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Yang Safia On Saturday, December 28, 2013

Synopsis (taken from

One moment can change your life forever...

For Violet Lee, a chance encounter on a darkened street draws her into a world beyond her wildest imaginings, a timeless place of vast elegance and immeasurable wealth – of beautiful mansions and lavish parties – where a decadent group of friends live for pleasure alone. A place from which there is no matter how hard Violet tries.

Yet all the riches in the world can’t mask the darkness that lies beneath the gilded surface, embodied in the charismatic but dangerous Kaspar Varn.

Violet and Kaspar surrender to a passion that transcends their separate worlds – but it’s a passion that comes at a price...


Right off the bat I just want to say that this is NOT the sexiest romance of the year. It was neither sexy nor romantic so don't expect much from this book in terms of that criteria. Although I must say that this book is quite alluring. I can't put a finger on what but there is something about it that kept me reading till the end. 

The beginning of the plot is average, Gibbs takes us straight into the action and the plot picks up quite quickly. I felt quite "MEH" at the start and was tempted to put the book down but by the sheer will that I mustered just so I could know why this is dubbed as the sexiest romance, I was quite surprised. I was surprised that I could not predict where the story is taking me. Everything was quite vague and I admit I enjoyed it. Obviously I was hoping that everything will tie in by the end of the book but instead was left dry (yes, it's one of those books). While I enjoyed the experience of a somewhat vague plot, Gibbs fails to deliver a cohesive storyline. She creates so much build up that the climax is anti-climatic, because the important details tend to trickle down at what I would deem "filler scenes". So that totally ruins the whole anticipation for the big reveal/conclusion. I feel that the book is not sectioned well because it seems that Gibbs spends so much time elaborating a particular scene that the reader would naturally assume it would be important only to find out it is quite irrelevant when he/she reaches the end. Which brings me to find that the ending is rushed and flat. There were still many questions left unanswered but seeing that this could be a series/trilogy, maybe I'll have my answers. To say whether Gibbs will be able to sustain a series/trilogy is doubtful because for a series début, it is not very strong. 

Now onto the sexy romance that this book claims to have...WHAT A DISAPPOINTMENT! As individual characters, Kaspar is your archetypal bad boy turned good. Always a crowd pleaser so no problems there. Violet would get you thinking that she's weak at first but there are lines or thoughts that pop up from her that will make you go, "Oh yeah, YOU GO GIRL!" So in a sense, they are alright characters but their relationship with each other is so....weird. Again this goes back to the imbalanced plot structure which greatly affects the progression of their relationship. I don't want to sound cynical but maybe the reason why this is promoted as the "Sexiest Romance of the Year" because coitus happened. Big WHOOP! I understand this book is targeted for Young Adult so to have a sex scene thrown in the mix can be considered risqué for this genre but honestly, I've read far sexier YA books and they don't even have sex in them. The romance is super bland and a complete waste of time.

While it may sound that I've been criticising this book non-stop, there is something unexplainable that made me stick to the end. It could be that I was only fascinated by the unpredictability of this book or the darkness to Gibb's vampire world that is fascinating and weirdly alluring. Will I buy the second book? A BIG YES! I'm still willing to give it a shot and I really want to know more about the other worlds that are briefly mentioned in TDH. I get a sense that the next book won't be told in Violet's POV anymore so that will be...bad but we will see. 

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5
Obsession Rating: 4 out of 5

Yang Safia On Sunday, December 22, 2013
It was a huge blur. The past two months was a huge GREAT blur. I went through a myriad of emotions and growing processes just to achieve the level where Teach For Malaysia wanted me to be before the start of the new school year. Remember when I was ranting how I did not fit in in the last post? Well I don't need to fit in. I just needed to be myself and do what I got to do to work alongside these brilliant individuals. Boy were these people brilliant. In fact to put it in a greater sense of the word, these people are inspirational. I can't be more blessed to work with great people like them.

The second half of the Institute comprised of teaching kids at a school holiday program organized by TFM called Kem Skorlah. Each candidate was paired with a collab and mine came in the form of a great being called Sharon Soh. It was real crafty how TFM paired each collab pair because APPARENTLY they matched us based on our personalities. The Training and Selection team observed and analysed us during sessions and went from there. I'm not saying that all collab pairs worked great together because it was supposed to challenge us. They purposely paired us with people of a different gender/cultural background/religion so that we'll learn how to deal with diversity in the workplace really. I was really lucky because Sharon and I just got along SWIMMINGLY. 

I mean look (!), I made her stop working so I can take "cool" pictures of her.

Exhibit A:

Not only we were busy attending lectures during the day, we had to work hard to prepare for the classes we were about to teach at Kem Skorlah. That included a lot of lesson planning, setting classroom culture and preparing materials. 

So this is a brief of how crazy our schedule was:

5.30 AM - Wake Up
6.30 AM - Get on the bus to school
7.00 AM - 12.30 PM - School Time
1.00 PM - 2.30 PM - Reach Selesa & FLEX Time
2.30 PM - 6.00 PM - Lectures
6.00 PM - 7.00 PM - Dinner
8.00 PM - 12.00 AM - Meetings+Lesson Planning+Marking Papers

Repeat that 5 days a week and y'all know why I have lost me some weight.

There was running joke among us that we were so busy that we didn't have time to sit on the can. That's why most of us are constipated and had to resort to medications. I know I did. (TMI?)

At one point during Institute it was so crazy that I was running under autopilot it seemed. All I did was THINK, DO and REFLECT. I had to think and plan my actions, execute them and reflect on them by the end of the day with my collab/IS Group/IS. Repeat that process for a month and VOILA! That's the life of a TFM Candidate for you. Would I recommend you to join TFM? ABSOLUTELY! Can everyone join? NO!

It's tough I tell you. You need the right mindset for it. If you're interested, drop me a message!

So from here on out, it's just pictures of my experience with my kids at United Nations of Ketari (UNK). We decided on the concept because we believe that it is important for our kids to become global citizens. To celebrate diversity and have respect for different point of views. We also want our kids to be socially aware about the issues around them so hence UNK!

Then the night before the last day of Kem Skorlah, Teach For Malaysia organized a closing dinner for all of us where it became official. We all became Teach For Malaysia Fellows that night and wow it felt..RIGHT. For me at least. I never considered myself truly a Fellow because never know. I might change my mind but...I didn't. I made it. So that night I was pretty much high on excitement over becoming a Fellow.

 My Badass IS Group

My Super Awesome Housemates!

This concludes my update on what I've been up to for the past two months. I'll be starting my job at my new school in less than 2 weeks. Am I nervous? The reality hasn't hit me just yet but I think I should be fine with all the support I know I'll be receiving. I know the blog hasn't been receiving much love lately and to be honest, I can't promise I'll be consistent with this over the next two years. Just to let you know that I'm really active on Instagram so do follow me! :D    IG: @yangsafia

Yang Safia On Sunday, November 3, 2013
I'm not saying that I didn't have a proper life before but it has come to my attention that my real life truly NEEDED my full attention. For some of you who don't know me personally, I just started my job. This is an actual job because this is what I will be doing for the next two years. In fact let me just get it out there that this job will be ALL I talk about for the next two years. Just a fair warning to you.

I'm currently working with a not-for-profit organization called Teach For Malaysia in order to end education inequity in Malaysia. Essentially I will become a teacher and teach at a low-performing school in Malaysia. Where you ask? I still don't know but whatever it is, it will involve me moving out somewhere. And before you think, "Pfssshhh what job? You're just a volunteer." No. Just no. This is a legit job because I'm paid okay. So none of that nonsense of me not having a real job.

Clearly I've been struggling with this throughout the year. It's the nosy relatives I tell you. =_=

So onto an actual update: Currently I'm based in Bentong, Pahang for a teacher training course with Teach For Malaysia. I just completed two weeks worth of training and I have another 6 weeks to go. Honestly it was really nerve-wrecking for me because I am always worried about meeting new people. I kid you not, I felt like this for the first two days at Institute. (FYI: We call the training course Institute.)

And to be honest, I still feel like that after two weeks. Although I have to admit the people are so nice. Maybe their nice-ness makes me feel awkward. Maybe I'm just waiting for someone to reveal their true selves. Or maybe I haven't been revealing my true self.

Training-wise, you can't ask for a more dedicated bunch. So far working with them has been a breeze. Throughout the training there were moments where you want to bawl your eyes out by the sheer incredulity of the challenges these kids go through and there were times where you just want to stop everything that you do and express gratitude to God.

On a different note, Fridays usually meant me driving back to Shah Alam. I would spend my weekends catching up with the loved ones and sleep. Although...I have been noticing that they are new books that I MUST HAVE.

Alas...I have no time and money to own these lovelies.

And here I'll awkwardly end the post. =___=

Yang Safia On Friday, October 4, 2013
There are two reasons why I wanted to visit London. Wait...make that three. First off, Shira is there. Second I wanted to see what life would be like in London. I wanted to see whether I could actually live there and see my university of course. Third would be...the shopping.

I feel there are four reasons there but who's counting eh?

Considering that I really wanted to see how life is like here. I skipped most of the tourist attractions and went about with what I wanted to see.

Outside Shira's apartment in Stratford where you can see Westfield, the mall that has EVERYTHING!

My daily haunt. But I can do without the people. 

I had almost a week of exploring London but I had two problems. I was about to become sick and cash was running real low. So the first thing in my to-do list was to catch a play. I spent a whole day at Holborn, just discovering its nooks and crannies. Two days later though, I found out that is where my campus will be! 

This is the high court I think. I'm sure all Law students just go here to um, practice and stuff. God I'm such a bad travel reporter.

Holborn turns out to be a theatre district with playhouses lined the streets wherever you go.

I decided to watch Mamma Mia. It was alright.

The show started at 3 so I had hours to kill. I decided my to make my cafe rounds and this was my first choice. Reason I chose it? The name sounded pretty.

Coffee Review: (First off, I need to let you guys know that I take my mocha without sugar.)
The mocha is bland and I didn't taste the coffee. A style I noticed here is that they put a chocolate bar to melt in the mocha which is interesting but in this case, the chocolate proved to be overpowering the coffee taste. It can almost be hot chocolate rather than what I ordered.

I wandered some more and somehow reached Convent Garden. It was the weekend and I was lucky enough to catch the market! Assuming that the market only happens during the weekends. =_=

This Opera singer is amazing! She gave me goosebumps!

I didn't go in here because a) too many people and b) I just had coffee.

This lady wasn't any good as whatever she was doing but I'm glad that she seemed happy to do what she did.

I've never seen funeral homes before but this one is pretty!

My crayfish sandwich for lunch!

We can't take pictures inside the theatre but I managed to sneak one before the show started.

Fast forward to about 2 days later, I was on my way back from Westfield when I saw some Bollywood (?) film being filmed. It was really funny because this actor down here was acting out a scene with two British "cops". 

I'm pretty sure he's playing some god who entered the human world and got confused. There was a crowd forming around the filming area and that's my conclusion to the whole experience? I sound very unsure in this post. Hish...

The next day, I found myself making a quick stop at Holborn to look for this cafe that I MUST drop by (according to TimeOut) and King's College. 

Salt is actually on the list of recommended cafes in Time Out so I went out on a hunt for it. It was quite difficult to locate due to it being under renovation at the time. 

Time Out actually mentioned which cafes that have the friendlist baristas and true enough, Salt has one of them. The guy above proved to have the passion for coffee and it is actually his lifelong dream to be a professional barista. I found it hard to believe that Australia and NZ offer the best coffees in the world but he went on to say that it is actually true! I didn't realize that I was so spoiled for the past 3 years!

The mocha has a strong taste of dark chocolate. It's not very smooth because the overpowering taste of chocolate kind of sticks to your tongue. I definitely had to wash it down with a glass of water afterwards.

For some this may come off as slightly controversial but I accidentally came upon a free exhibition on Freemasons. I felt like I had nothing to lose and I was kind of intrigued so I went for it.

My excited but slightly creeped out face.

I can't take pictures once I started on the exhibition so that's all I have on Freemasons. =_=

Then I went to check out King's College of London's Strand Campus which happened to be nearby!

The Strand Campus is quite small but right next to it is this place called Somerset House, I think. I'm guessing this is where film festivals take place. 

After spending half the day at Holborn, I hopped on the tube to go Oxford Circus. Aside from satisfying my cravings to shop on Oxford St, I was on a mission to hit up one last cafe. Kaffeine is locate on Great Titchfield St. It was quite confusing to find it because it's quite ways away from the bustling tourist area but I'm glad I finally found it!

I was told that the place is usually packed and it didn't help that I came at lunchtime. Thankfully I got meself a nice place

My lunch: Sautéed Aubergine with goat cheese sandwich! Yummerssssssss! 

Then I hit up Oxford St. Love all the shops but I can't stand the crowds! D:

Urban Outfitters sells the weirdest and quirkiest books. I managed to snap up some cheeky books for the camera! Hehe.

Mothership. *drools*

On my last full day in London, I decided to pay a visit to The Globe Theatre! So, so excited!

It was actually located near London's business district. It was quite...intimidating really. So fancy.


Made my way back to Stratford and paid a last visit to Westfield. Stopped by their Urban Outfitters and peruse over its quirky books again.

Then I went back home and chilled out with Shira. Gotta maximize the quality time spent with this buddy before I leave for Malaysia. Pictures below are taken at Heathrow Airport before I catch my flight back. By the end of this trip, I was left with 50 cents and as a goodbye gift (?), Shira belanja me for some Nero nummies.

That's a wrap! This wraps up my overseas adventure for 2013! Now I'm saving up my trip next year. Where should I go next? I'm thinking Asia. #globetrotter