Fiction Friday: June TBR

So I have slowly started reading again after the pandemic and boy has it been amazing!

The kind folk over at St Martin’s press sent me a few review copies which I enjoyed immensely and once I was done, I went straight to my bookshelf and picked out my next reads. Here are the books that are currently on my TBR list.

  1. Sparks Fly by Helena Hunting: This is the last book that I read and I loved so very much. This is a sweet best-friends-to-lovers book and while usually I detest this trope, this book does it beautifully.
  2. A Reckless Match by Kate Bateman: Anything by Kate Bateman is a winner in my books. I’m currently reading this and it is such a thrill.
  3. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi- I’m listening to the audiobook of this and honestly it really isn’t doing much for me. I think I might switch to ebook or paperback since I knew I loved the book when I picked it up on a whim. It was supposed to be a read just to pass time but it really sucked me in.

What are you currently reading? Do you have any recommendations for books that helped you out of a pandemic slump? I’d love to know below.

Life Update: May 2021 Edition

Hello again! It’s me, the inconsistent blogger (anyone else think that’s a great name of a blog? Just me? Okay then).

I know it has been a while since I posted but work has been consuming and I have been processing everything in the world. As you can see, I’m a slow processor.

Working in Marketing has been great. I ‘ve learnt so much. I’ve also learnt how much I DON’T KNOW and honestly that scares me. When not learning about Marketing from online courses during the week, my afternoons and weekends are spent reading online articles on Marketing.

It’s kinda like I’m in that lovey, dovey, don’t want to do anything but be with Marketing phase (when you consider how long I have waited for a Marketing job, it makes sense that I’m kinda obsessed with it).

That being said, however. I am aware that this is an incredibly unhealthy way to live and thus, I will be making changes to my life. I have been really lucky in that my team really values work-life balance and kinda stresses on it sometime.

So I have slowly but surely started getting back into the grove of my old habits such as Netflix and reading. I think it’s been three weeks since I started reading again and while I want things to go back to the way they were, I know it’s gonna take time to fall into a rhythm.

So moving forward I will no longer be posting weekly. I will try to have new blog posts up every two weeks but you can find me on Twitter and Insta, stalking pictures of puppies, planners and lots of books.

I’m also going to try and include more content that isn’t just book-related. I feel like book blogging seems a bit trival during a pandemic. But also. books= escape.

Fiction Friday: Book Review- Tales from the Hinterland by Melissa Albert

Tales From the Hinterland (The Hazel Wood, #2.5)

Tales From the Hinterland by Melissa Albert

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve been interested in reading “Tales from the Hinterland” since the first time I picked up “The Hazel Wood”. Let me just say this book does not disappoint.
“Tales from the Hinterland” is full of spooky illustrations and captivating tales that stay with you long after you’ve finished the novel.
I especially enjoyed seeing characters and stories I remembered from “The Hazel Wood”.
This was a well-written read that flows beautifully and can be finished in one setting.
Even if you haven’t read “The Hazel Wood”, if you’re a fan of spooky fairytales, I definitely recommend this book for you

View all my reviews

A Look Into Work PTSD

Blogger’s Note: The below blog post has been in progress since 2019. As of today, 17 April 2021, I will scheduling it to go live in May 2021 in honor of Mental Awareness Month.

Person lying on bed

I didn’t realize anything was wrong until the third time I broke down.

I was in the bathroom, dabbing at my eyes with a wet tissue to try to hide the swelling.

I had learnt the trick from walking in on a co-worker crying after she had been passed over for a promotion (for the second time in a month). She had been near hysterical and at that time I didn’t understand why.

(Turns out that she had been with the company for over five years so the disappointment was understandable).

Anyway so there I was teary and sobbing and I thought “this isn’t right”. It was my third breakdown since we restructured and got new managers.

I remember thinking that the amount of time I had spent crying in the bathroom was equal to, if not more than, someone in an abusive relationship.

Except I wasn’t physically abused. No, it was just emotional. But it was destroying me all the same.

That was when it hit me. My beloved workplace, the place I sacrificed everything for, was a toxic environment.

In my mind I played it back. All the arguments, the discrimination, the employees crying in the bathroom.

Would no one do anything about it?

Our managers were awful. Would no one step up?

Turns out that no one did. Within a few months, the new normal was accepted and we went from a company who respected and valued employee satisfaction to one that is only chasing the bottom line.

I was desperate to leave. But no one was hiring. There was an internal vacancy in a different department and I applied. Maybe it would be different in another department?

But then management stepped in and the role that was initially advertised internally was given to someone externally. I was speechless. Sure the rule was that we searched externally if no candidates were found to be successful internally. But I had been eavesdropping on cooler talk and I knew that job was supposed to be mine.

I stuck it out for another two years before I finally got an opportunity. It was in a field that I was interested in and it was a job role that I was interested in a while.

I placed my notice and against my better judgement, served those 30 days cautiously, convinced that management would find some reason to either fire me or worse, keep me forever. I knew the fear was irrational but I couldn’t stop it.

Eventually time came for me to leave. I literally said goodbye and walked out. No big drama. No big farewell speech. I thought that was it. I was wrong.

When I started in my new role, I struggled for the first few months. Not just because it was a completely new field but apparently I had mental wounds that still lingered.

I was too scared to leave my desk (in my previously role we weren’t allowed to). I didn’t even want to take lunch in the canteen downstairs for fear that my manager might need me and I wouldn’t be there. The first few times I asked for permission for stuff (can I drink my tea here? Am I allowed to stick up this photo? I didn’t know I was allowed to keep my phone on me) my coworkers found me funny. But as time went on, they came up with a phase for my experience- Work PTSD,

I hated it but it made sense. For so long, I had worked in an environment where I had not been allowed to do anything, this freedom- especially in a purely administrative role- was a novelty.

One of my issues with my first job is that I didn’t make the effort to learn more about the company and it’s culture. I was not going to make that same mistake again. I made an effort to get to know how things and people worked in this new role and focused on unlearning the new habits that I had from my previous workplace.

It took time and I thought I was fine. Until a friend and I made plans for lunch and I dropped by my old workplace to pick her up. I walked in to Reception and there they were. The UNholy trinity as I had nicknamed them. My former boss, her boss and his boss. Three levels of toxic management who were always seen together laughing and talking or altenatively meeting with staff and making them cry.

Instinctively I felt my shoulders hunch over in an attempt to protect me from their attention. “Please, please don’t see me”, I begged mentally.

Desperate, I turned away and started examining the stack of brochures on the receptionist’s desks, my hunched shoulders to them. Once I heard their laughter died down, I relaxed. The receptionist, who I had known from my time there, offered me a small sympathetic smile.

I waited for my friend to come downstairs and we went out to lunch. But I never made plans to hang out with her again during the workweek. I had felt like I was finally getting better but I couldn’t see them. I was still too fragile for that but maybe one day.

Welcome to The Real World 4: The Interview that Never Was

The 4th interview was for a Human Resources position at a call center. Apparently they some sort of database at the university and they had picked up my information from there. I don’t know how true that story was but it made absolutely no sense for them to call me.

I had completed a single Human Resources module. I was not qualified for the job. I knew it. And if they had read my CV, they should have known that as well.

The company’s offices were a mere five minutes away from my house. So I got dressed immediately and went in for an interview.

They had me fill out a form and asked me to wait. I agreed. I waited an hour. Then another. I watched as the receptionist called someone who they had previously offered a job to. They had found someone who was a better fit so they called him to let him know that he didn’t need to report to work the next Monday.

My heart fell for him. Imagine thinking you’re going to start a new job and all of a sudden you have to learn that “we’re found someone else, sorry.”

After three hours of waiting, I was finally shown to a room with a frenzied lady who was in the phone of a phone call.

She asked me a couple of quick questions about my background in Human Resources and looked surprised when I pointed out that I had just graduated. She was even more surprised when she learnt that I had no knowledge of Excel. Apparently they were unable to hire me but they would keep my curriculum vitae on file.

I was stunned. They had made me wait for THREE HOURS? For something that could have been confirmed by simply looking at my CV or via phone call.

The receptionist took down my details and my list of skills but I highly doubted they would call me again (I was right. They didn’t).

I went home incredibly annoyed and tired. I had missed my nap because of a job interview I didn’t even have.

The Blue Salt Road by Joanne M. Harris

The Blue Salt Road by Joanne M. Harris

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So previously I had never heard of “The Blue Salt Road” and since I hate trying anything new. I hardly ever try new authors/books.
Except I came across a hardcover copy that belonged to a co-worker and the illustrations were oh so pretty.
So I decided to give this book a go and I most certainly did not regret it.
“The Blue Salt Road” tells the story of a selkie who decided to explore the land despite the warnings against it from of his own kind. They tell him that the people on land will kill him if they come to know of his true nature.
But naturally he ignores his family and friends and goes on land regardless. He soon meets a female and is attracted to her. They spend a few nights together and she soon falls pregnant with child.
The female decides to trap him and steal his memories to bound him to her.
While this was a really well-written story, I was convinced that it was going to be a love story so that twist left me speechless.
Which was fine because lots of other twists were on their way too. The whole book is totally unexpected however I loved it.
If you’re a fan of fantasy, definitely give this a go.

View all my reviews

Welcome to the Real World 3: The Runaway Trainee

Red telephone

The one interview/job opportunity we don’t talk about is my first call center. In February 2017, I found a local call center that was looking for agents. It was for their night shift campaign and honestly I have no idea why I agreed to it.

There wasn’t anything specific that bugged me about the place but the whole situation felt off. I was considered an oddity because I didn’t smoke or drink which made me feel out of place. When I voiced my concerns about working night shift, they moved me to the daytime shift. When I explained my father’s concerns about transport as the call center was a distance away, they graciously arranged a lift club for me.

I did feel grateful that they took my worries seriously but I always found it strange that they were so determined to keep a girl with no experience. I also felt a bit iffy since the job was described to me as a Marketing role and not sales- a tactic I would later learn that several call centers used.

Regardless of the team trying to ease my situation, my father hated the job. Naturally he did since it was a call center and call centers have a bad reputation among the Indian community (because of all the drinking and smoking the agents indulge in). But my family had been pushing me to get a job and I didn’t know what else I could do.

I tried to push through the training. But towards the middle of the week it became clear that I was a bad fit. While I easily remembered the theory of selling and the benefits of the product, I struggled to fit in and doing roleplays as a sale agent made me uncomfortable. The trainer told me that I had a dead voice and she was right. No matter how hard I tried, I was unable to inflect my voice with any kind of emotion. Looking back, this is ironic because once I did move on to Customer Care a few years later, I was always praised for my bright and friendly tone.

When they took us out on the floor for us to get the “vibe” of the place, I was appalled. It was chaotic. The agents were loud and all talking over one another. As an introvert, I was traumatized.

I went home and never went back to the call center. I had been in the process of changing my cellphone so I simply switched to another number, refusing to allow anyone from the call center to contact me and change my mind.

The lesson I learnt from this was that not every job is for every person. I did eventually go on to work in a call center and it was a much better fit and a better environment than this first one I ran away from. I also learnt the importance of accepting others for who they are. The call center that I ended up working for had agents who admitted it was unusual that I didn’t drink or smoke like them but it was no big deal. Which to me, meant a big deal.

Fiction Friday: Brambles by Intisar Khanani (Dauntless Path #1.5)

Brambles by Intisar Khanani

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I absolutely loved Thorn. So it was a no-brainer that I would read this when I found it on Scribd recently.
“Brambles” tells the full story of how Alyrra earned the contempt of her family and even her closest friend.
It’s a story that is briefly mentioned in “Thorn” but while I STILL don’t get the cruelty of those around her (Alyrra did the right thing. Guess that makes us both silly, naive geese. It’s cool. We don’t mind) it was enlightening to see the full story.
The short story took is quick to read but packs a quick emotional punch. We also get to see how her relationship with the magical wind starts.
“Thorn” was one of the last books I truly enjoyed before Covid and “Brambles” really took me back to that feeling of being involved in a story without really realizing you are reading a story.

View all my reviews

Fiction Friday: Glass Houses (Morganville Vampires #1) by Rachel Caine

Glass Houses by Rachel Caine

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Claire Danvers is a college freshman who just can’t seem to stay out of trouble. When she gets on the campus mean girl’s radar, Claire is left beaten and bruised, desperate for another place to stay off-campus.
She finds a friendly face looking for a room-mate but her new living situation might not be any better.
Instead of mean girls and cruel pranks, Claire now has to deal with vampires and magical books. Her room mates are older, nicer and hiding secrets of their own.
I’ve had several books from this series just sitting on my shelf for years (like most of my books do) and boy, do I regret not picking it up sooner.
Morganville is a TOWN FULL OF VAMPIRES. This book is basically everything I wanted and I really hate past me for taking so long to pick it up.
The worldbuilding and backstory of the vampires is really in depth and I loved how the characters all seem pretty well-rounded for supernatural beings.
If you’re a fan of fantasy or fangs, give this a go.

View all my reviews

6 Ideas for Selfcare Sunday

So Selfcare Sunday is by no means a new idea however it is something new for me.

I usually wait until I am close to tears before I decide “That’s it. I need a break.”

By picking a specific day, I know I am going to actually make time for me and I swear it makes the work week easier. Here are 6 ideas on what you can do to carve out some time for yourself. Also side note- it might say Sunday but you can (and should) always make time for YOU!

  1. Enjoy a warm beverage- For me this is either hot chocolate or a second cup of tea/coffee. Nothing brings me more comfort than the feel of a warm mug in my hands. (Often I end up drinking lukewarm tea because I was too busy using the mug to warm my hands).
  2. Journalling- Get out all your thoughts before the week begins so you can start the new week clearheaded and free. Bonus points for writing out your to-do list for the week so when the morning rolls around, you know exactly what it is that you need to do.
  3. Coloring- Coloring is an excellent destresser and a great way to calm your mind.
  4. Have a spa day- Whether it’s just a face mask and moisturizer or a full-on facial, take the time to treat your skin. It’ll feel amazing AND your face will be glowing by the end.
  5. Go all out for breakfast- Treat Yo self. And your tummy. You deserve to be spoiled and what better way that to start your day and your week with a breakfast that you’ll love.
  6. Escape into a book or TV show- Now this is something you all know I love. Watch some Netflix or catch up on your reading. You can escape reality without even leaving your couch.

Do you participate in Selfcare Sundays? What are your Sunday selfcare tips? I’d love to know below.


Get the latest posts delivered to your mailbox: