Catcher by Kalyn Nicholson Review (spoiler-free)

It’s safe to say that Kalyn Nicholson is my favourite YouTuber – ever. I’ve been watching her content for a couple of years now and she has blossomed with her audience which I find beautiful and poetic in a way I think Kalyn appreciates too. So when I found out that she’s writing a book, a futuristic book about a girl who meets her dream boy, literally meets her dream boy I was instantly interested. I am a writer, my favourite YouTuber is a writer, this is amazing, right?

I waited until her book came out, I even waited for it to go on sale and was bummed out when she delayed it. Then I got it, read 23% of it in one night and stopped until yesterday when I read the whole thing in one sitting during a readathon. This is not to say the book is bad or anything. For a debut novel, it’s actually quite good.

The story of Carson and Grey is set in the future in a utopian society. Carson was four years old when she lost her baby brother in a car crash and due to her parent’s strict upbringing, she grew up very sheltered – except that she started dreaming of a boy she named Grey at four years old. It’s her 18th birthday and she is hoping to make it to Yorker, her dream university in the big city but her parents aren’t having it then a fire breaks out and engulfs her childhood home and she is relocated to the big city by her uncle, Char. There, on the first day, she meets Grey in a coffee shop called Koze and the story goes from there.

To start with the characters, the first time I read it I began noticing the lack-lustre main character and the fact that I don’t like her parents and even her best friend, Mina. It took me ages to get through that 23% because nothing was happening to these characters. It felt like I was reading one of Kalyn’s morning routine videos (which are great in video form) rather than reading a fantasy romance that was meant to make me fall in love with the characters. Nothing truly made me didn’t care for Carson. Heck, I even forgot her name throughout the book because she’s simply not a character I care about. She does her morning routine and feels crappy about being held captive by her parents but she has no insightful thoughts and ideas, she has no set morals that drive her. In fact, nothing drives her throughout the book, she’s mostly going through the motions and letting everyone walk all over her.

The more I read about these characters the more I realized that I don’t like them – Carson is boring and easy to walk all over, her parents are forgettable until the end of the book when they become despicable, her uncle Char is probably the most interesting character thus far and Mina, well, she had potential but we didn’t get to see it. I quite liked dream Grey and I liked Hale with his sarcasm and asshole-like behaviour because it woke Carson up, it made her snap back and be interesting. I think the thing that bothers me the most about Carson is that she feels like an insert-character to the point where I could almost picture Kalyn as Carson.

I also disliked the songs at the beginning of the chapters, the repetition of basic words like “portal” and “kissed” and the few spelling mistakes throughout the book. Not to mention that she threw us into this new, futuristic utopia with no explanation. What’s a portal? What’s a lift? It took me a while to understand that a lift is a futuristic version of a damn car.

On the other hand, I really enjoyed the storyline, even though nothing really happened at the beginning of the book. I liked the pace of the book and I liked the way Carson discovered things in a digestible way. And that twist, oh that twist was SO GOOD it blew my mind and made me shiver and it made me love the story despite the lacking characters. And if we’re really being honest, one of the things that Kalyn did really, really well is the way she described the dream sequences, those are the parts that really made the book enjoyable. It made me see the world she built as I was reading and it made me fall in love with Grey just as much as Carson did.

In conclusion, Catcher is a good book. I gave it three stars on Goodreads – one for the storyline, one for Grey and one for THAT TWIST that still makes me shiver when I think about it. Sure, the characters are lacklustre but they can be improved in the second book which I’m looking forward to, especially knowing that Kalyn is taking writing classes.

Anyway, have you read Catcher? What did you think about it and if not, are you going to give it a try?

Thanks for reading!

With love,

Peach xx

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(GIFs ARE NOT MINE, CREDIT GOES TO WHOEVER MADE THEM!)

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2019 Goals

I thought about writing this post at the beginning of January to mark well, the beginning of a new year but the more I thought about it the more I realized that I wasn’t completely sure whether the goals I set for myself in December would still be relevant for me in 2019. I am the type of person who likes starting over, I like new beginnings and therefore I love starting a new year. I stand by the ‘tomorrow is a new day’ saying and thus 2019 started and I was sat down at my desk, pouring over my goals and trying to break them down into more manageable tasks, to understand how I want to go about achieving them. This is how I realized that I wasn’t so keen on some of the goals I set for myself. Of course, in true perfectionist fashion, I started to panic because January already started and that meant I didn’t have the perfect plan to get me through the year (I am an anxious person.)

This made me realize that:

  1. You can never have the perfect plan because life’s a bitch and it likes to throw curveballs.
  2. I can always switch things up. If halfway through the year I don’t care to learn to play the guitar anymore, I don’t have to do that. I don’t have to force myself to do anything that doesn’t make me happy and that is okay.

Of course, this doesn’t mean I’m willing to just scrap goals just because I know I won’t achieve them or because I’m too insecure about doing them (e.g – going places on my own). I just have to adjust them, tweak a few things here and there and hopefully, I’ll achieve the goals I’m not 100% sure about. This is why when coming up with your goals, be them monthly, yearly, 5-years and 10-year goals, it’s important to sit down with a cup of coffee and really ask yourself what do you want to do. What’s worth your time here on earth and what makes you happy? Tailor your plans according to the answers to those questions, have some ambition and you’ll see you’ll come out a happier person in the end.

So, a couple of my 2019 goals (as of now) are:

Get a first in my second year of university – this one is pretty self-explanatory and a goal that most likely won’t change. Some of the steps I’m taking to achieve this goal is to attend each lecture and seminar as much as possible, to read for my seminars every day and to start my assignments two weeks before they’re due instead of leaving them until the last minute. I already wrote down all my deadlines in my bullet journal and my calendar on my phone.

Go fully vegan – I’m quite embarrassed to say that I’m weak when it comes to sweets and I am the worst baker ever. As in I burn everything I try to bake. So if baking my own sweets is impossible and buying vegan sweets is super expensive for my student budget, well, I haven’t been really doing great in that department… but I am working on it every day and hopefully this year I’ll go fully vegan.

Read 30 books – not counting the reading I have to do for university, of course. My reading goal last year was 30 books and I barely managed to achieve that. I’m not sure why I struggled so much when in other years I would read way more than 30 books with no problem. It’s probably because I have to read so much for school that when it comes to reading for pleasure I’m kind of exhausted.

Finish three of the stories I started last year – I tend to go through phases when I’m super motivated to write so last year I started three stories, one of which I was supposed to finish over the Christmas break so this year I want to at least finish two of them – the one that I was meant to finish over Christmas and the collab. I think out of all my goals this goal and the reading goal are the most susceptible to change.

Complete my BTS album collection – this one’s pretty up in the air too but right now I’m determined to achieve this goal. I’ve always been someone who collects stuff from W.I.T.C.H. comic books to well, books and stationery to kpop albums. I currently have all their Korean albums but I still need to complete the LY Her, Tear and Answer albums and the WINGS albums. Of course, this is going to be a pretty slow progress since these albums are damn expensive but I guess we’ll see by the end of the year if I manage to achieve this.

Learn graphic design – I used to do graphic design for forums back in 2013 and 2014 and I’ve always enjoyed it so much but of course, I wasn’t knowledgeable enough to actually know what I was doing. This year I want to learn the right way and so I am planning to achieve this goal over the summer.

So this is it, these are my current 2019 goals. Of course, these are all (okay maybe some of them) susceptible to change but I guess we’ll see. For now, I’m really excited to see what 2019 has in store for me. I feel like for the first time in my life I am finally able to look forward to my future without too much anxiety clouding my mind which is something I’m very proud of.

Anyway, until next time!

With love,

Peach xx

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Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi Review

This review contains minor spoilers! If you haven’t read the book I suggest reading it and coming back to this blog post later.

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi is that book that every Instagrammer has on their feed, almost like Milk and Honey and other IG poetry. Of course, that’s why I picked it up and why I was interested, plus the cover is super pretty so on an evening out with friends I picked up this book and it sat on my shelves for half a year before I read the entire book in one day. Let’s just say I enjoyed it enough to power through 390 pages – but that’s something usual for me.

Emergency Contact is the story of Penny and Sam and how they became each other’s emergency contacts. Of course, it wouldn’t be a young adult novel without the parental issues, the insecurities and the coming of age plot but the reality behind these characters is what made the book for me. I enjoyed Penny’s self-introspection and the fact that she didn’t change to make Sam like her and I enjoyed Sam’s characterisation. We got to see inside the brain of the broody male protagonist and came to understand that he’s not broody for the hell of it.

I also enjoyed that the resolution was realistic and didn’t tie all loose ends – real life is not that clean-cut and looking at the way Mary H.K. Choi narrates her story I think her aim was to portray these characters as realistically as possible, which in my opinion she achieved from the beginning.

One thing I didn’t like was how the two protagonists took centre stage all the time. We have Penny’s mum and Sam’s niece and a couple of other useless characters peppered here and there but we don’t really get to know them. Sure, we know Penny’s mum is *ahem* young at heart and we know Sam’s niece is hyperactive and needy but we don’t get to form bonds with them so when Penny argues or neglects her mum I don’t really care about it?

I feel like I could have given this book five out of five stars if it wasn’t such a quick and easy read. It’s 390 pages but it felt like 100 at best – although it was realistic and the protagonists were well written, the plot wasn’t. It dragged on at times and was redundant at others which put me off reading it at first.

Overall I would say I enjoyed Emergency Contact and I am looking forward to Mary H.K. Choi’s future releases! Did you read the book? What did you think? Let me know in the comments and I’ll catch you next time!

