Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Soudha's Travel Log 3: Shopping by the Sea!

Hi guys! Today I'm back with a new entry in my travel log series. 

So today, I'll be taking you on a virtual trip at the Caudan Waterfront. Simply put, it's a set of shopping malls, food courts and hotels built along the harbour. You're basically doing your shopping by the sea! It comes with a docking area for cruise boats as well and is always bustling with people, both locals and tourists. 

When I arrive at the Caudan, I am greeted by the sight of boats docked for the day, bobbing lightly above the deep blue sea. The parking area stretches along the harbour and as soon as I leave the car, the smell of salt on the wind hits me. Regardless of the season or time of the year, it always feels like summer at the Caudan!

I enter the main area of the Caudan and flanking the steps leading up to the first mall, I find the famous wood sculptures of local artist PEM. A favorite spot with tourists and Mauritians alike, the beautiful hand carved display is a little teaser for the other local pieces of art and handcraft scattered throughout the Caudan.

A few steps into the first mall and I find one of the several art galleries of the Caudan. Under the brush strokes of local artists, Mauritius come to life through the vibrant colors of the local scenery and beaches captured at standstill on canvas. Spotted in almost all pieces, the Mauritian dodo, extinct since centuries, seems more alive than ever under plumage of bright reds and blues. 

I leave the first mall and head to an open space leading to various shops and food spots, walking under the shade of a myriad of colorful umbrellas that overlook the entire alley. 

To my left, a few people are sitting under the colorful shadows of the overhanging umbrellas, sipping fresh fruit juice from the fruit cart stationed on the side of the alley. This is the ideal place to stop by for a taste of local fruits and freshly pressed juice.

Just a few steps further, there's a cart selling the traditional 'manioc galettes', local treats made with cassava. These galettes are perfect on their own or with a warm cup of tea.

I now head to the other side of the Caudan. To cross between the different areas of the place, you get to walk by the harbour. To my right stretch high end restaurants and popular fast-foods, the sounds of laughter and clinking of glass occasionally cut by the splash of the waves. 

The Caudan is home to both local art and delicacies and high end shops. The Vendome does not only offer beautiful pieces of jewelry, but the shop itself is worth a stop. With its stone façades and balconies, the shop itself is as beautiful as the little treasures displayed inside.

Another visitor favorite is the boat shaped casino with the massive figurehead of a prancing lion. The casino, housed within a boat docked right in the middle of the alley, is one of the highlights of the Caudan at night, both with visitors and the people staying at the hotels in the vicinity. 

I enter another of the malls and this time head towards its craft market. Inside, you can find all sorts of locally made crowd pleasers ranging from sweets, local tea, scented candles and carved wooden decorative pieces to scarves, boat models and handcrafted soaps. 

Leaning on the balcony of the mall's top floor, I take a moment to glance at the sprawling view of the mountains looming above the coastal city. The bridge, which leads to another entrance to the Caudan, unfolds into the edge of the road beyond which lay the town of Port-Louis, the capital of Mauritius.

Any tour of Mauritius would be incomplete without a stop at the Caudan. With its countless shops and food spots, galleries and food carts, it's the perfect place to hang out on a sunny day, as well as for tourists as with its local visitors.

I hope you enjoyed this post! Let me know your thoughts in the comments ^^

Saturday, March 26, 2016

My Spring Bucket List

Hi guys! Today I want to share with you the things I'd love to do in spring... one day. Why one day, you might ask? Well, it's simply because I've actually never seen spring. The country I live in has only two seasons, summer and winter, which means that I've experienced neither spring nor Fall before! 

So here are the things I would love to do if it was spring here. And if it's spring right now where you live, feel free try out the ideas I've listed here ^^

Do a picnic 


I'd find a nice, quiet spot outside and have a little picnic while watching the tree blossoms. Sounds about perfect, right?

Go star gazing 


I've always been a night person so I'd really love to go out star gazing on a spring night. 

Make a bouquet


I'd make a bouquet with newly blossomed spring flowers to add a little touch of spring to the house.

Make a flower crown


I'd make a flower crown because while I've never worn one before, it sounds like a really lovely way to use the season's flowers for a fun little craft. 

Make a spring photo album


I'd capture the highlights of my first spring in an album which would forever remind me of that time where I was able to make a bucket list come true.

Do spring DIY projects 


Doing DIY projects is a hobby of mine and since I really enjoying making little crafts every now and then, it'd be fun to be able to do some spring themed ones some day. 

So those were the things I want to do in spring one day. Do you have spring where you live? What are your favorite things about the season?

