Sunday, 1 May 2016

My Favourite YouTubers // 2016

Hey, Geeks!
Sorry for having been MIA this entire month. I had finals, and my state of mind wasn't calm enough to return to writing.

Anyway, I've recently fallen in love with so many YouTubers. Each one of them has something different - and special - to offer to me. Keep reading to find out which ones made the cut this year!

Sunday, 13 March 2016

'When the Time Comes to Light a Fire (Gem City #3)' by Nicole Campbell: A Book Review

There comes a time in every girl’s life when she is forced to pose a troubling question:
What have I done?
Sixteen-year old Vanessa Roberts is quickly learning how to deal with her annoying pretty-boy lab partner, her incredibly ADD best friend, and the seemingly widening gap between her and her mother. Zack Roads should have been everything she deserved. He is more than just a nice distraction; he is also the cause for every envious glance shot Vanessa’s way as she enters her sophomore year at Gem City High. What happens when she finds herself amidst a storm of hope, regret, and the danger of losing herself along the way? 

Note: I received an advance copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thanks so much, Nicole!

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

How I Cope With My Depression!

A few weeks ago, I got up-close and personal with you Geeks about my mental illness. Well, there have been several interesting developments on that front, one of which is that I'm probably halfway on the road to recovery! My therapist says around six months ought to do it, so I'm really grateful I decided to get treatment. 

We'd initially thought that my depression was a result of bipolar disorder, but since I've been recovering without the aid of mood stabilisers, my diagnosis has changed back to regular depression. I'm still not sure why it's episodic in nature, though, just like bipolar disorder. 

So I've been undergoing verbal therapy at the moment along with a small dose of anti-depressants, and today I'm going to tell you everything that I do in a day to fight depression. Let's get started.

5:30 am
This is when I wake up. Of course, I used to be a solid 5 am morning person, but  lately it's been hard to even get out of bed. But I have college in two hours, so wake up I must.
As soon as I get up, I remind myself that I am happy, and then I think of one positive quality that I have: I'm smart, pretty, kind, resilient, hardworking... depends on the day. Sometimes I try to attach it to a situation that happened recently, just so it's really set into my head. This is to combat my self-esteem issues.

7 am
It's starting to get humid and hot in Mumbai, so I might have to switch my walking to the evenings, but for now I like to walk to college with my earphones plugged in and my mood as stable as possible. Music really helps to calm me down and add some pep to my step at the same time. College is about twenty minutes away from home, so walking is a great way for me to get started with my daily workout routine. 

3 pm
It's time for my daily workout. Currently, I'm following Cassey Ho's POP Pilates March workout calendar. You can check out her YouTube channel here.
I like how positive and energetic Cassey and her videos are. Plus, following a workout calendar keeps me in check and helps me stick to my schedule. I feel like that's really important for me at this stage, because when I'm not busy, or when I have nothing to do, I find myself starting to go downhill again.

Whenever I'm Depressed
Throughout the day, whenever I hit a low mood, or just a bump in the road, I close my eyes, take ten deep breaths, and remind myself that what I'm experiencing is not real. My emotional instability will not continue forever, and my trauma will soon end. This is a cognitive behavioural technique to put an end to my cyclical negative thoughts and put in positive thoughts, because positive thoughts lead to positive behaviour.

5 pm
It's time for me to take my medicine and have a snack! If any fellow mental health warriors are wondering, I'm currently on Amisulpride 200mg and Abilify 10mg, but my dosage usually changes every week depending on my progress (or lack thereof).

6 pm
I like listening to music and singing along in the shower. I find that music really helps turn an otherwise boring ten minutes into something that could be the highlight of my day on the bad days.

8 pm
After dinner, I like to take out my colouring book and do some old-fashioned colour pencil colouring! Colours brighten my mood and stop me from overthinking things. It's also a nice way to unleash my creative potential without having to use my brain too much. It's very, very therapeutic, and I often find myself looking forward to the end of the day so I can sit down and colour.
A photo posted by Swati Hegde (@geekiechicblog) on

10 pm
It's bedtime! Before going to bed, I think of one good thing that happened the entire day, write it down on a piece of paper, and put it into my jar of Coping Resources, which I've labelled Reasons to Live. When I'm feeling particularly depressed or suicidal, I like to take out a couple of notes from this jar to remind myself that there are enough things in my life to keep me afloat.

So there are the things that I do to keep stable. There are other things, too, like studying Psychology, freelance editing, writing, reading and watching superhero shows that keep me happy and healthy, but I'd do them irrespective of my mental stability.

What are the things you do to keep yourself happy and healthy?  If you have a mental illness and you're comfortable talking about it, do let me know about your road to recovery. Remember that I'm always here to talk if you need me, Geeks.

I'll see you next time. Bye! :)

Sunday, 21 February 2016

'In Real Life' by Jessica Love: A Book Review

Hannah Cho and Nick Cooper have been best friends since 8th grade. They talk for hours on the phone, regularly shower each other with presents, and know everything there is to know about one another.
There's just one problem: Hannah and Nick have never actually met.
Hannah has spent her entire life doing what she's supposed to, but when her senior year spring break plans get ruined by a rule-breaker, she decides to break a rule or two herself. She impulsively decides to road trip to Vegas, her older sister and BFF in tow, to surprise Nick and finally declare her more-than-friend feelings for him.
Hannah's romantic gesture backfires when she gets to Vegas and meets Nick's girlfriend, whom he failed to mention. And it turns out his relationship status isn't the only thing he's been lying to her about. Hannah knows the real Nick can't be that different from the online Nick she knows and loves, but now she only has one night in Sin City to figure out what her feelings for Nick really are, all while discovering how life can change when you break the rules every now and then.  

Thursday, 18 February 2016

'Famous in Love (Famous in Love #1)' by Rebecca Serle: A Book Review

She fell in love with him in the books - now she has the chance to star opposite him in the film...
Paige doesn't think she's particularly special, but after getting the starring role in a massive film adaptation of the bestselling Locked trilogy, the rest of the world would disagree. Now she's thrown into the spotlight, and into a world of gossip, rumour and deceit. The only people who know what she's going through are her two male co-stars, and they can't stand the sight of each other. Paige knows it's a mistake to fall in love on the set of a movie, but days of on-screen romance and intensity start to change her mind. The question is, can she keep what happens behind the scenes a secret when the world is watching her every move?

Okay. This book. Wow.

Ordinarily, I wouldn't be this affected by a clichéd young adult romance about the glitz and the glamour of Hollywood actors' lives. Ordinarily, I wouldn't be consumed by this need to read the book end-to-end and turn the pages (figuratively, I read on a Kindle) with so much fervour.

But I suppose this is no ordinary book.

Famous in Love is a literal title. Paige Townsen, a small-town girl, gets picked to star in the movie adaptation of a bestselling novel. That's when she meets her perfect Hollywood hero, Rainer Devon, a blonde, blue-eyed star who can turn you into a puddle of goo with just one smile. And things seem to be going great. She's into him, he's fallen for her, and her acting skills, while on edge, aren't abysmal. 

And then enters the real hero of the story. Ladies and gentlemen, your characteristic bad boy filmstar, Jordan Wilder, comes into the picture to steal her heart and all her senses and make her the best actress she's even been. 
When we touch, I feel it again. Like the final puzzle piece snapped down into place. But it doesn't matter now. It's like an umbrella in the middle of a rainstorm after you're already wet. It's exactly what you need, what you want, but it's come too late. 

Love triangles are a guilty pleasure of mine. Insta-love is not. But even though Paige's relationship with both boys - but especially Jordan - borders on insta-love, I found myself desperately in love with the way romance is written in this novel. Rebecca has some talent. This book is both age-appropriate and sexy at the same time, something I haven't seen in a lot of good young adult romance. 

Of course, I'm Team Jordan, if anyone's asking, and I'm already sure he's the one she picks (the girl always picks the second guy. Always. Um, except in Twilight.), because Jordan Wilder is bruised, damaged, guarded and utterly swoonworthy. What more does a girl want?

I didn't care much for Paige's friends back home - they just seemed like background noise, to be very honest - although I did enjoy reading about her family and the trinkets store she works at. I'm also guilty of loving Bollywood and Hollywood gossip in the past, and of wondering about the lifestyle famous people might lead (and yes, fantasising about being famous myself one day, though being in the spotlight terrifies me, which may be why I have a blog and not a YouTube channel), so this book was definitely of interest to me. 

Rebecca Serle seems to use a lot of metaphors, but she picked just the right amount to avoid falling into John Green territory. I loved the clever wordplay, the way she sparked chemistry between Jordan and Paige (I don't care about Rainer. Yawn.), and just the way she wrote the thoughts running through the protagonist's head.

People always say that there are a million ways to solve a problem, that no question has a black-and-white answer. It's not true. There are, at any moment, only two courses of action. The one that leads you toward something - stardom, love, disaster - or the one that leads you away from it. And at any moment, in any instant, you have to do your best to know which is which.

There wasn't a lot of plot, so to speak, since the story only follows the timeline of the first movie's shooting, but there wasn't a moment where I felt bored. I was sucked into the word of Famous in Love (I even dreamt about it last night, and that very rarely happens to me with books) and I didn't want to come out. 

I'm going to go with 4 stars out of 5 for this one. 
Famous in Love is clichéd and occasionally cringe-y, yes, but it is also power-packed with mighty chemistry, surprising plot twists and the kind of gossip you can only find in tabloids. A must-read for anyone who loves the odd combination of romance and celebrity magazines. 

I'm off to search for the next book in the series, Geeks! I doubt I'll have time to read it this week, since I'm busy with some beta reading and ARC reviewing, but a girl can hope, right? 
If you've read Famous in Love, tell me in the comments below what you thought of it. Which guy do you think she'll settle for in the end? And are you excited about the TV show that's apparently starring Bella Thorne? 

See you soon. Bye! :)