Blog Tour: Interview with Sweta Srivastava Vikram

Hello all! I hope you’re having a lovely day. Today please welcome Sweta Srivastava Vikram to the blog as she speaks about her poetry collection, Wet Silence. 

Was there an initial inspiration behind Wet Silence?

I would say there were several inspirations accumulated over the years that inspired “Wet Silence:” Hindu widows whom I knew personally and interacted with; Hindu widows whose stories were shared with me by their friends and family; and, the fear that only one/limited story was being shared about Hindu widows.

What did you find most challenging about compiling this collection?

“Wet Silence” covers widowhood in a groundbreaking way where it traverses through the path of womanhood, desires, and sexuality. As a woman of Indian origin, who doesn’t write erotic or sensual prose and poetry, I felt self-conscious quite often.

Have you been influenced by any particular writer/poet’s style?

Pabulo Neruda’s lyricism stops my heart every single time.

Why did you decide to focus on the treatment of widows in India?

It wasn’t a deliberate choice. I write the stories that need to be told (from my humble point of view) and often times the stories pick me. Yes, the ill treatment of many Hindu widows and their place in society has bothered me for as long as I can remember. And, though a lot has been written about Hindu widows in India, I haven’t seen much about the path I have chosen for this book.

If you could meet any fictional character, who would you pick? 

Mr. Darcy from Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. I have been loyal to my literary crush, Mr. Darcy, forever :)

What is the last book/collection you read?

I am reading two books on healthy living off late: “Clean” and “Ayurveda: The Science of Self-Healing.” But the book I last read and the one that kept me awake at nights and inspired me to make more changes in and with my life was Cheryl Strayed’s Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Author Bio:
Sweta Srivastava Vikram (, featured by Asian Fusion as “One of the most influential Asians of our time,” is an award-winning writer, three times Pushcart Prize nominee, Amazon bestselling author of 10 books, novelist, poet, essayist, and columnist. Sweta is also a certified yoga teacher who shares the love and power of yoga with trauma survivors. A graduate of Columbia University, when Sweta is not doing yoga, cooking, traveling, writing books, or posts for magazines, teaching creative writing, or giving talks on gender equality, she works as a digital and content marketing consultant.
Sweta lives in New York City with her husband and can be found on Twitter [@swetavikram] and Facebook (

Blog Tour: Wet Silence: Poems about Hindu Widows

Wet Silence: Poems about Hindu Widows

author : sweta srivastava vikram

pages : [paperback] 52

summary :

Wet Silence bears moving accounts of Hindu widows in India. The book raises concern about the treatment of widowed women by society; lends their stories a voice; shares their unheard tales about marriage; reveals the heavy hand of patriarchy; and, addresses the lack of companionship and sensuality in their lives. This collection of poems covers a myriad of social evils such as misogyny, infidelity, gender inequality, and celibacy amongst other things. The poems in the collection are bold, unapologetic, and visceral. The collection will haunt you.

review :

I love reading poetry. I used to think it was a chore but after a few classes and really learning how to read and appreciate the form, I’ve been on the lookout for interesting collections to read. This one caught my eye and I’m so glad that I joined the blog tour for Wet Silence because it’s unlike anything else I’ve ever read.

The sheer difference from one poem to the next, although the theme of widowhood ties together each piece, is startling. So many women can live through the same experience to the effect of endless different emotions–happiness, terror, sadness, relief. Everything that I, coming from the perspective of a white American, might associate with the loss of a husband and more. These ladies are exceptionally powerful, whether she’s lost the love of her life or gained freedom from a failed arranged marriage.

The length and breadth of the poems change, though the theme remains steadfast throughout. I loved how there was a little index in the back giving details about words and phrases that are common in India that readers might not know. It makes it that much easier for the average person to engage with the poetry, at least at some level.

Because of this, as well as the accessibility of the messages ingrained in the writing, I really hope people pick up this collection. It could be a great starting point, either to delve deeper into the world of poetry or to learn more about Indian culture.

4/5 stars

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The Falconer by Elizabeth May

The Falconer

The Falconer #1

author : elizabeth may

pages : [hardcover] 378

memorable quote “You know my mother thinks the waltz is indecent.”

“Your mother would find the sight of a chair leg indecent.”

favorite character : derrick

summary :

One girl’s nightmare is this girl’s faery tale

She’s a stunner.
Edinburgh, 1844. Eighteen-year-old Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, has everything a girl could dream of: brains, charm, wealth, a title—and drop-dead beauty.

She’s a liar.
But Aileana only looks the part of an aristocratic young lady. she’s leading a double life: She has a rare ability to sense the sìthíchean—the faery race obsessed with slaughtering humans—and, with the aid of a mysterious mentor, has spent the year since her mother died learning how to kill them.

