31.1.14

Book Club Friday: Shelter



Ever since I read my first Myron Bolitar novel, Backspin, I’ve been a Harlan Coben über fan and, over time, I've become the proud owner of many….many….many of his titles. Seriously. I'm pretty sure that I own them all. #bibliophilesunite

Mr. Coben writes stand-alone novels, which are awesome, but he also writes an ongoing mystery series that is totally one of my all-time favourites. So when I heard about a YA spinoff, I was…well…concerned. It’s not that I doubted Harlan Coben’s talent (I swear that I didn’t Mr. Coben, DON’T HATE ME) but I just didn’t think it would be possible to have the same kind of vibe in YA as there is in Adult Fiction.

And then I remembered The Hunger Games series, which I loved…

and the Divergent series, which I also loved (for the most part)…

so I got over myself and bought Shelter. Haha!


 Shelter (Book One): A Mickey Bolitar Novel

Shelter stars Mickey Bolitar, Myron’s nephew, a fifteen-year-old kid whose father (Myron’s brother) died in a car crash and mother is in drug rehab. Not a happy situation, obviously. Myron takes Mickey in, but their relationship is strained, at best. Mickey has a hard time adjusting to his new school, as most teens would, but when his girlfriend goes missing, Mickey discovers that he has his uncle’s penchant for private investigating and he gets right on investigating what went down.

There are a lot of similarities between Mickey and Myron’s characters, most notably their voices and senses of humour, but Mickey is certainly a younger, more vulnerable character. The stakes aren’t quite as high as they are in the Myron books, which is good…you know, because Shelter is YA and not Adult Fiction, and it had my attention from start to finish. In fact, I read it in one sitting. The mystery component is layered and dense, and there were enough bits of misdirection to keep me on my toes. 

So basically, what I’m saying, is that Harlan Coben is a freaking genius because he managed to not only have the same witty-yet-thriller-y vibe that pops up in his previous novels, but he’s probably been able to hook an entirely new and much younger audience with Mickey.

Well done, Mr. Coben. Well done.

*tips fedora*


If you haven’t read any of Harlan Coben’s books, you totally should, and Shelter would be a great intro. I’m not sure if the Mickey series will have the same depth of supporting characters that make the Myron books so incredible, but here’s hoping!

Thanks to Heather and Katie for hosting!



the nail files: yachta, yachta, yachta

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When I realized that I had not one, but TWO yacht-y colours, how could I not do a mani with them? Ha! Also, the pun possibilities were pretty much endless, which totally sealed the deal. There's yacht enough room in this post for all of them. Haha!!


Two coats of Finger Paints You Yacht To Know Better on thumb, pointer, and pinky. Two coats of China Glaze Too Yacht To Handle on middle and ring finger. Then, a glitter fade with one 3/4 coat of Julep's Portia, followed by a half coat of Finger Paints Peacock Portrait.

What are you rocking this week? Link up and show them off!

And I hope you have an awesome weekend!

24.1.14

Book Club Friday: The Losing It Series


Way back in December, which may not technically be a long time ago but it sure feels like it, I had given up on completing my Goodreads challenge. I was too busy with the move and life in general to read three books in a month, so with a week left, I had accepted that I wouldn’t complete my first ever Challenge.

Side Note: I actually completed my original goal of 52 books in June, and then raised it to 75. But still, I set the goal and was bummed that it wasn’t going to happen.

But then, something remarkable happened. I was chatting with a pal on Twitter (@angiyt, go follow her. She has the most adorable son of life and writes hilarious captions for the pictures she takes of him).

Anyway, during our conversation, she asked me if I'd read anything by Cara Carmack. I said that I hadn't heard of her and then Angi was all: WHAT? GO BUY THEM RIGHT NOW. (Only with less screaming because Angi’s way too classy to be screamy).

The very next day, because destiny is a funny thing, Cara Carmack’s series, Losing It, was on-sale. So onto my iPad it went. 

And then I promptly lost the next two days.

Why?

Because I read them back-to-back-to-back (and therefore hit my Goodreads goal)!

For the sake of brevity, I’ll sum up the awesomeness that is the Losing It series as succinctly as possible, but be warned: this will be a tad longer than my usual reviews (not that anyone would remember because it’s been so long since I’ve written one *headdesk*).

Losing It (#1)

 Losing It

My synopsis: Bliss Edwards is sick of being a virgin and decides that the quickest way to solve the problem is to have a one-night stand. And everything goes pretty much to plan, until she realizes that her super hot man candy is her new theatre professor.

So look, I had major problems with the premise of this book. May-jah problems, people. For one thing, what’s wrong with being a virgin? And WHY OH WHY would you want your first all-the-way sexual experience to be with a stranger? Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?

*takes a deep breath*

Judgment aside (of both Bliss and her BFF Kelsey, who were very hard to like in the beginning) the truth of the matter is that Cora Carmack can write. Like, really, really well. 

So although I wasn’t a super-fan of Losing It, I ended up giving it four stars because of the fact that I kept reading despite being turned off by the premise. Also, the male MC is named Garrick and is pretty much hotter than life, so there's that. Haha! like I’m not recommending Losing It but I am because it's a pretty good read and a MUST if you want to read the rest of the series. And trust me, you WANT to read the rest of this series. You really, really do (apparently, I feel the need to repeat the word "really" in this review to really, really convince you how fab these books are. Ha!)

Faking It (#2)

Faking It (Losing It)

My synopsis: Mackenzie “Max” Millar isn’t your typical gal from the suburbs. She’s got tattoos, piercings, and is a general badass, so when her parents surprise her, she needs a wholesome boyfriend to keep them occupied—STAT. Enter Cade, Bliss’ Male BFF, who moved to Philadelphia to start a new life, and just happens to be at the right place at the right time, looking like the straight-edged dude he is. Cade and Max agree that he's to act the part, but, as you can probably suspect, things get really complicated, really quickly.

Guys, there are few books that I’ve loved more than I loved Faking It. Seriously. It was that good. Max is a freaking fantasticly layered character, fully flawed and self-aware, and totally the kind of gal that I would want to be friends with. I’m not sure that she’d be so stoked to hang out with me, but the fact remains that I fangirled over her from about the twenty-fifth page, onward. She’s just so…so raw and vulnerable, but she’s also strong and determined. GAH! I JUST LOVED HER!

And Cade—Caaaaaaaade. I love him just as much. No! I love him more! No, I love them equally! I PLAY NO FAVOURITES. Haha! But for reals, Cade is a fantastic character. I liked him in Losing It but fell stupidly in love with him in Faking It. And without Losing It, I’m not sure you’d get the same connection I got, which is why you have to read these books in order because otherwise, you’re cheating yourself and why would you want to do that? 

On to the third!

Finding It (#3)

Finding It (Losing It)


My Synopsis: (Remember when I kind of hated a character named Kelsey, who was Bliss’ Female BFF in Losing It? Well Finding It has her center stage and let me tell you, she owns that beyotch.) Living a life that most of us can only dream of, Kelsey is traveling across Europe with no real destination or purpose. That is, until she meets Jackson: an über hottie with mysterious eyes and god-like biceps. He helps Kelsey get herself together, but that’s when Kelsey realizes that she doesn’t know jack squat about him, which scares her more than all the things she’s been running from.

Like I said, I wasn’t Kelsey’s biggest fan in the beginning of Losing It, but by the end, I had warmed to her. And then I was psyched to see that she got a whole book to herself because I knew there was serious stuff happening with her. I mean, there had to be, as she wasn’t the most stable of friends to Bliss, so I suspected that I was in for a great ride. And boy, I was NOT disappointed. Haha! I’m such a masochist when it comes to characters in books. 

Give them issues! 

All the issues! 

UNSOLVABLE ISSUES! 

*laughs like an escaped mental patient and high fives Cara Carmack because that's totally what she did*

Anyway, yeah, Kelsey's got issues. Pretty substantial ones, actually, and that made her very easy to sympathize with. I think that of all the characters in the Losing It series, Kelsey is the most realistic NA character, as she's smack-dab in that awful mental place you find when you've graduated from college but have no freaking idea of what you want to do, or who you are. And that's what NA is, right? (I believe the answer is yes, here.)

The romance in Finding It was most definitely the steamiest of the series, so be warned that you're probably going to want to make-out with someone anywhere from two to five times while reading it. Haha! Jackson, like Garrick, is ridiculously good-looking and has a level of personal torment that keeps you unsure about him--an element that I quite like in romances because it adds an extra layer of plot. 

Now, there is a fourth book in the series; a novella that is Garrick’s perspective from Losing It but I chose not to read it because I really liked him through Bliss’ eyes. There was another series, which I will not name, that had a change of POV which DESTROYED my love for a certain male character and I was too scared that the same thing could happen. As such, I can’t include it in this review, but to not acknowledge it would be weird because, you know, it’s part of the series.

So there you have it, three book reviews for the price of one. Haha!!

My general thoughts on the series is that it’s THE BEST New Adult that I’ve ever read, and I believe that all other NA characters should be like these ones: not quite fully-matured adults (haha, does that ever happen anyway) but still much more level-headed than YA. The writing is superb and engaging and I was engrossed in each character’s business until the very end. They are also most definitely romances, but they're contemporary and fresh so I think they will appeal to a fairly wide audience.

Thanks to Heather for hosting!

And if you're wondering about the nail files, just keep scrolling down to the next post and you can link up there. :)



the nail files: flashy flashback

Yippee Skippee!! It's time for the nail files!

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**Link up with us to show off your cute manis (either done by yourself or in a salon), nail polish purchases and/or recommendations, nail polish tips--whatever nail-related thing you'd like! And please use the button and/or link back to this blog. Thanks!**

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I've been a nail polish enthusiast for a very long time. Like, a really long time (not that I'm aging myself in the slightest with that italic, haha). Being that I'm not really a fan of pale pinks and any kind of red, my polish options were always somewhat limited. Back in the day (holy moly, I just can't stop, can I? ha!) I had two options for fun colours: Hard Candy, which was very much NOT available at walmart, and F/X, a custom polish brand found in its downtown Toronto store (think Betsy Johnson merging with vintage style). Both polish brands cost about one kazillion dollars per bottle, so I had to be very selective on what awesome, "unusual" colours I'd purchase. One of my favourites of ALL TIME, a glitter that I bought many, many bottles of was a bright blue sparkle by F/X. And when I say bright, guys, I mean it was briiiiiiight. Like the sun, only blue. 

Anyway, that polish has been long gone for quite some time, which is why I just about lost my whole mind when I spotted an exact replica during Julep's warehouse sale. And when it came…well…let's just say that I may have hugged the bottle and spun around, dancing in my living room like I was Belle from Beauty and The Beast. 

Here's what I'm talking about…err…and the other polish I used for my flashy flashback mani, although, let's be real, there's only one star of the show here. Haha!


And the mani!


Two coats of Susie on all nails, followed by a coat of quick-dry top coat. When the polish was totally dry (I waited 15 minutes), I put four strips of striping tape on each feature finger and then did two quick coats of Carly. Taking the tape off was kind of a beyotch because the sparkles didn't line up totally straight, so I used the end of a flat nail art brush to try and straighten them out. It sort of worked, but not really, so this is the kind of mani that's best looked at from farther away. You know, like a Monet because from far away, it's OK, but up close, it's a big old mess (bonus points if this made you giggle).

Can't wait to see what you're all rocking this week! Link up and show off your pretties!


17.1.14

the nail files: i love me some wrap...ping paper

Yay!! It's time for the nail files!

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**Link up with us to show off your cute manis (either done by yourself or in a salon), nail polish purchases and/or recommendations, nail polish tips--whatever nail-related thing you'd like! And please use the button and/or link back to this blog. Thanks!**

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OPI had a competition called Your Nails Rock that I think is over now because I tried to find a link to share but it seems to have disappeared, which is a bummer for you (because it was open to everyone) but also for me because I guess that means I didn't win. Haha! Anyway, I wanted to share the mani because I thought it was super cute (not that I'm biased)!


I used two coats of e.l.f. Desert Haze on my pinkie, pointer finger and thumb and two coats of China Glaze Too Yacht To Handle on my ring and middle finger. Then, I cut up a bunch of striping tape and made the off-center crosses. After pressing down firmly on the tape, I did two VERY QUICK coats of OPI You Don't Know Jacques and then peeled off the tape as fast as humanly possible. To finish, I used Finger Paints Paper Mache and a dotting tool to make the little hearts.

(Side Note: this bottle of YDKJ is, um, embarrassingly old and because of that it was pretty thick and brutal to work with. Also, I think that the colour has morphed because it's a lot more grey than I remember, but since it's been so long since I've used it, I can't be sure. Haha!)

Oh, and do you want to know my secret trick for minimizing smudging on such a layered look? Well then come a little closer…

little closer….

It's top coat!

Haha!

A coat of quick-dry top coat between different colours acts as a seal, which means that it will hardly smudge and/or bleed when you add another colour! And that's not all folks! I did two of these hearts twice (because the first ones were sucky) and because I had a layer of top coat overtop YDKJ, I was able to do a super fast swipe on my nail with a cotton pad with a bit of nail polish remover on it and then start again! YAY! (Please note, however, that you only get one do-over. If you try another nail-polish pad swipe, you'll remove some of the colour you're trying to protect.)

Some nail gurus may say this technique is cheating but who the heck cares? I've got other things to do aside from sit around and paint my nails all day so if there's a way I can do an awesome mani and still have time to cook dinner, everyone wins, right? Errr…in case I'm not being clear here, the answer is YES! Haha! 

I hope that my little confession helps you in future nail art adventures!

Have an amazing weekend, fellow nail enthusiasts! YAY FOR WEEKENDS!

And don't forget to link up and show off what you're rocking this week!







15.1.14

pervy peeping pom

We've been in our new house for just over a month and, thankfully, it's finally beginning to feel like home. The majority of the boxes have been unpacked (or moved to the garage, tomato, toh-mah-to) and we're getting used to life in the country.

Now, we were sort of in the country with our house in Fredericton, but our home in Ontario is legit country. The neighbour to our left has a fairly chi-chi horse ranch and there's nothing but farm fields to see in just about every direction. In fact, our new property even has a pond! With fish! 


The years in Fredericton prepared me for how nature likes to get up in one's grill when living outside city limits, and I shared with you a few posts about how a city gal was acclimatizing to being in a more rural area. I must admit that after the whole bear debacle(s) I thought that I'd seen it all, but our new house had a few more nature tricks to show us.

For instance, there are coyotes EVERYWHERE. We hear them barking and howling at night and it literally sounds like they're in our backyard. Or front yard. Surrounded, really. And once, we found paw prints leading directly onto our property--a legitimate, fear-raising experience as we have two tiny puppies who would be no match for a single coyote, let alone a pack.

And then there's the birds. Holy moly are there a lot of birds. The former owners had approximately one kazillion bird feeders, but we've decided to only refill one for the winter because, you know, bird seed can get crazy expensive and I'm not about to have a bunch of birds eating better than we are. The lady at the farm supply store said that their mixed bird seed had "a little bit of something for everyone," which seemed like a stellar idea at the time, but then this happened…

Not only did an ENTIRE FLOCK OF TURKEYS decide to stroll on by, but since then, I've had to give Pepi THREE separate baths because he insists on rolling in their disgusting poop. Dear Pepi: WHY DO YOU WANT TO SMELL LIKE TURKEY POOP? QUIT IT! QUIT IT NOW!

But then…just when I thought that we'd reached our limit of insane nature experiences, something extraordinary happened. Quite creepy, actually, as nature seems to usually just exist around us. I never would have thought that, perhaps, nature was also watching us but now we have proof. Solid, inarguable proof.


Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we have a pervy peeping pom (you know, because bunnies have pom-pom tails. Hahahaha, I kill me). I don't know how often this particular woodland creature likes to peer through our living room window but it has most definitely increased my paranoia that someone is judging my housekeeping abilities watching me.

So take heed, dear readers, because I've learned that you may not just be watching nature, but nature may also be watching you! Hahaha!






10.1.14

the nail files: rainbow honey review

Wohoo!! It's time for the nail files!

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**Link up with us to show off your cute manis (either done by yourself or in a salon), nail polish purchases and/or recommendations, nail polish tips--whatever nail-related thing you'd like! And please use the button and/or link back to this blog. Thanks!**

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A few weeks ago, I was floored/flabbergasted/flattered when Nail Polish Canada contacted me to see if I would be interested in doing a review for them. After I died recovered from my shock, I was all: OF COURSE I WOULD LOVE TO THANKYOUSOMUCHTHISISTHEBESTDAYEVER, only with more eloquence and less screaming. 

Then, just before Christmas, I got my review package!


First things, first: the packaging!

In a (three-sylable) word: ah-may-zing. I mean, it looks like chapstick! OH THE ORIGINALITY AND ADORABLENESS! I can't handle it!!

Well done there, rainbow honey. Well done.

*slow clap*

Okay, so now that we've gotten that out of the way (haha) onto the swatches!

Two coats, with top coat (because I just don't do no topcoat, like ever, so I figured I'd swatch the polish as I'd wear it). This is a super-mega full-coverage glitter isn't very rough to the touch. There are copper and pewter-irridescent flecks along with the gold glitter, which gives it a lot of dimension. It's a tad too warm for me, but an excellent choice if that's what you're looking for. 

Two coats, overtop two coats of Finger Paints Paper Mache (because without it, you wouldn't see the glitter bits very well), followed by top coat. This polish was a nightmare to work with. All of the larger butterfly and heart glitter was stuck at the bottom of the bottle and I literally had to use a bamboo stick to get them out and then place them over my nails, but they clumped together and it was a pain to separate them before the polish got sticky (grr). The emphasis on pink and blue pastels isn't really my deal but for a more girlie girl, I think it'd be a home run. And the pops of brighter pink from the squares make it a bit funkier than a traditional princess kinda polish, so keep that in mind, too.


Three coats, followed by top coat. This polish was a huge disappointment. In the bottle, mint flavor looks incredible but it just didn't translate when it was on. The subtle gold shimmer was completely gone by the third coat, and even with the layers upon layers of polish, it was still streaky in parts. But even though the gold shimmer didn't shine through on my nails, it sure stuck around on my skin after I removed it. *headdesk* Seriously. I even scrubbed my hands with a loofa afterwards, but my hands were still shiny (grrr). 

Two coats, followed by top coat. The standout colour of the collection is lumine hall. It's a blurple that's the perfect shade of awesome and the micro-glitter and larger glitter bits come together to create an incredibly layered and totally amazeballs look. I cannot stress enough how incredible this polish looks in real life. The bottle doesn't do it justice. 

One coat of strategically placed confetti upon two coats of Paper Mache, followed by top coat. Sooooo, if there's one polish you should buy from this collection, this is probably it. As much as I love lumine hall, magic cake is unlike any polish I've seen before. Neon colours are close to my heart, so I'm already on the "notify me" list when it comes back in stock. Be warned, though, that you'll need a toothpick or a small nail art brush to place the confetti because it does not spread well with the brush that comes in the bottle. 

Now that the swatches are over, here's how I used magic cake in a mani!

My overall thoughts:

Okay, so here's the deal: I really wanted to love this collection. The packaging is beyond awesome but I wasn't a huge fan of the pastels in i miss you and mint flavor was super streaky and had shimmer that stayed on my hands for days after I removed it. The warm tone of judgement bolt wasn't great for my skin tone, as I look better with cool tones, and all of the polishes smelled pretty bad (i miss you and magic cake were especially stinky).

All-in-all, I'll still totally buy a bottle of magic cake because, like I said, it's unlike any confetti polish I've seen and I'm obsessed with neons but unless you feel the same way, I'm not sure that you necessarily need to buy any of the polishes from this collection. I'll keep my eye on future colour releases from rainbow honey because I like their style, but as far as The Summer of 199X goes, I'll just stick to magic cake.

Thanks so much again to Nail Polish Canada for sponsoring this post! The have a great selection of polish (including some that are VERY hard to find) so make sure you check them out the next time you have a hankering for some pretty new colours! And if you're digging rainbow honey's original colour-combos, then check out the whole collection here!

What are you rocking this week? Link up and show them off!




3.1.14

the nail files: 2013 highlights



Yipee!! It's time for the nail files!

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**Link up with us to show off your cute manis (either done by yourself or in a salon), nail polish purchases and/or recommendations, nail polish tips--whatever nail-related thing you'd like! And please use the button and/or link back to this blog. Thanks!**

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2013 Wrap-ups are all the rage at the moment, so I figured that I'd do one as well! Ha! For your viewing pleasure (or for my vanity, whatever) I humbly present my favourite ten manicures of the year! Err…in no particular order. Oh, and some of the ones for earlier in the year have my old blog address. Okay, I think that's all the clarification you'll need. Ha!























I hope that you all had a kick-ass NYE and are amped up for all that 2014 has to offer!