriculars in my senior year – we simply didn’t have time. Classes ran from 7 a.m till 2 p.m, with two twenty-minute breaks in between. P.E is required in my country, but most of us ditched it to study and the teachers didn’t care at all.

The only thing I remember truly enjoying during my high school time was an event called ‘Festa Junina‘. I’ll explain more about it in future posts, but it’s my favorite holiday in all year, and one of the few school festivities I’ve always taken part in, every year.

Soooo… That’s it! I apologize for the long post, but I hope it was informative in any way. I’m really curious about what high school looks like in your country, as well as the college admission process. I feel like I’m familiar with the one in the US, because that’s what most books and movies cover, but not at all in the rest of the world! Let me know in the comments! 💛

 

 

 

my favorite documentaries

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Hello, fellow bloggers!

Today, I wanted to share about a recent passion of mine that has nothing to do with books. It’s funny that I’m in love with documentaries now, because I was just reading old journal entries and I mentioned that I hated them. Well, things definitely changed and I decided to choose my top favorites to talk about today.

1. GET ME ROGER STONE

This is a documentary for those who are interested in politics, which I just became recently. As the name suggests, this documentary follows Roger Stone, an infamous figure in the US politics, that recently served as an adviser for Trump’s early campaign. And though I couldn’t disagree more with  Trump’s politics, both him and Stone are very interesting figures to follow.

Roger Stone is known for being a dirty trickster and for having Richard Nixon’s face tattoed in his back. Getting to know about him is understanding the dark side of American politics, as well as how fake-news have been helping campaigns for years before the term even became popular. In order to criticize someone, we have to know them, which is why I found this so incredible to watch.

2. DIANA: IN HER OWN WORDS

Resultado de imagem para diana in her own words

As a pop-culture lover, I certainly know very few things about most 90’s stars. And though Lady Di was not an artist, she was definitely a very popular figure of that time. Getting to know her, through her own perspective in this documentary, was one of the most powerful things I’ve ever watched.

Lady Di was a wonderful woman and I was absolutely unaware of the amount of struggles that she went through, from eating disorders to the media pressure. It is a slow paced documentary, with just pictures and old video footage, along with her own audio, but very insightful and absolutely beautiful.

3. THE BEATLES: EIGHT DAYS A WEEK

If you don’t know anything about The Beatles – like me, that only knew 2/4 of them -, I wouldn’t say start with this one. ‘How The Beatles Changed The World‘ would probably be the best one for beginners, because it covers their entire career, with all the ups and down. Eight Days a Week, on the other hand, focuses solely on the ‘touring years‘, aka, the beginning of their career.

Because I’m much more interested in the early 60s and my favorite albums by The Beatles are their first ones, I enjoyed this one a lot more. It’s a very interesting take on the Beatlemania and in the early boyband-fan culture, which is obviously very relatable. And I’m still impressed by the fact they were able to perform on synch even though they didn’t listen to each other at all, while on stage. Like, how?!

4. 13TH

I actually watched this documentary on class, and it moved some of my classmates to tears. 13th, in the name, refers to the 13th amendmant in the American Constitution, that abolished slavery as an aftermath of Civil War. As you can expect, it will be all about the lives of black people in the United States today.

Actually, the documentary tackles mostly the problem of mass incarceration of communities of color in the country. It’s such a well done project: there are historical elements, mixed in with shocking data and a very engaging and dynamic presentation that makes it delightful to watch. If the theme sparks your interest, it’s a must check!

5. FYRE

Resultado de imagem para fyre festival

This is a documentary I watched recently and it was fascinating and crazy at the same time. As the name suggest, Fyre follows the process and the outcome of the Fyre Festival that happened in 2017 and was the biggest disaster of all times. In case you’re not familiar with the story: this festival was advertised as the biggest music festival of this age, set in a desert island with tickets around $10,000. It all turned out to be a huge scam in the end, and the documentary follows how it all came to be pretty well.

One of my favorite things about this one though was how it shed light to the lives affected by the outcome of the scam. Most people got back into planes, returned to their homes and moved on with their lives. But the locals in the Bahamas, who rent their homes, worked their butts off and tried to pull this thing together never even got paid. It’s a side of the story that I had never really thought about before, and I’m glad the docmmentary was able to tell it.

