Book Review: Wilbur Smith’s Desert God

Hi Everyone! Hope you’re summer’s going well! I can’t believe summer break’s almost over *sniffs back a tear*

I recently  read the Desert God by Wilbur Smith. It’s a Historical Novel set up in the early ages in the Middle East. I tried experimenting with a new genre and here’s my review!

I loved the book! It was a favorable shift from philosophy and chic flics to adventure. The story just gave me Game of thrones vibes throughout! So yes, the book gets gory at places, but I was normalized thanks to the Game of Thrones series. 

Lord Taita, a man possessing impeccable strength and intelligence, plots to bring his kingdom to victory and peace by means of a meticulous plan against the Hyksos. They face innumerable challenges during its execution, including the princesses budding love for their warriors. Which path will Taita choose? Will Taita and his warriors’ resilience and bravery bring them glory?

the details in the story were absolutely incredible! It really did take me to a different world. The royal lives aren’t always rosy. They possess everything and nothing. The gold and silver they don aren’t a measure of happiness. 
I absolutely loved the characters in the book. Their personalities were well laid out, each so different and wonderful. My favorite would be Zaras, one of the lead commanders. His loyalty towards his duty and responsibilities, even where his life’s desires were snatched away, were commendable. 

Although the book was a tad bit heavy with the words, I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone looking for an adventure novel!

I’d rate this book a 4/5!

If you’ve read the book, let me know what you think of it!
Lots and lots of love,

Themysticalpanda 

Liebster Award Nomination!

Hi Everyone! Hope you’re summer’s going well. 

I was nominated by Annie for the Liebster Award! This award was on my bucket list and I’m extremely happy that I got nominated for it. Go check out Annie’s blog. She’s doing an amazing job!

Here are the rules

1. Answer the 11 questions that your nominator has asked you 

2. Nominate 11 other bloggers (with under 200 followers) 

3. Ask your nominees 11 questions. 

4. Let them know you nominated them!

Here are Annie’s questions for me. Thank you so much, Annie. Loved your questions. 
1. Who is your favourite fictional character?

2. Are you a night owl or an early bird?



3. What’s the best present you’ve ever received?



4. What’s your favourite holiday (Christmas, Easter, Valentines Day, etc…)?

5. Do you know any languages/ what languages do you wish you could speak?

6. What’s your favourite part about blogging?

7. What dessert could you eat for the rest of your life? 

8. Who is someone you look up to?

9. What’s one thing on your bucket list?

10. What’s an achievement you’re really proud of?

11. If you could travel back in time, where would you go?

My answers– 

A1. My favorite fictional character would have to be Ted Mosby from How I Met Your Mother. I resonate with his personality and relate to most of his antics. He’s also one of the major reasons why I love How I Met Your Mother!
A2. Early bird. I can however, stay up until late or pull an all-nighter smoothly during exams depending on the stress levels. 
A3. I’d say the headphones my younger brother got me with his own cash. It’s a prized possession of mine.
A4. My favorite holiday has to be Winter Break, which is Christmas and New Years. 

My brother, dad, grandmother and I are all December babies, so we have a lot to look forward to during the winter break.
A5. I speak English, Kannada, Tulu, Hindi to a certain extent. 

I wish I was fluent in Arabic. It’s a beautiful language and is very special to me since I grew up in Saudi Arabia.
A6. My favorite part would be the amazing responses and support you get post the post. (haha)

A7. Anything chocolate! I’ve found new love in Red Velvet too.
A8. My parents. So many invaluable lessons from them.
A9. Parasailing!
A10. The fact that I started a blog. I’m really proud and happy I went ahead with it. 
A11. I would probably go back to the times of independence. It’s just such a momentous decade and I would have loved to be a part of it. 
And those are my answers to Annie’s questions. 

Here are my questions-
1. What is your pet’s name and what is the story behind it?

