Friday, 28 July 2017

Book Review: The Memory Watcher by Minka Kent.

Book: The Memory Watcher 

Author: Minka Kent 

Pages: 429 

Read On: Kindle 

How Long it Took Me To Read: 2 days 

Plot Summary: Press, tap, refresh...

When Autumn Carpenter stumbles upon the social media account of the family who adopted her infant daughter years ago, she finds herself instantly drawn into their picture-perfect existence. 

From behind a computer screen, Autumn watches Grace's every memory, from birthdays to holidays to bedtime snuggles. But what starts as an innocent fascination soon spirals into an addictive obsession that comes to a screeching halt the day the McMullen family closes their Instaface account without so much as a warning. 

Frantic and desperate to reconnect with her daughter, Autumn applies for a nanny position with the McMullens, manipulating herself into Grace's life under false pretenses. And it's only then that Autumn discovers pictures lie, the perfect family doesn't exist, and beautiful people? They have the ugliest secrets. 

General Thoughts: I read this book back in April or May...I am not entirely sure but I loved it and all these months later I find myself thinking about it, so I had to review it and recommend it to you guys! 

Things I Liked: 

1. I really liked the writing. The book was well-written and fantastically paced. I never felt bored or disinterested in the happenings of this book. It kept my interest piqued at all times. I cannot wait to read more from this author! 

2. There are so many things that are so incredibly relatable in this book. For one the stalking, of course, I don't mean all of us are stalkers. No, I should hope not. But let's be honest..aren't we all a little bit guilty on snooping on someones social media. Haven't we all at some point or another lurked on someone's Instagram or Twitter and not engaged with them at all, just snooped on their updates. I know I have. So to have a book talking about this tendency...and taking it really far was a wholly relatable and enjoyable experience. 

3. The one thing I dislike a whole lot about social media is just how curated it is. I don't pretend to be holier than thou and say that I don't curate my online life..but I do try to keep things real and honest. I loved, LOVED that this book showed how some one portray an idealised version of themselves, versions that are sometimes so far removed from the truth and versions that are just fake and immensely doctored, and they do all of this just to show themselves and their lives in a better light. 

4. I love Instagram. TBH, I am pretty addicted to it. I love sharing my life and my thoughts and snippets of my world through this app. I also like seeing other people's world through it. I loved reading a book about this app..called Instaface here. I like when facets of our everyday life are mentioned in books, which sadly doesn't happen enough. I don't know why most contemporary books don't mention social media on them?! 

5. A very important lesson in this book is to beware and aware of the certain risks of social media and sharing your life online, you just don't know who is on the other side of the screen and who is watching your content and keeping tabs on your life and on you and your loved ones. It's scary right? To think about someone getting obsessed with you and watching your every move on social media! EEK! 

6. The other aspect of this book that is highly relatable is mothers who share their lives and the lives of their children online. Mommy bloggers if you will, for the lack of a better term. I have seen so many of them share everyday moments and cute pictures of their children all over the internet. Whether this is safe or not is whole other conversation! But I do think so many of these 'candid' moments are so staged! I love that this book highlighted this. 
Grace is a mother who is overwhelmed and is frankly struggling with running a home and keeping her children under control, yet she shares a very different take on it all on her Instaface. She omits the tantrum throwing but shows a calm and smiling child and makes it seem like she is a supermom. Her entire persona is so curated and honestly quite fake and dishonest. This was shown so well in this book! I found myself nodding along and shaking my head so many times while reading this book. 

7. Autumn is pretty shady, of course she is. She is actively stalking Grace and her family and is beyond obsessed! She even inserts herself in their life, which is just so creepy! Yet there is something so human about her. She is still someone you find liking and the author did a fantastic job of writing this complicated and vulnerable character.

8. Grace's married life was another thing I enjoyed reading about, the anatomy of a marriage that is going through a rough patch always makes for a good read. And seeing Grace deal with her marriage and her children and household issues came across as very real.

Things I Didn't Like: 

I really enjoyed this book and I do highly recommend it.

But some of the things were a little less than perfect.

1. For one some of the connections between characters seemed a little too convenient. Like a little unbelievable.

2. Autumn goes a little too insane all of a sudden. Dramatic but a little to abrupt.

3. I also did kinda guess the big twist a mile away! But it didn't really ruin the book for me.

Rating: 4/5

I highly recommend this book. It's a perfect rainy day read! 

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Book Review: Mafia Queens of Mumbai by S. Hussain Zaidi with Jane Borges.

Book: Mafia Queens of Mumbai Stories of Women from the Ganglands. 

Author: S. Hussain Zaidi with Jane Borges 

Pages: 347 

Read On: Kindle 

Publisher: Tranquebar Press 

How Long it Took Me To Read: 3 hours ( I breezed through this book!) 

Plot Summary: From victims to victims to victors, this collection of stories contains intricate details of thirteen women who went on to leave their permanent mark on the face face of the Mumbai Mafiosi.

General Thoughts: This really isn't the kind of book I am drawn towards. But I saw it on Kindle Unlimited and thought I'd give it a shot. I had heard good things about it and being from Bombay, reading about it's underbelly seemed appealing. 

Things I Liked: 

1. I really enjoyed the writing style of this book. The book is simply written and makes for an intriguing and easy read. I breezed through this book in one sitting, I simply couldn't put it down. 

2. The underworld is fascinating to say the least. Scary, disturbing and if you are from Mumbai it's presence is something that is a part of your life. Especially in the 90s the underworld was a big, big part of our lives. Dominating the headlines and even living room conversations. Shootouts and kidnappings and protection money were sadly all to common in the 90s. I have heard so many stories about the underworld and thanks to my Dad seen a ton of movies about it to. So reading about it was quite interesting. 

3. The range of stories in this book is pretty incredible. From straight up women gangsters to gangster moles to narcotics dealers, to a legendary prostitute who is revered in the red light area. There are so many different kinds of women and their stories in this book. 

4. Women gangsters are not often talked about and it's not like there aren't women in the nefarious profession. 

5. I really appreciate the research that has gone into this book. And even though this is a non-fiction book it reads like a well-written and nuanced story. 

6. This book just took you into it's world. The seedy rooms and dingy lanes of Mumbai. As well as the greedy hearts and determined minds of the women in gangs. 

7. I always surprises me that the city I was born in and live in has this totally different side. Sometimes the lights and sounds and sights of this city just camouflage the darkness and malice that inhabit here as well. I have to admit I sometimes have a hard time seeing my city in the different light. But I guess it lives and breathes right along side with the rest of us, this world and it's people. It is fascinating to see how this other side lives. 

Rating: 4/5 

I really, really enjoyed this book. 
And it blew my mind how much I enjoyed it. It took me completely by surprise. Don't you just love that about books? 

I will say though, you will have to kinda keep an open mind and judgment aside while reading this book. Because at the end of the day it is a book about criminals and they do terrible things. So while reading about it, I think it's story of a person's life and all the terrible things they do is just a part of the story. 

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

What's In My Pencil Bag- Part- I. (Stationery Bits)

Today I want to share some of my most and frequently used stationery bits. 
I use 2 pencil bags on the regular. What can I say, I am a total pen/stationery nut. 
Since it is a lot of stuff in total, I thought I'd split this post up in two parts. 

For today's post I want to share the smaller of my pencil bags, the one in which I keep some miscellaneous bits and bobs. 

Washi Sampler. 
Slim Washi Tapes.
Page Flags. 
Markers in pastel colours.
Calligraphy Pens. 

My pencil case/ bag came in a Planner Society Kit and I love it's bright colours. 

Let's jump into the stationery goodness shall we? 

Here is everything. 
These are things I use to plan and journal with, mainly to make my planner pages pretty. 

The Calligraphy pens I bought from Crossword. These are the 2.0 and 3.0 kinds. We also have a 1.0 which my sister uses. 
The list pad came with a Happie Scrappie Kit a while back. 
These beautiful Page Flags are from Target, the dollar spot, which a very kind person on Instagram sent my sister. 
Stationery people are the best people. 

The Zebra Mildliners are great for highlight text and come with two kinds of nibs, a marker tip and a writing tip. Very useful. 
You can get it HERE. 

 I also love these rose gold paper clips are from Tools To Live By and are so incredibly useful in holding down paper while you write and journal. 

The slim Washi Tapes from MT are some of my personal favourites. 
I use them in my Bujo and Journal extensively. 

These Starbucks stickers are new-ish in my life and I love them! 
My sister is a big time Starbucks fan and couldn't resist these stickers. 
We got these from Aliexpress. 

This is all I carry in my smaller pencil bag. 
Part- II coming soon with all of my pens!