Friday, March 28, 2014

Leave me bruises, leave me breathless.


After a while, you get somewhat addicted to the pain. Not that you would go and hammer a nail on your palm, but you strain out a certain painful pleasure thinking about it. You are repelled by your growing temptation towards pain. You think that you can't take the pain anymore but a part of you knows that you can take much more than this. Patiently you listen to them telling you it will work out, that it will be alright. You nod your head in agreement. Somewhe deep inside you a voice questions, what if.. it doesn't work? what if.. everything don't turn out the way you want? what then? Your stubborn belief for a happy ending, a positive outcome trembles ever so lightly.
Many a time you think your heart cannot take it anymore, that it will explode unless you vent it out. You think of the last time you cried your heart out and you can't remember when. Every now and then, your eyes brim with wasteful briny tears threatening to wreck the walls of your sanity. You swiftly wipe them off because you are too practical and concerned about your congested nose later on!
So you don't cry. You dream of good times..make fervent plans, too far in your future. Then, retreat back fearing what if they don't come true. Then just like that, you are overshadowed by despair and what ifs. The despair pushes right through you. Just for a second, you let it seep into your cells. It feels so good to wallow in self pity. You have been through so much. You deserve so much better. It feels almost blissful to just sit and pity yourself. Snap out of it, you think. You heave three long breaths and convince yourself, you feel much better. You push them all out. Out of your system, the good thoughts and the bad ones.
You float through it all. The pain, the sorrow, the disappointments, the paranoia becomes a part of who you are. You can no longer separate yourself from them. Some days you let them consume you, leaving you breathless. On good days, you wear them around like battle wounds. You dream of a day the wounds and violet green bruises would just be a faint scar. You would trace your finger on the scars, reminisce your battle days. You also dream to miss the pain pulsing through you. You long to look back and think you were strong even when you thought you were weak. You were persistent even when you thought you couldn't go on.
You wait for all that to happen. While right now, pain flows freely through your veins.


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Reading Minds

It would be a blatant lie if you said you spent every waking hour thinking of her. You didn't. You have a life, your own things to worry about. At the same time, it's not that you didn't think of her. You so did. She had this knack of creeping into your thoughts. Unannounced and demanding, she would enamor your whole being. It never ceases to amuse you how even the most mundane things seem to remind you of her.
A long forgotten song would straight away take you to the sleepless nights you both spent talking on the phone. Time spent simply listening to her voice. After what seems like minutes, she would fall asleep and the call not yet disconnected. You do not disconnect, you spend some more time listening to her light snoring. She would deny it with a vengeance if you ever told her about the snoring. A random fragrance would remind you of her scent. You were not sure whether it was her perfume or her shampoo. Heck, you didn't even know how to describe the fragrance. Was it fruity or flowery? A whiff and you had her gushing through you.
You would be going about living your humdrum life, when your mind is bombarded with her thoughts. It would suddenly and  inevitably light up every cell in your being, like fireworks on a moonless night. You would smile, shake your head in slight disbelief. How can an unassuming girl steal your mind and leave you aching for the next time you meet.



You realize that you are an absolute cliche when it comes to her. You would be reading and before you realize, you had been reading the same line for the past five minutes. Yet again, she has come and conquered your thoughts. Her laughter, her insecurity over her laughter. The way she averts her eyes when she catches you staring. You love how easily she blushes. Little pink splotches on her pale face. She is a shy girl but pretends otherwise.
You could barely hide your surprise, how easily she took your hand for the first time and held them. Taking the 2 steps between you both, she had held your face, smiled self consciously and proceeded to take your breath away by kissing you. You had given so much thought about your first kiss and never expected it the way it turned out. Thinking about the kiss you wonder, whether it was you who was the shy one! You wonder how you both clicked. You were both as different as night and day. In your mind, she would be the night. A starlit night in the woods with the moon in all its glory.
 She asks you, do you ever think about me when we are not together? You almost laugh out loud at the absurdity of the question and answer yes, ofcourse you do. You notice that her smile has faltered. She has most likely misinterpreted your lame grin. She remains quiet, silently urging you to continue. She expects more than that. You don't say anything more. She is obviously disappointed. If only she could read your mind.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Book Review - Etched On Me

Title: Etched On Me.
Author: Jenn Crowell.  
Publisher: Simon & Schuster | Atria Books.
Year of Publication: 2014.
Format: E-book.
Pages: 336.
Source: Publisher | NetGalley.
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Contemporary, Women-Fiction, Adult-Fiction, Psychology.
Blurb: Here.


