Book Sale Haul + Lion King Review

Hi Readers!

I am a bit lazy to type out separate posts for a haul and a movie review and also because these two incidents happened on the same day back-to-back, it kinda feels continuous and flows when I talk about them in the same post. Lol.

ANYWAY.

I don’t know how many of you are familiar with the Big Bad Wolf Sale but apparently it’s a travelling book-sale that travels around the world (considering it has literally about a million books, I don’t know how the travelling happens) but IT IS AWESOME. There are stalls of all genres possible; from science fiction, thrillers and romance to young adult, classics and non-fiction, the variety is endless. I already bought 11 books from the sale when I was in Lahore (a city in Pakistan where my University is) and now that I’m in Karachi where I live, the Big Bad Sale is here haha!

Following are the books I bought:

Image result for the tea girl of hummingbird lane pdf

Synopsis:

In their remote mountain village, Li-yan and her family align their lives around the seasons and the farming of tea. For the Akha people, ensconced in ritual and routine, life goes on as it has for generations—until a stranger appears at the village gate in a jeep, the first automobile any of the villagers has ever seen.

The stranger’s arrival marks the first entrance of the modern world in the lives of the Akha people. Slowly, Li-yan, one of the few educated girls on her mountain, begins to reject the customs that shaped her early life. When she has a baby out of wedlock—conceived with a man her parents consider a poor choice—she rejects the tradition that would compel her to give the child over to be killed, and instead leaves her, wrapped in a blanket with a tea cake tucked in its folds, near an orphanage in a nearby city.
As Li-yan comes into herself, leaving her insular village for an education, a business, and city life, her daughter, Haley, is raised in California by loving adoptive parents. Despite her privileged childhood, Haley wonders about her origins. Across the ocean Li-yan longs for her lost daughter. Over the course of years, each searches for meaning in the study of Pu’er, the tea that has shaped their family’s destiny for centuries.

A powerful story about circumstances, culture, and distance, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane paints an unforgettable portrait of a little known region and its people and celebrates the bond of family.

 

Image result for the versions of us book Synopsis:

Eva and Jim are nineteen and students at Cambridge when their paths first cross in 1958. And then there is David, Eva’s then-lover, an ambitious actor who loves Eva deeply. The Versions of Us follows the three different courses their lives could take following this first meeting. Lives filled with love, betrayal, ambition but through it all is a deep connection that endures whatever fate might throw at them.

The Versions of Us explores the idea that there are moments when our lives might have turned out differently, the tiny factors or decisions that could determine our fate, and the precarious nature of the foundations upon which we build our lives. It is also a story about the nature of love and how it grows, changes and evolves as we go through the vagaries of life.

 

Image result for the art of x-ray reading roy peter clark

So this is quite new for me, since it is a first non-fiction book that I purchased in a hard-copy form. I have read only two nonfiction books in my life (Bad Feminist and Subtle Art) and both of them were on my kindle.

I’m really not big on non-fiction at all, but this book had me at “great works of literature that improves your writing”. I just randomly opened the book at “X-raying Sylvia Plath’s writing: jolt of insight” and within 2 pages it had me completely and utterly engrossed in the text. Clarke does a fine job of analysing literary techniques and I really enjoyed it. It has material from Gatsby, Lolita, Virgil, Toni Morrison, Flannery O Connor etc.

I am really looking forward to reading the book!

 

Now onto the second part of my post; Review of Lion King!

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These vacations I have literally spent my money going to theatre with an audience of 10-12 year olds. From Aladdin and Toy Story to Lion King now, I loveeee watching animated movies. I loved Aladdin so much that I’m ready to watch it another time, so naturally I was super excited for Lion King as well.

It isn’t a bad movie by any means, but I feel like Aladdin was superbly done and in comparison to that, Lion King lacked at a lot of places. For starters, the animated, original version was really nerve-wracking, tugging your heart at various emotional scenes, no matter your age. But because the ‘live-action’ remake seemed so much more like animals taken out of national geographic; a lot of the actions, expressions and instances that were present in the animated version were absent from here, thus making the movie less enjoyable as I seem to remember it. The death of Mufasa is my favourite-gut-wrenching-heart-toying scene in the entire movie and if there is one movie scene that has to be given an Oscar out of all the Disney animated movies, this has to be the one! It highlights the peak of the father-son relationship between Mufasa and the cub, Simba. However, since the animated teary-faced Simba brought tears to my eyes, the realistic Simba failed to even move me or make me feel anything, emotionally.

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One thing I did like however was that the female roles were expanded on. There was considerable part of Nala and Sirabi (Simba’s mother) highlighting their characters throughout. Like in the animated version, Nala and Sirabi only served as picturesque ‘queens’. Also, Timon and Pumba scenes were iconic! They added light humour to the whole movie and I loved it!

Overall, it will be a 3/5 rating for me. Nothing can top off Aladdin!

 

Have you guys seen Lion King? What did you guys feel about it?

Tell me about your recent book hauls and movies watched!

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TV Review // I watched my first anime and I am a mess

Hello Readers!

I am overwhelmed with a lot of feelings right now so I want to get right into it. This is my first time watching an anime and mildly put, I’ll say it was a bitter-sweet experience. The first part of the series, up till Episode 25, was a masterpiece. I really really liked it and wanted to get more into animes. But after that, the show just began going haywire and pointless which sucked because it took out all the fun and the brilliance of the early episodes as well. 

concept_plot_

Concept/Plot:

Ok for starters, the plot for this anime is very original and creative. A 17-year old boy, Light Yagami, stumbles across a diary (DeathNote) that kills whoever has his name written on it. Now where did this notebook come from? This is super interesting, as the notebook belonged to the God of death, a Shinigami, who accidentally dropped it in the human world. Now Light has a weird God complex where he wants to take over the world, finish all the cruelty and injustice and make this world a better place by writing down names of criminals in his notebook. Soon, prisoners start dying by a heart attack. Better yet, the owner of the notebook can also write the WAY a person dies (I know I don’t have a diary but my dark mind can’t help thinking of all the ways I can use this diary). Well, Light is now known as “Kira” GLOBALLY since the police now know there is someone behind these killings. (During these first episodes you see the mastermind that is Light and you can’t help but think of Sherlock Holmes). In enters a detective, L, (yep its an initial) with weird quirks and eating habits who never sleeps but is equally as smart as Light Yagami is and is there to catch “Kira”. It gets even more interesting from here since Light and L go around in a wild cat-and-mouse chase in order to stay one step ahead of the other. It is really brilliant to see these masterminds work and kept me on the edge of my seat, guessing their every move (I had a gazillion theories btw and all were proven wrong lmao)

Shinigamis and the touch of magical realism:

It is very rare to see a murder, crime or a psychological thriller which is not rooted in our real world surrounding real people. Even when there are bouts of supernatural stuff, it ends up becoming more like Vampire Diaries and less of Criminal Minds. 

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This show, however, found a perfect balance between the two. Shinigamis are basically Gods of Death who possess notebooks to kill off people and love apples. Infact, apples are their cigarettes and alcohol. Super addicting stuff. I don’t know how the two relate but it is so cool to see the dynamics between Light Yagami and Ryuk, his shinigami. Since Light picked up Ryuk’s notebook when it fell into the human world, Ryuk was destined to be with Light until he died. One of the things about Ryuk is, that he is one of the characters who also like many other, go through no character development, but somehow his deathly exterior (pun intended) hovering over Light at all times is something you’d come to appreciate. There’s a time when Ryuk vanishes for a while, and I actually missed him! It’s then when I realised that this is more a story from Ryuk’s POV than Light. Because Ryuk got to witness the numerous murders and lying games, it would have made a great bedtime story to tell his grandchildren, if he could have any lmao. 

Soundtrack:

THE SHOW HAS AN AMAZING THEME SONG……..until episode 20 happened and this favourite thing, amongst many other, was also snatched away from me and I was NOT happy. 

Concept_Plot_ (1)

Well hello there and brace yourself for a loooong list. Also, spoilers ahead! 

Zero character development, except of Light. 

and also,

Light Yagami is a misogynist. 

I’ll tell you why I say this. With concrete examples so don’t fight me on this.

