Friday, 14 August 2015

I've Moved!

Hello my lovelies!

I have big news!

So ever since about last December, when a good friend of mine moved from Blogger to Wordpress, I have been toying with the idea of moving. I was happy with Blogger and it's simplicity at that point in time but it's been over a year and I'm starting to crave a fresh design and a a sleeker design that Blogger can no longer give me.

My tipping point was probably when Sandee told me that she was considering moving. I just knew that It was what I needed. So I tinkered around with the site and realised that while it was more complex, it had the design and usability that I have been wanting for a while now.

So I did a bit more tinkering and exporting and importing and next thing you know, Page Twenty Three was born.

Now I am super happy because the name of this blog, Twenty Three Pages was a name that was my second choice. Page Twenty Three was my first and to find that it was available on Wordpress and not Blogger just seemed like a sign.

Also, I didn't lose anything. All my comments from you guys, my follows and my posts are all intact. So I want to thank you guys for sticking with me and I want to cordially invite you to continue to follow my journey by visiting my new site,

I'm still learning about Wordpress and am still getting my site to look exactly the way I want it to but I want you guys to be able to still be able to read what I have to say and I don't want to go through a period of not posting.

I'm really excited about this move because I feel like my content has been lacking for a while now and I feel like this move has made me excited about my blog again and has made me want to write more. Not to mention that my holidays are coming up and I am going to be putting in a lot more effort into the content I put out and the photos I take. I can't wait!

I love you all very much. See you over at Wordpress.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

It's Kind of a Funny Story By Ned Vizzini

Ambitious New York City teenager Craig Gilner is determined to succeed at life - which means getting into the right high school to get into the right job. But once Craig aces his way into Manhattan's Executive Pre-Professional High School, the pressure becomes unbearable. He stops eating and sleeping until, one night, he nearly kills himself.

Craig's suicidal episode gets him checked into a mental hospital, where his new neighbors include a transsexual sex addict, a girl who has scarred her own face with scissors, and the self-elected President Armelio. There, Craig is finally able to confront the sources of his anxiety.
Ned Vizzini, who himself spent time in a psychiatric hospital, has created a remarkably moving tale about the sometimes unexpected road to happiness. -Goodreads


I don't know what it is  but lately, every book I've been reading has managed to strike a cord with me and has made me feel the need to tell you something about my life in the review. I don't know. But it's  very cathartic to write so I'm going to keep doing that.

This book is about a kid with depression. Craig has a good family and a bright future but midway through, he got depressed. This book just made me feel understood.

I don't think I have ever talked about this in great detail but when I was 14, I had what I can only describe as depression. I was struggling a lot in school. I couldn't keep up with my classmates academically because of my learning disabilities and that led to me believing what I was being fed at that point by my parents, tutors and teachers. That I was stupid and useless. I was also drowning socially. I had no friends and even the people I tried to hang out with bullied me mercilessly (I wasn't very strong when I was younger. I let people step over me because I wanted friends). My relationship with my mom was at it's worst. She was screaming at me nearly everyday. Life wasn't very good for me at that point.

I was so scared so I retreated into myself. I let my thoughts consume me and one day, I found myself in a very dark hole that I could not crawl out of. By this time, I was already crying myself to sleep, screaming into my pillows and starving myself because I was so afraid to face the school canteen by myself. I immersed myself in Jodi Picoult books and writing in my diary because it made the fact that I had no friends easier to bear. My mind, which had always been my safe place, had suddenly became a very scary prison. I would imagine killing myself. I even had a journal where I would plan it. I had everything I needed except the courage to do it. I would play everything out down to my funeral. At that time, I truly believed that no one would come to it. That my parents would be happier without me. That life would be better without me.

It's hard to convey to you just how real these thoughts were and how scared I was and anyone who has experienced this will say the same. Life was really really bad for me and I was drowning. Unfortunately, like many people, I was too scared to tell anyone. I never got formally diagnosed because my family refused to see my struggle. I left silent clues that I needed help. I silently projected my need and at one point even tried to self-harm (nothing too serious) but my parents refused to see them. They just refused to do it. So I struggled quietly. I self-diagnosed myself with depression with the online sources I had because I had no other choice.

By the end of 2011, I was at my worst. I was being held back a grade because I had stopped taking my ADHD medication and I just couldn't keep up anymore so I let everything slide. Life was bad.

2012 started rockily. I had a series of gastric attacks around New Year's time that eventually landed me in hospital with stomach and intestinal ulcers in February (now that I look back, maybe it was the stress of 2011 that made me sick). 2012 was a whole year of hospitals and tests and medication and all that meant that I was out of school majority of the time. I was also given a pain counsellor. These factors gave me time to be by myself as well as to talk to a professional about my feelings (I convinced her that I was no longer suicidal so that she wouldn't tell my parents. If you're feeling suicidal and get the opportunity to talk to a professional, don't do what I did. It may be scary but let them know. They need to know. Be braver then I was.)

By the end of 2012, I had a scary diagnosis of an incurable disease (I still have it). But I was in remission after a year of hell and life was looking up despite that. I did well in my exams despite my constant absences because it was just a repeat of the previous year. I just needed that headstart and I got it by repeating. I had friends finally and I was feeling good. I learnt to readjust and I slowly became okay again.

I still do get upset from time to time and I still can't listen to Rascal Flatts without spiralling but I'm much better. I'm happy. Which is all I could ever want.

I told you this story because I wanted you to understand how much this book and the struggle that Craig went through meant to me. I felt like I could really relate to Craig. I mean obviously since the author himself had depression and spent some time in a mental ward, he was in the best position to write a novel like this.

I hate it when authors try to tackle issues that they are unfamiliar with and end up looking stupid and ignorant about the subject. It's such a turn off so I'm so glad that Ned was able to write this.

I think this book is one of them that helps people come to terms with what they are going through. It makes you feel not crazy for what you are feeling and I'm grateful for Ned for helping me along.

The reason why this book lost it's one star from me is because I felt like a lot of the conversations felt stilted and a bit forced. I also didn't like that Noelle and Craig had insta-love going on. But at the heart of this book, the story was a good one and I recommend it to everyone.

By the way, the author, Ned, sadly took his life in December 2013.

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Book-Tube-A-Thon TBR

Hello friends! Today is August the 3rd and it is also the start of Book-Tube-A-Thon 2015!! So if you didn't know, Book-Tube-A-Thon is basically an annual readathon. It lasts a week till the 9th and it is huge in the book community. Every year, book tubers, bloggers, readers and book clubs will participate. They will pick 7 books based on the challenges and we will basically read as much as we can.

This is my first year participating and I'm going into it straight from the #TBRTakedown 2.0. So I know this is late but here's my TBR for this week:

1) Read a book with blue on the cover

More Happy Then Not by Adam Silvera

2) Read a book by an author who shares the same first letter of your last name 

Something Real by Heather Demetrios

3) Read someone else's favourite book

Shadow Of The Wind by Carlos Ruitz Zafron (This is my brother's favourite book)

4) Read the last book you acquired 

Red Rising by Pierce Brown (This is my bookclub's BOTM)

5) Finish a book without letting go of it

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Niel Gaiman

6) Read a book you really want to read

The Storied Life Of A.J.Fikery by Gabrielle Zevin

7) Read seven books

Well that's my TBR for this week. I'm super duper excited for it and I hope you are too if you are participating. Tell me what books are on your TBR for this exciting week!

Monday, 27 July 2015

Two for the Road (Stories in Pairs, Set 3) By Ekta Garg

The First Story, “Excess Baggage”: Allison has just come home from a grueling business trip. All she wants to do is spend a quiet weekend at home parked in front of the TV or maybe curled up with a blanket. When a friend calls to ask her for a favor, though, all of Allison’s plans hit rough air.The Second Story, “Wrong Way”: With one daughter married and another in college, Rachel and Jim should be enjoying their time as a couple again. But Jim’s worries about his widowed mother force Rachel into a spur-of-the-moment road trip to check on the old bat. When Jim catches Rachel complaining to a friend, tension will ride with them in the car. Can Rachel make an apology stick?- Goodreads
I don't really know how to start this review but I've been following this series since the beginning of the year when Ekta approached me with the first book. From then on, I've been following the series and reading each book as it's come out.

This book was different from the first two because the characters were different and it was generally more on the American side instead of the Asian side that Ekta was pushing in her first two books. I didn't mind that too much except for the fact that I was rather enjoying her bold take. I think it takes courage to write about Asians considering that the world is predominately Western and most books are written with a Western context. So I did miss that.

Each of her stories ended rather abruptly in my opinion and I would have very much liked to hear more of the stories though I have a feeling like the fourth book might have more elaboration. I don't know. Just a feeling.

Otherwise, it was a very lovey and short read. I read it in one sitting actually. I absolutely adore this series and I can't wait to read more.
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
*A copy of this book was provided to me by the author to read and review*

Thursday, 23 July 2015

#TBRTakedown 2.0

Hey guys,

I feel like I haven't blogged in ages. Anyway, I thought I would write this to tell you guys that I am participating in the #TBRTakedown 2.0 which is starting tomorrow (Saturday) and it will be running for a week. So we end on the 31st of July. You can watch the official announcement video here:

I am so excited to be taking part in it and I'm even more excited that my whole bookclub is doing it as well. It's going to be so fun and the challenges for this are so much more doable. So before it begins, I thought I would share my TBR list for the challenge.

1. First Book in a series: Cinder

Sandee has hyped this book so much and I've heard and seen it everywhere so I really can't wait to get to it.

2. Sequel Book in a series: Heir Of Fire

I have read the first two books in the Throne Of Glass series and this is the second last book. The last book is coming out later this year. So I want to get this book read before that.

3. Out of your comfort zone : In Real Life: My Journey In A Pixilated World

I love Youtubers. That's no surprise. Joey isn't my favorite Youtuber and I don't really watch him but I watch Zoe Sugg obsessively and she read this while on holiday a few weeks ago and she loved it. At first I thought she was just promoting it because Joey is her friend but I've also seen a lot of good, objective reviews online so I'll give it a go.

4. On your shelf over a year (or the longest): Winger

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you would know that I've been trying to read this book every single month since last October. It's been on every one of my readathon lists and I'm determined to finally get to it.

5. Most recently hauled book: Elizabeth Is Missing

This is a bit of a cheat because it was not in my last haul but it was pretty recent so I guess it's okay.

Well that's all my books for the week long readathon. I'm so excited for it and I've been finishing up books in preparation for it. Realistically I think I will only be able to read 3 books max but one can hope. Are you joining the readathon? What are the books on your list? Tell me in the comments!

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

I Loved You When

I loved you when I first laid eyes on you. I loved you when there were secret glances. I loved you when you smiled at me. When you sat next to me. When you talked to me. Your words leaving me beautifully dumbstruck. I loved you when everyone told me not to. I loved you when my pen gently carved your name into my journal. I loved you when it was wrong. I loved you when I knew I shouldn't. When I knew you would ruin me in so many ways. When I learnt what you had done. Yet I still loved you blindly. But I was too scared. To scared of rejection. Too scared of you. So I let myself continue to love you in my head. I guess I got too good at living there because you never saw. You never saw me. And eventually you began to love someone else. The funny thing is, I still love you. I still taste your name in my mouth before I say it. I still quietly tell my journal that you are perfect. I let you live in my heart and head even though you belong to someone else. I let my heart leap when I see you. When you look at me. I let it happen because I hope. I still hope. Maybe soon. But until then, in my heart you shall live until one day, someone takes your place.


Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Wonder by RJ Palacio

You can't blend in when you were born to stand out.

My name is August. I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.

August Pullman wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old. He does ordinary things. He eats ice cream. He plays on his Xbox. He feels ordinary - inside.

But Auggie is far from ordinary. Ordinary kids don't make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids don't get stared at wherever they go.
Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life, in an attempt to protect him from the cruelty of the outside world. Now, for the first time, he's being sent to a real school - and he's dreading it. All he wants is to be accepted - but can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, underneath it all? -Goodreads

I don't really know how to review this book. This book that made me feel queasy on the inside. This book that made me need to isolate myself to think and to write down half this review when I was only 56% into the book. I don't know what to say about it. So I'll talk about myself for a bit.