With love,
Peach xx

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2018 – A Review

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2018 has been an odd year because it’s been good in some regards and bad in others. I started the year ready to take on the world, I made changes after changes in order to improve myself and achieve my goals and so the start of the year was probably why 2018 might be my best year so far. I started Marbled Intentions and I even started writing my favourite story ever. I got close to 1k followers on Instagram and made so many amazing friends on there too. People I can easily call my internet family and who have become such an integral part of my daily life – I am thankful for all of you. I also made up with old friends this year, we got over our differences and came out stronger in the end. I made more of an effort to keep in touch with old friends and made memories I will treasure forever.

In 2018 I finally went vegan. This is big for me because I have a hard time making these big decisions so I am proud of myself. I started penpaling this year so I now know how to mail stuff and I am less awkward and anxious on paper. I learnt to write letters and to appreciate deeper bonds with people in my life. In 2018 I saw Burn The Stage with my friends and revisited an old story that’s always been my home. This year I finally allowed myself to drop my scepticism and allow myself to be curious about the potential of being spiritual. I learnt that this moment is a blip in time and better days will come.

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This year I started to understand myself better – I am a very chill person but small things can set me off. I have trouble relating to people but I have no trouble guessing how they’re feeling. I now know that I don’t have a dream like so many other people do but I have my writing passion and that’s enough for me. This year I learnt that in order to be completely free I have to rid myself of expectations. I learnt to value myself above others because I can’t pour from an empty cup. I learnt that I only live once and yes, it’s sad that I missed some things I’ll never get to do/have but I can’t do anything about that so what’s the point in being sad about it. In 2018 BTS taught me to love myself and for that I’m grateful.

This year I also went vegetarian for Christmas, skipped A LOT of classes and got a few bad grades. In 2018 I didn’t really learn much about my spirituality even though I allowed myself to. I created Marbled Intentions, posted three times per week during the summer holiday and completely stopped posting in November and October. In 2018 I fell into such a slump that I started doubting myself as a person, I started going back to the darker days and I debated dropping out of university. In 2018 I pulled my friends closer while I pushed my family away. I didn’t read as much as I wanted, I didn’t stick to a skincare routine and I still eat a whole lot of junk food.

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So yeah, 2018 has been good but it has also been bad. But we wouldn’t know happiness without pain so I am grateful for this year either way. I’m turning 20 in January. In less than three weeks I will officially have been on this earth for two decades and that scares me in ways I don’t even know how to describe but I’m also excited because 2018 gave me the tools to move into my 20s confidently.

This is the last post of 2018 so I’d like to thank anyone who reads this blog (I don’t really check the stats so for all I know I might be talking to myself). The plan for next year is to post every Saturday at 12 PM GMT so stay tuned for that and have a great New Year!

With love,

Peach xx

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Chat With a Grammar Nazi Serial Killer by Ryan Suvaal Review

I received this copy for review however, all my opinions are honest.

Given that it’s such a short story I can’t really review it the way I reviewed other books on this blog and therefore I will keep my thoughts concise and straight to the point. This is a no-spoiler review!

I couldn’t help but enjoy this story for what it is: a funny, interesting dissection of the human brain and how we operate when we’ve been wronged. Throughout the story the serial killer is blunt and straight-to-the-point, she doesn’t seem remorseful at all except for the little clues of her humanity which he sprinkles during her conversation with Corrigan.

I quite enjoyed the dialogue because how straightforward it was, probably due to the interview style. I also enjoyed the prospect of the story – the dark web interview was interesting and the main character is funny and unashamed which makes for a fun to read protagonist.

Although I do find it ironic that there are quite a few spelling and grammar mistakes throughout this short story given the prospect of the plot.

Overall, I definitely recommend giving it a read!

With love,

Peach xx

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(GIFs ARE NOT MINE, CREDIT GOES TO WHOEVER MADE THEM)

Exhaustion

I always joke around with my friends that exhaustion is a powerful drug. You know that feeling when your body is just so, so heavy that you can barely move? Or when your head is so full and your eyelids are constantly ready to drop that you can’t focus? You lose motivation to do things that you love or even things you don’t love but have to do anyway. So you end up procrastinating, spending hours watching YouTube and then even more hours trying to catch up on whatever work you were supposed to do and then your sleep schedule is all out of wack and maybe your diet is too and this keeps on going until you break down.

That’s not healthy. It’s definitely very common, sure, but it shouldn’t be. We live in a society in which we rarely stop to rest and when we do, well, we think about all the things we have to do when we get back to work. How exactly is that rest? It’s not. It’s tiring and exhausting and it doesn’t help anybody in the long run.

Now, picture your body and mind as a machine – it works perfectly when it’s out of the box and it serves you well for a while but after that, the wheels start rusting and you might need to do some work on it to restore it to its original form. That can take the form of what we now know as self-care which can be of many types but is mostly advertised as bubble baths and scented candles. Others like to say that self-care doesn’t have to be all bubble baths and candles and meditation which is fair enough, not everybody responds to these things in the same way and doing something pretty mundane can easily trick us into thinking about work so what do you do when the bubble baths don’t work and going for a walk just doesn’t seem feasible? You go back to the basics.

I finally finished the first semester of my second year of university. I started the month of September excited and ready to go to university and do my best then bad things started happening one after the other, ultimately snowballing into a massive depressive episode which lasted for the past three months or so. This semester has been exhausting, to say the least. I missed a bunch of classes because I was exhausted. I didn’t do some of the reading because I was exhausted. I focused on less important things to make myself and my anxiety feel better. I procrastinated and tried to catch up and it just didn’t freaking work because I was and still am exhausted.

My arms and my brain ache as I’m typing this blog post, that’s how freaking tired I am. I sat down to write for one of my stories and I just couldn’t gather the energy to think about this whole other world full of energetic and diverse characters. I feel like there’s this fog clouding the inside of my skull and a cold well inside of my chest and I honestly don’t know how to repair any of those things in a way that will still get me the results I want. I keep saying that I’ll get my shit together, that I’ll figure a way out but I never do because, in the end, there’s rarely one answer to all of our problems. Sure, I can buy a new planner and sit down to write my new year resolutions and goals or I can clean my entire room until it sparkles but that’s just a band-aid solution to the bigger problem which is the fact that I strayed so far from the basics that not even bubble baths and planners can help me feel like a well-rested, well-adjusted member of society.

I aspire to a great life, we all do. I want to live comfortably, to travel and to… uh, well, I don’t know what else I want because I’ve been stuck in this loop of exhaustion and trying to fix things with band-aids that just won’t hold things together. I’ve been so caught up in fixing the petty stuff that I forgot that the world is not just the small bubble that I created around me, that in fact, it’s an ocean of dreams and ideas and opportunities for learning and adventure. I can only describe this as walking around with my eyes closed because this is how I’ve been living my life for the past twenty years or so. I want to open my eyes and finally feel that fire in my chest, instead of an empty, cold well and I want my vision to be clear so I can fully understand what I want from life and effectively work for it without getting so exhausted (we’ll get exhausted no matter what, after all, but it should never get this bad) that I end up procrastinating and covering it up with a dumb band-aid. Now, mind you, if bubble baths and planners work for you then that’s great! I thought they worked for me too and in a way they do but for me, to fully recover I think I need to get back to the basics.

What are the basics you ask (you probably didn’t)? Eating a healthy, balanced diet (keep in mind that I’m not talking about your weight-loss diets, but diet in general) at specific times of the day, drinking enough water, sleeping eight hours per night, getting enough sun, etc. I don’t do these things even though they are the bare minimum, basic things everyone should do. I make a healthy meal plan I never follow and I say I’ll go to sleep early tonight but I never stick to it even though these things have been proven to make me feel less exhausted. Instead, I slap on a band-aid by taking a bubble bath and getting right back to procrastinating.

Now, I’m not here to tell anybody what to do. In fact, during these three months, I realized that although I started this blog with good intentions, it turned into something I don’t enjoy. Sure, I like music and what not but this is not what I want to do with this platform. Instead, I’m putting this out there as a form of self-care. I am writing my thoughts down and working through them as I type the words and if this is inspirational to anyone then it is, if it’s not then whatever, it helps me.

Thank you for taking the time to read through this long word-vomit. The short version of it is that these past few months have been very difficult for me and I have finally found a solution to the problem which is to go back to the basics. Work on setting up a strong foundation for myself and then go from there, or at least that’s the plan – I’ll keep you updated.

I am planning to revamp this blog during the winter holiday which means new content and possibly a new look. I want this blog to be more ‘me’ and less every other lifestyle blog out there so I’ll work hard on that over the next few weeks! Thanks again for reading and I hope you’ve had a great week!

With love,

Peach xx

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(GIFs ARE NOT MINE, CREDIT GOES TO WHOEVER MADE THEM!)

Worst TV/Literature Tropes

trope (n)

1 A figurative or metaphorical use of a word or expression.

‘both clothes and illness became tropes for new attitudes toward the self’
‘my sense that philosophy has become barren is a recurrent trope of modern philosophy’
‘perhaps it is a mistake to use tropes and parallels in this eminently unpoetic age’
1.1 A significant or recurrent theme; a motif.
‘she uses the Eucharist as a pictorial trope’ Source

As we have already established, I am a big book person. I love books, I love reading and I love ingesting stories. It’s a form of escapism for me. I feel the same way about TV shows – I get to know unique characters that I can relate to or learn from, I get to understand someone else’s mind and how they work as a person through the way they wrote the book/script for the TV show. I just love it.

What I don’t love, is when that source of escapism is tainted by bad tropes. It ruins everything, the stories, the characters and the entire universe that has been built. I think that’s definitely one of the reasons why I’m so picky with the way I consume any type of media. I’m selective about the books I read, I never liked those cheesy romance novels, about the shows I watch (I don’t like Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones) and I even do that with anime! I’m so particular about the things I don’t like because it helps me pick and choose what to spend my time on (and my energy, let’s be honest).

The first trope I hate is the best friends turned lovers trope. I hate how unrealistic it is, how it doesn’t let our main girl, because let’s be honest, it’s usually the girl who ends up crawling back to her childhood best friend, grow into the person she can be. I believe this trope is a comfortable way for an author to write a novel which a lot of people will enjoy. It’s all about comfort, about being secure and not stepping out of the comfort zone. People find it easier to digest a story about a girl who’s infatuated with two boys but in the end chooses the childhood best friend because it’s easy. She doesn’t have to get to know this new guy, she doesn’t have to see if it’s going to work or not because it’s safer to go with the comfortable choice, even though that choice might not be a good one. Urgh, this trope pisses me off so much that I could write an entire essay about it.

The second trope that I hate is diversity for the sake of diversity. We are in 2018, we live in a *mostly* diverse world, in a global world, but some authors still choose to stick to one type of character (the white cis heterosexual male/female). When they do choose to write diverse characters, they don’t write them because these characters are just that, humans experiencing the contents of the plot, but because that’s what’s expected in 2018. I really dislike this because even though it is 2018, a lot of people still can’t relate to the characters they read about/watch on screen. Everyone wants to feel represented, to feel heard, to not feel invisible. And so when so many books and TV shows attempt to be diverse, it almost always comes across as disingenuous. These diverse characters never get a normal plot of their own, their stories almost always revolve around their diversity. The LGBTQ+ character’s story is almost always about their struggle as an LGBTQ+ character, they’re rarely just people with a different sexual preference. This trope is so disappointing, even though we are making a lot of good progress, it’s really not enough.

The third trope I hate is the 1000-year-old monster dating a 17-year-old girl. I have to preface this by saying that I have read these types of books and I have watched TV shows that revolve around this trope (Twilight, Vampire Diaries) and came to find this trope creepy. I understand why it’s the way it is. People are dreamers, they want the impossible, they want to feel unique and adventurous and what’s more adventurous than vampires and beasts and zombies? The part that I don’t understand is, why do they have to be so damn old? How is it normal for a 200-year-old vampire to pursue a high school girl? Would people be alright with this trope if the love interest wasn’t a vampire and was just a plain old guy? Of course they wouldn’t because it’s gross! Just because the 200-year-old vampire looks like a 25-year-old student, it doesn’t make the situation better – it makes it worse.

Lastly, I hate the plain-jane trope. Writing characters for the sake of relatability is such an overused trope, especially in YA, that I can’t even begin to describe how much I hate it. It doesn’t necessarily stop me from reading the novel because when it happens I tend to focus on the story rather than the character, but at the same time, I believe that a story is incomplete without a good, well-rounded character. Women are always written either as the blonde bimbo who sleeps around a lot, the geeky girl or simply, with no personality because it allows people to insert themselves into the story. If the author writes a story where the main character is very detailed and real, people who haven’t found themselves yet cannot relate therefore the book doesn’t sell. It’s as simple as that. The male characters don’t get it any easier though. It’s always the nice guy who’s not really nice, the geeky guy who can’t get the hot girl and when he does he doesn’t change at all (but when the geeky girl gets the popular guy she has to change completely) or the mindless hunk who can get any girl but somehow falls in love with the geeky girl.

While I don’t like these tropes (and many others, I might make a second post), it doesn’t mean you can’t like them. Everyone views the world differently and everyone is allowed to have their own opinion, their own likes and dislikes and I respect that!

I hope you enjoyed this long, ranty blog post. Feel free to tell me all about the tropes you hate or love. Thanks for reading and make sure to read my last blog post which is a list of my favourite BTS songs.

With love,

Peach xx

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(GIFS ARE NOT MINE, CREDIT GOES TO THEIR CREATOR)

Time Crawlers by Varun Sayal – Book Review

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This book was sent to me for free by the author in exchange for an honest review. Time Crawlers by Varun Sayal is an anthology of six short stories depicting alternating universes. Varun Sayal discussed at length what it means to be human and how our humanity, flawed or not, can affect our lifestyle be it in the past or the future.

In this review, I will take a different approach to review the book because it is so short, 120 pages or so. I will talk about each one of the stories without giving away any spoilers and whilst remaining honest. Before I start talking about the book, I want to say that these are MY opinions, not yours. I am speaking solely from the way I see and read the book and this is in no way meant to offend anybody. Without further ado, here’s the review.