There was this former FBI girl who is very clever and witty (literally the only smart girl the show has to offer, which was very disappointing in itself because her appearance was limited to what…one episode?!) and she figured out that Light was Kira. Now Light obviously didn’t want to be caught but he didn’t know how to stop the girl from going to the police station so he actually thought, and I quote word-by-word, “Well, she is a woman, if she doesn’t listen to me I can use force on her.” 

THIS. LINE. 

DESTROYED. ME. 

What the actual fuck?

But wait, if you think that this is despicable, he begins dating this girl, Misa, and he wants her to”obey him at all times”. *coughs* typical *coughs* and when she doesn’t listen to him, he thinks, 

Now whoever still likes Light Yagami, I am sorry for you.

Lack of female characters: 

There is literally no badass female character. The one person whom I have discussed above, is killed off. There comes a woman detective who seemed pretty cool and artsy…but guess what she is also killed. Light’s girlfriend, Misa, is honestly portrayed as an annoying, obnoxious pest buzzing around the room obsessed with Light, for no reason whatsoever. Her job is literally to help Light. And come to think of it, that’s what all characters are doing. From the police force and FBI, to Light’s family and girlfriend, they all serve as stagnant elements of the plot waiting to be killed off or to make a hyperbole of Light’s brilliance. 

Killing off all major (read: sane) characters.

MAJOR SPOILERS HERE. So if you haven’t seen this, you can skip this part.

ok so L dies. As disappointing and heartbreaking as it is, what’s even more annoying is that he gets killed because of Misa! (The way that happens is actually pretty smart on Light’s part…that’s the only time when Light outwitted L) but it wasn’t even worth it, BECAUSE MISA COMMITS SUICIDE. (Guess why? If your answer involves Light, you got it). Talk about utter bullshit.

But wait, the disappointment doesn’t end here. Soirichio Yagami, Light’s father, is one of the characters who you feel instant admiration for. He’s strong-willed, brave, just, willing to cross borders for his kids’ just like all fathers do and he literally was put to test soooo many times that his end was not justifiable at alllllllll. I wanted more for him, you know? It was really sad, I’m still really sad.

Post episode 25

This is one of the major reasons I had to drop my rating by a whole star. After episode 25 (where L is killed), the show is P O I N T L E S S. Kira has become a whole damn organisation by now, needing a spokesperson to convey its messages on news channels. LOL hilarious.

What started off as magical realism, folklore (shinigamis and the human realm) and mystery now turned into an elaborate web of deceit, lies, murder and corruption; and it just kept going on and on and on dragging the whole plot rather unnecessarily. It seemed like the writers were bored themselves because apart from L, there was nothing interesting to write about anymore.

And listen to me, as much as I appreciate the whole mind-chess game, I’ve already seen it before in Sherlock, Mindhunter and White Collar. Give me something different. The shinigami stuff was soooo original, I was really happy in the beginning cuz it was nothing like I had seen before. This could easily have been one of my favourite shows if it weren’t for Light’s insensitive behaviour and the whole post

Book Review: Virtually Yours (another disappointing rom-com)

Hello Readers!

Haha, you must be wondering another post so soon? She posted like 2 days ago lool. I know, this is new even for me. But I’ve really been reading this month and I want to review as i read along. i am really enjoying blogging these days so brace yourselves for another fun post coming soon! (maybe day after tomorrow) I am shocked at myself as i write this too haha.

But before I start, can we talk about this really weird new block format of posts that WordPress has introduced? Does anyone else find it annoying too, because I sure as hell do! It is interfering in my editing skills that I learned with such hassle anyway lol and now this. I can’t seem to attach picture without a dozen confusing options about block/document; cover/image or what?? This is killing me. Please give me back the old wordpress editor.

Moving on, I’ll be talking about another rom-com//chick-lit// contemporary YA which is basically a disguise for “another love-story made on a dating app”. Seriously, I am not kidding every other chick-lit I’m reading these days is on social media or a dating app or fake accounts or in this case, virtual reality dating HAH.

My Rating: 1/5

Goodreads Synopsis:

NYU freshman Mariam Vakilian hasn’t dated anyone in five months, not since her high school sweetheart Caleb broke up with her. So, when she decides to take advantage of an expiring coupon and try out a new virtual reality dating service, it’s sort of a big deal. It’s an even bigger deal when it chooses as one of her three matches none other than Caleb himself. That has to be a sign, right?

