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!