Thursday, July 30, 2015

Book Review: Between the Lines

Synopsis according to Goodreads:
"Delilah is a bit of a loner who prefers spending her time in the school library with her head in a book—one book in particular. Between the Lines may be a fairy tale, but it feels real. Prince Oliver is brave, adventurous, and loving. He really speaks to Delilah.
And then one day Oliver actually speaks to her. Turns out, Oliver is more than a one-dimensional storybook prince. He’s a restless teen who feels trapped by his literary existence and hates that his entire life is predetermined. He’s sure there’s more for him out there in the real world, and Delilah might just be his key to freedom.

Between the Lines is a sweet middle-grade contemporary romance with inklings of magical realism. It pays homage to fairytales, with some clever interpretations of how stories live within out hearts and minds. It was a quick read, lacking much in the way of depth or character development.

The things I liked: The concept is clever, and finding the resolution was cleverly done (and not rushed).

The things I didn't like: instalove, inconsistencies with details (like, she's wearing a wool shirt but then three paragraphs later it's a t-shirt and shorts, etc), it's labeled YA but reads in depth like a middle grade novel (i.e. conflicts outside of the romance are resolved quickly and easily, by the protagonist suddenly realizing the answer), the characters are pretty one dimensional.

Overall, I found it to be 'meh'. It was more like reading a novella writing exercise on conflict development, than reading a fully developed novel. 

I recommend it for fans of Jodi Picoult (I guess? I've never read her books, but look how much bigger her name is than the title!), and anyone looking for a quick contemporary romance read that focuses on a younger audience.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Eye of the Week: The Secret History of the Pink Carnation

When I'm low on eyeshadow inspiration, I turn to Pinterest. Sometimes that makes me look like a clown, and sometimes (like today) that actually turns out well.

This is Printcess Swoon all over my lids, with Marque blended on the outer half of my lids above the crease, and Slippers on my brow bone for some shimmers. Then I finished it with a simple brown crayon eyeliner and mascara.

I highly recommend this look to everyone. I used to think brown was the universal hue, but now I'm thinking it's pink. Especially shimmery light pink and any shade of darker pink paired with it.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Garage Defender Home Security Review

My childhood house was broken into THREE times (once while we were home!). During those break-ins, thieves stole every single heirloom from my four grandparents (all of whom had passed away within the year), injured my dog, rifled through my underwear....I have a continued paranoia about break-ins since then. In each instance, they came through our garage.

I was lucky enough to receive Garage Defender from Tomoson (in exchange for my honest review about it). This is how Garage Defender works and why it's crucial:

As you know, we recently bought a house. And then we took a trip to Canada, for a convention. I was super nervous about leaving our house empty for a week. We live in a great area, but it's not crime-free, and it's so very easy to break in through a garage. So I was eager to get this installed before we left. It was both easier and faster to install than I expected:

(for the record, we never recovered a single heirloom from those break-ins during my youth. Not one. Insurance replaced the electronics, but the rest was probably traded to pawn shops, lost to us forever. Thieves are subhuman.)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Friday Confessional & Nail Files

I'm starting something a little different- combining two weekly blog linkies that I love!

I confess...
Canada rocks.
Need proof?
(finally! Our perfect size container of Sriracha!)

I confess...
The only way in which Canada fails, is in its "signature" food.
I'm sorry, guys, but Tim Hortons was awful (coffee, and donuts), poutine was "just ok", their chips and junk food was mediocre, and all their candy (except Wunderbars- thanks, Karen! and Coffee Crisp) was softer but less flavorful than what we're used to. 

I'll say this, though: they love a pub.
I saw more pubs in Calgary than I did in LONDON.
(from The Toad & Turtle...neither of which were on the menu!)

I confess...
I was also tickled that Canadian hash browns are American "country-style potatoes", and Canadian "potato pancake" is an American "hash brown".
(Canadian for Coors)

I confess...
We had a wonderful time in Calgary.
Banff National Park and Heritage Park were standout favorites, despite the fact that I was suffering a migraine through both.
(the hot springs at the Cave and Basin in Banff)

I confess...
It's also always nice to be surrounded by people who hug you all the time, more positive than not (we do have our Negative Nancy folks, but by and large everyone is happy to be there), and this time CUTE ANIMALS TO CUDDLE! We raised over $2K for the Calgary Humane Society (which, of all the animal welfare groups I've worked with, they're exemplary). So it was a huge success!

Plus, they had a wonderful animal tribute, which included a poem by Fat Joe.

 photo newbutton_zps284b4cd7.jpg
This should've gone up last week, in honor of the Beauty & the Beast convention that I attended in Calgary, AB, Canada. But alas, I had too many other on-point costume tutorials to post. Mea culpa!
I started with two coats of Chick Pick Polish "Fresh Snow". Yes, I'm addicted to this small business nail polish company!

Then I added Born Pretty Store rose nail decals.
For the second time, I've discovered that water decals and I just don't work. I soaked these bad boys for TEN FRELLING MINUTES and they still acted like stickers (you can see how they're peeling up there, even with two coats of top coat over them).

How do you make water decals work????

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Book Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door

Synopsis according to Goodreads:
"Lola Nolan is a budding costume designer, and for her, the more outrageous, sparkly, and fun the outfit, the better. And everything is pretty perfect in her life (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood. When Cricket, a gifted inventor, steps out from his twin sister's shadow and back into Lola's life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door."

Lola and the Boy Next Door is kind of a sequel to Anna and the French Kiss. Kind of, because while Anna plays a small part in it and it's written by the same author, it has no true continuation of the initial story. It's adorable, and very typically contemporary YA romance. But I didn't care for it.

I loved, and related to, Anna. A lot.
Lola, though....I love the costuming, and I totally understand her teen pettiness.  I just don't feel connected to her at all.
She's co-dependent, lacks any self-respect (seriously, where was her righteous indignation???), is downright rude to her amazing parents, is self-focused every time she's around the love interest (who is woefully underdeveloped), and is a bad friend. And her version of "being a better person" was to change how she dressed.

The story revolves entirely around a love triangle. And I HATE triangles. Especially when the author clearly makes one of the love interests into a villain, and the other one isn't flawed at all. 
A) people, and life, don't work like that
B) it's boring
C) the main character looks even more idiotic because she can't choose which one, given this easy-choice setup

Anna and the French Kiss has a love triangle, but it was muted, and more realistic (and everyone was flawed, and there was no clear good-choice/bad-choice, just Protagonist and Other.)
So I know Perkins can write this better. And if she phoned it in with this novel, which should I read her third (Isla and the Happily Ever After)? Just to see more quirky characters?

I dunno, if you've read Isla, please tell me if it's worth my time. I was so let down by Lola, given my expectations after Anna, and I don't want to go through that frustration again. 

If, unlike me, you like a contemporary YA romance love triangle that is fairly shallow and has quirky/cute characters, you might enjoy it. But read Anna and the French Kiss, which is (in my opinion) better. If you read Anna, you do not need to read this one. Move along, folks, nothing to see here.