Tag Archives: school

A fantastic thriller: Good Girls Lie

Good Girls Lie by J. T Ellison was my first read of 2020. I really enjoyed this book and it ended up being a 3.75 star read for me. It was an amazing thriller!

Good girls lie
Good Girls Lie by J. T. Ellison

In my stop today for this blog tour of GOOD GIRLS LIE, by HarperCollins, I’m sharing my review of this amazing read!

An atmospheric thriller

The synopsis was very interesting firstly and drew me in with a moth to a flame. On that note, there are many spider metaphors in the book that kind of creeped me out. Moreover, I love the atmospheric setting of the book.

Shifts in narration

However, when there were shifts between certain two figures (I dare not give any spoilers but if you have read the book you will understand) and I would get kind of confused as to who is who. This specific thing took me some time to get used to and when they happened I admit I get a bit frazzled and confused.

A thrilling setting

Apart from this small fact, I enjoyed this book. The whole private boarding school, which is exclusively for girls – all of them privileged – was a delicious setting. The dynamics and hierarchy among the girls – both good and bad – felt very real and in a way, a bit sad. Why do girls see other girls as competition and create problems for them? Why not build each other up?

Character growth

 I think that the character of Ash could have grown a bit more. Compared to the length of the novel and the time span in it, she could have been a bit more developed by the end. I love the secret societies vibe that permeates throughout. SInce I have always wanted to be a huge old mansion full of secret pathways and tunnels and hence, I lived through each and every moment while those girls were traveling along with them. Of course, the hazing was cruel and unfair and extreme.

Verdict

The truth kept dangling just in front of me and I tried to grab on to it but only towards the end did I finally start to piece together what was actually the situation here. I really enjoyed the book and the whole secret societies vibe makes me want to pick up Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo ASAP!

Check out the books on Goodreads and Amazon!

You can also check out the best books I read in 2019!

Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte, 1847

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Publishers: Maple Press
Genre: Gothic fiction/Classic
Format: Paperback
 
Synopsis:
 Wuthering Heights is a wild, passionate story of the intense and almost demonic love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, a foundling adopted by Catherine’s father. After Mr. Earnshaw’s death, Heathcliff is bullied and humiliated by Catherine’s brother Hindley and wrongly believing that his love for Catherine is not reciprocated, leaves Wuthering Heights, only to return years later as a wealthy and polished man. He proceeds to exact a terrible revenge for his former miseries. The action of the story is chaotic and unremittingly violent, but the accomplished handling of a complex structure, the evocative descriptions of the lonely moorland setting and the poetic grandeur of vision combine to make this unique novel a masterpiece of English literature.
 
My review:
 I had Wuthering Heights assigned to me for my 3rd semester reading list, and I am so very glad that I could revisit this classic once again this year. The first time I read Wuthering Heights, was way back when I was in middle school, class 6 to be specific, since a favourite teacher was gushing about this, her favourite novel. Hungry for some romance, I picked it up, and I’ve been continuously picking this book up again and again.
The whole plot was confusing  to me the first time I read it, mind you- the English isn’t so very modern and hence it was quite difficult to a mere class 6 student, the entire background was gloomy and tragic and I felt the pervading sense of alienation in the windy moors of Yorkshire. Now, as an English major, I appreciate this literary work so much more and can understand the undertones better, of course. The themes of love, revenge, man versus nature, the Divine Providence, abound in this novel, and Emily Bronte, writing as Ellis Bell, masterfully carved a perfect plot, swathed with the events that eventually lead to the anticlimactic end.
The characters are well defined and I find the protagonists to be quite deserving of each other. While the romantic in me admires the ruggedly “tall, dark and handsome” Heathcliff, and his passionate love for his Cathy- so much so that he strives on and on for revenge, I cannot help but shirk away at his inhumanity at points. Cathy, misguided as she was in her hopes, which led to her disastrous actions, I found her a very impulsive and selfish as well as manipulative person, sweet enough not to make other realize her intents. Like was quoted, “It was not the thorn bending to the honeysuckles, but the honeysuckles embracing the thorn.”
The writing is exquisite nonetheless, and although in Wuthering Heights we find one of the most dysfunctional couples of all time, there are also some of the best romantic quoted lines of all time. A masterpiece in its own, Wuthering Heights is a novel which at all persons interested in literature should definitely pick up at least once in their lifetime.
Verdict:
I rate Wuthering Heights a 4/5 stars, specifically because although I love the book, there are some points which don’t work for me at all.

