Goodreads Reading Challenge 2015 | Wrap-up

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It’s the last day of the year! We did it guys. We survived another 365 days. We have 365 days of new memories and experiences. We did it.

Today, if you didn’t know, is also my grandfather’s first death anniversary. I don’t really know how to commemorate that on my blog. I just wanted to mention it because that’s what today is and I do miss him a lot.

So today being the last day of the year, I thought I would give you guys a wrap up of my Goodreads Reading Challenge. So if you live under a rock and don’t know what the Goodreads Reading Challenge is, it is basically a feature on Goodreads that allows you to set a reading goal for yourself and then it helps you keep track of your progress and it will let you know if you are falling behind or if you are ahead.

This was my my first  year doing this challenge and I remember how hard it was for me to decide what my goal would be. I was sitting there with a calculator and Erica on messenger and I was doing the math. So if I set my goal for this many books in a year, it means that I would have to read this many books per month and this many per week.

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Eventually I was sort of pressured to set my reading goal to 100 books even though I had never in my life read so many books in one year. I decided to mainly because everyone on my Goodreads seemed to be setting it to 100 and I didn’t want to be the loser that didn’t.

So by my calculations, I had to read about 8 books a month and 2 books a week. I had no idea how I was going to do it.

The first 2 or 3 months were the worst. It was very rocky and I was not meeting my goals at all. I was getting quite disheartened actually every time I looked at my challenge and saw that I was 4 or 5 books behind on my challenge. In fact there was a time that I considered lowering it. But I decided that since it was a challenge after all, I would press on. It wasn’t until about March or April that I started to get into a momentum and I caught up with my challenge.

In June, we had two weeks of break and I used that time to read a lot. I managed to actually get ahead on my challenge for the first time. So I used that time to get ahead and then when school started,  I found that I had picked up an excellent momentum. I was reading more then I had ever read. I was constantly ahead on my challenges and that meant that if I ever had to slow down because of school, it was okay because I mean I was already ahead.

I reached my goal of 100 books on the 23rd of November and now that it is December, I can say very proudly that my total number of reads for 2015 is a whopping 114 books.

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I am so proud of myself. This challenge to me wasn’t just about reading more. This challenge to me was about commitment and determination. This challenge signified everything I’ve ever strived to be. It may sound cheesy but its true. I never thought that I would be the type to be able to handle a challenge that lasted a whole year but somehow I did it.

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Next year, I will be setting a goal of 100 books again because it’s my internship year and so for a good 6 months I may not have the best reading time available to me. I don’t want to stretch myself too thin and make this a chore. I will also be doing PopSugar’s 2016 reading challenge alongside my Goodreads one which I am very excited about because it will be my first year doing it. Every year is different and it comes with different challenges but I’m excited to plunge headfirst into it and know that my books are coming with me.

Let me know in the comments how many books you read this year and what your goal is for next year so we can all celebrate together. See you guys soon and I wish all of you a very happy new year!

 

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My Top 5 Books Of 2015

Hi guys! Welcome to the week after Christmas. It’s been such a hectic few days and not gonna lie, this year, I’m actually glad to see it over and done with. But, if you’re like me, you probably need some time to get over the holidays and get yourself back into real life. So I thought it would be fun if I helped you get over your festive hangover.

This year has been an amazing one especially when it comes to my reading. I beat my personal goals and read 114 books this year. So today I’m going to give you guys my top 5 books of 2015. These books are in no particular order.

The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah

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In love we find out who we want to be.
In war we find out who we are.

FRANCE, 1939

In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France…but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When France is overrun, Vianne is forced to take an enemy into her house, and suddenly her every move is watched; her life and her child’s life is at constant risk. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates around her, she must make one terrible choice after another.

Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets the compelling and mysterious Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can…completely. When he betrays her, Isabelle races headlong into danger and joins the Resistance, never looking back or giving a thought to the real–and deadly–consequences.

