Girls Burn Brighter is a story about friendship and the resilience many girls/women have to find within when faced with trauma and tragedy. We follow two girls Poornima and Savitha who are living in India, they start off walking very different paths but soon end up down the same road. After the loss of Poornima’s mother, her father hires Savitha to work in his Sari looms. They instantly strike up a friendship with Savitha bringing much joy to Poornima who is dreading the day her marriage is arranged. Savita is a positive soul who always sees the brighter side of every situation, her smile alone is contagious and often is exactly what Poornima needs. One night, tragedy comes for Savitha and it robs her of the light she carries within. Traumatized by what has happened to her, she flees their village in the middle of the night. Poornima is devastated by the disappearance of her friend and knows something terrible had to have happened. Poornima decides she’s going to go after her friend and the story switches to multi-pov as we follow each of the girls journey in America. This story tackles human trafficking and violence many young girls and women face, it is not an easy read. It is raw and violent, all the while communicating to the reader the sense of hope and fight these girls have to find their way back to one another again.
CW: Human trafficking, domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, violence, mutilation, disfigurement, abuse
I was not prepared for this story and yet I could not stop listening and hoping that it would all end on a good note for Savitha and Poornima. The truth however is more painful and tragic, not many escape human trafficking and if they do there are scars to carry. The violence they experience in India and then later in America all the while pushing on was heartbreaking. Watching the girls tuck away their traumas in order to find answers from the men who held them captive was sobering. They couldn’t stop and process the constant violations against their bodies because that meant never getting out. They used every tool at their disposal to outsmart and maneuver their way forward in hopes of seeing each-other again. This isn’t the type of story that can ever truly have a happy ending and does feel very heavy while reading, the author handled these tough themes in a thought provoking way. A lot of the scenes depicted are violent and sobering because it’s the stark reality many face in our real world. The character development is strong with each of their voices and personalities coming through in a very distinct way. My eyes are peeled for anything Shobha Roa writes next.
Hello Readers! another month has passed & with it comes my typically-late-thus-making-it-right-on-time? Wrap Up smh haha! this time around I excluded my haul simply because Bookcon happened & in one day I managed to haul way too many books & that’s not including my regular books bought for the month. Also, I posted my Bookcon haul last year & that was all fine and well because I was new in the blogosphere & was very excited to share my 1st bookish event. Whelp, 1 year later I was still very excited to attend Bookcon but this time around I’d like to think I was a bit more wiser & aware of all the drama surrounding ARCS. Not to mention that book hauls from these types of conventions tend to generate negative attention & I’m not here for that. So I decided to skip the haul & just speak about the event itself…
The best part of the event was seeing my twin aka bff Gretchen who most of you know has a blog called ChicNerdReads(pictured below in the glasses next to me). My hubby also accompanied us which is always fun since he’s also a reader & I’m his source for new book recommendations. The event seemed to have been dominated by Penguin with giveaways every hour on the hour as well as author signings. This made for extremely long lines, stampedes, and overall madness tbh…
I am honestly surprised to have acquired the ARCS that I did but it wasn’t easy & took a bit of prioritizing. Gretchen & I pre-gamed for this event mapping out which books we were aiming for & I do believe this actually helped as much as we thought otherwise during the event. Overall, the event & it’s lack of organization was terrible for our anxiety. The positive however is that we got to spend the whole weekend surrounded by BOOKS & talking about BOOKS and that’s always a fun time no matter what. Also! we met another Puerto-Rican Bookworm who had flown in for the event. She told us about getting caught in the stampede for Warcross on Saturday & how after hours of standing in line she walked away w/out the ARC. My hubby gave up his ARC to Warcross which we had at home. We shipped it to PR & when it arrived she sent me a very happy text which made my week 🙂
Although for the month of June I only read YA, each book was so different from each other that it honestly felt like I read diversely. I read some books with hard topics like Saints and Misfits and Bad Romance which led me to discovering two amazing authors. I had a ton of fun reading The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue and Bearly a Lady (novella) with many laughs. Started a new Diverse Fantasy with Song of the Current & can’t wait to read the sequel to this du-ology. I also read the conclusion to monsters of Verity…Our Dark Duet broke me yet it is the most satisfying conclusion I’ve ever read. Yea, I was a bit all over the place but my reading reflected my life as a whole in June haha!
My most highly anticipated flick for 2017 DID NOT DISAPPOINT! Wonder Woman had me engaged from the opening scene. I have always been fascinated by the Amazons & Wonder Woman has always been a icon for me…getting her back story on the big screen felt like the best earliest Christmas gift I never thought to ask for LOL! little Diana was lively & eager to learn the ways of the Amazons & seeing her natural born instincts play out gave her a new sparkle in my eyes. My only regret is not reviewing this movie on the blog when my feels were fresh haha. I loved the entire cast, humor, fight scenes, and plot as a whole! my interest in The Justice League sky rocketed after leaving the theater googling for any bit of early news hinting at a sequel to Wonder Woman. For those who didn’t think Wonder Woman deserved her own solo debut…Gal Gadot sure showed you *5 Stars* 😉
My second date night with the hubby (we got lucky in June with sitting) was great & all but Transformers The Last Night was lackluster. I was really rooting for this one more for the hubby’s enjoyment than mine really. I just went to see Markie Mark & Bumble Bee but the irony in that I tell ya smh! So, as a lover of all Mark Whalberg’s movies I can go ahead and say this…In my opinion, he should’ve never accepted the lead role no matter how badly he wanted to realize his childhood dream of playing with life sized Transformers #jussayin. Love me some Markie Mark but that role really needs to go to another younger guy (not shia Labeouf, that ship has sailed). I’m hoping that the history they introduced means we are due a new main character *fingers crossed* I found myself bored & ended up rating this movie *3.5 stars* 😦
Happy reading in July Bookworms!!! Hope you all had a wonderful June month & are enjoying your summer reads. Read or watched any of these? drop a comment down below <3’s!
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! Each week, a new topic is put into place and bloggers share their top ten accordingly. I LOVE lists, they keep me happy…here are my top 10 picks for this weeks topic:
June 26th 2016: Best Books You’ve Read In 2017 So Far…
*had this been a prompt for the 2nd half of the year I think I would’ve tapped out with all the great books we have coming our way. The books listed below are in no particular order.
(Covers —-> Goodreads Links)
1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
*A raw & moving read relevant to our current times. It’s hard to read THUG & not walk away feeling like you need to do your part inthe Black Lives Matter movement. Check out my review here.
2. love, and you by Gretchen Gomez
*For all those who have experienced that one toxic relationship, you know? the one you simply cannot let go…this one is for you. Love, and you will haunt you with each turn of a page & ultimately will leave you with hope for healing. Check out my review here.
3. History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera
* If you’ve been following me for a while now, this comes as no surprise. I ADORE Adam Silvera to pieces! so much so that after being pushed by a mob at Bookcon for his new book They Both Die at the End, my hubby went into full on Superhero mode & got me a copy smh lol. Every single one of his books make me cry & I keep going back for more! smh. Check out my review here.
4. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
*Upside was my 1st Albertalli book & it was everything I could’ve hoped for and some. I laughed so hard & fell in love with all of these characters. Filled with diversity & positive body rep, Upside is a Gem of a book <3. Check out my review here.
5. A Million Junes by Emily Henry
*STUNNING writing! if you’ve ever felt a tad bit intimidated (Me) by Magical Realism or even had a bad experience reading a MR book, please give this one a go, it’s not at all the type that will have you looking all types of constipated trying to figure it out lol. A beautiful story at its core about a daughter trying to find answers from her father who passed away…Check out my review here.
6. The Bear And The Nightingale by Katherine Arden
*This was Katherine Arden’s debut novel & OMYGOSHHH how is it so damn good?!?! Atmospheric, slower paced, filled with Russian folklore gahhhh! female protog reminds me of Merida from Brave lol, be still my heart! Check out my review here.
7. The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch #1) By Rin Chupeco
*The Bone Witch has a ton of mixed reviews, mostly the complaint was based on the slow pacing & I won’t deny that it is slow paced. However, as a lover of Memoirs of a Geisha, I instantly got sucked into this world and its main protog. This one is for the lover of lush worlds & details. I am looking forward to the sequel . Check out my review here.
8. Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappa
*I am still a mess from having to leave this world & these characters. For those who have ever loved being part of a fandom, Eliza is your girl! filled with bits of comic strips and online chat messages this book will make you wish Monstress Sea was a real thing 😉 Check out my review here.
9. Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios
*Impactful, raw, painful, but necessary. A story centered around dating abuse & domestic violence I just recently finished Bad Romance & it’s safe to say that it will resonate with me for years to come. This isn’t the type of book I’d recommend to just anyone as it does tackle many difficult topics. Check out my review here.
10. Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2) by Victoria Schwab
* I couldn’t possibly compose a list of my favorites so far & not include the most satisfying conclusion to a duology. Our Dark Duet left me in tears & heartbroken yet at the same time, it was perfect. Review to come just as soon as I could work up my nerve to write my RAVE review lol 😉
Happy Tuesday Bookworms!!! have you read any of the books I’ve listed? It’s already the last week of June & there are a ton more EPIC reads ahead of us *Gasps* legit wish I could slow down the hands of time just a smidge 😉
*Trigger Warning: Domestic Violence, Mental/physical/verbal abuse, attempted suicide, and rape
Grace wants out. Out of her house, where her stepfather wields fear like a weapon and her mother makes her scrub imaginary dirt off the floors. Out of her California town, too small to contain her big city dreams. Out of her life, and into the role of Parisian artist, New York director—anything but scared and alone.
Enter Gavin: charming, talented, adored. Controlling. Dangerous. When Grace and Gavin fall in love, Grace is sure it’s too good to be true. She has no idea their relationship will become a prison she’s unable to escape.
Deeply affecting and unflinchingly honest, this is a story about spiraling into darkness—and emerging into the light again.
MY FIRST IMPRESSIONS ON GOODREADS…
Bad Romance is one of those books that will remain within me for years to come as a reminder of what could’ve been had I continued in my own toxic relationship. This book resonated with me for personal reasons but also stood out amongst all the Young Adult Contemporaries I’ve read so far in 2017. This isn’t a easy fluffy summer time read however, it is a much needed one. Bad Romance can be used as a conversation starter within the Young Adult community & help bridge gaps between Young Adults and their parents. Demetrios gives us Grace who is 17 going on 18 in High School with BIG dreams of one day living an artsy bohemian life in New York City. She lives with her mother, step-father, and baby brother from her mothers re-marriage. Life isn’t at all easy for Grace who doesn’t live a typical teenage life. She lives in a abusive home where toxic behaviors are what she’s come to view as normal. Told in second person POV, Grace is observing the changes in her relationship with her mother as her mother slowly becomes unhinged. See, Grace’s mother herself is the victim of verbal, mental, and physical abuse (implied) at the hands of her husband. Demtrios shows us a mother trying to keep her new family together while she teeters on the verge of a mental breakdown. Grace on the other hand has just caught the attention of the most popular guy in school who she knows comes with his own baggage. From the 1st compliment to the 1st date & what eventually leads to a volatile relationship, we the reader are taken on the slow progression that is Grace & Gavin’s own toxic relationship. Gavin knows just what to say at all times & just how to get his way. From afar he seems like the perfect boyfriend but when we start this story, it is with the knowledge Grace has already learned the hard way. She shows us how easy it was to fall for someone who was already broken when all you’ve known all your life is abuse…
Center stage we have Grace & Gavin but this is a story where the supporting character roles are all equally as important. The Grace we meet on page 1 already knows how everything unfolds since it’s told in second person POV. We get to see her regrets and the view she gives us can best be described as removing the rose colored glasses. Grace is just trying to get to graduation so that she can start her new life as a college student far away from her toxic home life. This means she’s learned how to deal with her mothers OCD as best she could & has learned to be submissive to avoid confrontation. Her relationship with her mother plays out on the pages giving you perspective on the cycle of abuse Grace is caught in through no fault of her own. We meet the step dad & he’s no easy pill to swallow which makes your heart break even more so for Grace’s mom.
Somehow, In the past five years, that mom disappeared. Little by little, she floated away, a leaf on the breeze. Now, the air between us is heavy; it’s been too long since we’ve laughed together, talked. How do you relearn love?
Gavin almost seems like a savior when Grace first meets him. She is aware of his troubled past & his failed suicide attempt yet that doesn’t keep her away, it actually serves to lure her in. She admires his resolve and rocker lifestyle but most of all it’s the attention he provides her with that she holds on to. For a girl like Grace who already feels invisible at home except for when she’s needed to scrub the floors or babysit, this new attention became a drug. Gavin himself suffers with depression, anxiety, and paranoia. There isn’t a moment that goes by that he isn’t thinking, living, breathing Grace.
We also meet Nat & Lys who are best friends with Grace, these girls are the true definition of friendship. They know their girl is in a toxic abusive relationship and encourage her to leave that behind every chance they get. They don’t ever leave her side but they also don’t sugar coat anything & didn’t enable her to continue on with Gavin. This friendship was the sunshine in Graces’ very dark, turbulent, and abusive life. I kept hope alive for all of these characters & found myself relating to Grace but ultimately accepting that just like my own toxic relationship with my mother, some things are left unresolved. These characters are heavily flawed & rough around the edges, their pain often times jumping off the pages.
I’ve never read a book like Bad Romance and I was absolutely caught off guard, this book brought back memories of a past life. I can’t help but think that if this book had been written back then, that maybe I would have found solace in its pages. I was that young adult in a toxic relationship trying to escape my real issues at home with my own mother. This won’t be an easy read & that’s why I decided to include trigger warnings in this review. Emotionally draining, heartbreaking, and flinchingly honest, Demetrios gives you the ugly raw insides of abusive relationships. Inspired by the authors personal experience, Bad Romance is as real as it gets. Demtrios tackles topics that are more often than not kept hidden in shame & suffered alone. As tough as it was to read this book, I can’t deny that it was because I saw myself in these pages. I’ll be looking out for more from this author and others, especially writing that exposes the ugly in order to start the healing. This is not a story with a happy ending, this is a story with hope & a message for those who may or may not be ready to receive it…
In the Authors Note, Demtrios provided some helpful organizations & I’ve decided to also include them in my review: