Saturday, August 19, 2017

NOTD: Zoya Amira

2 coats of Zoya Amira, a sky blue polish with a fairly subtle bronze shimmer.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

NOTD: Dance Legend Sub Zero

Three coats of my only Dance Legend, Sub Zero. It is so subtly beautiful; a teal jelly with teal flakies and red iridescent micro shimmer.
It's also a thermal but I wasn't able to get much color change with cold and hot water. Oh well, still pretty.

Gym Blurb & Fun Patterns

So despite all the time I generally spend lounging on the couch, watching TV, reading, and writing these posts, I actually really enjoy excercise especially in a group setting. A couple years ago I had a three month guest membership to a local In Shape City gym and I just loved it. I tried a variety of classes including yoga, Tai Chi and water aerobics, as well as various piece of exercise equipment.

Recently my in-laws were able to get a membership through their insurance as part of physical and for recent shoulder and knee surgeries so that's great for them. I was able to reap the benefits a little these past few days by getting a one week guest pass. The classes were just as fun as I'd remembered and working my muscles really does give me a sense of empowerment. Even though I'm not in tip top shape, my body is far more capable than I realize. Sometimes it feels great to just get up and move and working out alongside others helps keep me motivated and makes the time fly.

I do hope I can swing a membership financially at some point in the future. Maybe I'll ask Santa to contribute for Christmas, IDK.

Another thing I enjoy about the gym is wearing fun and silly workout wear. Cheerful prints help me keep upbeat while huffing and puffed and I like the compliments they usually garner from other gym goers. Last week I wore a pineapple tank and swirly capris.

Just today I wore my new "Meow Meows" leggings from Fabulegs and a pink tee; I love them! They were so comfy and adorable.

You'll have to excuse my serious case of resting b*tch face in these sweaty selfies. After all the exertion I can't seem to manage to make my face muscles smile.😂

And yes, I did work out in sandals. I had just changed after swimming and was too lazy to put on tennis shoes. I have a general aversion to close toed shoes anyway. Fortunately I didn't injure anything; these nifty flip flops with back straps are surprisingly sturdy.

Anyway, do you enjoy any particular form of excercise? Ever worked out at a gym? What workout clothes do you like? Please share in the comments!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

NOTD: Brushstroke

It was fun doing this abstract brushstroke art. I love how the layers of the creams and holo together give almost a 3-D effect. Colors used are OPI Nein Nein OK Fine, OPI Super Cute In Pink, and Superchic Lacquer Trap Queen.

Recent Wax Reviews

Country Lane Keepsakes Peppermint & Eucalyptus- icy cool peppermint and refreshing herbal eucalyptus. For being such a generally strong type of scent blend, this had moderate throw for about 6-7 hours. It was noticeable but didn't completely fill my rooms. Overall grade B. Might repurchase.

Candles Scent From Heaven Sagebrush- this is quite an old tart. A faint herbal aroma on cold sniff but basically no throw. Overall grade: D. Wouldn't repurchase.

Save Your Scentses Cannabis Flowers- a similar problem to the tart above. An older tart with a vague floral/herbal scent on cold and very little throw. Plus this soy wax was so soft and squishy that it was nearly impossible to get out of the tiny container. Overall grade: D-. Would not repurchase.

Starry Skies Kinky- Lavender Vanilla Tea & Cakes- love this one! Rich tea & cakes with soft undertones of the creamy lavender vanilla combo. Fairly strong throw for about 7-8 hours. Overall grade: A-. Would repurchase.

Glitterati Tart Berries & White Tea- this is a very tart fruit and herbal blend; unique and refreshing. Fairly strong throw for about 8 hours. Overall grade: A-. Would repurchase. 

Cosmic Gems Harbour Island- a nice pink sands and fruity type blend. Very summery. Moderate throw for about 6 hours. Overall grade: B. Might repurchase.

Front Porch Caramel Latte Pumpkin Waffles. All notes are present on cold but it only had a moderate to light throw for about 6 hours. Overall grade C+. Might repurchase.

Starry Skies Summer Daze- rainbow sherbet volcano fizzy soda. A yummy mixed fruit scent with a slight hint of fizz. Moderate throw for about 6-7 hours. Overall grade: B+. Might repurchase.

Sassy Girl Aroma Lemonade- previously reviewed.

Beezy DKNY Be Delicious type- one of my favorite melts in a while! I've loved this sensual juicy apple perfume for years and this is a dead on dupe. Super strong throw for about 8-9 hours. Overall grade: A+. Would repurchase.

Pink Mermaid Hot Pink Lime- a unique blend of sweet and sultry pink sugar with a tart twist of lime juice. Moderate throw for about 7 hours. Overall grade: B+. Would repurchase.

Pink Mermaid Pink Sugar Toasted Marshmallow Peppers. Strong opening of pink sugar with a light gooey marshmallow sweeness and a cool peppermint finish. Fairly strong throw for about 7-8 hours. Overall grade: A-. Would repurchase.

Country Lane Keepsakes Chocolate Orchid- previously reviewed.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

New Walmart Fall Wax Scents Part 2

It finally happened: as I pushed along the shopping cart that always seems to have one gimpy, wobbly wheel, I spotted a unicorn in the distance. A freshly stocked, unmolested wax isle; be still my heart! I had to stop myself from skipping as I sniffed here and there, like a butterfly flitting from flower to flower.

Plus as all waxies know, Fall is the ultimate season for amazing fragrances (don't argue or you may end up with a handful of pumpkin spice to the face.) So this restock of glorious new scents and returning seasonal favorites was doubly special. 

So here aren't the goods that went home with me.
I said in my last Walmart wax post thatI would be back for that 719 Walnut Ave Apple Delight 3-wick and I wasn't kidding. No regrets: it's fabulous! I melted it for a solid 8 hours the next day and it performed perfectly. Strong throw of yummy apple bakery, deep even wax pool, strong wicks with no drowning. I love these cheap little gems.

These BHG scents were all new to me; I'm pretty sure they're all new blends for this year. They also had the great returning classics such as Farm Apple Pumpkin and A Thankful Harvest, but as I'm sure I still have a few clams of the oldies floating around in my stash I just focused on the new kids. Way to stay on trend BHG! They came out with versions of a lot of blends that are really having moments right now.

Case in point: Around The Campfire.
Yes, it is kind of a Marshmallow Fireside type scent, but it's not identical. A little more resin and woodsmoke to my nose and a little less sweet marshmallow. I am apprehensive that they are messing with perfection on this one because the original MF and it's dupes are amazing to me, but this BHG scent also smells great on cold, so I'll be super excited to melt it.

Another blatant copycat, BHG's Berry Pumpkin Tart also does not smell a lot like BBW's Blueberry Pumpkin Patch to me. The blueberry note is not nearly as prominent here and in fact it mostly smells like unsweetened canned pumpkin with no spice and little bakery. Hopefully the other notes will really blossom when melting.

I love these dual scent clamshells and Perfect Winter Kiss sounded appealing. Winter Cuddle is a strong, fresh laundry and masculine cologne type, with a touch of cashmere musk for extra coziness. Frosted Mint is a sweet, icy spearmint. I could see them being really great together.

Pumpkin Maple Syrup is exactly as I would hope: rich cinnamon dusted pumpkin pancakes dripping with warm maple syrup. Scrumptious!

Moonlit Pumpkin Magic intrigues me. I wonder if the magic part is that it doesn't smell much like pumpkin but still smells good? It's a warm, mild scent. Something I can't quite put my finger on; perhaps a golden hay note with a soft musk. BHG seems to love musk; I find it hiding in the background of a lot of their scents. Fortunately I love musk too. This one evokes vibes of a moonlit freshly harvested hay field. Cool.

You need Warm Tobacco Leaf in your life! Another one of those super popular current scents that you either love or despise. Fortunately I enjoy it and this is a great rendition. Robust and a bit sweet, like fine pipe tobacco smoke. Earthy, warm and oh so comforting.

Scentsationals Cozy Retreat- another winning combo! The Honeycrisp Cider in this is amazing; I may go back for another clam of it by itself. Very sweet and juicy apple dripping with swirls of honey and mulling spices. Rustic Cabin Kitchen is also lovely, warm, woodsy and musky with baking spices filling the air.

Praline Spice- I love that it's not cinnamon overload. It's a deep and bold cinnamon sugar but the rich vanilla buttercream tempers it nicely. Reminds me of a cinnamon streusel coffee cake. Not super unique but pleasant.

Finally, Cranberry Oatmeal Cookie. I liked this one more in the store but now that I get it home, it smells of a vague sweetness with definite waxy undertones. Hardly the sweet cranberry bakery blend I'd expect, but I'll give it a fair shake when melting. 

That's it for this week's Walmart wax saga. Who knows what sorts of scents might appear next! Do you enjoy these brands? Any standout scents to you? What types of blends are you looking forward to for fall?

Monday, August 14, 2017

Book Review: The Poison Apples

A fun read, passed on to me by my bloggy friend Julie. The only thing better than a book is a free book; thank you!

Imagine yourself as a teen again. Did you have a step parent or know someone who did? The main protagonists of this novel Alice, Reena and Molly did. In fact they all believed they had terrible, horrible, awful step mothers. After dealing with various traumatic happenings with their step-monsters these three girls land in a fancy East coast boarding school and while they seem to have little in common at first, they eventually bond over their shared distain for their stepmothers and set into motion a series of plans to take power away from their stepmoms that end up in surprising results.

I have a feeling I would have enjoyed/related to this novel more as a teen. It did keep me occupied for the three or so hours it took me to read it, but it really was a fluff piece; no substantial modern classic worthy literature here. The writing was ok, no glaring flaws, and even a couple of mildly surprising plot twists. Some of the characters annoyed me; it was hard to have sympathy for them when certain elements of the character development were so unrealistic and some situations they got in were down right ridiculous. Let's just say attempted theft of a penguin was involved...

This novel was so full of first world problems that my eyes ached from rolling by the end. It was a perfectly ok piece of writing, but just not something I connected with. I appreciated the meager entertainment value it provided me with. At least it wasn't unbearable. I've only not finished a small handful of books of the thousands I've cracked open and it's the most disappointing feeling. 3/5 stars.

NOTD: Hidden Shimmer

Three coats of Zoya Tru. Indoors/in shade it just looks purple, but in the brightest sun you can see the faint gold/red shimmer. I like it but am not in love. Decent formula, fairly easy to apply. Opaque in 2 coats. Added some Kiss brand nail decals for fun.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

OOTD: Cat Lady Part 1

Hehe, cats for running errands today.😸

Top, leggings: Walmart 
Flats: thrifted
Bag: Payless 
Necklace: Forever 21
Everything else:

Saturday, August 12, 2017

NOTD: Polished For Days Serendipity

2 coats of Polished For Days Serendipity. A stunning rose gold metallic base with silver and iridescent micro flakies. The photos don't even do it justice; it's stunning!

Friday, August 11, 2017

NOTD: Birthstones

KB Shimmer Blue Topaz and mermaid accent nails with Amethyst. Great formulas for glitter, very smooth one coaters.

Product Review: Long Lasting Lipcolor

Mid Level Management (MLM) companies hawking "miracle" or "unicorn" products seem to be on the rise lately. One of the most recent brands to come across my radar is Lipsense. Lipsense is sort of the Lularoe of lipstick, a slightly overpriced yet strangely attractive product that promises to be special. Yet just like the inner cheapskate in me recoiled at paying $25 for a pair of leggings, neither did I want to shell out $25 for one lip product. Most of my makeup is of the under $5 variety.
I'm not a huge makeup person in that my cosmetic product collection is not nearly as huge as my clothing, bath and body, nail polish or wax collection and I tend to wear the same handful of products regularly.
However one thing that intrigued me about Lipsense is that it promised up to 18 hours of lip color that stays put. I would love results like that because I really do hate reapplying lip color and I can never get it to stay on my face. I was aware that there were supposed to be some long lasting lip colors on the market, but I didn't know much about what brands offered them or how long they were actually supposed to last. I like the look of lip colors a lot but all the ones I owned had no staying power whatsoever, so if I could in fact find some that would stay put then all the better.

A Facebook group offering Lipsense for 15% off caught my eye, but even that was still a bit steep for my taste, so I decided to research Lipsense product reviews to see if it really lived up to the claims before biting the bullet and buying some. I came across a lot of really helpful information while googling and the general consensus was that although a full 18 hours of unblemished wear with Lipsense was not a common result, many women did get at least a good 8 flawless hours. That was perfectly fine with me; honestly I don't I would ever need to be awake and looking my best for 18 hours anyway.

One really helpful thing that I discovered almost immediately was that I wasn't the only one who wasn't super crazy about shelling out the benjamins for lip products. One of the best honest reviews I read about Lipsense here also lead me to another post here about 7 affordable alternatives to Lipsense. I highly recommend reading both of these if you too are on the hunt for a long lasting lip color. Long story short, armed with the information above what drugstore makeup brands offered long wearing lipsticks and reviews about how effective they were, I decided to hold off on Lipsense for the time being and see what results I got with less expensive brands.

On my next trip to Walmart, the first of the long lasting lip colors I saw that had been highly recommended by other bloggers was Mabelline Super Stay 24 Color. I snapshot up Fushia as I like a bright pinky/purple lip on myself.
I love that this product is dual ended and comes with its own hydrating lip balm. It was $7.94 at Walmart, a couple more dollars than I'd normally spend but still quite reasonable. Before you get too excited, let me just say that this product did not last 24 hour, but I did have some level of success with it, so read on.

Here it is on; I love how vivid the color is. I was worried it might be hard to color inside the lines so to speak, but I found it surprisingly simple to apply. The directions said to apply a thin coat, let it dry for 2 minute and then apply the balm. I did that and after drying it looked slightly patchy so I Apples a second thin coat, let it dry and then applied the balm.
*Tip: do not press your lips together while waiting for it to dry or it will pull up some color and you'll have to reapply.
Once dry, I could run my finger across my lips and no color would come off. A good start! 
I was considering this product could be drying to the lips or an uncomfortable texture to wear for long periods of time, but it felt surprisingly ok. I mean, it wasn't nearly as moisturizing or slick feeling as a balm or gloss, but of course if it was it wouldn't be able to stay on well. It was a satiny finish, almost matte but not quite. I could smile without feeling like my lips were pulling, cracking or tightening up with dryness. The texture was soft and smooth like a rose petal and not sticky at all. The balm did help add that extra bit of  hydration and a slight shine. I personally like that it wasn't too shiny; I always found super shiny glosses to look bizarre and unnatural.
So shortly after applying this I drank some tea and success! No lipstick on the rim of the bottle whatsoever.

A couple hours later I put it to the ultimate test; lunch at In 'N Out Burger. Mmmmmm...
I am used to seeing a huge smear of bright color on the bun whenever I bite into one of these bad boys, which is slightly gross, but not this time. With Maybelline Color Stay I saw a couple of tiny pink flakes on my food, but nothing else.
No lipstick on my straw either. Impressive.
However I new the true measure of success for me would be how my lips looked after I had finished my meal and whether or not I would have to reapply the lip color or not. This is where things took a slight downward turn.

A fair amount of color did remain on my lips after eating, but I had clearly worn off a patch of color around my "water line" or where the dry outer part of your lips meets the moist inner parts. Even though I definitely wouldn't get away without a second application of lip color, I still consider this product partially successful. It did remain unblemished through talking and drinking which far out performs any other lip product I've ever tried. I can't blame it too much for being defeated by an In 'N Out burger; those things are beasts.
So I reapplied my color and balm once more to see how it would fair for the rest of the day. I had California rolls for dinner and aside from one super odd looking hole-like anomaly, the Color Stay fared pretty well for the rest of the evening. I wore it for about 10 hours with only one reapplication; not bad.
This also wiped off quite easily with a makeup remover wipe when it was time for bed. No weird staining around my mouth, so that was nice.
One thing to note: many long lasting lip products recommend you exfoliate your lips before applying their lip color to make your lips a cleaner, smoother surface for the color to stick to. Some products claim that they actually exfoliate your lips as you are wearing them and that your color will last longer after the first couple uses when your lips are free of flaky dead skin. I don't know if that was the case with this particular lip product, but I have to say my lips actually did feel softer after wearing it, so perhaps I will get longer wear as time goes on. I will report back on that.
Color: 5/5
Longevity: 3.5/5
Comfort: 4/5
Ease of Use: 4/5

As it starts now I was moderately satisfied with Maybelline Super Stay Color 24. I will definitely be wearing it again and am eager to see future results. I would consider buying this product in other colors, but will probably also try other brand of long wearing lip color too, in an effort to find that perfect unicorn that survives an In 'N Out burger. As of yet, I'm not sad that I didn't buy the pricey Lipsense version.

I really do hope to find long lasting products of all kinds to wear on long humid days during my upcoming Philippines trip and then enjoy even after.

Have you tried a long lasting lip product? Have any favorite brands/products? Please share in the comments below!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

OOTD: Aztec & Lace

Tee: Nordstrom Rack
Skirt: Lularoe Azure
Necklace, sunglasses:
Earrings: souvenir

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

NOTD: The Song of the Sea

Nvr Enuff The Song of the Sea. This was the free polish I got for spinning their prize wheel and man am I glad I did! This polish is stunning! The formula was incredibly saturated and super smooth to apply. It could have been a one coater but I did two for good measure. It's turquoise micro glitter in a turquoise base with larger pieces of green and gold glitter. Perfect consistency; not too chunky at all. I highly recommend it!

The only odd thing about it was it was very similar in the bottle to their duo exclusive Beyond The Reef. Someone had two of a pretty prototype and wanted to trade so I ended up trading away Beyond The Reef but now I wish I hadn't so I could compare the two.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

OOTD And A New Friend

I've had a weird summer cold for the past few days, so this is my "I have to leave the house but don't want to look like death" outfit.
Tee, sandals: Walmart 
Scarf: thrifted
Floral lounge pants:
Sunglasses, head wrap:
Earrings: craft fair

In other new, I almost got a cat today...
I was at a laundromat and this beautiful girl came walking around the corner. She was a little cautious at first but once I spoke to her softly and coaxed her, she let me pet her and then she wouldn't stop rubbing on my legs. She was the sweetest! She seemed to really like the attention and hung out with me for nearly two hours. She looked quite healthy, soft and clean fur and no eye or nose gunk, but she was quite thin. I was going to ask around if anyone knew who she belonged to, but when I went inside to get my clothes she wandered off into a field nearby. I hope she went home.
Such a pretty tortie; I would have called her Autumn because she looks like fall.❤️ But I'm sure it's for the best, hopes she has a loving home already.

Any new goings on in your neck of the woods?

Monday, August 7, 2017

Recent Wax Reviews

L3 Waxy Wonders Rainforest Sugarcane Shaving Cream: so amazing! Very fresh and a little masculine with just the slightest bit of sweetness. Very well balanced. Super Strong throw for about 8-9 hours. Overall grade: A+. Would repurchase.

Bluebird Lacquer Starbursts & Zero F*cks: this was a free sample from a nail polish brand that's branching out into wax. A fun thing to receive in an order! It did smell like coffee but also had an odd sickly sweet note that I didn't really care for. Ok but not my most favorite coffee scent ever. It was a really small tart but had surprisingly decent throw, moderate for about 6-7 hours. Overall grade: C+. I probably wouldn't repurchase.

The Scented Squirrel Unicorns- melon, mandarin, orange blossom, star jasmine, rose, vanilla and musk. Smells lovely on cold: a musky floral like a perfume with a light touch of sweet vanilla. Unfortunately light throw, I think because it's an older tart. Overall grade: C. I'd like to reply and use it sooner.

Pink Mermaid Lovespells and Chamomile- another tiny free sample with a mighty throw! Smells mainly of the fruity floral Lovespell perfume blend. Strong throw for about 8 hours. Overall grade: A. Would repurchase.

Destination Wax Coffee Cocoa Kona Mocha: a robust coffee blend with sweet chocolate. Very enjoyable and realistic. Moderate throw for about 7-8 hours. Overall grade: A. Would repurchase.

Cranberry Orange Bundt Cake: a very yummy orange cranberry bakery blend. Fairly strong to moderate throw for about 7-8 hours. Overall grade: A. Would repurchase.

Pink Mermaid Pineapple Whip- a yummy creamy and sweet Pineapple scent. Moderate throw for about 6 hours. Overall grade: B. Might repurchase.

Live Love Wax Co Little House On the Prairie- a delicious and strong cinnamon bakery blend. Strong throw for about 8 hours. Only negative was the wax was super mushy and hard to remove from the container. Overall grade: A-. Might repurchase.

Walmart Fall Wax & Candles

I always await the arrival of new fall scents from the land of a thousand rollbacks with baited breath. For being inexpensive, brands carried at Wally World are mostly great performers and I swear their blends get more creative and interesting every year!
These are my picks from the newly stocked shelves at my local haunt.

First I must always check the air freshener isle for those elusive 719 Walnut Avenue 3-wick gems. They seem to bring out a couple of new scents every season, a lot with a few annual returning favorites. Of course I bought my all time favorite candle Pumpkin Waffles. I will probably go through several of these in the next few months. This brand usually performs just as well if not better for me than their BBW counterparts and under $5?? Yes please! I was more excited than I probably should have been to see a new vanilla scent: Vanilla Bliss. To me it smells like a rich vanilla buttercream cupcake, yum! There's no way it wasn't going home with me. I have been burning  it for several hours today and it has that nice, satisfyingly deep wax pool with no drowning wicks and a consistently strong and pleasant vanilla aroma.

The wax isle was in transition; there were picked over remnants of summer scents mingling with a few lone displays of about half a dozen or so new fall scents. After giving everything a proper sniff, I chose these four:
Harvest Moon smelled to me of pumpkin purée and vanilla custard with just a touch of spice and nuttiness. I'm super into it!

Apple Butter was the only buy I was unsure about; it smells off, like artificial apple to me rather than a rich, spiced cooked apple aroma. I decided to give it a shot anyway and see if it's any better when melting because who wouldn't want their house to smell like amazing apple butter cooking in the crock pot?

Smoky Autumn Nights is a unique and masculine type scent, like a strong, musky cologne with dark amber resin and a touch of woodsmoke. Very moody.
I could see where it could be overwhelming if you don't generally like this type of scent.

Finally Suedes Cinnamon Woods was my most favorite surprise. I was afraid it would be too heavy on the cinnamon, but it's a light, exotic sprinkling of spice well balanced by mellow notes of sandalwood and musk. I would recommend everyone give this one a sniff!

That's it for now on the fall scents, but I'm sure I will be lurking the wax displays for several months looking for new arrivals, and I definitely plan to go back for an Apple Delight candle I spied. I know it's only the beginning of August but I like that many brands and companies seem to get an early start on all things fall. I'm more than ready for the hellish heat of summer to be over. I used to really enjoy summer as a kid/teen, but not so much anymore. Fall has fast become my favorite season; it's beautiful, temperate, and some of my favorite events and holidays happen during fall.

I am excited that several amazing fellow bloggers and I are cooking up a new edition of the Fall Fun Series for this year, starting in September! I enjoyed it so much last year.
Are you excited for anything in particular that's coming up? Let me know in the comments below!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

NOTD: Blue Gradient

The Are gradient and ombré the same thing? Well this is one of them anyway.

My first real attempt at this technique. I used Born Pretty white stamping polish as the base. It was perfect; because it's highly saturated it only needed one coat and went on smooth.
I painted 1 stripe of each of the three polishes on one of those free beauty sponges from Sephora. I tried to line the stripes up with the nail and roll the sponge over the nail from one side to the other, pressing with a light to medium firmness. I had to retouch a couple of areas but it worked pretty well for the most part.
It was super messy though; I should have used liquid latex barrier on my cuticles. As it was I was able to remove most of the excess polish with q-tips, thinner and an orangewood stick, but the clean up took almost as long as the painting, haha. Then I topped it with a coat of ChG Fairy Dust for a little Sparkle and Seche Vive for mega shine. I'm super happy with how it turned out! It was very messy but I love the end result.

Book Review: The Tea Planter's Wife

Disclaimer: I received this book for free in exchange for my honest review.

Set in the roaring 20's, and later the Depression of the early 30's, young newlywed Gwendolyn arrives in 1920's Ceylon to join her older but dashing husband Laurence, the owner of a tea plantation, she is excited and looking forward to her new life. However, the reality is far from what she expected. Laurence seems to have changed towards her, he is no longer as loving and seems to be withdrawing from her; her youth and inexperience make her ill equipped to cope with him and the household responsibilities she is now expected to take on. She is unaccustomed to the people and their cultures and her natural sense of fairness brings her into conflict with others. The arrival of Laurence’s spoilt and spiteful sister, Verity, does not help matters and Gwen’s feelings of isolation are keenly felt.

This was such an evocative and atmospheric novel that I was captivated from the beginning and it really was a book that I didn't want to put down. The Ceylon landscape, the hustle and bustle of the city, its colours and its people are all vividly described and I really felt as if I were there, watching the story unfold. The different cultures and resentments, the political unrest, the racial prejudices – these all add an element of unease and danger to the story. Gwen's connection to the natural beauty of her surroundings also plays an important element in her adventures.

This is a beautifully written drama of jealousy, deception, devastating decisions and guilt that will impact on the lives of Gwen and Laurence and others around them, some parts were just heartbreaking. All the characters were so expertly drawn, especially Gwen, who had to quickly mature and find an inner strength.

In my estimation this novel is not trite or predictably written; it is a refreshing piece of literature in the historical fiction genre. I found the plot thoroughly captivating and there are a few twists that left me breathless. I would definitely recommend this work. 5 out of 5 stars.