Saturday, 21 October 2017

'Turtles All the Way Down' by John Green: A Book Review

Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

'That Kind of Love' by Lorna Baldwin: A Book Review

He's gonna (spring) break my heart.

Lars Spencer is bad news incarnate. Too handsome for his own good, too rich to comprehend, and way too close to home. The last time I saw him, his brother was marrying my best friend. And that night, he proved that his playboy ways know no limits. He’s a pig, and I’m saving myself for a prince. I have no business crushing on him...but my silly, stubborn heart didn't get the memo.

So when we end up on the same Spring Break booze cruise, I make myself a promise: we'll just be friends. No matter what. Even if he makes me laugh. Even if he actually listens to me when I talk. Even if he makes my heart race and my body tingle. Because I know how he treats women, and I know I wouldn’t survive the Spencer treatment.

Then again, this trip is supposed to be about pushing my boundaries, letting go, and facing my fears. Trust me on this: loving Lars Spencer is downright terrifying.
Is he really changing his ways, or am I just cruising for trouble?

Note: I received an advance reader copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are entirely my own. 

There's just something about playboy billionaire romances, isn't there? Maybe it's the whole redemption factor, or the usual enemies-to-lovers trope that I absolutely adore, or maybe it's just because playboy billionaires are - let's face it - extremely attractive. 

Either way, That Kind of Love follows a similar storyline: girl meets billionaire playboy, they start off on the wrong note, eventually fall in love, but his billionaire status makes things difficult. There's a little twist in there that makes things slightly different, though, which I loved.

What I liked best about That Kind of Love is the way the book is written. It's light-hearted and funny, like most other romances out there, but also has two POVs, of Lars and Imani (although the blurb makes it seem as though it's all Imani), with the voices so distinct that you can really tell which protagonist is telling the story without even reading the title of the chapter. 

There are plenty of LOL moments that absolutely made me love Lars's character (I have a soft spot for bad boy billionaires in any case, but still), and the way the love scenes between Lars and Imani are written is electrifying. Their chemistry is wonderful, and that's one of the things that carried me through the novel.
His hand crawled across the seat until it found mine, fingers twining together like an exotic, unique, one-of-a-kind type of lace. Something fragile, something that needed to be taken care of. Something to be treasured. There was a four-letter word on my tongue, and it wasn't the kind that would get me in trouble with Mom.

That being said, the supporting characters didn't seem to have much to do, apart from one or two. There wasn't any subplot involving any of them, which is probably because this is a short novel and there isn't much time to delve deep into their lives. That's fine, but I was still looking forward to something more. 

Speaking of something more, there was definitely something... missing from the novel. I can't put my finger on it, but the first half didn't make me squeal as much as I'd expected it to. The second half made up for the slow start, for sure, but even then, the book and the characters didn't resonate with me so much. 

The punctuation was a little off in some places, and that kind of jarred me. But hey, proofreading is a tricky job sometimes. I'll let it slide. 

However, I did enjoy reading this book, and I'm glad I got the opportunity to.
I thought of the whales, singing to each other, searching for each other. And us. And how maybe we didn't need to search anymore.
I'm going to go with 3.5 stars out of 5 for this one. 

That Kind of Love is funny, charming and romantic, just like its protagonist Lars, but leaves you wishing for and wanting a little more when you finally close the book and let out a breath.

Are you planning on picking this book up, Geeks? If you've already read it, comment down below and let me know your thoughts. And authors, if you want me to review your book, email me here!

See you soon, Geeks. :)

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Suicide. It's Not a Bad Word.

Suicide. The word that makes every gaze drop to the floor, makes every person uncomfortable, makes every person abruptly change the topic because they have nothing to say on the matter.

Well, I do. 

Tomorrow (the 10th of September) is World Suicide Prevention Day. And although every day should be suicide prevention day, tomorrow is the day when mental health advocates come together to remind people that yes, suicide is a real thing, and it's something that needs attention and awareness. 

I don't know how many of you reading this have had suicidal thoughts in the past or at the moment (and no, I'm not talking about the jokes you make about how life sucks and how being dead would be better - trust me, I've seen these memes on the internet, and they are an insult to suicide awareness), but I can tell you that I've been there. I've been there. 

A month ago, I was there

My faithful Geeks, the followers of my blog, might know that I've been battling a few mental health issues over the past two years. I won't go into the details, and I won't label them, because I've come to realise that labelling them only makes me see myself as a psychiatric patient, and I'm so much more than that. 

And so are you, dear reader.

A lot of shitty things happened to me in 2016, and that only furthered my suicidal thoughts. Every depressive episode I had led to suicidal ideation, and I had pretty much accepted it as my fate. I'd accepted that this was who I was, a victim to mental illness, and save for taking my meds and going to therapy, I had no other saving grave. 

I never thought, once, to think of myself as a warrior. No, all I did was shun myself, blame myself, and hate myself for it. Worse still, I thought being suicidal and depressed defined me. I wasn't 'me' anymore. I was the depressed, bipolar, borderline chick. 

But to hell with that. I'm Swati the Geek! Always have been, always will be. And it's that revelation that has helped me become who I am today. A survivor.

The thing that's changed about me in the past month - yes, in just a month - is that I've stopped seeing myself as a helpless victim. Instead, I've started seeing myself as my own doctor. I still see my psychiatrist and therapist, and of course, I'm still on meds. But that isn't the end of it. I needed to treat my own self in order to get better. And that's what I did. 

It wasn't easy, for sure, to change my attitude or my mentality. It can be quite a struggle for people who have intrusive thoughts. You feel powerless and out of control. You feel like this is it, this is what the rest of your life is going to be like. I'm here to tell you that it isn't true, not in the slightest. 

What I started doing was believing in myself. In the Universe (I'm an atheist, so I don't believe in God, but I do believe there's a higher power out there, vibrational energy, guiding us all. If you don't believe in it, just stick to believing in yourself). I started believing in a better future. 

A few positivity practices helped me along this one-month journey. I start my day by writing what I look forward to. I write five things I'm grateful for every morning. I recite my positive affirmations that make me feel confident, productive, attractive and happy. I listen to vibrational binaural or isochronic beats that help me tune into my energy. I end the day by jotting down all the positive things that have happened today. It can be something as big as getting a publishing contract (though that hasn't happened to me... yet) or something as small as finding a shiny, pretty pebble on the road. Anything that makes you smile or feel better, even while you're depressed, counts.

These are the things that have worked wonders for me. I don't know if they'll work for you; we won't know unless you try. God, I hope they work for you. And if not, I hope you find the right approach with the help of your doctors, friends and family, but most importantly, yourself. 

Remember that if you've been having suicidal thoughts lately, help is always available. You can find a great doctor within your budget on websites like Practo. You can always talk to a dear friend, mentor or parent, but I cannot stress upon the importance of seeking professional help. Medication may help to a certain extent, but the rest is all on you. Don't worry, I'm positive you can do it. 

Comment down below and let me know what are the two things you're grateful for this morning. Or if you're reading this at night, what are the two positive things that happened today? Affirm something for me. I'll go first: 

(what I'm looking forward to today)
1) Therapy with Dr. Anjali
2) Finishing work on my three manuscripts to be beta read and edited

(an excerpt from my gratitude journal, an app called Bliss, this morning)
1) I'm so grateful my working speed has picked up. My turnaround time has reduced considerably, and it's making my clients so happy. I'm so lucky!
2) I'm so grateful for my supportive family. They always side with me when I'm right. I'm so lucky!

(two of my favourite affirmations)
1) Every day I am becoming more and more positive. 
2) Wealth is constantly flowing in every day!

(an excerpt from last night's positivity list)
1) Wrote 1,000 words of Beating Heart
2) Great arm and upper body workout

Also let me know what kind of posts you like reading. More on mental health? More book reviews? More personal stuff? More philosophical ramblings? I love hearing your thoughts.

See you soon, Geeks. :)

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Why Your Money Mindset is All Wrong + Five Steps to Change It

Have you heard about the Pareto principle, Geeks? It's the 80/20 rule that says that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Sounds pretty simple, right? If we apply this to money and income generation, we can say that 80% of the world's money is earned by 20% of the population.
The crème de la crème of society take up a huge chunk of the metaphorical 'cake', leaving the 'rest of us' scrambling for a sliver of a slice. Because it's all about luck and taking advantage of poor people, right?

Well, if that's what you believe... no wonder you're only destined for a slice.

See, the thing is, it's not about your goals, it's about your attitude. What I mean by this is if you're always complaining about how rich people only get rich by exploiting others, you're inherently implying that to be rich, you'd have to exploit someone. You wouldn't want to do that, would you?

And hence you don't get rich.

Do you see what I mean?  It's all about the psychology behind it. There's a difference in the way poor people and rich people see money, and that's the reason some people never make it big in life. I used to be the same way, and I'm sure most of you are. Growing up, the media and society teaches us that money is bad. It makes you a spoilt, bratty person. It makes you hurt other people in order to rise to the top. Haven't we all heard this before?

Friday, 11 August 2017

'Touched by Death' by T.L. Martin: A Book Review


What if Death was more tempting than you had ever imagined?
With Grams's recent passing and a boyfriend who cares more about his next drink than her, Lou Adaire only wants to run. To start over somewhere new — maybe in a town where her family has history.
But when a storm sends Lou’s truck plunging into Tuttle Creek Lake, she discovers exactly what it’s like to fight for your life. To gasp for air only to have your lungs fill with icy water. To die.
What comes next changes everything.
Dark eyes. Consuming presence.
Death. As vague as a dream yet as intense as the lightning flashing above her still heart.
Everything about him calls out to her, tugging at her with the warm vibration of his pull. He’s supposed to take her; they both know it. She wants him to.
When she wakes in the hospital in a new town, she can’t forget what she saw. That impossible sensation of him breathing life back into her, a strong beat playing in her chest and a flutter running down her spine.
Trying to move on with her life in a foreign place is hard enough, but when he comes back for more — his burning touch against her skin, his consuming presence weaving in and out of her life, and his own scars running far deeper than hers — Lou begins to realize there’s more to Death, and to the sleepy Kansas town, than she ever expected to find.
Lou lived. But what if she’s not the only one in need of saving?

Note: I was asked to beta read and review this book by the author after a copy was provided to me. All opinions and thoughts are honest and entirely my own.