-Goodreads

I love historical fiction. I mean I love history in general but there’s just something so special about historical fiction that always makes me ugly cry about 10 times. This book was absolutely no exception. It’s about the Nazi’s which is my favourite thing to read about in terms of history and it follows two sisters who I thought were absolutely amazing. I was so inspired by their courage and just by their bravery and resilience. This book left me in absolute tears. It’s just amazing and if you need further proof as to why you should read this book then let me say this. The Nightingale won the Goodreads Choice award for historical fiction for 2015.

I did a full review of this book here.

Fish in a Tree by Lynda Hunt

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“Everybody is smart in different ways. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life believing it is stupid.”

Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions.  She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike.

-Goodreads

I have honestly never read a book about a learning disability. So when I picked this up, I wasn’t sure what I was getting into. I mean a lot of people like to write about things that they don’t really understand and it angers me to no end that these people fuel what I call disability myths.

This book however, was so different. It was written with such honesty and with so much raw emotion. The author didn’t know much more then I do about dyslexia. But what made this book stand out was the fact that the author experienced growing up with a learning disability. And that honestly changes everything.

Living with something and experiencing it is very different from reading every single thing out there about a learning disability. I loved how much of myself I saw in Ally. I grew up struggling so much in school and I believed that I was stupid for pretty much my entire primary and secondary school life. So reading about Ally’s struggle to learn to read and her desperate desire to catch up to her classmates just resounded so strongly with me.

I would honestly recommend this book to everyone because I think everyone needs to be aware of the struggles of some people. But specifically, I think kids that are struggling with a learning disability need to read this because it really helps you understand yourself and to see yourself in a better light.

The Martian by Andy Weir

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Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.
After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate the planet while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded on Mars’ surface, completely alone, with no way to signal Earth that he’s alive — and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone years before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark’s not ready to quit. Armed with nothing but his ingenuity and his engineering skills — and a gallows sense of humor that proves to be his greatest source of strength – he embarks on a dogged quest to stay alive, using his botany expertise to grow food and even hatching a mad plan to contact NASA back on Earth.

As he overcomes one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next, Mark begins to let himself believe he might make it off the planet alive – but Mars has plenty of surprises in store for him yet.

-Goodreads

If you don’t know how much I love this book by now then seriously. Where have you been? This book is funny and sad and happy and literally everything.

If you’ve seen the movie and liked it, you should know that it is nothing compared to the book. The book is so much funnier and sassy and its an emotional roller coaster to be quite honest.

If you saw the movie or read the book and hated it, leave now because I probably hate you.

I did a video review here.

Room by Emma Donoghue

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To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it’s not enough…not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son’s bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.

-Goodreads

I discovered this book mainly because I heard that it was becoming a movie and the trailer really interested me.

From the get go, I knew this book was going to be amazing. I mean I’ve never read a book from the point of view of a five-year-old before. So it was certainly very interesting.

I loved how Emma played with being able to provide a very child-like view of extremely serious situation. It just made the story so much better I think.

I don’t really want to say too much because this was a very powerful book and I don’t think that I could do it justice. You just need to read this.

Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed 

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Naila’s conservative immigrant parents have always said the same thing: She may choose what to study, how to wear her hair, and what to be when she grows up—but they will choose her husband. Following their cultural tradition, they will plan an arranged marriage for her. And until then, dating—even friendship with a boy—is forbidden. When Naila breaks their rule by falling in love with Saif, her parents are livid. Convinced she has forgotten who she truly is, they travel to Pakistan to visit relatives and explore their roots. But Naila’s vacation turns into a nightmare when she learns that plans have changed—her parents have found her a husband and they want her to marry him, now! Despite her greatest efforts, Naila is aghast to find herself cut off from everything and everyone she once knew. Her only hope of escape is Saif . . . if he can find her before it’s too late.

