[AROUND THE BLOGOSPHERE] Announcing Your September TBR //

There are soooo many blogs that I ADORE but loving them comes at a price – a delightful price THE INCREASE OF MY TBR PILE AT AN EXPONENTIAL RATE. My fingers shake as I click on their posts because although I know that their reviews will be groundbreaking-ly amazing, they will also force me to add the books to my own list which will complicate things for the already pitiable state of my ARCs. ;p

BUT….that still doesn’t dissuade me from reading them and loving them and then dying under the soul crushing weight of my tbr. AH, WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE!

NOT-SO long story short, I have compiled a list of beautifully worded reviews of books (by these awesome bloggers) to read in the month of September! YAYYYY!!!

Take your pick! Take your pick! There are plenty to go around. 😉

REVIEWS

The Symposium by Plato : Lashaan read a Greek classic and we all died because of his review’s profoundness. AHHHH!!! IT WAS SO SO BEAUTIFUL, you guys! I felt like reaching through the screen, grabbing the book and start reading it ASAP! But now, I have to wait for Amazon to deliver my copy instead. NO FAIR!!! 😦

Lobizona by Romina Garber: I recently discovered Cielo’s gorgeous blog and instantly fell in love with her writing. The way she writes reviews is JUST SO ADORABLE, I AM TELLING YOU! And this gorgeous review is THE PERFECT EXAMPLE of that! ❤

MINI REVIEWS – Wilder Girls, American Royals & Laurel Everywhere : Erin writes THE MOST BEAUTIFUL REVIEWS EVER!!! Every time I read her writing, I am like…DAMN! THAT WAS GOOD. Don’t believe me? Give this beauty a read. you’ll see what I am talking about.

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown : As soon as I saw this review, I knew two things – Princess’ blog is now one of my ABSOLUTE FAVORITES + there is no fucking way I can afford to not read this one! ❤

Chaos Vector by Megan E. O’Keefe : Mads is THE SCI-FI QUEEEEEN!!!! When she recommends, YOU LISTEN! And she is head over heels in love with this book, the second in The Protectorate series! AND I AM GOING TO OBEY HER AND START READING THIS SERIES because this review is a masterpiece and I LOVE IT, OKAY? And you gotta love it too!!

The Ashes of London by Andrew Taylor : Proxy shared this absolutely gorgeous book in one of her Friday Firsts post and I instantly fell in love with it. SUCH CHAOTIC BEAUTY! ME LIKEYYY!!!! And you will toooo – just..visit her post and fall in love with it, okie?!

Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell : Although David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas was already on my tbr for this year, it wasn’t until I read Wakizashi’s gorgeous review that I actually got excited for this author’s works! I am not dying to read both Cloud Atlas AND this one AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, all because of this review! Don’t miss it. 😉

The Memory Police by Yōko Ogawa : It was Star’s beautiful review that opened my eyes to even more interesting aspects of this book other than it’s cover (which was what attracted me initially) You are going to get sold on this review I AM TELLING YOU!!! It’s awesome, and the premise of this book? Mind-blowing!

You Had Me At Hola by Alexis Daria : I would not have known about this book had it not been for Priyasha’s review AND I WILL FOREVER BE THANKFUL TO HER – because now I can adorn my shelf with this beauty! AHHHHH!!! YOU GOTTA READ HER REVIEW TO FIND OUT HOW AWESOME THIS STORY IS!

How To Disappear by Gillian McAllister : Stephen writes absolutely amazing reviews, this must be common knowledge right? RIIIIGHT? Because if it isn’t then what the hell are you doing??!?! GO GO READ THIS ONE AND ADD THE BOOK TO YOUR TBR BECAUSE IT SOUNDS AWESOME! Thriller lovers – you DON’T want to miss out on How To Disappear, I am telling you!

Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer : I have been waiting for this one to come out for EVERRR!!! And when I read Alexandra’s review, it took EVERY SINGLE FIBRE OF MY BEING TO NOT RUSH OUT THE DOOR AND BUY THE BOOK RIGHT THEN AND THERE! Yep, it was THAT good!

Seven Devils BY Laura Lam and Elizabeth May : A beautiful book made even more so by Octavia’s amazing review! I knew I HAD to read it as soon as I saw the cover and the urgency grew by leaps and bounds when I read this review!

First Touch by Teyla Branton : A fantastic review by Purvasha – one of my new fav bloggers! This seems like one of those hidden gems I probably would not have found out about if it hadn’t been for this amazing blogger. PLEASE GIVE THIS REVIEW ALL THE LOVE! ❤

Every Single Shakespeare Play EVER! : Naemi’s posts are so gorgeously written that I feel like crying EVERY SINGLE TIME I VISIT HER BLOG! And this one is no different. HER ONE LINE REVIEWS of Shakespeare’s plays are so cuuutteee that I DEMAND YOU GO AND READ THEM! ❤

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings by Allen Oh : Oh, Oh, OHHH MY GODD!! I AM SURPRISED THAT ALMOST NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT THIS GORGEOUS BOOK! I am glad Kay is though! Her reviews – as most of you already know – are absolutely brilliant and I am so glad she decided to share her thoughts on this beautiful book with all of us., YOU GOTTA READ THIS POST RIGHT NOW!

MINI REVIEWS – Deck Of Omens & With The Fire On High : It’s one of Marie’s reviews! You know what that means right?! It’s full of beautiful graphics and meaningful thoughts. I swear every time I read one of her posts I FALL IN LOVE! She writes some of THE MOST gorgeous reviews everrr!!!!!

The Good For Nothings by Danielle Banas : I am pretty sure I would NOT have known about this one if I hadn’t read livia’s amazing review of it! SERIOUSLY THIS BOOK SOUNDS ALL KINDS OF WEIRD AND AWESOME!!! AND I AM DEFINITELY ADDING IT TO MY TBR! Are you?! 😉

Pride by Ibi Zoboi : Everyone who knows me knows that I am a Pride and Prejudice addict. So NATURALLY I added it to my tbr as soon as I saw it on Amazon. But I am SO FUCKING GLAD I DID NOT BUY IT THEN. Because, according to Kate’s honest and amazing review, this one’s rather MEH! So I’d urge you give Kate’s review a good read before you got for this book, yeah? I included it because you need to know what to avoid as well, OBVIOUSLY! *rolls eyes*

Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston : This book has been stalking me. I see it at least thrice a week on the internet! I AM NOT KIDDING. I was actually excited to read it before it started to feel like it was haunting me or something. But the excitement is back, I am glad to say – ALL BECAUSE OF Gianna’s BEAUTIFUL REVIEW! Thank you so much, hon! I LOVE YOU FOR THIS GORGEOUS POST! ❤

The Grishaverse Trilogy BY Leigh Bardugo : Macey + the written word = ART! I AM NOT KIDDING! She writes so beautifully that I just want to keep reading forever… WHY, MACEY! WHY DID YOU SHORTEN YOUR MUSINGS ON THIS ONE?!?!?! I loved it to pieces! ❤ You guys – GO. READ THIS GORGEOUS POST. Now. PLEASE?

Drowned Country by Emily Tesh : Look at that cover! It’s pretty, right?Not prettier than the review, though! It was very hard to pick only ONE of Lisa’s reviews since I adore every single thing she writes. BUT I AM SO IN LOVE WITH THIS SERIES NOW. I have decided to pick this one up. And you will too as soon as you read this review! ❤

The Night Swim by Megan Goldin : I requested and was rejected for this book. But Tessa wasn’t THANK GOD! At least I got to live the story – even if just a little bit – through her beautiful review! THIS ONE IS A MUST READ, YOU GUYS! And if you don’t believe me, then fine. YOU WILL BE CONVINCED ANYWAY ONCE YOU READ THIS POST. HAHAHAHA!!! *evil laughter*

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas : I will read any book that our bee queen suggests. And this one sounds like the perfect tear jerker! And E has reviewed it most perfectly. YOU GOTTA READ THIS POST RIGHT NOW!!!!!!

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin : Sarah is back with her awesome reviews and I COULDN’T BE HAPPIER!!! This one by the author of The Night Swim seems like THE PERFECT THRILLER with an exciting premise. I am SO SO excited to read this. YOU WILL BE TOO IF YOU’LL JUST DO YOURSELVES A FAVOR AND HEAD OVER TO SARAH’S AMAZING REVIEW, YEAH?! 😉 ❤

The Backstagers vol. 2 by James Tynion IV : I can’t tell you much about this book – I will leave that honor with the royal duchesses of the blogosphere. What I WILL tell you though is that YOU SHOULD NOT MISS OUT ON THIS ONE – it sounds way too much fun!!

The One That Got Away by Egan Hughes : I never knew I would end up loving thrillers SO MUCH! And Jules’ reviews are one of the reasons why! SHE CONSTANTLY RERADS AMAZING, SPINE-CHILLING THRILLERS that make me want to drop everything else! This one was just like that. You’ll know when you read this review. It sounds like a must read! ❤

Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar : I had been SOOO excited for this one to release. The Book Twitter seemed to be blowing up with anticipation and the gorgeous cover only added to it! And then I read Ahana’s review! DAMNNN!!! I FELL IN LOVEEEE WITH IT! And you will toooo!! Just give it a read. It’s honest and it’s BEAUTIFUL!

A Ruined Girl by Kate Simants : Yeah! AS IF THAT GORGEOUS COVER WASN’T ENTICEMENT ENOUGH! Kelly had to kill us with her review as well!! Honestly, sometimes I feel like you go out of your way to write awesome reviews JUST TO TEASE ME BECAUSE…I JUST…*ugly sobbing* I am…*more ugly sobbing*…I GOTTA READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!

A Declaration of The Rights of Magicians by H.G. Parry : Kat’s reviews are one of my absolute favorites! AND NOW THAT SHE IS OFFICIALLY BACK TO BLOGGING, I am sooo excited to start hoarding ALLLL the books that she recommends – starting with this one. It’s absolutely gorgeous and going by Kat’s wonderful, wonderful review, it’s contents are no less wonderful! Visit the post to find out more! ❤ ❤

An Unreliable Man’ by Jostein Gaarder : I LOVE N’s reviews soo much! They are short, sweet, to-the-point, and beautifully written. She always reviews hidden gems and when I read this post, I knew I had to make time for this book this year! IT SOUNDS UNMISSABLE! Please give this post a read and show N’s amazing review the love it soooo deserves!

Fifty Fifty by Steve Cavanagh : Nicki’s reviews are always a delight to read. They are on point and clearly written. I TRUST HER JUDGEMENT IN BOOKS and so I will be adding this one to my tbr! And if you don’t want to miss out on some amazing reads, you better go and check her review out as well! Just sayin’. 😉

Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume : WHERE DO I EVEN BEGIN WITH THIS AWESOME BLOGGER? Emer writes her reviews sooo passionately that they never fail to impress me. EVERY SINGLE WORD IN THIS REVIEW IS BRIMMING WITH HER LOVE FOR THIS BOOK AND I AM 10478397567507809248% IN LOVE WITH IT! You better go and check it out for yourselves as well!! ❤

Hinton Hollow Death Trip by Will Carver : Julie is ONE OF MY MOST FAVORITE BLOGGERS EVERRR!!! She is kind, sweet, AND WRITES AMAZING REVIEWSSS!!! A few more and I might have to make a separate list for her recommendations! 😉 This one was just as awesome. The book’s premise is soo interesting and Julie’s awesome review seals the deal!!!!

Night Of The Mannequins by Stephen Graham Jones : Reading this review, I was so angry at myself! WHY THE HELL WASN’T I FOLLOWING Tammy ALREADY?!?!??! This review is BRILLIANT! I LOVE THIS SO SOOO MUCHHH!!!! And you gotta read it tooo!!! I have already the book to my tbr – now it’s YOUR turn. ❤

What If It’s Us by by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera : If you guys aren’t already following Poulami THEN WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! She writes THE LOVELIEST REVIEWS EVERRR!!! And this one is the proof – soo cutteee!!!! LOVE IT SO MUCHH! And you will too, I PROMISEEE!!! *heart eyes*

AND NOW FOR SOME AMAZING LISTS!!!! YAYYY!!!

BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS | STANDALONE BOOKS EDITION :  Sofii’s blog is the one to visit whenever you want to soothe your eyes BECAUSE HER POSTS ARE ALWAYS THE PRETTIEST! I mean I don’t even know how she does it! DAMNN!!!! And here she is, with another one of beautiful posts FULL OF BOOK RECS! What more can you even waaaaaant??!?!?!?

Deat Endless Streaming Services, Please Aadapt : Gemma is here with her list of beautiful books that you probably did NOT know about! AND YOU ARE GONNA FALL IN LOVE WITH THEM BECAUSE THEY ARE SO SOOO PRETTYYYY!!! *heart eyes* Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful list with us, hon! 🙂

Short, Fun & Easy-to-Read Non-fiction Book Recommendations for Beginners : Do you hate to read Non-Fiction too??!! BECAUSE I DOO!! No. WAIT! I USED TO!!!! Nikita is here with her clever list of pretty non-fics that are sure to entice ANYONE – a fan or not! THESE ARE AWESOMEEE!! You cannot afford to miss out on this post, you guys!

Railhead by Philip Reeve : The amazing Sabrina at Paper Plane Nomad has generously shared with a list of reasons why she adored Railhead and I AM SO SO GLAD SHE DID. Honestly, everything she writes is just…I LOVE IT, OKAY? And you will be missing out if you don’t read this review as soon as you can. READ IT NOW! ❤

Women in SFF – 10 Fav Female Authors : Alex, the writer behind the awesome website – MARTIAN CHRONICLE – has compiled a list of female science fiction authors and I am 100000000% here for it! Added almost all of the books featured in this one. Science ficiton lovers, you better go and check this one out ASAP. ❤

Contemporary Romances you GOTTA read! : This list by Alex features some lesser known but ABSOLUTELY AMAZING romances that YOU JUST CANNOT LET SLIP THROUGH YOUR RADA!!! *furiously adds all of them to my tbr*

Books That Should Be Adapted Into Netflix Shows/Movies : Are you following Hsinju’s Lit Blog yet? Because if you aren’t then you NEED TO CORRECT THAT ASAP! WHY? Well, apart from the fact that Hsinju is one of the sweetest bloggers around? Well, you can just go and read this amazing post listing some of the awesomest Sapphic books that YOU NEED TO READ and the Netflix directors NEED TO ADAPT. 😉

My Favorite Book Covers for Each Color : Allison is here with her minimalistic post featuring GORGEOUS BOOK COVER in (almost) every color!! *heart eyes* And it is JUST TOO PRETTY FOR WORDS. I am sure you are going to find some awesome books for your September TBR in this post! ❤

WOOOHOOO!!! SOOO MANYY AWESOME BOOKS!!! I am so fucking proud of this list! EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THESE REVIEW IS A GEM! So you better read them – you owe it to yourselves – YOU ARE SO SO AWESOME and you deserve beautiful books! 😉 ❤

I really hope you liked this one! I have been compiling these the whole month!

So….which ones are you adding to your tbr?!
Have you already read some of these?
Do you recommend?
Do you wanna add to the list?!

TALK TO MEEE!!

[REVIEW] The Distance Between the Heart and the Mind// Eighteen Inches by Mirtha Michelle Castro Marmol//

When you are faced with horrors and injustice of the world, what do you do? Do you stand in front of them, boldly, EYE TO EYE – willing them to back down because you never will? Or do you duck your head and keep walking, hoping that the bright and malicious eye of fate won’t notice?

We are made of flaws. Little, big, and in-between. We are also made of passionwhether we know it or not, acknowledge it or not. The poet does. And that’s what got her into the most dangerous trouble of her life.

A passionate nature knows no bounds. It makes you do erratic things – things that you regret under the bright and practical warmth of the sun. The poet wasn’t immune to such regrets either. She was pained and scarred very early on in her life, surprisingly by people just as passionate as her – the only difference lied in the state of their passionhers sprang from love and hurt, theirs sprang from hate and loathing. That was it. And this little difference rocked her world – and not in a good way either.

All she knew was words and they just don’t cut it in a world based on actions. But they are certainly more than enough when all that’s left to do is to convert the years of self-reflection and suffering into art for the whole world to read and cherish.

