Book Blogger Love-A-Thon 2015 || High Fives!

This is my last post for the 2015 Book Bloggers Love-A-Thon. I’ve been encouraged to keep reading and blogging, subscribed to tons of new blogs, found lots of potential future bloggy friends, and felt a great positive vibe from the community. Thanks for building each other up!

Here’s to spreading the love!

Book: Orhan's Inheritance. I'm not finished yet, but it is so spectacularly written in a beautiful way that weaves an honest history about current day strife between Turkish and Armenian people. This. This is what art is for.

Genre: Georgian Brit Lit, you have served me well. You continue to influence how I read, and will surely be a lifelong love.

Author: R.J. Palacio - I'm not finished with your book, Wonder, yet, but I am in love with your writing style. Thank you for making a beautiful story about

Blogger: #WeNeedDiverseBooks - My goodness, you have opened my eyes to an important and vibrant conversation about what needs to change in the American book world (esp the YA book world). Thank you for continuing to educate me. When I finally write a book, you bet it will be heavily influenced by the articles you post.

Book-related site: NPR Books - It's no secret that I love NPR, even from abroad. I love your reviews, articles, lists, interviews, the way you guys point our attention to the quieter things in life.

If you're participating in this Love-A-Thon challenge, leave a link in the comments because I want to read more posts!

Book Blogger Love-A-Thon 2015 || Book Snapshots

When I moved across the world, I was only able to take a few beautiful books with me. These books have made world-treks too.

The Clouds by Silas Chosen was inspired by a conversation I had with my best friend (and full disclosure, lover), and dedicated to me. I went from Dubai to São Paulo to get it, then took it back to Dubai, and now that I moved to São Paulo, it's back here again with me!

Ballads and Ballad Poems, edited by Guy N. Pocock, is dated 1929, and my dear friend Qadria went to London to get it for me. She brought it back to Dubai, and I packed it along when I moved to Brazil.

The Elements of Style by William Strunk, E.B. White, and illustrated by Maira Kalman, is one of the most practical and physically beautiful books I own. I didn't want to part with it, and I was able to justify packing it in my suitcase because it's *pretty* thin.

This post is part of the Book Blogger Love-a-Thon, an event dedicated to spreading the love for blogs + bloggers! It’s time dedicated to exploring the blogging community, leaving a comment or two, meeting new friends and fostering positivity among the bloggers of the community. I'm proud to be a participant!

Book Blogger Love-A-Thon 2015 || Getting to Know Me

I am participating in the 2015 Book Blogger Love-A-Thon this year! It’s a fantastic idea hosted by Alexa Loves Books to increase camaraderie within the book blogging community, make some new blogger friends, and share the love. Let’s start!

What’s your name? Alisa

Where in the world are you blogging from? São Paulo, Brazil.

How did you get into blogging in the first place?
I’ve been blogging off and on since I was eight years old, but I decided to start book blogging so I could have a legitimate reason to start getting ARCs (just being honest here!).

How did you come up with your blog name? I like double entendres and puns (Go figure that I love books and my favorite type of humor is wordplay). I thought it would be cute to refer to getting paper cuts from reading so much, even though most of the books I read are e-versions. There are some clever people who already made blogs called Papercuts with one T, so I decided to go the hipster route and use three T’s.

What genre do you read and review the most on your blog?
Contemporary YA lit. An extremely influential youth library turned me onto the genre when I was 12. She said, “The reason I like YA is because it’s so unpredictable. Adults have a hard time knowing what young adults like, and they usually get it wrong. But if they get it right, they get it very, very right.”

What other types of posts do you do on your blog, apart from reviews? My blog is pretty new so I’m still experimenting with features that I enjoy and want to stick with. Top Ten Tuesdays hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and New on the Stack hosted by The Deliberate Reader are fun to write, and I will probably keep with them this year.

Best blogging experience so far? After I posted my review of Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn, one of the authors linked to it on her social media account and said how much she valued and appreciated the feedback. Besides making my day, it made me realize that our blogging community is made up of real-life people, doing things that are important to them, and the words we type can be powerful and useful. Be kind!

Favorite thing about the blogging community?
The online conversations about books and movements in literature that I don’t get to have in real life. I can count on one hand the amount of real-life friends that will talk about books, but I subscribe to hundreds of book blogs that are full of jokes, new ideas, news, analyses that I never would have thought of, and personal reflections. It’s wonderful.

Name the 5 books you’re most excited for this 2015!
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab, Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman, The First Bad Man by Miranda July, The Marvels by Brian Selznick, and Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee.

I got to play Jane Austen's piano
on my birthday <3
What’s an underrated book or series that you think everyone should read?
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. It takes discipline to read, but I the pace and the topics in it are the closest I’ve seen to meditation in a fiction book. It gives such a sense of peace and contentment.

Which book boy or girl would be your book BFF? Hermione Granger. We’re basically twins.

Apart from reading, what are your other hobbies or interests?
I study Portuguese everyday, since I live in Brazil. I also love journaling and crafting beautiful letters. If I have free time, I explore my city (or new cities!!).

Apart from book shopping, what else do you like shopping for? Stationery!

At a party, the DJ suddenly changes the song – and it’s your song. What song would be playing? Hmmm, I don’t listen to music very much, but maybe something by Heath McNease.

Pick out either a book you want turned into a film/TV show, or a film/TV show you want turned into a book.
I would like Breaking Bad to be a book series. The TV show was way too violent and tense for me to enjoy, but I think it’s exciting if I’m reading.

Book Addicts Anonymous: Books I Haven't Finished (YET)

I’m the kind of reader that will never truly give up on a book because I take a great deal of pleasure in finishing what I started. I love reaching the place where there are less than 100 pages to go, because that means a book is going to move off my currently-reading shelf tonight.

Since I never give up on a book, I can even recall that I started reading Ivanhoe in third or fourth grade and still haven’t finished it. My reason? I got discouraged because I couldn’t understand it. Go figure.

Yes, I’m a book addict. And this chapter of Book Addicts Anonymous is titled: Books I Haven’t Finished (YET).

A Darker Shade of Magic
by V.E. Schwab
This book had me extremely interested at the start of the first chapter and completely hooked by the end of the second. It’s the best fantasy novel I’ve read in a long time. The main character, Kell, can travel between parallel versions of London, because he was born with a special magical ability. Each version of London has some degree of magic at work, but the degrees vary, and the societies have developed differently because of the way they interact with magic. Something deep, sinister, and mysterious be lurking here. I haven’t finished it because I was only given a 150 page excerpt. The full book will be published on February 24, and you can bet that I’m going to be buying it if my library doesn’t get an e-copy ASAP.

The Poem and the Journey: 60 Poems for the Journey of Life
by Ruth Padel
My new year’s resolution in 2014 was to learn how to better appreciate poetry. Ruth Padel is a tremendously successful author and poet, and in this book she takes apart a variety of poems to help you see what works, what doesn’t, and why. Academic Alisa was giddy at the possibilities of learning how to deeply appreciate poetry by reading this book. Reality Alisa got bored and preferred to read poems on a superficial level.

Mr. Fox
by Helen Oyeyemi
This author was aaalll over the book critic world 2013-2014, so naturally I wanted to see what everyone was talking about. I like reading literary novels because I enjoy trying new things and appreciating more esoteric and artfully-written books. I checked this book out multiple times from the library, but never reeaally got into it. After my latest loan expired, I couldn’t be bothered to sign up on the request list again.

Boy, Snow, Bird
by Helen Oyeyemi
I listened to an interview with the author on NPR’s Fresh Air and was so intrigued that I decided to get it from the library, despite my cool dates with Mr. Fox. Fairytale retellings, literary novel, postmodern angst, beautiful cover design that wooed my heart… it was all there. I do want to finish this book soon, but other books are more urgent at the moment.

