Friday, April 24, 2015

Book Review: Daughter of Troy

Synopsis according to Goodreads:
"The rightful-born queen of Lyrnessos, Briseis watched helplessly from the battlements as her husband and brothers were crushed by the invincible army of King Agamemnon. Taken into slavery, the proud, beautiful seer became the prize of Prince Achilles, the conquering Greeks' mightiest hero. But passion forged chains stronger than any iron, binding the hearts of captive and captor with a love that knew no equal, and when Troy fell, great Achilles promised his beloved Briseis would reign at his side as queen of Thessaly. Yet the jealousy of a ruthless king and the whims of the capricious deities would deny the lovers their happiness. As the flames of war rose higher around them, the prophetess vowed to save the beloved warrior for whom her dark gift foretold doom -- even if it meant defying the gods themselves. "

Daughter of Troy is not exactly a love story, or at least, not as we'd categorize it in modern times. It's more of a well-researched historical fiction that centers around a princess, and involves love (at its pinnacle in her time). 

Despite the fact that this story is a fictional retelling of the Trojan War, and takes place during the Bronze Age, I felt like each character was understandable (and many were relatable). It's the mark of a good author when you can recognize personalities, but not framed in modern thinking, in an historical fiction. So in that respect, I was caught up in the story and really enjoyed it.

I'm marking it as not beloved, because I felt like I was left wanting more. We see Briseis from age 10 or so until the Fall of Troy, framed in her recounting of her youth to a jaded Homer. But after all this growing up with Briseis, her story basically ends at that point. I wanted MORE. 

Aside from that, it was a thoroughly enjoyable story- educational wrapped in entertaining, even though the world is so different from our own. Certainly it's got sexy moments, and romance, but it felt more like a drama than anything else to me.

I recommend it for fans of Greek mythology, ancient history, and historical fiction. Also, if you felt as I did about The Song of Achilles, you might enjoy this alternate look at the same trio of characters. (spoiler alert: Patroclus is always awesome).

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Eye of the Week: A Tale of Two Cities

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. There was bronze, there was green.

There was Printcess Heist (on my brow bone), Stoic (on my lid), Evidence on the crease, and Prologue (as a thick liner).

(under crappy office lighting)

(A little better perspective)

(but still crappy office lighting)

I have seriously deep-set eyes, that are hooded, and further shadowed by permanent under eye circles. So I compensate for all those shadows by using a pop of brightly-colored eye shadow. In EOTW posts, this may come across as obscenely colorful, almost unprofessionally so.

But as you can see below, as a total effect they don't do much. This bright green of Prologue as a liner reads as slightly-brighter eyes.

(see, from a normal distance you can't much tell! Depth adds subtlety)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Books 'n' Bloggers Swap Recap!

It's BnB Swap Recap time!
Did you participate? Did your partner totally spoil you?
Mine did.

I was partnered with Ashley of Entirely Ashley who, in addition to having fantastic bookish taste and being a fellow Wholigan and HP-fan, is super generous and a total sweetheart.

(My aside: I know getting partnered with one of the swap hosts adds pressure. It shouldn't, in a fair world, but it does.)

So I was all "no pressure, for serious!" and then I couldn't not send her a bunch of stuff because SHE'S TOO AWESOME.

And then her box arrived and my Monday was instantly improved by a factor of 1000000%
(adorably wrapped in green twine and look at all the goodies!)

(The non-book things. Awesome all-natural hair moisturizer, which I desperately need; two happy-smelling candles; a TARDIS-esque nail polish that you can't even see how awesome it is but it's blurple and awesome; Vanilla Chai tea; a handmade bookmark, which Wholigans will understand made me cackle with glee; a Sherlock Holmes notepad (*le sigh* Where is the next season of Sherlock? I have needs!); a "You never forget your first doctor" button; and a hollow book that's covered with London/British awesomeness, which I had to hide from Fedora who loves hollow books.)


(Oh and then there's the books! ALSO SPOILED ROTTEN)

A book she loved: The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. Which I have read also loved (see? Told you she had good taste!).
A book from my wishlist: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, in prep for this year's Austen in August.
Book she hasn't read but thinks I'll enjoy: The Name of the Wind and Dragonhaven, because the awesome continues. 

Thank you so, so much, Ashley! I love everything in that box, all the way down to the twine. I can't wait to devour it all. 
(Some of it will be going on the walls of our possible new house, too!)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Number One Nutrition Biotin Review

You all know by now that I'm health-conscious and take lots of vitamins (only some of which I think everyone should take). I had the chance to try Number One Nutrition Biotin for the past month (which I received in exchange for my honest review).

Biotin is a water-soluble B-complex vitamin that helps your body metabolize proteins, fatty acids, carbohydrates and gluten. It's necessary for cell growth, as it assists in the transfer of carbon dioxide.
This one is B7, specifically; 10,000 mcg of it.

There's no danger of overdosing on vitamin B, as the body just processes it out. The scientific evidence to support that biotin has any affect on hair, nails and skin is pretty weak. However, there is such a thing as a biotin deficiency (a metabolic disorder). Most people's intestinal bacteria produce an excess of biotin.
But a recent French study found that high doses of biotin may stop and even reverse the progression of multiple sclerosis. So it's something we're still figuring out!

In the French study, there was a 2-8 month lag in improvements, so this is something you'd need to be on for several months before you could see an improvement. I can tell you that it didn't appear to affect my skin or hair at all. However, my nails were noticeably stronger.
Normally, they're thin and tend to bend and snag. After taking biotin daily for a month, I noticed they were snapping instead of snagging, and the whites of the tips were stronger white than usual.

So the benefit of taking biotin through Number One Nutrition is that they have a 200% money-back guarantee. If you take the full bottle and see no result, they'll over compensate you to make up for the disappointment. Pretty awesome!
(also, they're based in the USA, which means you'll know the product is what it says it is- no filler)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Taylor Swift 1989-Inspired Ask Me Anything Tag

This is over a month overdue (thanks, life), but I was inspired by Chasing My Extraordinary to partake in this lovely little blog quiz. I never considered myself a Taylor Swift fan, until this album came out. Now I find myself humming along to belting out many of its songs.

01. Welcome to New York.  If you could live in any city, which would it be and why?  
Probably Edinburgh, Scotland. I've only been there once, but it was the best blend of city and OMGAMAZING. Plus, from there I can more easily explore Europe on jaunts.

02. Blank Space.  What is something that everyone thinks is true about you but is actually false? 
That I know what I'm doing. I've got a natural ability to fake it 'till I make it, in many things.

03. Style.  What is one item in you closet that makes you feel unstoppable?  
Every woman is supposed to have something, clothing-wise, that boosts her confidence, I'm told. I don't. I have zero connection to any piece in my closet. My costumes used to make me feel unstoppable, but that's no longer the case (I don't know why- my passion for them petered out years ago).

04. Out of the Woods.  What is one thing you’re afraid of?  
Being a burden. On loved ones, on coworkers, on the planet.

05. All You Had to do Was Stay.  Who is someone you wish was still in your life?  
My best friend, Staci. Whom I suppose I shouldn't call my best friend anymore, since she started ignoring me over a year ago.

06. Shake It Off.  What is something you have had to shake off?  
People who try to box me in through their expectations of who and what I am.

07. I Wish You Would.  What is something you’d like to happen right now?  
To find, and buy, the perfect house for us. So much of the rest of my life is waiting on that to be done.

08. Bad Blood.  Have you ever had someone stab you in the back? 
Yep. Who hasn't? It's a heartbreaking, but necessary, part of navigating life.

09. Wildest Dreams.  What would you like to be remembered for?  
Making people laugh, smile, or just be happy.

10. How You Get The Girl.  What is your favorite pick-up line?  
(I crack myself up. But this has worked at getting my attention more than any cheesy pickup line ever did. Especially when the guy was smiling and seemed genuinely interested. What? I like attention!)

11. This Love.  What is something you got back that you thought you never would?  
My dignity. Someday you'll hear the story of how it was stolen from me when I was in my twenties. On second thought, that's not a good story. Let's skip it.

12. I Know Places.  Where is one place you always feel safe?  
In Fedora's arms. 

13. Clean.  What is an important lesson you have learned in life, and how did you learn it?  
If you live for everybody else, you won't have anything left of yourself. I learned it by subconsciously being everything everyone around me expected me to be: I was the straight-A student my parents expected, the prude my conservative friends expected, the party girl by wild friends expected, and on and on. And in the end, I was exhausted, and utterly confused about my own personality. Who was I, when I was alone? It took a decade for me to figure that out. And frankly, if I'm not paying attention, trying to meet everyone's expectations is a nasty habit I slip back into.