2. What’s your comfort food?

3. What’s your dream destination for a holiday?

4. What’s your current favorite book/TV Series?

5. Who is your role model?

6. What is the one thing you love about your home town?

7. What is your latest addiction?

8. Coffee/Tea?

9. What got you into blogging?

10. What’s your favorite quote?

11. Books/Movies
My nominees are-
1.BlogMyLife

2. Wingedeyegirl

3. Justrerehere

4. Rebeka Bergin

5. Makeitup_x

6. EverythingEm_x

7. Thoughtsfromjas

8. Iweekmary

9. CarlieDanillie

10. TopicalBlogger

11. Heylelsunter
I would love to read your answers! 

Lots and lots of love,

Themysticalpanda 

Travelogue- Ooty, India 

Hi Everyone! Hope you’re all having a great Sunday! I just got back from Ooty last night. It was a wonderful trip! The weather was absolutely lovely, with temperatures ranging from 13-16 degrees. Although it was difficult to get away from under the comforts of the covers, we managed to explore the queen of hill stations. Here’s a travelogue from my trip!
Although I was beyond excited for our trip to Ooty, the travel to our destination was a major concern for me. I have travel sickness, and our 5 hour car journey included 3 hours of twisted roads. I was dreading and mentally preparing myself for all the dizziness and puking. My Aunt got me some lemons, that I was to bite and suck at whenever I felt giddy. We made sure we collected all our belongings and I took one last trip to the bathroom, fully aware that clean public washrooms were a rarity. After a round of kisses and hugs we were off. 
Our travel was not as tiring as I expected it to be. We came across some beautiful views, including multiple sunflower fields that looked straight out of a Windows wallpaper. We stopped by at a Dosa Camp, and had one of the best Dosas, I also picked up a Lime drink as a precaution to the 2 hours of travel remaining. 

The last 2 hours were breathtaking to say the least. We had to cross animal reserves in the process, and saw deers, monkeys and horses on our way. It was beautiful. 
We reached Ooty at around 2.30, after passing 36 Hair pin curves. We stayed at the Derby Green Mahindra Resorts. Our stay was comfortable and refreshing and the resort was great, with the staff hospitable. We decided to take the day off and spent time at the Games Area of the resort. After losing terribly at chess to my Dad and playing a nostalgic family game of Snakes and Ladders we headed for a big dinner. 

The next day was very eventful. We visited the Chocolate Museum and bought back some great handmade butterscotch chocolates. The Botanical Garden was a beautiful sight. We went boating in Pykara and that was probably the highlight of my trip. The view was surreal, and so calming. I’ve attached pictures below.

We also went for a brief trek up to Lamb’s rock, and the realization of how unfit I’ve gotten sunk in.

We left on our 5th day there, and embarked on another 8 hour journey to Bangalore. (Didn’t puke, but the trip wasn’t half that enjoyable)

We had amazing food all the while and thoroughly enjoyed our stay. Ooty was breathtaking. 


Lots and lots of love, 

Themysticalpanda 

Book Review-Savi Sharma’s ‘This is Not your Story’

Hi guys! I am currently gulping down some watermelon attempting to rejuvenate my senses from this unbearable heat. I just finished reading ‘This is Not your Story’ by Savi Sharma, a sequel to her ‘Everyone has a Story’, and here’s my take on it!
I personally liked the book way better than the first one. It was wonderfully baroque, and I loved the characters. The plot was neat and I liked how it was laid out, with the characters giving their perspective to the incidents that had followed. 

The characters, Kasturi, Anubhav, Shaurya and Miraya held a charm of their own with characteristics so diverse, but bound by their broken pasts. They held each other and attempted to re-write their stories, knowing well by now that their future is in their hands and settling for a future half-heartedly would be unjust to their potential and dreams. This is a story of how each of them succeed in life and love, all from supporting and believing in one another. How fear is a bigger obstacle than the task itself, and how you’re half way there once you overcome your fear and board the journey to your dreams.

I would rate this book a 3.5 on 5! 
Lots and lots of love, 

Themysticalpanda 

The Mystery Blogger Tag!

Hey everyone! Happy Father’s Day to all the father figures out there!

I was nominated by Jenny for the Mystery Blogger Award. Thank you so much for the nomination. It was really sweet of her to provide this opportunity for all the small bloggers to come forward. The Mystery Blogger Award is a tag created by Okoto Enigma.



The rules are as follows-
1. Put the award logo/image in your post.

2. List all the rules.

3. Thank whoever nominated you and leave a link to their blog.

4. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.

5. Nominate 10-20 people and notify them.

6. Link back to the creator of the award.

7. Ask nominees any 5 questions of your choice, with a weird or funny question.

8. Share the link to your best/favourite post of yours. 

Here are 3 random things about myself –

  1. I dislike Skinny Jeans. Don’t get me wrong, it looks great and I would have loved to be able to like them. It’s just how it feels against the skin. I don’t like fabrics that are too tight on my legs, and skinny jeans are just that.
  2. I’ve always wanted to be a Pilot and still do. I fangirl over any pilot that walks by. Unfortunately things didn’t go as planned and here I am in law school.
  3. I am a hard-core non-vegetarian, so it was initially difficult for me to adjust with the vegetarian food on campus. I lost 6 kilos in my first semester!

Onto Jenny’s questions now

Q1. If you could make a live action re-make of your favorite Disney Film, who would be your dream cast?

A1. My favorite Disney movie would be Alice in Wonderland. I’d probably have Anne Hathway play Alice, Benedict Cumberbatch play The Mad Hatter, Morena Baccarin play the Red Queen and Nina Dobrev play the White Queen.

Q2. If you wrote a book, which genre would you choose and why?

A2. I would mostly go with Fantasy, simply because there’d be no restrictions to my imagination. Although this would make things difficult and simple at the same time, it would be a very  interesting experience.

Q3. Which Disney Character would you want to be best friends with?

A3. I’d say Mowgli, for his fun-spirited and pure soul.

Q4. Someone gives you €5, 000, you’re not allowed to save it, what would you spend it on?

A4. I’d probably spend every bit on travelling with my family.

Q5. If you could create a selection of products, what type of products would they be and what would you call them?

A5. Stationery, maybe. I can’t think of anything cute right now, but maybe RiKo.

That is all for Jenny’s Questions. Thank you so much for these fun questions. I had a great time answering them! Here are my questions-

Q1. Amongst the Disney Characters, who would you say is your spirit animal and why?

Q2. What are your pet peeves?

Q3.  What does your ideal Sunday look like?

Q4. Who is your favorite superhero and why?

Q5. What would your favorite childhood memory be?

And my nominees are

  1. StyledbyMcKenz
  2. Jessica Riga
  3. Ella May Garrett
  4. Miss Foodiefiesta
  5. Everything EmmZeeBee
  6. The confused Individual Blog
  7. A small wardrobe
  8. Sophie In Wonderland
  9. Natalie Vinh
  10. Yazad Writes

Thank you so much for the support and love! 
Lots and lots of love, 

Themysticalpanda 

Book Review- Savi Sharma’s Everyone has a Story

Hi Everyone! So, clearly I’ve been having a lot of time on my hands lately. I just finished another book! It’s Savi Sharma’s Everyone Has a Story.Here’s my review. 

The story revolves around 4 characters, Nisha, Kabir, Vivaan and Meera. Meera, a budding story teller is in search of a tale that would move souls and have an impact on readers. She dreams about the time she would read her story to avid readers like herself, while attentively listening to the authors presenting their work in the cafe. Kabir an employee at the cafe and a friend of Meera is a source of motivation and encouragement for Meera’s dream. Nisha, a long-lost customer at the cafe, guarding her own dark secrets, ends up being one of her best friends. She finally comes across Vivaan, assistant bank manager of Citibank, igniting an idea for a plot. In her sessions at the Cafe, she attempts to decrypt Vivaan. Amidst these interactions, stories and events unfold, revealing information and struggles of each of the characters. As she pens her growing relation with Vivaan, she realizes that there are certain people who leave a mark on you, freeing you from the mental boundaries and encouraging you to grow and work persistently towards your goals. 
I wasn’t quite impressed with the storyline. I found the plot quite stretched out and there were elements that were amiss. Although there were attempts at humour, I found them weak. The philosophical aspect was nothing out of the ordinary. There will be some people that will bring out the best in you, and will make you do things that you may have never imagined. This wasn’t anything new, or untold. I’d hoped I would maybe grab something about life, love and friends that i’d never come across before. I found the story quite ordinary, but not completely disappointing. 
I’d rate the book a 2.5 on 5.
Lots and lots of love, 

Themysticalpanda

Book Review-Nicholas Sparks’ Two by Two

It’s been terribly long. A month maybe? I got done with my papers around 10 days ago, and finally have time for some guilt-free binging on TV Shows and books. Anyone else re-watching FRIENDS for the third time? 
I just finished reading Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks, two nights ago. Anyone who sits around me in class would’ve seen me clutching onto this book for over two months. I was just immersed in assignments or maybe it was a reader’s block. Anyway, I managed to get through and here is a book review! 
If you’re the kind that has no control over their tears, you’d better have a tissue box(es) close by or make a strategic choice for your reading spot. I don’t usually cry, but this book had me holding back tears. Although Sparks is all about Romance, this book was more than that. It revolves around the bond between the protagonist Russel, with Marge, his sister; London, his daughter; Vivian, his ex-wife and Emily, his re-kindled love and the roles they play as Russel goes through life’s challenges. It was beautifully written with every page leaving you fixated on the story. The book was centered around the father-daughter relation, decrypting the soft corner for his daughter in his sturdy exteriors. And how London, his six year old was the primary reason he kept going through the abyss of chaos and confusion. 

I personally loved the manner the book touches on the relation between an elder sister and her brother and how it was portrayed. Amidst all the taunting and fights, there lies an unbreakable bond. 
This book was a gift from a friend, and I am so thankful for it! Thank you so much Yazad!
I would rate the book a 4.5 on 5 and definitely recommend this to anyone ready for an emotional rollercoaster. 

Lots and lots of love, 

Themysticalpanda 

Favorites- Studygrams 

Hey Everyone! Hope you had a lovely weekend. It’s Finals week here for me, and naturally I’ll be doing everything other than studying until the last 2 days, after which I’ll be frantic and have constant breakdowns. Please tell me you can relate.

I recently got acquainted with the concept of bullet journals and studygrams, and it’s surprisingly a brilliant way to motivate yourselves! I’ve been following a couple of studygrammers, and it’s definitely helped me to motivate myself. I thought i’d share some of my favorite studygrammers, to maybe help you through this dreadful week! 

1. Emmastudiess

I absolutely love her level of interaction with her followers. In addition to promptly answering any of your study related questions, she conducts live sessions quite frequently! Her feed is stunning and her sincerity in academics influences you positively. She also hosts a website complete with articles on tips and tricks to ace your course. 

2. Premedmotivation 

Another amazing feed! He captures the stress attached to being a university student all too well. His notes are way too pretty, to not be studied. And that’s the whole point of pretty notes. 

3. Lydia.studies

Handwriting goals! Her pictures have almost pushed me to buy bucket loads of stationery for myself. Before of course, I realized I was broke. 

4. Focusign

I want you to go check her feed right after you read this post. It’s waaay to pretty! Don’t ask questions. Do as I say!

5. Snjsstudies 

Aesthetics at its best. Her pictures are beautiful and I won’t be surprised if you spend a good 20 minutes admiring her feed and trying to replicate her bujo style. 

6. Amelia_studies

I only recently came across her feed and followed her page almost instantaneously. Yes, she’s that good. Go check her page out. I was left in awe. 

The dedication of these studygrammers have to some level motivated me to have prettier notes and focus on my studies. Hope this helps you out as well! Let me know who your favorites are or if you have any tips to make finals week less painful than it is! 

All the very best! 

Lots and lots of love, 

Themysticalpanda 

Blogger Interview! 

Hey Everyone! It’s a Friday! Although I’ve a submission due tomorrow night. I’m still in the mood to celebrate, which explains why I’m at the Bistro waiting for my order.I got myself some Chicken to go with the show I’m currently watching, Thirteen Reasons Why. 

I had been recently nominated for the Mystery Blogger Award by Jenny! Thank you so much Jenny! Appreciate the support. Her blog, Jenny in Neverland is a treat for book-lovers. She’s been blogging for around 3 years now, and is doing very well! 

On looking through her page with awe, giving me some major blogger goals, I decided to go ahead and ask her for an interview! And she was sweet enough to agree and help us small bloggers out! 

Thank you Jenny, once again! 

Here were her responses to my questions-

1. What/Who was the motivation behind your blog?

Books were actually the motivation behind my blog as I started blogging as just a book blogger. Books and reading have always been my favourite hobby, books are my one true love and I loved the idea of being able to share what

I thought about them with other people! 
2. How do you manage time between work and blogging?

I actually work from home on my book tour business at the moment, which does tie in very closely with blogging. I do still need to split my time efficiently between blog work and tour work as they can both take up a lot of time. To-do lists are my saviour, I don’t think I’ve gone a day in the last 2 years without working from a to-do list!
3. Do you have any tips to increase outreach?

Connect and engage.

Take part in Twitter chats, take part in comment threads, follow other bloggers and talk to other bloggers. Even simple things such as making sure your blog is easily accessible; not being private, having an easy to reach email address, making sure it’s navigational. It’s also important to remember that high outreach won’t happen over night and it does take a lot of hard-work. 
4. How important is photography?

Not important! I recently wrote a blog post on this on a whim because I was feeling rubbish about my photography and realised I really didn’t need to. It depends on what your blog is about; it’s very subjective. If you have a photography blog, how important is photography? It’s the be-all and end-all of your entire blog. But generally, I wouldn’t say it’s the most important thing. And I’ll link my blog post at the bottom!
5. How important iscommunication with other bloggers?

I think it very much depends on what your intentions are with blogging, what you want to get out of it and stuff like that. I know a book blogger who only a month or so ago got Twitter. But the blogging community is brilliant and so supportive and you can gain so, so much from it – both in your blogging “career” and your personal life. With so many different people to meet, why would you not want to be a part of that? 
6. Has blogging helped you generally in life (for example-in combating depression,laziness etc.)

Yes, blogging has helped me massively. I was in a terrible place when I started my blog back in 2013. I had just quit my college course and my work placement

(I was training to become a teachers assistant in a primary school and couldn’t hack it) and I had crippling anxiety so I found it difficult to leave the house and the prospect of going to work paralyzed me with fear. Blogging gave me something productive to work on and take my mind off of things and I really don’t know where I’d be if I hadn’t have started blogging. 
7. What are your favorite kind of blog posts?

Oooooh, to write, it has to be book reviews. I love dissecting a book and really getting deep into it and what it means. To read, I love travel related posts.
8. Do you have any tips to maintain consistency?

Find a system that works for you. You’re never going to be consistent if you’re constantly putting pressure on yourself to post every day and to create amazing content. It’s going to be forced and you’re not going to enjoy it. And enjoying it is the main thing. 
9. How long have you been blogging for?

I’ve been blogging since 2013 🙂 
10. What would you say to anyone who wants to start blogging?

Just do it! And get involved. And never, ever be scared to ask for help!
Why you should stop worrying about your blog photos:

Why you should stop worrying about your blog photos
Comment threads:

https://jennyinneverland.com/2017/04/18/com…

And that was all the questions I had! I hope it helped and that  it motivated some of you to start blogging! 

Hope you guys have an amazing weekend! 

Lots and Lots of Love, 

Themysticalpanda

Weekend Shenanigans

 And so, we had a weekend to ourselves. We weren’t completely free off uni load, but the submissions were comfortably far away. I decided to ring a good friend of mine of about 8 years now. Luckily, she stays only 30 minutes away from where my University is located. I can’t describe how excited I was. I was almost counting down the days left to meet her, at the same time consciously pressing down the excitement levels. I had this eerie feeling that she would bail out. 

Fortunately, nothing of that sort happened. Unfortunately and Fortunately, two girls skipping off to Delhi sounded like a risky business to my mom in Saudi Arabia. She had recently heard of a kidnapping, and other related crimes were not unheard in Delhi. I frowned on hearing her words. I had no argument in place. I finally spoke to her about getting my guy friend along. She agreed.

I realized then that I’m never completely and appropriately dressed without a guy by my side. No matter how much skin I’m showing, no matter what moves I’ve kept at the back of my head to fight back, no matter how prepared I am. 

 I brushed my mind off the disturbing thought and fueled my excitement by looking through eateries my roommate had suggested. 

The Saturday had arrived! I already had an outfit in mind. I paired a printed tee tucked underneath my boyfriend jeans. I added a black belt and sneakers, straightened my hair and we were off! 

We had the most amazing time. If you’re from Delhi, or are planning a trip to Delhi, Gulati Restaurant at Pandara Road is a must-try. As I had read on their wall of fame, “It’s a sin to come to Gulati and not have their world-famous Butter Chicken”. I had eaten way beyond my capacity, thanks to my friend who set up a food challenge. I lost miserably. I should have worn something loose. Something without a belt, perhaps. 

But being the foodie that I am, we went off for some ice-creams to Giani’s. I had a mango flavored ice cream with chocolate sauce and some nuts to top. We clicked a couple of pictures and boomerangs, and were off. Check out my Instagram for updates! *yay for self advertising* It’s under the username damysticalpanda btw. 
We had over an hour to kill, and so we decided to walk around Khan Market. But because of my about-to-tear tummy, I found it difficult to walk around. We decided to head back to campus and cancelled the Khan Market plan. 
I had crashed the moment I reached my room. I remember my room being an absolute mess, when I left. But I let the borderline clean-freak self let loose and drift off to sleep. It had been one hell of a day. 
Thank you so much for 500 views. It truly means a lot to me. See you all next Friday! 
Lots and lots of love,

Themysticalpanda