These are all the documentaries I have to share today! All of them are either original Netflix’s or available on the platform, so it should be pretty easy to find if you want to watch it. If you have any favorite documentary yourself, please share in the comments, as I’m constantly looking for recommendations! ☀️

book review: crooked kingdom, by leigh bardugo

IMG_0778Welcome to the world of the Grisha.

Kaz Brekker and his crew of deadly outcasts have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives.

Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties.

A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets – a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

Hello, fellow bookworms!

Today, I bring one of the most exciting reviews I’ve ever done and I’m the only one who’s excited about it, but STILL. It’s been a year since I read Six of Crows and definitely around four to six months since I’ve been procrastinating picking up Crooked Kingdom. Fantasy books terrify me, and this one’s not short at all, so I was very, very intimidated.

The experience turned out to be much better than I anticipated, though I definitely still had my issues after all. And, by the way, I still hate Kaz Brekker a lot.

TRIGGER WARNINGS: addiction, torture, violence, forced prostitution and sex trafficking and trauma-related mental illness.

COISAS BOAS

  1. Matthias. And Nina. Mostly Matthias, though. When reading Six of Crows, my favorite character was actually Inej, but Crooked Kingdom changed my opinion completely and solidified Nina and Matthias as my favorites. Their banter is absolutely amazing, but as individuals they’re also incredible. Matthias is such a pure soul, while also being absolutely badass. Nina is hilarious and goes through so much at the beginning and still would defend her people to death. Plus: she’s not skinny, and that representation means more to me than I can put into words. They also happen to be ridiculously amazing together – the type of amazing that makes your heart hurt every time they look at each other.
  2. The growth from the characters. Because I love Matthias the most, I feel like I also have to mention his unbelievable growth throughout the duology. He starts off as a guy with a lot of stereotypical ideas about the Grishas, trapped in his own cycle of hate that he was taught his whole life. But after going through everything, he learns so much, which really shows how hatred can come from ignorance and education is the only way to stop it. In general, all the characters go through an amazing development and become better people – as good as you can expect thieves to be, anyway.
  3. Surprisingly, Kaz & Inej. I didn’t care for Kaz & Inej at all in Six of Crows, mostly because I love Inej and despise Kaz so the two just didn’t add up. This installment, though, had me crying (in public) with their interactions. I do still stand by the fact, though, that these two don’t need each other; what they need is some intense therapy. But counting on someone else was already a good start.
  4. Discussing important themes in a fantasy world. Leigh Bardugo was able to intertwine very meaningful topics in a fantastical story and it worked beautifully. She discusses trauma, disability, sex trafficking and a lot of other themes that you wouldn’t expect to be in a fantasy novel. I was surprised by how well these messages were delved into the story and it added a very important layer to the book.
  5. The world building and writing style. Granted: fantasy is not my thing, so take my praise to the world building with a grain of salt. I still love how we slowly got to know more about this world (especially since I am not familiar with it, not having read the Grisha trilogy), the people, the different languages and different cultures. Leigh Bardugo’s writing style is also fantastic: so beautiful and so atmospheric. It truly transported me to this world.

COISAS RUINS

  1. The ending. Everything was PERFECT up until the last forty pages. They’re a mess. I was so underwhelmed, as I feel like the story wrapped itself up in a way that didn’t match the build up. The stakes are always so high for this series, but it didn’t feel this way in this conclusion. I’m not saying that things happened too conveniently, but considering how dark this series was, I expected we’d go a little further. The character loss we have in here also felt dumb and unnecessary, so… Yeah. I’m mad.
  2. It’s not as atmospheric as Six of Crows was. Even though I’ve given both these books the exact same rating, I still prefer Six of Crows over Crooked Kingdom. I feel like the first book was more atmospheric, and had more banter between the characters, as they were just starting to work as a group and didn’t trust each other completely yet. I also still stand by the fact that Six of Crows could’ve been a standalone; even though I really liked Crooked Kingdom as a book, it still feels objectively unnecessary to me.

IMG_0783Overall, I still consider these books worth the hype. They’re very well loved by the bookish community, and frankly, despise the few problems I had, I still find them worth checking out. There are a lot of things that make it stand out from other YA fantasies out there, which is probably why it gets so much buzz.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be picking up Leigh Bardugo’s original Grisha trilogy and because of that, her most recent novel, King of Scars, but if she ever releases anything else following these characters you can for sure count me in!

 

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Let me know in the comments how you feel towards this series! I know it’s a very hyped and well loved one, but feel free to share some of your more unpopular opinions down below too!

 

monthly wrap up: march, ’19

montlhywrapup

Hello, fellow bloggers!

March is over, and I’m kind of very excited about it. Mostly because fall is approaching and finally the weather will get better around here. I feel like I’ve been dying due to the heat for the past four months, so I really can not wait for it to get cooler.

Despise that, March wasn’t exactly an eventful month for me and I’m kinda glad that I had enough time to complete all the books I wanted to read!

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Jonas Brothers are back! This is the best thing that has happened to me in the past three years. No joke there. I was a huge JoBros fan growing up – they were the first concert I’ve ever attended! – and seeing them back together just gave me so many feelings. I probably cried watching their Carpool Karaoke and all the interviews they’ve done in the James Corden show are absolutely hilarious! Sucker, their new single, is also phenomenal and has been on repeat for weeks now.
  • I’ve had a lot of movie marathons. If there’s one thing that happens when I’m feeling uninspired and *meh* (like I was at the beginning of the month), is I end up marathoning tons of movies. I did an Ashton Kutcher marathon, where I watched all of his iconic rom-coms (What Happens in Vegas remains my favorite), a Maze Runner re-watch (that literally made me cry my eyeballs off, once again) and I’m currently watching all of the Marvel movies in chronological order to prepare for Avengers: Endgame.
  • I got back in my writing game – and I’m handwriting this time! I know some of you are cringing at the thought of it. The mere thought of writing an entire book by hand gave me a headache – and cramps -, but I realized that writing on a screen was stressing me out. It felt like I was trying to be an author, constantly comparing myself and getting distracted by social media and the internet in general. When I sit down with a notebook, though, it feels like I have no one else to please but myself and it has grounded me back to what really made me fall in love with this idea in the first place. I’ve only tried it for a week now, so I don’t know yet if I’ll be able to keep up with it, but I’m letting all my ideas out and it’s been refreshing.

WHAT I READ

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★★★★★

Where She Went was actually a re-read for me. I talked about this book on the blog before and I was eager to revisit this story. Where She Went takes place three years after the events of If I Stay and it focuses on Adam, as he’s now a famous rockstar, lead of the rising punk band, Shooting Star. In fact, Adam is a super angsty and anxious character, and his perspective was absolutely marvelous to read from. Even though this book has its problems – like all the numerous sexist remarks -, I still love it so much? Honestly, just give me all the books with angsty musicians and I’ll devour and love them forever.

 

17259690

★★☆☆☆

When I was planning my reads for March, I was most excited to read The Foxhole Court. I was 100% sure I was going to love this book. It’s the first installment in the All for the Game series and it follows the team of the Foxes, for this fictional sport called Exy. It centers around a lot of male characters, including our protagonist, Neil Josten, who has a big secret about his past. My main problem with this book was: THERE’S NO PLOT. The characters are not moving to any specific goal. The writing is so all over the place. You’re being introduced to these characters over and over again, and I still feel like I don’t know them at all. Also: they are ALL bad-boys. Like, I am broken and damagedTM, so I can act like an asshole. It was excrutiating to get through the 8-hour-long audiobook. I am still going to carry on with the series, though, because I refuse to believe that this is what the hype was about.

 

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★★★★☆

Truly Devious, by Maureen Johnson was a ride. I took about two weeks to finish this book, much due to the fact I completely overestimated my English skills and I had to focus A LOT to fully understand it. So, it was 100% my fault that it took me so long to get into it. But, once I did, it was brilliant! The mystery was engaging and so was the setting – boarding school with lots of mysteries? Count me in. The characters were also adorable, and even if I didn’t love Stevie, I certainly liked David and Nate a lot. I am literally dying to pick up the second installment in the series – hopefully, I’ll be able to do it until the end of the year?!

