Friday, 7 July 2017

Why It's Okay to Say "I'm Not Okay."



I used to be this positive, radiant person, you know? I kept a gratitude journal. I read books on positivity. I wore bright colours and put on makeup even on the bad days. I cheered people up. 

I used to be that girl. 

I'm not her anymore.

Friday, 30 June 2017

'Stolen Songs' by Samantha Armstrong: A Book Review

 

Note: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

Maddison is a survivor. An unstable childhood has taught her to depend on no one but herself, which is exactly how she’s gotten to where she is today. With a scholarship to one of the most prestigious schools in the country, she’s finally able to settle into one location until she graduates. But with foster parents hooked on drugs, Maddison is forced to steal to make ends meet, not only for herself but her foster siblings.

Kingsley is filthy rich. An only child, he lives with a mother who is dependent on alcohol, a father who doesn’t talk to him, and his chef, the only real family he has. His life changes when he overhears Maddison playing the cello. She’s snappy, hot, and wants nothing to do with him, and he’s obsessed. As they spend time together, she begins to lower her guard. She’s everything he needs, everything he wants, and for the first time, he’s able to tell someone about his past. Everything is perfect. Until he ruins it.

STOLEN SONGS is a heartfelt and heartbreaking story of letting go of your past when it means taking hold of your future, finding strength in your mistakes, and giving everything you’ve got to heal the ones you’ve broken.

Hey!

So.

It's been a while since my last YA romance (not counting the ones I write).  As you probably already know, YA lit is my favourite genre after romance when it comes to both reading and writing, and I'm always up for a free read... so when an old client, Samantha Armstrong, approached me to review her book, I said:


Okay, maybe not in those words. But you get the picture. 

When I first started reading Stolen Songs, I figured, hey, this is another clichéd rich boy-poor girl story with a small twist: the girl is a petty thief and the guy is a drug dealer. To be honest, I wasn't expecting this book to be incredible or anything. Just another YA novel, you know. 
I can't look at him. I can't move at all. I'm like ice stuck in the moment, but slowly melting by the presence of the sun. Fucking global warming.
Or so I thought. 

What struck me the most about this novel was not the way it's written, but the way it's told. Somehow this feels like a deeply... personal story, as though Samantha (the author) has gone through something of this sort or known someone who has. I hope to dear God that's not true, because a lot of elements in this story are dark and depressing. Triggering, some of them. Alcohol abuse, drug abuse, death, betrayal... If that's something you can't stomach, I wouldn't recommend this book.

Thankfully, I was able to, and I think that made the book all the more gripping. Although, to be fair, almost eighty percent of their problems were due to the fact that most of the characters in the book did drugs... but they continued doing drugs to escape from said problem involving drugs. Okay, okay, I suppose that IS how addiction works. But yes. That bit kind of pissed me off. 

Maddison and Kingsley's relationship is YA goals. They're like fire and ice ever since their first meeting, but one cools down and the other warms up as they get to know each other and, like the blurb suggests, let their guards down. Soon they're opening up to each other about things long buried in their hearts, without judgement, without blame, and with only love and music as their source of communication. Kingsley's past actually brought tears to my eyes, and I don't know how I would have dealt with it if that thing had happened to me.
His eyes narrow. "I know you're not that tough, Maddy. I can see you," he says in a smooth tone, and I swallow.
"And can I see you, Kingsley?" I whisper.
He stares deep into my eyes, chewing on the inside of his cheek. "Are you looking?"
Buuuuuut, of course, Kingsley has to go and screw things up. When that moment in the book happens, I cannot tell you how I actually cursed Kingsley out loud because I was that furious. To my immense relief, I was home alone and so nobody thought I was crazy. 

Samantha did tell me that this book has a sequel, but all I thought was, "Okay, it'll probably be a story of them still dating while in college. Classic YA sequel."
But guess what? There's a freaking cliffhanger. A. Freaking. Cliffhanger. 

The way the book ends, that last sentence, that last word, is just... infuriating. Because just WHY would you make us wait I don't know how many more months until we find out what happens next, Samantha? Why? 


I'm going to go with 4.5 stars out of 5 for this one. 
Stolen Songs is a heart-wrenching tale of music, love and loss that will make you grateful for your first world problems (LOL) and remind you that forgiveness might just be a synonym for 'love'. 

