[Review] Thief of Lies by Brenda Drake


ABOUT

Title: Thief of Lies
Author: Brenda Drake
Series: Library Jumpers #1 
Publisher: EntangledTeen
Release Date: January 5th 2016 
Synopsis:
Gia Kearns would rather fight with boys than kiss them. That is, until Arik, a leather clad hottie in the Boston Athenaeum, suddenly disappears. While examining the book of world libraries he abandoned, Gia unwittingly speaks the key that sucks her and her friends into a photograph and transports them into a Paris library, where Arik and his Sentinels—magical knights charged with protecting humans from the creatures traveling across the gateway books—rescue them from a demonic hound.

Jumping into some of the world's most beautiful libraries would be a dream come true for Gia, if she weren’t busy resisting her heart or dodging an exiled wizard seeking revenge on both the Mystik and human worlds. Add a French flirt obsessed with Arik and a fling with a young wizard, and Gia must choose between her heart and her head, between Arik's world and her own, before both are destroyed.

[Blog Tour] The Mystery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Podos





ABOUT

Title: The Mystery of Hollow Places
Author: Rebecca Podos
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Release Date: January 26th 2016
Goodreads Page
Synopsis:
All Imogene Scott knows of her mother is the bedtime story her father told her as a child. It's the story of how her parents met: he, a forensic pathologist, she, a mysterious woman who came to identify a body. A woman who left Imogene and her father when she was a baby, a woman who was always possessed by a powerful loneliness, a woman who many referred to as troubled waters.

When Imogene is seventeen, her father, now a famous author of medical mysteries, strikes out in the middle of the night and doesn't come back. Neither Imogene's stepmother nor the police know where he could've gone, but Imogene is convinced he's looking for her mother. She decides to put to use the skills she's gleaned from a lifetime of her father's books to track down a woman she's never known, in order to find him and, perhaps, the answer to the question she's carried with her for her entire life.

Rebecca Podos' debut is a powerful, affecting story of the pieces of ourselves that remain mysteries even to us - the desperate search through empty spaces for something to hold on to.


You should know that I'm a huge fan of mysteries and of crime procedurals. With those stories, there's always a sort of fantastical element - high speed car chases, explosions, super smart people doing things nobody else can seem to accomplish. The mystery in this novel is real and grounded. Imogene Scott is not a genius, nor does she have any sort of special resources to help her find her father. All she has is her conviction that her father is looking for her mother, her best friend, and the skills she's acquired from reading her father's mystery novels all her life.

I really quite enjoyed this novel where it's read in Imogene's perspective. We get to follow her journey of finding her birth mother and hopefully, in turn, finding her father. She's always been sort of closed off from other people. Her only real friend is Jessa and only because they've been around each other since they were little. She's also a quarter Cantonese which is cool (because I'm Cantonese)!

Jessa is a great best friend and a great partner in crime to Imogene. While they are best friends, Imogene has always been sort of distant and it's this mystery that Jessa is helping her solve that brings them closer together. I love that she's a willing participant and helped Imogene with her plans, despite not necessarily believing Imogene.

THE MYSTERY OF HOLLOW PLACES is a very real mystery of Imogene looking for her father, but it's also a story of Imogene's relationship with people evolving for the better as well. Her relationship with her stepmother, her father, her best friend and all the people in her life change as she goes on this journey to search for the truth of her mother and to find her father and bring him home. This novel is great for people who are looking for a mystery that doesn't involve saving the world or global espionage, but instead just a very normal girl looking for the truth and her father.



* I received an e-ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review and to participate in this blog tour. *


EXCERPT


The Mystery Of Hollow Places | Books | Epic Reads




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rebecca Podos' debut YA novel, THE MYSTERY OF HOLLOW PLACES, is forthcoming from Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins) on 1/26/16. A graduate of the Writing, Literature and Publishing program at Emerson College where she won the M.F.A. Award for Best Thesis, her fiction has been published in Glimmer Train, Glyph, CAJE, Paper Darts, Bellows American Review, and Smokelong Quarterly. Past Awards include the Helman Award for Short Fiction, the David Dornstein Memorial Creative Writing Prize for Young Adult Writers, and the Hillerman-McGarrity Scholarship for Creative Writing. She works as a YA and MG agent at the Rees Literary Agency in Boston.


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My "The Star Touched Queen" nails.

So the other day I was on twitter and Roshani Chokshi posted a tutorial of her Star Touched Queen inspired nails! You can check out her awesome tutorial here.

