cracked perfection

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“I am not the first person you loved.
You are not the first person I looked at
with a mouthful of forevers. We
have both known loss like the sharp edges
of a knife. We have both lived with lips
more scar tissue than skin. Our love came
unannounced in the middle of the night.
Our love came when we’d given up
on asking love to come. I think
that has to be part
of its miracle.
This is how we heal.
I will kiss you like forgiveness. You
will hold me like I’m hope. Our arms
will bandage and we will press promises
between us like flowers in a book.
I will write sonnets to the salt of sweat
on your skin. I will write novels to the scar
of your nose. I will write a dictionary
of all the words I have used trying
to describe the way it feels to have finally,
finally found you.

And I will not be afraid
of your scars.

I know sometimes
it’s still hard to let me see you
in all your cracked perfection,
but please know:
whether it’s the days you burn
more brilliant than the sun
or the nights you collapse into my lap
your body broken into a thousand questions,
you are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.
I will love you when you are a still day.
I will love you when you are a hurricane.”
— Clementine von Radics

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xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

Book Review: Hard to Handle

I received this book in exchange for an honest review, and here it is!
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Published October 1st 2013 by Forever (Grand Central Publishing)

MY REVIEW:
Coming across a Jessica Lemmon work for the first time, I’m impressed by her clear and illustrative writing. Unlike most chick-lit or contemporary popular fiction, she doesn’t have a lag or a black-hole in the plot… plus she has a way with suspense and I suspect she could also write a rad thriller piece too!

With a Harley and tattoos to boost, Aiden Downey is one helluva guy. His ex-wife left for his real estate business partner, and his mother had recently died from cancer. Tragedy turns a guy batshit crazy, or so it seems! When thrown together for a year, Sadie Howard cannot imagine the life ahead of her…having had her heart broken once by the same man she’s not about to make the same mistake – not when the sparks are obviously flying and she’s about to fall for a guy with more baggage than than she can handle.

The nice twists in the middle leaves readers wondering what’s about to happen next! A good romance fiction, definitely.

SYNOPSIS
ONCE BURNED Sadie Howard never dates a guy more than once-but Fate has other plans for her when it comes to Aiden Downey, the one that got away. Aiden loved her, left her, and broke her heart. Yet suddenly she’s bumping into him at every turn, driven to distraction by his wicked grin and rock-hard body. Now she can’t resist finishing what they started-as long as she doesn’t let herself fall in love…

TWICE AS TEMPTING Aiden Downey threw away the best thing he ever had when he let Sadie go, and now he’s determined to win back the woman he’s always wanted. Sadie agrees to let him into her life-and her bed-as long as there are no strings attached. But Aiden’s not about to make the same mistake again. Can he convince her to take a second chance on a once-in-a-lifetime love?

Confessions of a Hostie: True Stories of an International Flight Attendant

I received this book from Monsoon Books in exchange for a review, and here it is!
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Published July 1st 2012/October 28th 2013 by Monsoon Books

MY REVIEW:

“Caffeine is not a drug – it’s a vitamin. Comedian Steven Wright makes a joke about how he first makes an instant coffee just so he has the energy to go ahead and make a regular one.”

Confessions of a Hostie is truly laugh out loud funny! Life of a flight attendant is more than serving coffee/tea at 35,000 feet – Danielle Hugh exposes the behind-the-scenes scandals, real-life anecdotes, and unfortunate mishaps of a cabin crew.

The novel starts with Danielle Hugh waking up in a hotel room, not knowing where in the world she was, and what time of the day it is, and while she figures this out, the hostie reaches for a bar of chocolate – then falls asleep halfway while eating it. By this time, I was nodding my head in full agreement!

“Shopping can feel so damn good – a much-deserved relief from jetlag and sleep deprivation issues.”

Indeed there is only so much sightseeing you can do…

“…even if it’s Paris, if you’re visiting the city for the fifteenth time, even the Eiffel Tower starts looking like a rusty old piece of scrap metal. The shops, however, look shiny and new.”

The book offers eye-opening anecdotes of flight attendants’ revenge on incorrigible flyers, scary tales of unglamorous off-site happenings, coupled with jumbled sleep-cycles and moodswings … you’d feel like you’ve been there and done that by the time you’ve laughed through the entire 200+pages. Basically, this has the job stripped bare right down to its itty bitty details, if you manage to get past the airheaded-ness on the surface of it all.

