Struggles of being alive

There are certain nights where I struggle with my sanity.

This happens to be one of those nights. Again.

I should be used to them, but I’m not.

I don’t think that I ever will be.

How do you get used to this feeling

Of wanting to rip your heart out

And wanting to shred it into a million pieces

Just so that you’ll stop feeling.

Stop feeling this horrible ache.

Stop feeling this paralysing sadness.

Stop feeling this mind-numbing, bone-crushing loneliness.

How do you live, when the world isn’t fit to live in?

When the world is a horrible, cruel place

That crushes everyone that’s different

That crushes everyone that’s good

That crushes everyone that hopes.

I don’t want to live in this world. Haven’t wanted to in a while.

Was going to say goodbye 3 years ago, but I decided to stay a while longer.

And I’m still not sure if I chose right.

But now that this is out, I feel better.

Just wanted to say that it is a struggle to be alive right now.

List of amazing Kpop songs

SM ENTERTAINMENT (You will have to resist laughing at their English but their songs are catchy)

TVXQ: Used to have 5 people, but 3 people sued the company and left. But their songs are still good. Fandom called Cassiopeia. Insanely good as a group of 5. Bias is Changmin.

  1. Mirotic
  2. Keep Your Head Down
  3. Catch Me
  4. Something

Super Junior: Used to have 13 people, but 1 sued and left and another just left. My first love. I like their odd numbered albums better than their even ones. Bias is Ryeowook.

  1. No Other
  2. Sorry Sorry
  3. It’s You
  4. Mamacita
  5. This is Love
  6. From U
  7. Mr. Simple
  8. Superman

SHINee: No one left YAY. Insanely good dancers, arguably best dancers in Kpop. Hilarious af. Cannot choose between Jongkook and Minho so no bias.

  1. Lucifer
  2. Ring Ding Dong
  3. Sherlock
  4. Married to the Music
  5. View
  6. Everybody
  7. Replay
  8. 1 of 1
  9. Don’t Let Me Go

SNSD: AKA Girls’ Generation. Kicked my bias Jessica out, so 8 now instead of 9. Known as the ideal girlfriend type for Korean men. Have a sub-group called TTS.

  1. Genie
  2. Gee
  3. Lion Heart
  4. I Got A Boy
  5. Mr. Mr.
  6. Mr. Taxi
  7. Paparazzi
  8. All My Love is for You

EXO: Most famous group in the company right now. Used to have 12, but 3 sued and left. Known for awesome choreography. Bias is Baekhyun.

  1. Monster
  2. Growl
  3. What Is Love
  4. Call Me Baby
  5. Overdose

F(x): Used to have 5, but 1 left. Gets much less promotion compared to SNSD, which is a shame. One of the members is the sister of Jessica from SNSD. Pretty different from SNSD and Red Velvet (another girl group from SM).

  1. Nu Abo
  2. LA chA TA
  3. Hot Summer
  4. Electric Shock
  5. Danger
  6. Rum Pum Pum Pum

Red Velvet: No one has left yet because they’re new. Don’t listen to them much. Very cute most of the time.

  1. Russian Roulette
  2. Dumb Dumb
  3. Ice Cream Cake
  4. Rookie

 

YG ENTERTAINMENT (Very hiphop and weird, but the artists under this company are exceedingly talented)

Big Bang: Favourite group for the past 4 years. Hilarious af. All have their own solo careers. Known for bombastic music, crazy MVs and weird fashion sense. Bias is GD.

  1. Fantastic Baby
  2. Sober
  3. Bang Bang Bang
  4. Haru Haru
  5. Fxxk It
  6. Blue
  7. Let’s Not Fall in Love

2NE1: Most badass female group ever. Very different from the ones that debuted in the 2000s. Just disbanded last year. Cannot choose between Dara and CL so no bias.

  1. Fire
  2. I Am The Best
  3. Gotta Be You
  4. Go Away
  5. Come Back Home
  6. Can’t Nobody

iKon: Relatively new. Not as bombastic as Big Bang, but still pretty out there sometimes. Bias is BI.

  1. Dumb & Dumber
  2. My Type
  3. What’s Wrong?
  4. Airplane
  5. Apology
  6. Rhythm Ta

Blackpink: Debuted in 2016. All gorgeous and beautiful. More dance-y than the rest. Only have 4 songs. Cannot choose bias because they are all stunning.

  1. Boombayah
  2. Whistle
  3. Playing with Fire
  4. Stay

Akdong Musician: AKA AKMU. Indie vibes. Brother sister pair. Sister has angelic voice while brother writes music, produces music and raps.

  1. Re-bye
  2. How People Move
  3. 200%
  4. Give Love
  5. Melted

Winner: Relatively new. Used to have 5 but 1 left/was kicked out. More ballad style. No bias as don’t know them well enough.

  1. Empty
  2. Sentimental

Epik High: Really old rap group. Don’t really know them either.

  1. Born Hater

PSY: Most famous for Gangnam Style. Been in the industry for over a decade. Known for really weird MVs.

  1. Daddy
  2. Gentleman
  3. Napal Baji

 

JYP ENTERTAINMENT (Decent English, all the artists very pretty/handsome)

2PM: Used to have 7, but 1 left. Known as the Beast idols as they’re all ripped. Exceedingly good looking bunch. Hilarious af too. Cannot choose favourite so no bias.

  1. A.D.T.O.Y.
  2. Go Crazy
  3. My House
  4. Heartbeat
  5. I’ll Be Back
  6. Again & Again

Miss A: Used to have 4, but 1 left. Very focused on 1 particular person in the group. Don’t know them well enough to choose bias.

  1. Goodbye Baby
  2. Hush
  3. I Don’t Need A Man
  4. Only You
  5. Bad Girl, Good Girl
  6. Breathe

Got7: Relatively new. Talented, but haven’t found their sound. Cannot choose bias as they’re all too cute.

  1. If You Do
  2. Stop stop it
  3. Fly
  4. Just Right
  5. Hard Carry

Twice: Relatively new. Don’t really listen to them and don’t really like them. Heard that they’re not very good live.

  1. TT
  2. Like Ooh-Ahh
  3. Knock Knock
  4. Cheer Up

 

OTHER COMPANIES

4Minute: Under Cube Entertainment. Disbanded last year. Most famous member is Hyuna. No bias.

  1. Whatcha Doin’ Today
  2. Crazy
  3. Hate

BTS: Under Big Hit Entertainment. Very famous in the world right now. A lot of the people in the fandom are exceptionally annoying because they keep leaving comments everywhere. Really don’t want to be associated with them but I like BTS. Very talented, will probably last long. Very good dancers, but I still like Shinee. Bias is J-Hope.

  1. Blood, Sweat and Tears
  2. Spring Day
  3. Danger
  4. Run
  5. I Need You

Brown Eyed Girls: Under Mystic Entertainment. Love how they take charge of their sexuality.

  1. Abracadabra
  2. Sixth Sense
  3. Cleansing Cream
  4. Paradise Lost (solo)
  5. Fxxk U (solo)

Mamamoo: Under Rainbow Bridge World. Amazing vocals. All super cute and hilarious. Bias is Wheein.

  1. Um Oh Ah Yeah
  2. You’re The Best
  3. Piano Man
  4. Mr. Ambiguous
  5. Decalcomanie

Gfriend: Under Source Music. Very good dancers. Don’t know them well enough to have a bias.

  1. Rough
  2. Me Gusta Tu
  3. Navillera

 

From way cool to way sexualised

Hi guys! I don’t think that I’ve said this before, but I’m an ardent Kpopper. For those of you who don’t know what it means, it basically means that I listen to Korean Pop music. A lot. I’ve been listening to it for nearly 7 years now, so I’ve seen the insane rise of Kpop in the world. But what is a 2nd Gen Kpopper, you may ask. Well, the 2nd generation of Kpop is basically the time period from the early 2000s to about 2012 (???), and I got into Kpop in May 2010, so that basically makes me a 2nd Gen Kpopper.

Just to give y’all some background

I support many, MANY groups, so there is not just ONE particular fandom that I identify with. However, if I really had to choose, I’m a HOTTEST, a VIP & an ELF (these are all fandom names). I also am a SHAWOL, a BLACKJACK, an ARMY, a CASSIOPEIA and a BLINK. I also enjoy listening to songs from IKON, Miss A, Mamamoo and AKMU. And of course, I know many, many songs from many other groups (I used to be a SONE too).

As you can see, my knowledge of Kpop songs is relatively vast. And with the song, comes the MV. So that means that I watch a lot of Kpop MVs too.

(end of background info)

I got into Kpop mainly because it sounded different from English music. It helped that the guys were really good looking (they still are). In 2010, I think that the music and MVs in English pop were still rather tame, so I was still rather engaged with it. My time was probably split like 60% Kpop and 40% English music, which is still a relatively even ratio. However, as the years wore on, English pop started to become really, REALLY sexualised, so I slowly stopped engaging with it, and spent more of my time in the Kpop world instead. I didn’t like how uncomfortable the English pop songs and videos made me feel, which is a huge part of why I kind of stopped listening to it. I was really happy in the Kpop world for the first 3-4 years (2010-2013/2014) because there was so little sexual innuendo in mainstream Kpop (at least from what I know and listen to). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not conservative at all. I’m just uncomfortable when women are seen as tits and an ass. The music was also really, REALLY GOOD. Each group had their own sound and none of them were generic!!! They were all special in their own ways, and that, too, appealed to me very strongly. Good music with individuality and minimal sexual innuendo??? COUNT ME IN BRUH.

However, after those few years, influence from the West started to seep into Korean music. As Western music got even more sexual, so did Korean music. While Koreans are definitely more conservative than the West, that doesn’t mean that they can’t incorporate sexual innuendo and sexual objectification into their music and their music videos. Certain girl groups that debuted around the end of the second generation of Kpop (i.e. 2011-2013) incorporate certain dance moves or have certain scenes in their MVs that make me really feel like they are being treated as tits and an ass. For example, ‘Up & Down’ by EXID, ‘Like A Cat’ & ‘Miniskirt’ by AOA and ‘Something’ by Girl’s Day. These are all newer groups which I feel are going the more ‘sexual’ road. And by that I mean the ‘sexually objectified’ road.

But it is not just the newer groups that are going down that road. Some of the older groups are on that same path too. A good example of that would be SISTAR. One can argue that they were the ones who started the trend in the first place, and I am inclined to agree. One of their most famous songs, ‘Alone’, came out in 2012 and it is pretty sexually objectifying. Even their debut song ‘Push Push’ in 2010 had slightly sexually objectifying  dance moves. Y’all can just search for SISTAR if y’all are interested to see their dances. They are all pretty objectifying.

Another very, very good example would be Hyuna from 4Minute. She debuted in 2009 with 4 other members, but got a solo career in 2011 with the song ‘Bubble Pop’. Safe to say that is minimal bubble popping and maximum booty popping. Her songs have gotten more and more sexual over time, and the MVs make me more and more uncomfortable. She’s a pretty good dancer, but her company is limiting her to twerking and body gyrations. WHY ARE THEY DOING THIS. Furthermore, her songs keep sending mixed messages. Look at these two photos:

They’re from the same MV! So she’s portraying a cute innocent girl and a sexualised goddess in the same space??? What??? Let me just say that this is really unrealistic in real life and also really unhealthy. I shan’t go into it because then this post will be 1.5x longer than it is going to be.

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Kpop has come a long way from 2010 to now. I’m really glad that it has gotten really popular internationally, but at the same time, I’m sad that this new generation of Kpop is becoming increasingly sexualised. I will still listen to it, but I will stay away from all the sexually objectifying MVs. Hopefully, people become more aware that this is happening, and will try to prevent further objectification of women. I’d hate to have to stop listening to all the girl groups.

Anyway, to those of you who are interested, I’ll provide a list of songs which I think you should listen to in my next post under the same category! This post has finally ended! 😀

Mistle Child (The Undertaken #2)

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In life, in death: family remains.

Silas Umber has finally come into his own as the Undertaker of Lichport when a mysterious invitation calls him beyond the marshes to Arvale, the ancestral manor of the Umbers. There, his extended family endures, waiting for a living Undertaker to return and preside over the Door Doom, an archaic rite that grants a terrible power to summon and bind the dead in judgment.

As Silas assumes the mantle of Janus, the Watcher at the Threshold, deep below the earth in the catacombs and sunken towers, grim spirits grow restless at his arrival—hungry for freedom and eager for vengeance against a family with a long history of harsh judgments. Now, Silas must right an ancient wrong and accept that even a house of ghosts can be haunted by its past—for in matters of family, we are who we were.


