Book Review | The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

Hello bookish friends!

I hope you discovered something new this week. Although the week isn’t over yet, so there is still plenty of time to learn something new. This week’s book review is on The Silence of The Girls by Pat Barker.

“The defeated go down in history and disappear, and their stories die with them.”

The Silence of the Girls

I’ve probably mentioned this a few times, but re-tellings are some of my favorite stories to read. Hearing from the point of view of a side character in an otherwise well-known tale gives such fresh perspective. It’s also a way to find out about how the other characters and people lived, or what could have happened if they would have had more say. The Silence of The Girls is a re-telling of The Iliad (Trojan War) from the point of view of Briseis, one of the former queens of the many kingdoms in Troy, whose kingdom is conquered by the one and only Achilles. And OH MY GOSH, my heart was breaking into a million pieces just imagining how the women and children were being treated.

They’re the warriors, with their helmets and armour, their swords and spears, and they don’t seem to see our battles– or prefer not to. Perhaps if they realized we’re not the gentle creatures they take us for their own peace of mind would be disturbed?”

The Silence of the Girls

If any of you ever read the Iliad or taken a Humanities course on classicism or Greek mythology, or even watched the Brad Pitt version of Troy, then you KNOW how this story ends. Despite that, while reading I was honestly at the edge of my seat. I knew what was going to happen but because it was Briseis telling the story (and at some points Achilles and Patroclus), the story was fresh and enlightening. There were times when I doubted what would happen. There is a lot of foreshadowing on Achilles part, and at times I felt as Briseis did, conflicted. I wanted to feel bad for Achilles, and at times I did. But remember these are women who were ripped from their homes, abused of, and treated as things with no thoughts or feelings. I was torn from being able to fully grieve the Greek warriors and despising them. This makes the story all the more real though and makes us really think how history is told throughout time.

“Looking back, it seemed to me I’d been trying to escape not just from the camp, but from Achilles’s story; and I’d failed. Because, make no mistake, this was his story– his anger, his grief, his story. I was angry, I was grieving, but somehow that didn’t matter. Here I was, again, waiting for Achilles to decide when it was time for bed, still trapped, still stuck inside his story, and yet with no real part to play in it.”

The Silence of the Girls

Who is telling the story matters because the person telling the story paints it with the colors that they personally saw and experienced, not the person next to them. Lin Manuel had a point in the song “Who Tells Your Story” as Briseis says many times in her narrative as well. She realizes many times that the women who experienced the war, it will never be their story, it will be Achilles, or Odysseus, or even the scumbag Agememnon. This is why these stories are so important. The women and children suffered, immensely and although this is fictional, it isn’t any less real. We need to hear the other sides story if we are ever going to be able to paint a picture of an event fully.

“What will people make of us, the people of those unimaginable distant ties? One thing I do know: they won’t want the brutal reality of conquest and slavery. They won’t want to be told about the massacres of men and boys, the enslavement of women and girls. They won’t want to know we were living in a rape camp. No, they’ll go for something altogether softer. A love story, perhaps? I just hope they manage to work out who the lovers were.”

The Silence of the Girls

Despite the agony and the utter hopelessness of the situation, the women are resilient. They are strong in the only ways they know how to be. I highly recommend this book. I’m probably going to add it to my Top Shelf books because I believe it will be one I turn to time and time again.

Until next time my bookish friends.

Read Something Wonderful & Stay Curious.

Book Rant | After by Anna Todd 💔

Hello Bookish Babes! Happy Friday to you all!

We made it to the end of the week and that means I have another book review for you! Actually, hold that thought. I finally… FINALLY got around to reading After by Anna Todd. It’s been on my TBR list for ages and all my close friends have been praying for the day that I finally pick up the book to read it. The time has come friends and I finished this book after (see what I did there) many sleepless nights because I 👏COULD 👏NOT 👏PUT 👏IT DOWN.👏

Because this book is super hyped up (and for good reason) + it is being made into a movie (release date next week, April 12!), I decided to go about this book review a different way. I’ve decided to do a book “rant” and sort of tweet my way through the book. I wrote down all my thoughts as I thought them and I’ve shared them with you today. I hope you enjoy! I’ll be sharing more thoughts on the book on my IG story! Book gossip with me @giselasbooked.

After Book Rant

Gosh I’m getting a sense of foreboding already. Is it just me? 😨

Does Tessa not have GPS on her phone?

Can’t she call an Uber to leave the party?

This guy better have a really good reason why he’s acting all jerky to her.

Really!? You are going to play the jealousy card after you scolded and yelled at her!? 😡

Finally GPS!

Oh gosh arguing over pride and prejudice. Is Hardin like Darcy… probably? What a dick!

This guy thinks very highly of himself but also girl… don’t lie to yourself.

Whoa, um okay twilight moment!? Is Hardin a vampire? (As if you could fight me off! *Edward Cullen voice*)

I’m confused. Is he jealous!?  

That boy Noah is really clueless. Gosh poor puppy.

Of course. Kissing someone while they are yelling at you is a good way to stop the argument and make everything better. *says sarcastically*

I hate myself for swooning. Ughhh my friends would NOT like this. They would not want me to date a guy like this! 😥

Great! There he goes again, f***ing it up!

Well, at least finally vanilla boy is out of the picture. He was kind of boring and annoying. Blahhhh.  💤

Five!?? Why the hell does she get up at 5 a.m. for a 9 a.m. class!??

Tessa and Molly… the way you are acting to each other… not cool.

Image result for mean girls sluts and whores tina fey

Okay, they are happy again and gosh darn it, I hate myself for swooning and being happy too. Rawr! *Alexa play “Drumming Song” by Florence and the Machine.*

He’s funny and adorable… sigh. Why am I like this??

What the hell is up with her mom!? Is she being serious!? Like yeah I mean okay Hardin isn’t the greatest but damn!

Ugh, I feel it. Things are too good. Something bad is going to happen. Like category 5 hurricane bad. Can I hide? Must I keep reading? 😱

Oh no…. Who’s the suit? I smell trouble.

Like the girls from The Bold Type say… There’s a special place in hell for girls who don’t support girls.

No Tessa no. Stay. No. I usually would not advocate listening to Hardin but for once in your life just listen!!!!

Why do you have to say those things Hardin!? Ugh, why do you have to be cute!!!! Stop it! Who gave your permission?

Great. Just like that. Poof. Cranky  moody temperamental childish Hardin.

Acting like a caveman is right. Humph.

Devil worshiper… LMAO. Seriously though what is wrong with her mother? She’s nuts.

When is the shoe going to drop? Can someone buckle me in? I need to brace for impact. 😱

Oh my gosh. Those bastards. They are horrible! WTF.

Who gave these authors permission to make cute guys assholes! So we fall in love with them!? Their outsides should match their insides!! 💔

There you have it bookish babes. I really did enjoy the book despite all my ranting. Anna Todd is a very compelling writer. Her words were just urging me along like the little engine that could. That ending though. I’m so upset and now I have no choice but to read the second book pronto!

Let me know what you all thought of the book. What do you think of Hardin and of Tessa? Are you excited for the movie? I sure am! This story hits a very close to my own personal experience and I may share a bit on another post. Until next time my friends!

Read Something Wonderful & Stay Curious.


A Month of Bookish Love | Me Before You

Happy Tuesday once again bookish friends!

Valentine’s Day has come and passed but that doesn’t mean that we have to take love and smoosh it into a dark corner. Although if you are going through a breakup, that is perfectly acceptable for the time being. This week I’m bringing you another book that made me believe in love. It is the heartbreaking Me Before You that made me cry all the tears.😭

Me Before You tell the story of an unlikely couple who meet under very unusual circumstances. We have Louisa Clark who is one of the cutest, bubbliest, good-hearted heroines I have ever read. Usually, people assume that that means the character lacks depth, but Louisa is so much more. She offers so much to the world and has a very special brave heart. She is also intensely hilarious and I love a person that can laugh at themselves. Then we have Will whom because of an accident that left me paralyzed is bitter about everything and lost hope in his case.

As the story progresses and Louisa and Will get to know each other in a way that even regular couples don’t know each other sometimes. Because of the nature of his situation Will is at the mercy of Louis and other people taking care of him and it leaves both him and Louisa in very vulnerable positions. But oh, my friends, this vulnerability is where the magic happens. Being vulnerable allows us to get to the heart of things and see the gritty stuff we usually don’t let others see. It helps us to grow close, move past trauma, and realize we aren’t alone in our situations.

The way Louisa and Will’s relationship unravel can be open to interpretation and opinion, but to me, this book is beautiful in all it’s heartbreak. Both Louisa and Will learn from each other that life is so much more than what we see in front of us and that it can be worth living despite our past experiences. Yes, there may be an end to something that you have that was full of life and love and there will be many endings in our lives. But endings always lead to new beginnings, as cheesy as that sounds. But it’s cheesy because it’s true.

