Friday, 31 July 2015

What's On My Playlist (July 2015)

Hello, musical Geeks.
And so July comes to an end. Damn. 2015 is just flying by, isn't it? This is already the third post in this series!


I didn't discover a lot of new music this month, but many songs that I'd stowed away inside my mind came to the surface recently. Since I wake up before any of my roommates, I spend my pre-dawn mornings making breakfast and singing to my heart's content.

Again, most of the music I listen to comes from movies, trailers or TV shows that I watch, so you might not have heard of some of these songs.
Here we go!

1) The Show | Lenka


How adorable is Lenka? I am in love with her dimples and bubbly persona. Anyway, about two seconds of this song played in the Easy A trailer, so that's how I discovered Lenka.
I don't completely understand this video, but it's still fun to watch.

Favourite lyric:

// I'm just a little bit caught in the middle
Life is a maze and love is a riddle
I dont know where to go I can't do it alone I've tried
And I don't know why //

2) Barden Bellas Finale | Misc


Featuring one of my favourite songs (Don't You Forget About Me), the final performance of the Barden Bellas from Pitch Perfect features a medley of melodies that makes me want to join an a capella group. This is my go-to get-psyched song at the moment.

Favourite lyric:
// Tonight,
I will love love you tonight,
Give me everything tonight,
For all we know we might not get tomorrow,
Let's do it tonight //

3) Flashlight | Jessie J


Yes, I'm obsessed with the soundtrack of the Pitch Perfect movies. This song is so sweet, romantic and optimistic. There's always a light at the end of the tunnel: and sometimes that light might be the person you love the most in the world.

Favourite lyric:
// Kickstart my heart when you shine it in my eyes
Can't lie, it's a sweet life
Stuck in the dark but you're my flashlight
You're getting me, getting me through the night //

4) Glitter In The Air | Pink


I discovered this song on an episode of Pretty Little Liars and have loved it ever since. This song is all about being brave in love and taking the leap, and although that isn't my philosophy at all (mine is running away from it lest I get hurt), it's something I'd love to follow.

Favourite lyric:

// Have you ever wished for an endless night?
Lassoed the moon and the stars and pulled that rope tight
Have you ever held your breath and asked yourself
Will it ever get better than tonight?
Tonight //

5) Atlas | Coldplay


Two of my favourite things, Coldplay and Catching Fire, come together in this hauntingly beautiful song that I know for sure is about Peeta and Katniss. Listening to this song recently made me think of the new Mockingjay trailer, and I tear up almost every time.

Favourite lyric:
// Some far away
Some search for gold
Some dragon to slay
Heaven we hope is just up the road
Show me the way, lord, 'cause I... I'm about to explode //

6) What I Wouldn't Do | Serena Ryder


This lovely song about friendship, love and everything in between is from The Fault in Our Stars trailer (yes, I'm still obsessed with that movie), and it perfectly fits the theme of my next novel, which is inspired by Jane Austen's Mansfield Park.

Favourite lyric:
// Oh the things I never noticed
Opened my ears to the chorus
You have made me listen careful
And you gave me the line //

7) A Little Too Much | Natasha Bedingfield


I like a lot of Natasha Bedingfield's songs, actually. This one was featured heavily in the trailer as well as in the movie Something Borrowed, one of my favourite chick flick book-to-movie adaptations. The song is about loving beyond your limits, and isn't that what the true meaning of life is?

Favourite lyric:

// It's wonderful to fall
Let's love and risk it all
Even if it hurts just a little too much
I'd rather love just a little too much... //

8) Crazy For You | Madonna


This is embarrassing, but I haven't heard any other songs by Madonna. Sorry.
A very entertaining chick flick by the name of 13 Going on 30 introduced me to this song. I love the retro 80s vibe, and it's the perfect love song to belt out while you're cooking, trust me.

Favourite lyric:
// I'm crazy for you
Touch me once and you'll know it's true
I never wanted anyone like this
It's all brand new, you'll feel it in my kiss
I'm crazy for you, crazy for you //

9) All Of The Stars | Ed Sheeran


Well, something from The Fault In Our Stars soundtrack had to be on this list, right? Ed Sheeran is another artist whom I'm starting to love more and more each day. And isn't this the perfect long-distance song? Well, maybe it's second to Hey There Delilah. Ooh, I should give that one another listen.

Favourite lyric:
// I can hear your heart
On the radio beat
They're playing 'Chasing Cars'
And I thought of us
Back to the time,
You were lying next to me
I looked across and fell in love //

10) At Last | Etta James

Which movie hasn't played this song? From Little Manhattan to 500 Days of Summer, this song is a staple for every film with a wedding scene. I'm a sucker for old music, and this one is really old: it's from the 60s. So classic!

Favourite lyric:
// I found a dream, that I could speak to
A dream that I can call my own
I found a thrill to press my cheek to
A thrill that I have never known //
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So these are ten songs I am crazy in love with right now. There are many more on my playlist, but I'm saving them for next month's post. For more geekie things, follow me on Facebook and Instagram.
Want to share a sneek peak into your playlist? Well, the comment box is waiting - as am I.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Pretty Little Liars 6x08 (FrAmed): A Recap

After their latest run-in with Charles, tensions are at an all-time high with the PLLs and the town of Rosewood. Aria’s big moment of seeing her work displayed in an art gallery is in jeopardy as Ella is determined to keep her safe at home. Hanna is still uncomfortable with the unexpected scholarship money and is determined to give it back, even if that means ruining her chances at going to her school of choice. And to top it off, the one normal high-school rite of passage the girls are looking forward to is in danger as Rosewood High is considering not letting the PLLs attend prom due to security issues.
Meanwhile, the more Alison learns about her brother the harder she finds it to connect a deranged murderer to the young blonde-haired boy she sees in the photos and in her memories.

By this time, two weeks later, we will have known for sure who Charles is. Squeeee!