Time Crawlers by Varun Sayal

“Billions of universes run slightly parallel to our own universe; worlds full of infinite possibilities. There are many humans living in those parallel worlds, leading their lives, in a very similar way to how we are leading ours. But their respective realities differ from ours in some very peculiar ways.
Inhabitants of some worlds have already been visited and are being ruled by aliens. Some travelled through time, back and forth, and some have taken their space exploration to advanced stages using their powerful spaceships. Some created ruthless artificial intelligence that are fulfilling dark, human desires. Some developed advanced weapons technologies thousands of years before we did.
I believe a writer’s brain can somehow tap into this multitude of universes and take a peek into the events happening in each of them. This book, comprised of six stories, is my attempt to narrate to you tales from six different parallel universes. These stories are events that my brain somehow tapped into and captured in detail.
Let me know if your unconscious mind visited the same universes as mine. “(Goodreads)

#1. Nark-astra, The Hell Weapon

“The weapons he possesses make him the destroyer of worlds, and he burns for revenge. A high-tech take on ancient Indian mythology.” (Goodreads)

One of the first things I noticed about this little story is how imaginative it is and how easy it is to picture the events in my mind. Even though the story is short, the description makes it so that all the characters are well rounded and easy to follow through their decision making. Another thing I noticed is how dialogue-heavy this short story is. I understand that is because it’s a short story and thus it needs to be packed full of information, but I think the dialogue was overwhelming and gave everything away too easily. This might be because I am not used to reading such short stories. Another thing I didn’t really like was how things were handed to our main character with a smile, I would have liked him to work harder for said things but once again, the author probably didn’t want the story to be too long.

#2. Death by Crowd

“The dark desires of the masses; darknet websites fueled by a crypto-currency. What lurks in the background – an advanced artificial intelligence?” (Goodreads)

This story is my favourite by far, even though it’s the most gruesome out of all of them. The long dialogue fits perfectly with the interview style and makes the abundance of information digestible, which I enjoyed very much. I also enjoyed the concept as a whole and how the gruesomeness of the person being interviewed was not approached with disgust and resentment but rather with curiosity – I think it makes for a better discussion about the human instinct and the dark web. The A.I. theory also gave me an existential crisis, that’s how you know this was GOOD!

#3. Genie

“He rubbed a lamp alright, but what he got was the shock of his life. An entirely sci-fi take on the djinn myth.”(Goodreads)

I get the feeling from other reviews that a lot of people enjoyed this story for its humour which I can appreciate, but I think I was so involved in the second story that I couldn’t enjoy the light, breath of fresh air this story was meant to give the reader. I know for a fact that my opinion of this story is based solely on the type of reader I am, so I am now going to talk about the things I liked and disliked. I really enjoyed the character of the genie, she was funny and smart and witty and I like the sci-fi take on the whole djin myth, I think it makes the entire concept more interesting and easy to believe. I disliked the character of Marco, who I think was symbolic of the greed of humanity and to an extent how society objectifies women. I do wish there was a bit more prose but I think since the story is meant to be a short, funny story Sayal gets away with all the dialogue and in the end managed to produce a great story.

#4. Time Crawlers

“There are individuals who existing in multiple time periods at once, and there are those who know about them….” (Goodreads)

I think this might be my second favourite story in this anthology, simply because I appreciate the plot twist. I’m not gonna lie, I actually giggled when I read that twist, I was that impressed. This story was interesting and fun so much so that I wish it was a longer story so I could read more about these characters. I like how this one ties elements of the last three stories together and thus creates a bigger picture for us readers as well as the LGBTQ+ representation which was not made a big deal out of, just normal characters being normal human beings. Furthermore, I really love how detailed these theories are, it goes to show of Sayal’s ingenuity. I am looking forward to his next book!

#5.Eclipse

“No attacks, no blood-shed, yet there was an invasion and a conquest. Who are these shape-shifting aliens being hounded by an eclipse?” (Goodreads)

I think out of all the stories, this was my least favourite stories simply because I don’t really like the main character. I dislike main characters who put so much work into something only to give up with no fight *cough*Winston from 1984*cough*. However, I did enjoy how action packed it was and it did have me gasping and wanting to see the resolution of this short story so that is a big bonus.

#6. The Cave

“The fate of an advanced imperial race hangs in balance as a dark celestial entity meets a legendary protector.” (Goodreads)

Lastly, I quite enjoyed this story and I like the concept of this one I like the gender representation in The Cave. The imagery is nice and easy to picture however I do find Kaaljeevi a bit unrealistic. She’s meant to come across as all powerful with no flaws but while she’s fixing Earth’s problems she’s explaining everything eloquently, without breaking a sweat. I think that’s rather unrealistic, and yeah, I know this is a sci-fi story but it doesn’t allow the reader to connect to this amazing character at all so while I enjoy the gender representation, I think she could have been written better – kind of like the hero from the first story.

So here it is, my honest review of Time Crawlers by Varun Sayal. I have to say that I really enjoyed this book, even though I am not a big sci-fi fan. I liked how easy it was to discern the mental state of the characters, their morals and values just through these six short stories and I liked how all the stories, although different, linked together in some way or another to create a big universe. One thing I think can be improved is the lack of well written, strong female characters – up until the third and sixth story there were few female characters and they were always either mistresses, virgins or prostitutes – even the genie, although smart and witty was treated badly by the man she was granting three wishes for. While I understand how this can be a creative choice, I don’t think it was done on purpose but it is something to keep in mind. Overall, I really enjoyed all the stories and I really think it doesn’t read like a debut book!

Star Rating out of 5: ★★★★☆

Thanks a lot for reading my review, which you can also check out on *Goodreads*. Also, make sure to check out my bookstagram *here* and my last blog post which is all about spending more time with family. Have a lovely day!

With love,

Peach xx

Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater – Book Review

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Given that I have finally started my own bookstagram (Instagram for books), I decided it would be awesome to keep some sort of a diary with all my bookish thoughts. Goodreads could suffice, of course, but I’m not really fond of leaving reviews on Goodreads so here I am, with the first of the many book reviews to come. I will try my best to post a review for every book I read, but I am sure that more often than not life will get in the way so I’m not making promises that I cannot keep (much like my monthly TBRs).

The first book I am going to discuss is the first book in the Raven Cycle series; Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. I have tried reading Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater before and it just didn’t work out for me so I was a little apprehensive when all the big booktubers (youtube for books) started raving about this series. After a while, I bought the book and after even more time I decided to read it. (One of the) best decision of my life! This book was not necessarily a roller coaster nor did it make me fall in love with our leading lady but here is why I enjoyed it so much:

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“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.” (Goodreads)

Themes

I really enjoyed all the themes portrayed in this first book and I think they were done really well but I will only focus on my favourite three. The first one is the supernatural/witch elements of this novel. I am all about magic, crystals, tarot reading and psychics myself which in turn made me love this aspect of the book. I thought it was done beautifully – the psychics in this book didn’t have all the answers all the time and they weren’t all-powerful witches that had no flaws. I also like the fact that our main character is not as gifted as the rest of her family – it’s a step forward from the perfect protagonist we see in a lot of literature.

I also like the way domestic/child abuse was represented in this novel in a respectful and realistic way. Maggie Stiefvater didn’t make Adam the hero that saved himself and his family nor did she make him come across as a character that can’t move forward – instead, she wrote him somewhere in the middle which I think is very realistic. I like the fact that he’s flawed too and the way he handles the abuse is not conventional or how people expect abuse victims to handle their traumas.

The last theme I enjoyed was the portrayal of wealth or lack of it, to be exact. I love that none of the characters are stuck in their own little bubble. Instead we have characters like Adam who is insecure about his lack of wealth to the point where it affects his thinking and behaviour, we have Blue who is slightly bitter about her financial upbringing but is proud of herself nonetheless, Gansey who doesn’t want to be like his father but ultimately is, Ronan who really doesn’t care much and Mr Whelk who is obsessed with wealth. I think the variety of opinions on wealth and the way each character handles this subject really made this book a good read for me.

Reception

I mentioned reception a bit earlier in the post but I will expand more on it here. I am the kind of person who doesn’t like hype – books/tv shows/bands that are too hyped put me off. I’m not entirely sure why maybe because I don’t want to be disappointed but that’s just how I am. I am, however, trying to change that. I tried reading Fifty Shades of Grey after being put off by the hype and I still hated it, but hey, I’m trying. With Raven Boys, everyone and their mother was hyping this book up and I just lost interest in trying it out. After a while, I was walking through Foyles, saw this book and picked it up. It then took me another year or so to actually read it. Moral of the story? Don’t let yourself miss out on things because they are too hyped! Make your own opinion!

Point of View

This is something that put me off the book at first. Personally, I enjoy writing in third person omniscient while mostly focusing on one character. This book does a similar thing but instead of sticking to the same point of view throughout, it switches POV every chapter. This would normally be fine, only the names (Gansey, for example) confused me so much at the beginning that I had a hard time reading it. After learning the characters and their weird names and the action started picking up the pace it became easier to enjoy this point of view.

Imagery

This is a very important aspect of reading for me. One of the reasons why I absolutely adore reading and even chose to study literature at university is because I like the imagery behind the words. Raven Boys really didn’t disappoint when it came to imagery! The descriptions weren’t overwhelming but were still very expressive and easy to visualise. This, in turn, made the action scenes truly breathtaking and deliciously overwhelming.

Star Rating out of 5: ★★★★☆

So here it is, my first book review on this blog – how exciting! I just want to put this out there that these are purely my opinions and everyone is entitled to their own opinion! Thanks a lot for reading and make sure to check out my new bookstagram (@koyas_bookself on IG) as well as my last blog post which is all about Hufflepuff study tips!

With love,

Peach xx

Writing Blocks and How to Get Over Them

I am a creative person, I have always been a creative person ever since I was a kid. I used to paint with watercolours at four years old (that’s how I learnt to spell my name) and I was constantly in my own head, dreaming up an endless list of scenarios from being a princess in space to being a bratty yet trendy teenager like Sharon from Braceface. The universe has always been endless for me. I especially loved the creative writing aspect of my lessons in school – I took great pride in my stories and wanted everyone to read them. That hasn’t changed much.