When I was in primary 6 (11 years old), I endured what I still think was the worst bullying I had ever experienced in my life. I was bullied all through my school life really. But I think primary 6 was the worst because I was aware. I was aware of what was happening and I let it happen.

So this is what happened. In my primary school class, much like the classrooms in Wonder, we sit in twos. I was sitting next to this girl. Let's call her Jo. Behind me were two others and in front of me, two more. I thought the 6 of us were the best of friends. We used to play during lunch and we would send notes in class and eat together. We were friends. Until I wasn't. I remember this clearly only because I wrote about it in great detail in my old diary but what happened was that I accidentally gave Jo the wrong page numbers for our homework. It was a complete accident. Mind you, Jo was in school that day. She just wasn't paying attention.

So the next day, she got into a lot of trouble for not doing her homework and I of course didn't. I apologised profusely but she was mad. That day, after recess, I received a note from her. It was a sort of a contract and it was signed by 5 people. The same 5 people that sat around me and who I thought were my friends. It said that I had to change my attitude because it was really bad. According to the contract, the people that signed it were promising to not talk to me at all until Jo decided that my attitude was better. There was no mention of what it was I did wrong or how I could change or anything. I didn't even know what I had done wrong. Because as far as I knew, I did nothing wrong. Again, I was 11. So this was much like my world had just exploded.

Okay so that was day 1. The next day, more people in my class started signing it. Next thing I knew, people in other classes had signed it. Very quickly, people I didn't even know began signing the stupid contract.  I would ask someone something and they would be like, "I can't talk to you. I signed the contract." This lasted a week before I finally said something to my dad who talked to my teacher. She scolded Jo and the others and made them rip up the contract and apologise to me. Of course the problem didn't just vanish. I mean, a lot of things happened that week. The problem wasn't just that there was a contract. There was so much more that happened and so much more that happened throughout the entire year. But I won't go into it. All I will say is that at the end, I still embarrassingly enough, had to grovel to get my 'friends' back. I was 11. I was foolish and I let it happen.

The point of this story though was that for 1 whole week I was ostracised by everyone. Even people I didn't know. I pretty much was Auggie in that week. It was the most horrible week of my life. I had never felt so isolated and so belittled. What did I do wrong? I did nothing except to exist. The feeling was just indescribably awful.

So when I read this book, especially the Jack Wills chapter when the entire school froze him out, I got it. And I didn't like it that I got it. I felt queasy. I felt trapped because all the emotions from that awful week came rushing back at me. I didn't like that I got it. I was in school and I actually had to isolate myself during lunch to write all this down.

Okay I've just finished the book so let me talk to you more about it. Don't worry. No spoilers here. So the writing was excellent. It was very believable that the narrators were mostly 11 year olds. The way they reacted to things was also very understandable of people their age. I liked how the author got into the minds of children instead of making them overly philosophical and annoying.

I went into this book expecting to cry. And I did. I cried a lot. I had a lot of weird feels that I have never had when it comes to any other book. It was just strange and amazing at the same time.

I think if anything, this book really makes you think about how you treat other people. It really forces you to think. I mean we all want to be like the character of Summer. We all want to believe that when faced with someone with a disability or abnormality, we will react like how Summer did. But the truth is, most of us are Charlottes or Jacks. We try but when push comes to shove, we cannot see it through. We cannot defend our friendships with the less popular people. We show little bit of kindness but really we will not stick by them. I am like that. You are like that. And I think this book challenges us to be Summer. I know that I will now look at life differently. I will try to be Summer in the way I treat people who have difficulties. I mean, I don't know anyone who would strive to be Julian so.

Overall this was an amazing book. It's definately one of my new favourites and I've just got The Julian Chapter into my kindle and I'm reading it now and it's so exciting because people have been raving about it and I need to read it. It's a novella in the POV of the bully in the book by the way. So go read it. Now. Like go right now. Go. Click here. Buy the book. Now. Go.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars