Friday, 31 January 2014

Don't Bully Yourself.

Hello, everyone.


This world we live in... it's a funny one. We are so many people, living our separate lives, thinking different thoughts, fighting the demons around us.
But sometimes those demons are within us. And sometimes, even though we know they exist, we do not fight back. We don't even try to save ourselves.

Why?

I'll be honest. I have demons of my own. I hardly ever take my own advice. I'm never satisfied with my work, or my writing, or my abilities. I curse myself at every point.
And I don't even know why.

There's a fine line between motivating yourself and bullying yourself. Motivation is positive. You tell yourself that you're doing great, but there's always room for improvement. You remind yourself that success is only a few steps away, and you make a conscious effort to climb that ladder.
But bullying, as we all know, is negative. You push yourself to the ground, you tell yourself you're doing nothing right, you're living a dead end, that you'll never get anywhere in life because you suck.

We've all been there. We've all bullied ourselves. But now it's time we stop. It's time we use our fists and feet to kick those demons to the curb.


These demons feed on ignorance. Until you learn to live on your own terms, they're not going to go away. They'll use your own ignorance as a shield to block your punches.

In a reality like ours, we're taught to be materialistic. That you'll get nowhere without good grades, a pretty face, or a big fat paycheck. To some extent, it's true. Those things can give you a boost in life. But don't forget that a boost isn't always essential. You can still get ahead without one.

You might believe that no man would want an unattractive wife or that no woman would marry a poor guy. But would you really want someone to love you only because of your looks or your money? Would you be willing to hate yourself simply because you may not have those things?

Remember that there's no fixed definition of 'rich' or 'beautiful'. Some believe you're rich if you're a millionaire, or a billionaire, or if you have a fancy car. Others believe that it's the richness of the soul that counts. It's all relative!
Beauty, too, can be defined in many ways.
So it's not fair when you put yourself, or others, down simply because your definition is different from those around you.


You have to learn to accept that you cannot please everyone, but you can please yourself. You can't stop yourself from being hurt, but you can stop hurting yourself.
You can choose to define yourself however you want, and you should. Happiness does not come from an A grade or a billionaire status. It comes from fighting your inner demons, whether you're rich or poor, thin or fat, geeky or not. 

So make a promise to yourself, to start being a motivator and not a bully. To start living life instead of just surviving. To start looking for the right kind of company, instead of chasing after whoever's available.
If you agree to make that promise, so will I. :)


Let me know in the comments below: how do you plan to start your new life as a motivator? And if you're already one, how have you made yourself happy recently?

Until next time, Geeks!

Monday, 27 January 2014

What's in My Fab Bag! (January 2014)

How's it going, guys?

The first Fab Bags of 2014 are here!!!
 

I'm still not used to calling it a 'Fab Bag'. Somehow I still prefer the name 'Vellvette'!

Surprisingly, I'm one of the last ones to receive my bag this time, even though regular subscribers' bags are shipped early. I'm terribly disappointed with their shipping and dispatch service.
I even asked them about it on their Facebook page, but no response was forthcoming! :(

Anyway, let's see what's inside my bags! This time I received four products, plus some Twitter Party prizes.

Bag #1
Bag #2
The bag is a dark red colour this time, with the Fab Bag logo branded on the front of it. I really like this bag; it's quite classy and chic!
Here are the contents of each bag (4 products plus some prizes in each):

1) 'I Love...' Strawberry Face Mask (Bag #1 + Twitter Prize, 15 ml)


Ah, if there's one brand I love, it's this one. I'm always excited about face masks, so I'm glad I got three masks in my bag. However, I assumed I was going to get three different flavours as my prize, but I was given strawberry anyway.
This is a peel-off mask, so I'm guaranteed to have some fun with it. It claims to refresh and cleanse the skin as well as leave you with a tasty strawberry scent. Mmmm!


This product, I love!

2) Nyassa Body Butter (Alphonso, Bag #1; Almond, Bag #2; 50 g)


I can never have enough of body butter! The almond one smells amazing and claims to have anti-aging properties, but the mango one doesn't appeal to me very much. I'm not a fan of the fruit or the flavour.
And the almond body butter had leaked from its container. I hope Fab Bag works on its packaging from next time onwards.

These products, I like!

3) Naked Potion Lotion (Bags #1 and #2, 30 g)


This organic product, launched by model Lisa Haydon, is a face moisturiser that smells like happiness and beauty! Seriously, I love the scent of this lotion.
It's completely organic and natural; a 'beauty balm' for the winters. But the expiration date is June 2014, so that's a little upsetting.

This product, I like!

4) NYX Diamond Sparkling Lipstick (Sparkling Red, Bag #1, Full Size)


I'm not a lipstick kind of girl, especially not a sparkly one, but I do like the colour. NYX is a brand that I trust, but I don't know if I would like glitter on my lips.
Out of all the colours available, Fab Bag has given me the one that I'd prefer the most, so thank you for that.


This product, I'm neutral about. 

5) The Nature's Co. Spearmint Body Wash (Bag #2, 35 ml)


Spearmint gum in my mouth? Yum. But on my body? No, thank you.
Firstly, The Nature's Co. is a brand that I really don't like. I was sent their Lavender body lotion that I disliked, and I guess this one will follow the trend.
I'm all for nice fragrances, but this one doesn't even smell like nice gum. There's no chance I'm going to like this product.


This product, I dislike. 

6) Lord & Berry Seta Eye Shadow (Bag #2, 2.2 g)


I like Lord & Berry as a brand and I like eyeshadows in general. But this sandy colour is rather... dull. It's too yellow for me to use as a neutral shade and not ideal for the 'smoky eye' that it promises. It's paraben-free, but other than that, I don't see any redeeming qualities in this eyeshadow.

This product, meh. 

7) Twitter Prizes: 

As my twitter prize, I received three strawberry face masks, two Lord & Berry eyelines, a Palette Maquillage and an 'I Love...' Blueberry & Smoothie Shower Gel.
Sadly, I was promised a 250 ml shower gel, but I received only a travel-sized bottle. I've emailed Fab Bag about this mix-up, so let's hope they send me the right one soon.
The beautiful Palette I won!
This month's bags were neither too good nor too bad, but the incredibly long wait has made me upset. Even after taking so much of time, they still messed up my Twitter Party gift.

Also, this was the last month of my sister's subscription (Bag #2) and no renewal offers were sent alongside the bag. It's safe to say that from next month onwards, there will only be one bag for me to review.

The value of Bag #1 is Rs. 1,545 and the value of Bag #2 is 1,640. 

If you received your Vellvette/Fab Bags, let me know what products you received this month and what you thought of them!

Check out my previous Vellvette Bag reviews here.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

'What If...' Random Situations and How I'd Deal with Them!


Hello!

I haven't done a blog post for about a week now, and I was on the internet looking for ideas. I came across a 'random topic generator' that didn't really help me, because it was... well, too random.
Then I found another link on this website which offered 'random scenarios', of which some were really funny, or complex, or just downright weird.

So, today I'm going to list out some of the random scenarios that came up on my screen, and write down my response or reaction to each one of them. Here goes!

1) You've been ordered to kill someone you've fallen in love with. How did you get into this situation and what will you do next? 

Well, I'm off to a good start in this fictional world.
I'm naturally a very nosy person, so I must have shoved my way into somebody else's business and gotten into trouble. Maybe I was trying to solve a murder mysery or maybe I was a spy and I found out that the enemy was actually the person I loved.
Obviously, my first option would be to get out of this situation without killing anybody. But if that wouldn't work...
If this person was my one true love, I'd just shoot myself in the head instead. I couldn't murder my Marshall!


But if it was just some random guy... well, I don't know what I'd do. I wouldn't want him to die, but I wouldn't be willing to sacrifice myself, either.

2) You are going to be invisible for the next three hours. How would you make the most of this time? 
 
Invisible for the next three hours? I would try to be a superhero and save my fellow citizens. But then again, I'd be invisible, not super-strong. So I would search for criminals in my neighbourhood and call the police.

 

Or, if I was feeling particularly lazy, I would just walk around in my apartment and snoop on my neighbours. Hey, don't judge me; you know you would do the same!

3) How would you go about selling class-A drugs?

I wouldn't. Drugs are not healthy, people! If you or your loved ones are in danger of addiction, please seek help immediately. There are other ways to earn money and be happy.


4) Where would you like to go when you die? Describe your perfect afterlife. 
  
I open my eyes. At first the light is too bright, and I can't see where I am, but once I blink a few times, I realise that I am sprawled on the ground in front of a huge castle. It looks familiar, somehow...
"Are you alright?" a voice calls out. I turn in its direction to find a boy smiling at me. He is of average height, with wavy blonde hair and piercing blue eyes. In his hand he holds a loaf of bread. "Would you like some bread?" he asks me.
"Where am I?" I ask, once he helps me to my feet. 
"Hogwarts," he replies. "It will always be there to welcome you home, remember?"
I take in my surroundings. A vast lake is to my right. Shady trees and a cool breeze. Children, men and women sit in the shade of the trees and laugh. There are people drinking coffee and talking animatedly, some tattooed kids wearing only black, others making objects fly with thin wooden sticks. 
I turn to the boy and accept the bread that he offers me. 
"Why are all these people here?" I ask him. "Why are you here?"
"This is where all worlds collide. Straight down the road, you'll find Camp Half-Blood. Take a right, and you reach Panem. Farther than that, you'll find 221 B Baker Street."
"Am I dreaming?"
"No," he replies, grinning. "You're one of us now. Welcome to the fictional world, Swati."
"The... the fictional world? So that's really Hermione Granger over there, doing her homework? And that's Chandler Bing, joking around with his Friends? And... is that Barney Stinson hitting on Penny?"
The boy nods. Then he adds, "Try the bread, won't you?"
"The bread... so that must mean you're..."
"I'm Peeta Mellark," he replies. "A pleasure to meet you."



5) You have found an animal that looks like no other on earth. What do you do with it? 

Pokemon, gotta catch 'em all! :)
Okay, Pokeballs haven't been invented yet, so I would cautiously approach the animal (Pokemon) and befriend it, if possible. If it showed any signs of having fire/water/electric powers, I would search around its habitat to find more of its kind. Then I would gather enough proof and write a ground-breaking scientific thesis about the marvels of Pokemon and their abilities.
Then I would become a Pokemon trainer/champion/professor, be known as the 'Mother of all Pokemon' and live happily ever!
But if it turned out to be just an animal, I would contact scientists and let them know about the discovery of a new species. I'd still get some recognition... hopefully.


Well, that was fun! I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed writing it. Do try out this scenario generator and let me know what you would do in each situation!
Also, this website is great for anyone suffering from writer's block. There are many other generators, so I am definitely going to spend my free time clicking on that 'Generate' button!

Thanks for reading this post. See you next time! :)

Sunday, 19 January 2014

'Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock' by Matthew Quick: A Book Review

This is the season of book reviews, isn't it?


Hey, there! Today I'm going to be reviewing 'Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock' by Matthew Quick (who also wrote 'The Silver Linings Playbook').


The concept of the story really intrigued me, because I've never read or seen anything like this before. Of course I had to finish reading it in less than twenty four hours. And I wasn't bored for even a minute.
Here's the plot summary, courtesy of www.goodreads.com:

" 'In addition to the P-38, there are four gifts, one for each of my friends. I want to say good-bye to them properly. I want to give them each something to remember me by. To let them know I really cared about them and I'm sorry I couldn't be more than I was—that I couldn't stick around—and that what's going to happen today isn't their fault.'

Today is Leonard Peacock's birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather's P-38 pistol.

But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him: his Humphrey Bogart-obsessed next-door neighbor, Walt; his classmate Baback, a violin virtuoso; Lauren, the Christian homeschooler he has a crush on; and Herr Silverman, who teaches the high school's class on the Holocaust. Speaking to each in turn, Leonard slowly reveals his secrets as the hours tick by and the moment of truth approaches.

In this riveting book, acclaimed author Matthew Quick unflinchingly examines the impossible choices that must be made—and the light in us all that never goes out."


If that story doesn't pull you right in, then you are (as Leonard would say) an  über-moron.

 I wasn't expecting to empathise with Leonard because, let's face it, who can relate to an aspiring murderer? But I did; I know people just like him. Heck, I was once a lot like him! 

School isn't Leonard's cup of tea. Don't get me wrong - he is intelligent, of course, but not in the way you'd think. He doesn't have the best grades and he doesn't care. He doesn't believe in the system of education. He wants to think; he wants to be happy. He doesn't want to give the 'correct' answers to get into an Ivy League university. He wants to give a real answer. The only problem is that nobody accepts those answers. 

But my favourite character is definitely Herr Silverman, Leonard's Holocaust teacher. In some ways, he reminds me of Atticus Finch from 'To Kill a Mockingbird'. Mature, wise and open-minded, Herr Silverman does his best to make every student feel loved, to make every single person in his class think beyond those walls, but in vain. Yet he keeps on trying. 

Leonard doesn't understand why people work so hard in school, get into good colleges and then spend the rest of their lives working at a job they hate. Sometimes he skips school, wears a suit, and pretends to be one of these adults in the subway. He follows the saddest person to their workplace, just so he can be assured that even the unhappiest adult can find ways to brighten their day. He expects them to go to an amusement park, take a vacation, maybe enjoy the beauty of nature, but all they do is go to their workplace grumpily. 
But if he ever followed Herr Silverman, he would find a happy man who isn't afraid to live life by his own terms. Everyone should aspire to be like Herr Silverman. 

The dialogues were amazing. Most of them were just Leonard's thoughts, but thankfully he doesn't think like any typical teenager. Here are some of my favourites, the ones I can reread again and again and still have a lot to think about:

“The whole time I pretend I have mental telepathy. And with my mind only, I’ll say — or think? — to the target, 'Don’t do it. Don’t go to that job you hate. Do something you love today. Do anything! Because you start a revolution one decision at a time, with each breath you take. Show me it’s possible to be an adult and also be happy. Please. This is a free country. You don’t have to keep doing this if you don’t want to. You can do anything you want. Be anyone you want. That’s what they tell us at school, but if you keep getting on that train and going to the place you hate I’m going to start thinking the people at school are liars like the Nazis who told the Jews they were just being relocated to work factories. Don’t do that to us. Tell us the truth. If adulthood is working some death-camp job you hate for the rest of your life — if it doesn’t get any better, I need to know right now. Just tell me. Spare me from some awful fate. Please.” 

"Did you ever think about all of the nights you lived through and can't remember? The ones that were so mundane your brain just didn't bother to record them. Hundreds, maybe thousands of nights come and go without being preserved by our memory. Does that ever freak you out? Like maybe your mind recorded all of the wrong nights?”

“You're different. And I'm different too. Different is good. But different is hard. Believe me, I know.” 

 Another aspect of the novel I loved was the letters that Leonard writes to himself from the future. It really gave me hope for my own future, that someday I'll have a loving family of my own, that I'll live in London and write for a living... 
It was a wonderful way to show us that Leonard is just like any other person, full of dreams and aspirations.

There are some witty lines, a few instances of tongue-in-cheek humour, but this is mostly a very serious novel. It is capable of making you cry. Most probably, it will make you cry. 
But it will also teach you many things that you might have forgotten, and it will show you that good and bad aren't mutually exclusive.

I'm going to go with 4.5 stars out of 5 for 'Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock'. 

In my opinion, it's 'The Catcher in the Rye' of this generation.
This book is definitely going on my Re-read List. If ever I'm alone, or afraid, or miserable, I'll pick this book up and remind myself how special I actually am. 

Oh, a fair warning: there is excessive swearing and some explicit themes in this novel, so I'd only recommend this for ages 14 and up. Also, if you're the kind of person who thinks suicide is a way to grab attention or that depression isn't a real mental illness, then don't read this book, because this book isn't meant for über-morons. 

More book reviews coming up soon, I promise! See you later, geekie friends. :)

Thursday, 16 January 2014

'Pandemonium' and 'Requiem' (Delirium Trilogy, #2 and #3) by Lauren Oliver: A Book Review

Hello, my Geekie friends!

So I finished the Delirium Trilogy in less than three days. I just had to! There were too many cliffhangers everywhere and I couldn't stand the suspense!
  

(Click here for my Delirium book review.) 

Let's start with the second book in the series, Pandemonium.


Here's the summary, courtesy of www.goodreads.com:
"I’m pushing aside
the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana
and my old school,
push,
push,
push,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame."


After the devastating events of the first book, Lena must force herself to start a new life in the Wilds, to forget all memories of her old life and be reborn as a new girl, in a new world, in a new city.
The novel is written in a different pattern as compared to the first one. One chapter is about her life 'then' (when she finds herself in the Wilds) and the next chapter focuses on 'now' (when she takes on her duties as a rebel).
Initially I was confused by this new format, but I really started to enjoy it! Both 'now' and 'then' plotlines just pulled me into the book. I practically ate this book up!


The writing style, the story, the romance... everything is miles ahead of the first book. I'm not giving away any spoilers, but I found the love story especially juicy in this one!

Two characters I really liked were Julian and Raven. And Lena has grown up so much in this novel. She's no longer the whiny child from Delirium. She has shown some real character development; she is right to say that the old Lena is dead. Thank goodness, because the new one is so powerful!

The dialogues were amazing as always. My favourites include:

“I want to know." His words are a whisper, barely audible. "I want to know with you.” 

"When I’m running, there’s always this split second when the pain is ripping through me and I can hardly breathe and all I see is color and blur—and in that split second, right as the pain crests, and becomes too much, and there’s a whiteness going through me, I see something to my left, a flicker of color—and I know then, too, that if I only turn my head he’ll be there, laughing, watching me, and holding out his arms.
I don’t ever turn my head to look, of course. But one day I will. One day I will, and he’ll be back, and everything will be okay.


And until then: I run.”


 “We're on the other side of the fence now, Lena,' she says, tiredly, as she passes. "Don't you get it? You can't tell me what to feel.” 

Around the middle of the book, I was starting to get an idea of the way the story was progressing, and I had a feeling I knew what the cliffhanger was going to be. I really wanted it to be that ending, I really did.
And when I finally reached the last page, I was so happy! The book ended exactly the way I'd expected, but it didn't disappoint me one bit. Instead, it left me wanting more.

I'm going with 4 stars out of 5 for Pandemonium.

A vast improvement from the first book in the series. Amazing work, Lauren Oliver!

Of course, I had to start reading Requiem immediately.

 I was so desperate to know how the story would play out in this finale, how the rebellion would finally begin and bring peace to the world where love is considered a sin.

According to Goodreads, this is what Requiem is all about:

"They have tried to squeeze us out, to stamp us into the past.
But we are still here.
And there are more of us every day.

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor.

Maybe we are driven crazy by our feelings.
Maybe love is a disease, and we would be better off without it.
But we have chosen a different road.
And in the end, that is the point of escaping the cure: We are free to choose.
We are even free to choose the wrong thing.

Requiem is told from both Lena’s and Hana’s points of view. The two girls live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge."


The format in this book is, again, completely different. Now there are two narrators, Hana and Lena. I liked reading both their points of view, although obviously I favoured Lena's a little bit more because Hana's was just full of weddings and sleep and biking. It was good to get into Hana's head for once, though.

The way Lauren Oliver writes is breathtaking. I could visualise every scene in my head, as if I were watching a movie and not reading a book. 
But the problem is that her characters have... changed. Lena seems different from the girl she was in Pandemonium. She's ruthless, jealous, selfish, unkind, and at times it feels like she herself doesn't know what she wants. It's as if all her character development from Pandemonium got sucked into the black hole and left her hanging with no personality whatsoever.
What happened to the love story? I know there are more important things in this trilogy, like the aspects of war and freedom, but Amor Deliria Nervosa is still central to the plot. I didn't see much of it in this book. That was disappointing. 


I liked reading about Hana, and her relationship with her soon-to-be husband, Fred. Hana is cured now, so obviously there's no romance in her chapters, but Lena may as well have been cured. Did she forget about her lover in the midst of all this fighting?

The dialogues were good, but... not as beautiful as the ones in Pandemonium.

“Mama, Mama, put me to bed
I won’t make it home, I’m already half-dead
I met an Invalid, and fell for his art
He showed me his smile, and went straight for my heart.” 


"I'll find you," he says, watching me with the eyes I remember. "I won't let you go again."
I don't trust myself to speak. Instead I nod, hoping that he understands me. He squeezes my hand.
"Go," he says.”


Now, let's talk about the ending. Or lack thereof. 

The book ended, and I didn't even realise it until I saw that there were no more pages to read. What? What happened to resolving things? What happened to the rebellion, to the characters, to the cureds? What happened to the government?

I like open endings, but this one was more like an open middle. The story deserved some finality, but received none. Why?

 
The ending thoroughly disappointed me. I was expecting so much more from the trilogy. The last book wasn't entirely a let-down, but it could have been so much better if there was any emotion in the characters. I guess I'll just have to fix the ending in my own head. 

I'm going with 2.5 stars out of 5 for Requiem. 

It was better than the first book in terms of story and plot, but much worse in terms of the romance, character development and the ending.

Overall, I liked Delirium, loved Pandemonium and felt disappointed by Requiem.

Still, I definitely recommend this series to any fans of YA dystopia. If you liked The Hunger Games, Divergent, Matched or Uglies, be sure to read this trilogy and tell me what you thought of it, especially the ending. What sort of ending were you rooting for? Let me know in the comments below. :)

Until next time!

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

'Delirium' by Lauren Oliver: A Book Review

 Hello, book lovers!
 

I just finished reading the first book in the Delirium Trilogy by Lauren Oliver. It's a YA Dystopian novel, which is one of my favourite genres to read. 


Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Here's the basic plot summary, courtesy of www.goodreads.com:

Ninety-five days, and then I'll be safe. I wonder whether the procedure will hurt. I want to get it over with. It's hard to be patient. It's hard not to be afraid while I'm still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn't touched me yet. Still, I worry. They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don't.
  
Delirium is the story of a world without any 'illness', the illness in this case being love. Once the U.S. government realised that love and attraction can push a person over the edge - quite literally, often - they decided to perfect a cure to rid every human being of this emotion.
The protagonist of the story, Lena, is your average plain Jane who has been brought up in this dystopian world. In a few months she'll turn eighteen, and she'll be able to get done with the procedure of curing her, so she'll never risk contracting Amor Deliria Nervosa

But what happens when she does fall in love - and it changes her whole perspective about family, society, life and even death? 


The premise of the story really caught my attention, although I didn't find it plausible at all - I still don't, to be honest. A world where love is considered a disease? And not just romantic love. Even family love, saying 'I love you' to your child or friend or parent is frowned upon and could brand you as a 'Sympathizer'. 

A society like this could never be created. In a country like America, especially, where there is a lot more freedom for lovers in general, how can the government suddenly take such harsh steps? 
If you think the book explains it, you're wrong. Barely any information is given to us about the history of this 'disease' and the events that led to the formation of a cure. 

I wasn't interested in the book until the last hundred or so pages, actually. Nothing that shocking or amazing happens in the beginning or even in the middle. There are quite a few plot holes. Lena goes from being a scaredy-cat, who won't step out of the house after curfew, to a romantic young lady who isn't afraid to kiss her boyfriend in the middle of the street at midnight, whether that's illegal or not. I don't think that's called character development. 



Alex is like any other YA hero. He's brave, he's attractive, he's funny... he's too perfect, and doesn't seem like a real character at all. 
That being said, I still really liked him, for all the above reasons. I loved his romance with Lena, and I spent quite a lot of time wondering how they were going to end up together in a world where you're matched with a compatible spouse and married off once you're cured. 

Lauren Oliver is an amazing writer. She just has a way with words; she can paint a dozen images with just a few sentences. But she might have overdone it here. There's too much backstory about things that don't matter, and the writing is so descriptive that often I felt the urge to just skip through it all and read only the dialogues. 


But the dialogues were really good. Here are some of my favourites:

"Love. It will kill you and save you, both."

“You can build walls all the way to the sky and I will find a way to fly above them. You can try to pin me down with a hundred thousand arms, but I will find a way to resist. And there are many of us out there, more than you think. People who refuse to stop believing. People who refuse to come to earth. People who love in a world without walls, people who love into hate, into refusal, against hope, and without fear.
I love you. Remember. They cannot take it.”


“I'd rather die my way than live yours.” 

As for the ending... gah! The cliffhanger! I couldn't bring myself to stop reading once the last chapter began. And once I finished the novel, I was in shock. How could Lauren Oliver have done that?!
Thank goodness I have the second book, Pandemonium, waiting for me on my Aldiko Ebook shelf.

I'm going for 3 stars out of 5 for this book. 

It isn't as complex, unnerving or amazing as some other YA books out there, but it's a book that will make you value human companionship. It will make you want to say 'I love you' to all those who matter to you, because at the end of the day, love is the greatest emotion of all.

So, if you found the story interesting, do check this book out! If you've already read it, tell me in the comments below whether you loved it or not.

Also, I just want to say that even though I haven't updated my blog in over a week, I've still been receiving countless views every single day. I don't know who you are or which country you're from, dear reader.

But for supporting my blog even when I've been inactive... I love you. Remember. They cannot take it. :)

Check out the rest of my book reviews here

Monday, 6 January 2014

My 5 Favourite Movies!

How's it hanging, guys?

My exams are going on right now, because I have them every month for some unknown reason, so I like to unwind by watching some of my favourite movies.

A word of caution: most of the films on this list may be classified as chick flicks, but if as a guy, chick flicks are your guilty pleasure, then read on!
(I haven't included fandom movies like Harry Potter, The Hunger Games or The Amazing Spider-Man, simply because that wouldn't be fair to the rest of the movie universe!)

1) Easy A


Starring my homegurrrl, Emma Stone, this movie is probably the greatest chick flick of all time!
Easy A is the story of Olive Penderghast, your average high school girl, who becomes the centre of attention for all the wrong reasons and finds herself caught in a web of lies.
Hilarious, adorable and only a little cheesy, this movie is a must-watch for every human being, at least in my opinion.


2) Little Manhattan


This is the story of an eleven-year-old boy and his first love. Sounds good, huh?
Here's the cherry on top of this cake: the kid in question is played by none other than Josh Hutcherson (Peeta Mellark from THG)!!!
This movie, for men and women of all ages, has the cutest dialogues and some really good music.
Little Manhattan will remind you of your first love and all the amazing memories associated with it, and leave you with a silly smile on your face. :)
 


3) Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na! (Know it Or Not)


It's the story of two best friends playing cupid for each other, only to realise that sometimes, friendship can be the purest form of love. :)
Oh, how I love this movie! It's definitely the first thing that I think of watching when I'm upset, and it never fails to cheer me up. Throw in some youthful AR Rahman music, the super-cute Imran Khan (before he got old and boring), and the greatest gang of friends since, well, F.R.I.E.N.D.S, and what more could you want?


4) Kal Ho Naa Ho (Tomorrow May Never Come)


In this movie, the life of grumpy Naina changes with the arrival of her new neighbour, Aman, who teaches her a new way to live.
This is such a bittersweet movie. First it makes you laugh and the next moment you're crying your heart out!
But the jokes are really funny, Shah Rukh Khan isn't as annoying as usual, Saif Ali Khan is actually kinda cute, and Preity Zinta plays a geekie chick. Absolutely amazing!
 


5) Namastey London


Oh, beautiful London! How I miss your cool breeze and warm (not to mention rare) sunshine!
Jazz, a London-born Indian, agrees to marry a man of her father's choice, but declares the unregistered marriage as fake when she returns to London and reunites with her Brit boyfriend.  Now her 'husband' must find a way to make her fall in love with him, and her country, before she makes the biggest mistake of her life.
Most of the movie is shot in London, so it's a great way for me to remember all the memories I made there. :)
Plus, Katrina Kaif and Akshay Kumar's chemistry is sizzling, and his attempts to woo her are funny yet incredibly romantic. :D



So, these are the five films that I can rewatch a billion times and still enjoy them as if it's my first time watching.

What about you? Do you have a list of movies that are guaranteed to make your day? Let me know in the comments below.

Until next time, film lovers! :)

Saturday, 4 January 2014

I Love Food + Tips for a Healthy Body

Hey, there!


Everybody wants food. Everybody needs food. So today, I'm going to talk about my top five favourite food items and why I love them.
Stay tuned till the end of the post for some tips to eat fun, but still stay fit. :)

1) French Fries:

To be honest, I don't like fries with sauce and I don't mind them plain, but the 'Piri piri' spice that McDonald's offers is the perfect way to enjoy french fries!
I don't even buy the french fries from McD, just the spice packets, and I use them while making fries at home.
I'm not crazy about spicy food, but I don't mind shedding a few tears to eat these fries all day long!

2) Pizza:
 
 Ah, pizza. Something about that cheesy, saucy piece of bread really gets my stomach rumbling. Pizza comes in so many different sizes, flavours and crusts that you can never get tired of eating it!
Of course, I always order the same pizzas from Domino's because I don't really like trying strange, new flavours.

Back when I was a kid, I was obsessed with the 'Cheese burst' pizzas that Domino's offers. I used to eat that thing like my life depended on it. I only got sick of it when I tried the 'Double Cheese burst' pizza and almost threw up (it was that bad, seriously).
Then I switched to Double Cheese Margherita. Heaven must be made of cheese and pizza sauce!
Currently, I'm obsessed with the Pizza Mania combos. Four different flavours of pizza for me to try? YUM! :D

 3) Sweet Corn Soup:

Soup is man's greatest invention. You don't need to chew anything, you can drink it right out of the bowl if you misplace your spoon, and it still fills you up. I don't think it can get better than that.

Sweet corn soup is my favourite soup of all time. It's piping hot and sweet, full of soft pieces of corn and carrots, and it smells like happiness!
Whenever I order some soup from my favourite Chinese restaurant, I end up having at least three bowls of it. And after that, the main course is forgotten. Unless it has garlic. Then I stuff myself with that, too.

4) Wasabi Green Peas:


You've never heard of this? That's expected. I didn't taste one of these bad boys until a few months ago.
The peas are roasted and coated with wasabi, salt and oil. 
I don't think I had ever tasted wasabi before this. Well, it's awesome. It's so spicy that it could possibly kill you - once I let a pea roll around in my mouth for too long and I ended up wheezing and coughing because of the flavour - but in moderation, it tastes so good that you'll find yourself popping these roasted peas into your mouth again and again until you finish the whole tub.

It's extremely rare to find this item where I live because barely any of the supermarkets carry it, so when I do find it, it's celebration time.
I'm currently out of stock at the moment. But when I do get my hands on these wasabi-coated peas again, I promise that I will devour them. Because they are THAT good.

5) White Chocolate:

What is it about white chocolate that brings me ultimate pleasure? White chocolate isn't real chocolate, seeing as it contains no cacao beans whatsoever, but it just tastes so much better to me.
You can get milk chocolate anywhere, but white chocolate... it's difficult to find, but the search is worth it, because it's the best thing that ever happened to me!
The Toblerone white chocolate and Kit Kat white chocolate are my favourites.

A special mention to my favourite Donuts (which are all white chocolate, by the way!).



One day, I want to eat the greatest meal of my life, consisting of food from all my favourite restaurants and cuisines. But just a small serving of every item, so that I can try everything! A bowl of soup, a slice of pizza, a few pieces of french fries, some wasabi peas, some Indian garlic gravies, a chunk of white chocolate, a spoonful of all my favourite flavours of icecream... oh, how I wish I could eat all that for one meal! :D
 

 Now, I want to talk about being healthy and having a fit body.

I've always been a skinny girl, so naturally a lot of people have tried to give me 'advice' on how to gain weight. I'm quite sure every single one of these people told me to stuff my face with all kinds of junk food, 24 hours a day. But I didn't even try to do that, because I know better.



 If you're underweight and trying to bulk up, here's what you need to do: eat whatever you want in moderation. You can have that slice of pizza or eat that burger, but remember that you have to also consume healthy fats to actually gain weight in all the right places. Try to include peanut butter, nuts, whole milk, healthy oils, soymilk and tofu in your daily diet. Any high-calorie snacks that are low on saturated fats and sodium are good for you.
The best way to gain weight, though, is to build muscle. Include at least a ten-minute workout in your daily schedule, four times a week. Don't do cardio workouts. Instead, use dumbbells and weights to increase your muscle mass. Muscle weighs more than fat and also makes you stronger!

If you're overweight and want to get fit, do not skip any meals. There's no need to cut sugar and fat from your diet as long as you eat healthy. There are a ton of healthy fats that I've mentioned above. As for sugar, moderation is key.
You can't lose weight unless you get your blood pumping, so start doing some fun cardio workouts. I know jogging or running on the treadmill isn't very entertaining.

Instead, you can try dance workouts that will keep that smile on your face and the fat off your body.
When you've reduced your body fat considerably, quit the cardio workouts and start using weights to gain muscle mass.


You're not going to see results in a day or even a week. It's going to take some time, but the results are definitely worth it! Whether you're skinny or plump, you should exercise because not only does it help you score a healthy body, it also makes you stronger and happier.

Let me know in the comments below: what food do you like best? What are you doing to get fit and healthy? :)

If you'd rather do your working out at home, like I do, check out this Youtube channel for some great exercise videos.

Until next time, friends. Stay fit! :)