Geeks, if you enjoyed this blog post, go pick up a copy and comment your review down below. I really hope you enjoy this book, because I certainly did. Samantha said I could beta read book two, and I'm so looking forward to it! 

I'll see you soon. Bye!

Friday, 2 June 2017

No, I Don't Need To "Eat A Sandwich"

I'm going to come right out and say it. My name is Swati Hegde. I'm 5'2". I weigh 43 kgs.
And before you say anything, let me make one thing clear: no, I am not anorexic.


Neither is Sarah Hyland, who is likely the same height and weight as I am. Recently, Hyland was slammed on social media with people posting disgusting and shaming comments about her weight. "She looks like a skeleton." "Sarrah you look like you need a coupple of doubble whoppers your looking kinda skinny girl." "I'm just saying in order for Sarah to be considered hot/sexy she needs to have decent sized boobs, and that goes for all women."


Some even claimed she had anorexia, which is - breaking news! - a mental illness, not a synonym for 'skinny' or 'thin'. (Look it up.)

Saturday, 27 May 2017

What's On My Playlist (May 2017)

I think the last WOMP blog post I did was a year ago. Wow. I've heard a lot - and I mean a LOT - of good music since then, but unfortunately I can't include all of it here. So here goes: the top five songs on my playlist this month!

(I know I usually do ten songs, but I figured that's a bit much, so five it is.)

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

'Jack Be Quick' by Benjamin Thomas: A Book Review

A picture scrawled in blood pushes paramedic Noah McKeen into a game of hide and seek with someone attempting to honor Jack the Ripper.

Tormented and controlled by little white pills and visions of the woman he had intended to start a family with now in the company of another man, Noah fights to control his sordid selfish behavior and stop a brutal reenactment of history’s most notorious serial killer.

Note: I received an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Murder. 

I don’t know what it is about murder mysteries that thrills me so much. I’ve always loved them. From watching CID to binge-reading Hercule Poirot to playing James Patterson’s Women’s Murder Club games on my laptop, I’ve done it all, and loved every minute of it.
 

So it should come to you as no surprise that I really wanted to get my hands on Jack Be Quick. Jack the Ripper is one of history’s most fascinating serial killers, and I really hoped this novel would do justice to his horrendous work. 

Did it?

Hmm. Yes. 

I’ll admit, the first half of the book wasn’t particularly engaging, seeing as the story was more character-centric than plot-centric. There was also a lot of focus on Noah’s drug addiction, which, while important to the story, did seem to take away from the mystery at hand. 


Next to death, caffeine and narcotics were candy and soda. Maybe his real addiction was tragedy.


I did like his relationship, or lack thereof, with his ex-girlfriend Amber. I loved how, despite whatever went down between them, they still truly cared about each other, although their ways of showing it were a little twisted. 


 Detective Alyssa Madsen was another great character: a total badass, just the way I like my detectives. Her banter with Noah was interesting to say the least, and one of my favourite scenes involves them striking a friendship over a few drinks. 


“Maybe sanctuary isn’t a place. Maybe it’s the people you surround yourself with.”


The mystery itself was good. I loved the fact that there was a lot of involvement with respect to ‘Jack’ (no spoilers), although I was a little disappointed with the reveal. I suppose I expected something more dramatic. I also felt that his backstory could have been explored a little more. That would have given the plot a really nice touch, and given the reader a chance to perhaps – just perhaps – connect with him. 

I liked the writing. It was fast-paced, engaging and well done. I highlighted a couple of quotes (mentioned above) and would have shared more with you, but – well – spoilers!

The ending sort of intrigued me. It paved the way for a sequel, quite possibly, but there’s no cliffhanger as such. There’s enough resolution for it to work on its own.

I’m going to go with 3.5 stars out of 5 for Jack Be Quick

A good homage to Jack the Ripper, Jack Be Quick is a thrilling read, although not quite as addicting as Noah’s little white pills. 


Jack Be Quick came out in stores and on Amazon on May 9th. Pick up a copy if you think it’s your type of read!

PS: Benjamin, or the editors over at Owl Hollow Press, if you’re reading this, do drop me a comment down below and tell me why there’s no comma in the title. Honestly, I’m really curious. (LOL)