My Thoughts:
I'm trying to form the right words to describe this book. Etched on Me is not an easy read. You can't just sit on a comfy chair and read it with a million other things in your mind. Trust me, the pages won't turn. This book demands your undivided attention. Reading this book is painful. A book which does not shy away from the all too real problems. Etched On Me is about the journey of a young girl, Lesley Holloway. Her life is anything but normal. Being subjected to repeated sexual abuse from a parent to whom a child is most vulnerable is a beyond doubt horrifying. This knocked the wind right out of me. Many a time I had to close the book, take deep breaths and urge myself not to be terrified by the rawness of the book.


Lesley lives with her abusive father and her mother who turns a blind eye to these horrors! With a trembling resolve she decides enough is enough, takes a huge scary step and runs away from her house. To my complete relief, after Lesley escapes from her house she finds herself with a wonderful support group. An empathetic teacher Mrs Kremsky, her case worker Francesca who fights for her case to name a few. The author does not present Lesley as a perfect girl. To cope with her abuse, she starts self harming which lands her in a rehab center. Here, love blooms for young Lesley in the form of Clare. It's not rose petals from there on just in case you thought, this was the happy ending. The writing, thankfully was not too graphic. The little the author did describe left burning welts in my heart. The writing is very realistic to say the least. It's like the author is shaking you by the shoulders and demanding you to listen.
I loved every bit of Lesley. I wanted to hug her. Everything about her made the book come to life for me. It rarely felt like a story. If the author had portrayed Lesley as a perfect person who jumped right back to normal, the book would sounded pretentious. Instead Lesley makes mistakes. Sometimes she is ungrateful and bitter to the people who are there to support her. Sometimes, she dwells in self pity, aching for her old bedroom and its familiarity. 
An unexpected pregnancy takes Lesley by surprise. Now the same people who saved her from her abusive father have become her enemies. What would happen to her unborn daughter and Lesley? 
Without giving away any spoilers, I can say that this book is unapologetic, emotional, dark and ends with hope. It will make you cower in fear along with Lesley, it will make you bask in the warmth of Mrs Kremsky's love. It will make you cry with joy.  If you like flawed characters who had to go through hell and still rise like a phoenix from its ashes, then this book is for you. Personally I feel every woman should read this book.


 My Rating:
Rating Policy



Sunday, March 9, 2014

Happy Pills


Blow soap bubbles.
Swing lazily on a swing, enjoy the wind in your hair and reminisce your childhood.
Watch a rare starlit sky with no street lights or car headlights to hinder the view.
Walk barefoot on dewy grass.
 Wear a flower wreath as a crown and own it like a boss, no matter how weird you look.
Sing a ballad and manage to sound decent.
Ride on a carousel.
Lie on the lush grass on a sunny day, soak in the sunshine and for once not be bothered about SPF or a bad sunburn.
Rejoice. Spring is nearby.
Wear a pretty nail color and it doesn't chip for 3 straight days!
Eat cotton candy.
Read a book in the shade of a tree.
Harry Potter.
Dance like a klutz.
Have a good long cry fest.
Laugh heartily. Who cares if you don't look dainty then?!
Forgive yourself.. you are too hard on yourself.
To know how to cook atleast one of your favorite dishes.
Barbecue with friends.
Food, period.
Have a drink or two. Just enough to give you a buzz and not a heavy hangover the next day.
 Stare at the ceiling / wall  and think nothing. 
Long skype calls with Mom & Dad.
The rare time-zoned screwed, midnight / midday calls with your bestie.
Old bookstores.
Steaming hot coffee TheBetterHalf makes every single day.
Books. Stacks of books.
Songs like these.



P.S - The look of the blog has been tweaked. Notice anything ?
Pardon the randomness. It has been a long and severe winter and I can't wait for Spring. Temperatures slowly creeping above zero degree Celsius. Excited for longer days, colorful tulips, lot of green and warmer climates.




Monday, February 24, 2014

Book Review - Creep

Title: Creep.
Author: Jennifer Hillier.
Publisher: Gallery Books.
Year of Publication: 2011.
Format: E-book.
Pages: 357.
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Crime, Psychological Thriller, Horror.
Blurb: Here.

