Good Girls and Bad Girls

She’s a good girl
She’s Daddy’s favourite
He’s saved for Harvard
He know she’ll make it
She’s good at school
She’s never truant
She can speak French
I think she’s fluent

She said to me,
“Forget what you thought
‘Cause good girls are bad girls that haven’t been caught.
-Good Girls, 5 Seconds of Summer

Oh God! I love 5 SOS but they’re pretty close to messing it all up for ‘Good Girls’ all over the world.

I’m pretty close to a good girl: I do my homework. I don’t get in trouble at school. I’m socially aware.  I listen to my parents. I don’t date. I don’t dye my hair or have any piercings (except for a pair in my ears). And I’m addicted to reading which is relatively harmless compared to drugs or alcohol. I tell the truth.
However, I may or may not be the kind of girl who lets her parents assume that she’s doing what they want (even if she isn’t) and I might be a little addicted to the internet…just a little. And I have the feeling that, if I actually said what I thought all the time I wouldn’t be considered a good girl any more.

I know a lot of people and I don’t know anyone who is blessed angel good. Sometimes they’re good at hiding that the fact they’re quick with insults or sometimes they don’t even bother to hide the fact that they’re not even close to being Miss Perfect.
On one level, I sort of admire the second group of people and I sort of pity them too. They’re brave enough to do stuff which is not necessarily considered ‘good’ and it frees them from a lot of expectations. But at the same time it bars them from a lot of opportunities and people are generally a lot less willing to hand over responsibility to the ‘bad girls’.

I guess there are both pros and cons to being a in the closet bad girl versus just a bad girl. However, to make use of a cliché, don’t change yourself for anyone but yourself. If you’re unhappy with the things you do, the way you act or the way you look-it’s perfectly okay to change. But if it’s because someone makes you feel uncomfortable or ashamed about the things that you do or the way that you look -think very, very hard before changing. Ask yourself, if 10 years later, ‘Will I regret changing myself?’

So here are five Books for all the Good Girls who haven’t been caught (In other words, the bad girls who’re still in the closet):

  1. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
    A classic that’s surprisingly good. Ball gowns, war and marriage for gain- what’s not to like?
  2. Perfect Chemistry by Simon Elkeles
    There’s something about the other side of the tracks which is irresistible to a good girl hiding behind a façade.
  3. Unwind by Neal Shusterman
    Even an orphan and music prodigy can do questionable things when on the run from an insane government.
  4. Goodbye Rebel Blue by Corielle Shelley
    This is actually a bit different from the other books. It’s a bout a bad girl going through a good girl’s bucket-list.
  5. Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas
    She’s so much worse than you thought…

Gone with the WindPerfect Chemistry (Perfect ...Unwind (Unwind, #1)Goodbye, Rebel BlueDangerous Girls

The YA 24 of 2014

As soon as Christmas is over, the people around me become almost disgusting nostalgic. Um…and maybe me too.

This year was full of disappointments ones which made me cry and wallow in self-pity. There were a couple of embarrassing moments here and there (probably more than I remember since I have a tendency to block out the bad stuff). But then there were those awesome moments where I met some pretty amazing people or where I laughed so hard, I probably sounded like a beached whale. And looking back at those memories, I kind of wish I could go back to them.

Since 2013, I’ve got the time to collect 31557600 seconds, 365 days, 52 weeks, 12 months or 1 year (however you want to put it)  worth of memories. I have photos to remind myself but like the quote below says,

 You can never truly go back too a time when you were happy.
– Ella Enchanted, Gail Carson Levine

So I’ve resigned myself to treasuring the memories…Unless you’re willing to lend me that secret time machine hiding in your basement; I swear I won’t use it for evil.

Books however, are a whole different ballgame. They are something which can be reread over and over again (providing that they’re good enough). And sometimes, they’re even better the second time around.

This year, I read 811 books. I’ve made a list of my top 24.

Like always, they’re not in any particular order. Also, please note that these books are ones that I have READ in 2014- not necessarily ones published in 2014

  1. Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
  2. by Alexandra Bracken
  3. Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne
  4. Written in Red by Anne Bishop
  5. Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
  6. Exquisite Captive by Helen Demetrios
  7. Young Elites by Marie Lu
  8. Sisters Fate by Jessica Spotswood
  9. Sacrifice by Brigid Kemmerer
  10. How to Lead A Life of Crime by Kristen Miller
  11. Catalyst by Laurie Hale Anderson
  12. Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
  13. Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
  14. Effortless With You by Lizzy Charles
  15. On the Fence by Kasie West
  16. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
  17. Cracked by Eliza Crewe
  18. Making Faces by Amy Harmon
  19. Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Septys
  20. Don’t Breath a Word by Holly Cupala
  21. Heist Society by Ally Carter
  22. To All the Boys I ‘ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
  23. Duff (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) by Kody Keplinger
  24. Hate List by Jennifer Brown

So this is looking back at 2014. Next post will be about looking forward to 2015 and New Year Resolutions

Until Midnight: A Christmas Short Story

Tis the day before Christmas (eve), and all thro’ the world
Not a reader is stirring, they’re all up and curl’d;
They’re tapping  on keyboards with great care,
Visiting author’s websites to see short-stories there;
The readers read in safe little nooks,
Fun, little, bonus, Christmas e-books.

It’s December 23rd and not only is it the day before Christmas,it’s also my last day of school in 2014. But both of those things have been outshone by the fact that a bunch of authors are publishing tiny short stories for Christmas. I don’t know if it’s because they want to practice the gift of giving (so that they’re good and ready for the big day) or if they’ve trapped their characters in the holiday spirit, but I will never complain about their sudden desire to give us fans stories to tide us over to the new year.

One such short story is Until Midnight by Melissa Landers. It’s part of the Alienated series and takes place between Alienated and Invaded. It’s a free ebook that’s downloadable on pretty much any device, and best of all, it has excerpts from both books in the series!

Until Midnight (Alienated, #1.5)

Here’s the blurb:
Cara and Aelyx only have one day to spend together before he returns to earth and she travels to Aelyx’s home planet, L’eihr. Homesick and worried about the upcoming year apart, Cara is desperate to make these final hours count. Worst of all, Cara is missing Christmas, stuck on board an alien spaceship. When Aelyx learns that Cara is forgoing her favorite holiday, he tries to recreate Christmas in space by researching traditional earth customs…but a few things get lost in translation.

It promises to be sweet, fluffy and Christmassy. Perfect.

Here’s a link to this book: For Kindle owners

So a Merry Christmas to everyone here (and those not here as well). Happy Hanukkah if that’s your thing and a Great Kawanza too.  If you’re like me, and don’t typically celebrate anything during this time of year, enjoy the holidays!

If you know of any free holiday short-stories that authors are publishing, let us fellow fangirls(/boys) know by posting a comment.

I Don’t Know: A Poem

I am a perfect puzzle.
A miserable mish-mash
of jagged jigsaw edges
that never seem to match up.
An array of sudden splashed
colors that do not make sense.
Unless you painstakingly,
tirelessly take time to turn
each piece over and align.

I am a thousand different layers
made different for every person I see.
An actors mask put on one day and then
a joker’s replaces it on the next.
And I’m always or never or sometimes
the dutiful daughter or the perfect
best friend, the better than the best student.
And I can’t see my face in the mirror.
I never knew what it looked like ever.

I am a raggedy quilt all worn and all loved.
A patchwork of pieces from everybody
but nothing I can identify as my own.
My persona is not my own but the result
and reflection of the hopes, the dreams, the fears
of those who surround me and love me and know me.
Who say they know me but how can they say they do?

How can they say they know
me when I don’t know myself?

Writers Inspiration: Neil Gaiman

“Life is a disease: sexually transmitted, and invariably fatal.”

This is a quote from Neil Gaiman, a fantastic writer.
The Graveyard Book, The Sandman, Coraline, American Gods, Newverwhere, Good Omens- chances are you recognise at least one of the books. And he’s practically legendary for his dedications. But if there’s one thing that I really admire him for, it’s his ability to convey all the hopes and aspirations of wanna-be writers and life-livers.

He admitted that C S Lewis (author of the Chronicles of Narnia) had inspired him to use parantheses:

“I admired his use of parenthetical statements to the reader, where he would just talk to you … I’d think, ‘Oh, my gosh, that is so cool! I want to do that! When I become an author, I want to be able to do things in parentheses.'”

As someone who really loves parentheses but probably uses them ineffectively (you would know), that quote really struck a chord with me. The words inside parentheses are often cheeky, sarcastic or instructional. C S Lewis, Neil Gaiman and Lemony Snicket are masters of this rare art.

As amazing as that is, that’s not even the most inspiring thing that (in my opinion that he’s said).

Neil Gaiman Quote Continue reading

The Madman’s Daughter: A Book Review

Book: The Madman’s Daughter

Author: Megan Shephard

The Madman's Daughter (The Madman's Daughter, #1)


Blurb:

Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father’s gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.

Accompanied by her father’s handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father’s madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island’s inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father’s dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it’s too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father’s genius—and madness—in her own blood.

Inspired by H. G. Wells’s classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman’s Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we’ll do anything to know and the truths we’ll go to any lengths to protect.

My thoughts:

The Madman’s daughter fits firmly into the Victorian Gothic thriller category. I haven’t read Frankenstein, but I have a feeling I know what inspired this book. There’s an authentic, creepy, mad-scientist feel to the book. The setting of the book- a strange  island contributes largely to it as well as the inhabitants of the island- one very insane but brilliant scientist and a group of deformed villagers who chant a set of commandments given to them by the aforementioned scientist.

The book doesn’t immediately begin on an island. Instead, we’re shown the miserable circumstances that have been thrust upon Juliet, the protagonist of the book. Her unhappy circumstances have made her bitter, cynical and not at all squeamish but she still won’t tolerate vivisection- that’s the live dissection of living animals. I think I really started to admire her when she cut off the head of a rabbit. That may sound horrendous to you, but trust me, it was a compassionate and brave thing to do. Throughout the book, she proves her compassion and bravery by standing up to her father repeatedly (when no else seems willing to). At the same time she’s not afraid of getting her hands dirty.
However, she tends to be a little judgemental ( I guess that fits in with the time period). That got onto my nerves a little bit, along with her constant reference to God (I’m openly agnostic.)

Her father was an amazingly written character. I’ve heard he’s borrowed from a H G Wells book but Megan Shephard does a good job portraying him. He’s a brilliant scientist but…well let’s say that if his morals were fairly standard in scientists back then, I can see why those from the Victorian era didn’t trust them. At all. Chauvinistic, deluded and almost sociopathic- It was hard to see what Juliet ever saw in him. But that was the point.

The weakest part of the book was the romance.  It was a poorly executed love triangle in which the two candidates for Juliet’s heart – Montgomery and Edward – were presented as complete opposites: the gentlemen vs the bad boy. <sarcastically> Original isn’t it?
I could have dealt with the trope if the characters were interesting enough but they were actually remarkably similar. The things they said…their main objectives- well, they weren’t too different. I guess Juliet thought they were pretty interchangeable too. Juliet’s mind jumped frequently from one to the other and back again. One minute she was thinking about Montgomery’s musculature and the next she had moved onto Edward’s charisma. Sometimes in sentences following each other!

If the romance was the worst part, than the best part was the action. Like I’ve previously mentioned, none of the characters were afraid to get their hands bloody- both figuratively and literally. The book was full of twists I so did not see coming. I think I spent a good quarter of the book gasping and shaking my head at the fact that I didn’t see what was going on.

The ending is not a Happy Ever After (thank god, I am so done with them). But like the other twists and turns in the book, I so did not see that coming. I’ll give you a huge hint: One of the love interests are insane.

The book deals with themes that are pretty relevant today: How love can be blind to insanity, humanity, the morality of science and genetic modifications. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone over the age of 13. Especially, if you don’t mind love triangles too much but if you love gothic, terrifying,  steam-punkish books.


My Ratings:

Cover: 3/5
Plot: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Romance: 1/5
Action: 5/5
Ending: 5/5
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Would I read another Megan Shephard book: Probably, but she’s not on my automatic to-read list yet.
Books like this: The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan, Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge


Travel: Choosing Destinations

My family is one of those perpetual last-minute vacation bookers. We’ve booked hotel rooms and bus tickets for Goa within 2 hours of us having to leave and for our Europe cruise, I think we had everything booked only a few days in advance. Is this because we don’t plan and research in advance? <snorts in laughter> Hardly. Trust me, we have everything researched ages before it’s considered socially acceptable to start planning a vacation.

It’s probably because we all have such different ideas of what a vacation looks like and we’re almost annoyingly democratic in choosing a vacation destination. Even my 11 brother has his own intense opinions (I miss the days when he was 5 and was willing to agree with me). Each of us have a list of places we want to visit, hotels we ant to stay at, places of interest there and estimated travel costs. All in a spreadsheet. That may sound freakishly over-organised for a vacation, but in my family if you want anyone to even consider your vacation you better have a decent power-point presentation and convincing argument planned out.

Christmas vacations are coming up, so that means I better get my April-May summbr break plans put together if I want to have a say in where we spend a week. Here’s a list of places I want to go:

1.) Jimbaran Beach, Bali

View across Jimbaran Bay

Are you crazy? White sands, blue oceans and pretty volcanoes. It’s like Hawaii but more exotic (and slightly more understanding of vegetarianism). And Jimbaran offers the best of Bali.

2.)Paris, France

View From the Balcony

At the risk of sounding like a teen girl cliche, I desperately want to visit Paris at least once in my life. It’s crowded, beautiful and classy.  Capital of romance, art, writing, fashion and the origin of democracy as we know it. Not to mention the great food and the beautiful gothic style architecture…

3. Athens and Santorini,  Greece

(Image from lonelyplanet.com )

Greek mythology fascinates me (thanks a lot Percy Jackson). But the Pantheon is only one thing I want to see in Greece. I’ll admit it, the Mediterranian food and idyllic beaches contribute a whole lot to my desire to go…

I’m also toying with the idea of using airbnb,com this time. Apparently it’s pretty good if you want to rent out whole houses or villas. I have a feeling that would help in getting a more authentic and interesting trip. So, has anyone used them?

Here’s a wishlist of 5 properties I love in the above 3 places. I highly doubt we’ll get to go there- but hey! we can all have dreams, right?

If you’re planning to get an airbnb account to check out some of these awesome properties, then click on this link https://www.airbnb.co.in/invite?r=13. It’s a referral link. You’ll get a credit of $25 (or whatever’s equivalent in your currency). I’m not even going to pretend to be altrustic: I get credit too.

I’m gonna end by recommending 3 great books about travel:

  1. Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (A classic)W
  2. Wanderlove by Kristen Hubbard
  3. 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson