Saturday, March 29, 2014

ARC REVIEW: Peacemaker - Marianne De Pierres


Virgin Jackson is the senior ranger in Birrimun Park – the world’s last natural landscape, overshadowed by a sprawling coastal megacity. She maintains public safety and order in the park, but her bosses have brought out a hotshot cowboy to help her catch some drug runners who are affecting tourism. She senses the company is holding something back from her, and she’s not keen on working with an outsider like Nate Sixkiller.

When an imaginary animal from her troubled teenage years reappears, Virgin takes it to mean one of the two things: a breakdown (hers!) or a warning. When the dead bodies start piling up around her and Nate, she decides on the latter.

Something terrible is about to happen in the park and Virgin and her new partner are standing in its path…

I ask you, with a blurb like that, how do you not feel excited to just start reading the book? In this day and age when girls in their late teenage years with a traumatic past are pushed into exotic dystopian lands to fight for the oppressed, this blurb was something else.
Some chapters on, I could feel this excitement oozing out through me, and the very act of picking up my tablet made me sigh.
Not that it was that bad. Just plain exhausting.

Virgin is a twenty nine year old ranger. My first reaction was “YES. NOT ANOTHER TEENAGER.”
Were there any benefits? Um, no.

The idea of a common world mythology (for more info, read the book) introduced was so very refreshing, so new, that when nothing transpired out of it, I almost cried.

The narration was … average. I’m not plenty familiar with the Australian slang, but I thought Papa Brise’s was … interesting (for lack of a better word). You could picture him as this underworld don with ego problems. Most other characters were developed in the average fashion.

The dystopian world De Pierres has created is realistic, I guess, but that didn’t make me happy. Technically the world building is good with her descriptions of the Mystere and the park, but again – not happy.

And then.
Question: Which among the following is Virgin’s possible love interest?
a)      Nate
b)      Heart
c)       Hamish
d)      Totes
Me: *gags* Did so many guys have to show an interest in her? Even the apparently-not-as-random-as-I-thought-hit man?

And usually when stories end abruptly, you start hyperventilating and putting a knife to the writer’s throat in your dreams to surrender the next book RIGHT NOW.
I’ll pass on this one, though.

Warning: This is the opinion of yours truly. I scrolled through other Goodreads reviews glorifying this book. Reader’s discretion advised.

VERDICT: 2 stars

Thursday, March 27, 2014

ARC REVIEW - A Bird On Water Street - Elizabeth O. Dulemba


Thirteen year old jack Hicks loves everything about Coppertown – his family and friends. Barbeques and Friday music nights, and his best friend’s beautiful sister, Hannah. Everything. That is, except for what keeps the community thriving and drove out nature long ago – mining, living in a treeless landscape that looks like the moon. He yearns to see the bugs and birds and frogs outside of books.

When the miners strike, Jack is thrilled that green and growing things at last have a chance to return to the red hills. But when that same strike threatens to close the mine and force people to leave Coppertown for new homes and jobs, Jack finds himself struggling to hold onto everything he loves.

I am nineteen years old. I’ve attended enough of social studies and environmental science classes to know all about how man kills nature. So when people talk about AVOID PLASTIC and PLANT MORE TREES and RUN THE ICE CAPS ARE MELTING, I yawn.

I expected this book to be another lecture. Big mistake. So when I found myself listening to Jack talking about how “living on Coppertown was like living on the moon”, how Miss Post taught them about trees and amphibians and birds when there weren’t any, how the fog left holes in his mom’s stockings hung out to dry, I kept listening.

 But this book isn’t all about how the mining industry in Coppertown killed all the birds. It’s also about a fourteen year old boy dreaming about dirt bikes and crushing over his best friend’s sister. About Friday music nights, fishing, breaking an arm over a dare, rubbing a rabbit’s foot for luck, praying for his dad’s safety in the mines, blackberry picking with his mom and best friend, and agonizing over the fact that he didn’t like the future his dad already decided for him.

The tone was nicely set – it wasn’t dragging, it wasn’t hurried, not too descriptive that it doesn’t help the story along. I really liked Jack’s voice. Some pages managed to pull me through and transport me to the tailings pond where he took home Little Man and next to Piran listening to the “chick-a-dees”.

I loved Coppertown. Although it is the very example of how negative an effect we have had on our planet, Dulemba has managed to make me love the people and the shy green.


VERDICT:  4 stars

Monday, March 24, 2014

On The Count Of Ten

Now close your eyes and don't peek,
Close your eyes and listen,
One. Two. Three.
Now open your eyes and look for me.
And here you are, clutching my,
Dress, my hair, my hand,
Four. Five. Six.
It's my turn, and I've seen you,
A girl in expensive age,
Paid for with memories.
Seven. Eight. Nine.
Now we've caught each other,
We'll hide behind the grandmother tree,
Once the sun's kissed you awake.
Ten - you fall asleep.
Eleven - you let go of me.
Twelve - I fall too.
I can count the guns no more,
I close my eyes and listen,
And hear the silence you pulled me into,
Close your eyes and don't peek,
close your eyes and listen,

And I will sing you to sleep.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Blogging Efforts Awarded - LIEBSTER AWARD WINNER

I still cannot get over this. Me, a virtual nobody has been awarded the Liebster award by the wonderful Skylar Finn @ Life Of A Random. *hollers a THANK YOU from the mountaintops* And yes, in reply to a comment, I'd love to hear your answers.

This me among my roomies after seeing the news.

They were obviously jealous, right?

Miss Finn had asked me some questions that I am expected to answer, and here they are:

The 11 Answers

1. If you could be any of the Avengers, who would you be?
I am not a HUGE DIE HARD fan of Marvel. Judging the handful of movies I have seen, I have not felt the need to go around fangirling around about it. I like Batman a lot though. Thor is awaiting my judgment.

2. Do you prefer paperbacks or hardbacks?
Oh paperbacks, through and through. Hardbacks feel like the kind of books you would prop up on the coffee table for decoration. Paperbacks feel … personal. Something fragile and beautiful. Something that you want to tuck away in your bookshelf with only the spine exposed and take it out to give to people with a speech titled What-Happens-If-You-Crease-The-Spine.

3. How did your parents choose your name? Why did they choose it?
This was a tough one.  Just now, I called up my dad to ask how they came up with it, and this is what he said:
“Oh, I don’t remember. It was a long time back, wasn’t it? I’ll ask your mom.”
So she called a while later and said that they had decided on the letter A and flipped through a Baby Names book my uncle had given them. They saw Aneetta which meant “grace” (parents set such unattainable goals), they didn’t like the length, so they took out the extra letters and hey presto. My middle name is Mary. It’s a peace offering, since it’s both my dad’s grandmother’s and mom’s mother’s name.

4. What’s your favourite movie?
I’m assuming that you realize this is a totally thorny question like asking to pick your favourite parent (but if you had asked my favourite book, I would have shot you in the eye), so I’ll skip the part where I swear at you. I have LOVED all the movies that have been adapted from books (The Secret Life Of Bees, The Help, Boy With Striped Pajamas, To Kill A Mockingbird, Hunger Games, The Book Thief), so I’ll say one with original screenplay that first comes to my mind. I watched August Rush back to back and recommended it to every single soul I met. And a Hindi movie called Taare Zameen Par (Stars on Earth). It’s about a dyslexic boy misunderstood and looked down upon by everyone but is finally understood by his new art teacher. Watched it three times at a stretch, and I still can’t listen to its soundtracks without getting emotional.

5. What is something that you procrastinate a lot on?
This is a fierce competition with two finalists: Mr. Weekend Laundry and Miss Rarely Blogging. I only do laundry when my stock of clean clothes is dangerously low (around the time when the laundry basket starts to give off a hazardous odour). And I blog only when the need to write somehow overpowers the biological necessity to read a book.
I know, I need to wear a dunce cap and sit in a corner facing the wall. Shame on me.

6. Twitter or Facebook?
Up until a few years back, I DID NOT get Twitter. (WTH why would I want to know when their dogs have pooped, when someone is binging on ice cream – pfft, like I’m that jobless). I didn’t do much FB either. Now, I start having withdrawals if I don’t know what’s happening in Twitterverse.

7. Do you play an instrument?
I learnt the keyboard for a year, so if you say words like ascendo, chords, E minor, treble cleff, I wouldn't blink an eye. Am I any good? I haven't had neighbours calling the police yet. But some day, I will play like Yiruma, you just watch me. 
Oh and I can strum three chords on the guitar.

8. Have you ever had to get stitches?
Thankfully, no. I am slightly hemophobic, with a fear of needles. So much for me aspiring to be the heroine in my own dystopian fantasy.

9. What do you do when you are bored?
A sure tell-tale sign that I’m bored is when I’m aimlessly scrolling through my Twitter feed. But I almost am never bored – I have time to kill, I crack open a book. But if I am bored, it’s because I’m doing something mechanical – dicing up veggies, doing laundry, etc. I’m bored when I do that, I don’t do anything when I’m bored.

10. If you could choose between only reading, or only writing, which one would you choose?
Only reading, thank you very much.

11. Do you keep a journal (doesn’t have to be a physical one)?

Nope. But I keep making notes on my cellphone (or on my hand, whichever is available) whenever anything out of the ordinary happens (which always happens around me) or when I get an idea to blog about.

11 Facts About Me

1.       1.           Although I’m Indian (and currently living in India) I was born and brought up in Dubai. I still consider Dubai my home, and always will. Who I am today is because of the people I met there.
2.       I wanted to do a degree in Theoretical Physics, but because I don’t have the brains to pursue it, I am now doing a Bachelor’s in Instrumentation Engineering.
3.       I sometimes pretend I am living in the apartment where Sheldon and Leonard live in, when I’m climbing the three flights of stairs in our hostel. No, it’s not because our elevator’s broken, it’s off limits. And if you haven’t heard of The Big Bang Theory, why are you still alive?
4.       I hate summer. Growing up in a desert does that.
5.       My mom makes unbelievable dishes within the blink of an eye. Sadly, the culinary strand of her DNA refused to cooperate with mine. I once made cold coffee (WITH my BFF Caroline the Crazy, y’all hear?) and I had to go to the loo. Repeatedly.
6.       I am extremely selfish. It shames me to say so but yes, unlike the characters I adore, I do not put everyone else’s needs before mine. If I lend something to somebody, I’ve done it with much heartache.
7.       I would like to say that I swagger instead of just plain walking but it’s been pointed out that that’s not the case. Instead, the comment I get is, “Whose ass are you planning on busting?”
8.       I am the biggest hypocrite. Although I’m a vegetarian, and lecture people about animal cruelty and how inhumane it is to not think them of as living beings with feelings, I stomp on any creature belonging to the insect kingdom without sparing a thought to its family. My only thought is AARGH DIE #$@$&*!@ DIE.
9.       I tend to judge a person by the kind of books he reads (or doesn’t read). How many times have you pictured me wearing that dunce cap already?
10.   I do not know how to whistle.
11.   How much ever chatty I appear to be, do not be fooled, I am not. Seat me next to a person - do not expect me to break the ice, and if asked a question, I give monosyllabic answers.

11 Questions To The Nominees

1.       1.          Are you a dog person, or a cat person?
2.       Suppose you get a genie to grant you one wish, what would it be? (no, you can’t ask for a hundred wishes more)
3.       Name one vice in this world that you abhor.
4.       What do you like most about yourself?
5.       Team Peeta or Team Gale? Why? (I’ll be judging you :p)
6.       Are there any special instructions that you give when you lend someone your book?
7.       What do you think about the kind of “He/She’s-My-Soulmate” love depicted in books and movies? Have you been disillusioned, or still hopeful? Or a believer?
8.       If you could be a character in the wizarding world that JKR invented, who would you be? (I’m assuming you’ve ATLEAST seen the movies)
9.       Have you heard of multiple realities? 10 years from now, what are the possible realities facing you?
10.   What’s your favourite time of a regular day?
11.   And the easiest question of all - if you could marry a character (TV shows, movies, books) who would it be? (the sarcasm was intended – and no, polygamy/polyandry is not allowed :p)

And The Nominees Are:
  1. Crazy Caro @ Crazy Utopia
  2. Pink Avenger @ Pink Avenger Reads
  3. Cecile @ The Quakeroo
  5. Ifrah A. @ Brain On Pause

Again, do not hit me. I know I'm flouting the rules when I'm not nominating the required 9 blogs. I also realize that this affects the chain and goes against the spirit of the Liebster award. Forgive me? All the blogs I follow had 200+ followers, so I had to turn every stone in the blogosphere to find at least these.

With the exception of No. 1 (Ahem, Caroline.)


You won't believe the number of versions of the rules. So, I'm posting the version Skylar put up.
  1. Make sure you thank and link back to the person who nominated you. 
  2. List 11 facts about yourself. 
  3. Answer 11 questions put forward by whoever nominated you. 
  4. Ask 11 new questions to 9 bloggers. They must have less than 200 followers on Bloglovin' (or their preferred method). You cannot re-nominate the blog that nominated you. 
  5. Go to their blog and inform them that they have been nominated!
Enjoy the weekend left, people. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

You've Got Mail

I have realized something truly profound. Half the trials and tribulations I have undergone, are BECAUSE OF OTHER PEOPLE. I know, give the girl a prize, wontcha?

So I have come up with this idea that’s absolutely useless. I am writing letters to all those people who have made my letter to God hopelessly long. And all those people are never in their lives, going to receive it either. But some letters need to be mailed to their common P O Box in You-Have-Crapped-On-My-Life lane, tucked away in the Thou-Shalt-See-No-Sunshine hills. 

 Dear Paul T. Scheuring,
Thank you for killing off Michael Scofield in Prison Break. You have successfully ruined my fantasies of my living with him for the rest of eternity. And all because you were too lazy to write another season (which wasn’t even necessary, I had my honeymoon planned in Baja).

Dear Lady Who Tweezed My Eyebrows,
When I said to not reduce the thickness, I meant, DON’T PLUCK HALF MY EYEBROWS OFF. I have had a fun time managing a splitting headache and walking around with what looks like a promising Amazon forest above my eyes.

Dear Random Hot Guy In The Library,
I admit I checked you out when you walked into the library (Don’t look, but there is a Hot Guy at 10 o clock). Did you really have to sneeze all over me though? Here’s a tip, sweetheart. When you sneeze you cover your mouth with your hand, not release the germs residing in your respiratory system onto my uniform. Now, you’re not so hot anymore, sorry.

CC: Rafflecopter
Dear Goddess of Giveaways,
My Twitter feed is always inundated with tweets from people thanking different bloggers, or posting the unbelievably glossy covers of books they’ve won in giveaways. How hard is it to skew mathematical probability in my favour, huh?

Dear Whomsover Concerned At Horlicks,
I have pinched my eyes and nose shut, and downed an entire glassful of your product every night before going to bed when I was a kid aiming for a respectful height. Somehow, I don’t think I’m 3X taller as advertised. Shame on you. And no, the chocolate flavoured one is an insult to chocolate itself, please recall it immediately.

Dear Fellow Passengers In The Bus,
When you see a girl going home, with hair that looks like it’s a survivor during a hurricane, almost hidden under  the bag that’s filled with a week’s worth of laundry, pushing her way through the evening bus, the least you could do is move your shoulders, protruding bellies, and feet out of my way. And when you push past me when it’s your stop, even if you couldn’t have helped it, you could have said sorry or even smiled apologetically when you stomped on my poor feet. 
P.S:  Move your asses, ladies. You really don’t need that much space.

Dear Whomsover Concerned At The Kerala State Electricity Board,
In this country that has a birth rate exceeding the normal where engineers are concerned, how can a night’s rain cause a blackout? And do you keep your phones off the hook when that happens?

Dear Telecom Companies,
With the credit you deduct when I talk to my BFF for an hour, I can buy an old Nokia cellphone. It might help you to keep that in perspective when you decide call rates. And, just out of curiosity, you don’t invent the internet each time I renew my subscription, do you? You almost had me fooled with the gold rates.

Dear Life,
Why would you inspire me to keep writing more letters, and introducing more people who have the same address? And, not to sound petty, but would you mind moving your behind to a more convenient address than your current viz. Unfair Heights?

Yours truly,

An Asking In Time

How would you catch time?
Like curling fingers,
Around a sunbeam?
Where can you see time?
In the sand,
In the stars,
In the faded photograph,
In the wrinkle of your skin?
Did you wonder at time?
When the flowers bloomed,
When your baby slept,
In a casket,
(a cradle no more)
When love morphed to hurt
-          - and back?
Were you scared,
To let him go?
When you sensed him,
Robbing you of,
Her laugh,
His smile,
Your beauty,
Their applause,
(come back)
Did you plead him to hurry?
When the broken needed mending,
When the heat threatened to burn,
(oh it hurts)
When the noises got too loud
-          Or the silence?
(no, no, no)
What did you do,
When you found your life,
Wrapped in two lines,
Of words (mere words),
On black marble,
Like the pearls on,
Your beloved’s neck,
-          The memoir of an oyster?
(I sneered at him then)
But you thanked him once,
When you saw the cobwebs,
You didn’t unravel the threads,
Flinched away from them,
(memories were leaking through)
Ah – memories, memories,
Footprints left behind,
By things no more,
On the beaches strewn with,
Broken toys,
Broken mirrors,
Broken dreams,
Choices and hope and will,
Stealing them away,

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Me Being A Graffiti Artist - You Should Too

I know, I know. I have been dead in the bloggerverse without even posting a formal I-am-gonna-be-dead post. I couldn’t be bothered to. Fell into Too-Lazy-To-Blog phase. Which preceded the It’s-Exams-This-Week phase. You know, the phase that coincides with the I-Am-Not-Renewing-My-Internet-Subscription-In-The-Likely-Hope-I-Will-Study phase. Too bad Like-That-Made-My-Exams-Go-Any-Better phase followed soon after. I hope this passable attempt at a blog makeover will win you guys over.

But not to worry, all you lovable people. The extreme mental exercise (and torture) that my brain was subjected to, got those dusty shelves in the corner, a spring cleaning. Things started making sense and I realized I needed to tell some people.

This blog was named The Graffiti On The Wall for a reason. I wanted to write about all those trains of thoughts that traveled on the tracks along the border of sanity and insanity. This pseudo-technically (humour me – pretend this phrase is approved by the Oxford whitebeards) makes me a graffiti artist.
I’ve always admired graffiti artists. I am aware that it is illegal but somehow it feels revolutionary. I swear, some dude with a lot of green to throw around should put up some Walls-Exclusively-For-Scribbling everywhere so that these artists get a canvas. A mouthpiece.

Dear fellow bloggers, we’ve taken wall graffiti to another dimension. 


I am highly opinionated. Yes, I am a vegetarian. No, I am not a feminist. Yes, I am pro-LGBT. No, I despise Fifty Shades. Yes, I have started resenting John Green’s omnipresence. No, I don’t see what’s so great about Twilight.Yes, I would defend JKR to the ends of the world. No, I don’t care that there is a severe lack of POCs as MCs. Yes, I listen to Justin Bieber. No, EFF YOU, I think nerds are cool.

Shout it out to the world people. There is no need for you (and I don’t just mean fellow bloggers) to go along with the tide and wash up as flotsam on some beach along with other similar opinions. Learn to say NO. Spray paint your walls with resilience, willpower and courage.

Do not forget to put up walls in the first place.

Alright, that’s it. I am done with this philosophical crap. 

Add your graffiti here before you leave; this wall needs all the colour it can get. And check back, I always reply as promptly as the wifi allows me to. ;)