“…makeup and five cups of coffee are no disguise for the weariness that seeps through every pore of my body””

The author makes her point across. The job is not for the weak! Maybe I’m just a little biased. Great romp of a read.
The sequel will be out this end, or is it the beginning of next? Definitely hanging on to the news for this!

SYNOPSIS:
If you have ever wondered what it would be like to be a jet-setting hostie, or international flight attendant, then spending a little time in Danielle’s life is a captivating journey. You might be surprised and shocked to discover many of the truths behind the lifestyle as well as the incidences and behavior of passengers at 30,000 feet.
Danielle writes candidly, humorously and from the heart about life, love and her exploits around the world. From the slums of Mumbai to the glitz of New York there are as many highs and lows as take-offs and landings. Prepare for a turbulent ride of emotions and adventure, so place your seat upright, fasten your seatbelt and prepare for take-off. Danielle Hugh’s passion for flying dazzles in this frank and amusing account of jet-setting around the globe. With almost 20 years in a unique working world, her juicy tales are often as shocking as they are colourful.

Book Review: I Heart London

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Published June 7th 2012 by Harper

Book Number 5 brings Angela back in full circle. She is summoned home for her mom’s 60th birthday party to a weed-rolling dad, and an ex-fiance who still wishes to stick his tongue down her throat. Plus her mom convinced the family and friends to hold the Angela-Alex wedding in 6 days’ time – right in her own London backyard!

Jenny, her best-friend-since-running-from-a-ruined-wedding-to-New-York, heads the wedding convention like a fashion tyrant, taking charge of decorations, makeup, stag/hen night, music, wedding vows…
but when New York clique meets London pals, things start falling apart.

Louisa, Angela’s best-friend-since-childhood, is now a mom and she definitely has different wedding plans for Angela. Adding to the mix is Angela’s brass-band-trumpet-playing dad who insists on trumpeting horny love songs alongside the wedding march and a cake-maker who bakes one giant car-sized cupcake instead of dozens of small bite-sized ones…

Is every consummation of love destined to be a disaster for Angela?

Alex as usual, is the perfect sweetheart in this one. Occasionally there are mentions of his slutbag days in Brooklyn, which adds to the wedding tension, but never once did he fail to make Angela the most blessed girl in London.

Aside from the big wedding, Angela, Jenny and Cici Spencer’s twin Delia are about to launch a transatlantic fashion magazine. Angela is scheduled to make a powerpoint presentation to the UK Management of Spencer Media while Delia does the French version in Paris.

With Cici Spencer back for revenge, this could possibly spell disaster!

I promise, no more spoilers. I really loved the ending, and like many readers I hope this is the end of it! It’s too perfect, a London wedding or not. I can’t imagine reading another Angela Clark in possibly a I Heart Singapore with her arms full of babies…
Although if there were any followups to the I Heart series…I know I would read it anyway.

If I HEART was ever to be made a movie, (as seen in I Heart New York)I would cast:
ANGELA CLARK: Alicia Silverstone
as

ALEX REID (the rockstar): Nicholas Hoult
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JENNY LOPEZ (the best friend!): Cheryl Cole
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GRAHAM (gay drummer of The Stills – Alex’s band): Dan Stevens
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Craig (bassist, ladies’ man, playboy): Chace Crawford
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JAMES JACOB: Cam Gigandet
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LOUISA: Diane Kruger
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SADIE: Shannan Click
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Because I loved the series too much…
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SYNOPSIS
Home is where the heart is. Right? Angela Clark has fallen in love with America — and it’s starting to love her back. Throw one expired visa into the mix, and things quickly take a turn for the worse. She might love her life as a Brit in New York, but now she has no choice but to return to London. Not only does she leave behind her gorgeous boyfriend Alex — she must also face unfinished business back on home turf. There’s the ex-boyfriend — who she moved to New York to get away from. Then there’s her best friend, with her perfect new baby. And there’s her mum. Now, there’s another wedding in the offing — and everyone remembers how well the last one went …

Book Review: I Heart Vegas

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Published by Harper, 2011

Unemployed: check.
Deportation notice: check.
Next stop: Las Vegas!

