Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

March 24, 2013

Delirium (Delirium #1)Title: Delirium
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: 1 February, 2011
Genre: Young Adult, Distopia
Rating: 4/5 stars
Amazon | Goodreads
There was a time when love was the most important thing in the world. People would go to the end of the earth to find it. They would tell lies for it. Even kill for it. Then, at last, they found the cure. Now, everything is different.

They say that the cure for Love will make me happy and safe forever.

And I've always believed them.

Until now.

Now everything has changed.

Now, I'd rather be infected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years smothered by a lie.

Lena looks forward to receiving the government-mandated cure that prevents the delirium of love and leads to a safe, predictable, and happy life, until ninety-five days before her eighteenth birthday and her treatment, when she falls in love.
First of all, I'm consumed by a severe case of cover-lust. Seriously, would you look at that cover?! Its genius! All of this book's covers look amazing, but this one's my favourite. So now that I've got that out of the way...

Love makes the world go round...  But what if love became a crime punishable by death?

Delirium, is a book about love, like many others. But what sets it apart from the others is that it is set in a world where 'love' or rather, amor deliria nervosa, is a twisted, evil thing, something to be scared of; a disease.

Magdalena 'Lena' is an almost eighteen year old girl (trust me, she does not seem eighteen, but much younger), who cannot wait to be cured of the deliria. Ever since her mother committed suicide, succumbing to the disease, Lena has been waiting anxiously to be cured. She cant wait to be purged of it finally, as it will mean the end of her nightmares, though it will also inevitably mean the end of her long friendship with Hana, her best friend. But in their last summer together, everything starts to change. Hana seems like a whole other person, with her rebel attitude, things are going wrong in places they cannot, and then... there's a boy.

Ninety-five days before she's about to be cured, Lena falls in love with Alex, an Invalid (an uncured person).

Delirium, the first book in the Delirium trilogy, is a story of a world that is hauntingly sinister, and yet also familiar. It brings to mind several questions - What if this world was really eradicated of love? Even familial love? Wouldn't that make us robotic? I mean, even for the smallest things, love is involved; that's how we're made. So wouldn't this suck away all emotions? Wouldn't the death of love ultimately mean the death of ourselves? What I found very disturbing is that many parts of the world are just a few steps away from a world like this. Just a few more laws, a few more regulations, a few more scientific advancements, and bam! We're there.

I loved every single character in Delirium. Even the ones that were hateful, I liked them for the way they were written.

The book is narrated from Lena's point of view. I love the name Lena. Its so soft, so innocent in it, and still, there's something, a hint of strength in it (probably because it rhymes with Xena?), just like the character. Lena is the last person you would think would rebel. She is so proper, believes so strongly in the system, that when she goes against it, it comes as a shock to even herself.

Hana, as Lena's best friend is SO enjoyable! I missed her in the second book, but she's back in the third (I'm reading it now), so I'm happy. The seed to rebel had been planted in Lena's mind many years ago, but I think it was Hana who acted as the catalyst. Hana is such a true friend, ready to go to the ends of the earth for Lena.

Alex. Where do I begin? Alex is a young man, a year older than Lena, and he's a part of the resistance against the government. Alex is everything a girl's first love should be. He's charming, loving, funny, strong, protective, careful, slow (I mean he takes things slowly with Lena)... I'm stopping now, or else I'll just keep going. I truly loved Alex as a character. He's not the classic tall, dark and handsome guy. He's like sunshine; cheerful and makes everything better.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE Lauren Oliver's style of writing. It's so lyrical and poetic that it just sucks you in and doesn't let you go, so that it keeps echoing in your head after the book is closed. Delirium doesnt deal solely with love. It also deals with friendship, family, loyalty, and sacrifice. There are few books out there that are as wholesome as this one, so its all the more special. Oliver's character's are all thinking people, and some of their musings are so insightful. My personal favourite:

You cant be happy unless you're unhappy sometimes. ---Hana

This one brought to mind a line from John Green's Fault in Our Stars:

'Without pain, how could we know joy?' This is an old argument in the field of thinking about suffering and its stupidity and lack of sophistication could be plumbed for centuries but suffice it to say that the existence of broccoli does not, in any way, affect the taste of chocolate. ---John Green

But I kind of disagree with Green. Ok. Imagine, right after you eat broccoli, you eat chocolate. Wont you appreciate the chocolate more, than if you'd had it simply, rather than as a follow up to broccoli? I think its all about appreciation. Think about it :) Just saying. But then again, that doesn't mean that unless you eat broccoli and then chocolate, you wont appreciate it enough.

Okaay... So getting back on track, there were a few thinks I found confusing in Delirium. There wasn't a proper history to the world. Like why exactly had the cure been formed, and how? Why is Alex in Portland as a part of the resistance in the first place? Is the whole world like this, or is it only the US? (this one is answered in Requiem, btw) I'm someone who likes everything well detailed and properly lined up. The quotes from various books at the beginning of every chapter does shed light on how the deliria-free world was formed, but I didn't really find it sufficient. But that's just me. You might not find it so.

Nonetheless, Delirium is a book that grabs hold of you, and takes you for a roller coaster ride of emotions, thrills, and cliff hangers.

Two words. people. Read It.

SPOILER ALERT: (if you want to read ahead, highlight the next few lines)
The book ends on a cliffhanger. And death. One that left me gasping, and mad enough to spit. I thought, "Finally I find a beautiful character, and you do THIS?!"

A Braid Story: 55 Fiction

March 20, 2013

So this is my first time trying my hand at 55 fiction. I saw it at a few sites recently, and loved the idea of it. So, I thought, "Why not give it a try?". Those of you who know me and my writing can guess what a challenge it was to limit myself to exactly 55 words. Not an easy matter, I tell you. But still, I don't think it turned out too bad, do you? 

On Giving

The hairdresser braided her long hair and stood back. "Ma'am, it looks so beautiful!"

Seema's face twisted with emotion.

"Are you sure, ma'am?"

She looked at the Locks of Love* poster in her hand.

"Yes."

The snip-snip of the scissors reached her ears.

She thought, "I hope this brings joy to another girl with cancer."

***

On Fulfillment

I had turned around, and as the sun glinted off the hip length, blue-black hair, I was caught.

Now, she came, her hair in an intricate braid over her shoulder, with flowers woven through.

Light played across her face and hair, lending her a soft glow.

We smiled. She was mine at last. My bride.

***

On Love

"Mummy, your braid is so soft. Sleep comes easier holding it."

Her husband came in. "Come, I'll sit with him. You'll get a crick in your neck from bending like that."

"No, I'm fine here."

She looked down at her son, sleeping peacefully, for now.

"Let me make it easier for him while I can."

Dove Split End Rescue System

This post is an entry for the ‘Beautiful Ends To Your Beautiful Braids‘ contest, powered by Indiblogger, in collaboration with Dove Split Ends Rescue System
Vote for my post here.
Check out my other entry here.


P.S.: I was going through the other entries, and found that even men are trying out! Wow! Goes to show how universal Dove is (or how men sneak into their wives' shampoos ;) )

* - Locks of Love is a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada under age 21 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis.

Once Upon A Time...

March 18, 2013

When I was a kid, all I wanted was to have long, silky hair.Isn't that almost every young girl's dream? I never did love my hair, since it was always short, for convenience’s sake. Being the last-minute person that I am (like Maria, I’m always late for everything, except for every meal :D), having short hair was definitely a plus. Shake my head. Few strokes. Done. I always had a love-hate relationship with my hair. Here are a few excerpts from through the years... Once upon a tine, when i was 4...
I loved my hair. There's this photo that we shot at the studio which is the main reason why I loved my hair so much. Look at the photo. You'll know what I mean (not to sound obnoxious).
Once upon a time, when I was 7...
I always hated my short crop right after a haircut. It would grow on me later, but coming home from the salon, the loss would be fresh, and nothing would look right. I remember, this once, when I was in 2ndgrade, I’d just had my hair cut, and I dreaded going to school the next day. So I resorted to covering my head with a scarf. Wrong reasons, and I was way too young for it, but I went ahead and did it. I never told my mum the truth though. Few days later, when I was auditioning for a part in a drama, my teacher & supervisor wanted to see my hair and I ended up blurting out the truth to them.Sweet souls that they are (they were two of my best teachers) they convinced me that I didn't look hideous, and off came the scarf. You should've seen my classmates' faces when I returned to class! lol
Once upon a time, when I was 9... "No! I dont want to cut my hair! I wont. I want to grow it. Like my sister's. I want to braid it." "Now, FM... Ok, I'll tell you what? You know how beautiful and long you sister's hair is?" "Yes..." "It grew like that because I always cut her hair short when she was younger." "But I want long hair NOW." "Well, if you cut you hair now, in a few years, it'll grow really long." Yeah, that's how my Mum convinced me to get a haircut. *sob* I was so gullible.
Once upon a time, when I was 10... At school, shuffling to the assembly in a line... Prefect: Where are your hair ribbons?
Me: In my pocket. I'll where them.
Prefect: Come out of the line. Wear it now. I obey (obviously) Prefect: Why isn't your hair in braids? Your hair is long enough for it.
Me: My hair? No way. Look, its so short. You see, if I try to braid it, the hair never stays in the braid, and it looks messy. Prefect: Ok, move on.
(I lied. Shamlessly.)
Once upon a time, when I was 10, or 11, or 12... I got into my head that I had to try out home remedies for my hair. I pestered my Mum, and made her apply egg white, lemon and youghurt, etc. I balked at applying egg yolk.
Sadly, it did not work. But oh yes, vinegar worked. But I didnt like the scent.
Once upon a time, when I was 14... My hair had grown to about 3 inches below my shoulders, and I wanted a step cut. I went to the salon, and when I stepped out, my hair was only till my ears. I swore I wasn't going to cut my hair again till it was really, really long.
Once upon a time, when I was 15... My hair grew long enough to braid it, and pull it to one side. It was a very proud moment, let me tell you. My dream had come true. I even took a picture of it, to show off on Facebook, but gave up on the idea, because it seemed very childish.

Once upon a time, when I was 16... I was watching a video where a girl was explaining how to cut bangs. Mum: You're going to cut bangs? Me: What if I want to? You'll be fine with it? Mum: Yeah, sure. Later that evening... Me: (staring at myself in the mirror, with a newspaper spread out on the washbasin, and all necessary implements) Ma, are you sure you're ok with me cutting bangs by myself? Mum: (from the room) Go ahead. But dont dirty the place. After I cut my almost perfect bangs, I went to show her. Mum: You really did it? I thought you were joking. What if it never grows back now? It did grow back. Ive trimmed them twice now :D
Present time... I have great hair, Alhamdulillah. Long, thick, and silky, with a slight wave to it, when it is tamed. If I leave it for a day, it turns into a veritable bush. And I swear this is not just lip service for the sake of the competition, but I use Dove shampoo, and I love the scent it has! And it leaves my hair really soft after, so I love using it. I love trying out different kinds of braids on it: french braids, the normal one, an upside down braid, etc. Not that I get them all right, but still. Main point: I get to braid my hair all the time now, and I love how it looks, thick as a rope at the top, and then tapering down to the end, where I tie it off with a little band.

This post is an entry for the ‘Beautiful Ends To Your Beautiful Braids‘ contest, powered by Indiblogger, in collaboration with Dove Split Ends Rescue System.
Vote for my post here.

P.S.: I dont know why the formatting on this post is so crappy. Im unable to get it right, so please tolerate it this once. I know it can be irritating.

Review: F?@k Knows by Shailendra Singh

March 11, 2013

F? @ K KnowsTitle: F?@k Knows
Author: Shailendra Singh
Publisher: Rupa Publication
Publication Date: 7 January, 2013
Genre: Self-Help
Rating: 4/5 stars 
Amazon | Infibeam 
What do you want from life? Are you on the right track? Are you truly happy? If your answer to these questions is F?@k knows!, then this book is for you. Find the answers to lifes most important questions with the help of uber-successful entrepreneur, Shailendra Singh, co-founder of Percept and inceptor of Sunburn.

Told with sparkling, flavourful and in-your-face humour, this book will advise you on how to:

Find yourself (Because youre probably lost. Admit it.)

Follow your heart (Because if you dont then youll die unhappy, you stupid f?@ker.)

Achieve your goals (You know you want to.)

Live life like you give a f?@k (Becausewhy not?)

Candid and thoughtful, F?@k Knows will show you how to really live life on your own terms, to do what you want to do and not what you have to do just because your father said so!
Some people would tell you that if you don't stand for swearing, then dont read this book. I'm telling you different. Even if you cant, just ignore it, go ahead and read it. But if you just cannot tolerate it, then go give the book to someone who does swear and ask them to block out all the swear words. Then read it.

How many people do you know who have fame, wealth, money, family plus rub shoulders with the who's whos of almost every field in India, and still question themselves if they really are happy? Well, Shailendra did. And when he found the answer to be 'no', he followed his heart in pursuit of his happiness. Lucky us, he has seen fit to share his wisdom in this book.

This is not a book that you should read at a stretch (like I did). Read it chapter by chapter, savour it, bit by bit. Like cheesecake ( ;) those of you who read the book, will get that analogy). Go pick it up from your shelf, read any random chapter, implement it, then come back and read another. That's the way to go about it.

Want to know what the reading experience was like? Shailendra's father, the late Mr. Magal Singh, said it perfectly - "He gives me wisdom in a manner which will make me laugh, but with a full understanding of the meaning of what he is saying.' Perfect description. Parents really do know their kids.

That brings me to the main subject of this book - Just listen to your heart, and tell your brain to shut the hell up! The author's suggestions on how to go about this are so much fun! Making bucket lists, writing letters to yourself, and practicing Tai Chi are a notable few. I found the 'Chi F?@k Po!' method especially hilarious because, in Tamil, "Chi Po!" literally means, "Ugh! Get lost!" & that fits perfectly with the sentiment behind the exercise.

The author is very insistent about two things throughout the book - follow your heart, and MAKE A BUCKET LIST (I have mine, if you notice). I found it almost eerily coincidental that he kept talking about fashion designers (yeah, you guessed it. I wanted to be one). And the fact that he writes EXACTLY like my sorta-Yoda friend, Aaliya, talks (swear words and all) didn't really help.

F?@k Knows is defnitely PG 18. It makes for a VERY uncomfortable read when you're sitting next to your busmate, and have a reputation of being a no-swearing girl. Which is probably why the author suggests the loo as a recommended venue for reading. But, I have to admit, some good old swearing does help to release all that pent up tension (though I still don't swear).

This book would be a big help to youngsters who are just stepping out into the world. So do a good deed. Take a marker, black out all the swear words, and two other chapters as well (!), and then go hand it it your younger cousin/sibling (preferably 15+). It'll do them a world of good.

F?@k Knows is a hilarious, crisp, no-nonsense (and sometimes gross) book with a voice that does not lecture, and hits the bulls-eye on every page. Read it. It's worth the f-bombs and other assorted expletives.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

P.S.: I couldnt find the book on Goodreads, hence the absence of the usual link. 

Waiting On Wednesday; Somebody Up There Hates You

March 6, 2013


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

I am waiting on...

Somebody Up There Hates You Title: Somebody Up There Hates You
Author: Hollis Seamon
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Publication Date: September 3, 2013
Genre: YA
Amazon | Goodreads

Chemo, radiation, a zillion surgeries, watching my mom age twenty years in twenty months: if that’s part of the Big Dude’s plan, then it’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? Somebody Up There Hates You.

