Loveboat, Taipei || unpopular opinion alert!

Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen

Title: Loveboat, Taipei
Author: Abigail Hing Wen
Genre: Contemporary
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Standalone

Goodreads

There’s been a lot of talk about this book since before it’s release. Bloggers who were lucky enough to get an ARC of this praised it a lot. The word got out pretty well, and tons of people got to reading it.

Everything I heard about this book was good. It was only positive. And that’s the reason why I expected it to be really good. I did not expect for it have elements that I really dislike.

But I did.

THE PLOT

Ever is a first generation Chinese-American. And like all Asian parents, they have high dreams for Ever. She’s expected to become a doctor.

But all Ever wants to do is dance. She loves to dance and choreograph dance routines. Her dream is to get into NYU Tisch School of Arts.

During the summer after high school, when she had plans of dancing and other things, her parents suddenly send her to Taipei for a summer programs. They want her to know her culture and learn Mandarin.

But the program nicknamed “Loveboat” is much more than a clean summer program to learn things. And this summer is going to shape Ever’s life in ways she never expected.

MY REVIEW

Let’s do this review in list format because I have MANY POINTS.

WHAT I LIKED:

  • Asian-American life representation.

Life is a lot like that even in Asian countries. Parents sacrifice SO MUCH that us only thinking about doing what makes us happy is almost a crime. I’m literally an engineering student in college and not doing literature because of my parents.

It’s so normal for us. And I love how it’s represented accurately, describing how it is for the kids AND the parents.

  • Complex relationships.

There were so many relationships shown that had layers to them. Between Ever and her romantic interest. Ever and her parents. Ever and her roommate.

There were even second-hand mentions of relationships not explicitly shown in the book. I loved reading all of it because it’s how life is. And the author managed to show just how many different complex relationships exist for just one person.

  • What it’s like to be Asian in America.

As the summer program is full of Asian kids living in other countries, we got a few bits of proper focus on how life is for them. The way they are treated, the almost-normal racist comments. It hit hard, but I feel good knowing that non-Asian readers will understand what it’s like.

  • Dreams and sacrfices.

We know that how we are brought up affects us a lot. It shapes our self-worth, our attitude towards life, and our ambitions and goals. This book really showcased the different types of lives and how parents really affect children.

  • Supporting characters had significance too.

Every supporting character we saw had dreams and goals. They had desires in life. The author showcased so many different scenarios through them. This one group of guys just went around breaking Asian stereotypes and I LOVED IT. Huge points for these things.

  • Character growth.

There was so much of it! Characters learned through mistakes, learnt new things, started having different outlooks and became better people by the end. That was lovely to watch.

What I did not like:

  • The middle of the book was dull and uninteresting.

The beginning started off strong. The ending was good. But damn the middle was annoying.

After Ever got to the program, it became all about teenage rebellion and boy crazy thoughts. It felt like a full one eighty from the first few chapters.

It got me so disinterested in the book that I PAUSED listening to it as an audiobook. In order to make myself finish the book, I had to pick it up as an ebook after a week.

This alone ruined the experience for me.

OVERALL

Other than the random boy-crazy rebelling stuff in the middle which threw the entire book off for me, it was really good.

I recommend this book for the Asian-American representation, complex relationships, and character growth.

But if you don’t like ANY of boy crazy random things, you won’t like it much like me.

I rate this book…

3/5 stars

My So-Called Bollywood Life || the book I needed

my so called bollywood life by nisha sharma book cover // book review by Sumedha @ the wordy habitat

Title: My So-Called Bollywood Life
Author: Nisha Sharma
Genre: Contemporary
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Standalone

Goodreads

I picked up this book as part of the South-Asian Reading Challenge, and I was NOT disappointed. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to read it in January but after Kafka On The Shore I needed something light and this was perfect.

THE PLOT

The book stars Vaneeta “Winnie” Mehta—a film enthusiast (particularly Bollywood films), type A Indian student, and dramatic enough to make Bollywood writers proud.

After Winnie is cheated on and dumped by Raj, whom she thought was “the one” because of an astrologer’s prophecy, she sets out to change her destiny in the stars.

Enter: Dev Khanna, a guy Winnie had a spark with in freshman year before starting to date Raj. A guy who, while not matching her true love prophecy, feels more right for her than Raj ever did.

My So-Called Bollywood Life is perfect for readers who like YA. But it’s even more perfect for Bollywood-lovers. Following Winnie’s complicated life about teenage love, future plans, and family dynamics with Indian traditions, this book will transport you into a fun world.

MY REVIEW

I. LOVED. THIS. BOOK.

I cannot describe just how much I enjoyed this. It has all the Indian elements I ever wanted in a YA setting. As someone who loves YA and barely sees true Indian representation, this warmed my heart so much. I could cry.

All the things I loved:

(pretty much everything lol)

  • Winnie Mehta is awesome. I absolutely loved reading through her perspective. She’s energetic, exuberant, and is very passionate about films. I adored her. ❤
  • EVERYTHING INDIAN. Of course, I have to mention this. Even the few Hindi sentences (smoothly translated in English for everyone else) were a huge addition. I felt included. *cries* The traditions, beliefs, everything was amazing to read about. #relatable

“Kamina, kutta, sala,” she said sweetly when she answered (the phone).

  • Family presence. Winnie’s relationship with her family, especially her dad and grandmom, was so nice to see.
  • It wasn’t just romance. A lot of YA novels tend to sideline everything else in the favour of scenes that contribute to the romance. That didn’t happen here. We saw enough about Winnie’s culture, other relationships, and mostly importantly her drive towards film. She was determined to do anything to get into NYU. The struggle and stress was shown.
  • Winnie and Bridget. These two best friends were adorable to watch and I loved everything about their friendship.
  • The romance. I mean, come on. Of course I’m going to mention this. As the heart of the story, the romance did NOT disappoint. Honestly, it gave me quite a few feels.

“I’m done with romance.”

Nani snorted. “You’re Indian! We live for romance.”

A book is not just made of major plot points, but also the small settings. My So-Called Bollywood Life was chock full of small scenes/parts which make a difference to the reader. From Winnie dreaming about her favourite actor to people belittling Indian beliefs, there were tons of moments that added to the experience.

OVERALL

Thoroughly enjoyed the book, and totally recommend it to all YA lovers.

I did notice that it’s not specifically targeted for Indian readers, as in that the traditions are subtly explained and Hindi terms are translated. So if you want to have a fun and light YA read, you can pick this up without any worries.

I’m so glad I was introduced to this book through the challenge because I doubt I would have come across it otherwise.

I rate this book…

4.5/5 stars

The Bluest Eye || a confusing read

The bluest eye by Toni Morrison book review

Title: The Bluest Eye
Author: Toni Morrison
Genre: Fiction
Series info: Standalone

Goodreads

For the past couple months, I’ve been seeing Toni Morrison mentioned a lot online. Several bookstagrammers and bloggers whom I follow are reading Morrisson’s works. Of course, all of this got me curious about the author and her works.

Right in time, my book club chose The Bluest Eye as our book of the month. That got me motivated to read the book and try the author’s works.

Trigger warnings: racist slurs, bullying, rape, neglect, abuse, humiliation. (Probably more but I can’t remember, so make sure to find out before picking it up)

The Plot

The Bluest Eye is Toni Morrison’s debut novel and has a unique take on racism. Through this novel, the author crafts a situation which causes a young Black girl to desperately want blue eyes.

Showcasing multiple issues such as racism, abuse, and neglect, the book shows how hard life is for a young innocent girl to want blue eyes. Blue eyes, which are usually a feature of white people who are loved and cherished.

The Bluest Eye is definitely not a light read. It’s poignant with a message in every chapter, and has a strong voice as a book.

My Review

First of all, let me say that this book wasn’t easy to read. And this was so because of multiple reasons.

The timeline of the book isn’t linear. The chapters are scattered and it is up to the reader to figure out the timeline after reading most or all of the book. The jumps were very confusing in the beginning that I gave up trying to make sense, and instead just took the book chapter by chapter.

As the chapters were scattered, I was trying to understand what was happening and piece together the timeline. Hence, I couldn’t connect with the characters or feel for them. That was unfortunate, because it would have made much more of an impact on me.

Morrison’s writing is very different than what I’m used to, and the way she spoke about and crafted the situations was something to get used to. That also played a part in the book not being a good read for me.

One thing that quite irritated me was the point of view shown. Some chapters are in first person point of view of a supporting character, not the main one. But most of the book is in third person point of view. The random switching, without sense, was off-putting.

Every chapter in the book had something to show, by itself. I really liked that. Because even if I managed to read just one chapter a day, I’m still getting some meaning out of it.

As The Bluest Eye deals with heavy issues, it’s not an easy book. Morrison doesn’t describe things very graphically, but it’s enough that it makes a lasting impression on you. This played a part in me reading the book very slowly.

Overall

Honestly, I’m not too sure about whether I liked this book or not. I would have liked it a lot more if the chapters weren’t jumbled up. But because of that, I simply could not get lost into the book and was confused for a lot of time.

I will be picking up at least another book by Morrison, though. I want to know why this author is so popular and I don’t think The Bluest Eye did justice.

I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone looking for a light read. Pick this one up only if you have the time to devote to reading it. It’s a slow but meaningful read.

I rate this book..

2.5/5 stars

Have you read Toni Morrison’s books? Or, are they on your list?

Becoming || inspires hope for change

becoming book cover

Title: Becoming
Author: Michelle Obama
Genre: Autobiography

Goodreads

Becoming, since it’s release, has been praised to the stars by just about everyone. All the readers I follow posted about it, and it was my book club’s pick sometime last year. I didn’t have the time to read it then, though. I finally picked up the book in November, but did not have the time or patience for a non-fiction.

In order to motivate myself to finish it this year, I chose Becoming as the book for a prompt in the Popsugar Reading Challenge and also included it in #StartOnYouRShelfathon. And it worked! I finished the book as my second read of the year. We’re off to a good start.

MY REVIEW

Once I was actually in the mood to read this book, which was so a few days back, I couldn’t stop reading it. Although it’s an autobiography, Michelle Obama’s life has been very interesting that it almost feels as if I’m reading fiction. She has written her story so beautifully, showing how she was brought up and what made her into who she is today.

Even when it’s not pretty or perfect. Even when it’s more real than you want it to be. Your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.

Becoming is a brilliant book that sends a message of hope, change, and power in resilience. It was inspiring and motivating.

How Michelle Obama was portrayed in the media is such a contrast to how she is in the book. She, along with her husband and family, are humanized and broken down to the small quirks that makes them. She speaks about her struggles, her fears, and her weakness plainly. There was no hiding, but instead she owned every part of her story.

In my opinion, a major reason that this book resonates with people across the world is how Michelle openly talks about her struggles which many others are going through as well. She talks about the struggles of being a woman, being Black in a predominantly White country, being a woman in male-dominated field, being a working mother, and being the wife to a politician.

Confidence, I’d learned then, sometimes needs to be called from within. I’ve repeated the same words to myself many times now, through many climbs.

Am I good enough? Yes I am.

It was wonderful to read her thoughts and feelings on everything, especially the negative ones. In the end, she overcame all of that and stood strong. Michelle Obama learned how to adapt and use her resources to help other people. She recognizes all her privileges, from the people in her life to the power she has, and works to make changes in the US.

Through Michelle Obama, we also get insight into Barack Obama as more than the former US President. We see him as a passionate person, a fact-guy, as a husband, and as a father. It was interesting to see their relationship from the start and the issues they went through as he climbed the political ladder.

The choice, as he saw it, was this: You give up or you work for change. “What’s better for us?” Barack called to the people gathered in the room. “Do we settle for the world as it is, or do we work for the world as it should be?”

I was most curious to read about the Obama family’s time in the White House and I was not disappointed. A major portion of the book took place during those 8 years, and Michelle spoke about everything. We read about the staff, the rooms, and multiple small quirks of living there. Their life changed drastically the day Barack Obama became the President-Elect, and Michelle showed the overwhelming changes in the book.

Being the First Lady is very much different to being the President. The role doesn’t have all the hard power of the President, nor does it give the platform to talk about the same issues. But being First Lady does give power due to the image. Reading about Michelle Obama’s journey in the role was intriguing and inspiring.

A First Lady’s power is a curious thing—as soft and undefined as the role itself. And yet I was learning to harness it.

One thing that Michelle Obama counted on for several years was the support from her girl friends. The power of female friendships is not spoken about much, in fiction or non-fiction, and it was really nice to see Michelle talk about it multiple times.

OVERALL

I should stop talking because there is SO MUCH in the book that I loved and several more quotes that I want to add. I can probably talk for an hour about this book.

But all I’ll say is, read this book if you haven’t yet. It’s a wonderful and inspiring story that drives home one thing: you are worth it, you can make changes in this world as well.

There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice. And there’s grace in willing to know and hear others. This, for me, is how we become.

Michelle Obama

I rate this book..

5/5 stars

Have you read Becoming? Do you have favourite quotes from the book?

My First First Love // Kdrama review

A coming-of-age Korean drama featuring young adults chasing their dreams and finding love.

When My First First Love was released on Netflix, it was heavily advertised and pushed on almost everyone’s feed. There were so many people watching it and commenting on it.

WHAT IS THE DRAMA ABOUT?

The drama primarily follows 5 people who are stepping into their adult lives.

Yun Tae-o has been living independently in his grandfather’s house, and enjoys the life of a bachelor. One day three of his friends, end up crashing in his place and ask that he allow them to stay for a while. Unable to say no to them, he reluctantly agrees for the time-being.

The three friends include: Han Song-i, Tae-o’s best friend and his old crush; O Ga-rin, a very old friend whom Tae-o hasn’t spoken to in years; and Choe Hun, Tae-o’s close friend from school.

The last main character is So Do-hyeon, Tae-o’s closest friend in college.

The drama follows these characters as they find themselves, chase their dreams and fall in love.

MY THOUGHTS ON THE DRAMA

I started the drama only after Netflix released both seasons. While marketed as two seasons, the drama is like any other with 16 episodes. In fact, there wasn’t even a cliffhanger or a break in between the seasons. The plot flowed through continuously. I assume it was split just as a strategy, and nothing to do with the plot of the drama.

all the characters of the drama

My First First Love is a wholly character-driven drama. We don’t have a very specific plot going on, other than following the ups and downs of the main characters.

The lack of any specific plot-line means that there’s no true point to the Kdrama, which annoyed me. I binged all 16 episodes in a short span of days, and the drama didn’t leave much of an impression on me. It’s quite underwhelming.

The drama is very slow-paced. I’m not someone who is good with slow paces, so this was another negative for me. The drama had 16 episodes, but the content of the drama was very little. In the end, I was just wondering how they managed to buff it up to 16 episodes because the content was not much.

my first first love characters hanging out

What makes the drama actually fun to watch were all the hilarious moments peppered in. Since the drama is slow paced, there’s enough room for funny scenes to make the viewers laugh. It was nice to watch the interactions between the characters with them dissing each other or acting like kids.

Coming to the romances, there is quite a few of it in the drama. The main romance plot contained a love triangle. Now, I’m not a fan of love triangles AT ALL but I can admit that it was done well here. The love triangle became cumbersome afterwards though, because it was dragged on for longer than necessary.

Choe Hun and O Ga Rin

My favourite was the romance between Choe Hun and O Ga-rin. It was super cute and pure. I absolutely loved watching them fall in love and continue to support each other through the drama.

Since the drama is basically about the characters, let’s move on to talking about them.

THE CHARACTERS

yun tae-o

Yun Tae-o is the son of a wealthy real-estate owner. Nicknamed famously as “The First Love” by girls in his college, Tae-o is known for his boy-ish charm. He has tons of friends, is always upbeat and carries around a positive energy.

Tae-o was my favourite in the beginning, simply because he is very charming. But as the drama went on and I started critically analyzing the characters, Tae-o fell short.

Considering that this drama’s only point is the characters, they could have worked more on crafting them. Tae-o had no depth, and no layers like a normal person would. He was very surface-level, with his crushes and antics. He didn’t have a dream or a passion, and made no effort to find one.

Season 2 did a little better on fledging Tae-o’s character, but it still fell short compared to other characters.

Han Song-i

Han Song-i is an architecture student in college. After her father died her mother ran away leaving Song-i alone. When her house is foreclosed, Song-i is forced to seek Tae-o’s help.

