TBR | December 2021

Hello everyone!

Today I’m bringing you my TBR list for December! In the last few months I didn’t plan what I was going to read, so this is me trying to get back to a monthly routine. I picked six books for the month of December – which I thought was a very reasonable number. So here are the books I want to read this next month:

  1. I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
    I’ve been wanting to read Malala’s memoir for a very long time. I love memoirs and biographies, and this one in particular has been recommended to me many times. I have it on my shelf waiting for me, and it’s time to finally pick it up!
  2. Before the Coffee Gets Cold (Before the Coffee Gets Cold #1) by Toshikazu Kawaguchi
    This book is a recent addition to my physical TBR and I think it would be perfect to read at this time of the year. Also, it’s a small book to pick up if things start to get busy again.
  3. Heartstopper: Volume 1 (Heartstopper #1) by Alice Oseman
    This was another series I wanted to read for a very long time! Also, I haven’t picked a graphic novel in a while now, so is there a better time to get into this series? 🙂
  4. Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland
    I don’t know a lot about this book as well, but it’s also a recent addition to my physical TBR! I bought this because it was recommended to me a lot on Bookstagram. Apparently it became very popular here in Portugal in the last year, so I wanted to hop on the trend! Instagram did it again ahah
  5. L’anomalie by Hervé Le Tellier
    This is a book that has been very popular in Portugal as well, and even though this doesn’t look like the type of book I usually pick up, I’m very curious to see what it’s all about! Looking forward to read this one.
  6. All the Tides of Fate (All the Stars and Teeth #2) by Adalyn Grace
    I have the bad habit of losing interest in series, so duologies are perfect for me. This duology in particular is being tricky because I already lost some interest in the first book, but I want to keep going and finish the second book! I’m a bit apprehensive with this one so… fingers crossed!

And that’s it, these are the ones I’ll be reading next month! Tell me about you! What are you planning to read in December? Have you read any of these? Let me know in the comments!

Thank you for reading, have a great day!

xoxo,

Review | Incarceron (Incarceron #1) by Catherine Fisher

“Only the man who has known freedom
Can define his prison.”
3.5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: wedding dresses, intricate keys, mysterious tattoos, baby foxes, keys, eagles, illusions, lost princes and brotherhood.

Incarceron — a futuristic prison, sealed from view, where the descendants of the original prisoners live in a dark world torn by rivalry and savagery. It is a terrifying mix of high technology — a living building which pervades the novel as an ever-watchful, ever-vengeful character, and a typical medieval torture chamber — chains, great halls, dungeons. A young prisoner, Finn, has haunting visions of an earlier life, and cannot believe he was born here and has always been here. In the outer world, Claudia, daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, is trapped in her own form of prison — a futuristic world constructed beautifully to look like a past era, an imminent marriage she dreads. She knows nothing of Incarceron, except that it exists. But there comes a moment when Finn, inside Incarceron, and Claudia, outside, simultaneously find a device — a crystal key, through which they can talk to each other. And so the plan for Finn’s escape is born…

I have a special place in my heart for dystopian young adult books of the early 2000’s and 2010’s! It was such a magical era for dystopian books, and I don’t want to lose that magic so I added a lot of series to my TBR… including this one.

My thoughts on Incarceron are not very easy to explain but I’ll try my best! The execution of this book was not my favorite for two reasons: it’s difficult to visualize what the author is trying to transmit and the story is a bit slow paced. But with that said, I think the plot and concept behind this book is very original and different.

There were some moments in here that I had to reread a few times because I couldn’t visualize what was happening. And sometimes I just accepted I wasn’t going to understand and I moved on… so that was a down point for me.

The characters were a bit flat, but I still liked them, and there’s a small romance going on, but nothing too intense as well. The cool thing about this book is definitely the world building!I’m always a bit picky when it comes to science fiction books, but I’m glad I picked this up. It may be a little difficult to understand some parts, but I think the story is worth trying. To be completely honest, I got more interested in the story in the last third of the book, and now I’m very curious about the next book of the duology: Sapphique. I hope it’s even better than this one!

xoxo,

Review | If Cats Disappeared from the World by Genki Kawamura

“I scooped the cat up and snuggled him against my chest for comfort. He was warm and soft, a smooth fluffy ball of fur in my arms. I’d cuddled up with the little guy countless times over the years without thinking much about it, but now, for the first time ever, it occurred to me that maybe this little act of comfort was what life was all about.” 4.5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: chocolate, talking cats, hawaiian clothes, clocks, soft fur, photo albums, choices, walks and the devil.

The international phenomenon that has sold over a million copies in Japan, If Cats Disappeared from the World is a funny, heartwarming, and profound meditation on the meaning of life.

The postman’s days are numbered. Estranged from his family, living alone with only his cat Cabbage to keep him company, he was unprepared for the doctor’s diagnosis that he has only months to live. But before he can tackle his bucket list, the Devil appears to make him an offer: In exchange for making one thing in the world disappear, our narrator will get one extra day of life. And so begins a very bizarre week…

With each object that disappears the postman reflects on the life he’s lived, his joys and regrets, and the people he’s loved and lost.

Genki Kawamura’s timeless tale is a moving story of loss and reconciliation, of one man’s journey to discover what really matters most in life.

This was my first time ever reading a book by a Japanese author (besides manga), and I absolutely loved it. This was exactly what I needed right now, a breath of fresh air.

If you don’t know what the book is about, it is a story about a man who just found out he has a tumor and has only a few months to live. Out of nowhere and dressed with vacation clothes, the Devil appears and tells the man that he can make him live a day longer for each thing he agrees to take from the world. Sounds interesting? I thought so too.

And yes, the title and premise may seem sad, but have no fear! What’s so great about this book is that it’s perfectly balanced: there are moments of deep reflection and heartbreak, but there is also a great dose of humour and lightness. Not only did I shed some tears, but I also laughed out loud in some of the chapters.

“If Cats Disappeared From the World” is about all the things we take for granted in our daily lives and what makes us human. Have you ever thought about how the concept of time (created by us humans) impacted our lives? What about cell phones? What if these things suddenly disappeared? But the thing is that not only big things like this impact our lives. What about a world without the taste of chocolate or the comfort we get from petting a cat?

The main character soon realizes what really makes life worth living and what connects us as humans. Life is too short! I loved this book and I highly recommend it. It’s a fairly short book, it’s wholesome and I’m sure it will leave an impact on you.

Side note: It was so funny how the first thing the devil wanted to take away from the world was chocolate, but then he tasted it and changed his mind. Can you blame him, honestly?

xoxo,

Why I’ve Been Away

Hello friends!

So… I’ve been away for a few months now. You probably didn’t notice because I kept posting book reviews two times a week – but the truth is that they were all scheduled posts. I haven’t posted a TBR list or even Wraps Ups since August. l wasn’t absent just here on the blog, but also on most social media platforms and I started reading less too.

But before you worry, don’t! Nothing bad happened – my health is good and nothing tragic happened in my life. Au contraire mes ami! I just started a new project that took a lot of my free time. I had to figure out a lot of things (and I still do), and unfortunately that left almost zero time for my other hobbies and activities. So here is what I’ve been doing for the last few months… Can I get a drumroll please? *drum roll*

I started my very own subscription book box!

I know, it sounds crazy and completely out of the blue, but I’m having the best time doing it! It’s been a few months since I started it and I’m still very excited about it. I have always loved artsy projects and reading so… why not combine the two to create something special? 🙂

Here’s my logo!

It’s called Sprayed Edges Book Box and it’s a monthly book box with a book (thriller or romance, readers choose what they want), snacks, tea and reading goodies! I also make seasonal special boxes with books in English for fantasy lovers! Let me share with you some pictures of some of the previous boxes:

The first box is the November edition of the Bad Blood box (the monthly thriller box), the middle one is the Themed Box and the entire concept of the box revolves around the book “To Kill a Kingdom”, and the last box is the November edition of the Lovey Dovey box (the monthly romance box).

It’s been an amazing experience! I’m learning a lot, I met so many new people who share the same love for books I have and I found a new outlet for my creativity! All kinds of good things came out from this experience and I’m very grateful to everyone who’s supporting me. This is just the beginning! 🙂

And that’s it! That’s the reason I’ve been disconnected in the past few months. I’m currently working on a few new posts for the blog, such as the Wrap Up for the last three months and my TBR for December, so we will talk very soon! Thank you for staying tuned, I appreciate your support as always!

Thank you for reading, have a great weekend!

xoxo,

Review | Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food & Love, edited by Caroline Tung Richmond and Elsie Chapman

“That’s the thing about fairy-tale endings. They don’t exist. But the ones you have to share, with everyone you love around you and good food spread over the counters and the city you love spread out before the open window with all it’s glimmering magic and promise?
Those I could live with.”
2/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: gang rivalry, comfort food, diversity, love advice, grandmothers, ghosts, butter, cooking competitions, pastries and superheroes.

A stunning collection of short stories about the intersection of family, culture, and food in the lives in teens, from bestselling and critically acclaimed authors, including Sandhya Menon, Anna-Marie McLemore, and Rin Chupeco.

A shy teenager attempts to express how she really feels through the pastries she makes at her family’s pasteleria. A tourist from Montenegro desperately seeks a magic soup dumpling that can cure his fear of death. An aspiring chef realizes that butter and soul are the key ingredients to win a cooking competition that could win him the money to save his mother’s life.

Welcome to Hungry Hearts Row, where the answers to most of life’s hard questions are kneaded, rolled, baked. Where a typical greeting is, “Have you had anything to eat?” Where magic and food and love are sometimes one in the same.

Told in interconnected short stories, Hungry Hearts explores the many meanings food can take on beyond mere nourishment. It can symbolize love and despair, family and culture, belonging and home.

I’m finally done with this book – I thought about DNFing it at least six times, but I kept going because I thought it would get better and I would eventually find a great story. That didn’t happen.

Don’t be fooled by the cover. If you’re like me, you probably looked at the cover and thought this book would be about cute and heartwarming food themed stories.The food aspect is there like expected, but the execution was not great.

I think the main problem I had with this book is that there are so many different genres in it –  romance, paranormal, action, gang, you name it, it’s there – that it gets too confusing and random. I get that this is an anthology, but other than the city and a few characters that appear in several stories, there’s nothing connecting these stories. For example, at some point you will be reading a violent gang story, and right after that, a cutesy romance story begins. The stories as a set are too different from each other, so they don’t fit together in this book.

On a positive note, the food descriptions made me very hungry. All the authors did an amazing job writing all about comfort food. I can tell every writer was a foodie!

I also liked how diverse the book was. There are so many nationalities represented here, and it was nice to learn about foreign cuisines and traditions. These were probably the things I liked the most about this book.

Overall I wouldn’t recommend this anthology. I strongly believe you’ll get better use of your time with another book, because this wasn’t entertaining nor memorable.

xoxo,

Review | A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3.1) by Sarah J. Maas

“To the blessed darkness from which we are born, and to which we return.” 3/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: tapestries, paintings, destivities, decorations, presents, dinners, snow and Winter Solstice shopping.

Hope warms the coldest night.

Feyre, Rhys, and their close-knit circle of friends are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve.

Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated–scars that will have far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.

So… what was the point of this book? Nothing really happens and the biggest conflict of this book is characters not knowing what to give to each other for Winter Solstice. I was expecting at least something interesting to happen, but it never did. It’s funny how the entire series had so much quality and excitement… and then there’s this novella. I was expecting more from Sarah J. Maas because her other books were very elaborate and had complex stories.

If this wasn’t so short I would have DNF it. If you really miss the story and want to read more with the same characters, give it a go. Otherwise, I would skip this one.

xoxo,

Review | The Red Button by Keith Eldred

“(…) You are not only what you do, Ebenezer. Activity makes a man neither better nor worse. It merely reveals what he values. Do not chase your worth or seek to establish it. You own it already.” 4/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: buttons, borrowed books, headstones, contracts, factories, espionage, Christmas carols and ghosts.

The prequel to A CHRISTMAS CAROL— A sweet Regency Christmas romance

Here at last is the untold story of Scrooge’s doomed engagement

Belle Endicott and Ebenezer Scrooge are young, bookish, hardworking Londoners drawn together by button-making. His brand-new factory threatens her family’s tiny shop, yet they fall in love and start planning their future. When personal and business calamities strike, they confront them vigorously side by side, but ultimately something has to give. We know what it is. They do not.

Even though I have never read the classical novel “A Christmas Tale” by Charles Dickens, I’ve heard a lot about the famous, grouchy character, Ebenezer Scrooge. But don’t worry, you don’t need to read the classic to pick this up!
This prequel written by Keith Eldred is a great retelling of how Scrooge’s engagement with Belle ended and how he became the character portrayed in the classical novel. There’s some romance in this book, but the focus is the character development of Ebenezer. He was an ambitious man to begin with, but that ambition soon became toxic – especially after partnering with Jacob Marley. It was clear for Belle that his priorities were elsewhere when he wasn’t beside her while her dad passed away – which broke my heart!
One thing I really found interesting was the Red Button itself. In some parts of the narrative, we get to read some scenes told from the perspective of this object. I never thought in a million years I would read a book with the perspective of a button… but here we are. I think it was tastefully done and it added something special to the story. Unexpected, but a good surprise!
My favorite thing from this book was definitely the writing style. I loved how joyful it was and it has that Christmas tale feel to it! I think I would probably enjoy this more if I read “A Christmas Tale” beforehand, but I still think it was a very good story. The plot was very good and I learned some things about the button industry!
I would recommend it to the fans of the classic novel and overall Christmas lovers!

***A big thank you to the author for the free copy in exchange for an honest review***

xoxo,

Review | Making a Play (The Field Party #5) by Abbi Glines

“When I looked at her the first time, it was like… everything made sense.” 2.75/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: sign language, cherry coke, big green eyes, body guards, library books, racism, long distance relationships, home cinema and a girl with attitude.



Ryker Lee is finally enjoying his senior year—he has great friends, hangs out with hot girls, and is on track to get a football scholarship that will set him up for college. Despite this, a small part of him wonders if there’s more to life than parties and meaningless hookups—and if football even means as much to him as it does to his fellow teammates. And when he meets the new girl at school, his world totally changes…

Aurora McClay is new to Lawton. She’s grateful that her twin brother, Hunter, is star of the football team and can help her adjust to her new school, but she’s not grateful at how overprotective he is over every person she meets. Just because she is deaf does not mean people have to treat her differently. When she meets Ryker Lee, the two of them spark an instant and intense chemistry, one that proves to be controversial not only because of Ryker’s reputation as a player, but also because of Aurora and Hunter’s father’s bigoted views about who Aurora can and can’t date.

Aurora and Ryker know in their hearts that they are meant for each other. But can their relationship endure the turmoil of rumors and prejudice?



Another quick romance book from the one and only, Abbi Glines! Making a Play, the fifth book in The Field Party series, follows Ryker Lee (Nash Lee’s cousin) and his love interest, Aurora.

For me the coolest aspect of this book was how the author decided to make our main character Aurora deaf. It’s not very common to find deaf characters in books, let alone giving the spotlight to them, so I applaud the author for that. I still think all that lip reading was a bit far-fetched, but… I digress.

The romance was mediocre and way far from being one of my favorites from the series. It blows my mind that the entire book takes place in a single week, so as you would expect it’s an instalove romance. I still prefer the original three romances over the last two ones. The story needed work and the characters lacked depth.

Racism was also part of this book, but I personally think it wasn’t very well accomplished. I think the book would be better if the author chose a single aspect to focus on: either the race issue or the fact our main character was deaf. It was a lot for the storyline considering how small the book is and the duration of the story.

To be completely honest I’m losing interest in this series. The good thing about these books it’s that they’re entertaining for what they are – short, quick reads -, but they lack quality. Not sure if the next book will be the last one, but I think the series already reached its peak… with the first book.

Anyways, I think the next book in the series will be about Asa and his love interest, so I’m curious to see how it will turn out.

xoxo,

Review | We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

“We are liars. We are beautiful and privileged. We are cracked and broken.” 3.25/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: private islands, boats, fancy houses, scars, golden retrievers, starry nights, books, beach roses, troll hunting, peonies, medication, ginger ale, beaches, words on hands and the liars.

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
 
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 
Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

This book… was depressing. But in a good way? I think I’m a bit conflicted because part of me feels like the story could have a bit more substance. It’s not a huge book whatsoever, but since there’s not a lot going on – just mostly confusion from the main character – it feels like the book has a slow pace. But at the same time, I really appreciate what the author did in this story. I was shocked when I understood what the truth was at the end… That hit me like a ton of bricks.

I think this was supposed to have some sort of romance, but I didn’t love that part of the book. It reminds of teen love, yes, but it’s insta-love extremely romanticized. But take what I say with a grain of salt, because maybe that’s just me. I probably forgot what it feels like to be in love as a teenager and how intense everything feels. Part of me gets it, the other part doesn’t love the romance bit here.

I wonder how I would feel if I read this when I was younger. I think this is one of those books you read when you’re really young that makes you fall in love with reading.It’s a heartbreaking, emotional – and pretty much depressing – book with a very unexpected twist. Some people love it (which I get) and some people hate it (which I also get). Still, if you haven’t read it yet, I really think you should try reading it with an open mind. You may find a new favorite, who knows?

xoxo,