Broken Leg and A HAPPYYY NEW YEARRRR 🤣🥳

Being too excited ALL THE FUCKING TIME isn’t THAT good of an idea, may I tell you? 😔🥺

Why am I saying this? Let me narrate.

It was a LONG NIGHT. I couldn’t sleep a wink I was so fucking excited for the following day! 😍 You see, we were throwing a surprise birthday 🎂 party for my cousin AND IT WAS GOING TO BE LOADS AND LOADS OF FUN!

I was in charge of ALL the decorations and I MUST SAY IT WAS HEAVENLY. I had gone a bit extreme with it but then, as Violet Crawley says – “NOTHING SUCCEEDS LIKE EXCESS!” 😉

I was in a state of continuous thrill and anticipation of the following day.

AND IT FINALLY ARRIVED.

I was up WAY BEFORE our dear sunny friend up in the skies and had already made ALL THE REMAINING ARRANGEMENTS. I was the first one dressed, made breakfast for everyone REAL QUICK, made sure papa was ready ON TIME (he always takes too long! 🤷🏻‍♀️🤣)

So, after making sure everyone was ready I went down the stairs to take out the car! It was the first time I was driving with my dad and he is a MOST SEVERE CRITIC so I was nervous and excited, both at the same time!

The promise of a wonderful and eventful day went straight into my head like a drug and before I knew it, I was hopping down the stairs two/three at a time.

What happened next shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone! 🤷🏻‍♀️

I slipped and went tumbling down the stairs like the pale of water Jack had the misfortune of losing?

My crash down the ground was almost 15 stairs long so you can imagine the impact it had on my head, my whole body for that matter!

But I suffered the most injury on my left foot, which I broke in the process and my head, obviously! 🥺

Some of my lovely friends already know this to be the reason behind my one month long absence from my beautiful blog but I wanted you to know as well.

I am back to normal again. I can walk, hop, and run – ALL WITHOUT THE SLIGHTEST DIFFICULT Y, thank god!

AND I AM SO GLAD TO BE BACK HERE! SOO FUCKING GLAD! 😍😍

Just a small thing though – my computer has broken down, curse that stupid machine! 😡 So, my posts may not be THAT aesthetic for a while, I hope you’ll understand! ❤️😘

I LOVE YOUUUU GORGEOUS AND AMAAAZINGGG PEOPLE! You have made my blogging experience greater and more enjoyable than I had any right to and for that I will FOREVER BE THANKFUL TO YOU! 🥺😭

Wishing you all a most beautiful new year, full of exciting experiences! May every second of every minute of 2020 bring you happiness and joy! ❤️

Lots of love,

R A I N

A BOOK REVIEWER’S Prayer + Promise + Warning.

YOU MUST NOT READ MY REVIEWS for I will let my heart judge the words, without any inhibitions.

When I am holding a book, my mind is no longer the master. For it is my belief that once you let too much reason in, it muddies the effect the story has on you on a much deeper level. 

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Having read a book, I will jump straight into the review with emotions hanging over my head like a sword, threatening to destroy me lest I pour them out on the paper. It pains me to not be able to talk about what I read right away so I will always be very passionate and most insistent while talking about the merits and the faults of a story.

I will not be led by anything other than what my feelings dictate.

There will not be one shred of dishonesty in what I write. Everything will be in strict accordance with the feelings invoked and the thoughts reflected upon during the course of the reading. So you can imagine that it will, sometimes, prove to be a daunting read. And I am okay with that.

When the reader is wholly invested, in a book nothing but a true account of every movement of their mind, owing to the story, will ever give them satisfaction. So that’s what I do. My reviews are much too intense and hold true to only what I thought about the book, not influenced by anyone or anything else. In that way, they will be brutal, and forgiving accordingly.

You must not be in a delusion that you will be told a detailed account of what happened with whom, who did what, and how it all ended for them. No. The only things you will find in my reviews are what moved me, what incited feelings of passionate hate or ardent love, of ignorance and indifference or that of continuous awe. That’s all I can offer you by the medium of my humble writings.

But frankly, why would you want to know anything else anyway?

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Isn’t the real reason why we read book reviews to know what the reader FELT about it? Not what happened, but their REACTIONS to the said events? THAT’S the beauty of every single review out there, isn’t it? Their singularity, their originality.

You must not read my reviews for they will be an honest account of my shattering heart and all the reasons behind it.