Throughout the drama, Song-i is featured more than the others. It clearly felt like she was given more thought to during creation of the drama than other characters. We talk about her past, her relationships, her feelings, and even see quite a bit of her journey as an architecture student.

Song-i was definitely nice to follow, but personally I was disappointed that the other characters weren’t given as much attention as her.

Choe Hun

Choe Hun is a dreamer. Coming from a wealthy family who want him to choose a sensible career, he breaks the chain and chooses to pursue becoming a musical actor.

We see his struggles with auditions and his family’s reaction to his dreams through the drama. It was really nice to see a character whole-heartedly pursuing his dreams no matter what is thrown in his way, or how much people discourage him. It was quite inspiring.

O Ga-rin

O Ga-rin had the best plot in the show, in my opinion. Her mother is very protective, and coddles Ga-rin to the point that Ga-rin has no freedom. In order to live her life and find her passion, Ga-rin escapes from her mother and seeks asylum at Tae-o’s home.

As the show progresses, we watch as Ga-rin learns how people live and interact in the world, and tastes new food! Since she has lived away from people and normalcy all her life, it takes her quite some time to learn how to live with everyone else. I found that process very endearing.

As Ga-rin learns about new things, she also exposes herself to many possible dreams. I really liked her plot, especially in season 2, and how the drama ended for her.

Seo Do-hyeon

Seo Do-hyeon, Tae-o’s friend from college, is a serious person. He is nicknamed as the dependable “Last Love” by girls in college. Do-hyeon cares about academics and setting up for a dependable career than dating or goofing around like other college students.

Do-hyeon was hard to understand, as the show progressed. There was so much potential to him, with his layers and ambitions, but he was under-developed. Justice wasn’t done to his character, which was really disappointing. At some points, it felt like his character existed just to add plot and complexity to other characters’ lives.

THE MUSIC

The soundtrack throughout the drama was one of the highlights, for me. During some scenes, I cared more about the music than what was going on with the characters. Whoever was in charge of the music for the drama really nailed it.

The following are my favourite songs from the soundtrack.

I especially love the last song above. It makes me upbeat and feel like I can handle anything in life.

I’ve only shared 4 songs, but the whole OST is great.

OVERALL

The drama did well on portraying young adults and their struggles with hopes and dreams, while also dealing with emotions and relationships. It’s not a drama that I would rewatch because it’s not up my street, but I can see how it can be liked by many others.

It’s a good drama to chill and watch, or even binge when you’re in the mood for something light-hearted. There are places where the drama fell short, but it’s a good watch if you’re not looking for an engrossing plot.

Have you seen My First First Love? Do you prefer chill shows to watch or ones with captivating plots?

Christmas Jars // movie review + GIVEAWAY

Christmas Jars Blog Tour banner

Christmas time means watching tons of Christmas movies.

By now, I’ve watched quite a few Christmas movies and I have to say, they make you feel good. Cozying up in blankets with a hot drink or just watching when it’s all gloomy outside and watching a Christmas movie has a charm of it’s own.

When I got the chance to participate in the blog tour for Christmas Jars, I jumped on the chance. It sounded really nice and cute.

Christmas Jars poster

Based on the New York Times best- selling novel by Jason F. Wright

Hope is an aspiring reporter who has had her fair share of tragedy in life. Abandoned at birth, she’s grieving the recent death of her adopted mother when her apartment is burglarized of all her possessions. While reporting the burglary to the police, Hope discovers a jar full of money, labeled “Christmas Jar.” Shocked and grateful for this act of kindness, Hope discovers that people all over her hometown of Columbus, Ohio, have been receiving Christmas Jars for years during times of need. The jars are always anonymous and always contain different amounts. In this heartwarming Christmas classic, Hope goes undercover to discover the secret behind the Christmas jars, putting into motion a series of events that will change her life, and her community, forever.

Movie Trailer
Buy links: Deseret Book | Amazon.com

Christmas Jars has all the Christmas-movie things down to a T. It’s cozy, cheesy, funny and has a happy ending. What more do you need? The movie is perfect for a Christmas pick.

I watched the movie with a few of my friends because I thought it would be fun to watch as a group, and I was right. While I would have enjoyed the movie alone as well, it was super fun to watch with others. Even though my friends and I are quite critical about plots and don’t like cheesy/cliché things, we enjoyed the movie.

The plot was really nice. Hope, our main character, was anonymously given a Christmas Jar full of money at a bad time in her life. After finding out that many others have been gifted at rough times as well, she vows to find out who these generous gifters are. This search completely changes her life.

As the movie starts with Hope as a newborn, the timeline is pretty straightforward. There’s no jumping in time or confusion as you watch the movie. If you’ve watched a lot of movies, then you can also probably guess what’s going to happen next. To me, the twist was very predictable, but I still enjoyed the movie.* It’s a clean plot, so you can just sit back and enjoy.

*I went a little extra critical and found two plot holes too but it’s a Christmassy feel-good movie and you should not question things.

The best part of the plot was that it all comes full circle. I really liked that. I like when movies can connect things from beginning to end, and that happened here. Personally, that’s a fave so a big plus from me.

The one thing that I really appreciate about the movie is that it leaves you hopeful. By the end of the movie, you’re happy. The story makes you believe that there are good people and restores your faith about kindness and giving. Not only that, it also shows how just a little bit of help from someone, who goes out of their way to help you and believes that you’re worth it, motivates you to fight back harder. The message of the movie was really nice.

As for the romance, since it’s not the main plot, it’s barely there. The romance was nice but it was very cheesy and cliché. It was over the top for me, so I didn’t like it much. But I do think that it’s perfect for Christmas movie lovers.

OVERALL

I quite liked it. Would have watched it on my own even without the blog tour. Definitely recommended if you’re looking for a new Christmas movie to watch. It’s also appropriate for all ages, so it’s a good one to watch with family or just with friends.

GIVEAWAY

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Do you like watching Christmas movies? Which one is your favourite?

blogmas 2019 header image

Let's Chat // Spotify Wrapper, YouTube Rewind, New Music by Halsey, Taylor Swift

Y’all, it’s been an eventful week online.

I was wondering how to talk about everything, whether to make separate posts or include them in a life update. But then, I just figured I can make a chatty post about them all together.


SPOTIFY WRAPPED

First of all, twitter has been waiting for Spotify Wrapped for at least a week prior. I’ve seen so many memes about their Wrapped predictions, such as break-up albums and totally wack music tastes. Some tweets were quite funny and relatable. So, I started anticipating my Spotify Wrapped as well.

Since Spotify released only this year in India, there’s not much data for my account. Truthfully, I used Spotify a little bit using fake VPNs but it never lasted long. I was tired of the fake VPNs haha. It’s not much data, though.

I have to say, Spotify doesn’t have every song so during the last two months I’ve switched to using YouTube for music. Especially since I listen to a lot of songs from Kdrama OSTs, and Spanish TV shows, which aren’t available on Spotify.

Anyway!

Everyone got their Spotify Wrapped stories and playlists a few days back, and it’s HYPED. I see so many people sharing their stats online, and showing off their music tastes.

My Top Artist was BTS. With my favourite BTS song being Dionysus. Is there any surprise? I think not. Ever since I became an ARMY, I somehow always am listening to BTS songs. Be it old or new, there is always a BTS song to fit my current mood.

spotify wrapped 2019 top 5 artists

After BTS, my top artists were Taylor Swift, 5 Seconds of Summer, Diplo and Sia. I am surprised Diplo came into the list, though. I didn’t listen to much of his music this year.

music that defined my decade

Even though there isn’t much data on my account from 2017 and 2018, this is pretty accurate of my music tastes back then. 2017 was the year I discovered Oh Wonder, and I was OBSESSED with their music. In 2018, I was all into music from the Shadowhunters TV show, which led me to Fleurie‘s music. Until today, Hurricane is my favourite song by her.

There were some solid great songs that I listened to in 2019, and I’m sure I’ll love that they’re all in one playlist for me to listen again later.

I have to give props to Spotify. I loved the presentation. I saw my Wrapped on both the app and on the desktop website. I loved the web version even more. The presentation style, UI, music, and everything was put together in a really good sequence. The calls to action to tweet artists and share your stories was put in very appropriate places as well.


YouTube Rewind 2019

Yo.. YouTube didn’t even try this time.

We know that Rewind 2017 was bad. Rewind 2018 was cringey as heck, didn’t include people we actually liked, and was a mashup of weird and random things. It became the most disliked video on YouTube.

I don’t think I was alone when I forgot about YouTube Rewind completely. There was no one who actually looked forward to this year’s rewind. We didn’t care, and we didn’t have expectations. But, it is possible to be disappointed even when you didn’t expect anything.

This year’s rewind was basically statistics. It felt very impersonal, looked like it was made in a rush in the last 2 days, and as if the rewind team had no budget for production at all. I understand having no budget, because they sucked last year and YouTube probably doesn’t want to shell out cash for another failure. But. Some effort wouldn’t have killed them.

shaking head gif

The video mostly consisted of top 10s, which is stupid. We don’t watch Rewinds for that. That was never the purpose of it. Another stupid part was adding in random videos in increasing order of likes, which included what they thought were the “trends” of 2019. Highly inaccurate, if you ask me.

To try and “make the video better”, they added in some highly liked music as tracks. Newsflash: a video isn’t made great just by playing popular music in the background.

I was confused through it all. Okay, some videos were most liked, and I may not be very active in the trends, but there were random ass videos and people. They don’t define YouTube 2019, even if they got a ton of likes. It’s like YouTube has completely forgotten what Rewind was even for.*

can we ask why gif

This year’s Rewind screams lazy lazy LAZY. Even the intro and outro screams zero effort. I was so bored through it all, I kept skipping forward to see if anything was worth it. Spoiler: nope. I honestly won’t be surprised if YouTube Rewind gets cancelled next year. I’d prefer it. I’m sure many would forget about the existence of Rewind soon enough, including myself. The new decade could start by leaving YouTube Rewind behind.

*Or, my theory is that they fired all the good team members after and now Rewind has gone to shit. Or maybe those members quit YouTube one by one because they hate working there. And now the team left has no vision.

The very small pros of Rewind 2019, but only because I’m comparing it to the absolute disaster called Rewind 2018:

  • They acknowledged the disaster called Rewind 2018.
  • They mentioned that we know better (but also clearly did not care to TALK to some viewers and find out what to do)
  • They acknowledged PewDiePie’s existence. I mean, it’s stats of top 10s so it’s hard not to, but still.
  • They acknowledged BTS. Again, kinda hard since it’s stats. But since we know that they deleted tons of views from BTS’s music videos, ARMYs need much more than this to forgive YouTube.

Christmas Tree Farm by Taylor Swift

I pop in online after a long and great day with friends, to see that Taylor just dropped a new song? Halsey dropped two songs as well, but more on that later. What a day!

First of all, Taylor has been doing really well this year. Especially with everything thrown in her her. She’s coming out the winner and is an absolute queen. I used to only listen to some of her music, and wasn’t a huge fan. But this year has made me a Swiftie.

Christmas Tree Farm is such a nice song! I absolutely love the vibes. The video was really cool, there’s jingle bells and Christmas cheer in the background of her song. The song also doesn’t sound like her recent music, but I love it. It’s a happy song, and spreads happy vibes. It’s perfect for Christmas.


Halsey’s New Music

Halsey shared her next album’s tracklist on her Instagram recently, and it hyped us all up for it. All the ARMYs, including myself, became super excited to hear SUGA’s Interlude, which is a collab between Halsey and SUGA from BTS. SUGA does awesome collaborations, so I was looking forward to it.

And then, Halsey just dropped two songs yesterday! One was SUGA’s Interlude (heck yes!!!!) and another was Finally // beautiful stranger.

SUGA’s Interlude

The opening chords are signature SUGA. The sounds, the vibes, is totally SUGA’s style. We can hear it right from the beginning. I have to say, I don’t think Halsey’s voice is perfect for this song. I can imagine it better with a softer voice, because Halsey has a pretty strong voice.

Also, the song is really short. It’s over in no time. There aren’t much lyrics to it anyway. Halsey’s lines are just repeats. I liked the lyrics, though. The meaning is nice.

Overall, it’s okay. I really like the instrumentals, and will probably listen to the instrumental version a lot. But the song isn’t something that I would listen to on repeat. The tones are perfect for SUGA’s rap, but not Halsey’s voice.

Finally // beautiful stranger

I. LOVE. THIS.

The vibe is PERFECT for Halsey’s voice. I really like the sound of it. The tones, and the guitar is so good with her voice. Her singing style could not be better for it. I think she did wonderful with this song. I really like the lyrics as well.

I can totally see myself listening to this on repeat. The vibes are perfect for evening bus rides, chill blogging time when it’s raining outside, or just to listen to with a coffee while looking out the window.


Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Pinterest


LET’S CHAT!

That’s it for what I thought of all the updates this week. What about you? What are your thoughts on you Wrapped? And on Rewind 2019? Any new music which you love?

Heads You Win || highly captivating read

heads you win cover page

Title: Heads You Win
Author: Jeffrey Archer
Genre: Fiction
Series info: Standalone book

Goodreads

I’m a HUGE fan of Jeffrey Archer’s books. Back when I frequented the library near me, I took the opportunity to gorge on every Archer novel that they had. (Except short stories, because I don’t like short stories haha) And I loved every single one of them. My favourite Archer book is Kane and Abel, which was brilliant.

When I saw Heads You Win on sale on Flipkart recently, with an unbelievable discount, I grabbed it immediately. The synopsis didn’t matter to me, but it did make me more excited to read the book.

SYNOPSIS

Heads You Win starts in Leningrad, Russia with our main character Alex Karpenko. Alex is a young boy in school with high ambitions. When his father is murdered by the KGB for forming a worker’s union, Alex and his mother flee Russia in a ship with the help of Alex’s uncle. When they are about to flee, they’re given the option of hiding in the ship to USA or Britain. Alex flips a coin, which makes the decision for them.

As the reader, we don’t know what the coin chose. From the time Alex flips the coin, we follow both paths. We get to see what Alex’s life would be like if they went to Britain, and if they went to USA. And in each path, Alex and his mother wonder multiple times what would have happened if they chose to go into the other ship’s crate.

The book spans thirty years, and follows both lives of Alex. But which is the real one? Is there a winner?

MY REVIEW

The book was very captivating. Once I started the book, I oblivious to my surroundings. Even my mum laughed at just how out of it was while reading. Right from the first sentence, the book caught me in it’s world and didn’t let go. After a very long, I finished a general fiction book very fast. I read it in two sittings.

Jeffrey Archer’s writing has always made his books great for me. No matter the characters or the plot, he manages to grab my attention. This book was a little extra special because we get almost two different stories, and both are good enough to have a book of their own. Archer weaves two very interesting lives with politics, family, intrigue and plot twists.

The book showed the USA life as “Alex” and the Britain life as “Sasha”, just so the readers can understand which alternate life we’re reading about. Both Alex and Sasha’s lives were thrilling to read. It was interesting to read how the same person’s life turns out when they’re given different opportunities. The most interesting part was the end. After thirty years, how different are their lives? And is Alex’s biggest ambition the same no matter what life he leads?

As a reader, you can either simply enjoy the book and it’s thrilling plot, or you can wonder about hidden meanings. Until I finished the book, I simply enjoyed it. But after turning the last page, all I could think about was the hidden meaning. Does your entire fate depend on a single choice? Will it vary very much, or will you flourish the same either way? Will your life end differently based on that one choice?

While the plots were really good, I was intrigued about how the book will end very early. As the book progressed, all I could think about was “which life is the real one?” That was my burning question. I had huge expectations for the end.

But, the ending sorely disappointed me. Until the last two chapters, I kept the two lives straight and wasn’t confused. But the last two chapters threw everything out the window and confused me. It was badly written, and almost as if the intention was to mess with us. I had to read the last part THRICE. And even after that, I’m unclear about what exactly happened.

I’m not alone in the confusion, because I went onto Goodreads and found that everyone is in the same boat as me. The ending ruined the whole book. It was the one thing that I looked forward to and because it messed everything up, it ruined my experience with the book.

And as to my burning question? It wasn’t answered. The book’s title points to the fact that whatever “heads” pointed to, is the real one. But we’re never told which is heads and which is tails.

OVERALL

I’m not sure if I’m glad I read the book, or if I regret it.