I was expecting FrAmed to be a filler episode, but although we didn't get any answers, as is the trend, the episode didn't drag or tear my attention from the screen for even a second. Here's what happened today:

Recap

Now that the cops know about the existence of Charles DiLaurentis, everyone is on high alert as the town looks out for the blue-eyed blonde who has been the cause of so much chaos. With Hanna batting for his death, Alison worried about her brother's life, Mrs. Montgomery frustrated with the police's efforts and the school board wanting to exclude the girls from prom, there's a lot going on in the lives of the Liars.


Prom may be a distant dream just yet, but Emily knows that she wants Sara to be her date. The status of their relationship is currently ambiguous, but someone's got to step up to change it, right? On the other hand, Aria's wondering if maybe she should just go stag. Which guy would want to take her after all that's happened?

But first Aria has to think about being able to attend the gallery where her photos will be shown. Her mother is worried about her safety, but when Detective Tanner assures her that there will be ample security onsite, Mrs. Montgomery is suitably convinced.

Meanwhile, things are heating up between Lorenzo and Alison. He almost risked his life trying to find her brother, and Alison couldn't be more grateful. If only she could find out what's going on behind closed doors in the police station...
Maybe she can. Lorenzo falls asleep after having the soup she made him. Alison grabs his police ID card and walks out of the door, desperate to know more.


Hanna and Spencer are busy playing detective. Hanna needs to get to the bottom of her scholarship situation: was it really Charles who sent her the money? And by refunding the scholarship, will they be able to find him?
So the two girls head to Carissimi Group headquarters and come face-to-face with a man named Reese. In Hanna's words, "he has Alison's perfect chin and Jason's perfect hair." Sound like anybody we know?
Reese refuses to answer any questions about the mysterious Mr. Carissimi and says he has to protect his anonymity. Hmm.

At the gallery, Aria caves and asks Ezra to be her prom date. Before he can reply, his new friend Nicole walks in - the same Nicole who worked with Emily at Habitat for Humanity - and Aria finds the first excuse to get away: Clark. Clark has no friends or family attending the event, but he's excited all the same.
And then the shortlisted photos are unveiled. Aria steps ahead as the curtain falls. The doll pictures she took are nowhere to be seen. Instead, on the wall are framed photographs of their unconscious, naked selves in the Dollhouse.


Ella Montgomery is furious about what happened. How could the police let this happen after all their tall claims? Upset, she takes comfort in the Marin household and asks Ashley what in the world they can do to make their girls safer.

With Lorenzo's card, Alison breaks into the police evidence room, but finds nothing substantial other than a baby rattle that used to belong to her. Detective Tanner walks in and it's revealed that the rattle was found among other things in Charles' bunker. Tanner tells Ali that when this crazy murderer is found, he will be shot on sight with lethal force.
Lorenzo is wide awake by the time she returns to his apartment, and oh, is he angry. The police board will be looking into this spectacle and it could cost him his job. But he's angrier about the fact that Alison - in typical fashion - used him for her advantage. Trouble in paradise, it seems.

Ezra assures Aria that he and Nicole are only friends, and she confides in him that she's incredibly nostalgic about her days in Iceland, before any of this started, when she was just another girl sitting on the patio with her family in the freezing cold. And she doesn't know if she can ever feel that way again.


The latest Charles suspect - Reese - is spotted by the rest of the Liars just outside the gallery and they set out to chase him. He parks and exits the car in front of an abandoned factory. Minutes later, Clark goes inside the very same building, quite possibly because he's in cahoots with Reese.

As the episode comes to an end, it's revealed that Red Coat is indeed working with Charles, and they're definitely looking forward to prom.

Thoughts

No, Alison! Why, why would she jeopardize what she could have had with Lorenzo? He's such a sweetheart. And she didn't even find out anything useful. Common sense could have told her that a criminal like Charles can't be saved.

So Clark and/or Reese Witherspoon are now the prime suspects for 'A'? Open your eyes, Liars. It can't be some random dude. It's clearly Wren.

Most Suspicious This Week

Fine, Clark was being really sketchy, but that doesn't mean he's 'A'. Maybe he's in love with Aria. Or he's spying on the Liars so he can write a book about Charles. Anything is possible in Rosewood.

I am so thrilled about next week's episode! Judging by the promo, it's going to be one hell of an hour. Looks like Alison will find out who her brother is... though I doubt we will.


What did you think about FrAmed? Wasn't it shocking when Aria's photos were unveiled? What are you most looking forward to next week? Let's speculate about Charles' reveal in the comments below.

Don't forget to follow me on Facebook and Instagram. I post daily updates about life, fashion, gratitude, food, fitness and much more.
Until next week, PLL Geeks... we're so close to getting all (or at least some) of the answers!!!

Sunday, 26 July 2015

What I Wore To College // OOTD #1



When I first started this blog, I named it 'Geekie Chic' because I'd assumed it would be more than just a personal book blog. I thought I'd write about lifestyle, fashion and beauty along with all the geekie things I love to do.
But since I stopped subscribing to Fab Bag, the chic part of this blog has almost completely disappeared.

And that's why I'm starting a new fashion series here. Every Sunday, I'm going to post photos of whatever I wore to whichever place I went. I mostly shop online, so if any part of my outfit is still in stock, I'll include a link.
Here are some snippets from what I wore to college the past three weeks.

1) Meow Goes the Geek


I'm obsessed with cats, even though I don't own any (perhaps in the future?). This adorable Kitty Cat Denim Shirt from Koovs was the perfect way to express my cat lady tendencies on the first day of college. I paired it with my dark grey jeans from Forever 21, along with a blue bow headband I received as a gift many years ago.
I'm not much of an accessories/makeup person, so I decided to let the outfit speak for itself.

2) Pink is Pretty
A photo posted by Swati Hegde (@geekiechicblog) on


Say what you will, but pink is my go-to colour on days when I'm feeling especially feminine. I wore this cute bow-backed cut-out top from Stalk Buy Love with my Esprit jeans. My bright pink headband from Forever 21 was all I needed to complete the look.

3) Monday Morning Blues
A photo posted by Swati Hegde (@geekiechicblog) on


I've always loved the denim-on-denim look. My heart-printed shirt, dark grey jeans, and polka-dot blue headband are all from Forever 21. Wow, this is a lot of publicity for them. Hmm.

4) Sea Green Vibes


Global Desi is my go-to brand when I want to wear something bright enough to ward off any fatigue on a five a.m. morning. Florals are a weakness of mine, so of course I had to wear this high-low top along with basic blue jeans from (you guessed it) Forever 21. My hoop earrings are from the wonderful Accessorize.
 
5) On Wednesdays, We Wear Plaid


Since it was Happy Hump Day, I knew I had to channel my inner Plastic and wear some pink. My plaid shirt is from Nuon, and the sea green jeans from ASOS Petite. I wanted a laidback, relaxed look, so I skipped the headband.

6) Spidey Girl
A photo posted by Swati Hegde (@geekiechicblog) on


I still can't believe my red Spidey shirt has gone missing. Good thing I invested in more than one colour. Although this exact item isn't available anymore for women, you can find similar Spidey shirts on Ebay. Again, I'm rocking my dark grey skinny jeans from Forever 21.

7) Bright Blue, Grey Sky
A photo posted by Swati Hegde (@geekiechicblog) on


I believe that when the world is grey and murky, it's up to you to brighten up your day. That's why I picked this electric blue kurti from Shoppers Stop, paired with my animal print leggings from Nuon. The big earrings are from a handicraft vendor in Kolkata, but you can find similar pieces elsewhere.
___________________________________________________________________________

I don't consider myself a fashion expert, and I don't believe I have a particular way of dressing. I wear whatever makes me happy, whether it's preppy or casual or sporty or girly or even grungey. At the end of the day, style is highly individualistic. Nobody can tell you what to wear or what not to wear.


So if you don't agree with my outfits of the week, that's perfectly fine. Just tell me what fashion makes you feel like yourself. Which store do you shop at a little too much? Do you have a Forever 21 craze too?

I'll see you next Sunday, Geeks!

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Philosophical Ramblings #3: Does God Exist?

Geeks, welcome to the third post in my Philosophical Ramblings series! Apparently these posts are getting more and more controversial with time, so here's a fair warning: if you're an insufferable atheist or a close-minded theist, please proceed to the nearest exit. Have a nice day.


Anyway, I should share my personal experience with God first. As a child, I used to believe very strongly in a higher power. My parents were fairly religious (although still open-minded, because the two aren't mutually exclusive), and so they passed that trait down to me. Although I didn't visit the temple or fast or be with God in the way many Hindus are, I did pray almost every night in bed because I wanted God to like me.

I didn't believe in God because it made me a stronger person or because it made me hopeful. I believed in God because I feared the idea of being an atheist. And let me tell you, that's not the ideal way to live.

As I grew up, I stopped doing what my parents did and started becoming my own person. And my own person didn't need prayer - at least not the religious kind - to support her. The idea of a higher power seemed preposterous to me, and I started bashing those who didn't conform to my beliefs.

It seemed simple to me. There was no reason for God to exist as long as science was still in place.

I'm proud to say that I'm no longer as close-minded as I used to be. No, I still don't believe in God. I'm an atheist and I don't see that changing any time soon.
But by now I've realised that though we may not necessarily need Jesus or Ganesha or Allah or anyone else to live a happy life, we do need some form of faith. We need something that gives us hope.

That hope is different for each one of us. I get my hope from gratitude and the knowledge that my life matters as much as anyone else's. For you, it may stem from religion or spirituality or even friendship. And that's perfectly fine.

At the end of the day, the question isn't whether God exists or not - we may never know the answer, and maybe it's best if we never do - but rather whether we're happy and optimistic even during tough times.


I believe that the idea of God was created so that people have a shoulder to lean on when they feel like they can't bear the pressure of pain anymore. That makes me very happy, in spite of being an atheist. How can we hate on religion if it makes someone's life better?

Yes, religion has its faults, but so does every other phenomenon on the planet. Instead of hating on each other for our varying beliefs, why can't we accept the fact that if something makes you stronger, then you should never let it go?

What about you? Do you believe in a God? If yes, then I'd love to know how He (or She) has made your life better. If you have any other beliefs, or no beliefs at all, then what gives you hope?

Always remember the power your words can have. Whether you're praying to God or to yourself, always stay positive and find your inner strength.
Have a great weekend, Geeks. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Pretty Little Liars 6x07 (Oh Brother, Where Art Thou): A Recap

There are mixed emotions in the DiLaurentis household when Charles declares he is coming home for his birthday. Mr. DiLaurentis wants to quickly get out of town to hide Ali and Jason from their brother, while Jason sees this as an opportunity to finally validate all of the early childhood memories of "Charlie." The PLLs are just as split with Spencer and Hanna seeing this as the best chance to capture Charles, while Emily and Aria want to stay far away from him as possible. Will Jason be reunited with his brother, or is this just another one of "A"'s traps?
Meanwhile, Mona is shutting Mike out and Hanna gets an unwelcomed surprise.

Welcome back to another #PLLWednesday on the blog, Geeks!

Unlike the last few episodes, 6x07 was actually intense, action-packed and interesting to watch. We didn't get a lot of answers (as is the ritual), but at least it wasn't a total filler episode.

Recap

The Liars congregate at Mona's house so they can interrogate Lesli further... although the suspect in question refuses to meet them. Still, they need to tell Alison about their findings. Why won't she pick up her phone?

As it turns out, her father is taking her someplace safe, away from Rosewood, where Charles is planning to throw his homecoming birthday party. And that means Charles is alive and kicking - and ready to meet his family.

Charles has also sent an invitation to Jason, and in spite of his family's warnings, Jason is determined to reunite with his childhood best buddy. He wants answers, and he's going to get them.

Emily runs into Sara's BFF at the Brew, and this friend is very excited to get in touch with Sara again. Much to Em's dismay, Sara and Claire get along incredibly well, and when Claire offers her home to Sara for a few days, she doesn't refuse.
Sara's excuse, though, is that she and Emily might finally have a chance at a real relationship if she moves out, away from the watchful eyes of Pam Fields. That doesn't stop Emily from wistfully sniffing her lover's pillow after she leaves, though.

Mrs. Marin has a surprise for her daughter: she applied for a ton of scholarships, and one of them has checked out. The Carissimi Group, to whom Mrs. Marin applied on Jason's recommendation, is going to pay $30,000 towards Hanna's college fund!
Hanna and Spencer do a background check and realise that one of the organisations under this group's umbrella is Radley Sanitarium. No wonder Jason's mother donated so much to Carissimi.
That's when Spencer gets a call from Alison and steps outside. The stoner chef lady pops in and slips some pot candy into Spencer's bag.
During the phone call, Alison reveals the truth behind Charles' fake death and begs the Liars to stop Jason from meeting their tormentor before it's too late.

Meanwhile, Aria and Mike have a sweet sibling moment when they talk about Mike's relationship with Mona - or lack thereof. She hasn't responded to any of his calls since her return from the dollhouse, and he's afraid it means she doesn't love him anymore. Aria urges her brother to go talk to her, and he manages to convince his lady love to give their relationship another shot.

Now that the Liars know what's really going down tonight, it's time to nab the man who has made their life a living hell. After consulting a few medical videos, the girls un-chip themselves and track Jason's car on Caleb's burner phone. Toby, who now knows everything about 'A', volunteers for this mission. He's not willing to let Spencer into harm's way again.

Unfortunately, cops love sugary snacks and Toby's no exception. He grabs Spencer's candy bag as he leaves, unaware of the powers that it possesses.

Alison knocks her father out with some sleeping pills, calls 911 and heads to Rosewood with Mona's help.
The girls aren't willing to be left out. They grab their keys and race into the night.
Jason finds himself at an abandoned arcade shop with Charles, clad in his trademark hoodie, right in front of his eyes. The brothers are finally together once more... until Lorenzo and Toby jump into their midst, guns in tow. Charles manages to fend off Lorenzo, but Toby's got him cornered. And then the weed kicks in and Toby falls to the floor.

The Liars get there just as Charles escapes once again.

Thanks to Spencer's tight-lipped attitude (and drug addiction), the Spoby relationship might be sinking again. Hanna's mother is frustrated and wants her daughter to take the scholarship, irrespective of the circumstance, and get the hell out of Rosewood. Emily is lonely. And Aria? She gets a letter in the mail congratulating her. She's a finalist for the art scholarship.

Back at the DiLaurentis household, Jason and Alison discover another home movie left for them by Charles. It's the footage from a second cousin's birthday party they attended, a cousin named Freddy. A cousin who may have been Charlie all along...

Thoughts

Finally, Sara has moved out of the Fields household! YES!!!!
But now she and Emily might become more serious... should I be happy or sad? I still do not trust this feral woman.


Surprisingly, neither Caleb nor Ezra were in this episode. And here I thought they were important to the storyline. Caleb, at least. Nobody cares about Ezra anymore.

Mike and Mona, I approve. Lorenzo and Alison, I approve. Spencer and Toby... neeeext.

Seriously, though. We were THIS close. THIS close to seeing Charles' face, and then Toby has to ruin the night with his big cop act. And why did he have to eat the candy? This is why sugar at night is a bad idea, people. Also, hugs not drugs.

Most Suspicious This Week

I don't think anyone was being suspicious at all. Except maybe Aria. She always looks like she's up to something. Never trust the one who looks the most innocent, Geeks.

Next week's promo looks rather blah. It'll probably be another filler episode. I'm very excited for 6x09 (prom night) and 6x10 (the final reveal). Just three more weeks until Charles is unmasked! I can't wait.


What did you think of this week's episode? Any Charles theories in your head? Is Sara really the good girl she's pretending to be? Are you still a Spoby fan or do you daydream about Dean, too?
Let me know in the comments below. See you next Wednesday!

PS: Geekie Chic has been featured as one of the top 15 book blogs of India! Read all about it in this article here.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

'Fortnight Before Dawn' by Bhamini Ravishankar: A Book Review


Terror attack, Catastrophe, Eviction – all hinging on just one thing: the decryption of an impenetrable code being used by a foreign terror organization to co-ordinate a large-scale terror attack in Bangalore, India on the first of January, 2015.
Desperate to outrun time and avert the attack, the DXA—a specialized anti-terror division of the Indian Intelligence Services—holds a gun, literally, to Avanti’s head to get her to crack the code. Desperate to escape a darkly painful past and a dreadfully messy present, she is left with no other choice but to comply. But does the near-linguist Avanti—born and bred in Cameroon, Africa, and eking out a living by teaching French in Bangalore— have it in her to render the astonishing services being demanded of her?
A tale of how an ordinary life turns extraordinary in the span of one fraught fortnight – that fortnight before dawn. The tale with a scorpion’s sting in its tail...


Note: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. 


Hello!

As much as I love humour and romance, I must admit that mystery, crime and terrorism are a weakness of mine, especially when it's a story about a linguist living in my hometown. Yes, Fortnight Before Dawn is about a woman of Indian origin who speaks several languages, resides in Bangalore and teaches French at an institute.

Boom. Future goals.


However, her life isn't completely rosy. She's an orphan, soon to be evicted unless she works her way out of her debt trap, and there is no room for luxury - or love - in her life.
When an officer from the DXA recruits her to crack an impenetrable terrorist code, she sees a ray of hope in the darkness of her life.
But Avanti has secrets of her own, and it's only a matter of time before her life is on the line.

The story has a rather weak start. There's an information dump of sorts about Avanti's childhood, her family history, and her love life that seems irrelevant to the story. Add to that the long-drawn sentences, wordy, old-fashioned dialogue and insane figures of speech, and it can be a little tiring to leaf through page after page. Here are some examples to show you what I mean:

The day had not warmed up yet despite the midday sun shining high in the sky, its rays filtering in through the overarching raintree branches that resembled giant florets of broccoli to paint a chiaroscuro of darkly bobbing monsters on the grey asphalted street.

The job fitted the free-spirited Avanti like a glove, liberating her from the tedium of enduring endless hours within the four anesthesizing walls of a school room while giving her gregarious nature wings to soar in the neverending azure of the amaranthine African skies.


But once the investigation begins, those tiny nuisances are barely even discernible. The author has a knack of weaving the mystery together, bit-by-bit, in a way that makes it really difficult to put the book down and get on with life.

Another thing I loved about the book - something that not everyone might appreciate - are the frequent dialogues in French and (once) Kannada. They aren't relevant to the plot, so don't worry about missing out on any crucial information.

The writing style is very beautiful, and although there is an abundance of metaphors, similes and adjectives, some quotes do stand out on their own without seeming pretentious or wordy.

How fresh and quiet and orderly everything was, as if the chaos of yesterday had been swept clean in the night and put away like toys and playthings in a nursery.

Until 'Operation Samrakshan' was over, rest would be that acquaintance one crossed on busy roads and barely acknowledged.

A war that was still on, he reminded himself; a war where the death of one mastermind gave rise to the resurrection of ten more.


The story is told from the perspective of different characters: from Avanti to Ranjit (the DXA officer) to the terrorists, this book offers the reader a chance to delve into the minds of every single significant character. I did feel, in the beginning, that this was a very unorthodox approach that beginner authors should not adopt, but everything is justified by the end of the novel, and you realise that this book could not be written from a single perspective.

The last act of the book is a complete game-changer! All of a sudden, the entire mystery, the entire crime is turned over to reveal one of the biggest plot twists I've ever read. Seriously, I did not see that ending coming.


I'm going to go with 4 stars out of 5 for this one.
Fortnight Before Dawn is action-packed, unputdownable and well-written, and though it does have its flaws, as do the books of any first-time author, it comes around in the end. Don't miss out on this one.

You can find this ebook on Amazon here. Have you read it already? What was your reaction to that major plot twist? Do tell me in the comments below.

If you have any book recommendations, get in touch with me. I'm always in the mood for new books.
See you next time, book Geeks!

Saturday, 18 July 2015

'A Geek Girl's Guide to Murder' by Julie Anne Lindsey: A Book Review

IT manager Mia Connors is up to her tortoiseshell glasses in technical drama when a glitch in the Horseshoe Falls email system disrupts security and sends errant messages to residents of the gated community. The snafu’s timing couldn’t be worse—Renaissance Faire season is in full swing and Mia’s family’s business relies on her presence.
Mia doesn’t have time to hunt down a computer hacker. Her best friend has disappeared, and she finds another of her friends murdered—in her office. When the hunky new head of Horseshoe Falls security identifies Mia as the prime suspect, her anxiety level registers on the Richter scale.
Eager to clear her name, Mia moves into action to locate her missing buddy and find out who killed their friend. But her quick tongue gets her into trouble with more than the new head of security. When Mia begins receiving threats, the killer makes it clear that he's closer than she’d ever imagined.


Note: I received an advance reader copy from the publishers via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

As you may have guessed, the title of this book was what caught my eye. I pride myself on being a geek, and I adore murder myseries. I'd make a fantastic detective.
So I was really looking forward to a nice thriller about a geekie chick who solves the mystery of her friend's death.


Was I disappointed?


Well... maybe.
 

The thing with this book is that in spite of the engaging title, it doesn't actually focus on the murder aspect that much.
Mia Connors is a self-professed geek, from her designation to her hobbies to her family business, and she has had her share of problems. And of course, things get worse one of her friends turns up dead.


Now, if I ever found one of my pals dead in my office, this would be my reaction.


What was Mia's reaction, you ask?


Where was the human element to this story? One of her closest friends is no more. Her best friend is missing - missing! She's the prime suspect in a murder investigation. Where are her feelings? Why isn't she recovering from trauma? Why is she still acting like everything is rosy and blissful?

The story focuses more on Mia's day-to-day life and the email glitch instead of the murder, and that bothered me.

That being said, in spite of the slow pace of the novel, I loved the dialogues and the descriptive way in which it was written. This book is one of those light-hearted mysteries, so there's a lot of humour. A lot of geek humour, to be precise.

"I am a geek. Haven't you heard? Geek is the new chic."

"We sound like the makings of a limerick or a dirty joke. A detective, a security guy and a geek walk into a bar."

The subplots were interesting. Mia and the security head's banter was so enjoyable to read. Their chemistry was palpable, and I couldn't wait for the romance to begin!
No spoilers, but... that did not turn out the way I expected it to. Which is okay, because there's going to be a sequel (A Geek Girl's Guide to Arsenic), and I suppose all those dangling subplots will be developed then.

As for the ending, and the murder mystery reveal... damn! I had not seen that one coming until the last couple of chapters. Unfortunately, I realised who the killer was right before I had to leave for college, so I had to spend four hours barely able to comprehend the how and the why until I could come home and finish reading in peace.

I'm going to go with 3 stars out of 5 for this one.
A Geek Girl's Guide to Murder is witty, entertaining and full of well-developed characters, but it misses the mark when it comes to the actual murder mystery.
I'm very partial to books that have sequels, so I will definitely look forward to Spring 2016, when I can finally figure out what the hell happens with Jake and Mia and Nate and everybody else!

 

A Geek Girl's Guide to Murder will be available as an ebook on August 31st, 2015. If you're a sucker for books that are more funny than thrilling, pick this one up. 

Which book are you currently reading, Geeks? Right now, I'm enjoying Mansfield Park, Fortnight Before Dawn and The Power of Positive Thinking, all of which I will be reviewing as and when I'm done with them.
Have a great weekend!

Friday, 17 July 2015

'Come Sit By Me' by Thomas Hoobler: A Book Review


The boy who shot seven people in the school library is dead. But did his secrets die with him?
Something terrible happened at Hamilton High last year, and those who survived don't want to relive the past. But Paul has just arrived, and gets the same locker that the shooter used. He wants to know what really happened...and you know what curiosity did to the cat.


Note: I received an advance copy from the publishers via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Hello, Geeks!

I have this weird fascination with crime, psychoticism, trauma, and mystery. Put all those things together and what do you get? This book.

I'll admit that I requested this book for reviewing because it reminded me of one of my favourite books of all time (Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock). But a closer look told me that the only thing they have in common is the theme of high school shootouts. Still, I was excited to read this one.


Come Sit By Me is a very quick read. I finished it in less than a day, squeezing in a few hours every now and then in between my chores. And although the chapters themselves weren't particularly enticing - I don't think any chapter ends in a cliffhanger - I was still very reluctant to put this book down.

The theme of this book follows a philosophy that I hold very close to my heart: that people aren't born evil. There are always two sides to every story, even if it may be a murderer's story. 

Paul, the protagonist, is assigned the locker that belonged to Cale. Cale shot several people in the library a while ago, including himself, and the entire town has been on guard ever since then. And since our hero is a boy who's determined to stick his nose into everybody's business, he decided to investigate. As he braves the school year by making new friends, having new experiences, and uncovering buried secrets, he realises that people aren't always what they seem like... but is that realisation going to cost him his life?


The book is written well, and the writing fits the theme of the book. Here are couple of quotes that stood out:

"Writing is the only kind of work where you don't need to get out of your pajamas," he says.
I felt blood rushing through my head, behind my eyes. This was what it was like to kill. Cale had felt this way. Only... a turkey wasn't a person. If I had killed a real person, everything I was feeling now would be way more intense. You would feel so powerful that you would be like the king of the world. No matter how much people made fun of you."

I liked the way the story plays out, albeit at a slow pace, keeping in mind that Paul is a teenager who has other things on his mind other than Caleb. But by the halfway point, the key to the big mystery became very obvious to me, and it was slightly tiring to watch Paul struggle with answers that were staring him right in the face.
No spoilers, but part of this story is told in the murderer's perspective too, and I really enjoyed reading those parts and finding out that I had been right all along.


However, I do have a few complaints. The characters seem detached. Maybe it's the style of writing, and maybe it was intentional, but I didn't feel anything for any of the characters, not even the victims of this whole mystery. Paul was a very disjointed, numb protagonist. Geeks, you know I love a book that makes me cry buckets, but I didn't see any emotional development at any point in the novel.

Even during the climax of the novel, the characters acted almost robotically. It was a slight turn-off.

I'm going to go with 3.5 stars out of 5 for this one.
Come Sit By Me is perfect for those late-night book marathons, and although you'll play out the ending in your head several times, it's not something you'll look forward to reading again. But it's a good one-time read nonetheless. 

This book comes out on August 11th. If you enjoy suspense and mystery, pick this one up for sure!

See you next time, book Geeks. Bye!

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Pretty Little Liars 6x06 (No Stone Unturned): A Recap

With all signs pointing to Lesli as the tormentor in the hoodie, the PLLs are on a mission to get concrete proof before bringing their findings to the police. But as the girls ramp up their investigation, 'A’s' threats escalate.
Meanwhile, a friend of Emily’s makes her a surprising offer, and Spencer is pressured by her family to make an important decision.

After a one-week hiatus, PLL is back with - you guessed it - yet another filler episode where nothing substantial happens. Sigh.

Recap

The episode starts with the Liars talking about how Lesli Stone is obviously 'A'. Who else could it be? She has ties to Radley, Mona, Bethany and Charles, as well as reason enough to hate the Liars. Since there aren't any other suspicious characters on the show at the moment, it has to be Lesli, right?

Mr. DiLaurentis receives a surprising birthday card in the mail, and as Emily drives by on her cycle, he demands her to tell him whether she saw anyone near his mailbox. Hmm.


Back home, all signs point to the fact that Samily is going to be a thing soon. Yes, lovesick Emily rubs cream on Sara's back tattoo and helps her grunge out for her first day working with Caleb.  But it doesn't turn out to be a very productive day. Caleb teaches her tech stuff, they talk about feeling like outsiders, and then he leaves to get lunch.

Dean stops by with some brownies for Spencer, and she confides in him that she's hesitant about delivering her valedictorian speech. It's too soon for her to be able to talk about what happened in the dollhouse, and that's all her student community will be expecting from her. Dean tells her she doesn't have to do it if she doesn't want to. They make plans to meet during the stoner's meeting, but when Spencer arrives late because of Project Bring Lesli Down, Dean freaks out because he thought something had happened to her. "I can't see you anymore," he says, not because of her impunctuality, but because he has feelings for her in spite of her having a boyfriend (oh, right, Toby still exists. Damn).
Unfortunately, he leaves without kissing her. Huh. That's a first on this show.

Aria is still on edge around Clark, because a) he asked her out and she rejected him, b) she stole (borrowed?) his negatives, and c) he's somehow always around. When she returns to the junkyard with Emily to investigate, she finds an Aria doll with a knife stuck in its eye. Creepy, creepy.
Although she and Ezra are broken up, he comes over to give her the glowing recommendation letter he wrote for her photography contest, and they have a moment that's a little awkward for Aria to deal with, especially when he notices the creepy doll that's sitting in her house.


Hanna and Caleb are still at odds. She believes he's smothering her, he believes she's shutting him out, and Mrs. Marin believes they'll work things out.
Maybe mother does know best. The couple makes up - or rather, makes out - in the midst of another fight. Yay for Haleb!

Emily's supervisor from Haiti comes to see her to offer her the chance to work on a project in Thailand. Emily is hesitant at first, but realises that this could be a wonderful opportunity for her and Sara to get over their trauma.
But Sara, who almost got run over by a car that looks eerily like Lesli's, is reluctant to do anything that goes against her mother's wishes. And of course Emily doesn't want to leave Sara alone for the entire summer.

Meanwhile, with the help of the dumb blonde stereotype, Hanna charms a valet into thinking that she's lost the ticket to her car. What they find inside Lesli's car only increases their suspicion: she keeps animal cages in the trunk and owns over ten pairs of identical non-prescription glasses.
There are metal detectors in the office where she works - along with cage after cage of creepy animals - and that's when the Liars discover that they've been chipped in the back of the neck! That's how 'A' always knows where they are. They're being tracked. That's a new low, even for 'A'.

That's when Mona steps inside and tells them that Lesli has no vendetta against them. All she wanted was to keep her stint in Radley a secret. Besides, Charles couldn't possibly be dead. He escaped with Bethany the night Alison disappeared.

This is all too much for Aria, and she knows in her heart that she needs to talk to Ezra about this. But she spots Ezra having a lovely time with Emily's Australian supervisor at The Brew, and that seems to change her mind.

But on PLL, when one relationship ends, another one begins. Emily is checking for chip signs on Sara's neck when she wakes up, rolls over, and plants one on Em's lips. Well, well, well. It finally happened.

As the episode comes to an end, we see Mr. D furiously digging up Charles' grave. The card lies open on the ground. Looks like Charles is coming home for his birthday.


Thoughts

What was the point of this episode, other than to state the obvious? Charles isn't dead. Lesli isn't 'A'. Sara and Emily are hooking up. Caleb is still the perfect boyfriend. Aria stares at her reflection some more. More boys are in love with Spencer. Gah! Give us some answers!

Alison was nowhere to be seen this week, and neither was Lorenzo. Damn. He was growing on me.

And since Lesli isn't 'A', how could it be possible for her car to have followed Sara around? Sara is clearly lying. Emily's heart will break once more. Sigh.

Most Likely to be Charles This Week

Still Wren. Especially since he has the surgical skills to implant them with tracking devices.

I'm hoping next week's episode will be a game-changer. Four more episodes to go, and we know nothing. Buck up, PLL. You're supposed to bring your 'A' game. Literally.


What did you think about this week's episode? Disappointed? Excited? Furious? Feel free to rant in the comment section.
I'll see you next week, PLL Geeks. Bye!

Monday, 13 July 2015

'Pitch Perfect 2' Movie Review


After a humiliating command performance at Lincoln Center, the Barden Bellas enter an international competition that no American group has ever won in order to regain their status and right to perform.

I wasn't even aware that Pitch Perfect 2 was going to release in India. I had gone to the theatre because it's right next to the bookstore (yes, life is beautiful) and when I saw the movie schedules, my first reaction was:


Anyway, I'd seen the first Pitch Perfect movie a few months ago, and while I didn't love it, I liked the corny jokes, the song covers, the college setting, and most of all, Fat Amy. Fat Amy is life.

The Barden Bellas have become famous after winning the collegiate championships several years in a row (as famous as a capella singers can get, really), and have the honour of singing for President Obama on his birthday.
A wardrobe malfunction leads to the Bellas losing out on their championship status, as well as the possibility of having to disband the a capella group forever. But maybe if they win the international competition - a feat no American group has ever accomplished - they might have a shot at being reinstated.

The events of this movie happen a few years after the first one. It's the Bellas' final year in college, and after becoming a nationwide disgrace, they have to learn to move on from a capella and see what the future holds for them.


Beca is now secretly interning at a record company. Chloe, who I think was a senior in the first movie as well, has been failing her exams intentionally in order to remain a Bella. Fat Amy and Bumper have struck up a friends-with-benefits situation, and there's a new girl on campus, the daughter of a former Bella, who catches the eye of geeky magician Benji.

The main problem with Pitch Perfect 2 is that in spite of having so, so many subplots, there still isn't much that drives the story forward. The movie feels drawn-out and drags at several points, and although it's refreshing to see more complex friendships and relationships, the main plot line is almost non-existent. Another problem is that the movie ends on a sweeter-than-sugar note topped with a big red ribbon.

In contrast to what most critics said, I found this movie to be a little more entertaining than the former, probably because Fat Amy's character has a much bigger role. The collegiate a capella hosts are also given more footage, and a lot of their jokes are intentionally sexist or racist. That may or may not be the kind of humour you enjoy.


The music is incredible! An original piece is featured in the movie, called Flashlight, and I am absolutely in love with that song. A variety of popular a capella stars play cameos in the movie, and that only makes the music feel more alive and engaging. In this regard, the sequel outshines the original.

So although this movie is in no way as good as the original, although there really was no need for a sequel, although I did not approve of some of the new main characters, I still had a really good time laughing and smiling and even getting emotional towards the ending.
(Then again, I get emotional at the end of every movie. Never mind.)

I'm going to go with 3 stars out of 5 for this one. 
Pitch Perfect 2 is rowdy, unoriginal and somehow slow and rushed simultaneously, but it is also packed with quite a few laugh-out-loud moments and heartwarming music. Go watch this movie if you're bored and in dire need of cheese popcorn.



Have you seen Pitch Perfect 2, Geeks? How did you like it? Be sure to let me know in the comments below. 

Bye-bye!

Saturday, 11 July 2015

College, Take Two // Just a Random Update #7

Howdy, Geeks!

So... I'm in Mumbai again. It's still hard to believe that almost an entire year has gone by since I wrote my first random update. I named that one 'Bombay Blues', and as much as I hate to admit it, I've been feeling slightly out of place again.


Let's focus on the positives first, as is my practice. I recently moved into an apartment with some of my friends, and it's been incredible! The house looks beautiful, especially my room; my flatmates are wonderful, and I've had some of the best late-night girl talks of my life. The apartment is only about a kilometre from college, so I can walk whenever it doesn't rain, the market is even closer, and there's just so much beauty all around me.

I also recently started working at Noted, a start-up geared towards college students. So yes, I am finally getting paid for writing. And although it's a lot of work, juggling the blog, the content writing and my novels, it's work that I really enjoy, even though it's all so overwhelming sometimes.


I've actually been so busy with everything that I'm barely ever home. I have breakfast, I do my stretches, I take a shower, and then I'm outside until sundown. It's exhausting, to be honest. And as much as I love five a.m. mornings, I need to catch up on my sleep.

Oh, and I started an Instagram account for the blog! You can follow me for daily updates on gratitude, fitness, food, fashion and so much more. I don't have a lot of followers yet, but it's loads of fun.

Moving on to the the slight issue I've been having... look, I love fresh starts and clean slates and moving out of my comfort zone. But you know how difficult it is for me to make new friends, mostly because I don't want (or need) any.
Our divisions got shuffled, and now my second-year classmates are all new faces to me. I literally only know four or five people out of a class of almost sixty.

And when I'm out in the hallways, greeting my ex-classmates and chatting with old friends, it's so much... safer. And easier. And I know that I felt just as guilty about not wanting to socialise last year, and I know this is just a phase and I'll grow out of it, that my life outside the classroom is close to perfection, but... sometimes I really wish I had more social energy.

But the silver lining is that everybody seems to know me. It's just me who doesn't know them. That's still better than being unintentionally invisible, right? I just have a feeling everybody sees me as a female Mr. Darcy. And you Geeks know I'm the opposite of quiet or uptight or even rude. I'm the funniest person most people know.


Anyway, grumbling won't get me anywhere. It's time to make use of my newly installed WiFi and relax in comfy pajamas with my lovely Kindle.
See you later, Geeks. Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, 3 July 2015

What I Really Did This Summer // Just a Random Update #6

Howdy there, Geeks.


So about a week into the summer holidays, I wrote about my summer to-do list. You've probably heard that I'm a super-productive, focused, goal-oriented individual who enjoys making lists and getting things done.
And you are absolutely right.

However, I have discovered that the lazy, calming aura associated with summer vacation may just be the kryptonite to my geekie Superman.

Here are the nine things I wanted to be done with by the fourth of July. Let's see how I've fared.

1) Finish My Novel:

Well, if it makes anyone feel better, I've written over 20,000 words since May, but Not That Kind of Girl is barely close to being finished.
I also procrastinated a lot by writing chapters of other books without finishing this one. I guess my planning didn't go so well here, but in my defence, setting too many writing goals isn't very smart. It blocks out creativity. (And, um, laziness. Except in this case.)

2) Get Fitter:
Well, I can now get through a twenty minute, high-intensity cardio dance workout without collapsing, so that's a good sign. And I'm still not very comfortable lifting 3 kgs, but it's getting easier and easier as the days go by. So... check!

3) Become Fluent in French:
Malheureusement, il ne sera pas possible.
But I tried! I started using Duolingo again. I watched French trailers. I watched The Amazing Spider-Man and Catching Fire en français!
It's just difficult to get enthusiastic when you're at home. The stress-induced environment that I need to function just doesn't exist here.
(It's a bad excuse, I know. Sorry.)


4) Learn How to Drive:

I didn't even sit behind the steering wheel. Look, I may be nineteen, but I don't have a car in Mumbai. There's ample public transportation available there. I'm not planning a road trip anytime soon. So I didn't even sign up for driving lessons.
Also, I might be a little afraid for my own life. And the lives of others.


5) Be Able to Cook for Self:
I can now make toast, steamed vegetables, anything that only requires a microwave, and eggs. I won't be auditioning for Master Chef in the foreseeable future, but I'll at least be able to make myself breakfast and lunch. Fair enough. Check!

6) Self-Development:

I was supposed to work on five or six online courses. I didn't. I started a few, got bored because there were no deadlines, and quit them. I played Pokemon instead and became the Indigo League Champion, so at least I wasn't entirely useless. 

7) Read, Read, and Read Some More:
I wanted to bring my reading goal up to thirty-five books before college started. According to Goodreads, I have read thirty-six. Yay for books! Check. 

8) Be Happy:

Although I'm only writing five things in my Gratitude Journal every day, I'm also writing down the reasons why I'm grateful for them, which is actually a better technique in the long run. I've also been listening to binaural meditation music for some added peace, practising visualisation, and reading up on Zen Buddhism. Check.

9) Lucid Dreaming:
I'm proud to say that I've had not one, not two, but three lucid dreams in the past two months. But... (of course there's always a 'but'), they only lasted a few seconds and I was unable to control them. Probably because of lack of experience and confidence in my dreammaking abilities. Hmm. Check!
___________________________________________________________________

Five out of nine. Not bad, huh?

Anyway, I'm leaving for Mumbai tomorrow, and I'm going to be living in an apartment with some classmates. Hopefully I won't burn the house down if I ever try to cook. I'm not sure about my WiFi situation yet, so I might have to take a small hiatus from blogging.

So make sure you're following me on Facebook and Instagram for fun updates. I am a very entertaining person, you know.

I shall see you in a few days, Geeks. Have a great day!