They will be raw, overflowing with emotions, and you might then be inclined to suppose that I am blind to the faults of the book. I am not but to think so is your choice.

You must not read my reviews because then, you will HAVE to read the book concerned with as much an open heart and suspended belief as I did, to experience, IN IT’S FULLNESS, the story those pages hold.

YOU MUST NOT READ MY REVIEWS IF YOU ARE UNWILLING TO DO THAT.
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Such are my thoughts on review writing, how they should be and why a reviewer must NEVER be forced to do otherwise. Doing justice to a book, according to our opinions on it, is all we are required to do and THAT’S ALL WE WILL DO.

EVER.

[DISCUSSION] Challenging or Entertaining – Which Ones Should You Be Reading?

When I choose a book to read, that decision is not based solely on whether I want to read something that would inspire thought-provoking questions or not. I simply choose according to my mood.

Sometimes I want the book to take me places, show me lovely things, make me feel like a million bucks. On those particular days, I don’t want it to fucking bombard me with existential questions. I just want to escape. And at these times, novels, for me, are just a means to an end.

On the others, however, I am not content with just reading some fluffy tale of JACK – the rabbit and FLUFFY- the squirrel who had adventures in the Tree Land and in the end everything was happy-happy.

NOPE

Today, I want a glimpse of the ugly side of humanity. I want to read about everything that I didn’t know before. I want the castle of my beliefs blown to rubble with bombs of truth and in their place, I want new ideas planted. I want to know about all the horrors that went down in the history of the world and how they were faced. I want to know about people, their shortcomings – the dirty side of humanity – ALL OF IT.

I want to know it all.

These are the two basic moods which I, as a reader, identify with and which dominate the choices I make while deciding what to read.

It all comes down to what you find rewarding on what day. (But that’s not to say that a book can’t be both challenging and entertaining at the same time)

When I decide to read something that can potentially be described as ”challenging’‘, I don’t take it up because my mind goes –

”Okay, so I’d like to be a pretentious ass clown today and would like everyone around me to feel like failures so let me just get my swag on open this bad boy real quick.”

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NO.

I read it because I WANT  to. Because I think it’d be a rewarding, eye-opening, and mind-boggling experience.
It is as simple as that.

It’s just good ol’ curiosity.

And I think you only ever read something if the plot, or something about the author – this that or the other – sparks curiosity in you. Otherwise no matter what, you won’t even TOUCH the damn thing! And even if you DID, it won’t be as insightful because you will not go through with it BECAUSE you didn’t WANT to read it in the first place.
Because you didn’t think that the rewards of completing it would justify the act of reading the beast itself. 

We don’t read just for the satisfaction of having read a difficult book so we can boast about it, we read it to get something out of it. 

And the books aren’t challenging ME. I am challenging THEM to change my mind, to make my ideas conform to theirs. They might succeed and I’ll become their slave ❤ or I might remain unconvinced.

Either way, it’s not just about reading a complex work, it’s also about how that particular work of fiction gets it’s the point across and if the labor of going page-by-page through a ”challenging” novel for 500+ hours is, FOR YOU, worth the satisfaction and expansion of mind you will experience afterward. (But hey, you read enough of those seemingly complex books and soon they will become your leisure read instead! )

If, on any particular day, the answer to these questions is YES, I go and grab that baby. If, however, I am not feeling up to it though, I read my Katie Fforde and call it a day.

So, in the end, what I’d like to say is this –

Reading is SUCH a diverse hobby, with a number of different ways to go about it. It’s not for anyone else to decide what kind of novels YOU should read. If you feel like going towards the Classics section, then, by all means, KNOCK YOURSELF OUT! But if you feel intimidated and just want to stick with your copy of Harry Potter and The Hobbit (LIKE I FREQUENTLY DO ;)) that’s okay too.

And anyway who the fuck said that the simple ones cannot be challenging enough anyway? Some of the most memorable pieces of fiction I have read have been deceptively minimal. (Think Mister Pip)

So, don’t think it has to be one or the other. IT CAN BE BOTH. Or it can be EITHER ONE. You decide. ❤

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I have still just scratched the surface with this one. What do you think? Do you agree with me? What are your thoughts on it?

[REVIEW] The Cellist of Sarajevo – Steven Galloway// 3 Reasons Why You SHOULD Read it + 1 Why You Shouldn’t

(My spirit is coiled. This is one of the gravest reviews I will write.)

The Cellist of Sarajevo leaves in it’s wake a quiet yet powerful remembrance of the men and women who lived their lives in fear and trembling each day during that 4 year siege, doing their best to survive in a war that seemed to be going on and on like a bottomless and hungry creature emerged from the depths of the most malevolent darkness.

It seemed that it’ll only end with the faded hopes of the people of Sarajevo and their will to fight to survive one more day. The lives they left behind, the friends they lost, the memories they buried and all of it for the sake of becoming strong enough to face the harsh truths of war with enough courage in their hearts to stop themselves from giving in to their wobbly knees.

Because they knew that once fallen, they will never be able to stand up again.

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Sarajevo is a city drenched in blood, fear, and shards of reality and its inhabitants have a story to tell.

It’s a story about a loaf of bread, a bucket of water, a mission to protect and a musician who brought the world around him what they needed the most – a drop of hope.

I will present to you why their story must be read by every single human being who possesses the ability to read and one reason why you should steer clear of this book because …well…I’ll tell you later on.
laurels+flowers_0007_Vector Smart ObjectK E N A N

When the city you have spent all your life in turns into a graveyard of broken things and dead meat, you start to question if the place you grew up was ever really there or was it just a figment of your imagination?

What do memories mean anyway? What do they stand for? What are memories worth?
Kenan knows. They can buy you a few kilograms of tomatoes and rice and a few apples maybe.

But memories don’t have a significant place in Kenan’s world now. It hurts too much to close his eyes to relive those joyous moments only to be shaken awake by distant firing and falling buildings. He shouldn’t do that, thinking about running his hands through her wife’s honey brown hair, hearing his children’s laughter as they play with their electric car. Those are the things of the past because the war had thinned his wife beyond recognition and about that car? Well, electricity is a guest that visits only once or twice a month and never stays for more than 3.2 minutes.

He has to get water for his family. He has to make that two-hour-long, perilous journey across the city and the river to get all the bottles refilled before the shelling begins again. THAT’S what matters now. THAT’S ALL THAT MATTERS TO HIM.

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A MAN AND HIS BUCKETS

HIS MISSION.

The ONLY one that counts. To keep his family alive. To keep them from dying of thirst. This is his duty. This is what wants and has to do.

And he will. As long as he can. and even beyond.

Because this is a brave man. A man so brave that he admits not wanting to be a soldier. Not wanting to protect his city because nothing represents Sarajevo more to him than his two daughters, his little son and his lovely wife.

Kenan wishes he wasn’t selfish. But in a world where using each other as guinea pigs for the ”men in the hills” is commonplace, what else is there any scope for?

What else can he be?

No, he will be selfish. For himself. For his children. And he will loathe himself for this. But HE WILL CARRY ON because at home there is someone waiting for him.

This journey – one day journey – will leave him a changed man. The shock of witnessing death land and explode inches away from his six immaculately filed and secured water bottles will transform something in him at a deep and almost cathartic level.

He will come to terms with his priorities and will make peace with his life because he has to get up again. to fetch that water.

laurels+flowers_0007_Vector Smart ObjectD R A G A N

With his wife and son safely away from the horrors he witnessed on a daily basis, Dragan is angry.
At everything.
But most of all at himself. Why is it that he couldn’t leave when he had the chance?

He needs to eat. Starving to death is just as bad as dying in the crossfire. Maybe that’s what those snipers waiting in the hills are rooting for? It’s unclear. Maybe we’ll never know what they think. What they feel about all the people they murder?

He needs a loaf of bread. There has never been a more innocent necessity. And yet, war has turned it into luxury. The war that understands only the language of violencethis war that burned countless homes, buried numberless people, burnt numerous stories whose ashes still roam the streets of Sarajevo smelling of burnt paper and with those papers, the stories. This STUPID, STUPID war that’s turning humans into dust for the simple reason of making a statement.

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Yes, Dragan is angry because nothing is as it was, as it should be. Where once used to be fond memories now stand only deserted buildings and in those buildings is a whole lot of nothing. Memories that are long lost now and can never come back again even if, by some miracle, it does go back to the way it was before.

Everything is tainted. With blood and rubble.

But he still needs to get that loaf of bread. It is FREE and he is hungry and there aren’t as many places as the bakery he used to work in left standing now. Is it worth risking his life for though? Maybe. Maybe not.

But Dragan doesn’t careThis siege has made him bitter. It has turned him into a pessimist. He doesn’t believe in things now. He just doesn’t see the point of it all.

Through Dragan we get a full and rare glimpse of fear and disappointment blended immaculately in the hearts of people who actually have to go through the horrors of war. Because it’s not just death that Dragan is afraid of. No. He is far more frightened by the possibility of having to spend his whole life as a captive in his own city. That’s the prospect that is completely unacceptable for him. And it should be. But it gives way to words and actions that would later instill grand amounts of guilt in him.

Behind all his anger and disappointment is FEAR and all it’s different flavors of it and he still doesn’t know how to cope with it. But he will learn, eventually. He must.

laurels+flowers_0007_Vector Smart ObjectA R R O W

She is quick.
She is smart.
She is undeterred.
The men on the hills hate her and so she hates them. She wants each and every single one of them dead. No exceptions. There is nothing complicated about her.

War means that people will be killed and she wants to make sure they die on the right side of the hills surrounding the once-beautiful city of Sarajevo.

Nothing could be simpler.

If only.

War doesn’t only breed terror and loathing, it also breeds self-doubt in the minds of people. One minute they have everything – a loving family,  friends, a life – and the next they are standing with ashes in their hands of everything that they once held dear, everything they were.

What now? What are they now?

For Arrow the simple girl who found joy in every moment and meaning in every act – no matter how little – no longer holds any place in her life as it is now. She knows she must be fast, brutal and unflinching if she is to survive the war. She must be relentless. She must be a weapon. A sniper as skilled as herself can inflict a lot of pain and do a lot of damage to the adversary and so that’s what she will do.

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But her sense of morality and her significance in this war is questioned and challenged when she is given an assignment. She must protect a man. And this she must do for 22 days.

In the process, she must face her past, the girl she used to be. She has to choose and put an end to the dilemma between who she wants to be and who she is.

Arrow needs to remember herself once more. She needs to own her name.

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And on them are dependant dozens more.
How will they find hope again? To keep on carrying on as long as there is breath in their lungs and strength in their legs?

They need to be reminded that the world can be a beautiful place again.

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THE CELLIST

More than five and thirty people stood in the line that day. For a piece of bread to take home with them. Mothers, Wives. Husbands, brothers, granddaughters. Each of them had a single purpose – to make it through the night without an empty stomach.

And then it happened.
A shell landed directly beside them, sending them flying off in each corner, leaving only cries and blood.

The Cellist saw it all.
Saw it happen in front of his own eyes. Saw how several injured with missing limbs and ears were carried off. Witnessed the cruel death of 22 people. And in that tragedy, he found his purpose, his place in the war.

For the next 22 consecutive days, he would play his cello in the street on the site of the blood-bath to honor every single one of those innocent people who lost their lives for a simple desire. He will do that without taking into account the consequences of his actions and what will happen to him.

He won’t care for all that.

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And this simple gesture will awaken in the hearts of all everything that they thought they could never feel or even remember again. He will remind them that they can take away their homes, their loved ones, their will, but they can never take away the goodness that still resides in the city of Sarajevo and which will rise against every adversity.

And when on the last day, at the end of his concert, he will get up, with shaking shoulders and teary eyes, you will know the true meaning of loss in your hearts. You will cry with him. And a part of you will be lost, destroyed the same way his spirit has been tampered with.

I balled like a baby by the end of this book.
And you will too.
There is no way around that.
And in the course of the next few days, you will be randomly reminded of Kenan with his water, Dragan with his friend lying on the street with blood all around her, of Arrow and the sad loss of her own identity.

But by then, you will not be sad for the cellist because you will know that despite the horrors he had witnessed, he managed to light a candle of hope and will in the hearts of them all.

And they will go on.

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If you want to read The Cellist of Sarajevo, read it for Kenan, Dragan, Arrow. They will teach you the true meaning of fear, disappointment, and betrayal and you will grow with them as they will learn to live with it.

But don’t read it for the Cellist. Don’t do that because in only a few pages he will make you fall in love with him and you will always carry that image in your heart – him crying, him playing his cello with his eyes closed and a smile on his face, the sound of his heart shattering as he witnessed the fall of his city.

And that image will haunt you for days to come!

[REVIEW] Childhood. Innocence – lost & Found. Friendships. Secrets. And above all – LOVE //When God was a Rabbit – Sarah Winman//

It all started with a need to fill the hole that the last story had left it my heart. I wanted desperately to find something just as engrossing to fill my mind, to distract me once more.

The need was strong and so was the pull that led me to shift aside all of the things on my shelf that crowded this long-forgotten book, hiding away from sight, as if lost in its own story – quite happily too, it seemed. I picked it out, not quite knowing why I had felt the urgency to seek this one out in particular and embossed in light blue halo were words written in white – WHEN GOD WAS A RABBIT, almost as if written by a little child, too excited to pay attention. With that thought, I opened it.

And I never closed it, not willingly anyway.

The promise of a journey deep into innocent, magical hearts and their brave lives. That’s all this book has to offer. As if it isn’t enough?

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Such is the nature of children that a mere flicker of magic, of the great unknown, is enough to draw them to it like a moth to a flame.
They don’t care about the consequences, they just want to make sense of the world around them, they just want to belong. And when none of that comes from the usual corners, they start to seek the same elsewhere. That’s what Elly did in the beginning. The world’s God, it seemed, loved everyone but her. So she decided to find another one. A better one. And she found it in Mr. Golan, their Jewish neighbor. With this new acquaintance started her journey of dreams and disappointments, too early for a child her age. Not to mention that soon Mr. Golan would do something that although Elly won’t be able to understand it then, it would change something in her. Something that she will confide, unwillingly, only with her brother. Something that would come out years later. And it would be okay. But that’s just the beginning of a long, long story.

Elly’s inquisitiveness and her relationship with the new girl Jenny Penny are so, so innocent that my heart went out. For both of them.

A strong relationship between a brother and a sister that became their rock against life’s many blows that were yet to come, witnessing a friend’s dysfunctional family that struck feelings that a young heart should never have been made to feel, forever escaping the truths of their identity and finally made to look them in the eye, beautiful friends found in the most unexpected places  – When God was a Rabbit isn’t just a story where a child’s innocent love and faith makes her pet talk and do things that can only ever happen in dreams, it’s about LOVE and all the different forms that it comes in our lives.

It’s about those sweet and magical years and experiences that have the power to transform our whole lives. And even in the later years when everything just seems so devoid of hope, the flickering memories of those delicious moments lived long ago can be redemptive, therapeutic, to say the least.

”I am here but I am not yours”

When God Was a Rabbit reminds us of the colossal significance of relationships, and their effects on us, on our whole lives – no matter what age they are formed in.

I could tell you all about how Joe dealt with the loss of his lover, how Alfie made peace with his lack of faith and how he regained it. I could tell you about the most unusual relationship between a brother, his sister. Yeah, I could tell you all of that and even more but all I really want you to understand about this novel is that the more you advance through this beautiful story of friendship and relationships and love and betrayal, the more you come to realize that this one of those stories that you have to live to really understand it.

Yes, reading it was like living it. Living through Joe’s ordeals, laughing with Elly and Jenny Penny, getting awestruck by Arthur’s ability to defy even death.

Some stories have so much going on in them owing to their exciting and racy plot that you hardly have enough time to REALLY examine the characters. But When God was a Rabbit is a purely character-driven story.  They will rise, they will fall, they will make you laugh, they will make you cry and by the end, you will leave with a fragment of them quietly tucked inside your hearts.

I have lived through a plethora of different emotions while reading this warm and, if I am being honest, at times shocking novel (in terms of the events that later transpire in the lives of them all) and all I can say is that –

When God Was a Rabbit is not just a novel. It’s an experience.

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And what about you? Have you read When God Was a Rabbit? Do you agree with me? How was your experience of the novel? Who was your favorite character?

THE INSIDES OF A READER’S MIND //NOT A PRETTY SIGHT//

They are all around you. They see you. Scrutinize you. Judge you. NOTHING ESCAPES THEIR NOTICE. YOU MIGHT THINK you can fool them but let me tell you, honey, YOU ARE SO FUCKING WRONG! They are READERS. And BOOKS are just ONE OF THE THINGS THAT THEY READ. They are good at guessing thoughts, assuming things about you that are 99% of the times ARE QUITE TRUE!! They are READERS AND GUESS WHAT?

Continue reading “THE INSIDES OF A READER’S MIND //NOT A PRETTY SIGHT//”