Pros:

  • I love it when a book makes me think and wonder for days after I finish it.
  • The storylines were thrilling and I loved reading them.
  • The ending opens up discussion, even if it was bad. It does have a meaning.

Cons:

  • The ending was SO BAD!
  • Kinda feels like the author wasn’t sure what to do, and just wrote a random ending.
  • The book leaves you with a bad experience, just because of the last two chapters.

Would recommend: if you want an engaging read which will make you question and wonder things. Also if you won’t be too bothered with a badly written ending.

Would not recommend: if a book’s ending means a lot to you, and your reading experience.

I rate this book..

3/5 stars

If you had to choose: the plot or the ending? Which matters more to you?

Song of the Crimson Flower || blog tour + review

song of the crimson flower cover

Title: Song of the Crimson Flower
Author: Julie C. Dao
Genre: Fantasy
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Standalone

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | BookDepository

When I got the chance to be a host for the blog tour for this book, I JUMPED on the chance. An Asian-based YA fantasy? I’m sold. I also have Julie C Dao’s Forest of a Thousand Lanterns in my TBR, actually. (Don’t ask me why I haven’t gotten to it yet lol) I was super excited to read and review an ARC by this popular author.

SYNOPSIS

Bao is a physician’s apprentice, well on his way to become a kind and skillful physician. But he also has a secret dream, which is to be together with the girl he loves. Lan, the kind, smart and absolutely beautiful daughter of a nobleman holds his heart.

When Bao confesses his feelings to her, she cruelly rejects him. Bao, stinging with hurt and embarrassment, sets off to find the infamous river witch so she can erase his love for Lan. But instead, the river witch places a curse on him which can only be broken by true love.

Lan, dealing with her own heartbreak, decides to help Bao look for the witch in apology so that his curse can be lifted. Their journey to the witch becomes so much more, leading them to the Empress’s party to the rival kingdom Gray City, to new friends, and a great adventure which entirely changes their lives.

MY REVIEW

The biggest charm of this book is the vibe. The writing, the world-building and setting, with the type of characters created a very specific and quite a unique vibe. I immediately picked up on it in the beginning, and it stayed until the very end. The Vietnamese names added to the charm as well.

The thing I liked the most was the character development. Both our main characters, Bao and Lan, go through so much and grow in the story. It’s very clearly seen. We also get to see what changed their thinking, and how they mature in their decisions and in emotional reactions. I’m always pro-character development and hence, I really enjoyed it.

The story was pretty good as well. While I wasn’t overly fond of the plot, it was enjoyable because of the characters. The overall idea was good, but I just couldn’t like the plot all that much, especially in the middle of the book.

But, with all of these good points, I didn’t like the book much. And the reason is the pacing. The pacing felt so off. It was slow, then suddenly very fast, back to slow and draggy, and would pick up pace again. It went like that for the entirety of the book, and I was annoyed. A consistent pace matters so much to a story, especially when it’s fantasy. Because it wasn’t consistent and gave me whiplash, I couldn’t enjoy the book.

OVERALL

The characters were great but the pacing. That just ruined it for me, unfortunately. One thing I’m glad about is that the author kept this as only one book. Perhaps the pacing was so because it’s only one book. Too much story to tell? I’m not sure. But I am glad that the story ended here.

Considering it’s only one book, for fantasy, it’s pretty good. There’s a good story, great characters, and a specific vibe.

If you’re in the mood for fantasy, but don’t have the patience for a series, you can pick this one up.

I rate this book..

3/5 stars

Thank you to the author and Netgalley for the eARC. And huge thanks to Rafael and Erika for allowing me to host a stop on the tour.

AUTHOR BIO

Julie C. Dao (www.juliedao.com) is a proud Vietnamese-American who was born in upstate New York. She studied medicine in college, but came to realize blood and needles were her Kryptonite. By day, she worked in science news and research; by night, she wrote books about heroines unafraid to fight for their dreams, which inspired her to follow her passion of becoming a published author. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is her debut novel. Julie lives in New England. Follow her on Twitter @jules_writes.

Julie is represented by Tamar Rydzinski of the Laura Dail Literary Agency.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine || brilliant main character

Title: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Author: Gail Honeyman
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Standalone

Goodreads

I found this on Instagram, like I seem to find every other other book nowadays. And like usual, Instagram didn’t let me down.

Trigger warnings: depression, suicide, PTSD, alcoholism

SYNOPSIS

Eleanor Oliphant’s routine is set. She works all week, spends time on crosswords during her breaks, reads books at home and drinks two bottles of vodka during the weekend to make it go faster. She doesn’t have friends or anyone to spend time with.


“When the silence and the alone-ness press down and around me, crushing me, carving through me like ice, I need to speak aloud sometimes, if only for proof of life.”

And so, Eleanor speaks to her plant.

One day, an act of kindness by her new colleague towards someone on the road in her presense sets off a chain of events. Through that one act, dominoes of events and people fall into her life.

Eleanor also sees a singer during a theatre performance and instantly falls in love with him. She’s convinced that Johnnie Lennon is the perfect man for her, and now she just has to make sure that they meet. Eleanor becomes obsessed with having a perfect life with him and making the right first impression, which leads her to making changes to her life as well.

The book is more than her making changes to her life, though. These changes cause her to finally face how she’s been living and also face her past.

MY REVIEW

I don’t really know how to review this book, because it’s so many things and one thing at the same time. I also have no clue how to articulate my views and feelings exactly.

Eleanor is a very complicated character. It took me a few chapters to properly understand her. Initially, I didn’t want to like her. She judges people very quickly, and is often rude in her judgement. A while later I felt sympathetic for her.

To be honest, I didn’t completely understand Eleanor until I had read most of the book. There are so many facets to her. You have to read through the book and learn every single one of them. There’s the well-read Eleanor, with a tremendous vocabulary; the lonely Eleanor, with no one to truly talk to; the socially inept Eleanor, who is awkward in conversation with people; the depressed Eleanor, because of her abusive mother; and so much more.


“I feel sorry for beautiful people. Beauty, from the moment you possess it, is already away, ephemeral. That must be difficult. Always having to prove that there’s more to you, wanting people to see beneath the surface, to be loved for yourself, and not your stunning body, sparkling eyes or thick, lustrous hair.”


We slowly get to know Eleanor through her experiences, thoughts, and opinions. I love the writing of the book because of that. It’s clear that we don’t know her well, and at many turns we peel back another layer to Eleanor. It made the book immersive. I felt like I was truly getting to know her.

Eleanor is widely read, and has a great vocabulary. (She’s very smart as well) This was, simultaneously, annoying and nice. She used a lot of words that I haven’t come across before and, hence, I needed my phone nearby to look up words all the time. It kept breaking up my reading, but I’m glad for it as well. I miss learning new words from books. I actually MARKED all the new words that I came across so I could go through them again.

My favourite part of the book is Eleanor’s journey. Eleanor goes through so much in the span of this book. I was inspired by her journey and her path to healing and self-forgiveness. She finally faced her past and her demons after reaching thirty years of age. That was beautiful to watch.

OVERALL

If I had to summarize why you should read this:

  • Amazing mental illness/depression rep.
  • Amazing healing rep.
  • A brilliant and complicated character.
  • Immersive writing.

I recommend Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine to EVERYONE because Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine and YOU SHOULD KNOW WHY.

I rate this book..

4/5 stars

Have you read this book? Do you read books talking about mental illnesses?

Fake It Till You Break It || all my favourite tropes

fake it till you break it book cover.

Title: Fake It Till You Break It
Author: Jenn P. Nguyen
Genre: Contemporary
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Standalone book

Goodreads

I had been looking forward to this book since the beginning of this year. I was checking out upcoming releases and this sounded SO GOOD. Not gonna lie, I had a lot of expectations. Mainly, I wanted a super cute and adorable book with the hate-to-love trope. It’s one of my most favourite romance tropes, and I’m always looking for books with it.

THE PLOT

Mia and Jake have known each other for all their lives, and have been pushed together for most of it. Their moms decided that they would be perfect for each other and hatch matchmaking plans everyday. Mia and Jake hate spending time with each other, especially because of their moms who expect them to fall in love any second.

After the latest cute boy is scared away by her mum, Mia has had enough. She suggests that she and Jake fake date for a while and stage an epic heartbreak. Their moms will stop pushing them together if they realize that Mia and Jake will not work, right?