 

Resultado de imagem para every heart a doorway

★★☆☆☆

I feel like March was a polarizing month, with some amazing reads and other very disappointing ones. Every Heart a Doorway falls on the latter category. I realized that Rick Riordan is probably the only author who I trust to mix fantasy/mythology and our contemporary world. This book had a lot to do with portal fantasies and boarding schools, and I couldn’t care at all. The murder mystery was also incredibly predictable (and this is coming from someone who can never figure out mysteries) and the way it was handled was beyond unrealistic. Like, a girl is found dead in the morning and then they move on to class as if nothing had happened? Uh, sure. I did appreciate the diversity, though! We had an asexual protagonist and a trans side character, but still it wasn’t enough for me to rate it any higher.

 

22299763

★★★★☆

I also finally finished Crooked Kingdom! It’s been a year since I last read Six of Crows, but I can safely say I’m free to check the Tumblr tag without being spoiled now! This installment was not as good as the first one, sadly, but it definitely changed my opinion on a lot of things! I’ve officially solidified Matthias as my favorite character, along with Nina. They’re my absolute sweethearts and I cried so much with them throughout this book. I’ve also started to like Kaz & Inej more,which was surprising. The ending was truly what knocked down the book for me, as I was sure it’d be a 5 stars. It was underwhelming and disappointing for such a strong start. Nonetheless, I still love Leigh Bardugo’s writing style and I do consider these books worth the hype.

 

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★★★★★

Far From The Tree was my last read for March. This book showed up kinda randomly in my life, as I saw it in a bookstore once and have been dying to finish reading ever since. I ended up listening to it in audiobook, which I’m not sure yet if I recommend. I think I’d have liked it better if we had different narrators for each perspective – kinda like the Odd One Out audiobook. Nonetheless, the story really captivated me. Maya was definitely an annoying character, but she was written to be unlikeable, so I guess that’s okay. Her relationship with her sister felt a bit unrealistic, but my love for Grace and Joaquin (especially Joaquin) made the book so worth it for me. I cried multiple times – sometimes in public – with this book, so I can’t recommend any more than that.

ON THE BLOG

MONTHLY PLAYLIST

 

This is the first time I’m writing about music here, but I really liked the idea of sharing my monthly playlists here as well.

Music is a huge part of my life, and I’m constantly listening to something. For the year of 2019, I wanted to do something different, and so I started creating monthly playlists, in which I pretty much incorporate all songs that match my mood for the month.

I warn you in advance: these playlists are suuuuuper random. You can be listening to Billie Eilish in one second and Jackson 5 in the other. It’s just how my musical taste works sometimes.

LOOKING FORWARD

Hopefully, in April, I’ll be able to read just as much as I did in March! I do have a lot of books I want to complete in the upcoming month, with some much anticipated reads, so I hope to find time to read them all!

Let me know in the comments what you’ve accomplished recently and what are some of your goals for April! 🌟

a trip to my home country: stereotypes

myhomecountry

Hello, fellow bloggers!

Today, I’m here to introduce a new feature in my blog, called ‘A Trip to my Home Country‘. Through these posts, I’m looking forward to sharing more about my country and life in this hemisphere.

I don’t know a lot of other South American bloggers, so I think there’s a lack of representation in the community. I hope that, through this feature, people will get to know more about how we live around here.

For today’s post, specifically, I was inspired by this post, written by Prags @ The Inked In Book Blog for a feature in Fadwa‘s blog @ Word Wonders. (By the way, her feature is amazing and I’m so glad that people from all over the world can have a place in this community to share about where they come from!). In the post, she busts some stereotypes and myths involving Indian culture, so I thought it would be nice to do something similar for Brazil as well.

ONE. BRAZILIANS SPEAK SPANISH OR BRAZILIAN

We don’t, actually! Even though the rest of South America was colonized by Spain, and therefore, speak Spanish, Brazil was actually colonized by Portugal. So, our language is Portuguese!