Okay now I’m crying.

Live boldly friends. xoxo, Gisela

A Month of Bookish Love| A Court of Thorns and Roses

Happy Tuesday Bookish Babes!

I hope you are all enjoying this month of love so far. I have another book I adore and this one is of fantastical proportions. ✨

I came to claim the one I love.”

With words as those I can’t help but swoon. But those words are uttered not by a rogue prince charming, but by a human girl out of her element who must go against all odds to save her beloved and a people who despise her.

Fairy tale retellings are among my top favorite stories to read. Even more so when you get a bad ass protagonist like Feyre who must complete herculean efforts among those that are strong, agile, and cunning… Fae. A Court of Thorns and Roses (a.k.a. ACOTAR) is a mixture of a Beauty and Beast retelling with the Scottish Ballad “The Queen of the Fairies.” If you know those, you may think you know what will happen in the story, but OH-Ho! You do not my friend. Sarah J. Maas makes this story as twisty as the deadly beautiful Fae realm itself.

ACOTAR made me swoon and gasp plenty of times throughout the book. It is romantic but sometimes books helps us deal with real life situations more clearly by setting them in a fantastical setting. In ACOTAR I learned what love is… and isn’t. It shows how far the human spirit is willing to go for the ones we love. How much we are willing to sacrifice. That when love demands more of us, we give it, freely despite the cost.

But it’s not just a traditional romance. There are also other types of love shown. The familial love that binds us in complicated and tangled ways. Feyre both loves and resents her family for the things that they’ve allowed her to do. The love of a country that has been taken over by evil, that forces Tamlin’s hand to do the unthinkable in order to save the Fae land he loves. Love underlines all their actions in thorny (see what I did there?) and intricate ways.

Full Disclaimer: ACOTAR is the first of a trilogy and the second book happens to be my favorite, but this is where it all starts. I strongly recommend you read this series because it’s just SO GOOD. But I do adore this book and its brave depiction of the ultimate sacrifices we make when we love, hard. ♥️

Be back next week with another Bookish Love Pick! Have a Happy Valentine’s Week!

xoxo, Gisela

Mary Oliver… Peaceful Poet

Enjoying Mary Oliver outdoors. I think she would approve?

Some people look at poetry as pretentious. Other’s look at the poetry of today as not “real” poetry, especially when speaking about “insta-poets.” You know them. You like their pictures and give them billions of hearts. I can be one of those people too. No shame. Some of the poetry of today is uncomplicated, easy to understand, and easy to digest. But if I had to pick a poet that I can truly understand without much fuss, that is Mary Oliver.

I came across Mary Oliver’s poems a while ago, perusing the bookstore, as many of us do. I was in an odd place in my life. Satisfied and unsatisfied at the same time. Now that I think of it, most of my 20’s have been that way, but that’s another story. I was running my finger across the spines hoping that a title would attract me when I came across Blue Iris.

I was immediately enraptured by her simple use of language, combining nature and the ordinary things in life. She just… understood. Oliver seemed to have taken Thoreau’s words and “went to the woods…to live deliberately” and applied them to her own life. Reading her words made me believe that she found it, that “it” we all search for.

I’m sad to hear of her passing but as cheesy as it sounds, she will live on in her peaceful poetry. I’ve included a few lines from some of my favorites. I highly suggest picking up one of her books and diving into the tranquility her words provide.

Here is a story 
to break your heart.
Are you willing?
This winter
the loons came to our harbor
and died, one by one,
of nothing we could see.

...I tell you this
to break your heart,
by which I mean only
that it break open and never close again to the rest of the world.

Am I Not Among The Early Risers
Have I not loved as though the beloved could vanish at any moment,
or become preoccupied, or whisper a name other than mine
in the stretched curvatures of lust, or over the dinner table?
Have I ever taken good fortune for granted?

And then my all time favorite…

When Death Comes
When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if i have made my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.

Book Review | I Might Regret This by Abbi Jacobson

“Some of the best experiences don’t end with a bang, but rather a dose of reality.”

Total Bad Ass.