Except that her other match, Jeremy, just happens to be her new best friend IRL.

Mariam’s heart is telling her one thing, but the app is telling her another. So, which should she trust? Is all fair in modern love?

My Thoughts:

Let’s start with the good, shall we? So our Mariam in the story has just started going to college. She is figuring out what she should do, what she should major in and what courses to take. This, for me, has always been really relatable and nice to see people figure out themselves with time. Her roommate, Hedy, who’s btw named after Audrey Hepburn is obviously a Film Studies Major Student and the conversations she has with Mariam on Italian movies, their colour schemes, the acting is so interesting to read about. There is a lot of talk on classic movies which is nice to see in books. Other than that, I really appreciated the inclusion of Irani culture. I always love reading about cuisines and cultures of different lands and Irani plus being Muslims was a nice diverse touch.

Now why did I not like this book?

  • For starters, everyone in this book just seem to be concerned about love and relationships. Mariam’s roommate is not in her room? Oh she’s with her girlfriend. Mina’s (mariam’s sister) life is so boring – because she doesn’t have a boyfriend. Even their dinner-time family conversations comprise of “Who are you dating? Did you find anyone? Are there any cute guys?” And when siblings are having a nice day out, even then they JUST TALK ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS. Like is there absolutely nothing valuable about your lives?
  • It was unnecessarily repetitive. Atleast uptill 40% of the book, nothing happened except Mariam making a fake account and catfishing her ex-boyfriend. I get how interesting and messed up this could be, but it could have the same effect in 2 or 3 chapters rather than 11 chapters. So the whole idea got pretty worn out too soon.
  • Under-developed character relationships. I am a huge sucker for characters! Give me character background story, their growing up story, their flaws and talents and hobbies and weave them into a kickass story-line and you’ll have a 5/5 star book! The characters in this book were all so bland. I loved Hedy only because we could see her passion of movies come through pages, she had her own presence to make in the story which was unfortunately missing from all the characters. Caleb, the ex-boyfriend, had no personality. Jeremy, the best friend, existed only to give love advices and to serve a happy-ever-after end. Its really sad if even after 345 pages, the only thing you know about the character is that they are a brother, sister, parent or a friend of the protagonist.
  • Also, the characters do not act their age which is 18+. It feels like Mariam, Caleb and even Mina are all in high-school by the way they honestly talk about all the stuff. It gives off major juvenile vibes.

I know the synopsis rounds rather cute-sy and all, but honestly naah. I wouldn’t recommend this. But if you want to read friends-turned-lovers trope through also adding the dating app twist, then you should rather give My Favourite One-Night Stand a chance or the new book, The Right Swipe (I haven’t read this one, but it is next on my list).

( I really wanted to insert the book-covers of the said books above but I cant get to attach them side by side together. I don’t know it gives some sort of a block option which for the life of me, I can’t seem to grasp the understanding of. Is there a guide or something I can see for the new changes?)

What I did this month – Books, Netflix and more (Part 2)

Hello Readers!

I hope everyone’s summers are going well and all those on vacations have been catching up on their reading/shows etc. Remember how I talked about the new chick-lit releases coming out in June in my last post?  So I’ve been doing a lot of chick-lit reading and also watching a few chick-flicks on Netflix – because of-course, summers! Hah.

So today I am going to review all that I’ve read and watched, and guys…it is NOT good. Especially, Netflix. I don’t even know what the hell is wrong with Netflix and why it is even producing so many utter nonsensical movies!??

Continue reading “What I did this month – Books, Netflix and more (Part 2)”

What I’ve been hooked on this month – TV Shows Wrap Up pt. 1

Hello Readers!

Two unbelievable things happened this month:

  1. June is ending already wthhh??? It JUST started like…30 days ago??? Where did they go?
  2. Wow, I am actually dividing my wrap up in 2 posts. TWO. This has never happened, really but I think, great job me!!

Continue reading “What I’ve been hooked on this month – TV Shows Wrap Up pt. 1”