An Indian Girl’s Guide To: The Historic City Rome, Italy

Whether it’s Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome, I’ve always been into history. So, of course, my time in Rome was mostly spent looking at a lot of historic monuments and so on. While I didn’t spend a lot of time in Rome, I didn’t get much done BUT I still managed to tick off everything on my bucket list so my short trip was great nonetheless.

So, what can tourists do in Rome? Well, a trip to the Colosseum goes without saying. Being one of Rome’s most popular landmarks, the Colosseum attracts a lot of visitors from all over the world. Which, during the tourist season in the summer months can be a bit of a headache because the line to get into the Colosseum is dreadfully long. I highly recommend buying a fast-lane ticket, standing in line for hours in the blistering heat is not really how I want to spend my day and the Colosseum is really busy. Like, really busy! If you choose to stand in the line I can guarantee that you will spend at least 1/2 of your day there.

The Spanish Steps is another raved landmark you can visit in Rome. I visited these steps in the evening about an hour or two before sunset – and I found that it wasn’t so busy. The actual steps are a little bit steep so watch your step, but other than that it’s not really busy at that time of the day. The area below the steps you’ll find a street filled with clothing stores, makeup stores, restaurants and cafes and of course ice cream! Most of this street is pedestrian-only so there are not a lot of cars (except for police vehicles) in the area as well as street performers and other entertainers. So, you can very easily spend a good portion of your day just exploring this area.

Then only a short walk away from the Spanish Steps is the Trevi Fountain. While the Spanish Steps were not very busy, the Trevi Fountain is extremely busy. The area where the fountain is located is actually pretty small, but don’t underestimate the crowds, it can be a little bit difficult getting that perfect photo with a lot of people trying to do the same thing. However, this fountain is also located in an area with shops and cafes, so, I’d recommend to take your time and explore the place.

Of course there are a lot of other things you can do in Rome, I only had time to go to those three places (which is fine by me, those were the places I wanted to visit the most) but there are museums, gardens and malls among other things to do in Rome as well. Unfortunately, I couldn’t visit the Vatican Museum, which is located next to the Vatican itself, Russia’s President was visiting the Pope that same day and so, most of the area was closed for that visit.

And to finish off with a fun fact, Rome loves fountain displays, the city has just under 300 fountains located around the city and let me tell you that the architecture of these fountains is gorgeous. Also here’s a little tip: Rome is pretty dusty and dry in the summer so be prepared to deal with that.

Review of Wonder Woman: Rebirth (#1) by Greg Rucka + Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

In honour of the second Wonder Woman movie which is to be released soon (Wonder Woman 1984) I thought now would be a good time to publish a review of the (only) two literature I have on Wonder Woman. So, today, I’m reviewing a Wonder Woman novel by Leigh Bardugo and a comic book by Greg Rucka.

Sisters in battle, I am shield and blade to you. As I breathe, your enemies will know no sanctuary. While I live, your cause is mine.

Leigh Bardugo, Wonder Woman: Warbringer

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I’ll start off with the book first since Leigh Bardugo is someone whom I’m planning on writing about soon and I’m just overly excited when it comes to her. So, I mentioned this in my Let’s Talk About Sarah J. Maas post, but to reiterate, basically, around the release of the first Wonder Woman movie back in 2017, DC collaborated with four YA authors to write a series on a few popular characters from the DC universe. Each of the four authors wrote about a respective character. Sarah J. Maas wrote about Catwoman, Marie Lu wrote about Batman, Matt de la Pena wrote about Superman and of course, Leigh Bardugo wrote about Wonder Woman. All the books focus on those characters in their teenage years and were really targeted towards younger teen readers with coming-of-age related themes.

(Side note: These books don’t relate to any of the comics or movies at all, the authors were given free rein over the characters and the universe to an extent).

So, what’s Wonder Woman: Warbringer about? Basically, Princess Diana isn’t an ‘official’ Amazon warrior like her sisters and she really wants to prove herself. So, when an opportunity arises for her to do something useful and heroic she sneaks off of the island to save a human girl. Unfortunately for everyone, the human Diana rescued is Alia, and Alia is a Warbringer, or in other words, she’s a descendant of Helen of Troy and her very existence can create war and conflict. The whole book is essentially about other people trying to either kill Alia or possess her for her power and Diana trying to find a way to save her (and of course there was a lot of tall jokes about Diana’s height).

One of the things I really liked about Warbringer was because in the beginning especially, we got to read about what life on Themsicryia was like and, we got information about the days in the life of an Amazon warrior. Personally, I could read a whole book just about Themiscryia and the Amazons; DC doesn’t feature Themsicryia a lot in the movies so it was nice reading about it in the book. Also, diversity! The Amazons are diverse (in race and ethnicity) and I love Leigh Bardugo for adding that in! My excitement reading about all these diverse women from all walks of life being Amazon warriors made me a bit emotional I admit – but it was a happy feeling don’t worry.

Overall, my opinion on Warbringer is this: THIS was the book which introduced me to Leigh Bardugo, and I am forever grateful for it. I literally hadn’t heard of her before I found out about this book and I loved her writing so much that I decided to read books from her Grishaverse (and I adore Six of Crows and King of Scars! And yes you can expect book reviews of other Leigh Bardugo novels in the future). Again, I love the diversity and the whole background story of how women become Amazons. Also, the relationship between the two female main characters was so genuine and again, a great representation of real life. It wasn’t like the stereotypical female relationship we see portrayed in Hollywood so it was very refreshing.

Also, personally, I really liked Leigh Bardugo’s version of Amazon warriors’ background better than what DC has come up with in the comics.

I have been made a fool… No wonder the story keeps changing

Greg Rucka, Wonder Woman: Rebirth (#1) 2016

Rating: 3 out of 5.

On to the comic book. So, what is Greg Rucka’s Wonder Woman about? Diana is basically confused, she, herself, isn’t sure of her origins – she’s kind of like Peeta from The Hunger Games, they’re both not really sure of what’s real and what’s not real, and spends the whole volume trying to figure out who is she and ‘find her identity’ again. And that’s it.

Nothing much really happens in the first volume, but surprisingly that’s not the thing which bothered me the most. I can tolerate Diana being confused about herself, and the art was gorgeous in this volume, so I could almost ignore all the bad stuff. The thing that did bother me the most is definitely the fact that DC is constantly changing Diana’s origins why do THEY KEEP CHANGING THE STORY. Just pick a story and stick with it. DC at this point is more complicated than YouTube beauty gurus in a scandal. In some versions, Diana is the blood daughter of Zeus and thus is HATED by Hera, in other’s she was created by his magic, and then in other versions, she was created by clay by her mother and Zeus is basically useless.

Okay, I guess my issues with Rebirth doesn’t exactly relate to the story itself but this is still annoying. Overall, however, I’m still pretty interested in the comics; again, the art is really gorgeous and volume #2 and volume #3 both seem to have a better plot than this first volume (we have Steve Trevor and Cheetah featured in those volumes), so most likely I will continue reading it. However, out of Warbringer and Rebirth, Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo is my preferred favourite and the one I’d recommend to others.

And that is the end of my two-in-one book review. Let me know what you think about this review and remember to like and subscribe if you want more articles like this! But of course, I hope you have a lovely day.

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My Makeup Collection, Part 4: The Reason Why I Only Have Two Eyeshadow Palettes And Refuse To Buy More

So, consumerism in the beauty industry is rampant. Interesting.
Long story short, I hate buying things I don’t need. One, it’s a waste of money (and makeup can be pricey) and two, if I don’t need it I highly doubt I’ll get much use out of it to begin with. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of products I want to buy and try out, but that doesn’t mean I’m willing to actually buy those products knowing I have perfectly good products already.

So, my rule for shopping in general: do I want it or need it?

That is basically the reason why I only use two eye shadow palettes at the moment. My trusty Anastasia Beverly Hills Soft Glam Palette and my Fenty Beauty Moroccan Spice Palette.

My ABH Soft Glam palette (which I have reviewed in the past, click here if you want to read it) is the perfect nude and natural palette for daily use. This was the first eyeshadow palette I ever bought so, I wanted something easy to work with so I could teach myself how to actually do my eyeshadow. The formula is really creamy and easy to blend out – which as a beginner, made my life easier. The shades are really pigmented including the shimmer shades, I don’t wet my brushes when applying those shimmer shades and I still get a lot of pigment come through. Overall, it’s easy to use, comes with a mirror (and I just use the duo-sided brush the palette comes with although I do use my own brushed as well) and has great shades which suit my brown skin tone (for reference I am a NC45 for MAC and 370 for Fenty Beauty).

And of course, my Fenty Beauty Moroccan Spice Palette (which I have also reviewed before, click here to read it). So, I bought my ABH palette before I found out about this Fenty Beauty palette, and honestly, I think if I knew about Moroccan Spice earlier, I probably wouldn’t have bought my ABH palette. This Fenty Beauty palette has neutral and nude shades which suit my skin tone but there are also some pops of colour (my favourites are the pinks and blues). And again, the formula is easy to use and I don’t wet my brush when using the shimmer shades, also the colours are pigmented enough to show up on my skin. This could also be a daily kind of palette for the everyday makeup wearer and honestly my favourite palette.

That’s it for this blog post, those are the two eyeshadow palettes I am 100% invested in at the moment. I guess as long as those two products don’t get discontinued they will most likely be my go-to products for a long time as well. Although, I do have my eye on some Colourpop eye shadows and a few other palettes, so I may (or may not) do an update on the eye shadow palettes I have, in the future. So, I hope you enjoyed my post and I hope you have a lovely day.

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An Indian Girl’s Guide To: The City Of Love, Paris, France

As cliche as this may sound but Paris definitely stole my heart and is one of my favourite cities that I have ever visited. There are still so many things I wish I was able to do, but nonetheless here is my post about Paris (and the things I was able to do).

So, the Eiffel Tower is kind of the most obvious place to visit while in Paris. However, as iconic as the tower may be, the lines are dreadfully long and tedious to stand in (I feel like I’ll be complaining about long lines in Europe for a while but oh well… it’s an issue if you have limited time). So again, I would highly recommend buying fast-lane tickets if you can, it does save a lot of time standing in line. Another recommendation I have would be to visit the Eiffel Tower in the evening -preferably around sunset. That way you can have views of Paris at daylight and at night with the city lights on.

The hotel I stayed in was about two streets away from the Eiffel Tower, so if you’re a morning person, morning walks to the Eiffel Tower (which is surrounded by a giant park) is a really relaxing and peaceful way to start off your morning. If morning walks aren’t your thing then you can always have a glass of red wine and breakfast at a local cafe near the Eiffel Tower as well.

Next is the Alexander III Bridge. While Paris has a lot of bridges which connect the city together, this one is one of the most decorated and aesthetic bridges of them all – I mean the bridge has pure gold detailing for crying out loud! It’s gorgeous, historical and great for that social media photo op if you need one.

The Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Elysées is another place where you can spend a lot of time. The Champs-Elysées (pronounced chaz-a-lee-say) is sort of what I understand is the main street in Paris, with shops, malls, cinemas, restaurants and so on. A day strolling down the street and doing some shopping (both high end and affordable brands are on the street) sounds really fun if you ask me. Also, the Arc de Triomphe is located at the end of the Champs-Elysées. I’m not sure how tall it is but at the top of the Arc, you can get lovely views of Paris (as well as from the top of the Eiffel Tower).

And my favourite place in Paris? It’s touristy but it would be the Palais de Chaillot. Basically, it is this huge building at the top of Chaillot Hill which has an open-floor space giving you a great view of the Eiffel Tower. Going up the Eiffel Tower is cool and all, but this place gives you a full view of the Tower. From the top of that hill, it’s about a 15-minute walk to the Eiffel Tower (which is literally right in front of the hill). You have to walk through gardens, go past a giant fountain and ice cream stands to get to the Eiffel Tower but it’s one of the most satisfying places I’ve ever been to.

Overall, I loved Paris, I wish I was able to get into the Louvre Museum (they don’t sell tickets at the Museum! If you want to get into the museum you’ll have to buy tickets online). But I still managed to get pictures with the Louvre Pyramids, so maybe next time I’ll get inside. Now, finishing off with a fun fact about Paris: Apparently, there’s only one stop sign in the whole city. Next to London, Paris has crazy busy traffic, guess that explains it huh?

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Review of The Storm Crow and The Crow Rider by Kalyn Josephson

I am more than my emotions, more than my depression and fear.”

The Storm Crow

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Please note there is a trigger warning for this book. 
I will not include anything explicit in my review.

I truly don’t remember how I came across this duology. Most likely the first book in the duology was featured in a book subscription box and I saw some unboxing videos on Instagram featuring the book, thought that the cover looked pretty and bought it. I know I shouldn’t be judging books by their cover, but come on, the cover looks gorgeous. 

Starting with the first book in the duology, The Storm Crow is about Anthia (or Thia for short). She is the youngest princess of Rhodaire, a tropical kingdom where magical elemental Crows (yes, the bird) are integrated into their everyday life. However, eventually, the neighbouring kingdom of Illucia invaded Rhodaire and killed all their Crows and the Queen, leaving them powerless.

That invasion triggered Thia’s depression and while she’s battling with her emotions, her older sister Caliza, who took over from the dead Queen, is trying to get their kingdom back on its feet again. However, as a result of rebuilding and repairing the kingdom, Caliza organised an arranged marriage between Thia and the crown prince of Illucia. This arrangement causes Thia to act which ultimately leads her to the last Crow egg that she found in the rubble of her damaged home. Now, she and Caliza attempt to hatch the egg in secret and the preparations to defeat Illucia and to get out of Thia’s marriage is underway.

Thia is our main character and is a good mix of an active character who gets things done but also, a character who is battling a mental illness and doesn’t get anything done. Now, if you’ve read my other book reviews, you’ll know that I highly respect novels with diversity and/or mental illness, so, this could just be my bias, but I appreciated the depiction of mental illness. While the main plot of reviving the Crow population is diving the book, Thia’s sub-plot of her battle with mental illness gives this book a level of seriousness and realness that made me like Thia so much more. Some days are hard, but she tries to overcome those days. And I love her for it.

Caliza, despite being responsible for Thia’s arranged marriage, is likeable! At first, when I read the plot summary for this book I was terrified that Caliza was an evil sister, but she’s not. She is responsible, smart and more than capable of ruling the kingdom, and ultimately the decision she made concerning Thia’s marriage was more or less forced by the Illlucian Queen. Also, her husband, though he doesn’t play a huge role in the novel, was likeable as well. I don’t have much to say about him but hopefully, he plays a bigger role in the next book.

Now, the Illucian queen is characterized in such a way that she is your stereotypic evil queen BUT she is not boring! She made me angry and furious so many times during the course of the book. I don’t want to spoil this character too much, but she got my blood boiling and is definitely a formidable villain.

Of course, who could forget Prince Ericen? He’s the bad boy character of the book, has an attitude, kind of mysterious, but also has a soft spot for Thia. You know, he’s that character. Okay, I sounded a little bit sarcastic there, but we all know what kind of character I’m talking about. I don’t necessarily hate the bad boy character in YA, I just want a better depiction of that character i.e a character who is not border-line abusive. The good news is that Ericen is just that character! And instead of having extreme romantic tension between Ericen and Thia, the two actually develop a really good friendship first. Personally, I really liked that relationship development. Thia has depression and instead of being a hero and saviour character, he instead tries to motivate her and tries to help her overcome her negative emotions. Their relationship has a solid foundation and I’m excited to see how their relationship more naturally develops into something more. Also, surprisingly, while he is mentioned a lot in the book by name, he actually doesn’t feature as much as Thia (and her friends). Again, personally, I prefer that because it highlights Thia’s story. She’s the main character and the romantic sub-plot is still there, but it is not the focus of the story. So, A+ to the author for finally writing a bad boy character I can 100% support.

And of course, since the Crows are important characters in the novel, I thought I’d say a few things about them as well. They are cute and badass. That is all you need to know.

“I am more”

The Crow Rider

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Now onto The Crow Rider. I just recently finished reading this book and while I’m sad that the story has come to an end, it was a great ride getting there. Waiting a year for this book felt like the longest year ever, especially knowing that this is a duology and that this would be the end for Thia’s Crow-riding adventures.

This second novel picks up where the last left off. Thia hatched a Crow egg, and now she and her allies are making moves to defeat the Illucian Queen once and for all. Her first task is to convince neighbouring kingdoms to join her cause. The problem is, ironically, Thia’s Crow – Res. While Res is growing stronger every day, he still loses control of his own magic, sometimes harming people as a result. So, as the planned rebellion gains steam, Res’ powers become more uncontrollable and Thia is put in a position where she questions if she can actually lead the rebellion to victory.

On top of that, the Prince she ran away from is hunting her down. While he and Thia developed a strong friendship, ultimately he is still the Prince of the kingdom Thia is trying to defeat – he is the one person she cannot trust, yet finds herself attracted to nonetheless.

Thia’s external and internal battles are so much emphasized in the second book. While she’s trying to get an alliance together to finally take down the Illucian Queen, Razel, Thia is also dealing with her depression which is constantly bruising her confidence. Seeing her actually battle her darker thoughts throughout the book was something that really meant a lot. I’ve mentioned this before, but any mental illness depictions in YA is a big step forward in the right directors. Also, contrasting Thia’s negativity with her motivation and drive for peace is also something I liked about her character. She’s trying to overcome her emotions, and while this is a long process, Thia does a great job of not letting the hard days win.

Before I forget, Thia’s friends also deserve a mention. I didn’t mention them earlier because there are a lot of characters part of Thia’s friend circle and extended circle, so I’ll talk about them very generally. At one point there was a bit of a love triangle with Thia, Ericen and one other character. I admit I actually liked this love triangle (or what there was of it) and I thought the love triangle issue was also solved in a really mature way (issues arising because miscommunication infuriates me! And thankfully, they know how to communicate here). Also, Thia’s Crow. He’s adorable and reading this book makes me want to get myself a magical crow. My favourite thing about the Crow? The bird-related jokes. I don’t know why but something about hearing a giant magical crow being called a ‘chicken’ made me smile.