She’s a murderer.
Now Aileana is dedicated to slaying the fae before they take innocent lives. With her knack for inventing ingenious tools and weapons—from flying machines to detonators to lightning pistols—ruthless Aileana has one goal: Destroy the faery who destroyed her mother.

She’s a Falconer.
The last in a line of female warriors born with a gift for hunting and killing the fae, Aileana is the sole hope of preventing a powerful faery population from massacring all of humanity. Suddenly, her quest is a lot more complicated. She still longs to avenge her mother’s murder—but she’ll have to save the world first.

The first volume of a trilogy from an exciting new voice in young adult fantasy, this electrifying thriller combines romance and action, steampunk technology and Scottish lore in a deliciously addictive read.

review :

This book was so interesting and a take on fairies that I’ve never seen before!

Aileana is a Falconer, though she doesn’t know this until about halfway through the book so it’s a little surprising that’s revealed in the synopsis. And there are parts of the job that haven’t exactly happened to her yet so I’m assuming they’ll occur in the second book, hopefully, because it sounds like they’ll be pretty awesome if these events do happen.

Anyway, it’s her job to kill as many fairies as possible because they love to kill and torture humans–for the most part. Her mentor is an exceptionally attractive and dangerous fairy. She even has a little pixie living in her closet who helps to mend her clothes in exchange for honey–and is such a good friend to her that I couldn’t help but love him. Despite evidence that fairies technically could be nice, every other one is presented as lethal and Aileana can sense when they’re nearby so she can kill them.

And she’s really good at it, despite the fact that it’s ruining her reputation. It was painful to see how society’s view of her went down every time she needed to make her excuses to go off and save lives. No one would understand what she’s doing, of course, and the era in which it was sent was so restrictive on how women should behave that there’s no way Aileana could have preserved her reputation as well as kept the city safe.

I love how the action fit in with the time period–attacks at a ball, illicit rendezvous after dark, courting someone so you’ll seem less suspicious running around killing fairies. It was so fun to read on and see what was going to happen next because I honestly couldn’t predict where this book was going. And that cliffhanger? Totally and completely unfair!

I can’t wait to read book two when it eventually comes out!

4/5 stars

The Shadow of Seth by Tom Llewellyn


The Shadow of Seth 

author : tom llewellyn

pages : [paperback] 174

summary :

Sixteen-year-old Seth Anomundy is a product of his environment: in this case, Tacoma, Washington. What L.A. was to Chandler, Tacoma―a working-class port city now undergoing urban renewal―is to author Tom Llewellyn. Seth has grown up in Tacoma’s tough neighborhoods, where he’s perfectly at home in Choo-Choo’s boxing gym and Miss Irene’s soul food palace, the Shotgun Shack. With his mom working nights as a cleaner, Seth goes to high school, gets decent grades, and makes money where he can: filling in as cook at the Shotgun Shack, working as a sparring partner, and running errands for Nadel, the clock repairman. Life is hand-to-mouth, but okay―until he gets the news that his mother has been killed. The police don’t care about the death of just another drug addict, so a bewildered Seth takes it upon himself to find the killer. On a clock delivery run, he meets a beautiful rich girl named Azura Lear, who encourages Seth and tries to help track down the killer. But instead of finding answers, Seth finds only trouble. He faces down a gang of baseball-bat-wielding high school jocks and deals with the contempt of Azura’s suspicious father. And then there’s King George―a teenage thug Seth has previously managed to avoid―who has for some reason let it be known that he wants Seth dead. Right now.

review :

I’m not much of a reader of mysteries but do love YA novels and think that there should definitely be more of a mixture with those genres. Unfortunately, The Shadow of Seth didn’t quite hit a homerun for me.

Seth has led a rough life. Growing up on the poor side of town, he hasn’t always had what he’s needed much less wanted. But he’s always had his mom there, looking after him, and Miss Irene as a second mother. Good people who want the best for him. That all changes when one night his mother is found dead and the police aren’t interested in investigating what seems like an accident or even suicide. Seth knows that something is wrong and takes it upon himself to investigate.

The characters in this book were interesting, diverse, but somehow fell flat for me. I wanted to feel emotional alongside Seth when he realized that he’s lost his mother, but I just couldn’t connect with him. Azura Lear, love interest, was just . . . infuriating. Nothing she did ever made sense–like traveling to the bad side of town to let herself into the apartment of a guy who only stopped by her house on a job he had to do. Basically, stalking Seth to his home, and then not giving a second thought to the danger she was putting herself in by walking around alone with all of her privileged belongings. It made no sense and she contributed nothing to the plot aside from giving Seth someone to pine after.