Cover art by Of Stacks and Cups via Pagemodo

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Chocolate Tag!

Hi guys! Today I have the super fun Chocolate Book Tag for you ^^ I absolutely love chocolate so when I saw this tag, I just knew I had to do it on my blog at some point. 

This tag was created by BookTuber A Daydreamer's Ramblings and you can watch her original video here. Also, if you want to know more about the books mentioned here, just click on the book title and you'll be redirected to each book's Goodreads page. 

Now get comfy, grab your favorite chocolate bar and let's begin ^^


Dark Chocolate - A book that covers a dark topic. 

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. In this book, high school student Clay Jensen comes home to find a box sent to him, with inside a bunch of cassette tapes recorded by his classmate, Hannah, who committed suicide shortly before. In these tapes, Hannah gives the thirteen reasons for her suicide. This book covers the very dark topic of suicide and while there were times where I felt some things could have been done better, overall, this is a book many young readers would find eye opening and interesting. 

White Chocolate - Your favourite light-heart read.

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. While all the Percy books are really fun, the first one is certainly the most light-heart. The characters are still very young and the stakes have yet to escalate to the level they do in later books. Also, no matter how many times I'll read this book, it'll always make me laugh ^^

Milk Chocolate - A book that has a lot of hype that you're dying to read.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. I read and really enjoyed The Grisha trilogy in January and now I'm dying to get my hands on this new book by Bardugo. The book is set in the same world as the Grisha books and I simply can't wait to dive back into this universe with all its magic and intrigues. Also, so far, I've seen mainly positive reviews for Six of Crows so I'm fairly sure I'm going to enjoy is as well. 

Chocolate with a caramel center - Name a book that made you feel all gooey in the middle while you were reading it.

Clockwork Princess, the final book in the Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare. This book was a rollar-coaster of emotions! It had everything I could have hoped for and then some. The author did a fantastic job with all the character arcs and the book made a fine little mess out of my heart. 

Wafer-free Kit-Kat - Name a book that surprised you lately.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. The author's previous books, the Shiver series, were originally so much compared to Twilight that I figured her books were probably not for me. Then, last January, I picked up The Raven Boys on a whim and... fell in love with it! I'm glad I decided to give the author's books an actual try because her writing is really beautiful. I can't say much about Shiver because I didn't read it, but as far as the Raven Cycle goes, I have to say that it's definitely on my favorite series list now.

Snickers - A book that you are going nuts about.

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater! I've now bought all the books in the series and simply.can't.wait. to get the final book in this series, which is coming out next month. I'm a bit sad the series is already over but I'm also really looking forward to seeing how it'll all go down. 

Hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows - What book would you turn to for a comfort read?

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay. Harry Potter itself is a series I would categorize as comfort read but what makes the illustrated edition a notch more special for me was the circumstances in which I was given the book. I actually got it as a graduation present from my little sister last year after completing my bachelor degree, which makes it extra special to me. Also, having a story that I already loved so much come to life through all these illustrations did add to the magic of the book. I sometimes take the book off my shelf just to flip through the pages to look at the illustrations. I'm really impatient to get my hands on the illustrated Chamber of Secrets. I'm sure it'll be equally stunning! 

Box of chocolates - What series have you read that you feel has a wide variety and a little something for everyone?

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. This is a fairy tale retelling set in a futuristic world with sophisticated androids, super advanced technology and cities on the moon. Whether you enjoy political drama, sci-fi, adventure or romance, you'll fall in love with this series because it has all of those things along with fantastic female leads, amazing world building and really beautiful writing!

So that's it for this tag guys. If like me, you love chocolate, consider yourself tagged! Just don't forget to link your post back to mine and to leave me a link to it so that I can go read it ^^


Cover art by Of Stacks and Cups via Pagemodo

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Yearbook Hall of Fame Book Tag!

Hi guys! Today I have a book tag that I have to say I haven't seen a lot on YouTube and on blogs. I thought it was pretty fun though and so today, I'm doing the Yearbook Hall of Fame Book Tag. This tag was created by one of my favorite BookTubers, Kat from the channel Katytastic, and you can check out her original tag video here
This tag is designed in the same way a regular Yearbook works. Basically, you have several categories for which you're supposed to vote for your favorite students or, as in this case, your favorite characters. So here are the fictional characters I voted for in these categories:

The Categories

Best Dressed


Isabelle Lightwood from The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. Izzy is basically a fashion Goddess. Not only does she possess uncanny fashion sense that puts even main character Clary pitifully to shame, but Izzy is also able to rock the highest of heels while fighting demons all over town. Now that takes some serious talent. 

Best Eyes


I'm going with another TMI character and that is Magnus Bane. Magnus is the High Warlock of Brooklyn, making him one of the most powerful characters in Cassandra Clare's universe. The reason he's my pick for this category though is because he has catlike eyes. Literally. And that beats your regular blues and greens anytime. 

Best Hair


Daenerys Targeryen from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin. Daenerys, like most princes and princesses born from the ancient House Targaryen, is described as having silver hair and violet eyes. In fact, her hair even earns her the title Silver Queen at some point. Not only is her hair color unique in itself, but it's also evocative of her ancestry and marks her as the last Targaryen. 

Best Couple


Eleanor and Park from the book by the same name by Rainbow Rowell. Eleanor is shy, wears mismatched clothes, is plump and has unruly curly red hair. Park is half-Asian, skinny for his age and dresses mostly in black to try to play it cool so that other kids at school won't pick on him. These two are very different and come from entirely different worlds. And yet, as they accidentally come to share a seat on the school bus everyday, they unexpectedly discover a mutual love for comics and music that leads then to slowly become friends, and then, much, much more. These two share one of the sweetest romances I've come across in books and that's why I just had to pick them for this category.  

Class Clown


Leo Valdez from the Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan. Leo is a demigod and the son of Greek God Hephaestus, which means that he has special skills with mechanics and machinery. Yet, you wouldn't know he's a genius with machines by his laid-back, 'class clown' attitude. His jokes often fall flat, but he definitely adds to the good humor of the demigod crew he travels with to fulfill quests. 

Biggest Flirt

Captain Thorne & Cress fan art found here

Captain Thorne from the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. If you've read the books, you probably already know this but Captain Thorne is the ultimate flirt. He's your old fashioned, rogue captain with an eye for the ladies and you can't help but love him for it. 

Most Dramatic


Tiger Lily from the book by the same name by Jodi Lynn Anderson. Anderson's Tiger Lily is nothing like the Disney character you're probably more familiar with. She's a huntress, both stoic and fierce, and always stays a little aloof from the people around her. She's a bit of a mystery for her fellow tribesmen and the loss, heartbreak and hurdles scattered throughout her life also serve to make her a fierce but dramatic character. 

Most Musical


Cress from the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. Cress is Meyer's version of Rapunzel and much like in the original tale, Cress grew up locked away in an isolated prison. She has thus learnt, over the years, to keep herself company though several ways including singing. And judging by the reactions of the other characters, it's clear that Cress is actually very good at singing. 

Most Likely To Succeed


The Baudelaire orphans from A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. I'm halfway through the series and while I'm not really a big fan of it because of the endless repetitive elements, I have to admit that the Baudelaire siblings are pretty resourceful. Violet, the eldest, is a gifted inventor. Her brother, Klaus, is very intelligent and their infant sister, Sunny, is hinted at being way smarter than babies of her age. Despite the countless attempts made by their enemies to hurt them and steal the huge inheritance left for them following their parents' deaths, they always manage to escape and outwit the bad guys. So, for their resourcefulness only, I have to pick them for this one. 



Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. I mean who else?! Hermione is a very talented young witch, often shown as being exceptionally bright for her age. And honestly, as special as Harry Potter is, we all secretly know that he would have never made it so far as he did without Hermione at his side.

So that's it for this tag guys. If you want to do it too, feel free to do so and don't forget to link it back to mine and to leave me a link to your post ^^ 


Cover art by Of Stacks and Cups via Pagemodo

Friday, March 11, 2016

Book Recommendations - Adult Fiction

Hi guys! Today I want to recommend to you some of my favorite adult books. Whether you used to read predominantly YA and now want to get into adult fiction or you already read adult fiction and just want some book recommendations, I hope you'll find this post useful. 

I chose books that belong to a wide array of genres so I hope you'll find something in here from a genre you already enjoy.

For those of you who enjoy fairy tale retellings


Confessions of an Ugly Step-Sister by Gregory Maguire

Set in 17th century Holland, this book challenges everything you thought you knew about the story of Cinderella in a brilliant mix of fairy tale retelling and historical fiction. In this book, Cinderella becomes Clara, a spoiled and alarmingly childish young woman who’s never stepped in the outside world and Iris, the stepsister from whose POV the story is told, emerges as a character as smart as she’s unique. This ugly stepsister is a dreamer and a painter. She knows of her ugliness but she’s too busy trying to paint the world to dwell on it. And yet, in the end, she too will find her life touched and changed forever by the legend born from her famous stepsister’s beauty. I recommend it to fans of beautifully written fairy tale retellings with unique spins.

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey 

It is 1920 and Jack and Mabel, a childless middle-aged couple, are trying to build a life for themselves in Alaska. As each day in the harsh wilderness of Alaska becomes harder to pull through, Jack and Mabel begin to fall apart. Then, one day, as they witness the first snowfall of the season, they decide in an unexpected moment of playfulness to build a child out of snow. The next morning, the snow child has disappeared. Soon, though, they find a little girl in the woods, wearing the same scarf as the one they had wrapped around the snow child’s neck. And with this strange child’s arrival, things begin to change for Jack and Mabel. This book is a loose adaptation of a Russian fairy tale and I’d recommend it both for its magical realism elements and its gorgeous world building.

For those of you who enjoy bookish books


The Storied Life by A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Since the death of his wife, A.J. Fikry has become quite the bitter man. His business is bordering failure, his health is a doctor's nightmare due to poor eating habits and a drink too much per night, and he has taken to shutting out the people who have been reaching out to him. And then one day, as he enters his bookstore, fulling expecting another slow business day, he's shocked to find a very unique package left to his attention right in the middle of the place. Recovering from his initial bemusement, A.J. realizes that someone just dropped off a baby in his bookstore. Thus ensues a series of decisions and events that will forever change not just the grumpy bookseller's life but also the quiet little community he lives in.

This book also happens to be a modern adaptation of Silas Marner by George Eliot, which I also read and really enjoyed. I just thought I would mention it because I didn't know at the time that Silas Marner was the inspiration for The Storied Life and ended up reading them almost one after the other, wondering why the hell these two stories felt so familiar XD. 

For those of you who enjoy Historical Fiction


The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

In Barcelona, 1945, a young boy named Daniel is mourning the recent death of his mother. To help him with his grief, his father, an antique book dealer, takes him to a secret library known as the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. There, his father tells him that he will be allowed to take one book back home and that the book he picks will be his to guard forever. Daniel chooses a mysterious book called The Shadow of the Wind by an equally mysterious author, Julian Carax. Intrigued by the book, Daniel tries to find more about its author. To his shock, he then realizes that someone has been destroying every copy of every book ever written by Carax. With a masterful blend of mystery, romance and historical fiction, this is a book that all book lovers are bound to fall in love with.

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

Set in 17th century Amsterdam, 18 years old Nella arrives at the house of her recently wed husband Johannes Brandt, ready to begin a new life as the rich merchant’s wife. As soon as she arrives though, she is greeted with coldness by Marin, her sister-in-law and finds her husband to be distant and barely interested with her. As a way to relief his new wife of her loneliness though, Johannes gives her a miniature replica of their splendorous house as a wedding gift. To Nella’s shock though, the miniature house soon begins to mirror things that start to happen in the real house. I really can’t tell you more without spoiling this very unique book but you should definitely check it out if you enjoy historical fiction with elements of mystery and magical realism.

For those of you who enjoy unique romances


The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

This is a book that will give you all the feels, gut you mercilessly and make you feel all warm and fuzzy again, all within a few pages. Henry has a rare disease that makes him uncontrollably travel back and forth in time. Clare is his soulmate. While Henry was 28 when he first met her, Clare actually met him for the first time when she was 6 when an older Henry time-traveled to her. This book brings a new take on the subject of time-traveling and shows how these two people fall in love, more than once, and move ahead despite the uncontrollable forces in their lives. A truly beautiful book that I would recommend to everyone.

I've recently heard that a sequel is being released for this book. Honestly, I'm not sure how I feel about that. I'm not even sure if I'll even be reading the sequel. It's just that I really loved The Time Traveler's Wife and while the book doesn't quite come to a conclusive ending, considering the unique nature of the plot, I thought that actually worked rather well with the story.

For those of you who enjoy coming-of-age stories


Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

Tsukuru Tazaki’s adult life is haunted by the loss of his best friends, who inexplicably cut all ties with him years ago. Now, pushed by a woman he’s been seeing, he decides to go seek his old friends and find the answers he believes will finally help me let go of this burden and move on with his life. The way I see it, this is a coming of age story for adults. It explores themes such as friendship and heartbreak and the writing is as gorgeous as ever, as is everything that flows from Murakami’s pen. 
So those were some of my favorite adult books. I hope you found this post helpful and if you have recommendations for me based on the titles listed here, feel free to drop me a line in the comments below ^^

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Siblings Book Tag (Original)

Hi guys! I'm back today with an original book tag, co-created with my sister, Pooja. So today, we'll be doing a new Siblings Book Tag, featuring original questions penned specifically for this tag. My sister and I took turns answering these questions and honestly, it was super fun to do. If you also have siblings, feel free to do this tag as well. It'll be lots of fun, I promise! 

1. Name your favorite childhood book.

Me: Goosebumps by R.L. Stine

Pooja: The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

This question does set the mood, doesn't it? XD

2. Name a book you loved but which your sister didn't like.

Me: The Last Vampire by Christopher Pike. 

This was the series I first became obsessed about when I was a teen. It was also my first dip in vampire literature and I loved it so much I couldn't wait to get my sister to read it. Eventually, she did read it. And didn't like it... >_<

Pooja: The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. 

Despite all my sister’s warnings about how I would find these books boring and over-descriptive, I simply couldn’t help myself from falling in love with the ring bearer and his quest from the Shire to Mount Doom…simply epic!!!


3. Name a character you love but whom your sister doesn't like.

Me: Alisa Perne from The Last Vampire series.

Alisa is literally the last vampire. She's badass and ruthless and to me, she's a bit the 90's vampire version of Celaena Sardothien. And yet my sister can't stand her. Go figure -_-

Pooja: Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins.

I know that a lot of people, including my sister, believe that Peeta is not a strong enough character. However I believe that his strength resided in his ability to stand by Katniss throughout the terrifying Hunger Games and beyond. Also I think that it must have required much strength to survive the harassing torture of the Capitol and still find a way to eventually resurface. Go Team Peeta!!!

4. What are your favorite bookish habits?

Me: Occasionally mindlessly flipping the pages as I'm reading.

From time to time, I'll just stop reading, brush my fingers across the pages I've read so far, and then continue reading.

Pooja: I love to smell the books I'm reading. 

A quick sniff at the pages of a book is an amazing stimulant for a book lover.


5. Name a book you both hated.

A Walk To Remember by Nicholas Spark... Just no. 

6. What are your favorite fandoms?

Me: Alice in Wonderland! 

I think by now you guys already know that I'm more or less obsessed with Alice in Wonderland ^^

Pooja: The Hunger Games. 

The odds were indeed quite favorable in making me fall for the amazing story of the girl on fire!


7. Pick a book you want to steal from your sister's bookshelves.

Me: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan.

This is only John Green novel I actually really like. I originally read it on my Kindle and was planning to get myself a physical copy but my sister now has it on her shelves so I'll just resort to shameless thievery instead :D 

Pooja: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. 

I think I’m pretty much close to owning that one now ^^

8. What's your common favorite fandom?

Harry Potter ^^


9. Name a book you both really want to read.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy 

10. Name a fictional places you'd love to visit.

Me: Hogwarts and Camp Half-Blood!

Pooja: Middle-earth, especially Rivendell. And Lothlorien. And The Shire...


11. Name a book you recommended to your sister which she ended up loving. 

Me: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

My sister has it easy. Each time she needs to read a new book, she just visits my library and ask for recs. Does that make me her personal librarian?? 

Pooja: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini.

I simply had to share that haunting yet beautiful and truthful story with my sister. It gave me an insight on how life could be like for Afghan women during times of conflict and trial. And I wanted her to understand the feelings which were triggered in me while reading that amazing book.

12. Who's your favorite literary crush?

Me: Lestat from Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles

Pooja: Finnick Odair from The Hunger Games 

13. Name a book series you were surprised to both fall in love with.

Gossip Girl: The Carlyles by Cecily Von Ziegesar

I usually shy away from everything that closely resemble chick-lit and yet, after my sister bought this series, we ended up both falling in love with it. 

14. Name your favorite poets (or authors).

Me: E.A. Poe

Who daily scents its snowy wings, with incense of burnt offerings...

Pooja: John Keats 

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever: Its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness…

Again, do you see a pattern here??


15. Recommend some books to your sister.

Me: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan.

Pooja: The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, When the Mountains echoed by Khaled Hosseini, An Abundance of Katherines by John Green.

If you also want to do this tag...

1. Don't forget to link your post back to mine.
2. Send me a link to your post so that I can read your answers too :)
3. Maybe you have more than one sibling? Or you have a brother instead of a sister? Simply modify the questions accordingly ^^

So that's it for this tag guys. Definitely feel free to do it if you've enjoyed it ^^

Cover art by Of Stacks and Cups via Pagemodo