Monday, January 26, 2015

The Elephant In The Room

I’m not tall. I’m not “abysmally short”, or a “midget” or suffering due to an alarmingly active protest led by my pituitary glands, according to people who ask me to hunt for the idiomatic silver lining.
After they call me short. Offering the above as a peace offering when they decide I have provided for their requisite dose of “let’s-pick-on-the-short-girl”.
My growth chart over the years

I’ve got nothing to complain about. I’m a 5”2’ –ish feet of living awesomeness. But I’ve got a bone to pick with the fates who decided it would be funny if my younger sister was painfully tall. Till about a decade back, everyone was convinced that I had inherited dad’s tall jeans and that my sister was stuck in mom’s short ones.  Then our destinies were swapped with the result that my sister shot up overnight like some damned travesty of Jack’s beanstalk and I was left gaping at my sister’s beautiful neck (‘cause that’s what ‘s at my eyelevel). Needless to say, that particular growth spurt inspired a great many good-humoured digs at poor me. At social functions that begged my attendance, relatives who had been MIA in my life addressed my sister as the older sibling presumably in college. Cousins in middle school and below started measuring their height in Aneta-units. Older cousins convened a meeting to discuss why neither Horlicks nor Complan could work their miracle on me. It’s even more embarrassing when the shoe store stacks size 37 in the kids’ section.

This post came after yesterday when I just about had enough. I was showing off to my ten-year-old cousin how I could still fit into a skirt I’d bought in fourth grade, and she guffawed in my face citing my lack of physical growth as probable cause. Apparently slapping kids is considered psychopathic behaviour.

You know what’s great about being “short”? You don’t have to hold the umbrella when it houses two or more people. Relative strangers tend to underestimate your capabilities – thereby allowing you to enjoy the looks of aghast appreciation when you swear colourfully/yell/punch someone. Short dresses/skirts cover more than just your butt. You can pull off the “I’m-innocent-how-could-I-do-that” face at will. You are also entitled to pull the “I’m-physically-weak-help-me” face when you’re too tired to give a shit about anything that demands sweat. Also Prince Charming will have to literally sweep you off your feet for the big kiss.

Assuming he’s tall, of course. Else all’s well.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

REVIEW: The Here and Now - Ann Brashares

Proceed with caution, extremely minor spoilers ahead.

Yep. Following in the footsteps of The Time Traveler’s Wife, but coming off a lot better than its predecessor; this story is another time-traveling romance, where the lovers are star-crossed due to their different coordinates in the fourth dimension. Fully aware of the risks I was taking by picking up my tablet to read this (since I hated TTTW), I decided to do it anyway because I’d read and liked Brashares’ Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (well, Book #1 at least) and was willing to give this one a chance.

Most of the time, whenever I read a sci-fi romance, I go ahead with the romance and fault with the sci-fi part of it (see These Broken Stars). I’m happy to inform you that this time it was the other way round. No, I didn’t hate Ethan and Prenna – I really do ship them. But the insta-love killed me. In the most tragic sense of the word. I may understand Ethan’s fascination with Prenna – hey, when you see a beautiful girl appear magically out of a mysterious haze while you’re out fishing and then go out of your way to help her, there is a tendency to feel possessive about her, and I get that. What I don’t get is why Prenna would feel this fascination with him – for those of you yet to read, she doesn’t remember her unearthly manifestation as was witnessed by him – so, that was, inexplicable on her part. Then, they get the chance to change the future as they know it, and they spend the days counting down to the D-Day having a great time – shopping, playing handsies on the freaking beach (although to be fair, it was only when they weren’t running for their life). 
Again, I’m prepared to accept that they aren’t like me, when I would have spent that time going through alternate action plans and rechecking a hundred times, in between biting off all my nails and turning my hair grey.

But, that was the rational, cynical me venting. The girly-girl side of me went along with the cliché scenery and the choppy route this ship was taking. Which made the whole above experience forgivable/tolerable/overlook-able. You should also know that the above-mentioned dual personalities were in agreement of the fact that the plot (while suffering from the classic unanswerable time-traveling paradoxes that openly question the soundness of the plot) was engrossing. As in stay-way-past-my-bedtime-engrossing. While Prenna isn’t exactly your average futuristic badass heroine, Ethan compensates with his aspiring - super -boyfriend talents (both romantically and ass-busting-ly, of course). The writing had the present-tense-dramatic-flair that the book demanded and I really liked it. I also loved Prenna’s letters to Julius, because it showed Prenna as a girl in need of closure and as someone still coping to the luxury of the early 2000s. I also felt like the spotlight was majorly on our ship and that none of the other characters felt as vivid, as necessary as them – like they were just woodenly acting out their roles in the script.

VERDICT: 3 stars

P.S: Can somebody please read this book and tell me if Ethan/Prenna reminded you of Ethan/Lena in the Beautiful Creatures series, like it did for me? Have I mentioned how much I loved that ship?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

ARC REVIEW: Rogue Wave - Jennifer Donnelly


 Just when you think every possible idea for the next YA fandom has already been abused (Dystopian? Unashamedly so), Jennifer Donnelly enters with her Waterfire Saga. You might want to read what I thought about Deep Blue before you continue reading what I thought about Book 2 ‘cause then I can pass on the raving episode about unconventional mermaids, POC MCs, the matriarchal society (which if my memory serves right I didn’t talk about, but is actually a huge thing here), and the awesomeness that’s Merrovingia, and focus on the finer points of Book 2.
BEHOLD a fine example of cover art

OK, so it’s no big secret that I have memory problems which is why I wait till the series finale has been released to start reading the series. Sometimes, though, I can’t wait for three years so I start anyways. Therefore, unsurprisingly, I managed to forget the finer details of Book 1 but thankfully the book reminded me here and there. But the lack of subtlety and the frequency with which those recap facts appeared pissed me off. Some were even redundant enough that a wannabe initiate into Merrovingia could just pick up Rogue Wave and still know what’s happening.

Another thing that annoyed me was how much the progression of the plot depended on someone else’s sum of experiences. The truth about who the invaders are, what they are after, and how the merls can get their hands on them before the bad guys do, are all uncovered topic-wise as a result of  someone’s storytelling, rather than something that involves a lot more adrenaline and tension.

Then there is the plot. Yes, it’s turned out to be one of those “find the Deathly Hallows to save the world” stories, but even that somehow has its own indigenous flavour – what with sea-witches, dragons, shipwrecks, hot outlaws with tails, badass tribes, trawlers, and the like. I started reading at around eleven in the night and it was with a heavy heart and equally heavy eyelids that I decided to turn in for the night at around 3am. Yeah, because the plot? It’s good. Like “I-need-to-know-what-happens-next-right-now” good.

So, considering this solely as a plot-intensive novel, designed to be a really good read, this book is at least four stars. But, otherwise, taking the writing into account – meh. I am a big fan of puns and punsters (since yours truly couldn’t pun to save her life). And this book was a real treat in that respect. (Although SILT! some were just a bit too much). Then some phrases that have been considered cliché since long ago showed up here and there, which I suspect were intended to be under the Goodreads quotations tab. And I totally sympathize with the author for the quandary she was in – whether to concentrate on the finer aspects of the world building and flaunt her writing skills (for a clue as to how awesome they are, you just need to read all the songspells) and compromise on the plot or vice-versa so that we don’t end up with a massive tome on our bookshelf.  I really did wish that the other chosen merls beside Seraphina and Neela had a chance in the spotlight in this instalment though. That regrettably didn’t happen.

In fact, what happened was jaw dropping. What I thought was developing to be yet another love triangle morphed into something else entirely. I predict some hormone-driven drama in Book 3, and I decided I’m ok with that. Also, the cliff-hanger was a decent one; it didn’t make me want to storm into JD’s house and demand to know what happens next at gunpoint; just enough to make me badly want to start the next book.

VERDICT: 3 stars

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Ringing In The New

This is a short post to check in and verify my presence in the blogosphere. As you have already noticed, all ye faithful old followers, this blog has revamped its look. I’m not so sure whether I like it, but it will have to stay since I can’t do any better. For now. Even I was sick and tired of the old theme, and hey, the new year demands some newness, right?

I need to take the previous line to heart. My Twitter profile pic has remained the same for the past half year, and my Facebook profile pic for the past whole year. I had lately tweeted that I changed my phone ringtone after three years. Of course, I am also unashamedly pointing out the fact that I hadn’t changed my phone for three years when in this age, smarter phones are born at a rate faster than you can say ten Mississippis. I am now happy to inform that I have obtained a new phone (which has its grey areas compared to the latest model), courtesy of my dad, who couldn’t resist falling for the 2 FOR 1 deal. Dads, man.

Blogging resolutions, you ask? Right now, my ambitions are pretty basic. The new semester looks bad enough in the semester plan, so I only have an inkling of how bad it can actually get. Therefore, there is every chance my posts are going to be pretty sporadic. But I happen to be a person of indubitable willpower, so maybe I can rock my way through. Like always. Then there is my TBR pile, the pile that at the same time makes me go weak in the knees and also terrifies me with its height. I solemnly swear I will make my way up it diligently. 
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. ;)