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Then I became a pre-teen and I moved to the UK and my imagination kept flourishing. It has helped me through tough times, laying in bed with my eyes closed, just living my best life away from my real life. Then I got into anime and music, I started writing stories about the things that I liked such as Naruto and Tokio Hotel and as I grew up my writing improved and so did my love for this creative outlet. It wasn’t just a hobby or a passion anymore, it was my safe place. It allowed me to bend rules to a breaking point, to experiment and grow up with my characters. I then took two years of creative writing in college and to this day I believe that those lessons were the best lessons I’ve ever had.

My creative writing class was a second home to me, even though I was there only twice a week. It symbolised the way my creativity rolled in waves of pure excitement. I started writing poetry and plays and I came up with so many great ideas that I don’t think I’d be able to write them all in this lifetime. In fact, my creative writing teacher at the time encouraged me to start my own blog so thanks to him I am here, doing something I love.

I always knew writing was my passion but as I grew up I became addicted to it, I began seeing it as a source of comfort in hard times and good times and all the time, to be honest. I spend my days and nights jotting down ideas and writing poetry and while that might sound boring or redundant to some, it’s usually the highlight of my day.

I think it was necessary to preface this post with this very (very) long story about how I grew to love creative writing because it explains why I have such great trouble with writing blocks. I think because I put so much effort and love into my stories and poems and plays, I tend to burn out pretty quickly. I can write five chapters for one of my stories and come up with ten different poems in between seminars but by the end of the day I would feel so tired and burned out that the mere idea of being creative annoys me. This would go on for a couple of days, maybe a few weeks even but after a while, that dependence kicks in and I find it hard to get back into writing right away.

I realize that I am not alone in this – many great writers, if not all of them, dealt and still deal with writer’s block but this is my way of pulling myself out of a writing funk. Here are a few of my tips:

Get inspired

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I guess it’s easier said than done, right? Personally, I get inspired by everything, especially music. I can listen to Cherry Pie by Warrant or Barbie Girl by Aqua and somehow I’ll make a drabble out of it. People watching is also great, although I advise being casual about it, not creepy. Just sitting in a coffee shop with a notepad or whatever device you write on will be enough to spark some sort of interest and creativity in that beautiful brain of yours.

Carry a notebook everywhere

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This works with mobile phones or laptops as well, of course. One thing that we were told over and over again in my creative writing module at university (yup, I did creative writing at university as well as college) was to always carry something where you can jot down ideas – even words that elicit some sort of creativity. I usually use my phone’s memo app for this since I already carry half of my belongings around with me but to each their own.

Write daily

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Yeah, yeah, I know that everyone and their mother will tell you to do this but it is true. No matter how crappy your writing is that day, you should write something. Be it a poem or a song or even a short story. This will allow you to get into the mindset and focus on writing. Let yourself be creative! In fact, one of my favourite things to do back in the day was to sit down at my desk, take a random word/phrase/song and just write a page of A5 about it. It could be any form or theme but it gave me such great joy.

Write drabbles / 7 Minute Writing

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(FYI – it’s almost impossible to find a GIF of Deb without her swearing xD)

Something I learned in college was to just let go. We were told to take out a pen and a paper, we were given a prompt such as ‘The last thing I told my best friend…’ and we were given seven minutes to just write. The idea was to write whatever came to mind, even if it was the word ‘boring’ repeated over and over. I think that allowing your hand to write down your stream of consciousness you allow yourself to be free of expectations of what you writing should be like. I mean, let’s be honest here for a moment, we all have expectations. I’ve been writing since I was ten years old, for nearly a decade, and I still read the works of some of our greatest authors and I compare myself to them because that’s just human nature but by knowing you’re allowed to just word-vomit onto a page you are putting away your expectations and focusing solely on getting your point across. This works amazingly well if you do it every day!

Just do it

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I think that with a lot of things in life we always look for some sort of sign or we think we need to plan things before we do them. The same applies to writing or any other form of a creative outlet. Whenever I’m in a writing funk I have to remind myself that sometimes motivation can be a method of procrastination because it keeps me in that safe space of knowing I’m doing something towards my goal but in reality, I’m not actually achieving anything. Instead, I just focus on being determined and disciplined because if I’m determined enough to tell a story then I’m going to be disciplined enough to pull through.

So here are a couple of my tips on how to get over a writing block. I really love writing for this blog, it’s almost as therapeutic as looking for GIFs to fit my posts! Let me know what you think about the GIFs and whether they should stay or go? Also, disclaimer, all of the GIFs used in this post are NOT mine – credit goes to whoever created them. Thanks a lot for reading and make sure to check out my last blog post which is about how I stopped fearing change.

With love,

Peach xx

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