Best friend Jenny treats Angela to a weekend at Vegas with her new room-mate, supermodel Sadie. Concurrently, Jenny’s ex-boyfriend Jeff, currently engaged, takes his posse on a stag night slash strip-club weekend to Vegas. Something smells fishy…or does it?

The chapel of love, Vegas, is where you take the quick leap of marriage, with le super hot rockstar boyfriend, in a bid to keep your American Visa. He doesn’t even need to know you’re about to be deported. What your boyfriend doesn’t know can’t hurt him, right?

Enter James Jacobs of I Heart Hollywood, fresh from a breakup and ready to rock Vegas with Angela. With her devil-may-care attitude, her wild adventures in Vegas is as funny as it gets.

The Strip proves to be unable to handle Angela-Sadie-Jenny trio and superstar James. Where then, does Alex come in? Her relationship enters a rocky stage after an argument. It appears Alex does not want to marry Angela. The idea of having kids and starting a family invokes too much of his ex-fiancé. Or rather, both their exes.

Is Angela about to leave New York and her new life for good?

There’s trouble in paradise. Does it get resolved?

Since I’m already on I Heart London, all I can say is…Viva Las Vegas!

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Fancy kicking off your heels and sinking into a couch with a light, fun read? I Heart Vegas, as does the rest of I Heart series, keeps me giggling in my seat and takes the edge a rough day. I’m drawn into Angela’s world, and more than anything, I’m extremely sad over my impending completion of the series. More sequels, please!

If I HEART was ever to be made a movie, (as seen in I Heart New York)I would cast:
ANGELA CLARK: Alicia Silverstone
as

ALEX REID (the rockstar): Nicholas Hoult
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JENNY LOPEZ (the best friend!): Cheryl Cole
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GRAHAM (gay drummer of The Stills – Alex’s band): Dan Stevens
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Craig (bassist, ladies’ man, playboy): Chace Crawford
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JAMES JACOB: Cam Gigandet
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SADIE: Shannan Click
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SYNOPSIS:
Angela Clark loves her life in New York. She loves her job, her friends and her gorgeous musician boyfriend, Alex, who is finally ready to move in with her and start planning their future together. Everything is perfect.

But, after Angela loses her job, her world starts to crumble around her – her visa is revoked and she’s given the disastrous news that she must leave New York and her life behind and go back to London.

Confused, heartbroken and desperate to stay, the last thing Angela needs is a girls’ trip to Vegas just before Christmas – especially when Manhattan at Christmas is so perfect that she never wants to go home…

Book Review: I Heart Paris

12980295Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Date Published: January 1st 2010
My Ratings: 7 / 10

Yes I truly heart Paris!

With all due bias, this is my favorite in the series. Set in my dream city to live in someday, the third installation captures the mystery and allure of Paris.

The Alex/Angela relationship takes a nosedive into an all-time low as the duo make their way to the city of love. Here, not one but three jealous women attempt to backstab Angela via an array of unscrupulous means. With her blog and career in jeopardy, she’s got everything to lose, including her work visa at New York. Alex’s relationship commitment also apparently slackens as he comes face-to-face with his French ex, Solène.

Honestly I’m not entirely taken by Paris, because the Angela/Alex/Solène/Virginie/Cici drama took all the attention away. There were no loving afternoon coffees by the sidewalks whilst gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes. The people she thought she could trust (aka her lovely assistant Virginie) are not who they seem to be.

In terms of perusing Paris’s hot destinations, Angela was zipping through downtown hipster crowds where Alex’s band was doing gigs rather than big names like the Pont Neuf, taking away the allure of a textbook Parisian retreat.

Lindsey Kelk wrote as if she were a true Parisian, taking us on a tour of trendy local spots and chill-out spaces. I found myself enjoying the lesser-known parts of Paris which one would not be able to find out about from popular guidebooks. The spirit and joie de vivre of Paris comes alive in bits and pieces gleamed from Angela’s (mis)adventures.

Eventually Angela straightens things out with her backstabbers. Her evil boss Mary seems to soften a whole lot more and claims she doesn’t want to lose a ‘good writer’ – a huge compliment in The Look’s history of employee flattery. Taking the leap, Angela moves in with Alex in the New York apartment. That said, I’m already moving on to I Heart Vegas, next in the series of Angela’s quests and explorations.