– Goodreads

This book was such a surprise. I remember it was a chilled out Sunday and I wanted a book that I could start and finish in the afternoon so I picked this up. And surprisingly, I was actually able to sit down for 3 hours straight and read this book cover to cover. I have never been able to do that before.

This book deals with such an important issue. Arranged marriages. It’s not something that is talked about a lot but thousands of girls get ‘sold’ to husbands everyday and we really should be talking about it.

This book is also rich with Pakistani culture and it was truly enjoyable.

Well there you have it. My top 5 books for 2015. I’m so excited that 2016 is about to start and I can’t wait to read more amazing books. So don’t forget to let me know what your favourite book(s) were in 2015 so we can all discover new books together. Till my next post my fellow readers!

P.S. Do you like my new blog signature and header? I designed it myself!

 

 

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All I Want For Christmas Book Tag

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Merry Christmas guys! Gah today is like my favourite day of the year. The second being my birthday of course. But yay it’s Christmas and I hope you guys are having as awesome a day as I will be having today even if you don’t celebrate Christmas. I mean get into the festive spirit guys. Come on. I know you can do it. I believe in you! Don’t be a grinch (confession: I haven’t read that book yet)

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So I thought to mark this beautiful day, I would do a Christmas-y tag post sort of thing. So I’m doing the All I Want For Christmas Tag and I don’t really know who it was created by (sorry) but it wasn’t me so there’s that.

Enjoy!

1) What fictional character do you want Santa to leave under your Christmas tree?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Levi from Fangirl. I don’t want anything or anyone else. Just. Levi.

2) What character do you want to kiss under the mistletoe?

Malyen Oretsev from the Grisha trilogy

3) You write your Christmas list for Santa, what are the top 5 books on it?

  1. Six Of Crows (The black pages edition)
  2. One by Sara Crossan
  3. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone: The Illustrated Edition
  4. The Grisha trilogy (does that count?)
  5. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

4) It’s secret santa at Hogwarts, what do you most want to receive?

Considering that I’ve already got my acceptance letter? I think I would want a snowy owl like Hedwig.

5) You get to the spend the day with the characters and movie adaptation actors from one fandom, what do you pick?

Omg please don’t do this to me literally I cannot pick. Ugh. Okay okay. I guess I would say The Hunger Games? I don’t know! The characters seem really cool and I would love to hang out with Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth. I mean who wouldn’t right? (My second choice would be Twilight)

6) What fictional animal would you like to replace Rudolph and be able to meet on your roof?

Ghost from Game of Thrones

7) You invite 10 fictional characters to your new years eve party, who do you pick?

  1. Eleanor from Eleanor and Park
  2. Celaena Sardothien from the Throne Of Glass series
  3. Prince Oliver from Between The Lines
  4. Mark Watney from The Martian
  5. Feyre from A Court Of Thorns And Roses
  6. Cath from Fangirl
  7. Simon Snow from Carry On
  8. Becky Bloomwood from the Shopaholic series
  9. Inej from Six Of Crows
  10. Laia from An Ember In The Ashes

8) What character would make a good santa (Doesn’t have to be appearance, personality counts too)?

Levi from Fangirl definitely. He has the perfect personality.

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The Dashing Through The Snow Book Tag

 

1. Name a book you’d like to see under your Christmas tree.

The illustrated hardback of Harry Potter
2. Name a book you will be reading through the Christmas season.

Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Aime Kaufman

3. What is your favourite Christmas movie

Honestly I don’t watch a lot of Christmas movies (or movies in general) but I did watch Elf recently and I really liked that.

4. Do you like snow?

Yes! I love snow and I love the cold weather.

5. Name a character you would like to spend Christmas day with.

Levi from Fangirl

6. To give or to receive?

Giving is so much fun. I love seeing people light up with joy over a present. That said, receiving is also pretty damn exciting.

7. Fondest Christmas memory?

I feel like every year I have the same Christmas memories because we literally do the exact same thing every year. But like the way we celebrate Christmas is just so much fun.

