[Review] Invisible Ties

Firstly, I’d like to mention that I received this copy from Liberty Books in exchange for an honest review and so here it is:

The story revolves around this young woman called Noor who grew up in Karachi, Pakistan, cared for by several maids while her status conscious mother attended social events and galas. Her father wasn’t around much either since he was usually busy working but was considerably more fond of his daughter than his wife.

After a tragic incident that involved robbery and looting, Noor’s parents wanted their daughter to be safe from harm’s way – and they think it would be best to wed her off to a man in his early thirties in Singapore.

Trapped in a loveless marriage along with the responsibility of caring for a sick and demanding mother in law, Noor feels like an outsider even in her new home.

Now onto my thoughts concerning the book, I really had high expectations for it and was excited to get into it as soon as possible because I believe that local artists and writers should always be supported. And while I’m glad I received the book, I was still disappointed by it.

From the very first page, it becomes clear that the writer uses a lot of fancy words and too much of purple prose in her context. It’s too much to the point where you’re constantly being distracted by all the big and complicated words. And instead of losing myself into the story, I found it really hard to connect with the characters at all.

Part of the reason is that there’s just this description overload that I feel like, could’ve been easily cut down and reduced. It’s just distracting. And the other reason that I found it hard to connect with the characters is that there wasn’t much attention given to the emotions that they’re going through. So because of that when they’re feeling sad or scared or lonely, you can’t relate to them. You can’t sympathise with them because the description is mostly just about the physical parts and things, when it should’ve been more emotional and personal.

Instead of maybe simply telling us that Noor was scarred by the robbery incident, show us that fear of hers. Don’t tell it to us, show us that she, for example, always checks the locks on all doors and windows before being able to fall asleep at night. Because that shows us that she’s still afraid, that there’s this part of her that keeps replaying that occurrence over and over in her mind.

The characters, at many points, felt really flat, especially when it came to their dialogues. The dialogues were my least favourite bit about the book, honestly because they did not feel natural at all. They did not seem believable, it felt fake and that bothered me. Hence, another reason why I couldn’t connect or relate to the characters.

Another thing that I wanted to mention in my review is that when I was reading the book, I felt like the writer was forcefully shoving historic facts down my throat. I’m sorry if I’m being too harsh, but this is my honest opinion. There were many times where I felt like those historical pieces of information weren’t of much use because it wouldn’t have made a difference in the story and it’s plot so I kept thinking, “Why put it in there in the first place when it’s really not that relevant?”

It felt like a history lesson that I wasn’t much interested in and that pulled me further away from the story.

I think that this is all that I have to say about the book. I was really excited for it, honest to God, but it just didn’t live up to my expectations. Im sorry if I’ve offended anyone, I hate coming off as harsh or mean but I can’t lie. Anyway, maybe the book will be your cup of tea and you could enjoy it so don’t hesitate to read it if you’re interested and form your own opinion on it. Thank you so much for reading.

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[Review] The Wild Folk

To be honest, I got into this book thinking that it was meant for children and didn’t really expect much from it – boy, was I wrong.

It is true however, that the author wrote this book for children and young teens but that doesn’t mean that the older generation can’t enjoy it as well. And I really did. I should mention that I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review from Usborne. So just letting y’all know that and shoutout to Usborne for sending this gorgeous book my way and many others.

The book, The Wild Folk, tells us of this place called Farallone which has been divided into 3 parts. The City Dwellers with their high walls and hostility, the peaceful Country folk and the Wild Folk living in their territory which is a no man zone.

The book also talks about this substance called Stargold which in the past years, had been used to power most of the City’s contraptions and engines. With the stargold running out, the Dwellers are determined to discover whatever trace there is left of it. And it’s this greed of the City Dwellers that two children have to fight against. Comfrey and Tin.

It’s a magical adventure into the unknown that every kid dreams of when growing up.

I liked reading it and while there were some things that were predictable throughout the book, I would definitely recommend this to all your younger siblings.

The characters in the book are relatable and there’s this obvious separation of black and white. Heroic and evil. Good and bad. And while I do prefer my areas all greyish and murky, (because let’s face it: no one is all good, just like no one is all bad either) I did find myself continuing the story whenever I could.

I liked what the author tried to incorporate in the story. That we are all one with nature and that if the balance is disturbed, we might be damning ourselves alongside with everyone else. I feel like it holds a great moral for children and gives adults something to reflect on, especially now when the earth is being polluted day by day. It’s important to raise awareness on this issue and I applaud the author for doing her part.

So do check it out when you can and don’t forget to share it with siblings too!

My Experience with Karachi

So I’ve never done this kind of thing before and I really hope that you like it since I want to try and get more personal with you guys, instead of just sticking to book reviews and tags. Let me know if you liked this blog update and whether you want more.