Portuguese and Spanish are similar languages, but are definitely not the same, thanks.

And as for the ‘Brazilian’ language… That’s just dumb, sorry.

TWO. PEOPLE VISIT THE AMAZON RAINFOREST ON A DAILY BASIS

I’ve lived in Brazil for 18 years and I’ve never been to the Amazon rainforest. It’s located in the North of the country, so it’s pretty far for most people who live in the bigger cities – like moi.

Foreign tourists are most of the people that actually visit the Amazon rainforest. It’s not a popular traveling location amongst Brazilians.

THREE. EVERYONE PLAYS FOOTBALL.

Uh, this is almost true.

Football – or soccer, however you call it, even though I consider kinda dumb to call it soccer because the US is literally the only country to think of any other meaning for football – is very popular in Brazil. Even if you don’t play it, you probably have a team you cheer for or at least a FIFA videogame.

I know a lot of people who play football, especially kids and teenagers. But not everyone is obsessed with football, just like not everyone in the US cares for NFL or everyone in Canada skates and plays hockey.

It’s popular, but don’t *generalize*.

FOUR. BRAZIL’S CAPITAL IS RIO DE JANEIRO

Rio de Janeiro was once the capital of the country, so that’s true! Back in the 1800s, when the Portuguese Royal Family first came to Brazil – they were actually running away from Napoleon, so there goes some history lessons here! -, they established that the capital of the country should be Rio.

Albeit the most popular city worldwide, it hasn’t been the capital for almost 60 years. I think Brazil suffers from the same disease as Australia – everyone thinks the capital for the country is Sydney, but it’s actually Canberra. (And now some geography lessons too, wow, this post is going everywhere).

Imagem relacionadaOur capital is a city called Brasília, located right in the middle of the country. It was planned to be the capital, so it’s a pretty city, with a lot of interesting buildings – hence this one, which is actually a church!

FIVE. EVERYONE KNOWS HOW TO DANCE SAMBA

That’s *so* innacurate.

I don’t know anyone who can actually samba. Honestly. I’ve never learned it myself!

Samba is definitely a popular genre, but not all over the country; just in some cities. It’s not the type of music genre we listen on a daily basis either, and it’s typically more popular around Carnaval time.

So, yeah, most people don’t actually know how to dance samba here, lol.

SIX. MOST PEOPLE LIVE IN FAVELAS

Resultado de imagem para favelas

A lot of people do live in favelas. Brazil is a third world country, so there are a lot of homeless people or others living in poor conditions, such as favelas. There’s a major and historical living problem in my country, and that’s why many people end up in such situations.

However, there are also a lot of people living in regular houses and apartments. As any other country, Brazil does have a lot of layers, and albeit the more poor ones are the ones to get the attention by the international media, there are several others in better conditions.

SEVEN. “WOW, YOU’RE BRAZILIAN? BUT YOU’RE SO WHITE!”

Brazil is, racially, a very diverse country. There are literally people from all over the world living here!

Black people, white people, people from Native-American backgrounds, Asians, etc. Seven out of thirty students in my classroom were from a Japanese ethnicy. I know a lot of people who are all over the spectrum – myself included!

EIGHT. BRAZILIANS ARE WARM & WELCOMING

That’s true! Brazilians are welcoming towards foreigners and very likely to be overprotective at “gringos” – how we call foreigners here.

However, in my experiences in the United States, I actually find that Americans are much more likely to initiate small talk, and offer you a good day, and all of that. In Brazil, people don’t do this as much. Wishing each other good morning and good night is the basics, but going up to a counter and starting small talk to a costumer is not exactly a trait for Brazilians.

Nonetheless, we try to be very welcoming and make sure foreigners feel at home here as well.

That’s it! Those are all the stereotypes I have for today. Do you have any other perception towards Brazil and would like to know whether it is a myth or a fact? Let me know in the comments! And please feel free to bust other stereotypes about your home country here too!

in which i discuss how my reading taste has changed over the years

discussions

Hello, fellow readers!

In this post, I wanted to discuss how different my reading taste is now compared to how it once was. I feel like it has gone through roller coasters, in which I’m just shifting between already known genres.