I think my favorite Christmas memory would be from 2013. That was the first year that my family did secret Santa and it was so much fun giving each other our gifts and it was just an awesome day with them.

8. Can you say “Christmas tree” ten times fast in a row (while pronouncing them correctly)?

Why yes I can.

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19 Things I’ve Learnt At 19

Today’s my 19th birthday!!

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I can’t believe how fast that has happened. I’m in my last year of being a teenager. Oh my god. That just really hit me. I’m getting old!

Anyway, I thought it would be fun if I gave you a list of 19 things that I have learnt from being alive for 19 years. Some of this stuff is cheesy but bear with me.

  1. Do what makes you happy. Life is too short to do stuff you don’t like.
  2. Stop worrying that people will judge you. Because they will judge you no matter what you do so why bother?
  3. Only when you stop caring about what other people think, can you truly achieve your full potential.
  4. It’s okay to have an ugly meltdown once in a while. Just remember to pick yourself back up after and bring the thunder when you go after whatever made you cry in the first place.
  5. Black blue tack should never never be used on a wall. Ever.
  6. Find a way to document your life. It goes by too quickly.
  7. Fully utilise every opportunity to pee.
  8. Don’t give a crap what anyone says about your lipstick. If you wanna wear the brightest red lip ever, girl you go and wear it. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
  9. Sleep it off. Sleep makes everything better.
  10. Pinterest is just another site that makes you feel bad about your incapable self. Get off it. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.
  11. Everything in moderation aka it’s okay that you had that cupcake because at least you didn’t have a whole box of cupcakes right? Unless you did. Then I can’t help you.
  12. Everyone is dysfunctional. Everybody has their issues. So be kinder then you have to.
  13. Spend time with you grandparents. Take a thousand pictures of them. Do a little extra for them. It won’t mean much to you but it will mean the world to them.
  14. Family time should be placed above any work or school commitments. Work will always be there. Your family, on the other hand, won’t.
  15. Everything happens for a reason.
  16. Create routines for yourself. It will help keep you calmer and generally healthier and happier.
  17. Don’t put off what you can do today. You really never know what could happen tomorrow.
  18. People actually aren’t judging you as much as you think they are
  19. Caffeine, or any substance that is intended to keep you awake, is unhealthy and can amplify anxious feelings. Instead, establish a good sleeping routine for yourself and stick with it. A good night’s rest can do wonders for you (and I’m not just saying this because I hate coffee)

Well there you have it. 19 things that I’ve learnt in 19 years. I hope you enjoyed it. I also just wanted to say a massive thank you for all the birthday wishes and presents that I’ve received. I am truly grateful for all the people in my life and I couldn’t be happier that I get to spend the day with them.

I also can’t believe that I spent my entire 18th year on this blog. It seems weird that 365 days ago I put up a post about my 18th birthday. So thank you for being a part of my life. I honestly don’t know what I would do without you guys.

I’ve got a whole bunch of posts planned for the next few days so keep an eye out for that. Besides that, I wish you guys a very merry eve of Christmas eve! (yes that is a real thing)

 

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Christmas Gift Guide For Her

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Christmas is a mere 6 sleeps away!! How did that happen guys? I feel like December literally just started! It’s not fair. December is my favorite month and it’s the month that goes by the fastest.

Anyway, since it is almost Christmas, I thought I would do a little gift guide for you all if you haven’t bought some people presents yet and you desperately need some ideas.

I’m going to include in this list, gifts of varying price ranges so that you have some variety. Also remember that this gift guide is as its name states, a guide. So take inspiration from my ideas and alter them to fit the person you are buying for (yes I am talking to you, boys. Don’t be that guy that doesn’t put thought into a present)

  1. Books

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Okay you know I had to include books in this list right? But seriously though. Books are the simplest but most amazing presents you can give someone. Especially someone who is a book lover.

BUT BUT BUT don’t just go and buy a book that you know they would generally buy themselves. If I wanted a book in the typical genre that I read in, I would most likely have already bought it. The idea of a present is to buy something that the person wouldn’t generally buy for themselves.

So. As long as your tastes aren’t too outrageously different from your giftee, what you can do is find a beautiful hardcover, perhaps limited edition signed copy of your favorite book and give it as a gift. Trust me. It’s foolproof.

*If you’re getting a book for a friend overseas, Book Depository is a great site that does not charge for shipping. It’s actually what my bookclub did for Christmas this year.

*Signed copies are not usually as expensive as one would think. They are just harder to get which make the gift more special in my opinion.

*Book vouchers are also great but generally not as special because again, it’s a thoughtless gift (sorry but you know it’s true).

2. MAC lipsticks

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Not every girl likes makeup (don’t listen to tumblr) but if you know someone who loves their makeup and their brands, you can consider getting them a new lipstick.

I say lipstick because you can have a lot of variety with that and also because most people have their favorite brands already when it comes to makeup  and you coming it with this new foundation that is two shades too dark is not something that will be appreciated.

A general favorite amongst girls are MAC lipsticks. They are beautiful, they are branded and they are just so fun to own.

Many girls, however, wouldn’t even dream of splurging on MAC. So go and get one for her and if you are male (sorry) bring a very good photo of that person to the store so that the ladies there can help you out.

*If MAC is not in your budget, there are a whole lot of other brand’s that will suit your wallet. You can take a look around Sephora or even some drugstores (I found a beautify coral crayon lipstick in Watsons yesterday omg)

3. Notebooks

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Notebooks are one of my personal favourites. I think there is something very special about giving someone a cool looking notebook. You can find these notebooks literally anywhere but some cool notebook shops would be Typo and Paper Market. These two places are great for fun and budget friendly notebooks but if you’re going for a more formal feel (why?) you can always look in any regular bookstore or stationary shop.

*To make it extra special, you could include cool markers or stickers

4. Activity Books

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Okay this is probably one of the most special things that you can give someone. So last year, for Christmas, Erica from NovelInk got me this book called, ‘Q&A A Day. A 5 Year Journal’.  It’s name basically says it all. You get 365 questions and every year you answer the same ones to see how you’ve changed. I love activity books like this so I was so excited to receive it. So I got it and because it was such great timing, I started using it on the first day of 2015 and I haven’t stopped till now. It’s been amazing to look back even now and I can’t imagine what it will be like in 5 years.

So get your giftee a gift that will last a really long time. You can find loads of books like this in bookstores and it doesn’t just have to be a journal. You can get them a Keri Smith book (Wreck This Journal and The Imaginary World Of___ are the best) or you could get them ‘A Line A Day’ or the Q&A book but perhaps the one for mum’s or kids depending on who you are buying for. Or of course you could get them the popular adult colouring books. I would recommend Johanna Basford’s Enchanted Forest or Lost Ocean.

*Again, you can one up it by including markers. I personally think that Staedtler’s Triplus Fineliner’s are the best for these kinds of books.

5. Body Shop Creams

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Body shop has brought back two of its scents from their Christmas collection in 2014! They are Frosted Cranberry and Glazed Apple. They have also introduced a new scent called Frosted Plum. All 3 smell amazing but a good gift for someone is to get them hand creams. I feel like hand cream is something people generally forget about or rank lower in importance. So it’s nice to buy someone a hand cream to throw in their bag.

Body Shop is actually having this thing where they have all 3 Christmas hand cream scents in a box and I think it’s going for about $16-19 which is an awesome deal. So you can get that or the full sized body lotions. If you’re on a lower budget, their christmas shower gels  are going for $8.90 which is perfect.

So there you have it! My mini Christmas gift guide. I hope this helped you if you’re still stumped for a present for someone. It’s the last weekend before Christmas and it’s crazy out there but you got this! Now I’m going to insert a Star Wars phrase even though I couldn’t give two hoots about Star Wars. MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU!

xoxo

World Mental Health Week: Living With ADHD

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Happy World Mental Health week! And if you didn’t know it was this week, that’s okay because no one really knows.

So yes, this week is World Mental Health week and I found this out because my subscription box on Youtube was filled with Buzzfeed videos talking about people living with mental health issues, getting people to draw anxiety and my personal favourite, giving people the space to talk about their pill journeys.

So I thought it would be cool if today I did something I have never done before and tell you what it’s like to be on ADHD medication as well as what it is really like to live with ADHD.

So I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 10. I got diagnosed quite late actually because even though I was struggling like crazy with my schoolwork, I was also one of those invisible kinds of people who the teachers love simply because we shut up. So no one really suspected I think until about when I was about 9 I think.

When I was first diagnosed, I was put on 27mg of Concerta. I can still remember the very first day I took it. I remember how quiet the world became. It was very weird. My head is usually all over the place. My brain is very noisy and I find that I am always moving even when I don’t realise it. And sometimes, especially when I’m doing my school work, the noise becomes too much and I start to freak out a bit and I’ll have to walk away.

But with the Concerta, my brain noise was lowered like a switch and it became like background noise. I was suddenly hyper aware of the silence. I didn’t like it but for some reason it actually worked. I was quiet enough to do some work and it was actually okay. I spent that whole morning just waiting for the symptoms to kick in. My doctor had gone through the very impressive list of horrid side effects and I was wondering why I was okay.

Then came the afternoon and with it, the most painful headache I have ever experienced. My brain felt like it was being squeezed out of my ears. I had the worst nausea and I could barely sit up straight much less be productive.

I was 10 and I was alone in school. As far as I know, my teachers didn’t know what I was taking so really I was by myself. I remember that when I finally got home, I was feeling so horrid inside and I just wanted to curl up in a ball and die.

Dinner time rolled around and I noticed how un-hungry I was. I ate so little that day. And then bed time. I lay awake for absolutely ages. Concerta reduces your appetite and gives you insomnia.

I took Concerta all through that year and then only when I needed it for the next 3 years. I was kind of rebelling against it because I couldn’t take the side effects, which at that point, I couldn’t get used to simply because I wasn’t taking it regularly. So every time I took one, it felt just like the first time.

When I was in secondary 4, my O’Level year, my dosage was jacked up because technically 27 mg was a dose for children and I was no longer responding as well to it. I went up to 36mg on a daily basis and that slowly became 48mg. Every. Single. Day. If I thought the side effects of 27mg was bad, well this was incomparable to anything I’ve ever experienced. Because this was a daily thing, I started to get used to it and my body stopped fighting the medication. I managed to get rid of the nausea and headaches but the insomnia and the appetite thing remained.

So I simply had to find ways to deal with it. Concerta lasts for 12 hours from the moment you put it in your mouth. So I timed the taking of my pills very carefully. And that required me to completely listen to my body. I learnt a lot about my optimum studying time (which is in the morning) and so what I would do is only take the pill at about 12pm. That would mean that I would run on my optimum all morning and then when I started to burn out in the afternoon and evening, my Concerta pill will be there. It also helped me with my insomnia because once the pill let me go, I could sleep.

Being an ADHD kid on Concerta is an incredibly confusing experience. You are glad that you have it because it calms you down and makes you super duper productive. But at the same time, you hate it because it take away everything that makes you you. In particular, I hated how mellow it made me. I am usually smiley and cheerful. But the medication made me feel sallow and like I was on the verge of snapping constantly. I felt like a machine.

I thought of it this way. I was a puppet and my Concerta was the puppeteer holding my strings. Every time I fell to my knees, it would jerk me back up and force me to continue. So I began to resent it. I mean no one is going to tell you that they love their mental health medication. It takes a lot from you and it’s very hard. I remember that sometimes I would get so focused 0n my work that I would get super upset when my mum asked me to eat or when she begged me to go to sleep. To her credit, my mum was incredibly patient. She took whatever I threw at her that year because she knew how badly the Concerta affected me.

But the fact is that mental health medication is horrible. And sometimes it’s hard because you don’t want to tell people and because of that, they don’t understand why your personality has done a complete 360 degree turn. So they get annoyed with you and impatient.

Which is why I think it’s so important that we talk about it. Especially in Singapore. Having a learning disability or any type of mental health issue is generally frowned upon in Singapore. Our school system is very stringent and it makes very little allowance for someone with a learning disability. For example, when I was doing my O’Levels, I was given extra time on my papers and I was put in a separate room. This helped me a lot because I get so distracted sometimes and the silence drives me crazy. So I really need the space and time to be able to take a sort of ‘break’ during a paper. That was okay.

What was not okay was that when I got my certificate back, my official Cambridge O’Level certificate, I found that there were asterisks next to every single one of my subjects. Why? Simply because I had extra time and a separate room. So now for the rest of my life, potential employers will look at my certificate and they will not see the 8 points that I scored. They will not see how hard I pushed myself. They would not see the sleepless nights. They wouldn’t see how I pretty much collapsed after my first paper. No. They will look at my certificate a see a learning disability. Because apparently, there is something so wrong with having a brain that works differently. Apparently it’s so wrong that people feel the need to put it up front and center.

That is something that I very much want to see changed. Singapore prides itself on it’s education system and as someone who has been through it, I am so proud as well. I’m proud of how far we have come and I am proud that my country cares so much about our education. But I think that somewhere along our journey to become of the greatest countries in terms of education, we lost sight of the fact that we were dealing with actual people and not just numbers.

It’s very unfair that our advanced schools do not have a programme in place for kids like me. It’s unfair that instead of being put in a class with a trained teacher, we are shoved into extra classes and are thrown more worksheets. You aren’t solving the problem. You’re making it worse. The environment is not conducive for us. Plain and simple. It’s not fair to the student and even to the teacher when you have a student with a learning disability but a teacher that is untrained to deal with it.

So I want to see that change. I also want to tell people to stop saying that ADHD is a made up disability by people who are lazy. We are not lazy. Do you know that 1 hour of work for you take 2 for me? Do you know that I go home and convert lessons into pictures so that I can understand and remember better? Do you know how it feels to sit in a classroom and know that you are 10 steps behind your classmates and that you can run as hard as you can but you will still never catch up? No? Then shut up.

ADHD is as real as that cough you have. ADHD is as real as that scrape you got last week. ADHD is real. It is not made up.

I am now off my medication because I hate it so much. I do still need it but I try to do without it because I can’t stand feeling the way I used to. I am living with ADHD and even though it makes life 10 trillion times harder sometimes, I enjoy it.

My ADHD makes me who I am. I am not ashamed of that. If you are struggling with a learning disability, I urge you to try to talk about it. Don’t bottle it up. It can be very hard to struggle on your own with this and it will really help the people around you because they will understand when you aren’t at your best. If you don’t have a learning disability, remember that you have no right to criticise someone based on something that you do not understand. Be patient. Be caring. If you have a friend in school that is always asking you questions or for your help in solving a math problem, help them. Don’t get impatient. Sometimes it takes everything in us to ask for help and we are always afraid that we are bothering people. So be kind.

I would like to end by saying that people with ADHD aren’t stupid. We are just different. And that’s okay.

xoxo

P.S. Visit Buzzfeed’s Youtube channel because they are releasing amazing mental health videos every day this week and its just so enlightening and amazing to watch.

Cover Reveal: Darkly, Deeply, Beautifully (The Ceruleans #5) by Megan Tayte

Are you ready for some exciting news? I hope you are because the 5th book in the beloved Ceruleans series finally has a cover!

The Ceruleans series poster

DARKNESS HAS FALLEN, AND SHE ALONE WILL SEE THE LIGHT

With her mother’s life hanging in the balance, Scarlett is devastated – and done with being in the dark. She wants answers, all of them.

But when was her pursuit of the truth ever straightforward?

Pulling a single thread triggers a great unravelling. And each revelation will force Scarlett to rethink what she thought she knew about the Ceruleans, the Fallen, her family – herself.

All that came before was a mere prelude to this, the last journey. From London to Twycombe to Hollythwaite to Cerulea, Scarlett will be stalked by the ghosts of what has been, what may have been and what may come to pass. Until she reaches the place where it all began, and it all must end.

But in the final reckoning, none will survive unscathed. And some will not survive at all.

In this explosive conclusion to The Ceruleans series, all must be defined by their actions: sinner, saint… or something more beautiful entirely?

 

Are you ready for it?

 

Darkly Deeply Beautifully cover

Pre-order links:

http://www.amazon.com/Darkly-Deeply-Beautifully-Ceruleans-Book-ebook/dp/B0183XAE2O

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Darkly-Deeply-Beautifully-Ceruleans-Book-ebook/dp/B0183XAE2O

(Publication date: 16 February 2016)

Tragedy Girl By Christine Hurley Deriso

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*I received an advanced copy of this book to read and review but all opinions are my own*

Okay ya’ll better sit yourselves down and get some popcorn because today, I’m bringing you the mother of all rants.
First of all, let me say this. Tragedy Girl was the biggest tragedy I’ve come across in a long time. Did you see what I did there? *cue audience laugh track* No? Okay. Let’s move on.

So Tragedy Girl is basically about this girl named Anne. Both her parents have just died and because of that, she’s moved to the beach side to live with her aunt and uncle. While there, she meets this troubled boy named Blake. Blake’s girlfriend, Cara, drowned over the summer and Blake feels responsible because he allowed her to go swimming and then took his eyes off of her (boyfriend or dad?? ). So Anne gets attracted to him and Melanie, Anne’s new friend, falls for Jamie, who is Blake’s best friend.

Only things aren’t as they seem. For example, Blake, is extra super duper shady and Jamie is just plain weird. Oh and have I mentioned that Cara’s body was never found and according to Anne, is very suspicious?

So okay. Despite all of Anne’s inhibitions, she decides to go on a  date with the guy. She’s drawn to his grief because she’s grieving too and basically she wants to be a hero and save him or whatever.

They date for one week and already Anne can sense that something is not so right. Blake is very quick-tempered and she feels like the relationship is going way faster then she is prepared for. At this point, she is being extra whiny already.

She’s just like ‘Oh I like him but I shouldn’t but I like him but his girlfriend just died BUT I LIKE HIM.”

UGH.

So irritating!

So okay fine. She carries on with the relationship. By week two, things are getting just plain creepy. There are anonymous notes being left in mailboxes, weird outbursts, lying and suspicious conversations.

So what does our dear Anne do? She decides to let Blake take her to the beach (aka the place where Blake’s girlfriend died) all by their selves.

I mean if this was a normal relationship, then okay. I mean it’s fine. But this is a weird and suspicious relationship. Has this idiot really no sense of self-preservation????

Seriously. Guys (and girls too) can be massively crazy. So if you have doubts, stay far away from them.There have been many stories of relationships ending in murder okay. This isn’t a joke.

So yes. I won’t spoil the ending but basically I thought this book sucked because Anne was such a weak-willed character. She had no backbone. Everything to her was ‘oh I need a boyfriend even if he might be a psychotic girlfriend murderer. I mean what’s the worst that could happen?”

ARG!

Also where were the police in all this? It’s unrealistic that a teenage girl who is new to the neighbourhood can go ahead and solve a death that absolutely nobody but her finds mysterious. Do you get what I mean?

Aside from that though, I did enjoy the storyline. I thought the mystery was well done and I liked how the whole thing ended.

It was just Anne and her whiny self that ruined the book for me.

My Rating: 2/5 Stars

Publishing Date: 8 April 2016