The mystery was kind of flat, too. There weren’t many twists and turns; it wasn’t hard to figure out. It seems like there are going to be more of these mysteries, so I’m curious to see if maybe this case wasn’t as clean-cut as suspected (though there wasn’t a hint in the ending that that could be so) or if Seth is going to find more cases the police aren’t interested in to solve himself. Whatever the case, I think I’m going to end up skipping those books.

2/5 stars

Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens

Faking Normal

author : courtney c. stevens

pages :[hardcover] 336

memorable quote Right now we’re both yard sales of emotions.

favorite character : bodee

summary :

An edgy, realistic, and utterly captivating novel from an exciting new voice in teen fiction.

Alexi Littrell hasn’t told anyone what happened to her over the summer. Ashamed and embarrassed, she hides in her closet and compulsively scratches the back of her neck, trying to make the outside hurt more than the inside does.

When Bodee Lennox, the quiet and awkward boy next door, comes to live with the Littrells, Alexi discovers an unlikely friend in “the Kool-Aid Kid,” who has secrets of his own. As they lean on each other for support, Alexi gives him the strength to deal with his past, and Bodee helps her find the courage to finally face the truth.

A searing, poignant book, Faking Normal is the extraordinary debut novel from an exciting new author-Courtney C. Stevens.

review :

This book was much more intense and heart-wrenching than I’d ever anticipated it being.

I had the pleasure of meeting the author in the week that Faking Normal was released. Hearing her talk made me eager to read this for myself so I purchased a copy, had it signed . . and then forgot about it. I know–please, berate me about it, because I should have read this one ages ago. It’s one of the best I’ve read so far this year.

Faking Normal has great characters, a moving message, and a plot that will leave you laughing and crying. Bodee was such a sweet character, though at times he was so gentle when he needed his own help that he had me crying for him, too. Alexi has been through too much and works to keep her secrets away from everyone, especially the people she’s close to, though this is pushing her away from friends and family and she’s likely to implode from the coping mechanisms she’s come up with to keep herself safe.

Although abuse is terrible in ANY situation, I love how it was handled in this book. Characters might take a very long time to come to terms with what happened to them, yet it’s never implied that they should have done something sooner or that any of it could have been prevented by them. Faking Normal blames the abusers–and points out that sometimes, those closest to you could need help and be harmed by even the nicest of people.

Even though this is such an emotional read, I know that I’m going to go back to it again someday as well as pick up whatever Courtney writes next. The writing, the characters, they were all so beautiful and vivid. I could imagine it happening in my school, in my town, and that made it all too real. Because anyone could be faking normal.

5/5 stars

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

The Rest of Us Just Live Here

author : patrick ness

pages : [hardcover] 352

memorable quote I hope you get to choose your family and I hope it means as much to you as mine does to me.

favorite character : jared

summary :

What if you aren’t the Chosen One?

The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshiped by mountain lions.

Award-winning writer Patrick Ness’s bold and irreverent novel powerfully reminds us that there are many different types of remarkable.

review :

I love, love, love everything Patrick Ness writes and The Rest of Us Just Live Here is one of my new favorite books.

Ness takes a concept that I’ve vaguely thought about but never truly considered until this novel–what if you aren’t the chosen one, but one of the extras in the background? Not the person destined to save the world but the one who might get into a car accident because someone else is realizing their destiny. There are all of these people out there who just want normalcy in their lives while others are battling for the fate of the world. This book was so well-written on top of the fun concept and I know I’ll be reading it over and over again.

Ness’ characters are awesome. My favorite had to be Jared. Not just because he was born to be a cat-whisperer. He was so kind to all of his friends–tough when he needed to be, but it was always with their best interests in mind. I loved reading about him and wanted the best for him because he definitely deserved to be happy!

Main character Mickey leads a complicated life even if he is just a normal guy. He suffers from OCD and sometimes gets caught in loops he just can’t break himself out of. The idea of it, to me, is completely terrifying. He always knows that he should stop and yet isn’t able to force himself to do so. That loss of control eats away at him and helps to shape the rest of his personality. Not only is he not the savior, he also feels like he’s the least wanted in his friend group. While that’s rough, I also kind of liked that Mickey had to deal with that because I know it’ll be so relatable. Everyone, at some point, doubts the people surrounding them. Mickey more than most. I think he’ll be able to help readers who are lonely and unsure about themselves.

I’m going to recommend this book to everyone. Not only were the characters amazing, the plot was so interesting. It was fun to piece together Mickey’s story and then, layered beneath that, the overall danger posed to the world as someone’s ‘chosen one’ prophecy is being fulfilled. The chapter titles are particularly funny because they each describe what’s happening to these people involved with a prophecy, all while Mickey’s living out his life as best he can.

If you haven’t thought of reading this book yet–you HAVE to. I’m sure this will be one of my all-time favorites.

5/5 stars