Book Review: “The Broken Circle” by Enjeela Ahmadi-Miller

Hello!

I am known to scroll through Amazon’s Prime Reading catalog for a good hour and a half, just seeing what’s available and basically take inventory of what I could be interested in after I finish my current book. Everytime I do this, I would always see this book listed in the memoirs section, but I would talk myself out of it because I knew it would pull at my heart strings but one day I told myself to get it because I wasn’t doing very well with the other book.

For some biographies and memoirs, I don’t like to read the synopsis given to you beforehand. I think the description can play with your mind and although I just skimmed at what the book was about, the title alone told me what to expect and you can’t blame me especially when the tagline says “a memoir of escaping Afghanistan”. I didn’t have to know anything too critical to understand that this would be a rough one but I got it anyways!


42945699._SY475_An emotional and sweeping memoir of love and survival—and of a committed and desperate family uprooted and divided by the violent, changing landscape of Afghanistan in the early 1980s.

Before the Soviet invasion of 1980, Enjeela Ahmadi remembers her home—Kabul, Afghanistan—as peaceful, prosperous, and filled with people from all walks of life. But after her mother, unsettled by growing political unrest, leaves for medical treatment in India, the civil war intensifies, changing young Enjeela’s life forever. Amid the rumble of invading Soviet tanks, Enjeela and her family are thrust into chaos and fear when it becomes clear that her mother will not be coming home.

Thus begins an epic, reckless, and terrifying five-year journey of escape for Enjeela, her siblings, and their father to reconnect with her mother. In navigating the dangers ahead of them, and in looking back at the wilderness of her homeland, Enjeela discovers the spiritual and physical strength to find hope in the most desperate of circumstances.

A heart-stopping memoir of a girl shaken by the brutalities of war and empowered by the will to survive, The Broken Circle brilliantly illustrates that family is not defined by the borders of a country but by the bonds of the heart.

taken from Goodreads.

I want to point out that, Enjeela’s story starts in the late 1970’s and into the early 80’s, so I wasn’t alive during this time. I kind of remember watching various documentaries that were filmed at this time so I remember hearing things about the war going on in Afghanistan but I didn’t know who it was with until everything was mentioned in this story; I thought it was an interesting way to understand the early conflicts there.

At the beginning of the book, it was nice to learn about the beauty of Enjeela’s home in Kabul. The lush earth and ways of modernizes going on in the community. This was another part of history I did know about too. I saw on Twitter years ago of two women in Pakistan wearing skirts and they had their hair down and it was flowing in the wind. They looked happy to have their pictures taken, but the next photograph was of a group of women covered in head to toe with black burkas. I thought it was very sad to see how big of a shift had happened throughout recent history.

As much as I enjoyed learning about her early memories of her elder sister getting married and how their house was furnished in both American and Italian styles of the day. We quickly make our way to some of the new changes of her beloved country. It was somewhat slow of a build up, but once her mother and sisters left, everything really takes things into another tempo. One moment we are told how Enjeela and crumbling family have moved into a smaller house to meeting Masood and officially making their way out of her beloved, but war-torn country.

I thought of a documentary I watched on PBS last year called “For Sama” and it was a documented account of a Syrian journalist living with her husband who was running an open hospital while they were getting bombed from every angle and their baby girl Sama was born in the mix. I saw the humanity side of this war going on, and although it was small it was as frightening to watch, but I knew it was 10x worse for those who lived in it every day and night for a long period of time. To read about a six year old having to walk with her siblings without their parents and on top of that, with a strange man who you would automatically think of the worst possible outcome for all of them. In a span of six months they lived in little villages and were treated like a loved one with everyone they came across, but on the other side of that, those same people were burying their loved ones because they were being killed fighting for their right to live there in their homes.

Everything about it was heartbreaking but they never seem to give up on not just themselves, but the promise her whole family being together again soon. It was a beautiful story, I just wish we were given more information about what happened to the rest of her family at the end. It is my only bad note about the story itself, yes, she told us about what happened to her later on in life but we weren’t given anything about her siblings. They were as present in the book as she was, but we never get told anything more about them.

Have you read this book yet? Are you a fan of memoirs? Do you, by any chance, have a favorite one you’ve read either this year or in the past? Let me know below!

snowflake

REVIEW | Five Feet Apart

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I’m back!