Now, trust is a huge theme in the novels, and this was a theme I personally related to and enjoyed reading about. Thia is constantly told by many people that she trusts too easily, while they saw it as a weakness, I actually thought it was a strength of hers. Think about it this way: instead of being untrustful of everyone and of their intentions, Thia chooses to see the best in people and so, she trusts them. I like that perspective.

So, before I finish off this post, I thought I’d talk a little bit about the author. Kalyn Josephson is by profession a Technical Writer but evidently, she also writes fiction. She’s finished The Storm Crow duology and according to her Instagram, she’s possibly planning another series? Maybe I misinterpreted the message. Maybe I didn’t. Either way, I’d love to read whatever she comes out with next. In regards to the actual books, the depictions of depression were inspired by her own experience with it. (I am in awe at how brave and honest she’s been in writing about depression in the books, so, if you ever somehow end up reading my review: thank you for this duology!!!). Also, a completely irrelevant fun fact, she has two cats and I honestly would not be surprised if I find out that Thia’s Crow was inspired by her cats.

Now the only thing I could not stand about the first book is the inevitable relationship of Thia and Ericen. Don’t get me wrong, out of all the ‘bad boy’ characters in YA Ericen actually is pretty decent, individually he is not a bad character and his relationship development with Thia is respectful while also being steamy. But once, just once, I’d love to read a YA book without this bad boy trope. I am over it. In saying so, Ericen is an acceptable bad boy character, and if there has to be a bad boy type character in a book, then at the very least I want it to be like Ericen.

(Note: in the second book Ericen is not front and centre as much, and he is more of a sweetheart and I approve).

For the second book, my only issue was that some of the writing felt a little bit off. This is a personal thing, I’m sure not everyone has this same issue, it could just be me. But yeah. I just felt that some of the lines in the second book were worded a little bit weirdly. Truly though, this is just me being a bit nit-picky.

To conclude, this was a really enjoyable duology. Both books are not very long but the author seems to perfectly give us enough world-building information, character developments and plot, without the book feeling too slow or too rushed. It’s fun and interesting, and it will be a duology I recommend to people if they want to read something short and sweet but still entertaining. So, that’s it for my review, thank you for reading it and as usual I hope you have a lovely day,

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An Indian Girl’s Guide To: An Artist’s Paradise in Florence

Italy is hot. Both literally and metaphorically. I’m a winter baby. I like winter. Not really summer. In fact, I can’t stand summer. Sorry, not sorry. I think the only downside to my trip to Italy was the heat. There are so many things I wish I was able to do, but alas the heat made me want to run back into the safety of my hotel room. Other than that, Italy was a lovely place to visit!

So, Florence. Unfortunately, I don’t know enough about art to fully submerge myself into the culture. I learned that a lot of famous European artists have some sort of connection to Florence – I’m not a very artsy person, to begin with but nonetheless I was curious. Now, before I get into the details about this trip, I just want to add that I visited Florence on a day trip from Rome, so I didn’t get a lot done but overall, I was still satisfied with my journey and I’m glad I saw the city.

As I mentioned, Florence was only a day trip so there were no hotels booked but I heard from the grapevines that there are beautiful winery and vineyard hotels/ resorts in the hills of Florence which are tourist hotspots. I’m not sure how much these costs, but hey, staying in a vineyard hotel sounds (expensive) relaxing. (See what I did there? Grapevines? Winery? Get it?).

Anyways, here’s a list of places you could visit while in Florence

  • Visit the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (which can be seen from the Piazzale Michelangelo) or the Basilica of Santa Croce 
  • Uffizi Gallery (houses art from famous Renaissance artists) or visit the Galleria dell’Accademia which specifically houses art by Michelangelo.
  • Piazzale Michelangelo (a 19th-century piazza with great views over the city)
  • The Boboli Gardens (again revolves around the Renaissance)

So what’s my favourite place in Florence? Since I couldn’t spend a lot of time there, my favourite place is probably the most touristy place possible which is the Piazzale Michelangelo. The views from here are beautiful (as well as the ice cream) and on a bright sunny day, you can see the whole city from this point. This lookout is completely free and open to the public, there are ice cream, snack and souvenir stands nearby as well as a cafe and garden. It’s the perfect place for and surprisingly it was busy but it was still easy getting good shots of the city so it’s not overly crowded.

I know this was a really short post, I really don’t have much to say sadly (I will learn how to tolerate the heat one day promise), however, despite that, Florence was gorgeous. Despite being a short post, I do have a fun fact which I learned while in Florence which is this: THERE IS A GUCCI MUSEUM IN FLORENCE! Yup, that’s right, the high-end fashion brand has an entire museum dedicated to the brand. So, if you’re a designer brand lover or even if you’re just curious, the Gucci Museum is waiting for you in Florence. Also, Florence is renowned for their leather goods and a lot of fashion houses source their leather from Florence and of course, this is the hub for artists (insert names of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles here)

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Review of Turtles All The Way Down by John Green

“It’s turtles all the way fucking down, Holmsey. You’re trying to find the turtle at the bottom of the pile, but that’s not how it works.” “Because it’s turtles all the way down,” I said again, feeling something akin to a spiritual revelation.

Turtles All The Way Down, John Green

Admittedly, I don’t remember why I gave this a 5-star rating on Goodreads. I’m assuming it’s because of the mental health depiction. Maybe I was going through a period where I loved John Green’s novels and I automatically gave 5 stars to every book by him. Maybe, I just like turtles. Truly, I don’t remember the reason behind my rating, nonetheless, before I get into an unnecessary backstory about why I rated this book the way I did, let’s get into the actual book review.

So, Turtles All The Way Down is about sixteen year old Ava Holmes and her battle with mental illness – specifically, in relation to germs, bacteria and cleanliness, Ava is dealing with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). In hindsight, this book is now weirdly relevant.

Whilst Ava is dealing with unwanted and irrational thoughts, the father of a childhood friend (and her love interest) went missing. This billionaire missing man was wanted for fraud and ever since he went missing there has been a cash reward for his return. Ava, fuelled by the possibility of solving a mystery, springs into action and tries to find him and reconnects with her old childhood love to do so. 

Arguably, this plot is definitely a little bit over the top and somewhat of a paradox: a super serious plot mixed in with a dramatic subplot. When I first read this novel, it did feel a little bit unrealistic (not everyone has an old childhood friend who happens to be the son of a billionaire). But on the other hand, the crazy missing billionaire sub-plot of the novel definitely helped highlight and emphasize the seriousness of the character’s mental illness. I guess, the plot is really a hit-or-miss thing with a lot of people; it can be both great and terrible at the same time.

I’ve read some reviews of people saying that Ava is an annoying character and I somewhat agree. On one hand, she is a very repetitive character – and that can get really annoying as a reader to constantly be fed the same information over and over again. But on the other hand, Green could just be highlighting what it’s like to have OCD and Ava’s repetitive comments are just characterising her more. While as a reader I did find the repetitiveness slightly frustrating, I do recognise that Green is trying to emphasise a point here, so ultimately, I do like Ava. She’s a character who is really trying to learn how to live with her OCD and I have to give her credit for it because it’s not easy living with any sort of mental illness.

Now for those who haven’t read a John Green book, where have you been the last 10 years? Green has been writing a lot of books (I think most of them are award-winning novels as well). His debut novel was Looking for Alaska but, he is most well-known for The Fault In Our Stars, which was adapted into a movie as a result of its popularity (featuring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort). Paper Towns was another one of his novels to be adapted into a movie as well (featuring Cara Delevinge). He hasn’t published anything since Turtles, which was published in 2017. Additionally, just to note, Green does deal with his own personal mental illness issues, hence why this novel really focused more on mental illness portrayal compared to his other novels.

And if you’re curious if this novel won any awards, it has (no surprise there). Turtles All The Way Down won the Hea Noorteraamat award in 2018, the Alabama Author Award for Young Adult in 2020 and was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Young Adult Fiction in 2017 and a Lincoln Award Nominee in 2020.

Overall, this is a pretty enjoyable book. Again, I don’t remember why I originally gave the novel a 5-star rating, but the story does focus on an important topic and diversity (mental health, racial etc.) in novels is extremely important to me. Especially in YA; it’s no surprise that YA is one of the most popular literary genres and one of the most least-diverse genres as well (literature in general really isn’t that diverse), so any inclusion of such topics makes me willing to give it high ratings. Granted, I do expect any such depiction to be accurate, and it seems that Green did keep that in mind while writing the novel.

In terms of the plot, yes, I know I said earlier that it was unrealistic, but I can appreciate the ridiculousness. John Green is known for capturing the awkwardness and the raw joy of teenage life. So, while we all can’t have billionaire friends to eventually fall in love with, the bit of mystery and romance in the novel was sweet and adorable to read about.

Before I end my review, I desperately want to talk about the actual title of the book and the metaphorical meaning. “Turtles all the way down” is a metaphor for Ava’s OCD. In the novel, Ava is very aware and terrified of the fact that she cannot completely control her thoughts and her irrationality, despite how hard she tries to reason with herself, in relation to her OCD. Ava’s OCD is really about germs, bacteria, and all the microbiological things we cannot see with the naked eye, she is convinced she needs to clean everything in order to keep the germs away from her, but no matter how many times she tells herself everything is clean, her brain convinces her that there are more germs. So, when she gets to the bottom of the pile of turtles, her brain says, nope, there are more turtles, all the way down.

So, I’ve explained what this metaphor means to Ava’s story, but what does the metaphor actually mean? Well,“Turtles all the way down” is an expression trying to explain a problem which is never ending and forever continuous. It comes from this concept that there is a turtle resting on the back of a bigger turtle, and that turtle is resting on the back of an even bigger turtle and so on. The pile of turtles is never ending – it goes all the way down. Reading the novel, while knowing what the title really means makes a whole lot more sense – I found this fact out after I finished the novel and so many things finally made more sense to me. 

*If you’re interested in this aspect of the novel, I’ve found an article by Preeti Juturu linked here, which talks more about the Stephen Hawking part of this novel. Yes, you read that right. There is a scientific concept behind the title.

*Additionally, please note, I am NOT a flat-earther.

This completes my book review! Let me know what you think about this novel if you’ve read it! And I hope you have a lovely day.

Click here for BLM resources.
Remember to follow your city/ country’s COVID-19 regulations.

My Makeup Collection, Part 3: A Review Of My Makeup Weakness – My Highlighters

Since this has quickly become one of my favourite blog series to write, I couldn’t wait to publish Part 3 of My Makeup Collection. For this edition, I’m going to be talking about my favourite makeup product: Highlighters. Highlighters just help create the most glowly and everyday no-makeup makeup look which I adore. So here are my top 4 highlighters that have been my ride or dies since… well, since I’ve bought them.

First and one of my most loved highlighters is a highlight palette: the Anastasia Beverly Hills Sun Dipped Glow Kit. I’ve talked about this product previously in my brand review of ABH which will be linked here, so I won’t talk about this too much. Just know that this was my first ABH product and its POC friendly. I only ever use this Kit for special occasions, so I don’t use it that often but the shades are gorgeous and the pigment is PERFECT. The pigment is super intense as well, so a little really does go a long way!

Next is my Mecca MAX Liquid Light in the shade Gold (which retails for $28AUD). Now, I really wanted the Rose Gold shade but it was sold out at my local store so, I ended up buying the Gold instead. I really wanted to try mixing liquid highlighter with my liquid foundation so I wanted to invest in a non-expensive liquid highlighter to test out and I have determined that I love this liquid highlighter. Once I finish this product I may find another alternative from a brand that I really like (using Mecca Maxima’s own product is something I do to test out a particular formula (e.g liquid highlighter vs. powder highlighter) so I can figure out if I like it or not, without spending too much money on it). But until then, I’m happy using this product. It’s not super runny/ liquid-y, and it mixes well into my liquid foundation BUT again, the glow is very intense, so a little does go a long way.

The Colourpop Super Shock Highlighters have been my go-to for my everyday use. The shades I have been using are not sold anymore so I can’t link it here (insert crying face emoji here). But, the formula is one of my general favourites. It’s very creamy and not as intense as the previous two highlighters – making it the perfect highlight for everyday use. While it’s not very intense it can be built up to be pretty blinding. Other than that these highlighters are very light-weight (and while ABH has some fall out since it is powdery) the benefits of cream highlighters is that there little-to-no fallout, which is also a big plus for me – imagine being in a rush and spilling your powdered highlighter everywhere.

And last but not least is the RMS Living Luminizer which is actually a recent find. I’ve been following a lot more minimalist makeup gurus and this was one product that kept popping up on their recommendations. I got my hands on a sample not long ago and wow I was instantly impressed. This has the creamy formula that Colourpop has as well as the intense glow that ABH has. So, it’s kind of like my two favourite highlighters combined into one product. Now I haven’t bought myself a full sized product YET, but RMS as a brand, is really interesting and I might try out a few other products and publish a full review later on.

And, that is it for this post. Now I really want to know what is your favourite highlighter(s)? While I don’t buy a lot of highlighters, I do love discovering new highlighters so please let me know what your favourite highlighters are I’d love to know! Until the next post, I hope you all have a lovely day and thank you for reading.

Click here for BLM resources.
Remember to follow your city/ country’s COVID-19 regulations.

Books I Have On My TBR (published and soon to be published)

There’s been a lot of new releases lately, and a lot of announcements for future book publications that I’m really excited for, so, I just thought of making a quick list of some of the books I have on my TBR list.

So, in no particular order, I’m really excited for A Court of Silver Flames which will be published early January 2021. While she is no longer my favourite author (she was my high school favourite and I’ve grown out of her books + various other reasons), this novel will be focusing on a character from ACOTAR that I personally really like – even though it feels like more than half of the fandom hates this character.

Another book which will be published in January 2021 is Tales From the Hinterland by Melissa Albert. This is a collection of stories from the universe that was featured in the first novel – The Hazel Wood. I loved the first novel and while this novel isn’t exactly part of the series, the tales from the universe is something I personally prefer reading compared to the second novel in the series. I’m happy with how the first novel ended and truly, I’m just not interested in the second novel, however, the tales are something I am interested in.

Another novel which is on my TBR will be published in March 2021 and it is the Bone Crier’s Dawn by Kathryn Purdie. I listened to the audiobook of the Bone Crier and surprisingly I loved it! The plot summary didn’t interest me but I heard good reviews about the novel so I thought I’d give it a go and wow. I was blown away. Now, I’m just counting down the day for the sequel.

Since there are a few books by Leigh Bardugo coming out real soon, I’m just going to bunch them all up in one go. So, first, The Lives of Saints will be published in October this year. I haven’t looked up what this book will actually be about but I heard it was featured in the Shadow and Bone Netflix series (which I am SUPER excited to see!) so, I decided blindly that I’m going to pick it up. Bardugo also teased on her Instagram that she’s editing the second book in the King of Scars duology. While there is no final publication date, this is also something I’m really excited about.

There is a book by Roshani Chokshi which is also going to be published soon. The Silvered Serpents is the sequel to The Gilded Wolves which will be published late September. While I actually didn’t enjoy The Gilded Wolves as much as I thought I would, I’m still excited to read the coming second book – the cliffhanger had regained my attention and I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT. It was a cruel way to end a book.

Another book I really can’t wait to read is Renegades by Marissa Meyer. Earlier this year I read another one of Meyer’s series and overall I really enjoyed it. So, while I am late to the party, I can’t wait to start reading more of Meyer’s work (particularly her older books, I am waiting for too many books to be published so I thought if I read older works I’ll be able to keep myself busy).

Also, recently I read the first book in the Camelot Rising series. The Camelot Betrayal by Kiersten White is another novel I’m looking forward to – and will be published early November. I’ve read other books by Kiersten White (namely The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein) and again, I’ve enjoyed her work and I’m slowly making my way through the older and newer books published by her.

Some other books I have on my TBR include:
– The Tower of Nero by Rick Riordan
– Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen
– American Royals by Katherine McGee
– Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
– Queen of Volts by Amanda Foody
– The Winds of Winter by George R.R. Martini
– The Crow Rider by Kalyn Josephson
– Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin
– How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories by Holly Black
– Red Rising by Pierce Brown
– Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

So, that’s my extremely long list of TBR books. Let me know what books you have on your list or are excited for, and as usual, I hope you have a lovely day.

Click here for BLM resources.
Remember to follow your city/ country’s COVID-19 regulations.

An Indian Girl’s Guide To: Discovering Singapore

Note: I travelled to Singapore in 2015/16 which was obviously before the international travel restrictions. Please remember to follow your city/country’s COVID-19 instructions and do not travel unless authorised.

It’s actually been a while since I’ve physically gone to Singapore but still, I have a lot of great memories from that trip. And let me tell you, that ever since I’ve watched Crazy Rich Asians (and fangirled over the books) I’ve been wanting to go back ever since.

So, what can you do in Singapore? Singapore is a lovely mixture of your average modern-day city and a tropical island, so, yes it’s very humid and hot at times but that climate makes it perfect for cultivating orchids. So, one thing you can do in Singapore is to visit the National Orchid Gardens or spend some time at the Gardens By the Bay – both are public gardens and extremely beautiful to visit, especially on a sunny day. Or if you’re not much of a nature person that’s fine, you can always spend some time shopping on Orchard Road, the main shopping road in Singapore. I personally love anything that has to do with nature, but unfortunately I didn’t have time to explore the National Orchid Garden. I did have time to go to the Gardens by the Bay and while initially I thought I’d spent and hour or so there, I ended up spending a good portion of the day there.

If you’re a fan of the Crazy Rich Asians movie then you’ll be pleased to know that one of the last scenes in the movie was filmed at the Merlion steps – this is an area by the bay which features a half-lion, half-fish statue/ fountain. Or if you’re not a movie fanatic, then you can always enjoy a leisurely ride on the Singapore Flyer. The Singapore Flyer was one of my favourite stops, on a clear day it almost feels as if you’re floating in the sky when you reach the top.

Other things to do include, visiting Sentosa Island, going to Madame Tussauds Wax Museum (their Singapore Museum features Asian celebrities as well as Western celebrities if you’re interested) and spending a day (or two, or more) at Universal Studios.

And, as usual, ending with a fun fact about Singapore: ‘Singapore’ comes from the Sanskrit word ‘Singapura’ which means Lion City – hence all the Lion symbolism around the city. That’s all for this post, thanks for reading and I hope you have a lovely day.

For BLM resources click here.

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