 

Rating: 4.5/5

This book was the sequel to “Death Watch”, and I must admit, I liked it infinitely more than its predecessor. Probably due to the fact that this book was a lot shorter (333 vs 536 holy crap). It felt like more action was packed in this book, and aside from that, I was really glad to know more about Silas’ family. I can’t imagine having such an extensive family network. I see about 50 relatives every Chinese New Year, and I can barely keep track of all of them, much less a family of a few hundred. Their dining hall must be of at least this size and length in order to accommodate so many family members:

rehost%2f2016%2f11%2f12%2f6efc6cdb-c13c-4af0-ad4d-d5fec7ae5fa0 (Yes, I’m well aware that that’s the Hogwarts hall)

The book sometimes gave me the creeps, with its really vivid descriptions and Gothic feel. It didn’t help that I also read parts of the book at night. Can you just imagine reading this in the middle of night when the house is completely silent and dark?

There were bones in the corner, partially covered in rags, rotten and threadbare, perhaps once a garment. Next to the bones lay the desiccated corpse of an infant.

This scene was also proceeded by screams AND SOME WEIRD FEELING THING WHICH DID NOT HELP THE WHOLE CREEPY VIBE AT ALL. As you can tell, this book did a great job of freaking me out, which made me love it even more.

The only problem I had with the book was with Silas. I couldn’t relate to him most of the time, and I didn’t like him the rest of the time. He was just so… Infuriating. He didn’t listen when the elders tried to warn him (specifically, Mrs. Bowe). He made a promise to Cabel Umber before he knew what it entailed. HE WENT TO GO REVIVE BEATRICE. USING SOME ANCIENT DARK SPELLS.

are you kidding me

DARK SPELLS ARE NOT TO BE MESSED WITH. THEY ARE FORBIDDEN FOR A GOOD REASON. THEY GIVE YOU YOUR HEART’S DESIRE, BUT THEY ALWAYS HAVE A PRICE. AND THE PRICE MIGHT BE TOO HEFTY TO PAY. If I can understand this basic logic, I don’t see how Silas can’t understand it. Yes, it might give him Beatrice, but it will take away something else precious that he has. He has no clue what he will have to sacrifice in return, but he still decides to do that crappy thing anyway.

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It’s never a good thing when you like everybody else except for the main character. In fact, it is extremely ill-advised for authors to write about someone who is just generally… An annoyance to read about.

In conclusion, the book is creepy but also good, the main character sucks, the supporting characters are lovely (especially Silas’ grandfather), the writing is LOVELY and y’all should read this book. I’ll most definitely be picking up the final book of the series.

The Dark Days Club (Lady Helen #1)

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the-dark-days-club

London, April 1812. On the eve of eighteen-year-old Lady Helen Wrexhall’s presentation to the queen, one of her family’s housemaids disappears-and Helen is drawn into the shadows of Regency London. There, she meets Lord Carlston, one of the few who can stop the perpetrators: a cabal of demons infiltrating every level of society. Dare she ask for his help, when his reputation is almost as black as his lingering eyes? And will her intelligence and headstrong curiosity wind up leading them into a death trap?


 

Rating: 4/5

Hmm… It was a little bit underwhelming for me, probably because I had heard raving reviews of the book. The main problem that I had with the book was that it was a little bit too draggy. Upon seeing the words ‘a novel’ on the cover, I fully expected it to be a single book with lots of action scenes packed into its (nearly) 500 pages. [I forgot it was part of a series ok 😦 I’m really blur] I barely saw any action throughout the first half of the book and I thought that it was really strange. I was also slightly panicked, because I was wondering how the author could cram so many answers in the second half of the book. However, at nearly 70% into the book I realised that it was actually the first book of a series, so I became a bit less panicky, and started to enjoy the book a little bit more. In the end, I still found that the author didn’t resolve enough problems for my liking. For such a long book, it should have given us more answers.

A tiny problem I had with the book was that I didn’t really like Lady Helen. I can’t exactly articulate why I didn’t like her very much, but I just didn’t feel a connection with her. She was really a bit too… ‘meh’ for me.

poker-face-png-24 (As I said. Meh.)

Apart from those problems, I really, REALLY liked the book. I’m a huge fan of supernatural stuff (angels, demons, monsters etc. I LOVE ALL OF IT) and while the demons didn’t make a HUGE appearance in this book, I like how disgusting they look whenand how there are different types of demons. It’s not just a demon king and a bunch of demons who all look and act the same; it’s a demon king and different categories of demons who all behave differently and act like INDIVIDUALS. That doesn’t happen in very many books, I think. At least, from what I can recall, I don’t think that I’ve ever read a book where the demons behaved like individuals. (Did I mention that the demons look like HUMANS so you can’t tell them apart from ordinary humans? That’s really cool, guys.)

stars in eyes

Aside from that, the dynamics between the demons and the people who hunt them is very different from most other demon hunting stories (e.g. the Mortal Instruments, Vampire Academy [those aren’t demons but they ARE the monsters]). It’s not “KILL YOUUUUU DIE BITCH DIE”, but more like a careful negotiation of the situation. If the demons aren’t hurting anyone, the hunters tend to leave them be, and at most, give them a warning. That’s hardly a common sight in most books.

Finally, the friendship between all the ladies is ON POINT, especially the friendship between Lady Helen and her maid. They support each other wholeheartedly, and they’re always there for each other.

In conclusion, just read the book. It’s good. I’ll definitely be reading the next one.

To hope or not to hope

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Sorry I haven’t been posting, school has been a mess recently with all the tests and exams. I decided to post today, because well, I’m heartbroken. Again. It seems to be a sort of permanent state of mine.

I would describe myself as a dreamer. I daydream way too much, believe in things and people way too much, and hope way, way, WAY too much. That is probably why I’m so sad whenever reality hits me in the face.

Today, I was talking to one of my closest guy friends. He’s been there for me a lot, and sometimes, when I have problems, he’s the first one I’ll go to. I would trust him with my life, and I would like to think that he trusts me with his too. It’s the perfect friendship, except for one little problem: he also happens to be my first love. I fell for him crazily 6 years ago, and even though we had a big fight 5 years ago and didn’t talk for 2 years afterwards, we made up.

Unfortunately, it seems like I didn’t deal with all the feelings I had for him. I just shoved them into one corner, and pretended for years that they never existed. However, the more I came to open myself up to him, the more those feelings emerged. Of course, I never admitted it to myself, but just pretended again that those are just feelings of brotherhood.

What utter bulls***.

Recently, I came to admit to myself that maybe, just maybe, I was still a little bit in love with him. But it wasn’t until today, when I just casually mentioned that we were way too comfortable with each other, that I realised that I might really, ACTUALLY, still have feelings for him. Because his reply of “We have a history, and cause of that there’s no way we are getting together.” hurt me. It actually, really, hurt me and I was surprised that it did, because I didn’t realise that I had been hoping. Again.

Again and again, I hope. Again and again, I get disappointed.

I don’t understand why I keep hoping. What’s really the point. Most of the time, I just end up getting disappointed. I feel like such an idiot, but I just can’t stop hoping. It’s ridiculous, but I do it again and again, and keep dreaming that one day, the ending might somehow change. That I might somehow not end up sobbing my eyes out on the floor. That it might somehow end with me having a smile on my face.

To hope or not to hope, that’s the question.

The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles #1)

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the girl in the steel corset

In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one… except the “thing” inside her.

When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch…

Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she’s special, says she’s one of them. The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets against the wishes of his band of misfits: Emily, who has her own special abilities and an unrequited love for Sam, who is part robot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a shadowy secret.

Griffin’s investigating a criminal called The Machinist, the mastermind behind several recent crimes by automatons. Finley thinks she can help and finally be a part of something, finally fit in.

But The Machinist wants to tear Griff’s little company of strays apart, and it isn’t long before trust is tested on all sides. At least Finley knows whose side she’s on even if it seems no one believes her.


 

Rating: 3.5/5

This book is going to be kind of hard to review, because my feelings about it are so mixed. In the first half of the book, I was completely captivated by it, and I loved every page. In the second half, the facepalming started, and I… Well, it just wasn’t quite as pleasant as the first half. Therefore, I’ll just talk about the good points and bad points separately in this review.

Good points:

  1. Once I started reading the book, I knew that I’d love Finley. She has so much fire in her (well, the darker and more reckless side of her anyway), and I really like that in my female heroines. She completely kicks ass.
  2. The “superpowers” are so cool! Even though they’re not superpowers so much as a kind of evolution, I still think that they’re really interesting. The explanation for their presence was also given (and it wasn’t some haphazardly put together one), which I really appreciated. I would really like to be able to throw someone across the room.
  3. None of the love interests were douche-y. In YA books, there’s a tendency for the authors to create one super nice love interest and one asshat love interest. In this case, both of them were really sweet. There was no such thing as “I really like you so I’ll be a total dick to you”. Yes, Jack Dandy was still a bad boy, but he was a decent human being towards Finley. I might like asshats, but after reading so many books with guys like that, I really need a break. The romance in this book provided that break.
  4. The romance wasn’t overwhelming. There are certain books where the romance takes up like 50% of the book, which frustrates me, because I hate romance novels. I’d much rather read a book in the perspective of a psychotic murderer who enjoys describing the innards of his/her victims than read a romance novel.

excited dance

The good points are pretty darn solid, y’all. But then there are the bad points that just undo some of the good impression that I have of the book. And we shall go into them now.

Bad points:

  1. It’s love interests, which means that there’s more than one love interest. Have I mentioned that I hate love triangles? Furthermore, Jack Dandy was mainly just there as a love interest! He had barely anything to do with the plot, for goodness sake.
  2. The plot is not only extremely predictable, but also very slow. I knew who the Machinist was once that mannequin showed up on Jack’s doorstep. I also knew what he planned to do with the mannequin once it was reported stolen. THERE WAS NO SUSPENSE ANYWHERE. Furthermore, they take FOREVER to figure out what I knew instantly. Predictability can be forgiven, but making your characters exceptionally slow when they’re not supposed to be cannot be forgiven.
  3. Sam. TSTL. Enough said.

banging head against wall (This GIF is selected for the sole purpose of Sam.)

Overall, the writing was decent, although more showing was needed, instead of telling.
There was a little bit of humour present, which made reading the book easier. Griffin’s character fell a little flat for me, especially because a significant amount of his thoughts involved Finley == Considering the exceptionally slow pace of the plot (they seriously took forever), I wanted to give the book 2.5-3 stars. However, I appreciate the strong female characters in the forms of Finley and Emily, and so decided to raise the rating up to 3.5 stars. Sort of recommended.

If the city of London was a body, Whitechapel would be the groin; a great unwashed area that only showed itself under the cover of darkness, and only for the most salacious of entertainments.

Just Some Crazy Thoughts

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Hi guys. It’s 2am here in Singapore, but here I am, because my brain is driving me crazy. I’m hoping that writing might help me feel less crazy, which is why I’m typing out this post. This was actually the original intent of my blog – for me to somehow release all the tension in me by writing a bunch of really depressing posts. Oh well, I guess that it’s just as well that I’ve started writing book reviews. But I digress.

I’m an adrenaline addict. And I’m addicted to a specific kind of adrenaline – the kind caused by self-harm. So I guess that means that I’m indirectly addicted to self-harm. When I was at an exceptionally low point at my life, I used it as a coping mechanism, but now I can’t seem to stop. Every time I’m upset, every time I’m angry, every time I’m frustrated, I just feel the need to take the blade to my skin. If I may say so, I think that I’ve been doing exceptionally well so far. I’ve only relapsed twice ever since I recovered (which was nearly two years ago). But today, the urge is especially strong, and I’m scared that I’m not going to be able to resist it. Which I guess is why I’m talking about it now.

I rarely ever talk about my depression. When I was at my worst, my classmates would probably have seen it, but I’ve never said anything to most of them out loud. I never even told my best friend (outright, anyway). As for the few that I told, some of them were my close friends (they knew the cause), but they drifted from me during that period. Some of them I told because my depression could affect our group project. Besides those few close friends, the only other people who knew were my parents, form teacher and family doctor. I just couldn’t bring myself to tell anyone else. Especially after those close friends left, I felt that if I told any other people, I would lose them too. So I decided to keep everything to myself. And all the sadness, rage and pain buried me alive.

At the start, the self-harm was just to cope with a little loneliness. Initially, it was manageable. Those close friends were still there. I could still cope. But when they left, it was like a dam had broken, and all the loneliness and pain came rushing out,  drowning me in a wave of misery. I couldn’t take it. I desperately needed something to help me float, and that something happened to be self-harm. It was my life raft, so I clutched onto it for dear life, not realising that it was on fire. After floating along for a little while, just glad to not be drowning, I realised that I was also on fire. And I was burning. Badly. I needed to put it out quickly. But the only way to stop being on fire was to get into the water, and I couldn’t do that. Not again. Between the fire and flood, what was I supposed to choose?

I very nearly chose to crush myself against a fallen tree. It felt like the simplest way out. Compared to being burnt to death on the raft or being drowned in the river, it seemed like the least painful way out of an impossible situation.

I have no idea as to how I managed to survive. Whether it was sheer willpower or plain cowardice, I have absolutely no clue. Sometimes I wish I had gone, but then I say to myself, “You’ve already made it this far. It’s not like you’re back there again. Your situation is much better now.” And I guess I’m right. I am in a much better place now. I won’t be revisiting that charred life raft. Not today.

Am I Normal Yet? (The Spinster Club #1)

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am i normal yet

All Evie wants is to be normal. She’s almost off her meds and at a new college where no one knows her as the girl-who-went-crazy. She’s even going to parties and making friends. There’s only one thing left to tick off her list…

But relationships are messy – especially relationships with teenage guys. They can make any girl feel like they’re going mad. And if Evie can’t even tell her new friends Amber and Lottie the truth about herself, how will she cope when she falls in love?


 

Rating: 5/5

First of all, I would like to thank Ms. Bourne for writing such a wonderful book. Most YA books don’t make you hurt from the inside out. But I’m glad that this one did. It seemed like it cried out for me, and all the other people like me, who used to/are still being tortured daily by their own heads.

This book covered the two topics that I’m most passionate about: feminism and mental illness. I would say that I’m not really a true blue feminist (yet), but more like a fledgling feminist (is there even such a thing?). It’s hard to undo some of the social conditioning e.g. that rape has something to do with clothing and etc. The extract below shows one of the many double standards that exist in the world, and this is one of the feminist issues that I’ve completely gotten my head around to.

“I just can’t believe he said that,” she said, taking the chocolate and popping it into her mouth. “I don’t want to be tied down. I hate that. That they think girls are just obsessed with having relationships. What do they want us to do? Shag them but not expect anything in return?”

“Er, yeah, basically,” Lottie answered.

“No, that’s not right either,” I said. “They call those girls sluts.”

They nodded in agreement.

“So we’re damned if we do, damned if we don’t, basically?”

I can completely empathise with the problems surrounding mental illness, though. It’s like the book said exactly what I think in my head most of the time.

Because now people use the phrase OCD to describe minor personality quirks. “Oooh, I like my pens in a line, I’m so OCD.”

NO YOU’RE FUCKING NOT.

“Oh my God, I was so nervous about that presentation, I literally had a panic attack.”

NO YOU FUCKING DIDN’T.

“I’m so hormonal today. I just feel totally bipolar.”

SHUT UP, YOU IGNORANT BUMFACE.

……

People actually die of bipolar, you know? They jump in front of trains and tip down bottles of paracetamol and leave letters behind to their devastated families because their bullying brains just won’t let them be for five minutes and they can’t bear to live with that any more.

People also die of cancer.

You don’t hear people going around saying: “Oh my God, my headache is so, like, tumoury today.”

HAHAHA the last part is kinda funny. But when I hear people use the word “depressed”, my face gets all frowny and scrunched up, kind of like this:

scruched up face

Being sad because you didn’t do well ≠ depressed. Moping after a breakup ≠ depressed. Okay, I admit, sometimes those things lead to depression (a failed relationship caused my depression). HOWEVER, in order to actually be considered depressed, your sadness would have to negatively affect your life for an extended period of time (two weeks at least, if I’m not wrong). Binge eating ice cream for two days because you just broke up with someone doesn’t make you depressed.

I really like Evie. She feels so real, and she feels like someone I know (with OCD and GAD). Her OCD and GAD did not consume her, did not become her everything, did not become everything this book was about, and I appreciate it. However, there are times where even I found her frustrating. Her absolute refusal to tell ANYBODY about her thoughts, for instance. I understand why she doesn’t want to tell her friends. But a professional? Why not? If I think that I might relapse, I’d just tell a professional and talk it out, so I’ll be sure that I DON’T relapse. And I’m a pretty stubborn person with a lot of pride. Every time I ask for help, it’s like a chunk of my soul is being taken out. Her denying that she has a problem is not going to make the problem go away. In fact, in the case of mental illnesses, it makes it worse. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’d much rather take my medicines and talk to someone now rather than wreck myself and end up in a hospital later. But maybe that’s just me being way too logical about the problem.

I could go on and on about how amazing this book was, but that’ll take forever. It was everything that I expected and more. The friendships, the romance, the heartbreak – it all felt like it could have happened to anyone in this world. This book is beyond precious, and we really need more YA books like this. Recommended to everyone, especially those who’d like to know more about mental illnesses.

Mental illnesses grab you by the leg, screaming, and chow you down whole. They make you selfish. They make you irrational. They make you self-absorbed. They make you needy. They make you cancel plans last minute. They make you not very fun to spend time with. They make you exhausting to be near.

The Circle (Engelsfor #1)

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the circle

On a night after the apparent suicide of high school student Elias Malmgren, a blood-red moon fills the night sky. Minoo wakes up outside her house, still in her pajamas, and is drawn by an invisible force to an abandoned theme park on the outskirts of town. Soon five of her classmates–Vanessa, Linnea, Anna-Karin, Rebecka and Ida–arrive, compelled the same force. A mystical being takes over Ida’s body and tells them they are fated to fight an ancient evil that is hunting them. The park is a safe haven; the school, a place of danger. The six are wildly different and definitely not friends…but they are the Chosen Ones.

As the weeks pass, each girl discovers she has a unique magical ability. They begin exploring their powers, but they are not all firmly committed to their mission–to discover the truth about Elias’s death. Then a horrible tragedy strikes within the circle. Newly determined to fight the evil forces, they begin to learn magic from The Book of Patterns, an ancient work with a will of its own that reveals different things to different witches.

In this gripping first installment of the Engelsfors Trilogy, a parallel world emerges in which teenage dreams, insanely annoying parents, bullying, revenge, and love collide with flirtation, dangerous forces, and ancient magic. An international sensation with rights sold in 24 countries, The Circle is razor-sharp and remarkable from start to finish.


 

Rating: 4/5

Whenever I hear that a book has been translated from another language, I get really excited. Because I have this strange expectation: any book that has been translated must be really good. Maybe it actually isn’t all that weird, as you would expect that only good books that many people love (like the Hercule Poirot series) would be translated, right? But it turns out that Twilight has apparently been translated into 37 other languages too ._. Oh well, maybe my expectations are unrealistic after all.

However, I’m really glad to say that this book didn’t let me down. I expected to be thoroughly enraptured and captivated by this book, and that is exactly what it did. My face was probably like this the entire time I was reading.

engrossed reading

This (close to 600 pages long) book is mainly about those six girls slowly developing magical powers and learning to work together. Along the way, we get to see them grow and develop as teenage girls too. Some of them have bullying issues, some have eating disorders, some have messed up families. You get to see how so many different types of people with different lives interact and bond with each other, and I appreciate that very much.

My favourite character is probably Vanessa. She doesn’t have a nice, ‘proper’ family like Minoo’s. She’s not popular like Ida and Rebecka. She’s not as impulsive as Linnéa. She’s not desperate for love and admiration like Anna-Karin. She hangs out with drug dealers. She parties hard. She is loyal to her friends. She loves her brother. I could go on and on about her, but I feel like she’s the one I can connect to the most, and that’s why I love her so much.

Even though there are many good things to say about this book, there are certain things that annoyed me to no end. The superficial judgment for example:

Felicia’s eyes search for something to comment on. They land on Vanessa, who’s standing by the salad bar. ‘What the hell is she wearing?’ Felicia snorts.

Julia and Ida start giggling hysterically. Vanessa is dressed in a pink shirt and a skirt so short it’s essentially a belt.

‘I don’t know what she’s doing here,’ says Ida, staring at her almost covetously. ‘I mean, what’s the point of her being at school now? It’s not as if she’s going to do any more with her life than squeeze out a few kids.’

are you serious

I know she’s supposed to be the queen of nastiness and all, but she does that. A LOT. To the point where I really wanted to reach into the book and punch her in the face. A girl’s dressing does NOT tell you ANYTHING about her character, and you cannot judge someone SOLELY based on the way they dress.

The other thing that irritated me beyond belief was Minoo’s pining for Max. I get the whole pining thing, I really do. But her pining was on a WHOLE NEW LEVEL. I have pined over many guys, but I definitely haven’t intentionally gone to find out where they live! Some of the dialogue that occurred between Max and her were also unbelievably CRINGE-WORTHY. Here’s an example right now:

‘What do you want to know?’ Max asks softly. ‘If I meant what I said? Because I do. I love you, Minoo. I’ve loved you since the first day I set eyes on you.’

‘I love you, too,’ she says, and it feels so natural. ‘But I know now that it’s not possible. What I have to know is… can you bear to wait for me?’

EEEEEBLURGGGGGGGG. THAT’S SO CRINGE-Y. She can’t love him, she barely knows him!!! She only knows him from school, and he never really talked to her in school! HE’S ALSO REALLY OLD. Oh goodness me. It’s really just. I can’t, guys, I can’t.

Overall, the plot is really exciting, the characters feel real, and there’s just enough action. Minoo and Max’s ‘romance’ is wayyyyy cringe-y, the superficial judgment is annoying, so one star deducted for those. Recommended for anyone loving anything magical and witchy!