Young & Free or Old & Trapped???

Emancipated

M. G. REYES

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So this book was one of those that belonged in the category of “remains on my bookshelf for two years before I decide to finally pick it up and then I regret not having read it earlier.”

By that you already have an idea of how this review is going to go.

So long story short, its about a group of teenagers who get a taste of freedom and are having the time of their lives. They all end up in the same house for completely different reasons and each one holds his own secret very close. It’s a wonderful life-living without parents and getting to do whatever you want to do-but one does not remain on cloud nine for eternity, so when things go bad, they go real bad.

It was a pleasant and easy read. It was a mixture of drama, mystery and young romance. A group of teenagers, all with extremely different personalities and backgrounds learning how to deal with the adult life and realizing that it’s not as easy as adults have made it out to be. It’s not easy to clean up after oneself and it’s definitely not easy to take responsibility for one’s own misdoings.

It’s different from the books that I’ve been reading and these days I’ve been trying to stay away from books where the characters are much younger than yours truly but surprisingly their extreme youth didn’t put me off all that much.

It was a lot of fun trying to connect the dots, and seeing where the book was taking me. I was on my toes for the whole ride, screaming at the characters to shut up and stop giving secrets away!

The synopsis says: “The bad boy, the good girl, the diva, the hustler, the rocker and the nerd.” So obviously I tried to match these titles to the characters. It was the best part of the beginning of the book and realizing that I had made a mistake and was wrong about my assumptions was even better.

This book is the first of a trilogy and I can see the characters growing and becoming better as they mature. I hope for good in the next two books.

What do I think about this book? I enjoyed it and recommend it to anyone interested in a YA novel that will take them on a nice ride.

Yours Truly,

Hafsa Umar

The Jewel Box

By Anna Davis

Two Sisters. Two Lovers. Too Many Secrets.

Image result for the jewel box by anna davis

This book needs but one word to describe it. Scandalous. Utterly and truly. Set in 1927, we follow the life of woman who is trying to find her place in a world that is harsh and cruel and full of pain. Seeing as it was set in a time of war and after it, one would expect death and sadness. And one would get that.

One thing that i loved about this, was that it was full of secrets and surprises. Scandalous secrets and surprises but they were nonetheless surprising and arresting.

I happened to stumble across this book when looking for something to read in a bunch of books someone had downloaded to my computer and it was truly a ride. You learn about people’s pain and suffering and about their sacrifices for love. Not only romantic love but love for family and love for other people’s happiness.

While our main character can be selfish and ruthless, she is also suffering her own woes, hiding herself behind cigarettes, flashy events and crude words. With a stylish bob and nails that could cut a man, she waltzes through the chapters and obviously finds love at the end of a truly confusing battle.

There are characters to hate, who are self-serving and despicable and there are damaged souls and a struggle to move on, too.

What’s great about this author’s writing is that she takes you through the journey and never lets you get bored but you see the struggle and it’s just perfect.

The opening chapter is a news article written by our main character under a pseudonym and through her we see the plight of women. So feminists reading this, take joy in how far we’ve come from 1927 when women over 30-35 were only allowed to vote and showing encouragement achieving anything better for women was frowned upon.

If you google this book, you will see a short but comprehensive enough summary.

What I am telling you here, is that for a break from the normal boring meet-cute romances and cliches, take a peek at this.

Still tittering

Ayesha Abdullah

 

F.R.I.E.N.D.S – Reunited

If one has been lucky enough, one can with perfect honesty say that some of the best years of one’s life were spent as a student. If not high school then college or university or whatever level of tertiary education one ended up in.

I, for one, can say that my high school years, as wrought with drama as they were, were fun. The years following that, holed up in a building that only allowed me sunlight for a few minutes a day (no guys, it wasn’t prison. Just a really strict boarding school) were years of such love and happiness and stress and tears and craziness and dementia that it can only be described as astounding.

But the best thing about these kinds of experiences has to be the people that you meet.

Friends in general, come in all forms and shapes and sizes. You get those that you have never had a decent one-on-one conversation with but are undoubtedly a part of your group. Those that annoy the heck out of you but have such jaw-droppingly epic moments that they get to stay too.

Those that you go to for only a specific type of advice like adverse medical problems or sickeningly-deep mental issues. Those friends that cuddle up with you on your bed and act like your spouse because ‘you’re aren’t getting any younger and you need practice.’ Those that bring out the child in you and you can have entire conversations involving flipped fingers and stuck out tongues with.

And those friends that you have so much in common with that it only means the two of you will be at complete loggerheads, but when it comes to crying your heart out or needing that one person who is your everything, your best friend, your sibling, the one who somehow just gets you, it’s them.

Coming to terms with reality, it’s obvious that life gets in the way of being a child. You grow up and find jobs and move away and get married. And that leaves little to no time to keep in contact with your amazing people and how then will you keep those lovely deep roots watered?

That’s the great thing about amazing friends. Months you don’t see each other with just a few rays of sunlight in the form of sporadic WhatsApp group messages nurturing that friendship and yet when you get into one room, the time falls away and its laughter and teasing galore.

Ah, the beauty of it all.

Time and time again I have been proven that it’s not about the length of absence in between. Some people just can’t do long-distance conversation (ask my husband) and it’s only this hour or two that you have to rekindle the old days.

Others can chat with you daily and still meeting up has you conversing for hours.

We have been created as creatures that need companionship. It’s not okay for us to wile our days alone and sad. Being introverted is all well and good because it’s not all about partying it up and having 1000 friends on Facebook. It’s about having people that you love and trust in your life to have your back when you need them and whose you will have when they need you.

So when it comes to days of reuniting with old friends, let yourself go. Dress up in uniform and eat everything on the menu and drink funky mocktails and be merry. Share tales and talk about old times but catch up on the new. And if things are not the same, that’s okay too. People change and you’ll find new people who too will become yours.

This thing of companionship is something to be valued. Treasure it.

I know I do.

Yours in drunken happiness

Ayesha Abdullah

The Real World & All It’s Thrills

Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

YA fiction

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At first I was a bit hesitant to read this book. I scrolled passed it on ‘Goodreads’ a few times but it didn’t attract my attention enough. Until I saw it on the ‘Best Books of 2017’ list that is, and I decided, “Well, why the heck not? There’s a reason this book has reached the ‘best books’ category so let’s see if it meets up to expectations.”

The reason I was hesitant at first was because, believe it or not, the protagonists’ names mean a lot to me and ‘Eliza’ and ‘Wallace’ just did not cut it. In fact the male protagonist’s name was even a joke in the book itself. But that’s my own problem which I got over very early on in the book.

The book is basically about the lives of teenagers in the 21st century, how they deal (or don’t deal) with life, high school, social interactions and a very huge variable that affects all of our lives today: social media and the internet.

The main protagonist, Eliza, runs a very popular webcomic (Monstrous Sea) anonymously. It’s her everything and she knows it’s going to be her future. However, her parents, being of the ‘older generation’ and not really interested in what she is doing, just don’t get why she would be so uninterested in school and putting all of her hopes on a webcomic. This causes a major rift between them, the whole reason being because they don’t understand her.

Wallace, the new boy, is mute. Well, not really but he has trouble speaking in the presence of people. He’s a huge fan of Monstrous Sea and when Eliza befriends him and slowly starts falling in love with him, it becomes very difficult to continue keeping this huge secret from her new best friend.

Another reason why I decided to give the book a chance was the whole concept of art, the modern way. It was interesting to read about this development and her love for her art was beautiful.

It had me reading to the end  and I was intrigued because it was very relatable to common teenage problems these days. It covered so many different aspects: anxiety, family behavior, romance, suicidal thoughts. All of these things made the book feel more real. It was a book about growth, it was fun and also interesting watching the characters evolve as they learnt about themselves and tried so hard to deal with the problems they knew were problems.

I loved the fact that the fandom life was shown. Yes, very geeky but that’s us. We practically live in the worlds we have created for ourselves with others that understand us.

My conclusion: I felt all of these characters’ emotions and more importantly, I had a good time and wish the ride hadn’t ended so soon.

Do I recommend this book? Yes. All you YA fans, find yourself a copy right now!

Resident Fangirl

Hafsa Umar

Blood Sisters by Jane Corry

Thriller

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a book lover. I could read for ages, have been reading stories and books and novels since I could string a sentence together.

But giving my opinions on books? They mostly consist of: ‘asdfghjkl!!’ or ‘meh’.

But anyway, here is my go at recommending some great penned words that have been written.

For my first attempt, I have chosen Blood Sisters by Jane Corry.

This is actually unlike the normal books that I read which include romance, fantasy and of course comedy. If someone accuses me of picking up a fanfic here and there I will viciously deny it.

No. Rather this is a thriller which I normally wouldn’t have given a second glance at but just look at this cover. It’s like asking you to lift an eyebrow and ask, okay what? So despite us being told not to judge a book by its cover (ha! What an utter pile of crock!) I’ve got a thumbs up for the pull of this one.

Now to the story.

It’s interesting to say the least. I do not wish to give too much away and it does begin a bit slow but I excused that because the alternating of the chapters between two points of view, one of  a girl in an institute who is clearly brain-damaged,  and another who works in a prison, is very interesting.

This book is so full of twists and turns and betrayals! It had me on the edge of my seat and I may or may not have had whiplash at one point.

Just when you think you have figured things out, bam! Another plot twist. UNTIL THE VERY END!

I am not a fan of horror. Anything that has my heart thumping in fear of death, not anticipation, does not float my boat. But this was a mixture of intrigue and suspense along with a lot to think about. No gore so that was good.

The characters are not well-loved because they are full of flaws that just show how human people actually are and your levels of wanting to slap some of the characters is something best experienced.

I learnt a lot from this book which is always a plus for me because I love having more knowledge about new topics.

If you’re looking for a break from the norm, this book is for you.

And drop us your own review, if you will.

Breaking Away From My Comfort Zone

Ayesha Abdullah