If I HEART was ever to be made a movie, (as seen in I Heart New York)I would cast:
ANGELA CLARK: Alicia Silverstone
as

ALEX REID (the rockstar): Nicholas Hoult
Nicholas-Hoult001

JENNY LOPEZ (the best friend!): Cheryl Cole
Cheryl-Cole-HD-Wallpaper-1024x768

GRAHAM (gay bassist of The Stills – Alex’s band): Dan Stevens
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Craig (drummer, ladies’ man, playboy): Chace Crawford
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SYNOPSIS:
Angela is in the city of love — but romance is taking a nose-dive! When Angela Clark’s boyfriend Alex suggests a trip to Paris at the same time as hip fashion mag Belle asks her to write a piece, she jumps at the chance. But even as she’s falling for the joie de vivre of Paris, someone’s conspiring to sabotage her big break. And when she spots Alex having a tete-a-tete with his ex in a local bar, Angela’s dreams of Parisian passion all start crashing down around her. With London and her old life only a train journey away, Angela can’t decide if should stay and face the music or run away home!

One more for the road 🙂 (taken in Dubai’s Movenpick Hotel Deira)
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Book Review: Happily Ever After

“Everyone’s allowed to be in love with the wrong person at some point. In fact, it’s a mistake not to be.”
― Harriet EvansHappily Ever After

Much like hot chocolate on a rainy Sunday afternoon — which is what the coverpage conjures as an afterthought — was exactly how the book felt in my hands. This is my first Harriet Evans novel, snatched up on a whim, and as I read it from cover to cover it gave me a couple of laughs and a few sighs, as I am  taken on a ten-year roller coaster ride that constituted Eleanor Bee’s dramatic life. Very much delighted by the wit displayed by Evans’ mouthpiece (Eleanor Bee) in times of turmoil and change, though bits of the novel did infuriate me where sexual morals were concerned, but hey this is a very intimate, very discerning piece of chick-lit that gave very real insights to the modern world.

Eleanor Bee definitely isn’t the uptight middle-class Londoner where personal problems were concerned, and that made me love her more. Who wouldn’t love a semi-psychotic, seasonal alcoholic, Big Apple convert?

Love how secrets of the lucrative and mysterious publishing world were exposed in bite-sized juicy bits, which left me wanting to know more about the actual publishing society.
Thank you, Harriet Evans, for this romp of a read!

hea

Publisher: Gallery Books
Release: June 5th, 2012
Genre: Chick-Lit, Fiction, Love, Romance, Change
My Rating: 7.5 / 10
Recommended for: Chick-lit lovers, summer reads, weekend reads, beach reads

If Happily Ever After was ever to be made a movie, I would cast:

ELLE BEE: Kristin Cavalleri
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RORY (the boss): Mark Wahlberg
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TOM: Mark Salling
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in itty-bitty pleasures we revel

Couple of days ago I revived the much-missed feel of carrying dead-weight heavy books in my arms…
by hitting the public library!
Which, sadly I have avoided since, 4 years ago, I found actual shit between pages of Nora Roberts.
By then I’ve forced myself to accept the fact that people do bring public books
into places where they do their private businesses.
So please, anyone who’s reading this, do not smear public books with your booger, poo,
pasta cream sauce, or stuff you wouldn’t want to see in close proximity while enjoying your favourite novel.
Thank you.

My take-home reads:
Hester’s Story by Adèle Geras
Citadel by Kate Mosse
The Suitors by Cécile David-Weill
Happily Ever After by Harriet Evans
Blindspot by Jane Kamensky & Jill Lepore

Reveling in the freedom to read everything I’ve ever wanted to
given the time I have between flights, in the hotel, or in cafès with my latte.
Life’s good.

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bright sunshine on a cold day

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“As the years pass,
I am coming more and more to understand that it is the
common, everyday blessings of our
common everyday lives
for which we should be particularly grateful.

They are the things that fill our lives with comfort
and our hearts with gladness —
just the pure air to breathe and the strength to breath it;
just warmth and shelter and home folks;
just plain food that gives us strength;
the bright sunshine on a cold day;
and a cool breeze when the day is warm.”
― Laura Ingalls Wilder,
Writings to Young Women from Laura Ingalls Wilder – Volume One: On Wisdom and Virtues