Thursday, February 28, 2013

February 2013 Reading Update

Hi again!

It's the end of February. And for such a short month, it felt incredibly long.
I found myself increasingly busy this month, and as such, my reading update will be shorter as a result. However, I do still have fun books to talk about. I feel like all of February was about exploring fun new books. I started 3 different series, and continued two from last month.

Like I did for the January Reading Update (which if you haven't seen and are curious about you can find here), I will do a brief summary of my reaction to each book. I won't provide an actual plot summary for each one. If you want that, just utilize the links I provide. 

So, in the spirit of keeping introductions light, let's go into the reading update!
Here are the list of books I read in February in the order finished.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Gone: A Book Review

This book review contains NO SPOILERS. Enjoy! (:

When you read enough YA/teen dystopian novels as I do, or at least search for books in that general vicinity, you become familiar with the books around it. Gone is one of those books that I saw often but never picked up. I heard it was along the lines of a dystopian/apocalyptic society tale and that was enough to put it on my mental "to read" list. I've been slightly unsatisfied with the current dystopian series that I've started (Delirium and Matched) and was looking for something new to start and decided to finally pick this up.

~Fun fact: Michael Grant is married to Katherine Applegate, author of The One and Only Ivan, which I coincidentally also read this month. If you're curious about that book, you can find my book review for The One and Only Ivan here.

***Price Alert: A special edition (paperback) version will be available on March 5, 2013. It will be ONLY $4.05! Not bad at all. Amazon link here. (If you prefer e-books, the e-book is only $2.99)

Title: Gone
Author: Michael Grant
Series: Book #1 in Gone series
Followed by: Hunger
Genre: Teen sci-fi/dystopian fiction
Pages: 576
Release Date: June 24, 2008
Links: AmazonB&N | Goodreads

Enough with all the different notices. Here is the back-cover description:

"In the blink of an eye.
Everyone disappears.

Everyone except for the young.

Teens. Middle schoolers. Toddlers. But not a single adult. No teachers, no cops, no doctors, no parents. Gone, too, are the phones, internet, and television. There is no way to get help.
Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents-unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers-that grow stronger by the day.

It's a terrifying new world. Sides are being chosen and war is imminent."

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

NOTD: OPI "Tickle My France-y"

Today's notd is for one of my all-time favorite polishes, OPI's "Tickle My France-y." This polish is transformative. Indoors it mostly looks like a nude with stronger brown hints, but the natural sunlight really brings out the mauve (pink/purple) tones of this polish.

[You can capture this transformation from the photo I took of the bottle below, which was indoors with natural lighting, and all the ones I took outside of my actual fingers].

[Update (05/15/13): comparison post with Essie "Lady Like" & China Glaze "Dress Me Up" here

(OPI "Tickle My France-y")

Sunday, February 24, 2013

NOTD: Essie "Mojito Madness"

I have been sick this past week and wanted to paint something on my nails that would be bright and cheerful. I picked Essie's "Mojito Madness," a bright kelly green. It's the only "true" green I own (the rest being either mint greens, seafoam greens, blue-ish greens, grey-ish military greens, or darker emerald greens).

(Essie "Mojito Madness")

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Pandemonium: A Book Review

This book review contains NO SPOILERS.* Enjoy! (:

*I also wanted to add that though this review will contains no spoilers for Pandemonium, THERE WILL BE SPOILERS FOR BOOK 1, Delirium. (If you haven't read Delirium, you can find my full review here).

After I read Lauren Oliver's Delirium I was left fairly intrigued for the sequel. The third book in the trilogy, Requiem, is also due for release early March. I figured I should read Pandemonium before I forgot everything from Delirium. I picked it up as soon as the (cheaper) paperback copy became available earlier this month.

Title: Pandemonium
Author: Lauren Oliver
Series: Book #2 of Delirium series
Preceded by: Delirium
Followed by: Requiem
Genre: YA/Teen dystopian
Pages: 384
Release date: February 28, 2012
Links: AmazonB&N | Goodreads

Back-cover description:

"The old life is dead.
But the old Lena, is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flames.

In this electrifying followup to her accalimed New York Times bestseller DELIRIUM, Lauren Oliver sets Lena on a dangerous course that hurtles through the unregulated Wilds and into the heart of a growing resistance movement. This riveting brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite."

Thursday, February 21, 2013

NOTD: Essie "Lady Like"

Today's notd is for Essie's "Lady Like," a creamy mauve polish. I initially was uncertain if I wanted to purchase this polish since I felt it so closely resembled one of my favorite polishes, OPI's "Tickle My France-y." However, being a nail addict, I caved. The two polishes are actually quite different. I'll try to do a comparison post and will link it once I do.

[Update (05/15/13): comparison post with OPI "Tickle My France-y & China Glaze "Dress Me Up" here]

(Essie "Lady Like")

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The One and Only Ivan: A Book Review

There will be NO SPOILERS in this review. Enjoy! (:

Today's book review is for Katherine Applegate's The One and Only Ivan. I visit this same independent bookstore often, and repeatedly saw this book on display. The adorable cover intrigued me, as well as the title. The title/cover gives off this "circus" vibe that seems to have risen to popularity since Water For Elephants many years ago. Despite the Newbery Medal on the cover, it took me a while to recognize that this book is a children's book. That, however, did not stop me from wanting it. I ended up receiving it as a surprise gift from my very sweet boyfriend who can't seem to help himself when it comes to spoiling me with books. (;

When I read children's book such as these, it makes me wonder why I don't seek more of them. I will be keeping my eye on the Newberry Medal books section much more often from now on.

Title: The One and Only Ivan
Author: Katherine Applegate
Genre: Children's (Ages 8 & Up)
Pages: 320
Release date: January 17, 2012
Links: AmazonB&N | Goodreads

Here is the inside-cover description:

"Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all.

Instead, Ivan thinks about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line.

Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home-and his own art- through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it's up to Ivan to make it a change for the better."

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

NOTD: Orly "Rage"

Today nail post is for Orly's "Rage." I was unsure if I had ever done a notd for this polish, and I don't think I actually have. I have done many comparison posts for it, but no singular post. I think the camera I use now is slightly better anyway.

Orly's "Rage," is a rose-y silver foil polish. I hesitate when calling it a "rose gold" because it is definitely much cooler than the color that's known as a true rose gold.

(Orly "Rage")

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Sarah's Key: A Book Review

There are NO SPOILERS in this review. Enjoy! (:

Today I have a review on my first finished book of 2013, Tatiana de Rosnay's Sarah's Key. I have heard many good reviews on this book for quite some time and have seen it in bookstores in the bestseller's section on many accounts. However, it wasn't until I visited my boyfriend and found this book on his nightstand that I decided to read it. I am an insomniac at times and picked up this book on those nights visiting when I couldn't sleep. It was an incredibly fast read and hard to put down even once sleep started to kick in. Historical fiction typically isn't my cup of tea, but I'm open to reading different genres and had seen this particular title often.

The back cover of Sarah's Key provides this description:

"Paris, July 1942: Sarah, ten-year-old girl, is taken with her parents by the French police as they go door-to-door arresting Jewish families in the middle of the night. Desperate to protect her younger brother, Sarah locks him in the bedroom cupboard- their secret hiding place- and promises to come back for him as soon as they are released.

Sixty years later: Sarah's story intertwines with that of Julia Jarmond, an American journalist investigating the roundup. In her research, Julia stumbles onto a trail of secrets that link her to Sarah, and to questions of her own romantic future."

Thursday, February 14, 2013

NOTD: Sephora by OPI "Read My Palm"

Happy Valentine's Day everyone.

I always feel weird "wishing" people to have a Happy Valentines Day since it's not a real holiday. But better than starting off with "today's notd is," like I normally do. Today I opted for a green rather than a pink. I was really craving green colors and picked up one I've had for a couple years now, Sephora by OPI's "Read My Palm."

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Family Fang: A Book Review

This review contains NO SPOILERS. Enjoy! (:

If you read my January Reading Update, then you know I read The Family Fang back in early January. I was requested to review it by my friend, dafinepolish. And I'm happy she requested it, because it forced me to look back at this book in the present and assess it once again.

Kevin Wilson's The Family Fang is a book I picked up at random at a Barnes & Noble. It was at one of those tables labelled "noteworthy paperbacks" and I was drawn in by the cover and the title. Though you can't really see clearly from the photo below (I recommend enlarging it), the cover is of a family. Both the children are wearing masks, and the girl is labeled "child A," and the boy "child B." The parents are both labeled "C." The diagram just seem so odd, it intrigued me. The title, The Family Fang, confirmed my conjectures on the cover- that it would be a family-centric story, possibly about a really eccentric, strange family. I immediately decided "what the hell," and bought it on the spot.

To start off the review, here's the back-cover description:

"Annie and Buster Fang have spent most of their adult lives trying to distance themselves from their famous artist parents, Caleb and Camille. But when a bad economy and a few bad personal decisions converge, the two siblings have nowhere to turn their family home. Reunited under one roof for the first time in more than a decade and surrounded by the souvenirs of their unusual upbringing, Buster and Annie are forced to confront not only their creatively ambitious parents, but the chaos and confusion of their childhood."

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

NOTD: Essie "Sand Tropez" + Nicole by OPI "Rainbow in the Sky-lie"

This may be a result of all the plain cream polishes I have been wearing lately, but I was in the mood for some intense glitter nails. When I need a high dosage of glitter, Nicole by OPI's "Rainbow in the Sky-lie" often comes to mind. I put that chunky rainbow glitter over one of my old favorite beige-y/nude polish, Essie's "Sand Tropez."

([L-R]: Essie "Sand Tropez," NOPI "Rainbow In the Sky-lie")

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Magicians: A Book Review

This book review contains NO SPOILERS. Enjoy! (:

Book review #7 of 2013!

I'm racking my brain to find away to start off this book review without being "I'm SO EXCITED," but I am. No use trying to hide it. I'm very excited to talk about today's book review on Lev Grossman's The Magicians, because like Catherynne Valente's The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In a Ship of Her Own Making, I found this novel entirely at random.

Whenever I walk past a bookstore, it is nearly impossible for me to not go in. I went into my local independent bookstore one day and came across this title. Actually, technically, I found The Magician's King (sequel to The Magicians). I was very intrigued, and being the horrible local, cheap citizen that I am, I took a photo of the cover to do an Amazon search to find it at a cheaper price. Once I searched it, I found out that it was the sequel, and decided that since the bookstore didn't have the first installment anyway, I would just go ahead and order it off of Amazon. Though I love reading recommendations from others, there's a magical feeling that surrounds buying books at random that you don't experience when there's so much hype.

But without further ado, let's get into my review for The Magicians.

Title: The Magicians
Author: Lev Grossman
Series: The Magicians Series
Followed by: The Magician King
Genre: YA/adult Fantasy
Pages: 402
Release date: August 11, 2009
Links: AmazonB&N | Goodreads

And as usual, here's the back cover description:

"Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A high school math genius, he's secretly fascinated with a series of children's fantasy novels set in a magical land called Fillory, and real life is disappointing by comparison. When Quentin is unexpectedly admitted to an elite, secret college of magic, it looks like his wildest dreams may have come true. But his newfound powers lead him down a rabbit hole of hedonism and disillusionment, and ultimately to the dark secret behind the story of Fillory. The land of his childhood fantasies turns out to be much darker and more dangerous than he ever could have imagined..."

Saturday, February 9, 2013

NOTD: OPI "Ski Teal We Drop"

Today's notd is for one of my old favorites alongside OPI's "You Don't Know Jacques." OPI "Ski Teal We Drop," as its name suggests, is a deep teal cream. When it came out years ago, I thought it was absolutely gorgeous. But nowadays, you really can find a dupe for this polish is nearly every brand.

(OPI "Ski Teal We Drop")

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

NOTD: Zoya "Storm"

Today's notd is for Zoya's "Storm." I initially did not care to buy this polish at all, but then my very close friend, Dafinepolish, got me a set of Zoya polishes for Christmas, including this one. This polish is an incredibly unique polish. It has small holographic shimmers in a black base. I think what made me initially uninterested in this polish, was the fact that holographic polishes often photograph flat. All swatches I found didn't compel me. It wasn't until my friend got it for me and I finally painted it on for the first time that I really fell in love!

(Zoya "Storm")

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Blood of the Lamb: A Book Review

There are NO SPOILERS in this review. Enjoy! (:

Unfortunately, I do not have an interesting story to tell of how I came across Peter De Vries' The Blood of the Lamb. It was a novel that I heard of often. It's one of those titles that floated around in my mind. I finally put it down on my 2013 Reading List to motivate and remind myself to finally read it.

As usual, here is the back-cover description:

"The most poignant of all De Vries's novels, The Blood of the Lamb is also the most autobiographical. It traces the life of Don Wanderhope, reared in a strict Dutch Reformed home in Chicago, and follows him through family tragedy, love affairs, and finally, his daughter's terrible illness. In a narrative that is by turns wildly comic and deeply moving, De Vries writes with a powerful blend of grief, love, wit, and rage."

Sunday, February 3, 2013

NOTD: OPI "You Don't Know Jacques"

Today's notd is for a classic OPI color and also one of my favorites, "You Don't Know Jacques." This polish is a brown-grey that can heavier one way or the other depending on what your environment is.
I love my muddy looking polishes, and this is definitely one of my most favorite. For whatever reason, I thought it was an appropriate color choice for Superbowl Sunday.

(OPI "You Don't Know Jacques")

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Howl's Moving Castle: A Book Review

There are NO SPOILERS in this review. Enjoy! (:

Book review #5 of 2013!

I love all of Miyazaki's films. So I was amazed to discover last year that Howl's Moving Castle was actually an adaptation of Diana Wynne Jones' novel.  My friend lent me his copy and the rest, as cliche as it sounds and is, is history. If your read my post on my Favorite Reads of 2012 then you probably remember that I listed Howl's Moving Castle as one of my favorite reads. So it won't be so much of a surprise when you hear all my raving comments below. I hope you enjoy this review! (:

As usual here's the back cover description:

"Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid sell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl's castle. To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with the fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there's far more to Howl-and herself- than first meets the eye."