On the day I finished this post, I’d been sick for at least a week and a half. It has been so frustrating to say the least, because at first we thought it was allergies and then three days later, I developed this awful cough and my mom had to get some medicine tablets because I refuse to drink the liquid stuff. Hopefully, this isn’t your only post of the week but let’s not push our luck!

I am very excited to finally chat with you about the film adaption of Rachael Lippincott’s novel Five Feet Apart. I mean, this was the main reason why I wanted to read the book in the first place. Before we continue, I have to say this post will probably have spoilers included, so if you haven’t read the book and want to, I highly suggest you skip this blog post for now.

The first thing–well, there were two actually–I had to tell myself. I literally had to give myself a little talk because I had read the book and I was still reeling from the fact that I cried many times and enjoyed certain scenes within the story. I knew it is going to be very sad and when I finally I made a deal to watch the whole thing before I judged everything that was presented on my TV screen.

What I Really Thought 

So, I absolutely loved the film! I was surprised by my reaction after I finished it because I didn’t think I would love it that much, but yes, I thought it was absolutely beautiful! It didn’t have every single thing, but it had enough that it followed the same timeline from the book, and that was it for me.

One thing that I totally forgot to put into my head while I was reading the book was that hospitals are busy places, as you see on film. However, while I was reading the book, the only professionals that turned up in my head were Barb, Julie and Dr. Hamid. That’s it. I don’t know why I just kept other nurses or random people from entering various scenes. I mentioned in my book review that I used the hospital I went to back in 2002, to draw some inspiration on how to map out this massive space, and the section I stayed had probably three or four nurses at their station. So, we were never without someone there besides our parents of course, so I don’t know how I managed to create a space with only three medical professionals!

Have you watched the film adaption “Five Feet Apart” yet? If you read the book beforehand, did you have any issues with it? Did you like it just the same? Tell me your thoughts about it below!

snowflake

Book Review: “Inside Out” by Demi Moore

I want to say about three days after my review for “The Handmaid’s Tale” published, I finished with my second book of the season which was Demi Moore’s memoir “Inside Out”. I was pretty proud of myself but not for the reasons you might assume. My mom and I are the readers in the family, and she is fast and can focus all of her attention into the books she reads, whereas I am very easily distracted. So, the fact that I got done with it before her, made me happy as a clown!

Before we got it though, I happened to read some of the articles of when she talks about her relationship with Ashton Kruchter, but thankfully nothing I read online diverted me away or towards it, I actually wanted to read it and see what kind of life she has lead to this point.


45167624Famed American actress Demi Moore at last tells her own story in a surprisingly intimate and emotionally charged memoir.

For decades, Demi Moore has been synonymous with celebrity. From iconic film roles to high-profile relationships, Moore has never been far from the spotlight—or the headlines.

Even as Demi was becoming the highest paid actress in Hollywood, however, she was always outrunning her past, just one step ahead of the doubts and insecurities that defined her childhood. Throughout her rise to fame and during some of the most pivotal moments of her life, Demi battled addiction, body image issues, and childhood trauma that would follow her for years—all while juggling a skyrocketing career and at times negative public perception. As her success grew, Demi found herself questioning if she belonged in Hollywood, if she was a good mother, a good actress—and, always, if she was simply good enough.

As much as her story is about adversity, it is also about tremendous resilience. In this deeply candid and reflective memoir, Demi pulls back the curtain and opens up about her career and personal life—laying bare her tumultuous relationship with her mother, her marriages, her struggles balancing stardom with raising a family, and her journey toward open heartedness. Inside Out is a story of survival, success, and surrender—a wrenchingly honest portrayal of one woman’s at once ordinary and iconic life.

Taken from Goodreads


Personally, I have never been a really big fan of Demi’s. I’ve only seen maybe two or three movies and for a good chunk of my life, I didn’t know that she was the actress who voiced Esmeralda on The Hunchback of Notre Dame! Other than that, I just read the book because A) biographies and memoirs are one of my favorite genres and B) I was really curious to hear her story.

In the beginning, as she was describing her early life with her parents, the dysfunction of it all with their fighting and moving around, made me remember the earliest parts of my life. My parents were young when they had my sister and I, and they had a lot of fights in front of us that I think has always made me second guess anything about love and marriage. Thankfully, as the years go by, the fights die down a little and you start to see more love come out of the result of all those hardships.