SUTHY has landed me here in this hospice, where we—that’s me and Sylvie—are the only people under 30 in the whole place, sweartogod. But I’m not dead yet. I still need to keep things interesting. Sylvie, too. I mean, we’re kids, hospice-hostages or not. We freak out visitors; I get my uncle to sneak me out for one insane Halloween night. Stuff like that. And Sylvie wants to make things even more interesting. That girl’s got big plans.

Only Sylvie’s father is so nuclear-blasted by what’s happened to his little girl, he glows orange, I swear. That’s one scary man, and he’s not real fond of me. So we got a major family feud going on, right here in hospice. DO NOT CROSS line running down the middle of the hall, me on one side, her on the other. It’s crazy.

In the middle of all of this, really, there’s just me and Sylvie, a guy and a girl. And we want to live, in our way, by our own rules, in whatever time we’ve got. We will pack in some living before we go, trust me.

Review: 52 Reasons to Hate My Father by Jessica Brody

March 5, 2013

52 Reasons to Hate My FatherTitle: 52 Reasons to Hate My Father
Author: Jessica Brody
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Publication Date: July 3, 2013
Genre: YA, Chick-Lit, Humour
Rating: 2/ 5 stars 
Amazon | Goodreads
Being America’s favorite heiress is a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it.

Lexington Larrabee has never to work a day in her life. After all, she’s the heiress to the multi-billion-dollar Larrabee Media empire. And heiresses are not supposed to work. But then again, they’re not supposed to crash brand new Mercedes convertibles into convenience stores on Sunset Blvd either.

Which is why, on Lexi’s eighteen birthday, her ever-absent, tycoon father decides to take a more proactive approach to her wayward life. Every week for the next year, she will have to take on a different low-wage job if she ever wants to receive her beloved trust fund. But if there’s anything worse than working as a maid, a dishwasher, and a fast-food restaurant employee, it’s dealing with Luke, the arrogant, albeit moderately attractive, college intern her father has assigned to keep tabs on her.

In a hilarious “comedy of heiress” about family, forgiveness, good intentions, and best of all, second chances, Lexi learns that love can be unconditional, money can be immaterial, and, regardless of age, everyone needs a little saving. And although she might have 52 reasons to hate her father, she only needs one reason to love him.
 Alright, I'll admit it. I got interested in the book mainly because of the cover. I mean, who wouldn't? I love pumps, and those gorgeous silver confections on the cover drew me towards them instantly. Well, that'll teach me not to judge a book by its cover. Because, in short, the book sucked.

The story has the potential to be so much better, which is why it gets me so mad that it isn't.

Lexington Larrabee is a heiress who's had everything handed to her in a silver platter. But she gets herself into embarrassing and 'bad publicity'-attracting incidents all the time. The last time she does it, driving her brand new Mercedes headlong into a drug store, her father puts down a mandate. Lexi has to take on 52 different daily-wage jobs for the next year, or else she wont get her trust fund.

I was really eager to know all the 52 jobs. I thought the author would mention all 52, and that would've been pretty impressive. But, she doesn't. Only 32 jobs are done by the end of the book, and of those, we read of Lexi's experiences of only a few. I think the author liked the concept of 52 jobs - a job a week, but couldn't really come up with that many jobs.

Lexi Larrabee is a spoilt kid. She's a drama queen with a slightly weird thinking process. And she's downright creepy in some places. Of all the jobs she's given, she thinks the one where she works in the graveyard(!) is fun! She TALKS to the dead bodies. And I mean whole conversations. It's creepy. But  that's it. She's not a real spoilt brat, if you know what I mean. Proud, sharp-as-a-knife tongue, superficial, etc., etc. I would've liked someone like Blair from Gossip Girl or Sophie Price from Vain. Lexi's turnabout is so quick and easy, that is neither convincing nor realistic.

Another issue I had was the way the author handled the father's issue. He's depressed and grieving for his wife, so he goes around marrying random women every 3 years. Really? And Lexi supposedly 'understands' all this once she is hit by a bolt of lightning and realises that her father is grieving. So what? If you're grieving, then it's totally fine to go around doing crappy stuff? Nuh uh.

And the romance between Lexi and Luke was SO UNNECESSARY! They work so much better as friends. There's this camaraderie and sharp banter between them that's so enjoyable. I didn't feel any spars between the two, and the fact that this was introduced towards the end of the story without any build up at all leads me to think that maybe the author felt the same too? It all felt very, very wrong, and not natural in the least. One thing, books do not always have to have romance or love in it. I've read great books which do not have romance at all. I know that's what sells, but I feel if the book is good enough, it shouldn't matter.

Overall, 52 Reasons To Hate My Father has the potential to be a great book, but falls way short.

P.S.: A lot of people seem to like this book, and have given it high ratings. Am I the odd one out?

Some Bookish News

March 4, 2013

Well, I've got a bunch of great news today!

First, I got my FIRST REVIEW COPY IN THE MAIL TODAY!!! I keep going around everywhere putting it up in all caps, so you get it. I'm excited. Big time excited. I mean, c'mon, it's my first one. Duh, I'd be in ninth heaven!

So yeah, I got this from the book reviewing program on BlogAdda.com. This is the book.



And I can very confidently say that I'll be posting the review sometime this week. It wont be like the previous times I've said it, and haven't followed up on it. I have to this time, otherwise they'll probably kick me out of the program.

So... On a different note, I've decided to join the 2013 TBR Challenge held by/at Bookish at http://evie-bookish.blogspot.com .




I'm signing up for the 'A Firm Handshake' challenge, which is ten books before the end of the year.

Here's hoping I read many more! :D

The Night Circus

March 2, 2013

I'm currently reading The Night Circus by


DISCLAIMER: The following poem has nothing whatsoever to do with me. Kindly keep that in mind.



The Night Circus

Big tops, popcorn, and acrobats
Candy canes, wheels, and a man with cats
Feeling high and seeing twos
I brought myself to a circus tonight.

Round and round the merry-go-round
Up, up, up the giant, giant wheel
Drowning, drowning in the eye of the tiger
Lub-dub, lub-dub, my heart goes still.

She kicked me in the gut tonight
I'm scared my heart is scarred for life
So I brought myself to a circus tonight
Where hearts and dreams are still alive.

Meandering twixt the bear and ape
There's a little girl transfixed, like me
Presenting herself, defenseless, for
The eye of the tiger has caught her eye.

"Come away, little one, look!
I've got a toy for you here",
I called, cautiously, fearfully
the child away from the beast.

'But I dont want to' she said
Never tearing her eyes away
'I like this tiger.
He's my friend.'

'But what do you see?'
'Oh! But dont you see it too?
In his pools of forever, I see
All my dreams alive, ablaze.'

My feet without my volition, carry
Me beside the little firebrand, and
My dreams are there, again, alive
I'm glad I brought myself to the circus tonight.

--- by FM
This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda - See more at: http://blog.blogadda.com/2013/03/01/creative-writing-for-indian-bloggers-wow#sthash.Nc1BY1gZ.dpuf
This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda - See more at: http://blog.blogadda.com/2013/03/01/creative-writing-for-indian-bloggers-wow#sthash.Nc1BY1gZ.dpuf
This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda - See more at: http://blog.blogadda.com/2013/03/01/creative-writing-for-indian-bloggers-wow#sthash.Nc1BY1gZ.dpuf



This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

P.S.: The title is probably not very original, but I thought it kind of fit. I thought of 'The Circus at Night' first, but then I changed it to 'The Night Circus'. I feel like it conveys a bit of mystery, a bit of revelry, a bit of the sinister, and that's what I wanted, so yeah, the title stuck :)