How to read more books? Or How I have read 100 books so far into the year!

It’s only August, and I have already read a record 100 books! Which is way more than I have ever read in one year. I have always been an avid reader and reading was never boring to me; I’d rather read than watch YouTube/Netflix- something that still stands. Unless, of course, it has a certain Peter Kavinsky in it 😉 (I mean, that is one beautiful man! Have you seen the movie yet?)

So anyway, like I have been saying, this year has been a phenomenal reading year for me. And I can only hope that this streak continues. So without further ado, let me state a few points which I have personally used this year and they have helped me immensely in setting this record.

  1. Since you might feel that to read a novel, you need more time, I would definitely advise to get a planner. What it does, is helps you prioritize the things you need to do or have to do, and sheds light on the time you waste as well. I personally keep a bullet journal and that has helped me immensely in organizing my day to day activities and as such I find myself with enough free time on my hands.
  2. Set monthly TBR goals! (TBR stands for To Be Read.) So I try to set a goal of 10 books each month- when I think that it’s a busy month, or else I set a minimum of 20 books per month.But you also have to keep in account, the size of the book- don’t be disheartened if you read, say perhaps, just 5 thick books. The size or the number of words/pages really matter as well. I read books with a minimum of 300 pages each mostly, so I can easily cross 15 every month, unless I’ve got exams or such school activities. Setting a goal always helps!
    1. Now one thing that always works for me is to set higher goals that I think I can achieve. It’s something like the saying goes- aim for the moon and you’ll fall on the stars (?). Something like that I suppose. Now this ideology really helps me- because I am a naturally competitive person with myself- I always am aiming to do better than what I have done previously. So if I set the goal at 20, and I only reach 15, that’s a pretty good number too! However, the catch-22 here is that this can also affect someone else in a completely opposite manner. So I definitely recommend you try this one out once and go on from there. This sub point is so not for everyone.
  3. Set deadlines for each book. Setting deadlines just as goals, really help too. While I have specific deadlines for the books, I sometimes fly past them- I am a university student after all, and I have to give more importance to my course books, of course. Nonetheless, it really helps me to finish the books I want to. My deadlines vary as such- 150-200 pages – maximum of 2 days; 250-350 pages – maximum of 3 days; 400-500+ pages – maximum of 5 days.
  4. Indulge in guilty-reads! Sometimes, when I can feel the ominous onset of a reading slump, I go back to my guilty-reads. Guilty reads can be described as those books that you really love- but would not call them something serious, rather something light and for mindless fun. For me, the guilty reads are all the vintage Mills and Boon books. (How many of you have also loved them?)
    1. Going on the same vain, do read books that you actually love. Don’t force yourself to read something you hate (unless you have to, for school! ;)) If you keep on forcing yourself to read books you hate, your brain will condition you into hating the process of reading itself!
  5. The most important tip perhaps is to keep a book with you always– an eBook for when you go out but are not carrying anything except your wallet and phone perhaps, and an actual paperback copy for when you have a bag big enough to fit it in. Then, you can also read whenever you want. If you are a person who prefers to read a single book at a time, then make sure you also have an eBook of the same.
  6. For inspiration, take part in readathons– something I actively do and also host in my Instagram book account, aka a bookstagram account @pretty_little_bibliophile). On the same vein, follow a few bookstagram profiles that can help inspire you.
  7. Join book discussions. This will condition your mind into looking forward to these sessions, as a result of which, you will actually finish reading the book.
    1. Also join book clubs! (Feel free to join mine!)
  8. If you think you need help while reading, regarding the word meanings, keep an actual dictionary with you, rather than using your phone. This will ensure that you won’t stray and end up watching a YouTube video or two.
  9. Always have a set space for your reading/studying. This goes for both active and passive reading. Continuously indulging in this, will condition your mind to just read/study in that place. I have my desk where, I automatically start working, because that’s the place where I have always read and studied, and the like.
  10. A bonus tip- if you really find difficulty in reading while there is a lot of noise in the background, you might like having some white noise (This goes even when you are studying.) I use the Tide app or Rainy Mood website to block out any unnecessary noise!