Since I have never been that interested in celebrities’ private lives growing up and even now–and trust me I try not to read any of the tabloids mentioned in People magazine–but the fact that she let us into her life was in a way bittersweet. I think my favorite parts were when she was talking about her time with Bruce and living in Hailey. You can tell that she loved it, not only because she became a mother during this time but she also portrayed herself as happy, despite dealing with her issues she discusses in the book.

If you’re like me and you’re movie crazy, you will enjoy her talking about the process of doing some of her notable roles over the years. She gives you little nice details about each film, whether they were enjoyable or not. But if you are just looking for a nice biography, this is also up your alley too! She really makes you think about everything. There was one word that I thought worked well with the entire thing and that was: perspective. When you decide to read it, I think you should keep this in mind because it will help you out as you get towards the end.

Have you read Demi’s book yet? If you have, what were things you liked or maybe disliked about it? Do you have a favorite section like I did?

November Playlist

Howdy!

This month has been pretty good. I am definitely feeling the shift in the season where there are less and less new music coming out, but what is totally different from years past is that I am still hopeful that I’ll find really great stuff in the next few weeks!

For the November playlist, I think I will shrink it down to only the Top 10 tracks because a lot of the music I listened to this month was a repeat of the previous blog posts. So, with that being said, I really hope you enjoy the songs below!

Nice To Meet Ya by Niall Horan
Don’t Call Me Angel by Ariana Grande. Miley Cryus & Lana Del Rey
I Warned Myself by Charlie Puth
Contaminated by BANKS
Into The Unknown by Idina Menzel & Aurora
Bom Bidi Bom by Nick Jonas featuring Nicki Minaj
Pray For Me by G-Eazy
I Believe by Blessed Union of Souls
Me Necessita by CNCO & PRETTYMUCH
Control Myself by LL Cool J featuring Jennifer Lopez
Fuck, I’m Lonely by Lauv featuring Anne-Marie

Higher Love by Kygo with Whitney Houston
Born To Rule by Vo Williams & UNSECRET
The Chain by Evanescence
Con Altura by ROSALIA featuring J Balvin
Someone You Loved by Lewis Capaldi
Dear Society by Madison Beer
Hate Me by Ellie Goulding featuring Juicy WRLD
Stroke by BANKS
Who’s That Boy by Demi Lovato featuring DEV

I have been thinking about whether or not I will be doing my annual Christmas reviews this year. I really enjoy finding different ones and ultimately talking about them on here too, but it can be really time consuming! The plus sign though is since I have switched up my weekly schedule for my posts, I think I can create a little theme of holiday albums in the middle of the week? I actually wrote out a list of various Blogmas ideas last year so I think I will have a look at that to see what else I can put on here next month.

Honestly, I think December will be a slightly hectic month as far as blog posts on here! I am really excited but feel like I might end up with a big headache at the start of the year too!

What were you listening to this November?

Album Review: “Theater Of Dimensions” by Xandria

15578479_10154323610840889_4576199446702677479_nToday’s album review is from a band called Xandria. I’ve been a fan of theirs since the end of 2011 I believe, so I’ve seen a lot of people come and go and heard a lot of amazing music for the last six years!

Xandria is a German symphonic metal band and they are made up of five members: Marco Heubaum and Philip Resemeier on guitars, Steven Wussow is on bass, Gerit Lamm plays the drums and Dianne van Giersbergen is the main vocalist. They released their new album called “Theater Of Dimensions” on January 27th, that day was a just good day of releases. I had a total of four albums and this won the chance to be review!

I’m basing my review off what it is Spotify, and they have both the Deluxe and Standard editions, but I’m only discussing the standard issue. Now let’s finally get into this, shall we?

If you’ve never heard a symphonic metal album, most of the bands will create a story within the actual album, so each song will contain a different section of the plot. I don’t think this is a concept album, but there is some kind of story telling throughout the record that I am still searching to figure out. The language that seems to be used in this album is what I’d call Old English, almost Shakespearean, hence the title of the album in general perhaps?

The first track has a soft introduction, the song is actually very beautiful! It is called “Where The Heart Is Home” and when I hear it, I think it has a good balance of soft and dramatic  notes. I think Dianne’s voice just sounds angelic in this song! I can always get behind a song that is about seven minutes long! I think it’s a great, fairly tame start to the album.