My Thoughts:
I am so angry right now. I cannot start to tell you how pissed off I am. Why you ask? Did you read the blurb? Sounds interesting? WRONG!  I was fooled by the same blurb and the raving reviews in goodreads. Damn you goodreads ! Sometimes you give me the worst kind of recommendations! Since I didn't get my hands on any satisfying psychological thrillers this year, I thought this one would be a good start.
If you are still reading, I will give you the plot in a nutshell. Sex addict woman has an affair with a guy 16 years her junior who turns out be a psycho and she is already engaged to an alcoholic. Yes, that's the story. That's it. Nothing more. Nothing less. What follows is 357 pages of pure agony. The protagonist Sheila Tao a psychology professor is engaged to ex NFL player/now recovering alcoholic Morris Gardner. To spice up things, we are introduced to Ethan Wolfe with whom she had an affair for 3 months. A dime a dozen plot. I still thought, there would be something different. Sheila is unbelievably good looking and very successful in her job as a psychology professor. Ethan is unbelievably good looking and cocky. Morris is unbelievably huge and beautiful :|  Yes, Beautiful. It's laughable how the professor who is an expert in human behavior cannot sense the "badness" in Ethan. The woman, I tell you has got the worst taste in Men. I have no idea how this book received 171 five stars in goodreads. Am I missing something? If so, I don't want to know. Very rarely do I get pissed off by a book but when I do, then it is rants everywhere!

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Among the many many factors that pissed me off there was one reason which was like the cherry on top. The author trying to create flawed characters. Personally speaking, I love flawed characters, but a sex addict, an alcoholic AND a psychopath. Sometimes too much is just TOO MUCH! Within the first few pages, I hated everybody and wanted everyone dead. Paragraph after paragraph filled with unnecessary dragged out details so not relevant to the plot.. There is a mention of a murder in the book but the author was so busy trying to make the dysfunctional triangle love story creepy to us that the murder mystery was conveniently wrapped up in a corner. There were attempts at making the plot titillating. It felt like reading a cheap pulp fiction, which further led to a whole lot of eye rolling and exasperation. They call it a thriller. Let's make few things clear. There is absolutely no thrills, no suspense, no page turning anticipation. A long drawn out predictable story and all the time I was like "what was the whole point?" It felt like chewing cardboard. :|

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What in God's name am I reading?
 
The bad guy was JUST not scary. I should say I felt that he was some kind of wuss. So much was done to portray him as oohh-so-dark, ooh-he-so-messed-up. There was no character development. Just some random details piled on the readers every now and then. I hated every single one of the characters. I thought I will just stop reading. Too many brain cells were getting burnt. Still I kept on reading. After many excruciating hours, all I felt was sadness and  extreme anger at the lost hours. I know I didn't have to finish the book. Nobody was pointing a gun to my head to finish the book. But like bookworms everywhere, I just had to finish. I just kept hoping it's going to get better. I thought maybe the author is going to take a sharp swerve and throw all the readers off their goddamn seats. Aah well, nothing of that sort happened. The ending, Lord the ending. It was such a feeble attempt to send 'shivers' down the spine. :| Turns out, there is book 2. Haa!


My Rating:



Monday, February 17, 2014

Louboutins & Blue Dahlias


She stood by the dingy dark alley, hidden by the shadows. Tapping her foot impatiently. The minutes seem to be moving extra slow this evening. She had half a mind to walk away, yet she found herself rooted to her spot; waiting for him. The traffic was at its peak. The cars were moving at a snail's pace honking every now and then, people rushing past her in the chilly winter evening. Everyone was in a rush. A rush to reach their place of warmth in this soul-less world. However here she was, frozen to the core and still managed to look like she just walked out of a fashion magazine.
With a hundred thoughts and worries she carelessly gazed at the ground. Her fancy Louboutins clashed terribly against the dirt filled pavement. It was his gift, she thought wistfully. Hidden from the world, she stood. Hidden from the world, she nursed her confused feelings for him. Unsure whether it was love or lust, she had let it consume her completely. It was always she who waited for him. She pictured him waiting for her in this alley with its overpowering stench and the crude graffiti all over the walls. Like her Louboutins he would stand out, with his tailored suit and suave looks. She knew these places. She was like these rats which skittered past her feet. She knew all the nooks and corners of the city so that they won't get caught! Even though she was a sight to behold, she blended in. After all, her life had begun at one of these places.



Was he ashamed of her? Ofcourse not, she berated herself though she was not all that certain. She remembered the initial days of their torrid affair, when he would answer those calls with a look of guilt. She knew it was from his wife. The one who had the right over him. The one who does not have to be concealed from the world. She used to wonder, is he feeling guilty because he is with her, or is it because he has to talk to his wife with her in the room. There was no way of knowing the answer. She had already told him that it doesn't matter. Now when the phone rings, there is no more guilty conscience acting up. He answers the call without any inhibition and sometimes even manages to sweet talk her; giving excuses why he has to "work late". A part of her hated his guts and like a fool her soul melted every time his fingers graced her body.
It's official now, she thought. She is everything she swore she will never be. She is the other woman. The afterthought. The one who is conjured up into existence only when he feels like it. She is way too deep in the relationship to care anymore. She didn't know what the future held. She didn't quite expect him to leave everything for her. Asking questions about their future was like stirring up a storm. So she rarely did. Come to think of it, she couldn't imagine a life with him. That would be a monumental disaster. How much ever she thought she loved him, she will never be sure whether he would feel committed enough not to chase after some new skirt. Jerk, her friends had called him and she agreed. Like a cliché, she had fallen head over heels for him, with his smooth talks. Now, she has this intertwining feeling of love and hate resonating out of her.
She was disgusted with herself but some primitive part of her enjoyed the thrill of dating a married man. In a sinister way she felt powerful. She smiled at herself ruefully and looked up to see him walking down the lane towards her, with his smile which had made her knees buckle. He took her in his arms, still holding a bouquet of her favorite flowers. He kissed her deep. She could taste the nicotine in his kiss. Her tribulations evaporated as she put her head against his chest and inhaled. She had grown to enjoy his scent; a combination of his cologne, sweat and smoke. She didn't want to fall in love, now she was not so sure. They are rare; he had told her the first time he had to hunt down the whole city for them. He always managed to bring her those flowers: blue dahlias. Honestly, she didn't care anymore. The fact that he still took the pains to buy her something she valued brought a certain warmth in her being. In the grim part of the city where no one knew him or her, they walked hand in hand like a real couple.


Monday, February 10, 2014

Book Series Review - The Giver Quartet

Title: The Giver, Gathering Blue, Messenger, Son.
Author:
Publisher: Ember, Ember, Delacorte Press, HMH books for Young Readers.
Year of Publication: 1993, 2000, 2004, 2012.
Format: E-book.
Pages: 179, 240, 169, 393.
Genre: SciFi, Fantasy, Apocalypse, Dystopia.
    Blurb: Here, Here, Here & Here.

My Thoughts:
 
This might end up being one of those long ass posts. I will try to keep it short and sweet. I will try not to give out any spoilers

So earlier this year, I came across this article in BuzzFeed about books to read before they hit the theaters. I love book recommendations of all kinds. Why else do I spend hours in front of goodreads, obsessively checking the book shelves of others like some sort of a stalker!

 
Okay, getting back to the books. The blurb sounded interesting and moreover the old man on the cover of the first book, The Giver somehow reminded me of an apprehensive Dumbledore and Lord knows how much I miss the reading HP for the first time feeling. The Giver Quartet is a magnificent series. 4 short reads. The magic they hold is beyond words.



The Giver: A time in future. A utopian community. Everything is in perfect order. There is no violence. No diseases. No crime. Everybody has been assigned jobs. People are assigned dwellings to live, assigned spouses, assigned children. Yes, daddy and mommy don't make babies, they are simply assigned by the community. Love is meaningless. The members of The Community decides everything. By now the readers would know that choice is not something the people have. There is control over everything. No variation in weather. No colors. No nature. They call it Sameness. The residents take pills to control their yearnings and feelings. The people are happy. They don't feel controlled since they don't know what they are missing. At the age of 12, children are assigned jobs which they would be doing for the rest of their lives. Some are assigned to be law makers, some nurtures and some birthmothers. Our protagonist, Jonas is not assigned. He is selected to become the next Receiver of Memories of the old world from the current Receiver. Life suddenly changes big time for young Jonas. The current Receiver, now has become The Giver. He imparts memories to Jonas. Jonas experiences a range of emotions: immense pleasure at witnessing snow for the first time and also endures pain as he receives memories of a world where there was war, hunger, deaths. After receiving a considerable amount of memories, Jonas realizes to his horror that his utopian community is not exactly what he thought it was. Jonas decides that things has to change and does something, he wouldn't have dared to before he was selected. The relationship between Jonas and The Giver is endearing. The book ends with a sense of hope.

Gathering Blue: I thought Book 2 would pick up from where Book 1 ended. I was in for a surprise. It says nothing about Jonas. We are introduced to another community. Unlike the pristine community in Book 1, here there is violence, theft, epidemic and people live like savages. The protagonist is a young girl, Kira a recent orphan and a cripple. People in her village want her dead so that they can take over her house. She is saved by the Council. See, Kira is no ordinary girl. She has a gift. She is an artist and she is needed by the Council. Soon, she becomes friends with another artist, Thomas. Kira along with Thomas and a young boy Matt unravel some mysteries happening in the Council. The twists and turns in the story was kinda predictable but it was still a very enjoyable read.  I loved Kira. She has a twisted leg and instead of wallowing in self pity, she is portrayed as a strong, determined young girl. Eager to learn new things. An insightful, mature for her age young lady. Another character was Matt, a lovable 'tyke' who survives by stealing and by deceit. Kira sees the good in him and takes him under her wing. Again the book, ends with a sense of hope. I could feel that the author was laying the ground work for bringing the characters of Book 1 and 2 together.

Messenger: I think out of the 4 books, this was a wee bit scary. Book 3 takes us to The Village. A peaceful village which welcomes strangers who has escaped from other unfavorable communities. Matt lives here with a blind man now. I am not going to elaborate. Some of the inhabitants are handicapped or flawed in some other way but there is always love and respect towards each other. Help was always found for the needy. However, things are changing. A slight difference in the forest nearby and it catches Matt's attention. The once lovable people are changing. They want to close down the Village, so that they don't have to take care of new survivors of other communities. People are turning selfish. Matt is assigned a job which he has to complete before the forest turns hostile. Matt is a gifted boy and the blind man as well as the Leader knows it. Will he complete his last task before it's too late ? I cannot start to tell you how much I loved Matt in this book. Like I said characters overlap in this Book 3. This book scared me, it made me happy and it made me really really sad at the end. In Book 1 and 2 the bad guys were very much human while in Book 3 the evil takes another form which is not made clear. As far as the main characters were concerned, this book tied almost all the loose ends. 

Son: I wondered what Book 4 would be about because I kept thinking everything is good. Well it is not. There is a character which I did not mention in Book 1. If  I did, I would be giving out a portion of a spoiler. God, writing review for series without giving out spoilers is a very difficult job. So I am just going to go ahead with this sorry case of a review which would most likely frustrate you.  :P Son begins with the community which the author introduced in The Giver (Book1). Yeap, the author does a full circle. We go back to the first community. This is the story of Claire. She is assigned the job of Birthmother. So all she has to do is live in a quarters which houses birthmothers, take care of herself and when the time is right, she will be inseminated and will officially become a birthmother. However, things go wrong and she is discredited from her job and reassigned to a new job. Being reassigned is a cause of shame in the community. Soon Claire starts feeling things which is new to her. Unlike the rest of the population, birthmothers do not take any pills mentioned in Book 1. So her feelings and yearnings are not suppressed. What she is feeling is her yearning for her baby. Son is the journey of a mother in search of her missing son. Her journey takes her to the village in Book 3. See, all the books are connected even though the protagonists are different in each. This was the most heart wrenching book in this series.

The books are magical. I wonder why these are not that famous. I felt that they are as good as Harry Potter, though they are really really short reads. Initially I thought they are more of Sci Fi genre, but they have a huge dollop of fantasy topped over the plots. I devoured all the 4 books. I loved all the characters. There are a lot of unanswered questions but I was just so deliriously happy reading them that I agreed to just about everything the author had to tell me. Even though the Giver Series are shelved under Middle School, it is enjoyable to all ages.  It does give out a powerful message. Love, Honesty, Courage sees you through. An emotional rollercoaster. I cannot recommend this series highly enough. Read them already!!

My Rating: 4.5 stars
Rating Policy




P.S: If you read this whole post, you are amazing!