Monday, December 30, 2013

The year 2013

I like the idea of New Years. Its the prospect of a fresh start, new beginnings. A second chance of sorts. If you messed up last year, well get it right the coming year. If you had a great year, here's to more this year.

2013 had been a mix tape for me. Isn't that the case almost always?

In no particular order the 'highlights' of 2013:

* Visited 4 states in United States: Louisiana, Virginia, Wisconsin and Indianapolis. Hopefully the coming year, there will be more trips.
* Mangled my hand and got stitches.
* Got caramel highlights on my hair. That was a first.
* Stayed home alone. Never ever have I spent nights alone. So that was an experience. The BetterHalf had to go to Denver for a meeting and I stayed back.
* TheBetterHalf got himself a permanent job as Staff Scientist in one of the national labs here. **Beaming proudly**
* Bought loads of books and read a lot. I had challenged myself to read 27 books this year and ended up reading 40. In 2012, I managed just 17. So 40 books: proud moment. Nobody can steal that away from me :|
* Wrote more. 100 posts!
* Came across some really nice blogs and talented writers. Yes, you. :)
* Dipped my toes in the erratic waters of poetry. Long way to go.
* Celebrated Birthdays, Blogoversary & Wedding Anniversary. We drove to Madison and had a wonderful weekend getaway.
* Read Harry Potter Series.. at last! Heartbroken | Quaffle sized hole in my heart | Sometimes gotta believe the hype.
* 2013 saw more Wine, Cosmopolitans, Baileys and other assortments than ever before. Some of it was to drown away heartbreaks and disappointments.
* TheBetterHalf proves almost on a daily basis of how much of a gentleman he is and I'm more grateful than ever to have him in my life.
* Watched Breaking Bad's finale and cried shamelessly.
* Became increasingly fond of Football and now has a favorite. Manchester United. ^.^
* Watched around 50 movies; some really good, some not so good and some really bad ones.
* Got introduced to post rock and some other great music.
* Got 'interviewed' by a fellow blogger. :D
* Ate some delectable food from some really nice restaurants.
* Decided to dig deeper into the world of Literature.
* Wore Red lipstick.
* Worked out sporadically. Lost coupla pounds !
* Had moments ranging from happiness, anticipation to just bat shit crazy and depressed.
* Lusted after more books in goodreads and other blogs. I can't get enough.
* Revamped the blog.
* The bestie and me connected more and sometimes had no contact for days at a stretch, most likely because I was buried under some book. This year was good to us though.

That's all I can think of at the moment.
Wishing you a wonderful and a greatly eventful year ahead. Let's all hope all our difficult stuff gets sorted out this year. 
Let's enjoy the good times and live the content life.
Happy New Year, delightful people.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Book Review- The Wicked Girls

Title: The Wicked Girls.
Author: Alex Marwood.
Publisher: Penguin Books.
Year of Publication: 2013.
 Format: E-book.
Pages: 378.
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime, Suspense.
    Blurb: Here

My Thoughts
The Wicked Girls: a story which starts with two 11 year old girls who by the end of a fateful day has committed murder of a four year old girl! Now this is not something one reads on a daily basis, is it? The two girls : Jade Walker and Annabel Oldacre are convicted for the murder and incarcerated separately. When they are released, the girls are given different identities and banned from seeing each other. The two girls lead two very differnt lives in spite of the same crime that they committed. One of them is a freelance newspaper reporter now known as Kirsty Lindsay who is married and has two kids and the other is now Amber Gordon, a cleaning supervisor in an amusement park who lives with her boyfriend Vic. For twenty five years, the girls lead their own separate lives with absolutely no contact with each other. All  that they had built to keep their secret buried comes to serious peril, when a series of murders of young women happen at a sleepy beach side town called Whitmouth and both the women are thrown in together by random coincidence.

What follows is a very uncomfortable tale of how circumstances bring the two women more closer than ever, even when they don't want to. The fear of getting caught, their new identities getting blown over and the mutual dislike they have for each other, how each blames the other for what happened. The chapters are interwoven throughout the book with the incident which occurred when they were kids which led to the infamous murder at the end of the day.
The mystery of the murders was not really a mystery, per se. I felt the murder part of the story fell flat; especially the confession of the said murderer, whom I wont reveal. I felt there could have been more to it. It almost felt a little forced upon, a reason for the women to end up in the same scene. Another gripe that I had with the story was the back story: of how it all began. The story between the chapters were a little too stretched out and it felt a little anti climatic. I wish there was more to the childhood of the two women instead of just that one day and few lines at the end about their disturbed childhood which didn't really evoke any sort of empathy. It  seemed like a lame attempt.
What I liked the most was the constant feeling of dread. You know something bad is going to happen round the corner and yet you see the characters going about just that corner! I liked the depiction of the women. They were flawed and not always likable. Having said that, I felt pity for the women at their plight which is not really their fault. They had no idea how their lives would change with the choices they made when they were kids. The men were portrayed as not the best things on earth.The book is unsettling. The characters are pretty realistic. The mounting dread is one of the star points in the book. The ending was kinda predictable; but not too soon though.

My Rating:

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas Lovely People

It's that time of the year again.
In spite of the freezing climate,
the houses are brightly lit.
A whiff of festivities in the air.
Listen to happy Christmas carols 
and if you know some, sing along.
Curl up under those warm blankets and
watch cheesy romantic holiday movies.
Treat yourself to some sugary goodies. 
You can think about the calories later.
Help yourself with some eggnog.
Sit by the fire and listen to the fire crackling
Keep yourself warm  under those chunky knits.
Gifts wrapped and stacked under the Christmas tree.
Smile now and count your blessings.
Have yourself a merry lil Christmas, y'all.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Bourgeois Women

Do yourself a favor, little girl.
Pick up after yourself.
For tonight, there is nobody serving you.
Standing ever so timidly in corners,
while you hurl orders at them.
No one curtsying  in aprons,
as you pass by them in corridors.
Your ripped couture,
your scandalizing secrets you hold so dear;
yet the gaping tear,
 the messy loose ends are mended by them.
Teach yourself a lesson, darling.
Pick up that blue sock
discarded in the corner.
You are your own servant, tonight.
Let the others take a breath.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Under layers of throw blankets

The Canadian geese walked on the lake.
Wait, what?
Since when did, geese turn all walking on water?
Oh right.
The lake outside your apartment is frikkin frozen!
A gaggle of geese strutting around like nobody's business.
Geese can skate in roller-blades for all I care. -.-
Winter is almost here.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Book Review - High

Title: High.
Author: Corey M.P.
Publisher: French Press Publishing.
Year of Publication: 2012.
 Format: E-book.
Genre:Chick Lit, Romance.
    Blurb: Here.

I thought I had washed my hands of Romance/Chicklit.. and then I read High.

My Thoughts
A stressed, workaholic woman leaves her cocoon of routine and embarks on an impetuous trip to find herself sitting in a coffee shop in Montreal. Sonja Fines, the protagonist of the story is yet again buried under her work load while everybody else in her office is making plans for July 4th weekend. On an impulse she misses an important meeting and flies to Montreal. Spontaneity has not been her forte and she is still reeling from the shock when, enter the hero : Chad Miller, a laid back & charismatic chap. Things click between Sonja and Chad and there seems to be an instant chemistry. 
High is one of those chick lit books, which is not high on mush but mostly concentrates on the subtle sides of romance. The author also introduces the readers to Montreal and everything about the place screamed romantic. She doesn't bore the readers with in-depth geographical details, but draws a breathtaking picture on the delicate things in Montreal. The coffee shops, the roads, the people, the French influence. After reading  the book, I have this huge desire to visit Montreal. 

True to the title of the book, its a love story between two caffeine lovers. It also is a book about Sonja's self discovery. She thought she loved her life and job in Manhattan. However, the impulsive trip and her feelings towards Chad makes her realize a lot more about her life. It's a book where girl meets boy and also meets a new side of herself she didn't know existed. The rapport between the characters were very realistic. Conversations had a sense of fluidity to it. It didn't feel forced upon. The readers would feel for the duo. Few scenes were a lil bit on the 'too good to be true' side, but then I can be a cynic. So, we will flow along, yea?
High focused mainly on the small yet huge things in life and love. That's what I loved about it. A feel good, dreamy and easy read. 
P.S: I loved the cover. The brown coffee beans against the yellow background. It reminds me of peaceful early mornings and a nice cup of steaming coffee. The author being a graphic designer, designed the cover.

My Rating:

Friday, November 22, 2013

21 Things I 'knew' about Harry Potter

So, I have entered into the magical land of Hogwarts. Two books down and its like I have known Harry for ages! I can't imagine how you guys felt when you finished reading Book 7.  I am reading as slow as possible, I don't want it to get over! Yes, I am officially a HP fan. :)
I'm currently reading Book 3. I'm yet to unravel lotta things. However without reading any of the books or watching the movies, I did know/assumed a few stuff about The Harry Potter Series, thanks to media in general.

So if you had asked me not too long ago, to list out what I know about Harry Potter.. these would have been my answer. Ofcourse, some of them makes sense now.

1. He is the boy who lived.
2. He has a lightning shaped mark on his forehead.
3. His remaining  family is super rude.
4. He gets accepted in a school called Hogwarts.
5. There is a huge disheveled bearded guy who seems to be Harry's well wisher.
6. There is a 9 3/4 platform involved.
7. Harry has a white owl.
8. There are a whole lot of owls, I want to say dragons?! and other mythical creatures.
9. He becomes friends with Weasley and Hermione. I didn't know the first name of Weasley and the last name of Hermione.
10. There are ghosts involved.
11. There is a kid with blonde hair. Seems to me, he is bad news.
12. Quidditch is a school game which includes a small golden ball with wings and broomsticks.
13. Harry is in Gryffindor house.
14. There seems to be another house called Ravenclaw which is kinda nice/important?! Haven't figured it out yet.
15. Snape is not actually a bad guy ?
16. There is a circle inside a triangle symbol. I don't know what that is. I have a feeling its vital.
17. Edward Cullen makes an appearance.
18. The bad guy is Voldermort and has no nose?!
19. Weasley & Harmione end up together.
20. Somebody significant dies. I don't know who yet. And don't you dare tell me.
21. The last book was made into two movies.

P.S: Please please no spoilers, okie? Okie. :)

After reading Book 1 & 2, I watched the movies. Now every time I read HP, I have the soundtrack playing in my head.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Oh media!
The games you play.
Women with daddy issues are either sluts or are really miserable & crave for affection.
While, Men with mommy issues are sociopaths or serial killers.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Few good things

Almost 2 decades has passed since the first book in the series was published and instantly considered a huge success. I was never interested in the mania widely known as Pottermania. Don't gasp. I know, I'm part of the minority who haven't read Harry Potter.. yet. People told me it was a series not to be missed. They said its the best thing ever! I said Okay and never bothered. Trust me when I say I have no beef against J K Rowling or Harry Potter. Just that, I thought I was too old to read them.

Recently, something in me changed. I got curious. I wanted to know why the whole world, both kids and adults go totally gaga over J.K.Rowling and the boy who lived. There must be a reason, right? So I caved and impulsively bought all the seven books. I obsessively wanted second hand books for 2 reasons. One obviously for the monetary reasons and the other, I dunno.. just wanted to feel the book which was held and read by some awed fan! Hoping to share the same wonder whilst turning the same pages turned by someone before me.

168 pages in, Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone has had me hooked. It's like I'm a child again. I don't regret not reading them till now. I guess, everything happens when it has to happen. For me, reading Harry Potter as an adult was the way it was meant to be.

In other news, today is the second birthday of Absolutely Not Sure! It's a happy day for me.
Also, I just noticed this is my 200th post. A  pretty cool coincidence, I must say. :) A huge Thankyou to all my readers and your lovely comments! I remember how excited I was for the First Blogoversery. This year, I have the quiet contentment.  :)

I love this corner of mine. It's all mine, where I can be myself today, wear a mask and be somebody else tomorrow. Here, I am BOTH vulnerable and invincible!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Just another Fall day

 I love fall colors.
 These were some colors outside my apartment. 
There was a light breeze and the leaves were falling like rain drops. 
It was beautiful.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Book Review - Fahrenheit 451

Title: Fahrenheit 451.
Author:Ray Bradbury.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster.
Year of Publication: 1953
 Format: E-book.
Pages: 249.
Genre: SciFi, Classic, Dystopian, Fantasy.
Blurb: Here.

The genre: dystopia is not uncommon these days. You see them everywhere. Personally speaking, I like reading about a futuristic world where things are drastically different. Anyhow, I was curious as to what the Legends of Literature thought about Dystopia or a futuristic world. That's when I began digging and found a quite a number of books written a whole lotta years back! It didn't take long for this book to catch my attention.

My Thoughts:

 Fahrenheit 451 - The temperature at which book paper catches fire and burns..

That pretty much gives the readers an idea. Fahrenheit 451 is about a time in future where books are meant to be burned. The job of a fireman is not to extinguish fire but to burn books and buildings which host them. Its a time in future where people are obsessed with television, all they talk about are television shows. People drive at alarming speeds, too busy to slow down and notice the world around them. Houses don't have front porches, because people just don't have the time to sit around, interact and relax. People are impatient and always in a hurry. Advertisements are shown on a constant loop so that people don't think. Nobody thinks on their own anymore. Everybody is sort of desensitized.

 "It was a pleasure to burn."
The protagonist, Guy Montag is a fireman who loves his job & has been doing it for a decade. He lives with his heavily medicated wife (Mildred Montag) who spends her time watching television shows(refers to them as family) or has seashell thimble radios plugged in her ears . He has a perfect life until he meets a charismatic young girl Clarisse McClellan who tells him how different the world was a while back. She leaves him in a state of unrest and a bunch of unanswered questions. Suddenly he feels his life to be empty and shallow without any meaning.
Even though the story is set in the future, Bradbury doesn't dwell in elaborating it. He concentrates on the characters. Fahrenheit 451 is about a fireman who goes rogue. He gets curious as to what secrets does books hold, that its illegal to posses them and the sole responsibility of firemen is to burn them. He keeps one of the books. Soon he is hoarding them!

And just like that, his life changes. The hunter becomes hunted. He realizes he is not alone. From there, its a slow road. The ending is just the beginning. The book ends with a sense of hope. I felt the book ended too quickly. Even though I didn't quite like the ending, I feel that it was in a way appropriate with regard to the plot. The writing had a beautiful flow to it. Descriptive, had a feel of poetry in some places. The plot was slow in the beginning, but the pace picked up in the second half.

"Remember, the firemen are rarely necessary. The public itself stopped reading of its own accord."

It is a disturbing book to all book lovers. To think of a world without books is scary! I am amazed at the author's insights and imagiantion. This book was published in 1953 and it says volumes about the culture today. He speaks of a world where people glue themselves to TV shows, plug their ears with headphones, so wrapped up in their own world. Hardly anybody interacts face to face, they are more willing to connect via technology. Who has the time to stop and enjoy nature? Who has the time to open a book and read?  

My Rating:

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Book Review - Carrie

Title: Carrie.
Author: Stephen King.
Publisher: Doubleday.
Year of Publication: 1974.
 Format: Paperback.
Pages: 290.
Genre: Thriller, Horror, Paranormal, Fantasy.
Blurb: Here.

Normally the size of a book doesn't scare me, but something about Stephen King's books: his writing style, his flair of description and ofcourse the size of his books almost always left me intimidated. I tried reading Bag Of Bones. Till date, I haven't finished reading it. Something about it, overwhelmed me and I had almost resigned to the fate that I might never actually enjoy a Stephen King book. I really wanted to read his books, since I really liked almost all of the movies based on his books.
That's when the movie Carrie was released. I had read somehere that it was Mr King's first published book and also Walmart sold it for $5. I knew then, this is going to be the chosen one.
My Thoughts:
I finished reading Carrie a few days ago and I can't bring myself to pick another book..yet. That's how much the book blew my mind! Carrie is King's fist published book and smaller in size when compared to his other works.
Carrie White is an average high school kid who is frequently bullied by her peers. An odd one out who tries hard to fit in and fails. Her mother, Margaret White is a religious fanatic. According to her almost everything is a sin. So much that she has not even educated her daughter about menstruation and calls breasts 'dirty pillows' and only sinned women have them! Locks Carrie up in a closet anytime she feels her daughter has strayed from the path of the almighty.
The story lines opens with Carrie White getting her first period and not knowing what in the world is happening to her. To make things worse she is made fun of by the 'popular kids' by throwing tampons and pads at her. King introduces us to the ring leader among the girls, Chris Hargensen and also another girl from the group, Sue Snell. Sue feels guilty and ashamed for bullying Carrie while Cris feels elated by it. That whole scene was quite cringe worthy. Soon, Carrie realizes that she possesses telekinetic powers which was latent all these years; much to the dismay of her mother, who believes that Carrie is the devil.
Then, there is the  Prom night to which Carrie is asked out by Sue's boyfriend (advised by Sue). It was her way of apologizing to Carrie. Even though Margaret White is against her daughter going, Carrie goes to  the Prom and the inevitable happens: a destructive end to the night.

The whole book  is described from various POVs, news clippings, 'excerpts from books' giving it a very authentic touch. Early on in the book, the readers are given a peek of the climax: that all doesn't end well for anybody. One of the major elements in this book is bullying. Carrie has been the butt of all jokes and had to suffer a whole lot of cruel and demented bullying. It's a strong message to the bullies in the world. Stop Bullying. You might not know how far you have gone. The other disturbing part in the book is obviously the mother. She is clearly a deranged character, a bible thumper. All I could feel was pity for Carrie. She was a stuck in a world where nobody accepted her. She was lonely and had no friends. All she wanted was acceptance from her peers and love from her mother. She got none.
The plot was simple yet intriguing. Appealing and troubling. I loved the way King had given a back story to the mother. The character development of the secondary characters were admirable: Sue Snell (the girl who felt guilty for making fun of Carrie), Chris Hargensen( the girl who wanted to see Carrie humiliated for no particular reason), Billy Nolan (Chris's depraved boyfriend who plays a role in the ultimate catastrophe).
All in all a fantastic read. A story which would remain in your head long after you are done reading.

My Rating: