Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Busy Bee // Just a Random Update #2

Hello, dear Geeks!

Happy Diwali to all those who celebrate this lovely festival. My family actually doesn't, unless you count eating sweets as celebrating Diwali, in which case we do.
So I'm home right now, in Hyderabad, and I'm actually rather bored. I guess I kind of miss my life in Mumbai, because at least there I know what I'm supposed to do. My days aren't this... empty.

Life has been very hectic. I've got so many group projects to do - and you all know how much I hate working with other people! Not to mention the fact that our finals are coming up next month and I haven't started studying, and that I've completely lost touch with my French, German and Kannada.... so I've decided to drop a few of my online courses and focus on only two courses at a time: one on Coursera and one in college. Otherwise, I'm just going to explode.

Since my first random update post in July, things have changed. I've made a couple of friends. There's my fandom friend (Harry Potter, THG, Pokemon, Spidey, Divergent - boo yeah!), my first-bench friend, my girl-talk friend, my 'what's up' friend, my annoying friend... I'm not strictly part of a group of friends yet, but this is more than enough. :)

I have lost touch with my school friends, though. Not counting my two best friends, I don't really talk to anyone from home. And the funny thing is, I don't miss them as much as I thought I would. I guess some friendships aren't meant to last forever.

I've decided to give more time to my writing. I finished my first novel in the summer, as you may have heard on my Facebook page, and I'm actually done with about a hundred pages of another one! I think writing and blogging should help me deal with the stress of college and studies.

In other news, I recently did this:

Yes, I cut off my hair. I guess I needed a fresh start in terms of my appearance. I've had long hair for too many years, after all. I can't make any fancy braids anymore, though, so about one-third of my Youtube subscriptions are going to go to waste.

I've been taking great care of my body lately. I gained 4 kgs in the three months since college started thanks to my workouts. I'm hoping to gain a few more kilos and then maintain that weight. And I've been eating healthier (not counting Sunday, which is Junk Food Day. Because only pizza can make me forget about the upcoming Monday morning blues.)

(This reminds me: if any of you are from Mumbai, check out Joey's Pizza. A hundred times better than Domino's or Pizza Hut, and affordable, too!)

Oh, and Mockingjay Part 1 comes out in just a month!!!! I'm almost finished with my fourth or fifth re-read of the Potter books, so I'm going to re-read The Hunger Games next, just in time for the movie. If you haven't already, check out the trailer here:

Think I'll do a book review or a grammar post soon.... until then, bye-bye! Have a safe Diwali, gang!

Don't do that. XD

Sunday, 12 October 2014

'In Your Dreams (Blue Heron #4)' by Kristan Higgins: A Book Review

Everyone loves Jack Holland, but Emmaline Neal needs him.
Her ex-fiancé is getting married in Malibu and, obviously, she can't go to the wedding alone. In Manningsport, New York, tall, blond and gorgeous Jack Holland is practically a cottage industry when it comes to rescuing desperate women. He knows the drill, Em figures, so he won't get the wrong idea. 
What Jack needs is an excuse to leave town. Ever since rescuing four teenagers from a car wreck, he's been hailed as a hero and the attention is making him itchy, especially since his too-pretty ex-wife is back, angling for a reunion. He's always liked Emmaline. She needs a weekend date? No problem. 
So when they wind up in bed together, Em chalks it up to red wine and chocolate cake, just one impulsive night not to be repeated. But Jack's pushing for more, and if she lets down her guard, either she'll get her heart crushed again, or discover that Jack's worth more than just dreaming about.

I previously reviewed The Perfect Match, the second novel in the Blue Heron series by Kristan Higgins. This one, In Your Dreams, is actually the fourth one. Although I liked Waiting on You (Blue Heron #3), I didn't review it because of reasons I can't quite remember.

Anyway, In Your Dreams talks about the love story of Jack Holland, the town's knight in shining armour, and Emmaline Vance, the local cop who doesn't need saving from anyone - except maybe when it comes to her ex-fiancé's wedding with the woman who ruined their relationship.

The first half of the novel is all about Emmaline and Jack's past, the wedding of the aforementioned fiancé, and the chemistry that slowly starts to develop between our two heroes. The second half is all about the what-ifs of their relationship.

As I've mentioned in the review for The Perfect Match, Kristan Higgins has a flair for writing flashback chapters. The chapters about Emmaline and Kevin's friendship-turned-relationship-turned-breakup and Jack and Hadley's failed marriage are simply so well-written, emotionally powerful and captivating that I still want to reread them.

The big lead-up to Emmaline and Jack's first night together is, in true Higgins fashion, incredible.

But I felt like the novel went slightly downhill from there.

I enjoy reading about the supporting characters. A novel shouldn't have just one storyline, after all - there need to be a few secondary plots as well. But maybe In Your Dreams exceeded the limit by just a little bit. From the teenagers' accident to the local school's at-risk students to Jack's ex-wife to Emmaline's sister to the Holland family's personal subplot... the book started to seem less like a romance and more like a family drama.

The few scenes between Jack and Emmaline just weren't enough. As a reader, I couldn't really enjoy the pace of their relationship. I'd like it if the supporting plots were cut down and some more Jack-and-Emmaline moments were added.

The book is hilarious, and there were a few moments, especially at the beginning, where I had to control my laughter so my roommates wouldn't think I was mental.

Some romantic moments are definitely crackling with electricity, and I enjoyed the fact that this novel has no real 'villains'.

But to be honest, I'm getting a little tired of The Blue Heron's characters. It seems like now, in every book, we're being reminded of Faith-and-Levi, Honor-and-Tom, Colleen-and-Lucas, and all their mini-storylines. I get that this is for the newcomers to the series, but... reading about some other characters would be interesting.

I think the next book in this series is coming out next year - it's the story of Colleen's brother, Connor (and I'm not too sure of his love interest) - but I'm hoping that it's the last one. As much as I love the idea of Manningsport, New York, I also love the idea of new towns and cities as the setting for the next Higgins novel.

I'm going to go with 3 stars out of 5 for this one. 

A very promising start, but a middle and end that somewhat plateaued. Still, I've got my hopes high for the next Higgins book that comes my way. Until then, I'm going to read one of her other novels and dream about true love and eternal happiness.

See you next week, Geeks! :)

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Harry Potter & The Hunger Games GIF Challenge!

Howdy, darling Geeks!
So I came across this fun challenge on Tumblr, and I thought I'd give it a shot since I have over one thousand GIFs.
So the two themes of today's challenge are Harry Potter and The Hunger Games. I'm going to randomly select GIFs from my collection and use them as a reaction to the various situations that I will be presented with.
There are going to be zillions of GIFs on this blog post, so make sure you have a stable internet connection before proceeding.
Also, tons of spoilers for the entire HP series. Read the books and then read this post.

Let's start with... the boy who lived. Harry Potter!
Using every sixth GIF in my folder:

When you discover you're a witch:

But.... this is my dream! What parallel universe is this, where I actually don't want to be a witch?!

When you get the letter from Hogwarts:

Damn you, SRK. 

Say goodbye to family and friends:

I will miss you... Muggles. *snicker*

First thing you do on the train:

So I congratulate pilots? This does not make sense.

Seeing Harry Potter for the first time:

Wow. That escalated quickly.
Am I going to become a Death Eater in this universe?

When Harry invites you to join him, Hermione, and Ron:

 Oh, yeah! A Romione shipper till I die. Go away, Harry.

When you enter the Great Hall:

Okay? That's it?
Maybe I'm rendered speechless and 'okay' is all I can say. While sipping champagne.

When your name is called to be Sorted:

Hufflepuff, here I come! :D

Your reaction to your greetings:

Well, I don't like attention...

What you do most of the time:

I do hate breaking the rules. Damn, Hermione and I would get along really well...

When you have your first adventure:

My first adventure takes place inside my head. What better way is there to enjoy?

What you do when you hear about the Basilisk:


When you see Hermione in the hospital wing:

... Okay, I guess Hermione and I don't get along.

Your reaction when someone asks you to the Yule Ball:

That is very accurate.

When you fight against the Death Eaters: 

This is scary! I do not like this. I repeat: I do not like this!!
Your reaction to Voldemort:

I'm a little scared of myself right now.

When you see Sirius die:

Bow wow, old friend. Bow wow. 

Your reaction to Dumbledore’s death:

I'm so traumatized that all I can do is read and eat? Or maybe I just don't care, because eating and reading is all I usually do, anyway. 

How you fight against the Death Eaters at Hogwarts:

I shall fight until my last breath! #BadgerPride

Your reaction to Voldemort’s death:

Or rather, "Bye! It's so good to not see you!"

What you do for the rest of your life:

Ugh. People annoying me.
This, too, is accurate.

And that is how my life will be spent as a witch at Hogwarts. Not bad, although I don't really like myself in that world. Happy about Hermione being Petrified? Excited about Voldemort coming back to life?
Well, at least I helped out in the Battle of Hogwarts. That makes up for everything... right? Right?

 On to... The Hunger Games! Surprisingly, this one doesn't have any spoilers for the series, as long as you know how the Games work.
Moving on, using every 4th GIF in my folder:

You at the morning of the reaping:

I'm 100% sure my name's not going to be reaped. Oh, and I'm a sadist.

You waiting for the names to be called:

Still a sadist...

When your name is called:

Stop daydreaming about Hogwarts, Hegde!!! Also, you're going to die. 

When you find out who the other tribute is:

I guess we're not going to be allies, huh?

Saying goodbye to your family:

"So don't worry, Amma! I'll get a lot of sponsors!"

First thing you do on the tribute train:

I pretend like I'm not a know-it-all?

Reaction to other tributes:

I am certain of my own death.

What you think of your mentor:

Is this a semi-Divergent crossover?

What you think of the capitol:

Getting closer to my death...

What you think of your stylist:

Wow. Guess Cinna isn't my stylist in this universe.

You during the tributes parade:

No wonder I hate my stylist!

You during training:

I have no life-saving talents. What am I supposed to do???

Reaction to your training score:

I'll take what I can get, thanks.

During your interview:

Okay, that's not going to win me any points. But hey, Caesar Flickerman probably pissed me off.

How do you spend your night before the games:

Wow, I'm actually excited about this.

Waiting in the launch room:


You during the bloodbath at the cornucopia:

Eh, well. Life goes on... or not. 

Reaction when someone asks to be allies:

"Only one of us can survive. Why are you doing this?"

What you do for most of the games:

I pretend to be dead and then sneak up on my victim. Smart, aren't I?

The first time you kill someone:

Am I a bad person?

When the other tribute from your district dies:

I really did hate him, didn't I? Well, RIP, dead boy.

How you feel when you win:

Oh, yeah.

How you greet your stylist and mentor:

Get me some books to read! And some food to eat!

Watching the replay of the games:

Okay, I am definitely a bad person.

First thing you do when you get home:

... I'm just speechless.

I really hate myself as a tribute. I'm glad the Hunger Games aren't a real thing, or I'd be a total bitch.

Anyway, so that was the GIF challenge. Fun, right? Let me know if you'd like me to do more such challenges. And hey, if you have a blog or a Tumblr, be sure to do this challenge and send me a link.

GIFs are the best, aren't they?

Until next time! :)