Abbi Jacobson words were like looking into my own heart and mind. So sit back friends because I believe I’m about to get personal in true Abbi fashion…

“What do you want with your life?” “How far is it to X city?” “Should I say no to the fries and yes to the salad?” “Will I bump into my ex?” These are all things that go through my mind, probably a lot of other people too, and our main girl Abbi Jacobson. She is one of the producers of the show Broad City and God, I love her. Every page I turned and just kept saying yes and praying that we would meet one day and become fast friends. Obviously, the probability that we meet is probably ZERO chance. Abbi has decided that she will go on a cross country road trip from New York City to Los Angeles to give her time to ponder and be on her own, make her own decision, and grab life by the balls! What we get here are her person ramblings of her time on her own, reflections on the world from Climate Change to Sexual Harassment to keeping in touch with friends.

Extremely relatable, her decision to get in a car and drive West is incited by one of the ultimate universal feelings loss and heartbreak.

“That ultimately I’m admitting that I’m scared of being alone. But aren’t we all? Isn’t that… the main thing? Aren’t we all secretly terrified that we’re not understood, not seen, not loved, not wanted? Okay, great, cleared that up.”

Attempting not to fall into the dark hole that is that chair.

Life is hard friends. We all know it. Obviously, we aren’t immune to the suffering of the world and Abbi makes that extremely clear in her book, but it doesn’t lessen the pain we feel when we’ve put our heart on the line only for it to get completely mangled. Pain happens in degrees but it is still pain. Heartbreak is universal. If not then why are there so many damn poems about it? So many songs about failed love? Abbi makes clear the excruciating agony that comes with losing love after being closed off to vulnerable emotions for so long. It can be life-shattering to feel EVERYTHING and nothing all at once. Like you’ll never feel whole again. When thoughts of him (or her) attack you at a moments notice while you’re picking up lentils at the grocery store and you feel your body lurch to the side just a bit and you become imbalanced because you remember, “They don’t exist in your life anymore.” When you get those texts at 4:45 a.m. and your heart squeezes because you know who you are hoping it is and isn’t and you’re scolding your traitorous hand to stay put and not check the message. You know it’s going to hurt, but we still do it.

Abbi goes through this. She acknowledges this and holds on to it like so many of us do. But it’s okay to feel this. It’s okay to be heartbroken, to feel lost, to feel like you don’t know what direction your heart is going. We can feel all these things and more but we keep going… despite the hurt. You got this darling.

We got this. 💗

Ever the wise words.

Book Review | My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

“…we are hardwired to protect and remain loyal to the people we love. Besides, no one is innocent in this world.”

This cover is everything guys. i mean how could you not want to read this?

My Sister, the Serial Killer is… wow, how do I put it… different but interesting. At first glance, you think you are about to read another standard mystery novel (nothing against them though), but what you get is two deeply complex characters and the way familial ties forever bind us, no matter how much we yearn to be set free.

We are introduced to Korede, the older sister who is deemed responsible, uptight, and unlikable to everyone, and then Ayoola, the younger sister who’s looks and personality are alluring to every man she comes in contact with. There is a problem though. As the title suggests there is a killer in the family and it happens to be Ayoola – not a spoiler alert. She kills her boyfriends and her big sister, neat freak Korede comes to the rescue to clean up the mess… every time.

Although not a traditional murder mystery-ish “girl” book, the pace of the plot had me finishing the book in one day (although I think most people would because it is also a very short book with short chapters). I HAD to keep reading to find out if the sisters would get caught and if the book would end the way I thought it would… in tragedy.

I title this “Cousin takes picture of book crime scene. Gisela becomes a killer.

Friends… I definitely felt for Korede. I’m not a big sister, I’m a little sister in my family, but I could feel the bitterness and hurt every time Korede wished to be free of her family’s antics and drama but was pulled in due to obligation. I wondered the entire time, just like Korede ponders throughout the book, why the hell is Ayoola killing these men? She says it’s self-defense, but is there more to it than that? We catch glimpses of the girls upbringing throughout the story and little by little we understand the why. We also see how the different characters in the book perceive the men scattered throughout the story. Some of the men are pure victims in the women’s eyes, but Ayoola who seems like she doesn’t even really care sees them for who they really are and for what they truly (and sadly) want – just a pretty face. Our girl, Ayoola gives them what they want, but it comes with a price.

I’m not so sure how I felt about the very end of the book, though. I won’t say because it would give things away, but it left me wanting more. The book moved forward very quickly and then… I was like “THAT’S IT?!” Despite that, My Sister, the Serial Killer is still definitely worth the read.