Please, feel free to share some of your experiences in the comments too and how you think the changes in your reading taste have mirrored your own life changes.

one

My favorites as a child

I’ve always been a reader, ever since I read my first words at the age of three. So my parents bought me a lot of books and I tried a little bit of everything as a child. (Ha, how much has changed. My parents *hate* to buy me books nowadays).

I read pretty much everything, from long series to standalones. Fantasy to contemporary. Obviously, it was all children books, but still. I think because I was trying to comprehend the world, I didn’t have many preferences, and was just consuming as much as I could until I found out what I liked and what I didn’t like.

Pippy Longstocking was my hero at the ages of five and six. When I grew slightly older, I also started to read the Beacon Street Girls’ series and I carried on with it throughout teenagehood as well, since it’s a very long one. I still have a lot of fond memories of it!

I liked to read a lot of “girly” books (I hate this definition, because honestly gender rules are so last century, but you get me) – with female protagonists, fairies and princesses -, but I also liked books centered around male characters, like Zac Power.

Surprisingly, I’ve never been a fan of comics or graphic novels. I mean, obviously I was a fan of ‘Turma da Mônica‘, which is the most popular Brazilian comic series, but that’s about it.

two

My favorites as a teenager.

When I turned nine, I think, I got a Percy Jackson & The Olympians book set for my birthday and things changed a lot. First, I devoured the series in a matter of a couple weeks and kept re-reading the books over and over again because I didn’t believe anything else would compare.

When I was eleven, social media showed up and I found out Tumblr. Through the Percy Jackson Tumblr fandom, I also found out other amazing book series. Obviously, I was reluctant to pick them up, but at some point I found out that The Hunger Games had mythology inspirations and so I gave it a shot.

It didn’t resemble Percy Jackson in the slightest, but I still loved it a lot. After that, it was all Divergent and The Maze Runner and Shadowhunters and all the fantasies and dystopians that I could get my hands on.

I completely stopped reading contemporaries and actually started looking down on them. I felt like they had simplistic writing and didn’t offer enough depth. Even when John Green was everything people could talk about, I was still protecting my fantasies with all my heart.

I think it had a lot to do with the fandom I was in. I was pretty influenced by the hype, and so I’d only read books that I had already heard praise for in social media. This hasn’t changed at all, but the fact I was following only people that had the same book taste as I did, didn’t help with my branching out.

three

My favorites now.

I don’t think there’s a specific book I can pinpoint that changed my relationship with contemporaries, but I slowly started to gravitate more towards them. It was probably around 2014, when I found out Booktube, and started getting different recommendations.

Now, contemporary is a hundred percent my favorite genre. I still like fantasy, but I’m much more picky about which series I give a chance to. Except for perhaps Six of Crows, The Raven Cycle and Rebel of the Sands, I haven’t carried on with a fantasy series in a loooong time.

Obviously, branching out in social media and following new people allowed me to branch out in my reading as well, but I find that what really made me stick with contemporaries was the fact I could relate to them. I was finally reading books that represented me a bit more. They were teenagers, going through mundane life – not saving the world or slaying dragons.

At the same time, fantasy and more dense genres became way too much of a task in the middle of my already packed high-school experience. I had a lot of work, and so when I picked up a book, I wanted it to be entertaining and fast-paced, so long books were (are) pretty much banned.

conclusion

My reading taste has clearly changed a lot! What about yours? Which books you used to love as a kid? Let’s chat in the comments!

 

who am i book tag

booktag

Hello, fellow bloggers!

Today, I’m bringing yet another book tag. This one is quite different, though, and I love the questions! The first time I saw this tag was in Adriana‘s channel @ Perpetual Pages (which is by the way, a phenomenal channel and they’re amazingggg).

This tag was started by PBS Digital Studios in conjunction with The Great American Read, around the time when you were supposed to vote for America’s Favorite Novel. I’m not American, so you can imagine I barely glanced twice at this, but the questions were great, so I’ll be answering nonetheless!

ONE. If your life were a book genre, what would it be?

Definitely a YA contemporary. I actually imagine my life as a book sometimes, and I write a lot based in my own experiences – or how I wish they would turn out, because life is boring but books are not. Not that they actually become anything more than a paragraph, most of the times, but it’s a fun way to look at my life – through a fictional lense.

Here’s a paragraph that I wrote last year, when I was in New York City, taking the subway everyday. It’s super random, and doesn’t mean much, but it shows how much I take inspiration from things that happen around me when I’m writing.

He slipped through the subway doors right as they were closing. His body moved so subtly and swiftly, and in a glimpse of an eye he was inside. I didn’t even see him moving, except when his long legs and hooded eyes were already inside the wagon.

TWO. What villain from a book do you identify with the most?

PJOThis is a weird question, because I typically don’t like villains or morally grey characters. But Luke Castellan, from Percy Jackson, is pretty much me sometimes.

  • Holds grugdges ✔️
  • Bad relationship with their father ✔️
  • Doesn’t know how to cook ✔️
  • Doesn’t cope well with failure ✔️

Uh, yeah. Pretty much me. I do like to believe I’m not such an antagonist, though.

 

THREE. What protagonist are you most similar to? 

One of the first protagonists I deeply related with was Tris, from Divergent. She’s selfless and smart, which are traits I share. Granted, she’s much more of a badass than I’ll ever be, but I still felt like we’d be great friends if we shared the same world. Plus, every test I took would put me in either Abnegation or Erudite, so there’s only Dauntless keeping us apart, if you think about it.

Apart from Tris, I also need to mention Ari, from Ari & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. I read this book for the first time when I was fourteen, so we were pretty close on age. From his relationship with his father, to his thoughts and feelings of inadequacy, Ari was one of the most relatable characters I’ve ever encountered in YA.

FOUR. Which book did you connect with in the past that you no longer do?

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That will for sure have to be The Hunger Games trilogy. When I first picked up this series, I think I was severely carried away by the hype. I have more memories of feeling frustrated towards the book than I have of actually enjoying it.

Over the years, my rating has changed a lot. I’m still overall thankful for the series, because it introduced me to other dystopians that I love (as Divergent and The Maze Runner), but I certainly don’t have the same love for the characters as I once did.

FIVE. What recent book read would you love to be a character in?

Obviously, Truly Devious! I love the idea of an academy for kids that are incredibly passionate about one thing. I don’t think I’m particularly excelent in anything, except perhaps procrastinating, but as a fictional character, I could thrive a lot more.

I actually think about how much better I’d be as a fictional character than as a real person approximately 43 times a day.

If I could be part of the Truly Devious cast, I’d love to be the dancer – because I have zero dancing skills but am obsessed with ballet nonetheless.

SIX. How do your reading habits show off your personality?

The fact I don’t have many reading habits just show that my life is CONSTANTLY all over the place. I have no idea what’s going on half of the time.

I think the only thing I do consistently is track my reading. I love the idea to track my star ratings and my overall thoughts on a book, just as much as I love tracking my favorite songs for the month or all the movies I’ve watched. I’m a tracker, not a planner.

I also don’t have TBRs and consider myself a mood reader, because I’m absolutely incapable of doing things that I set myself to. By the time I write a to-do list, it’s ruined. I have to go with the flow.

SEVEN. What book taught you something about yourself?

I think Ari & Dante was a super life-changing novel for me, so it couldn’t be any other. Just the realization that my feelings were understood and therefore valid, even if I was relating to fictional people, was a super important moment for me. This book means more to me than I can explain, and it definitely taught me that it’s okay to feel out of place in your own skin sometimes.

 

 

 

Let me hear from you in the comments down below! Which book have you changed your opinion on? And if you were in the Ellingham Academy, what would you be known for?

book review: odd one out, by nic stone

IMG_0668From the author of Dear Martin comes this exploration of old friendships, new crushes, and the path to self-discovery.

Courtney “Coop” Cooper
Dumped. Again. And normally I wouldn’t mind. But right now, my best friend and source of solace, Jupiter Sanchez, is ignoring me to text some girl.

Rae Evelyn Chin
I assumed “new girl” would be synonymous with “pariah,” but Jupiter and Courtney make me feel like I’m right where I belong. I also want to kiss him. And her. Which is . . . perplexing.

Jupiter Charity-Sanchez
The only thing worse than losing the girl you love to a boy is losing her to your boy. That means losing him, too. I have to make a move. . . .

One story.
Three sides.
No easy answers.

I read Odd One Out during February, because of a personal TBR of mine in which I wanted to read only black authors for Black History Month. And since I was already familiar with Nic Stone – I actually re-read her debut, Dear Martin, this February too -, it felt like the perfect choice.

Now, I went into this book having already heard mixed reviews for it. My Goodreads feed was pretty polarizing: some gave 4 stars, others gave it 2. My expectations weren’t high, so I wouldn’t call this a disappointing read, but it was for sure an odd one indeed.

COISAS BOAS

  1. The writing style! I simply adore the way Nic Stone writes. Her contemporary is just my kind of contemporary, so we’re good. There are a lot of dialogues and very short chapters. The characters are hilarious and I for sure laughed out loud when reading this. Despise how entertaining it may be, she’s also able to address very serious topics as well, and it works like magic. This book follows three different narrators, and I feel like despise the perspectives sounding different, they still felt very connected through her writing voice, which I think it’s pretty impressive.
  2. The overall message. As the author mentions herself in the acknowledgements, this book was written from a very personal place. I think the way Nic Stone explored sexuality in this novel was great: it really is a fluid, ever-changing place. Jupiter’s character goes through a phenomenal development throughout the book and I appreciated that a lot. I feel like for other teenagers who are questioning their sexuality, this book can be truly helpful.
  3. The narrators for the audiobook were SO GREAT. I’m so glad that I gave this audiobook a chance! The narrator for Cooper, Dion Graham, was the best one. He was able to concieve all emotions and made the reading so entertaining and dynamic. I found out that he’s the narrator for Dear Martin too, and now I regret not having listened to it as well. Nic Stone herself narrates for Jupiter’s perspective, and I also adore her voice. Even if I didn’t like the narrator for Rae as much, this was still a 10/10 audiobook experience.
  4. The “mystery” was so fun! There’s a mini mystery subplot in this, surrounding Cooper’s childhood idol and it was so well done! I wish it had lasted a bit longer, though, and I certainly wouldn’t have minded at all if we’d spent the whole book trying to figure it out.

COISAS RUINS

  1. This is kind of a very messy love triangle. All the characters are kind of in love with each other, and I think it was one of the most complicated love-triangles of all time. These characters have no idea how to handle their feelings, and albeit realistic, I still feel like I would’ve liked for the story to provide more “healthy” ways to deal with your confusion. As these characters try to figrue out their miscommunications and lack of honesty with their own feelings, they end up getting each other hurt. I like to believe there’s a better way of figuring things out that do not involve hurting so many others in the process. (Probably some therapy?).
  2. It’s a Cooper-Jupiter story. I don’t know if it was because I was truly more invested in their narrations, but I feel like both Cooper and Jupiter were much more fleshed out characters, and they felt very real. Rae, in the other hand, was a bit left out. She’s the addition to the friend group, so I understand why maybe she wasn’t given as much attention as a character, but even towards the end, I feel like the story just left Rae in the outside.
  3. Jupiter. Honestly, Jupiter is one of the most unlikable protagonists I’ve ever read about. She struggles a lot in being honest with herself and just makes some decisions sometimes that had me eye-rolling sooooo bad. She would flirt with Cooper and then pretend it never happened; give him all these wrong signs and then act oblivious to it. I for real felt like punching her sometimes.

IMG_0671Overall, I feel like this was a weird book to rate. At times, I was sure it would be a 5-star read, just to move to the following chapter and hate everyone again. I feel just as confused as these characters are, but I think that was the author’s goal at the end of the day.

This story is not perfect, nor neat and nice, but it for sure gave me a lot to think about. It also solidified my love for Nic Stone and I can not wait to read more from her in the future.

 

3 ESTRELAS

Have you ever read Odd One Out? If so, how did you like it? (Also, there are so many Queen references in this, which was amazinggg!)