Just like any other fake dating plan, though, once these two truly spend time together they realize that they don’t actually hate each other. If their moms didn’t push them together forcefully, they could have been friends. And maybe even more?

WHAT I LOVED

Um, basically everything??

  • Mia and Jake were awesome. I loved them. They’re typical teenagers with their own problems. I connected with Jake a little more emotionally but liked them both equally. Other than the romance part, we also saw them try to figure out their future plans. Typical teenage things, and it made me nostalgic. I miss being in that position, considering different options and having a dream.
  • Mia is such a mood. Seriously, though. She’s very bubbly, cannot run for her life, is quite dramatic, loves Kdramas (like me!), and has lots of ideas in her head. Her dream is to be on stage, part of a theatre group, but she’s unsure of her voice for singing parts. She’s confident and not shy, but she also has vulnerabilities. I loved reading through her perspective. It was truly a ride.

Maybe this was how I was going to die. When I had so much unfinished business. I still needed to go to college. I still needed to meet Lee Jong-suk, my Korean Love.

Mia, after running to find Jake, so their cover won’t be blown.
  • Jake is Mia’s complete opposite and is so endearing. I totally see why their moms pushed them together. Jake is much more mellow and thoughtful. He is a talented singer and songwriter but he hasn’t tried performing ever since his brother, the other half of the “Adler brothers” duo, suddenly left one day. Jake is really hurt by that and he doesn’t to leave his mum, biologically his aunt, and go. I’m really glad we had chapters from his perspective as well.
  • Mia and Jake’s relationship was so adorable. When they finally did “pretend” to date, they realized that they don’t hate each other as much as they thought. Since they grew up together, they’re also kind of best friends because they know everything about each other.

We haven’t been friends for nearly ten years, but today it felt like we never stopped. And I was glad some things never changed.

  • This book includes THREE of my favourite romance tropes. There’s fake dating, hate-to-love, AND best-friends-to-lovers. Because in a roundabout way, Mia and Jake are best friends, which we see later. This book literally has everything you want.
  • I loved the plot. There were hilarious parts, swoon-worthy parts, and even sad parts! I had a smile on my face for most of the book. And since I read it in one sitting, my cheeks were hurting by the time I finished.

Even though I put him through all of that, he still came to sort of give me his blessing and—Oh my God, he was the Second Lead Syndrome. My had suddenly officially turned into a K-drama.

OVERALL

Fake It Till You Break It was definitely worth the wait. I honestly cannot believe it doesn’t have more hype. It EXCEEDED my expectation.

If you’re looking for a Young Adult book that will put a semi-permanent smile on your face and leave you happy, pick this one up. If you just want some cute afternoon chill-time reading, pick this up. If you’re looking for a vacation read, PICK THIS UP.

I will not stop pushing this onto people now.

I rate this book..

5/5 stars

What are your favourite tropes? Hint: if a book has it, you will pick it up no matter what.

Red, White & Royal Blue || A MUST-READ

red white and royal blue book cover

Title: Red, White & Royal Blue
Author: Case McQuiston
Genre: Romance, LGBTQ+
Category: New Adult
Series info: Standalone book
Goodreads

Synopsis:

A big-hearted romantic comedy in which First Son Alex falls in love with Prince Henry of Wales after an incident of international proportions forces them to pretend to be best friends…

First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.

The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him. 

As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?

my-review-lightuptheshiningnightstars

HAPPY PRIDE MONTH Y’ALL!

I thought I’d start off the month by posting* about an AWESOME book focusing on a gay couple.

This book has been on my TBR for a while, ever since I first saw someone gushing about it. I thought I’d read it after a couple exams but once I saw @zanyanomaly on Instagram gush about it, my last straw of control broke.

I read it when I was supposed to be studying. The next time I looked up after I started the book, I was already through 97%. And I paused reading for several hours because I WASN’T READY FOR IT TO END. I literally had half the last chapter left. Barely 7 minutes of reading. But I didn’t finish it immediately.

I loved it a lot. This is a review-cum-flail post.

*flailing because my mind seems to go into a mess of squealing and babbling about this book which I love so much.

But the truth is, also, simply this: love is indomitable.

The Plot

This book follows the hate-to-love romance between Alex Claremont-Diaz, First Son of America, and Prince Henry, the prince of England.

Okay, that’s all I’ll say because I’m very close to erupting and just smashing my keyboard and I may spoil things.

Reasons I like this book, in short:

  • IT’S SUPER CUTE, OKAY???
  • Seriously, though. It is very cute.
  • THE CHARACTERS, Y’ALL. They’re a gift. I love all of them so much, I want to marry every single one of them. Not joking.

Thinking about history makes me wonder how I’ll fit into it one day, I guess. And you too. I kinda wish people still wrote like that. History, huh? Bet we could make some.

  • HATE-TO-LOVE ROMANCE. It’s one of my favourite romance tropes and it was done beautifully. I had emotions. Many emotions. Strong ones.
  • THE SETTING. We’re talking about a romance between the First Son of America and the Prince of England. It’s some mad settings.
  • THE FEELINGS, BTA*. I felt literally every emotion that Alex felt. Angst, lust, determination, loneliness, uncertainty—name the emotion and I felt it.
  • THE BANTER. The conversations between the characters made me laugh out loud, swoon, and just genuinely appreciate this book multiple times each.
  • Also, this book is FUNNY AS HECK. We’re talking random bursts of laughter from me, and they mostly caught me off-guard.

Alex laughs so hard he almost falls in a mountain.

ME THROUGHOUT THE BOOK.
  • And there was so much more in the book that I loved.
  • THE QUOTES, Y’ALL. If you can’t tell already from the few ones I’ve already managed to squeeze in, I absolutely loved so many lines from the book. I’ve highlighted many of them. They quietly caught me off-guard with how meaningful and poignant they were.

Sometimes you just jump and hope it’s not a cliff.

*By The Angel (instead of oh my god). I’m trying out the Shadowhunters exclamation. Anyway, it’s unrelated. Let’s move on.

There was one small thing that I didn’t enjoy, sadly. Alex, the main character, is super into politics. And I’ve never been into politics, especially American politics. I tried to keep track of it but at some point, it all just flew over my head. It was VERY hardcore, for me. I started just skipping those paragraphs.

Overall

You should read this book NO MATTER WHAT.

But especially if you want something really cute and will definitely make your heart soar. Read this if you’re looking for a book that will make you laugh out loud and smile wide for a long time. Read this if you just want a book to drown you away from reality.

Five stars

If I could, I would rate this book 11 out of 5 but considering the max is generally considered 5, I’ll rate it 5/5.

Also, last quote because it’s SUPER FUNNY.

An hour later, there are several cartons of Chinese food and a PowerPoint cued up. The first slide says: SEXUAL EXPERIMENTATION WITH FOREIGN MONARCHS: A GRAY AREA. Alex wonders if it’s too late to swan dive off the roof.

Make that two last quotes..

“The next slide is titled: ‘Exploring your sexuality: Healthy, but does it have to be with the Prince of England?’ She apologizes for not having time to come up with better titles. Alex actively wishes for the sweet release of death.”

Okay that’s all.


Have you read Red, White & Royal Blue yet?

kill me heal me header image

Kill Me, Heal Me // Kdrama review

It’s official. I have found my new #1 Kdrama. Kill Me, Heal Me has replaced W: Two Worlds as my top Kdrama.

I watched this Korean drama on the recommendation of my friend’s sister, who raved about it. And I’m SO GLAD. I had college going on when I watched this and I binged it every free moment I got. Two episodes in and I loved it already.

I actually watched this several months back and made notes as well, but just never got around to reviewing. Even though it’s been months, I’m STILL hyped about it. In fact, my friends (who also watched it after I raved) and I recommend it to EVERYONE. It’s THE Kdrama to watch if you’re looking for mystery and thriller.

What is the drama about?

This drama has a lot going on and in the centre of it all is Cha Do-hyun, heir to the Seoju group companies and diagnosed with multiple personality disorder. He has five alternate personalities—Perry Park, Ahn Yo-na, Ahn Yo-sub, Shin Se-gi, and Nana. After some coercion from his family, he returns to Korea to start working for the family business. The drama follows Cha Do-hyun as he deals with family, responsibilities, his past and his alters.

The drama also focuses on two other characters—Oh Ri-jin and Oh Ri-on. Oh Ri-jin is a psychiatrist resident who ends up being assigned to Cha Do-Hyun after he returns to Korea. Oh Ri-on, twin brother of Oh Ri-jin and writer under an alias called “Omega”, also becomes interested in Cha Do-hyun’s diagnosis and family.

Cha Do-hyun, Oh Ri-jin and Oh Ri-on’s lives become intertwined in the present, and it brings up the past as well.

Kill Me, Heal Me is thrilling, mysterious and will keep you on the edge of your seat.

My thoughts on the drama

  • Okay so IT WAS BRILLIANT. I got so wrapped into the show that I ignored pretty much everything else those few days. Even now when I think about the story, I get caught up in it in my head.
  • There was never a dull moment. The 20 1-hour episodes were jam-packed with events that kept making me increasingly invested.
Kill Me Heal Me scene
Source: Lee Jin’s drama croner
  • Ji Sung, the actor who played Cha Do-hyun & the alters DESERVES A BIG AWARD. I was completely BLOWN AWAY by his performance and acting skills. I could not stop praising him and being wowed throughout the drama. It was more than the alters’ clothes that made the difference. It was the look in the eye, the gaze, the posture and so much more that makes a person unique. Ji Sung acted as multiple personalities down to the core. It was good that I could recognize which alter is currently on screen without knowing the name, even if they’re wearing different clothes.
  • Oh Ri-jin, the female lead, was easily likeable. She’s strong-willed, smart and puts all her might into her work. She genuinely cares for her patients and is pretty good at what she does.
Kill Me Heal Me scene
Source: Dramabeans
  • Oh Ri-on, the other male lead, was very captivating on screen as well. He is a famous author under the pen name Omega, and is a dutiful brother to Oh Ri-jin.
  • The three main leads commanded the screen with their presence and I didn’t stand a chance of not liking them. Not only did the acting seem seamless, the chemistry between the actors was perfect for the drama. I got immersed into the story and did not think about how this is not real.
  • The plot itself was BLOODY BRILLIANT. I cannot imagine any other show or drama topping this one in mystery. It was just. too. good. I applaud the writers for coming up with this intriguing and captivating story line.
  • There was a twist in almost every episode. First of all, that is HARD to write and orchestrate. And two, they caught me off guard every single time. My friends who watched the drama were the same. We couldn’t stop talking about the twists and the amazing plot.
Kill Me Heal Me scene
Source: UniqueStream
  • The drama also includes SO MANY THINGS. It’s not just multiple personalities or just mystery. It’s way more and we get a lot of focus on each of those things. Let me list out the most prominent topics which we follow:
    1. The multiple personalities, which are highly interesting and intriguing on their own. I had never seen a show on multiple personality disorder before so this was new and amazing.
    2. Cha Do-hyun’s life as an heir/chaebol. The struggles of keeping an image, family politics and business politics being the same thing, fighting for power and inheritance etc.
    3. Romance. I actually REALLY liked this! And it really fit in with the plot.
    4. Mysterious pasts that come together in a way which will leave you speechless.
    5. And comedy! Every Kdrama has a comedic element, and I loved how Kill Me, Heal Me had humorous scenes without ruining the vibe of the show. It felt smooth and natural.
  • I LOVED THE SOUNDTRACK. I will talk more on this later.
  • Initially I felt like 20 episodes were too long for me to make time to binge. I even told my friend that I’ll take a couple weeks. But I finished it in FOUR DAYS. With college and everything. It’s THAT good.
  • I was dreading the ending because I didn’t want the drama to end. And, to be honest, I thought the ending was lackluster. For all the amazingness the drama was, the ending did not live up that. I can name ways in which it could have been better. That is the ONLY complaint I have. A brilliant Kdrama should have an equally brilliant ending.

The Characters

Oh my goodness, I’ve been waiting to talk ALL about the characters. Here we go.

Cha Do-hyun.

kill me heal me cha do hyun
Source: Amino Apps

Cha Do-hyun is the heir to a big and powerful company/business but due to a past unknown to him, he has multiple personality disorder. For the longest, it did not surface, but one day when he was in college, an alter took over him. And it happened again, and again, until he realised something is up.

His plan was to get treated and, at least, be in a compromising/acceptable state with his alters before returning home but gets called back early. He looks for a therapist to see in secret and ends up seeing Oh Ri-jin.

I loved Do-hyun’s journey throughout the drama. The highs, the lows, the struggles, the happiness, the resolve, his acceptance of his condition—all were portrayed damn well. He keeps going around correcting his alters’ actions/wrong doings. He is kind, really nice and somewhat lacking in confidence. He’s also always serious and somber.

Shin Se-gi

kill me heal me shin se gi.png
Source: fanpop.com

Shin Se-gi is one of Cha Do-hyun’s alter personalities, and he is the most prominent one whom we see. He’s the exact opposite of Cha Do-hyun. Se-gi is rude, unapologetic, and bold. He does not hold back from violence and doesn’t care about what people think of him.

Se-gi was really interesting, especially in contrast to Do-hyun. His ultimate goal is to take over Do-hyun completely and not be repressed inside. So, he’s basically against Do-hyun. That was so cool to watch.

(Did I mention what a brilliant actor Ji Sung is? Even if I did, it’s worth repeating. He is SO TALENTED.)

Ahn Yoo-na & Ahn Yoo-sub

These two alters are siblings. I have no clue how this works but after researching a few real stories, it happens in reality as well.

kill me heal me ahn yoo na
Source: dramabeans

Ahn Yoo-na is a teenage girl obsessed with boys. Her top priority is to go after cute boys and fawn over them. It’s so funny, oh my gosh.

kill me heal me ahn yoo sub
Source: dramabeans

Ahn Yoo-sub is the suicidal alter. He’s a depressed teenager and keeps trying to kill himself. He also always keeps to himself. Not introverted but just sad and alone.

Perry Park

kill me heal me perry park
Source: Enjoy Korea with Hui

Perry Park is the most fun alter. He is carefree, would rather drink away his days, is very into fishing and is really fun to hangout with. He is also a genius with bombs which is so funny. Like, if you put all the alters into one body and they take turns controlling the body, it’s a recipe for a funny disaster.

Perry Park has his own issues which is very under-the-surface. I did not consider him as interesting but he grew on me.

Nana

kill me heal me nana
Source: weheartit

Nana is the last alter and she is a young girl. Probably around the age 5. She is always with her teddy bear and draws the bear on paper a lot and writes Nana. She is the young and innocent alter who is stuck at that age.

Oh Ri-jin

kill me heal me oh ri jin
Source: Asian Wiki

Oh Ri-jin is a first year psychiatry resident. My first impression of her was that she is a strong character. She is stubborn, bold and determined. I really liked that she is tenacious and determined to see through any commitment of hers. She’s also really cute.

Hwang Jung-eum acted and portrayed the character very well. She was perfect for the role.

Oh Ri-on

kill me heal me oh ri on
Source: Amino Apps

Oh Ri-on is Oh Ri-jin’s twin brother and super famous author under the pen name Omega. He writes mystery books so when he has a puzzle, he becomes very intent on solving it.

Oh Ri-on is kind, is a protective and good brother, and a good person in general. He is attentive yet jolly so he is the perfect company. I really liked his character. Park Seo-joon, the actor, was the perfect person for this role. No one else could have executed it better.

What actually captivated me the most about his was his emotion. I really liked how his inner struggles and emotions were shown. He tries to be a happy go-lucky guy but underneath all that, he is so much more. They way he continues on while struggling internally in secret grabbed me.

The Soundtrack

The entire vibe of the drama was matched so well with the music. The music really ENHANCED the scenes and the vibe.

While all of the songs were good for the drama, one particular song stood out.

Auditory Hallucination by Jang Jae-in MADE the drama’s vibe. And I’m not saying this lightly. It was used very often throughout the 20 episodes but IT FIT the drama like no other. I fell absolutely in love with the song. Now, whenever I listen to it, I remember scenes from Kill Me, Heal Me.

Also, apparently, the meaning of the song is taken to be like the title. The rap parts of the song are supposed to convey or mean Kill Me, while the melodious vocal part is to mean Heal Me. And I FELT THAT. Even before I knew the lyrics, I could relate those emotions with the music, and I could relate the emotions and music to the drama.

So yeah, Auditory Hallucinations is hands down my favourite song from the OST.

Overall

GO WATCH IT.

This is one Kdrama which you WILL remember. Not only was it captivating and intriguing, it also portrays multiple personality disorder SO WELL. I actually did some research and watched some videos after I finished Kill Me, Heal Me.

The drama still has a strong impression on me, several months later, and I’m someone who easily forgets stories. So yes, this is a must-watch. I definitely recommend it.

Have you seen Kill Me, Heal Me? Or is it something that you might like? Have you seen multiple/split personality disorder in any other show/drama/movie? Tell me in the comments!

read a ton wrap up header image

Read-A-Ton challenge wrap up

Hi everyone! It’s been a hot minute since I’ve posted something but I did manage to do a lot life and reading-wise in that time.

In today’s post, I just want to briefly talk about the books I read for a readathon which I participated in last month. #readaton was a week-long readathon where we just read with our own reading goals. It was hosted by @theloneflaneur on Instagram and I was fortunate to have the time then to join in.

I managed to finish 7 books and make progress on another during the readathon. I’m actually really proud of the reading I got done because I had events during that week as well.

Anyway, let’s get to the books!

Until November by Aurora Rose Reynolds

I reread this book in the readathon because I was browsing through my read books and noticed it, but I remembered nothing about it. I was partially in a slump so I thought let’s reread and picked it up. It got me out of my slump, but I ended up hating the book.

Until November has to be the most problematic book by Aurora Rose Reynolds that I’ve read, and I’ve read quite a few. The author specializes in alpha-male and possessive reads, which I can understand. There are many readers who like such romances and I enjoy them too, sometimes.

But I just could NOT like this book. The male lead was just too much. He was very problematic, let November have her way only once, made decisions and forced her to accept them all the time, and more.

I am planning on writing a whole review on this one, but only if I can get to it soon otherwise I’ll forget most of my points.

Homecoming by Rubina Ramesh

This was a short romance set in Kerala, India. I received the book for free on Kindle in return for a review and used the challenge to finish it in time.

The book is about Sanaya and Krish who had a fling a long time back but broke up due to some bad situations. Now, after a decade, Sanaya returns home from the US and faces the memories that she tried to run away from. We watch them as they meet each other and find their ways back to each other.

It was an okay read for me. It was short and not very impressive.

Until Trevor by Aurora Rose Reynolds

Only after reading Until November did I realize that I have read every book from the Until series except Until Trevor. I decided to pick it up on a whim, hoping it’ll give me some satisfaction. And it did!

Until Trevor is probably the least problematic book out of all books by the author that I’ve read. I actually quite enjoyed it! I like Trevor the most out of all the male leads in the series and I probably will reread the book someday.

The Boy Who Steals Houses by CG Drews

I’ve been awaiting this book ever since it was announced because I absolutely loved A Thousand Perfect Notes by Drews. That book broke my heart and I was looking forward to more feels caused by this book. And I wasn’t disappointed.

The Boy Who Steals Houses made me cry, clutch my heart, smile, laugh with tears in my eyes, broke my heart, and put the pieces back together messily. It was too good. I definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a book that will draw you in completely and play with your heart.

Until June by Aurora Rose Reynolds

I got emboldened by Until Trevor and wanted another romance book to read, and decided to try another by Reynolds. I also have read other books in the Until Him/Her series which I have quite liked so I had high hopes for this one.

While I did like the book in the beginning, it quickly went sour. By the end, I just wanted the book to end. So yeah, unfortunate read.

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

I managed to nab The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang last year on Kindle when it was free for a day, and I LOVED IT SO MUCH. The female lead had Asperger’s and I absolutely loved the storyline. I was looking forward to this book and planned on reading it later but one of my friends in real life told me in no uncertain terms that I had to read it NOW.

So I went ahead and read it. And as expected, it blew me away. I fell in love with the characters and their journey. I liked the supporting characters just as much as the main characters. Definitely recommended if you’re looking for a unique romance with autism rep.

The Princess and the Fangirl by Ashley Poston

I picked this one up on a whim because I was in the mood for fluffy YA. I had a little bit of hard time trying to remember characters from book 1 and their stories. This book had a lot of references to book 1 which made me confused and left without some information. It became okay later on but I still felt that the author could have written the book such that new readers can read this without having read Geekerella.

I ended up really liking it in the end! It was adorable and fluffy, which was exactly what I was looking for.

The Lie by C.L. Taylor

This is the last read from the readathon which I didn’t complete but I did make progress on. This is a mystery/thriller book and it was really good! I had never heard of the book before I just picked it up in a book fair which i went to a few months back. I didn’t have high hopes for the book but I was pleasantly surprised and really liked it!

If you’re looking for a slightly dark thriller, check this one out.


And that’s it for my wrap-up! I’ll see y’all in my next post.

What have you been reading? Have you read any of the books I mentioned? Tell me in the comments!

Rewind and Play || Indian college adventures

rewind and play book cover

Title: Rewind And Play
Author: Tarun Gautam
Genre: Contemporary
Category: Young Adult+
Series info: Single book
Goodreads

Synopsis:

Raghav Diwan is living the American Dream. A successful career, a comfortable and happy married life. One day, he receives an invitation to an evening get-together with his college batchmates. He has not kept in touch with any of them and has no desire to meet them. But the past seems to be calling him. The past wants to reveal something to him. Will he open the door to let the past in? Will he let it change his future? Will he press, rewind and play?

my-review-lightuptheshiningnightstars

When I first saw the synopsis for this book, I was a little confused about what it would actually contain. The title tells that we will be revisiting the main character Raghav’s past, but why? I picked up the book nonetheless and it turned out to be not bad.

The Plot

Raghav has everything—an amazing career that gets him awards, a cool wife and a good home life. All he’s thinking about is meeting his next goal. But one day, because of one problem, it all comes crashing down. Raghav loses his job, his reputation becomes ruined and finding another job seems harder.

In the midst of a storm, Raghav receives an invite from his friends to get together with them for an evening. He doesn’t want to go, because he has nothing to show at the moment. He is at his lowest. But he ends up going and remembering the past reminds him of his roots.

Most of the book is just scenes and memorable events that occurred in Raghav’s four years of college along with his friends. All of them take turns narrating a story, each of which brings a little of that old life back into them.

My Thoughts on the book:

  • The editing should have been better.

It was the sole reason because of which I had a hard time liking the book in the beginning. I actually took out a pen and corrected the mistakes. It didn’t help that the flow of the book wasn’t smooth in the beginning, so I couldn’t immerse myself into the story. The flow actually was jarring when the book would jump back to the past and come back.

  • I stuck through the book and it actually became better.

I finally put my pen down, stopped annotating and let the book go. I got used to the flow and the editing mistakes, or at least I managed to not notice them much, and I ended up enjoying the book a whole lot more.

It took me two days to get properly into the book, but once I did I finished it in a day.

  • I actually really liked the flashback stories.

I’m studying Engineering in India too and the best part about reading an Indian book set in college is that I could REALLY relate. I saw the fun they had in the fun that I have today. I saw my experiences in the story. That made the book a whole lot more enjoyable.

The stories were nothing so outrageous that I would have a hard time believing them. They were interesting but what they meant for the characters made the stories much more meaningful. The group really reminisced and got caught up in their memories, becoming wishful and nostalgic.

I’m a sucker for reminiscing and a good group of friends. In fact, I was with my friends talking about high school just a couple days back. I saw my friends and I in the characters.

  • The characters were really dynamic.

The group of friends were from all over India and all of the cultures and references were brought in. In a subtle way, I saw how every person in the group was important to the group and the different addition they bring to the table.

The friends made mistakes together, were foolish together and grew together. They learned from each other and learned together. I really liked the group.

  • I really liked how the book ended.

With every memory being remembered, the characters felt a piece of their old selves in them surfacing. They remembered that life and who they were at the start. They remembered their roots and sometimes, all it requires for a person to find direction is to find their roots.

The ending put a smile to my face and I ended the book content. All is well that ends well, and it was truly the case with this book.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a book about the Indian college life and are looking for something to relate to, you should pick this up.

Three stars.
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars.