Thursday, January 22, 2015

Book Review: Boundless by Cynthia Hand (Unearthly Book Three)

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THE DETAILS:
Pages: 448
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Release Date: 01/02/2013
Publisher: Harper Collins
I bought it with my own money.

THE DESCRIPTION:
The past few years held more surprises than part-angel Clara Gardner ever could have anticipated. Yet through the dizzying high of first love to the agonizing low of losing someone close to her, the one thing she could no longer deny was that she was never meant to have a normal life.

Since discovering the special role she plays among the other angel-bloods, Clara has been determined to protect Tucker Avery from the evil that follows her . . . even if it means breaking both their hearts. Leaving town seemed like the best option, so she’s headed back to California—and so is Christian Prescott, the irresistible boy from the vision that started her on this journey in the first place.

As Clara makes her way in a world that is frighteningly new, she discovers that the fallen angel who attacked her is watching her every move. And he’s not the only one. . . . With the battle against the Black Wings looming, Clara knows she must finally fulfil her destiny. But it won’t come without sacrifices and betrayal.

In the riveting finale of the Unearthly series, Clara must choose her fate once and for all.

THE REVIEW:
'Boundless' by Cynthia Hand is the third and final book in the 'Unearthly' trilogy. If you have not read any of the books in this series I suggest that you Click Here to read my review of the first novel 'Unearthly'. I really enjoyed the first two books of the trilogy, so as you can guess I had pretty big expectations for this one. This book turned out so much differently than what I could have ever imagined and I really enjoyed it too.

It has been so long since I read the second book 'Hallowed' that I almost couldn't remember what had happened. I was quite a few chapters in (I'm thinking somewhere between a third and a quarter of the way) when I finally remembered everything that had happened. I had received the first two books in the series as free review copies from the publisher and I wasn't able to get the third copy from them because of a shortage, so I waited for it to come out. Then I put off purchasing the novel (I like to wait for things to go on sale), And I put off reading it because I decided to ditch my fantasy TBR in favor of contemporary books and tv shows. In between reading 'Hallowed' and 'Reading 'Boundless' I managed to watch all of the seasons of Charmed and Gilmore Girls. I also discovered the Stephanie Plum book series and I added a heap more Variety to my blog. Long story short; A lot of stuff happened between now and then, And I am glad that I have still been able to read this book and figure it out.

At the start Clara is off to college. She has already been on holiday to Europe. She doesn't have a clue what she wants to do when she leaves. I really liked that Clara was undecided because I like that someone who is mostly angel, has a realistic human problem to deal with. I think a lot of people will be able to relate and I appreciate a fantasy character that can deal with multiple issues that aren't all romance/fantasy related.

In this novel the angelic characters all delve further into the idea of their purpose and focusing on their vision. They all continue to question the idea of their purpose, And debate how much being part-angel should affect their lives. Christian and Clara both seem convinced that they should be together because of what they see in their visions, but Clara still can't get over Tucker. I am not going to tell you who she chooses. No spoilers here.

There was more information about the characters "world" in this story which I always enjoy. I am kind of hoping for a spin-off or something because I want to learn more about the Triplare and the limits of their powers and the black wings and the grey wings... I really think the ideas behind this series are just so intriguing and original. Not that I have read many angel books to compare it to.

I predicted one thing that would happen in the novel. Everything else seemed to surprise me. I just had to keep reading to find out what would happen and when I got closer to the end I thought there wouldn't be enough pages to fit an ending. I got closer to the end and I was fairly sure it was over and I didn't like what was happening. I couldn't believe I had read three books, just to end it there. And, then unexpectedly the ending changed in a BIG way.

Overall, I think this book deserves 5 out of 5 stars, but not a favourite. I really enjoyed the story and I felt like everything turned out the way it should have in the end. I would recommend this series to anyone who enjoys young adult fantasy, but isn't a fan of those typical paranormal romances (like Twilight). This book has definitely made me want to read more in the Angel sub-genre.


Your Favourite Blogger,
Natalie

Monday, January 19, 2015

Beauty Review: NYX Matte Lipstick


I decided to purchase these lipsticks based on  the great reviews I had been reading. I really wanted a mid-tone mauve colour to  add to my collection and I thought (based on the swatch) that 'Audrey' might be that shade. The colour was not what I expected, though I did really like what I ended up with. Even though the lipstick wasn't as good as I was hoping, I really liked the colour range and ended up purchasing 'Angel' hoping that once again I might find my perfect matte mauve shade. Once again, what I got was pretty, but it wasn't what I wanted, And I didn't think these were anywhere near as good as what the other reviews were making them out to be...

WHAT NYX SAYS:
NYX Matte Lipsticks are highly pigmented, richly formulated and long-wearing. The formula glides on smoothly and stays put with a non-drying matte finish.”  

WHERE I BOUGHT THEM:
I bought mine from Crush Cosmetics
You can also get them from Target
Or directly from NYX
Please Note* These stockists are located in Australia

WHAT I THINK:

The Texture
These definitely do give a Matte appearance, however they don't feel matte on the lips. To me they feel a little muddy and they can look fairly cakey, especially after re-applying. I think they definitely feel worse than they look. They do apply smoothly; they just don;t look smooth. They are not drying, but they aren't really moisturising either. I can only just feel that I have something on my lips and it feels a little too thick and uncomfortable.

Staying Power
These are not long-lasting. If I start to rub my lips together I can feel the product moving. I have tried blotting and powdering or applying a lip seal over the top. It doesn't really help though because the formula is so thick. The best way to get it to last is to apply a matching lip-liner (or as close as possible) to the whole lip before applying the lipstick.

Packaging
A lot of people have issues with the packaging. Yes it feels light and plastic-y. Yes it has a big ugly permanent barcode on it. Apart from those things I don't think they actually look that bad. I think pretty packaging is always nice, but it doesn't always indicate a better product. 

Cost
These cost me $13 ea. Plus postage. I think that this is a pretty typical drugstore price for a lipstick, however I think you can find better quality lipsticks for the same price and less.


Pigmentation & Colour Selection
 These are really pigmented and can be applied fairly quickly. I think the pigmentation is definitely helpful considering that formula. There are some great colours to choose from and I really like the two that I have. I feel like these colours are really unique and flattering. 'Angel' especially seems unique to me, because it has a little pink in it. However, the swatches provided by NYX are not even close to accurate, which is a bit of a let down for online shoppers like me.

^From Left to Right:
'Angel' (Described as a Cardinal Red) is a dark peachy colour (almost red), with a hint of pink.
'Audrey' (Described as Mid-tone Blue Pink) is a mauvy pink colour.

I didn't do a lip-swatch as my lips are a little chapped at the moment.

Overall, I think these lip colours are a little overrated. I really like the unusual colours and will wear them anyway, but I wouldn't recommend them to anyone because they are not long-lasting or pleasant to use. I don't really understand why or how these got such positive reviews, though I think there is a large possibility that those people had tried different colours and didn't have dry lips like I do. 

I do really like the NYX range and there has only really been one or two products of theirs  that I didn't like. I hope this review was useful to you if you haven't tried out these lipsticks yet. If you have tried these before, please let me know your thoughts in the comments below. I haven't done a beauty review in a little while and I've got a lot of products to get through so please if you have time have a look at the pictures i posted up to Facebook and let me know what you would like to see a review of next. I am also contemplating a favourite nail polishes post, so let me know if you'd be interested in that too.

Your Favourite Blogger,
Natalie

Friday, January 16, 2015

Book Review: Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson

THE DETAILS:
Pages: 449
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Release Date: 06/05
Publisher:
Received as a gift for Christmas.

THE DESCRIPTION:
Emily's best friend Sloane disappears, almost without a trace - the only thing left behind is a to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that wallflower Emily wouldn't normally do, and definitely not without her best friend.
But what if completing the list could bring Sloane back?
Dance Until Dawn?
Sure. Why not?
Kiss a stranger?
Um . . .
Go skinny dipping?
Wait . . . what?
Emily only has the summer to check everything off Sloane's list.
The question is, what will she find at the end of it?


MY THOUGHTS:
'Second Chance Summer' and 'Amy and Roger's Epic Detour' (also by Morgan Matson) were both surprisingly good reads. So good, that I gave them five star ratings and declared them as favourites. If I were to have no books left on my TBR I would re-read these two novels again. I love the YA contemporary fiction genre and Morgan Matson writes it so well. So when my mother asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I just had to put this book on the list. The verdict? I enjoyed 'Since You've Been Gone' just as much...

I really liked how the idea of friendship was explored in this book. The main character spends the summer without her best friend questioning whether her friend was as nice as she thought she was, how much the friendship had changed her as a person and how people perceived her because of it. The main character also questions how long her new friends will be in her life for. I felt like I could really identify with the main character because I live in a small town and most of the people I was friends with in high school left town to go to university after school finished.

The main character Emily reminded me a lot of myself  as she is tall, shy and has to justify her music taste to her friends. This novel could have been a real downer when you consider the plot and that the previous two Morgan Matson books I read made me cry. Luckily though, Emily decides to go ahead with the list and turn things around. After reading this book I got that whole "I can achieve anything" attitude. It didn't last long, but the book has that kind of effect.

I found that the chapters were quite big in this novel and thought it was cool that they were named after items on the list (well most of them were anyway). The novel also skips between present and the past, with Emily sharing some of her memories of Sloane with the reader. If you are into fashion/style I think you will really enjoy some of those flashbacks. I really liked how the chapters were longer as it meant I read the book more quickly as I like to finish the chapter before saving my place with a bookmark.

'Since You've Been Gone' also focuses on the difference between image/representation and reality. There are plenty of examples of characters assuming the wrong thing about another person because it just seems that way. I think this message never gets old.

Overall, I give this novel five out of five stars and a Favourite. I know that makes it the third favourite book in a row, but those three books were all highly anticipated novels, by great authors. If you enjoy contemporary fiction, then I would recommend this to you.

Your Favourite Blogger,
Natalie

Friday, January 9, 2015

Style Crush: What's inspiring my Style in 2015

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I never usually do a post like this for the beginning of the year. I don't think I've ever sat down and thought about how my style would change in the new year. I scrolled across a post by Chronically Vintage and it got me thinking that maybe I would like to have a go at writing something similar. I don't think I will follow this through 100% or the year, but these are definitely the things that I am into right now, so I thought maybe I would share them with you.

I thought I would do this in sections rather than by number and share a few pictures in each section. Some of the things are things that I am interested in this year are things that I already own, which is great because I can't really afford to be spending heaps of money. I hope you guys find this interesting and maybe even get inspired to come up with a list for yourselves.

2015 COLOURS:
So as you will probably all know by now, the Pantone colour of the year is Marsala. I think it's a bit of a wishy washy kind of colour as some people are showing it as more of a wine-red, while others are saying it's more of a browny-pink shade. I do like a lot of those kinds of colours and I don't think it's really that surprising a choice for 2015 considering all of the warm-toned make-up palettes making their way onto the market at the end of 2014. 

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 Where I live in Queensland Maroon-y shades are pretty much a staple around State of Origin time. I already own a few skirts in wine-red type colours and I have an endless supply of mauve and wine lipsticks. I also really like Taupe and Fawn which complement this shade nicely.

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I got a blue car in 2014 and thanks to my obsession with fairytales and Lana Del Rey's Jackie O'Kennedy inspired outfit in 'National Anthem' I have been a little obsessed with blue. Mostly purple toned blues, though I also do really like blue in general. I have bought a few bits and pieces in blue and I'm thinking about wearing it on my nails a little more often.

Blue is a colour I have never really bothered with too much, but I'm now starting to realise what a versatile and magical colour it can be. I think it goes really well with my colouring and suits a variety of make-up looks. 

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I am also really liking warm-toned metallics and peachy shades. I think they complement my skin/eyes/hair so well and I tend to get a lot of complements when I wear them. I think peachy colours can be very summery and healthy looking on my pale skin.

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I love a lot of colours and my absolute favourite have for most part been slightly blue-toned greens such as mint, teal and emerald. For example I really like the colour of the dress in the photo above, but I'm not so sure about the colour of  the grass...  I don't really plan on wearing the colour a lot, but I do own a fair bit of green (especially shoes) so it's kind of inevitable.

1990s & Early 2000s STYLE ERA:
I know a lot of vintage bloggers aren't really keen on the Nineties and don't really like people calling it vintage. I agree that it shouldn't be called vintage, however there were some good things about the nineties that a lot of people forget. I also get really annoyed with the Kylie Jenner nineties tag. She was a baby in the nineties, she wears brown lipstick, so what. I decided to include 2000s as some of these things did cross over into the 00s. 

Most of these photos are of musicians/actresses. I didn't read vogue in the 90s because I couldn't read yet then... One of my favourite things about the era was the resurgence of  trends/styles from other eras, but with a twist.

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Leopard print had a comeback. I really liked the leopard print dresses and skirts of the Nineties and 00s. I have wanted to wear leopard print since seeing Alison Mosshart from The Kills wearing a button up leopard print top. Unfortunately I have had a bit of bad luck ordering leopard print tops that weren't the best fit. Hopefully in 2015 I can finally make leopard print work for me.

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1960s style shift dresses made a comeback, but were paired with patforms or chunky heels instead of Gogo boots. Shirley Manson wore a few different ones, the most famous one probably being the pink dress she wore in the 'Only happy when it Rains' music video in 1995. 

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I really liked the 70s floral dresses the Lisbon sisters wore on 'Virgin Suicides' movie. I can't say for sure if floral dresses came back into fashion, but I know the 70s straight hairstyle and platform shoes definitely did. 

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I also really liked the 90s take on 50s sunglasses. Okay, well technically this photo is from 'Looking for Alibrandi, which was shot in 2000, but I did see Melissa Joan Hart wear something similar in an early episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

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I also really like some typical 90s things. Like Alicia Silversone's sheer blouse collection, Winona Ryder's Red Carpet dresses, Drew Barrymore's garland, Katie Holme's dark brown lipstick, Velvet everything and vampy colours. As you can probably tell I am more into the grunge side of things, but I don't mind a bit of preppy gingham print either...

STYLE/BEAUTY RESOLUTIONS:
There are a few things I want to improve on. I guess it seems a little posh to have style resolutions, but the way I see it resolutions aren't really a limited thing and I don't see any harm in getting better at being dressed better. 

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1. Keep it Simple:
I really love doing the full face thing, but sometimes I think I look just as nice with filled in brows, a bold lip and a tiny bit of liner smudged into my lashes. I think I would still like to do some nice eyeshadow looks when I have time, but I don't want to be caking my face with powder everyday, my skin just doesn't like it.

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2. Don't be afraid to wear things that actually fit nice.
I really like wearing baggy clothes because it's comfortable and it makes ordering online a little easier. I still like my baggy clothes and sometimes being tall and skinny means you have to go a size up to get the length right. I just need to learn that when I do come across something that actually fits I shouldn't be afraid to wear it.

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3. Reach Layering/Accessorising Level Expert:
I think Layering and accessorising are the two things I am least confident with. Probably just because I have too many options. 

4. Ensure Practicality:
I am usually pretty good at making sure my outfits are practical, however I tend to forget about this when I am buying stuff...

I hope you all enjoyed my post and will go over to the Chronically Vintage post I got the idea from. What's inspiring your style for 2015?

Your Favourite Blogger,
Natalie

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Book Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

THE DETAILS:
Pages: 336
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Release Date: 12/04/2012
Publisher: Orion
Got it from Mum for Xmas.

THE DESCRIPTION:
Eleanor is the new girl in town, and with her chaotic family life, her mismatched clothes and unruly red hair, she couldn't stick out more if she tried.

Park is the boy at the back of the bus. Black T-shirts, headphones, head in a book - he thinks he's made himself invisible. But not to Eleanor... never to Eleanor.

Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall for each other. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you're young, and you feel as if you have nothing and everything to lose.

THE REVIEW:
This book has been out for a little while. I had heard a few good things here and there, but I had too many books to read already, so I just never got around to buying it. I received a copy of 'Fangirl' for review last year and really liked it. Then, a couple months before Christmas came I saw a really good review for this (sorry I can't remember which blog, so I can't share the link) and I wrote it on my wishlist straight away. I ended up getting the novel for Xmas and it's the 2nd book I have picked up to read in 2015. On Sunday night I thought I would pick it up and read a chapter before bed. At 2:00AM I was still reading 'Eleanor & Park', debating whether or not to put the book down and go to sleep already. I did eventually put the book down and get some much needed sleep, And, finished reading it the next day.

Firstly, can I just say that this is probably the quickest I have read a book in such a long time. Once upon a time, if you were looking for me, you'd find me stretched out on my bed reading. I still enjoy reading, but I find that I have to remind myself that I actually own books. I found 'Eleanor & Park' to be so addictive and I thought that switching between the POVs of Eleanor and Park in such small sections kept my attention.

I really enjoy Rainbow Rowell's writing and I couldn't help giggling at some of it. I found both the characters to be really easy to like and thought they were very realistic. From the outside cover, this book might seem like it's just some teen romance, and it is, but it is also a lot more than that. Usually when characters get in arguments or don't act very confident I can get a little annoyed with them, but in 'Eleanor & Park' I felt like I could understand the characters so I had no qualms with the way they acted.

This book was not just about first loves and young love, but it also covered some deeper topics. Things like meeting your parents expectations, judging people, being kind to others, family, gender roles and domestic abuse. I thought it was really interesting to see the differences between Eleanor and Park's home life and to see how the characters reacted to finding out some of these differences. I think this book will make a lot of people feel grateful for what they have and reconsider what they say about others.

The novel was also set in the mid-eighties which I thought was pretty cool, because I have a lot of eighties movies and music. I did "get" most of the references as far as music was concerned, but I had no clue what they were talking about when they discussed comics. If you aren't into any of those things, I don't think it should really matter. Maybe 'Eleanor & Park' will be introducing hoards of young people to The Cure and The Smiths...

Here is one of my favourite quotes from the book:
"She couldn’t repay him. She couldn’t even appropriately thank him. How can you thank someone for the Cure? Or the X-Men? Sometimes it felt like she’d always be in his debt. And then she realized that Park didn't know about the Beatles."

I was a little thrown off by the ending. I don't want to give too much away in regards to the ending, but, it was a bit of a "What?!" moment. I am cool with the ending now, I think. I just thought I would mention it, so you kind of know to expect a "What?!" ending. If you read on a little further, Rainbow explains the ending...

As far as the cover is concerned, I am not really into it. I get that it matches the story perfectly, and I think it's NICE. However, there is nothing about it that is overly inviting and the cover definitely isn't what encouraged me to pick this up. I know covers aren't supposed to be everything, but if it's going to be the thing that helps a reader decide what to buy then  it's definitely important...

Overall, I think this book deserves a 5 out of 5 and a favourite. I think it's a great read and I would recommend it to a lot of different people. I think I liked this more than 'Fangirl' and I can't wait to read more buy this author! Also, I hope she writes a sequel to this one...

Your Favourite Blogger,
Natalie