The Silkworm
by Robert Galbraith
I bought this book in Portuguese, with the intention of reading something a little more difficult than my current ability. Turns out this is much more difficult, and reading this is more discouraging than helpful. O Bicho-da-Seda is staying shelved for a few more months.

What books got pushed to the bottom of your currently-reading stack?

#bookspo: Science Fiction Edition

I stumbled on these images from the British Library, and it made me want to read more H.P. Lovecraft, George Orwell, and Jules Verne (it may be time to re-read Douglas Adams too). Thankfully, the BBC has lots of sci-fi radio dramas available online. Happy reading! (or listening!)


Cecilia Gray Sketches a Good Character in ‘Drawn’

Drawn by Cecilia Gray

The saying, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover,” must have been first said by a book reviewer. Since I’ve started to review advanced copies of books, I’ve been surprised more often than not that the story I thought I was going to read is quite a bit different than the story actually is. I’m still in the process of learning that lesson, though. ;)

The official description of Drawn is this:
Take a journey into the gritty world of political espionage through the eyes – and lies – of one extraordinary girl. A wholly original tale of friendship and betrayal.

Sasha has a secret – that she can make you spill your secret with nothing more than a question. Her strange gift makes her a burden to her foster family and a total freak of nature. Not that Sasha cares. Why should she when no one cares about her?

Then the CIA knocks on her door. They want to give Sasha a new identity and drop her into a foreign country to infiltrate a ring of zealous graffiti terrorists. They want to give Sasha something to care about.

To survive a world where no one is who they seem, Sasha needs to make people trust her. But when that trust blossoms into love, Sasha is forced to decide between duty and friendship, between her mind and her heart, and whether to tell the truth or keep her secrets.

I wouldn't have guessed that based on this cover! It is about friendship, lies and partial truths, the CIA, a Banksy-type character named Kid Aert, and a girl with a mutant ability to make people tell the truth if they hear her voice. Drawn is about all of this.

But to summarize it as only those things misses the mark. The authoress, Cecilia Gray, dug much deeper to address what is in the psyche of a person who has been abandoned by parental figures multiple times at such critical points in life--when her brain is forming relational patterns--and how that affects her relationships with everyone.

Sasha constantly blames others for giving up on her. Her voice is difficult to be around because it makes people say exactly what is on their mind (and those are generally less than flattering things), so people naturally gravitate away from her. Rather than risking being rejected again, she pushes potential friends away.

Though her voice is bad for keeping relationships, it is useful for obtaining information for the CIA. Sasha has been working for the government since her gift was discovered as a young child. She has worked as a tool of the government her whole life, and her relationship with adults is based solely on her value as a tool. She places her entire worth as a human in her ability to do her job for the government. Because she feels used, she justifies using others. And she manipulates her friends into helping her accomplish her job.

Sasha is a pretty well-developed character and has legitimate inner-conflicts. The author did a great job thinking through the effects that treating people as less than human will have. She shows a lot of patterns that a girl who has been trafficked, abused, or abandoned would have. Plot-wise, however, it was a little too farfetched for me. No matter what fictional world is created, all worlds have to abide by the law of Allowed Amount of Coincidences. I wouldn’t recommend this book because it breaks the law.

Note: I received a free e-copy of this for review, but that didn't affect my honest opinion here.

New on the Stack || January Edition

The Deliberate Reader
The Deliberate Reader is hosting a link-up to share what you've added to your book pile in the past month. Such a fun idea, and I'm planning to continue it. I've added a few books, but I've mostly mourned the fact that I won't be reading as fast as I usually do because I'm reading in a second language - Portuguese!

Bíblia Vida Melhor Jovem
How I got it: I bought it at Cultura Livraria (a giant bookstore here in São Paulo)
Why I got it: Even though it's easy to get a Portuguese Bible for my phone or ipad, you retain more if you read on paper. I'm reading the book of John in Portuguese, one chapter per day, writing down all the new words in a notebook, and I'm already seeing a huge improvement in my vocabulary.

O Bicho-da-Seda (The Silkworm) by Robert Galbraith
How I got it: I bought it at Cultura Livraria.
Why I got it: I wanted to buy a book that was a little bit above my current reading level in Portuguese, something that wasn't too "literature-y", and I have been wanting to keep up with JK Rowling's career.

Jane Austen Cover to Cover by Margaret C. Sullivan
How I got it: My boyfriend, Silas gave it to me as a Christmas present.
Why I got it: He knows I love book design and Jane Austen.

Piteco: Ingá by Shiko
How I got it: borrowed it from Silas
Why I got it: Graphic novels are easier to read than normal novels, for me, because I understand most words used in dialogues, but not in descriptions. The descriptions are drawn! Also, this book is part of a series of homages paid to one of Brazil's most famous illustrators, Mauricio de Sousa, and I want to understand more about why his characters are so beloved.

Bidu: Caminhos by Eduardo Damasceno and Luís Felipe Garrocho
How I got it: borrowed it from Silas
Why I got it: Another in the series paying homage to Mauricio de Sousa.

Astronauta: Singularidade by Danilo Beyrouth
How I got it: borrowed it from Silas
Why I got it: Another in the series paying homage to Mauricio de Sousa.

The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
How I got it: My bestie Qadria gave me the audio broadcast as a travel gift (audio books are awesome going-away gifts, btw)
Why I got it: I like sci-fi, and I was moving across the world, so Qadria knew that I would like something entertaining and small.

The Shadow Over Innsmouth by H.P. Lovecraft
How I got it: My bestie Qadria gave me the audio version.
Why I got it: Sci-fi, mystery, entertainment, and the only space it takes is a few megabytes on my phone.

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
How I got it: Again, Qadria is to blame!
Why I got it: Because Agatha Christie.

Linkylicious 001

I don't have enough IRL booknerd friends to appreciate these links. Help me give them their due honor.
  • Shot down in the library - rofl that girl is surely Hermione. Makes my heart happy.
  • "He said he used to crank out book after book, never stopped drawing, did all the right things they tell you to do. But, he had no life. He suffered anxiety, depression. He was miserable, exhausted. He could do it, but he was driving himself to sickness. Finally, one day, he just said, screw it. He made time for himself. He picked up a day job. He went out with friends, he took care of himself. He said that the best art in the world was not worth his life or his mind. And he told us the same thing. Work on taking care of yourself, even if it costs art." -  Go read the whole damn thing.
  • You have an overdue book - Laughed a little harder than I should have.
  • Holy Moses, Oh Jeez! Parsing the Erotic Vocabulary of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ - As if I didn't already judge FSG fans hard enough already. You know when you look at the same word over and over, the word loses its meaning? Surely that happens to more people than just me. So be prepared for "holy" to temporarily lose its value. BTW, my boo is sooo getting a valentine with a giant frankenstein quote from this.
  • In Defense of Fan Art - Super short. You'll laugh. 
  • Bookish Recommendations Based on Your Sign - I'm a virgo, just FYI.
(image source)

First Sentence Friday and a Mini-update

First Sentence Friday: The Shadow Over Innsmouth, by H.P. Lovecraft

(image from: The Half Hour Library of Travel, Nature and Science for young readers, 1896)

Forgive me! I moved to São Paulo last month and haven't finished a book since Christmas! I've been studying Portuguese like crazy, but I need to not feel guilty about keeping up with my hobbies as well. Unfortunately, I will probably read less books this year than I have in the previous few years, simply because studying Portuguese is a huge necessity, and learning all about my new city and culture is important and takes time too. The price of adventure, though!