To begin with, I was born in this obnoxious and loud city, that always seems to hum with music and horns and wonder all at the same time.

But then I moved away to Saudi Arabia when I was a kid and grew up there. I honestly feel more at home there than here in Karachi but maybe that’s because for such a long time, that’s been the only home I’ve ever known and loved.

I grew up there feeling like I never belonged during my adolescent years and then, feeling like this is the only place that’ll feel like home to me as I matured. Even when I didn’t know or learn the language when I was there, I still loved it. And then I had to leave it to move back here for further studies.

I have cried more than once just because I still miss that place. But it’s been 2 years for me in Karachi and it isn’t as bad as I’d expected.

Of course it gets a bad rap because of the heightened crime rates and corruption and whatnot but honestly, the media has a fondness for exaggerating things and making them seem more worse than they actually are.

Karachi certainly isn’t the best city in the world, not even close. But it’s… memorable.

That’s the word that comes to mind when I think about this place. You can’t easily forget your experiences here. The city is so full of life and contradicting sights. You can glimpse a well known restaurant right next to a rusty and run down flower shop. You can see people from sophisticated circles lounging and dining in the same places as middle class families with too many children. You can very easily spot certain landmarks right next to mini grocery stores or a lot of people with stalls flocking around it.

The way this city manages to mold these two different things together is almost poetic in a way. And the funny and queer thing is that it works. It wouldn’t work anywhere else but here in Karachi, it works somehow. That’s the magic of this city and I don’t think there’s anywhere else like it.

So yes, Karachi is definitely memorable.

The traffic still sucks, I mean obviously with your rickshaws and the honking cars and the never ending motorcycles. The place is literally swarmed with those. And let’s not forget about the dumps and pollution in some places. But not every place is perfect and I guess that this is what I get so I’m going to make the most out of it. Because some of the landmarks are so rich with history and culture that it’s overwhelming at times. And then the food is just heaven here, no matter where you’re purchasing it from. Whether it’s street food or from a fancy restaurant, it never fails to impress me.

So Karachi, since I’m such a foodie, you get a bonus point for this one. I hope I find a home in you too.

[Review] Redefine Your Bee-ing 🐝

Right off the bat, one of the first things that I noticed about this book were the illustrations and the overall theme and style of the book. It’s not an understatement when I say that this book is very, very gorgeous.

It was sent to me by Modia who is the founder of the Beejewel brand, along with her sister Huda. Their company creates amazing jewellery and use bees as a symbol to raise compassion and awareness. They were generous and kind enough to send me their very first copy of the book.

So in short, this is a self help book that focuses on women empowerment and it’s quite a quick read with different quotes from people and references to and from other books.

The book also compares us women as a whole, to bees and how bees work perfectly in sync for the betterment of the bee hive, likewise that’s what women should also pursue or set as a goal – to work in harmony with each other and using our qualities and gifts to their best, not just for our sole result but for our society as a whole.

I really loved the message and the concept of the book and it was a pleasant read to the eyes, due to the lovely and light illustrations throughout the book.

I also loved how the book is interactive with the reader. It has a small quiz that you’re to take if you want to find your own ‘style’ of beeing. According to the book, there are 6 styles that can be narrowed down to the majority of the women and once you take the quiz, you’ll determine which style’s category you fit into.

The style above in the photo shows off one of the six styles: ‘the dramatic style’ – something I really wish I was in the category of because lord, it looks effing beautiful. However I’m still so happy that I fall into the ‘creative’ style category.

Along with these defining styles and quiz, there are also some blank lined pages which we are free to use to jot down our own observations and thoughts and resolutions. Basically, to help us understand ourselves better and to set our priorities right.

One of the other things that I’d like to mention is that according to the various styles, there are also various jewellery that are selected from the BeeJewell Boutique Collection to best suit your style. Being 100% honest here, I’m not big on jewellery but I freaking wanted the lovely green bracelet with a mini bee dangling from it. 😍

Anyway, thank you so so so much for sending this beauty my way, I absolutely loved it and I would most definitely urge other people to get it as well. It’s really beautiful, motivational and inspirational and best of all, a quick read.

I hope you guys enjoyed the review and thank you so very much for reading. 💋

Karachi Literature Festival 2018

So this was my first time attending the Karachi Literature Festival and I’m so glad that I did. I was kind of expecting the turnout to be somewhat similar to the Karachi Book Fairs but this event was way more organised and clean, and even open.

The Beach Luxury Hotel, where the Festival was held, was quite impressive. There was even proper security and although traffic was a hassle (like always) it turned out pretty good.

There were a lot of food stalls to munch from, ranging from good ‘ol chai to burgers and even bun kebabs. A number of tables were set up out in the open and some people even preferred to eat while sitting on the grass, picnic style.

But the main attraction for me personally, were the book stalls. Oxford Press, Liberty Books and many more stalls were set up further from the eating area and there were sales everywhere.

There were books for people of every age and taste. From kids’ drawing and colouring books and comics to fiction and non fiction books. I spent almost 2 whole hours simply browsing among all of them. And of course, where kids are involved, activities are too to keep them busy and entertained. Here’s a shot of a bunch of kids gathered around on a spread to colour. The mini artists are busy at work.

There were also lots of noticeable faces among the crowd, writers, actors and even some well known speakers. Although, I couldn’t stay long for the book launches and speeches, there were remarkable debates and talks on political and social issues such as,

Gender Issues Today

Why Is Shakespeare Shakespeare?

The Madness That Is Cricket

Can Art and Culture Save the City?

When Money Talks

Does Indian Poetry in English Have a History?

And many, many more that I wish I had enough time in the world to attend but alas, the life of a university student is never easy.

Although, I was very pleased to see that a lot of other students and people around my ages and even lower were taking part and interest in such issues and events and just helping to spread more awareness among our community.

Once the heavy talks and the interviews were over however, there’s always enough time for afternoon and sunset selfies. And the beach behind provided not only a great background but a grand view as well.

You can see from the pictures why I thought that the Beach Luxury Hotel was a great place for the festival. It was a pretty good first experience. The best part was that even though there were a lot of people, there was still enough room for everyone, save for the occasional shoulder bump or so. But otherwise, considering the turnout, it was an open and spacious place.

I didn’t personally catch a lot of the other activities going on, but I did stumble across a sketch artist who was trying to capture this adorable little girl on paper. She had a shy smile on her face and was beaming towards her parents, I thought it was the cutest thing ever.

All in all, KLF 2018 was a good one and I can’t wait to see what the next one brings us. If you guys attended the event, don’t hesitate to share your experiences below in the comments, I’d love to know. Thanks so much for reading and please leave a like if you enjoyed this.

ACOTAR Series Book Tags

Since I’ve recently finished the ACOTAR series, I thought that it would be fun to do a book tag that’s related to these books.

I’d like to thank Cassie from Anchored by Books on YouTube for coming up with this tag. The book tag is really simple – there’s going to be a bunch of character names from the ACOTAR series and a question that goes with that particular character’s personality or a certain trait. The question is going to relate to those characters in one way or another and we have to answer it.

It’ll actually make more sense as you read on, I promise you. So without further ado, let’s jump right into it.

So the first character is: Lucien

[Q. Pick a book that fits more than one genre.]

For this, I’m gonna go with the Harry Potter series because it’s one of the most diverse things that come to mind. It has fantasy, YA, a bit of romance and a couple more genres mixed into it.

The second character is: Tamlin

[Q. Pick a book with a nice cover but you didn’t like what was on the inside.]

I’m gonna go with Everything, Everything for this one. Because I was speechless by the book’s gorgeous cover when it first came out and I had such high expectations for it too. But unfortunately, I didn’t really love it, thought that it was a mediocre read at best because there were certain things in the book that seemed very unrealistic to me. So yeah, I didn’t like it.

Third character is: Amarantha

[Q. Pick a book that haunts you (in a good or bad way)]

I’m going with Jefferey Archer’s book, Kane and Abel for this one. I read this book a few years back and I still vividly remember how the book literally shook me. Like there were so, so many details in there that it all felt so real, the terror, the disgust, the adoration, the hate, everything. It’s a brilliant book, one that I never tire of reading.

Fourth character is: King of Hybern

[Q. Pick a book with a lot of bloodshed.]

I’ve thought about this one for a while and the only book that I keep coming back to is Song of Achilles. I mean, it’s a Greek mythology, what else would you expect besides vain Gods and unnecessary bloodshed? I mean, the book isn’t over the top bloody, but there are a lot of deaths.

Fifth character is: Amren

[Q. Pick a book you don’t know a lot about.]

I’m gonna go with The Alchemist for this one, by Paulo Coelho. I’ve read the whole book once, literally dragged myself through it all to see what all the hype was about, and I was still confused half the time by what was going on. It honestly wasn’t for me at all and I can’t understand it either. I have no idea how other people have claimed to love it.

Sixth character is: Mor

[Q. Pick a memoir.]

Princess Sultana. Pretty sure that’s the only memoir that I’ve read… but I did love it. So I would recommend it to any of you as well.

Seventh character is: Rhysand

[Q. Pick a book that you have a bond with.]

I’m gonna have to go with two books for this one. Little Women and Treasure Island. Both classics, from quite different genres but both so very good in their own way. Little Women was the book that really sparked my interest in reading so it’ll always have a special place in my heart. And as for Treasure Island, I fell madly in love with the one-legged charming but cunning pirate, John Silver. And I do not exaggerate the “madly in love” bit at all. It’s almost like an obsession, always there at the back of my mind.

The eighth character is: Feyre

[Q. Pick a book that got you into reading.]

Okay, so Little Women did really spark my interest in reading but my earliest reading memories include another classic called Tom Sawyer. I admit that Tom Sawyer may have peaked my interest enough to pick up Little Women too. So I guess that’s where it all started from?

The ninth character/aspect is: Spring Court

[Q. Pick a book that you read during the spring.]

I don’t really remember since I hardly keep track of what I’ve read but if memory serves me right, I think it was A Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay. And it was such an eye opener for me so I would recommend y’all to pick it up as well.

Now the tenth is: Night Court

[Q. Pick a book that you’ve read way into the night.]

Kane and Abel comes to mind once again because I remember hiding the book under my pillow and pretending to be asleep so that my mother wouldn’t suspect anything. And then when she’d gone to bed, I’d wake up and read until I would start to doze off on the pages. It was so addicting.

Anyway, that’s it for this book tag, it was my first time doing something like this on my blog – did you guys like it?

I really hope that you did and leave your thoughts in the comments below and don’t forget to like this post if you enjoyed it. I would further like to tag some other bloggers to do this tag:

Rapunzellovesbooks

fatimah.creates

thebookwormofnotredame

book.by.book

book.ninja

bookaholic_me

inkandteacups

captainoffictio

Can’t wait to see how you guys answer the questions! That’s it for this post, folks!

Turtles All The Way Down [Book Review]

So it’s been a long minute since I’d last read anything by John Green but everyone, and I mean everyone, has been hyping about this book so there was no way I wouldn’t have read this. Quick note though, I bought my hardcover copy of TATWD from Liberty Books and if you know me well, you’ll know that I buy almost all my books from there. It’s my favourite bookstore and there’s also a perk for all the book nerds living in Pakistan: They offer free nationwide shipping. Be sure to check out their website in the link.

Anyway, to get straight into the review, I liked what I read. Even though I didn’t love it like some readers did, I still appreciated John’s research into certain mental disorders.

The story is about a high school girl called Ava who’s struggling with the everyday problems, along with a little something extra. Her thought spirals leave her confused and happen to her at the worst of times. Amidst all of this, there’s news circulating around about the infamous billionaire, Russell Pickett, who went into hiding to avoid police investigation for his bribery crimes.

And it just so happens that Ava knew his son, Davis, when they were kids who had lost touch with each other when they’d grown up. But because of certain turn of events, Ava meets him again and the two start to catch up on things that they’d missed out on.

What I liked the most about this book is that it was realistic and handled mental disorders quite well.

There’s been this stereotypical thing going on in books and fanfictions, regarding mental issues that once you meet a cute, charming boy and he’ll end up telling you how amazing you are, which will magically make all your troubles go away just because you have someone now.

Which is frankly quite ridiculous. Mental issues aren’t that easy to get rid of or even to treat, it takes years of therapy and medication, sometimes even an entire lifetime.

So I’m really glad that John took this topic and even explored this quite seriously because it isn’t something that’s meant to be taken lightly.

It’s a state of mind and since your head is attached to your body, there’s no escaping from it. So naturally it’s way harder to treat than a physical wound or injury.

Reading the book and seeing things from Ava’s point of view, I felt a bit exhausted because I felt what the main character was feeling, even if it was for just a while. To be trapped inside your mind and held captive by your own thoughts, it’s…such a scary place. It’s such a terrifying thing to know that so many people go through this, every. single. day. And there’s no escape from this because this is something that you can’t control.

And I liked that it’s been portrayed exactly like that in the book, that happy endings are far fetched but regardless, life still goes on. So you go on.

I liked the message that the book portrayed and the way it was done. And unlike The Fault In Our Stars, which is my favourite book by John Green, Turtles All The Way Down focuses more on these mental health issues rather than the romantic chemistry of the two lovers in the book.

So it did good while creating more awareness about these things. It’s a great read, just not my favourite but that in no way means that it’s bad. I would seriously recommend this to anyone who’s reading or who’s wondering whether John Green’s books are worth a shot or not. This one is. It may not be the most quirky or cheerful thing that you’ve read, but you’ll find something to appreciate in this.

So yeah, that basically sums up my review for the book. Thanks so much for reading so far and I really hope that you liked my review. And if you have already read the book, be sure to comment below so that we can talk about it one – on – one. I’d love to do that and I’ll see you guys around soon.