Next is “Death To The Holy” and this was the song that reassured me that this album would be heavier than the last two albums. I’m not saying I didn’t like them, I do! I love them wholeheartedly, but I also love a heavier metal track too! I love the drum intro! I love the whimsical vibe you get throughout the song! It’s easy to stay on the beat as they arranged it, very catchy too! Dianne even sounds almost playful. I think that’s sort of unique to her because she has such a strong, powerful voice! The choirs sound amazing as always! I’m a sucker for choirs I really am! I am usually drawn to these types of songs for some odd reason! They just remind me of sailors, I know that probably sounds weird, but once you’ve heard multiple symphonic metal albums, you’ll understand why I say that!

I love the introduction of “Forsaken Love” it starts out with the villean pipes, which really bring out my interest in it. I love to hear anything with pipes, flutes, fiddles, and violins. Anyways, it’s a beautiful ballad. The next track is “Call Of Destiny” and when this was released at the beginning of January, I was secretly attached to it. I couldn’t get enough of it. Despite this, I find it a tad bit tame compared to their first single, “We Are Murders (We All)” when I heard this, I felt bummed, but now I like it and so much so that I included it into my Vikings Playlist on Spotify! I thought it fits in parts of the verses! There is a featured singer in that song, it is a Swedish singer Björn Strid of Soilwork.

The sixth track is “Dark Night For The Soul” and I really love the piano of this one. I think with someone like Dianne, been classically trained, this is where she really shines. Sometimes going simple can be a glorious thing, especially as a metal band in general. We’re so used to our heavy bangers and normal ballads, that some of us can’t appreciate softer ballads such as this one. It does have a guitar solo in it, but thankfully it isn’t obnoxious! I don’t normally care for guitar solos myself, but I think this one was very good! Marco and Philip have created some very gorgeous solos in the past I will say, so I do make exceptions every once in a while!

And then we have “When The Walls Come Down (Heartache Was Born)” and this one is a heavy track, the introduction has this ominous feel and then you suddenly hear the choirs and it’s very good! The next is “Ship Of Doom” and it has another soft beginning, but it very good. It’s another fantasy-like song, would probably be good on my Vikings playlist too, but I have like four of their tracks about sailing, so I’m going to hold out including it for now! Ninth is an instrumental called “Ceilí” and I was a bit shocked to see this, because they are not known to put this kind of track on an album mostly because they do not have a touring keyboardist. If they ever play it live, it would mostly likely turn up during intermission. It is a whimsical tune, very playful but also heavy in the guitars, so it’s a good mix.

The last four of the standard edition are next. We have “Song For Sorrow and Woe” and it is another slow start, but once the tempo increases you can kind of hear the horns, which can be sort of hard to decipher, but not here. Unfortunately I don’t really care for it, and even I’m surprised! It has everything that I usually look for, but it is an interesting song! Next we have “Burn Me” and this also features another singer, it is Zaher Zorgati of Myrath and this is another very tame song. I do like the duet between Dianne and Zaher, I think it is interesting dynamic since she’s so high and he seems to be more of a baritone.

I have a thing for unique introductions, I have a weakness for an acoustic guitar I think every person does, they just don’t want to admit it out loud. “Queen Of Hearts Reborn” has a quiet, but epic beginning and then it just erupts of sounds between the drums and guitars, they cut into Dianne’s high notes and she almost sounds evil in parts. I swear, I mean that in a good way! It brings out a new character for her. I could see this one becoming a favorite of mine! Lastly, we have the title track “A Theater Of Dimensions” and they are known for their final songs to be the longest of all the rest; this one does not disappoint, it is 14 minutes and 22 seconds long! The only bad part about it is the fact that it is really slow! Thankfully, it does gradually get better and becomes more intense as it goes on. It’s pretty good!

I love Xandria, I really do! I always look forward to their albums but I have to say, I just sort of felt let down in a way. I think it might’ve been the ballads or the way of speaking, sometimes that can be an issue with me. I do think it’s interesting and different, so I definitely can’t say I hate it, but rating wise I would give it a eight out of 10. I think the album is great, but not as amazing as “Sacrificium” but you can’t like everything.

Have you listened to Xandria’s “Theater Of Dimensions” yet? What did you think?

snowflake

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