Mother said I worried her.
She feared I loved too much.
She said,
It worries me that you’ll always feel the need to be the one who loves more. And there is pain in that type of love.”

Have you ever read something so completely different from your point of view and yet SO “YOU” – both at the same time? Well, that’s how reading Eighteen Inches had me feeling. It was peculiar. I felt strangely vulnerable for some reason. Witnessing the poet baring her heart her very soul and mindlike that to a bunch of strangers made me feel vulnerable, made me feel bold. 

At times I became so engulfed in my sadness that I disappointed myself. I knew better; I was expected to know better. I could do better; I was expected to do better.

Such an intensity of feelings – my god, I have never felt like this before. Reading her little reflections on a lost love, her past trauma, her hurt, her pain it was like she had transferred them to me and I was reliving them all over again. My heart felt heavy with her poignant confessions. It was almost as if I would burst out into tears her share of tearsand then maybe, maybe she would feel better, for I WANT her to feel better. That was the power her writing commanded over me. 

I felt dirty. I felt violated. What I didn’t realise was that it wasn’t my fault. I didn’t do anything to deserve what happened to me. No one deserves to be pinned down and abused.

The journey from seeing herself as a victim as the CAUSE of everything bad that happens to her to a strong woman someone who KNOWS that she is right, she is blameless, and she deserves happiness is always a hard one for a woman. Some go through the most difficult, unfair, and vicious trials while others find themselves pinned down – not by loathsome predators but by judging eyes and scrutinising words. The intensity might be different but it leaves the one on the receiving end feeling insufficient, unprotected, helpless. The poet wasn’t immune to this feeling either. She had to suffer way too much and what’s more? She made herself believe that SHE was at fault. That, somehow, it was HER shame to bear, to hide from the world.

But can you blame her? Because I cannot. I have witnessed way too many people going through a similar dilemmathinking that every little bad thing that happens to them is THEIR fault, that they somehow MADE it happen. THEY invited all the hurt. THEY don’t deserve to have satisfaction of a good relationship because THEY must be lacking in something. 

We are so quick to pin the blame on ourselves, aren’t we? It’s way too easy. Easier than fighting back. Accepting defeat, turning ourselves weak is always easier than gathering up courage to revolt. 

But then, REAL courage is in forgiveness, isn’t it? You get hurt. You are pained. You get justice (sometimes) but you are still haunted by the trauma, by the memories, by the people who gave you those invisible scars – deeper than the physical ones. It’s only by confronting your past and then forgiving it completely – for it made you who you are now: STRONG – that you can be liberated. And the poet has summed this up in her painfully truthful prose. It’s difficult not to first sympathise with her and then applaud her for finally realising that she is invincible – no matter the trials she has faced. She always has been – no matter the temporary hurt. 

When I inhaled you,
it never crossed my mind 
that exhaling you
would be so painful.

Can you FEEL these few lines? Because I can. I can imagine her bursting into silent tears as she wrote this down – lost in “what could have been.” When you are drowning and you find your anchor, you hold on to it tightly, it makes you feel safe, secure. You never want to live without it. But what happens when you are forced to – either due to your own folly or because of cruel circumstances? 

THIS – bursting into tears at random hours, crying yourself to sleep, taking solace in the pain you feel, relishing the memories and then bitter regretting doing so – THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS. And I can feel it, I can feel it ALL in those few lines.

I want to live without the human perception of time.

Can a mortal transcend death without losing themselves in the process? The poet is asking this question and I have no answer. She does, though. Recounting the story of the death of someone who played a major role in her life since childhood up to her teenage years and beyond, she is forcing usmost emotionallyto seek deeper meaning in death.

But can we? Is it even possible to go on living without our loved ones?

I admit even the thought of it brings tears to my eyes. I wonder how much hurt she must have been while baring yet another vulnerable piece of her soul to us. It makes me want to hug everyone I love, let them know that I adore them with all my heart, that they have been a blessing in my life and I cannot even hope to do without them. I just want to hug them and cry and feel the solidity of their living body – knowing that everything is fine and that they will be like this for a long long time. But there is this uneasy feeling in my throat because I know that won’t be the case. And it’s this fragility of human life – this worldly vulnerability that inspires the poet to find the peaceful in her Nana’s death. And I just cannot help but be mesmerised and get emotional about how perfectly she has sculpted these feelings and experiences into the words. I am in love.

I am a collection of stories that I don’t have the power to erase.

Who hasn’t felt this way at some point or other in their lives? I have read and re-read most of the pages in this gorgeously written book and there was always something some feeling, some thought, some implication hidden in between the lines, some realisationthat I could relate to. The beauty of Mirtha’s words is that you can feel them ringing deep inside your heart. I love the way this whole book is structured, written, and expressed.

There is a uniqueness to it that I can’t quite pinpoint and I think I should let it remain that way – this book belongs to you as much as it belong’s to the poet’s heart. 

After having a string of disappointing and hurtful experiencesmost of them that she was left to face alone and quietlythe way she built herself back up again, always bearing in her heart the torch of hope and a brighter and more fulfilled future makes ME feel confident and strong as well! It’s her experience, her willingness to fight back, and her stubbornness to never accept NO for an answer that fills my heart with joy and pride! 

Look at me feeling proud for someone I barely know! But you see, I DO KNOW HER. Anyone who has read her poems, her prose filled with her honest experiences and thoughts can’t help but know – deep within themselves – a part of her soul that she bared, despite it being the most vulnerable of all! 

We develop intimacy with another human being the moment we release fear of judgement and allow space for vulnerability.

Sitting here alone at night, as I record my thoughts, I feel as if I just created a deep connection with someone whom I haven’t even met and maybe never will. It feels mystifying yet completely normal. 

Reading Eighteen Inches is like experiencing different hues of life blended beautifully and yet retaining their originality. No matter how you are feeling right now stuck, unloved, afraid, unhappy, adventurous, mischievous, pitifulthis book is the answer. 

I will go as far as to say that YOU NEED THIS BOOK IN YOUR LIFE. DESPERATELY. IMMEDIATELY.

SO! Are you – my wonderful, wonderful readers – convinced or DO I NEED TO MAKE ANOTHER POST?! Because..I CAN, you know! I CAN TALK ABOUT THIS ONE ALLL DAY!! 😉

TALK TO ME!
Do you like to read poetry?
Your favorite poet? Classic and/or contemporary?
Are you adding Eighteen Inches to your list then?

[REVIEW] ”You are a BAD, BAD mother.”//Little Disasters by Sarah Vaughan//

[NOTE: The main character suffers from a serious case of postpartum depression + there are mentions of child abuse. Please keep that in mind before starting the book.]

Once a woman becomes a mother, she is rebornwith her center of life now being her children. Her every waking thought is consumed by anxieties about their well being and her dreams? Filled with hopes for her lovely little ones.

She would do anything to protect them. Anything at all.

And Jess was no different. She was just a mother, trying to protect her childrenfrom those little germs everywhere, from strangers and predators, from unnecessary exertions – but most of all from herself. SHE was her children’s biggest threat, her mental condition irrelevant to anyone else because no one – not even her own husband and her best friend – tried to see past her mask, to actually notice how distressed she had been lately. Everyone pinned it down to her obsession with perfection, her reluctance to place any trust in anyone other than herself. Her anxieties were irrelevant – something shrugged off as overthinking and even a certain kind of childishness.

But what will happen when she’ll be made to choose between protecting one child or keeping her family from falling apart?

What would she do?

SHE will fall apart instead, in her desperate tries to keep her loved ones from harm; to make sure that nobody snatches her children from her. She will break down like never before – subject to people’s scrutinizing eyes, judging stares.

Reading Little Disasters felt like I was thrown into a world where I would NOT have ventured if I knew what I’d be taking on in the long run. Oh my! This book tested my heart’s patience to bear shock way too much. 

A baby has been hurt and her mother is in the line of fire of suspicions from everyone around her. They think the worst of her. 

You are a bad, bad mother.” 

Her thoughts keep playing tricks on her mind and her outer world just reflects more of the same.

And the worst of all? Her best friend – the paediatrician who admits Betsy, Jess’ daughter – is suspicious of her friend as well. Lizthe smart, the quick, the no nonsense doctoris torn between her duties as a friend and her responsibilities as a professional. And the way Sarah has captured her dilemmas is outstanding, worthy of praise. 

I can’t tell you how much I adored the author’s way of weaving a gripping plot around these few but VERY intriguing charactersthe way Liz’s memories entwined with Jess’ present circumstances left me in complete adoration of Sarah’s writing! Not to mention the ease with which she manages the delicate timing of the flashbacks ABSOLUTELY DELIGHTFUL. It added to the grim excitement that surrounded the plot as I flicked page after page, desperate to find out the EXACT relation between these two friends and their circumstancesthe past and the present.

Little Disasters is just as much about motherhood and it’s trials, it’s highs and lows as it is about marriage, the role of a partner, and the need for communication. I was left riddled with a series of scenarios that started and ended with a bold IF ONLY:

If only Jess had shed her fear of being judged and came clean to Ed about her mental state.

If only she hadn’t tried to be so PERFECT and ORGANIZED all the time.

If only Ed had picked up on his wife’s trauma a little bit earlier, and without contempt and horror in his eyes.

When you have lived with someone for more than a decade, you get to know about how they like to do certain things and how best to approach themespecially when they are shelled in and emotionally vulnerable. And the fact that Ed had been too busy with printing money to give his wife and her hard work and struggle at home a good thought was really irritating to me.

But then, so was Jess’ inability to put aside her fears and confess. Much as we’d like them to be, MEN ARE NOT MIND READERS. They usually don’t suspect anything is particularly WRONG unless it’s on a rather HUGE scale OR unless you yourself point them towards the thing that’s been bothering you. We want them to just KNOW but they almost never do. They just tend to train themselves to take things on the face value because its easier and less emotionally taxing to do so. So being OPEN with your partners about what’s been bothering you IS THE BEST THING TO DO.

But of course. for a perfectionist like Jesssomeone who had had a serious case of OCD and Cognitive Personality Disorder (which everyone had been unaware of) – this was difficult to do. And I completely understand! But that doesn’t take away from the fact that this behaviour of hers led her into the extreme circumstances she found herself later onbeing held under suspicions of being the sole cause behind the serious skull fracture of her baby girl.

Her situation made my eyes well up more than once. Her desperation, her sadness, her frustration at not being able to touch her baby girl, to hold her or any of her children was too painful to witness.

Can you imagine? Taking a child away from her mother?

And then the way Liz’s mother’s secrets crept up just in time to escalate the plot and give it even more intensity and meaning left me thrilled AND cold – both at the same time. THE HORROR ON MY FACE WHEN I FOUND ABOUT WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO HER BABY SISTER CLARE WAS BOTH GENUINE AND VERBAL. I couldn’t cope with a revelation like that! 

And now, I let out a deep sigh, as I finally close the book – feeling as if I have physically endured what Jess and Liz mentally went through. And it’s tiring. And yet, as Galadriel said, hope remains for people who are true and brave of heart. Who come face to face with realisation that forgivenessfor yourself AND for others is the only true way to rise above pain and hurt. 

Look, I didn’t know what I was taking on, how emotionally screwed up I will feel, how utterly helpless in the face of Jess’ confusion and frustration, at the thought of a few months old baby lying in the hospital with her head all but cracked open, from the horrible and pitiful secrets that engulfed Liz’ mother’s past AND present

BUT YOU DO.

YOU HAVE A CHOICE! 

Remember, if you do decide to read Little Disasterswhich, despite all the tears and agony, I still 100% recommend keep in mind that you will be thrown amidst an emotional and psychological storm that will leave you feeling helpless.

And the fun part? You will love it nonetheless. Every single second of that suffering. 

SOO??!?! Have you read Little Disasters yet? Did you like it?! SAYY YESS!!!
What’s your favorite book by Sarah Vaughan?
AND MOST IMPORTANTLY – Have I convinced you to read this one?! I hope I have BECAUSE IT IS AWESOMEE! You cannot afford to miss it, I am telling you!

PLEASE DON’T MISS OUT ON THIS ONE?! *puppy dog eyes*

[REVIEW] Love – with all it’s complexities and imperfections, beauty and transcendence //Our Naked Souls by Justin Wetch//

At first it read like broken sentences, not poetry. But as I made my way through, those little fragments started to make sense, started to rhyme in my heart – as a whole. Every single word written in this book is raw with the kind of love that comes with understanding, with maturity.

I fade away without your love
My colors dim and darken
I fall for you more every day
Without a hint of caution.

This gorgeous little book won’t make you swoon and pine over someone out of your reach; it will gladden your heart for the love that you already have, the kind of love that will stand with you, be your support THROUGH THICK AND THIN – no matter what! Reading such a mature and reasonable take on love – with all it’s flaws and complexities – was such a delightful experience.

And yet, with all the practicalities of the worldly love, you can still find – within the lines – the cosmic importance of it, the fact that such a pure emotion intertwines two souls in a bond that transcends time and all other bondage of this three dimensional world a love that makes you whole, while uplifting you, reinventing you in it’s lovely likenessa love that traps you together with a beautiful thread, while allowing you to roam freely wherever you will.

There is an uncomplicated magic to Justin’s words, as he romanticizes the mundanity of life – turned interesting in the presence of a deep love. 

I refuse to believe that something as perfect
As the meeting of our souls
Could have happened
By accident.

You won’t feel exhilarated while reading it. There won’t be any uncomfortable and fuzzy feeling in your heart. What you WILL feel however is gratitude – gratitude for the quiet and understanding love that you share with your lovergratitude for the simplicity of life. Gratitude for the fact that the REAL magic lies in the simplest but the most heartfelt of acts.

This book, as the poet says, will show you the art of transcendence through the simplest acts of love.

Promise me you’ll tell the truth
And not let me fall hard
If you’re not ready to fall with me.

I’ve been waiting for a girl like you.

Wrapped inside these words are also the seeds of such a passion, that when coupled with maturity and understanding, becomes the most beautiful feeling of them all. This passion will not destroy you, it will widen your horizons, deepen your soul!

These beautiful emotions flow so freely and deeply within the poet’s words that they pulsate with a life of their own – with deep sighs. It is so subtle, so very subtle, that it demands you whole attention or else you’ll miss it. And you’ll be sorry! 

These glorious words also vibrate with the impending fear of separation – one that, although can be delayed, cannot be prevented. You will find yourself feeling just a little bit gloomy, as the poet will paint a picture of the world without your lover. How will you cope? Can’t find the words? Let Wetch put them in your mouth, let him sting your heart with this bittersweet realization that all the time in the world, all the memories that you make, will never be enough – never be enough – for you will still feel the pain when you’ll say goodbye, old age will still arrive – taking a piece of your soul with it – wrapping it delicately, to wait until your time comes as well.

You will find yourself in a state of delightful longing – as you’ll make your way through these poems – longing for the sweet and comfortable embrace of your lover. You won’t wanna let go. And anyway, why would you even want to? 

This book is also about carefree journeys “up to the mountains”, with a desire to lose your being into one another – enjoying life’s simple pleasures. Isn’t that the most magical thing of all?

With fresh eyes I looked at living
She effortlessly changed my point of view
Dear god, let me forever keep loving
La fee qui rend tout jamais vu.

It’s about turning the most ordinary things into adventures – something that only love can achieve. Your heart will expand as you’ll read this – you’ll feel a comfortable stream of emotions flowing through it to illuminate your whole body – as naturally and effortlessly as the sun illuminates the sky. You will find yourself lost in the poet’s experiences, for the have been your experiences as well.

This is not about the outlandishness and grandeur of love – this is about a pure feeling that arises when you hold hands together, 

It’s about those beautiful moments that can only be found when you are not looking – in your every day – just lose yourself in the beauty that is life. It’ll teach you to be grateful for someone who understands you, is foolish with you, a bit childish with you. 

It’ll teach you how to look up at the sky – with wonder in your eyes and love in your heart – as you’ll sit on the terrace at night, holding each other’s hands, knowing that the love you bear in the depths of your beings is meant to be. Why else would the stars shine so brightly? Why else would the cosmos invite you to lose yourself in it – just like darkness loses itself into the night? It’s in these wondrous moments that you’ll realize, your own importance against the vastness of the universe – and you’ll know, you’ll know for sure that it’s because of the presence of love deep within your atoms that the world is suddenly such a happy, such a magical place to live in.

You should look at yourself
With the same wonder
With which you look at the stars;
You, my love, are a miracle.

It will also show you pain – the poet’s and your own – it will guide you through the unexpressed emotions welling inside you, eager to burst outand all will feel calm again.

The fear of losing someone you love so deeply is something that every one of us has experienced and it’s this fear that grips the heart of the poet – you will feel it in your bones as you’ll read through the sunny parts and arrive at the gloomy ones.

Addicted
To the idea 
Of love,
We were like seeds
Which sat in the rain
Expecting to grow
But withering away,
Forgetting the value
Of soil and rain.

The hurt that follows a heartbreak is unbearable and yet, through it emerges a renewed soul, a stronger heart and a desire to love again this time a bit more cautiously but a bit more passionately as well. You may lose the person but the memories remain – a warm reminder of the moments you shared; there is no time to lose and so you give live your all – you take a chance despite everything. That’s how you create something beautiful out of nothing, a phoenix rising out of ashes willing you to live again, to burn again – that’s the beauty of love, you are happy in it’s presence, you are wiser as it leaves – no harm done. In the end, it was all a lesson. 

Our Naked Souls is also about taking pride in what you have, what you meant to each other – never losing the sight of what’s important. Love is all about complacency and the poet is here to teach it to you in the most beautifully simple way possible.

Love is remembering what you have” and then reveling in that remembrance, 

It teaches you the art of a steadiness and passion – urging you to not burn out, but rather burn with each other, keeping yourselves aflame, with the feelings that flow in your body – so pure, so alive, so powerful.

So, dear reader, let the words flow through you and settle in your heart. 
Let the poet teach you how to turn your whole life into art.

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.

[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.

laurels+flowers_0007_Vector Smart ObjectThese three lives.
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?

[REVIEW] //One word – HOCKEYYYYY// US AGAINST YOU – Frederick Backman

When I picked up this book, it was already too late. Too late to turn back. Even though it would take me a few chapters to really start liking it, it would become a necessity for the next few hours that I read and read and read…and read this story. This story of kind hearts and brave minds. Of seriously misunderstood teens and the chaos within them. Of how it would shape their lives in a matter of a few seasons – whether for good or for bad.

There is nothing but extremes in Beartown. People go all out or they don’t go at all. They love with all their hearts or they just don’t care at all.

A town of winners. And everyone else.

A town where they only understood one religion – Hockey.
An obsession.
But is that really a bad thing? To be able to lose yourself into something even if just for a few minutes that you forget everything else?
Yes. And No.

 

A girl is raped. She didn’t mean to. It just happened. It wasn’t her fault. But nobody really cared. Or if they did, they didn’t much care to acknowledge it. A girl was raped and all the dominoes came crashing down all around this icy town. A girl was raped and it defined the lives of many, many people…for many, many days to come. A girl was raped and it gave birth to violence, resentment, hatred, depression, competition, and most of all, it gave birth to a reckoning.

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When tragedy strikes, we are surprised how it could ever even happen. When hatred simmers in young hearts, we try to locate the source. But more often than not, we forget that it was all in us. Always. The act just paved the way. It just acted as a catalyst for the things to come rushing out that have always been within us, to begin with.

Frederick Backman’s Us Against You deals with human fragility and their strength simultaneously. How a father will make peace with the fact that he couldn’t protect his daughter? How a best friend will collect himself when the person he loved the most turned out to be someone completely different? How certain people will try to take advantage of the chaos. Will they succeed? Will it be a good thing or a bad one if they did?

Beartown is all of these people and every one of them is Beartown. And they live for hockey. They live for becoming something other than who they are. For staying the same. For getting out. For staying put. They will fight until the very end. Until they can fight no more. But then something absolutely terrible will happen. It won’t be enough.

The odds will be stacked against them till the very end.

“Kira Anderson is sitting on the steps outside the little house. waiting for a man who never comes”

It’s also about relationships. With yourself. And others. How delicately you handle them? How much are you willing to sacrifice for them?
Whom do you put first?
Are you selfish? When are you not?

On a macroscopic level, Us Against You is an account of the all-important, all-consuming human pride. All the different flavors of it.

Political agendas.
Smart men.
Manipulation at their fingertips.

Dreams.
Sacrifices made to achieve those dreams.
Proving your worth in a town that understands nothing but successive wins. Peter Anderson and his dilemmas. Late-night driving.

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Tears.
Heartbreaks.
Career sacrifices.
A chance to forget about the shame that chance has seen fit to put on him. A chance to prove his worth.
Again.
And again.
A never-ending process. Because there will always be people who will underestimate you.


Determination.

The town gleams with it, inside out. Sure there is violence but there is also compassion which can easily be found in two mothers, their love for their children, their devotion to hockey. Its the little things that will make you fall in love with the residents of Beartownshaving cream filled shoes, an overly sarcastic friend, sisters doing anything they can to keep their brother in line, friends singing and shooting and irritating the hell out of each other, long runs and even longer practices to make sure the one who can do it, does it and doesn’t get off the track. These things will melt you, strike confidence in your heart about these people, get you pumped up for whatever their future will bring. Yes. It will do all those things.

But this story will also do something that every good story does and should – give you hope, give you strength.

”Mistake…just a mistake.”

The one person I always rooted for throughout the book, from the beginning till the end was a boy. An eighteen-year-old boy. This boy is reckless until he isn’t. This boy is harmful until he isn’t. This boy is a beast. Yes. But a beast hiding a fatherless childhood, a brute hiding the fear of non-acceptance. A brother, an uncle, a lover, a friend..he is all those things. If only people could look behind that strong facade. If only the man with the blue collared t-shirt didn’t think of him as just a mistake.

”Just a mistake”

One other thing about the writing that struck me as most beautiful is the amazing use of repetition by Backman throughout the novel. He uses it to tug at our curiosity in just the right amounts and at just the right places. And it may not seem like much right now but when you’ll read it, you’ll understand just how much it adds to the beauty of the story.

In the end, to understand the larger-than-life hearts of the residents of Beartown, you need to read it. You need to let their struggles consume you. They need you. They need you to understand their story. They need to tell it in their own words, horror and all.
Won’t you listen?

“We’ll stand tall if you stand tall”

 

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What did you think of the book?
Have I convinced you to read it yet?
What part intrigued you the most about this review?
What are you reading right now? Because I am in desperate need of suggestions!

[R E V I E W] Let go // A novel of obsession//THE ZAHIR by Paulo Coelho //

People are like clouds.  Sometimes they stay welled up, greyed, and full of pain. Sometimes they let it all out, sometimes they rain.

But whether the drizzle is a happy one or just a premonition of an upcoming storm is quite hard to figure out. There is one thing, however, that we can be sure of and that is the reason behind all they do –

L O V E.

Sometimes it’s the lack of it that drives them mad, sometimes its abundance. But whatever the case, it’s always the extremes that lead to every outburst. Something similar is at the heart of T H E  Z A H I R by Paulo Coelho.

I have never really been that keen on Coelho, to be honest. Yes, I have read The Alchemist, and yes, it was a brilliantly written novel but that was years ago and since that one book by him, I never quite got myself to pick up any other of his books. I don’t know but there is something about the way he writes. It’s mysteriously unsettling. It’s like something inside of me wants to escape whenever his words enter my thoughts. I feel…well..I can’t quite put it into words but whatever it was, it stopped me from reading whatever Coelho wrote. That’s why I put off reading The Zahir. It was given to me by my boyfriend who made me promise that I would read it. And I did, thinking that he will soon forget about it and I won’t have to go through that unknown and tremendously disturbing feeling again.

But he would NOT let it happen! DAMN, he would pester me EVERY DAY about it! xD SO MUCH THAT I HAD TO READ IT AND GET IT OVER WITH. He claimed that once I read The Zahir, I will change my opinion of Coelho. I doubted it but I decided to give it a shot anyway.

AND HE WAS RIGHT!

I admit that the first few pages, I didn’t know what was going on and was uninterested. But just as I was about to quit (I was, after all, looking for reasons to just close the book), I was hooked in.

It was like the words were clawing me in and the more I resisted and wanted to leave, the more I kept getting drawn into it. It was like quicksand and I could not break myself free.

I was now a captive of this treacherous little book.

And I never realised when my hate for my captor turned into Stockholm syndrome*!

*ONE DIRECTION, ANYONE??? oh, come on!!!!!

That was the moment I knew I was falling in love with Coelho and what’s weird is that I ENJOYED IT!

The Zahir was becoming my obsession. The sheer volume of the narrator’s thoughts! THEY WERE VERY LOUD! I could hear my mind screaming them back to me, just to ensure that I never forget it.

I was enjoying this kidnapping! I was enjoying how completely detached from the world I was becoming. And somewhere in this process, I found the one answer I too had been searching for soo long, without even realising it –

Am I happy?

urst.

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There is someone for everyone which sets their souls on fire, who ignites such a passion in their hearts that it becomes impossible to not think about them in every thought, to not see them in every face, to not dream of them every passing night.

But the tragedy is that some people realise this a little too late – that once broken, the fragile thread is never smooth again, the heart is never again. That’s something that happens with our story’s protagonist. He is rich. He is famous. He has the passport to be with any woman he likes and still lead a happily married life. But he isn’t happy. He loves his wife. He loves his career. But he isn’t satisfied. His wife loves him. She loves her life. And yet, she isn’t satisfied either. Neither of them is happy. They need to find that SOMETHING. THAT FEELING OF BEING ALIVE. And in search of their respective obsessions…what will they eventually get?

Passion or despair?

I am T H E  Z A H I R.

Your obsession.

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I was left enthralled by the time I finished reading this absolutely gorgeous book. Have you read The Zahir?
Did you feel the same?

Do you plan to read it?

What are your opinions of Coelho in general?

Do you feel the same aversion as I felt before reading The Zahir?

LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! ❤ ❤ ❤

Until next time 🙂

Two loves and TWICE THE HATE// 1+3 Poetry REVIEWS//

”There are cages, and then there are your eyes” AND THEN THERE IS THIS BOOK YOU WON’T FORGET NO MATTER HOW HARD YOU TRIED //I Wore My Blackest Hair//

What it’s like to be an outsider in a country? Yes, that’s what underlies each and every word in this book but even if you have not known that feeling, you can still relate to her words. YOU KNOW WHY? Because in some way or another, we are ALL ALIEN TO THIS WORLD, IN THIS WORLD.

We think we are so smart having split the atom and toured the heavens.

We think we KNOW the world now.

We think we know the person staring at us from behind the shiny, reflective surface of self-discovery – MOCKING US, MIMICKING US.

We are delusional.

Continue reading “Two loves and TWICE THE HATE// 1+3 Poetry REVIEWS//”