Saturday, December 20, 2014

Book Review: The Ninth Daughter

Synopsis according to GoodReads:
"1773: The Massachusetts colony is torn between patriots who want independence from British rule and loyalists who support the King. At the center is the educated and beautiful Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams, the leader of the Sons of Liberty, a secret organization opposing the Crown.

When a murder occurs in the home of their friend and fellow patriot, Rebecca Malvern, John is accused of the gruesome crime, which was seemingly perpetrated to obtain a secret Sons of Liberty document. With both her husband's good name and the fate of the Sons of Liberty at stake, Abby must uncover a conspiracy that could cost them all their freedom, and their lives."

The Ninth Daughter surprised me. I expected an interesting cozy-style mystery with a fictionalized version of Abigail Adams, John Adams' wife. But this was an interesting balance between well-researched historical fiction, and serial killer murder mystery. 

I did not figure out who did it before Abigail Adams did, which worked just fine since she solves this crime (and others, in this series, apparently) through curiosity, intelligence, and knowing her community. At a time when crimes (especially done to the lower classes) were ignored for the sake of the politics involved, this unlikely detective-type heroine fits perfectly.

But where this book truly shines is in its historical aspects. Hamilton has managed to bring to life the Puritan work ethic, the active role of Christianity in the lives of the folk of Boston (and the Protestant vs Catholic feelings of the time), the role and responsibilities of women (holy carp, I would never have lasted), and the tense political situation overlaying (and complicating) everything.

It never felt like a lecture, but neither did Abigail feel too distant from modern sensibilities to relate to. She's curious, compassionate, frustrated, and has a mounting pile of housework to do. She loses her patience, banters with her husband, tries to keep from gossiping, and recognizes that what is good isn't always what is right (and vice versa).

Also, Lieutenant Coldstone.

Overall, I really enjoyed this one and highly recommend it for fans of historical fiction, the late 1700's America (and events leading to the Revolutionary War, as told by first person perspective), murder mysteries, clever female protagonists, political commentary (I mean, truly, there are some then-and-now themes going on), and immersive writing.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Nail Files: Snowpe

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Did I try stamping for the first time this week? Yes, yes I did.
Did it work as expected?

The lovely Amy gave me a Cici & Sisi stamping set, and I tried using a snowflake with Zoya Snow White on Zoya Wednesday. When the snowflake turned out faded (and some of them missing chunks, thanks to a crease in the middle of my stamper) I decided to top them with Zoya Mosheen. I like the resulting affect- you can see the snowflake at one angle, but they're covered by the shimmer at another angle.

Book Review: These Broken Stars

Synopsis according to GoodReads:
"It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.  

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help. 

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it."

These Broken Stars. Oh, this novel. Take a moment and bask in that gorgeous cover. Then go read it. Because it's made of yes.

The science in this science fiction story works for me. I yelled in delight when one of the characters gave a measurement in kilometers (metric system being standard for science, despite America's backward feet and miles measurements). I almost never see that, so major points for sticking to science without detracting from the narrative.

The humor is fantastic. A little bit snarky without being negative, and very self-aware. There's a little bit of everything in this book, in terms of emotions, and the characters definitely pulled me in. 

The romance develops naturally, and is believable (more so than most romances I encounter in pop lit). I wanted them to be together and I wanted them to be happy.

The character growth is lovely. More so for Lilac than Tarver, but they both face challenges and overcome them in different ways, to be more complete adults. 

Basically, I love this book. I loved everything about it. I want to read more stories in this universe, and with these characters, and by these two authors. And I recommend it for fans of character-driven stories, realistic romance, and science fiction adventure.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Eye of the Week: Witch Song

Beauty Frenzy Friday

That's Printcess Witch on the inner corner of my eyelid, then Riddle over the rest of my lid, and Kingdom as a liner. Because I love me some Autumn colors!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Easy Printcess Date Night Eyes

With holiday parties, office events, Christmas activities and NYE coming up, I wanted to share with you one of my fail proof date-night looks. 

It's a neutral look (don't worry- no crazy colors!) that looks good on every skin tone and eye color. I did it using Printcess colors (of course), but stay within the matte neutral/warm color family and you'll be fine with any brand.

What you need:
A soft eyeshadow brush
A shaped eyeshadow brush
A blending brush
A flat-edged brush (for liner- optional, as you can use an eyeliner pencil instead if you prefer)

A flesh-toned neutral shade for your crease (Evidence)
A warm shimmery highlight shade for your brow bone (Manuscript)
A warm mauve/orchid for your life (Royals)
A darker burgundy for your outside wedge (Crime)
A grey or black for your liner (Trigger)

Don't be intimidated by that list- it's easy, pretty quick, and works great even for beginners!

Want to kick it up a notch? Add false eyelashes!