You can reach me at my email, nayanikasaikia98@gmail.com

Lots of love,

Nika!

The Kiss Quotient, Helen Hoang, 2018

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Publishers: Corvus
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Format: Paperback
 
Synopsis:
 A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there’s not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.
Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases–a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.
It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice–with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan–from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…
Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he’s making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic…
 
My review:
I literally finished reading this book in around 5 hours so that’s saying something. The Kiss Quotient is an amazing book- one that delivers to you some toe-curling romance, sweet family moments, and your everyday office tragedies. Seasoned with just the right amount of reality, The Kiss Quotient proved to be a really entertaining and fulfilling read.
The plot was really well planned and the pace throughout was wonderfully paced. I also do think that the third person narration worked great for the story.
The characters were the centre point of this story- Stella more so than Michael. It is a character driven novel so it’s not a surprise that they were both so powerful in themselves. I also liked the way they were caring for their family members in their own ways and how supportive they were for both of them. That #couplegoals right there! Their development throughout the story is also significant as they come to terms with themselves- both emotionally as well as mentally. It was truly inspiring and enjoyable and can be rightly called an exceptionally well-written modern day bildungsroman novel.
The aspect of a female Asperger’s person was also eye-opening and showed the various problems and issues these women face, afraid of being judged. And the way the author has voiced her opinions through our protagonist as she comes to terms with her uniqueness, is awe-inspiring. The other themes of family, friendship, love and hard work were also well explored. I could feel so many emotions coursing through me as I read the book and related with Stella on various levels as well as Michael too, as they both tried to maneuver their way through the world and society in general. And as a reader of this book and desperate fan of Pretty Woman, I can truly say the author did justice to her version with the gender-roles exchanged.
The writing style was also one I loved really a lot. It was exquisite and I laughed and cried and felt like I was a part of the events as they unfolded. I honestly haven’t read such a wonderful contemporary novel in a long time. The editing and punctuation were all beautifully done and I do not have a complaint. I gushed so much about the book that my mother is currently reading it and loving it so far.
 
Verdict:
I rate The Kiss Quotient a solid 5/5 stars. I also definitely recommend everyone to read this contemporary novel that is just amazing and a must read. Definitely one of the best books I’ve read so far this year!

The Year That Was //2017//

Hey everyone!

I know it’s been a long time since I last posted. A lot of things have changed. I just finished my first semester finals. The results have not been declared yet, but I’m sure that I haven’t failed in any subject, so I’m a second-semester student now. Well, pretty much. Classes start from the second of January, 2018.

I honestly feel that this year has passed so fast! It was only a few months back that I sat for my 12 finals, and now, here I am. This year, a lot of changes have occurred- I’m a high school graduate, and now I’m a first-year University student. I’ve lost contact with a lot of classmates; it was inevitable, after all, and yet I have retained some of the friendships I made in the two years I spent in the higher secondary school where I studied my junior and senior years.

My best friend and I are back together in University now, and I couldn’t be happier in that regard. Our homerooms are even on the same floor in the same building. As for myself, I might have already stated that I’m an English major. My education has been going on perfectly, and I’m very happy studying for school. It never seems like a burden, and I think it is definitely because I have always loved English literature. And didn’t someone already say, do what you love?

My finals lasted for almost a month, in December, and I was very ecstatic when it ended on the 21st. these days, I’ve been trying to replenish myself with good food, exercise and sleep, so that I’m all swanky new and energized for the new semester.

I’ve read a total of 47 books in 2017, and I’m almost finished with the 48th. Successful reading year, definitely!

My personal relations with my father had been very strained in the beginning of the year, and I’m glad to say that it is so much better now. Some familial relations are still strained and well, some people you just can’t change. I have also let go of a lot of toxic people from my life. I’ve lost a lover and gained another. And it will be, perhaps, the greatest regret of my life- losing him. But I consider myself very lucky to have moved on with a different guy, who genuinely loves me. My relations with my professors are in a really great shape, and I’m proud to admit that they love me. My new friends are kind to me and very understanding. I like them.

Healthwise, I have been in perfect shape. My MMA classes have also helped a lot. I’m so much stronger and fitter than ever before. I can run for longer, work hard physically for longer. And it has also worked wonders for my mental willpower and determination.

So that’s it. My reflection of 2017, the year that was. I’m hoping for a lot of things in 2018, but that is for another post entirely.

With lots of love,

Suze.

BACK TO SCHOOL: THE BEST GUIDE TO AN AWESOME NEW YEAR!!

Considering the fact that school will be starting soon for me and most of my friends here in India, I thought why not do a back-to-school blog. I realize that school will probably not be opening for a lot of you guys now itself, but when the time comes, you can find this as a proper guide and that will be quite helpful. I hope.

Also, I have a pdf file that is a list and will definitely help you while shopping. I’ll link it here- back to school essentials list

So without further ado, I’d like to now start with the list in question.

Miscellaneous etc.

  1. Lunchbox- Since I’m a foodie, it’s no wonder that I’ve put this first. My lunchbox is a pretty lime green and pink combination. My brother actually got it for his last birthday and since we’ve never even opened the packaging, it’s obviously brand new. It also comes with its own set of a fork and spoon and another small container within in and is thus quite good.
  2. A water bottle- It’s quite common to find drinking water facilities all around campus but I do prefer to have my own source of hydration with me. And even when it’s close to empty, I can always fill it up in those drinking water facilities. The water bottle I bought is a pretty pink one, and I particularly love the shape of it. Also, I got it for 90 rupees INR.
  3. A school bag- This is up to you now, whatever you prefer. Although I would suggest going for quality and durability over the aesthetics. I got myself a tote- it’s very large inside and can even hold my laptop and water bottle. It’s a simple black because I wouldn’t be comfortable with any other bright colors. Also, I got it for 750 rupees INR. I also have a backpack which I got with the previous laptop I bought. It’s huge, has compartments for my laptop separately, as well as for water bottles, books etc.
  4. A purse/wallet- Decide very carefully on this one. Are you someone who prefers to carry just ash along with the student card and keys? Or are you all cards and keys? Depending on that, the size will differ. I would suggest Mimco purses with wristlets. As for me, I got mine on Amazon at 250 rupees INR.
  5. Umbrella- This is for those students who are currently experiencing rains or get too much sunlight. Again, opt for durability over designs. Also, try to get a dark colored one so that the light doesn’t come through. Mine is lavender on the outside but it’s black inside, so there’s no chance of light coming through.

Electronics

  1. Pendrive- You’ll obviously need it.
  2. Power bank!
  3. A hard disk!
  4. An I-pod- In case you commute daily to and fro school in a bus/metro like I do.
  5. Headphone/ear buds- Of course.
  6. Laptop/Tablet
  7. Calculator.

Stationery etc.

  1. Pens- roller balls or gels, whichever you prefer. I personally prefer both at different times. In classes where you need to take fast notes, I’d advise you to take ball pens so it won’t smudge. Also, decide on the colors you want. I always used black (for headings), green (for sub headings and important lines) and blue (for normal text).
  2. Pencils- Mechanical or normal lead ones.
  3. Erasers
  4. Sharpeners
  5. Rulers- try to get a foldable one. It’s space saving.
  6. Highlighters- Some people prefer to have a set of whole colors, others don’t. I prefer the neon green, pink and orange. That’s it for me.
  7. Marker pen- Or Sharpies. For the stuff you might need to write on the surface of those assignment CDs or plastic covers on folders/binders.
  8. Post its/page flags/page markers- You know why.
  9. Cellotape
  10. Cellotape dispenser- Of course you can do without it, but I prefer using a Cellotape on a dispenser. I don’t like searching for the loose ends on them, otherwise.
  11. Scissors- A big one as well as a small one (to put in your pouch).
  12. Page cutter- For the times you can’t use scissors.
  13. Correction tape/gel- I use the gel, simply because I’ve never come across the tape version around here. I’m sure you’ll get them online.
  14. Gum/Glue- I use gums, strictly.
  15. Page clips.
  16. Stapler- and pins.
  17. A Pencil pouch- Decide on the type you would prefer. I bought one simple red one at 50rupees INR and another transparent one at 70 rupees INR. I support the transparent ones always. It saves time as you can see the thing you want and get it immediately without having to search about. Also, prefer to have a pouch that is not too big so that you’ll have to think about what you put in and thus reduce the chances for over-cluttering it.
  18. Geometry Box.
  19. Index cards- Especially if you’re taking a language class. I also used it for Biology (definitions) and Chemistry and Math (formulas).
  20. Copies- This I leave to you. I prefer one notebook per class and not at all being in favor of the multiple-subjects notebook. And I love the Classmate ones. I use both the single lined as well as plain paged ones.
  21. Plain sheets- For printer use. Also, for regular use, if you’re a kind of person who prefers pages instead of whole notebooks.
  22. Folders/stick files- For the loose sheets you might need to take to class on some days.
  23. Plastic folder bags- or the above-mentioned folders. I prefer this.
  24. Display files- For your certificates. Keeps the dust off and helpful when you need them for job/internship interviews.
  25. Binders- Simple ones with a plastic pocket on the front is good. Also, what would you prefer- three rings or four or simply 2?
  26. Page protectors- I used to put one at the first, in a binder, and I put in that subject’s syllabus and thus it was very good. Alternately, you can put in the timetables etc.
  27. Page punching machine- A single one is a must have and another one should be for your pages- the ones you need to put in your binders. Then again, if you have the multiple one, you won’t need a single one!
  28. A planner- This is the one thing I swear by! It doesn’t matter if you are in middle school, or high school or college or even UNI! Get one. There are lots of affordable and cheap ones in the market.
  29. A diary/journal- When you need to relieve yourself of all the frustration and stress, writing them down helps.
  30. A table calendar- I use one. Really helps.
  31. Display board- to be placed in front of your study table where you can put up important to-do’s as well as formulas and the periodic table.
  32. Push pins- If you have a display board, obviously.

Optional stuff.

  1. A few books- For the times you’ll need a break. For most people, I would suggest simple chick-lit stuff, but then again some would prefer books where you need to concentrate a lot. Choose by yourself.
  2. Bookmarks.
  3. Table tray/storage box.
  4. A hand-fan- For when you need to stand in a queue or under the sun while the assembly is on.
  5. A small mirror.
  6. A small hairbrush/comb.
  7. Compact powder- If you get oily.
  8. Tissues!!
  9. Hand sanitizer.
  10. A small pouch

I’ve tried to add all of the things I think a student might need for a back to school shopping session. Please comment if you think I’ve missed something.

Also, follow for more of school related stuff that will soon be coming up.

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