And then my wonderful blogging friend and fellow nail polish enthusiast, Liran from Empress of Books was doing her own set of Star Touched Queen inspired nails. She's incredible at doing her nails and actually paints the covers onto her nails!

I mean look at this awesomeness.


So, with the encouragement of Liran and Roshani, I decided to do my own Star Touched Queen inspired nails.





Don't mind the bits of wear and tear at the tips. At this point, I've had the polish on for a couple of days and was doing things with my hands. But anyways, here is my The Star Touched Queen inspired manicure. It's the same thing on the other hand, so I didn't bother trying to get a full set of fingers in a photo. :D


Here's the cover and some info on the book, if you haven't already heard of the book. (I'm so hype for this book)


ABOUT

Title: The Star-Touched Queen
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: May 3rd 2016 
Synopsis: 
Cursed with a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, sixteen-year-old Maya has only earned the scorn and fear of her father's kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her world is upheaved when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. But when her wedding takes a fatal turn, Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Yet neither roles are what she expected. As Akaran's queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar's wife, she finds friendship and warmth.

But Akaran has its own secrets - thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Beneath Akaran's magic, Maya begins to suspect her life is in danger. When she ignores Amar's plea for patience, her discoveries put more than new love at risk - it threatens the balance of all realms, human and Otherworldly.

Now, Maya must confront a secret that spans reincarnated lives and fight her way through the dangerous underbelly of the Otherworld if she wants to protect the people she loves.

The Star-Touched Queen is a lush, beautifully written and vividly imagined fantasy inspired by Indian mythology.

So here's how I put together the palette!





These are the four base colours I used.

The pinkie and the ring finger were painted with Essie's Style Cartel to imitate the dark blue of the bottom of the cover.

The middle finger was painted with the Sally Hansen Salon nail polish you see pictured, that has no name since it's a tiny sample bottle and they don't put names on those. However, I chose it because it's this dark blue that's so dark it's almost black and it has a sort of inky quality to the colour. I chose the colour to imitate that sort of transition colour between the dark blue and the bright sunburnt colour of the sky on the cover.

My index finger is painted with Nars's Anardana to imitate the colour of the dress worn by Maya (at least I assume that it's Maya) on the cover.

And finally my thumb is painted with Sally Hansen Insta-Dri's Orange You Fast! to imitate the sunburnt orange colour on the top portion of the cover.

And here are the extra bits of polish that I used.




I used the bottle of "Sweets sweets" silver sparkle polish for the ring and pinky finger with two coats on the pinky and one coat on the ring to imitate the gradient of stars on the cover.

I used Maybelline Color Show's Bold Gold to do a line of gold dots, reducing in size to imitate the gold border and decoration around the edges of the cover on my middle finger.

And finally I used Revlon Transforming Effects's Holographic Pearls to add dimension and extra pizazz to my thumb because I felt like it and already left my index finger free of embellishments. I used a sort of "dry brush" technique on the thumb with the glitter, where I wiped off most of the polish on the brush with the neck of the bottle and started at the base of the thumbnail and streaked the glitter across, so that it would leave the tip mostly free of glitter.


And that's how I did my The Star Touched Queen inspired nails! I had a lot of fun doing them and I'm glad Roshani loves my nails! :)






Here's some behind the scenes madness of me trying to figure out how exactly I was going to pull off this manicure! There was a lot of polish involved and some colour mixing and gradient sponging that never happened.



Happy Reading!
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[Review] Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan


ABOUT

Title: The Sword of Summer
Author: Rick Riordan
Series: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion Books
Release Date: October 15th 2015
Goodreads Page
Synopsis:
Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.

One day, he’s tracked down by a man he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.

The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.

When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision.

Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . .

[Review] These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas


ABOUT

Title: These Vicious Masks
Author: Tarun Shanker & Kelly Zekas
Series: These Vicious Masks #1 
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Release Date: February 9th 2016 
Synopsis: 
Jane Austen meets X-­Men in this gripping and adventure-­filled paranormal romance set in Victorian London.

England, 1882. Evelyn is bored with society and its expectations. So when her beloved sister, Rose, mysteriously vanishes, she ignores her parents and travels to London to find her, accompanied by the dashing Mr. Kent. But they’re not the only ones looking for Rose. The reclusive, young gentleman Sebastian Braddock is also searching for her, claiming that both sisters have special healing powers. Evelyn is convinced that Sebastian must be mad, until she discovers that his strange tales of extraordinary people are true—and that her sister is in graver danger than she feared.

The Tsar's Guard Parade!




Helloooooo!

I'm both honoured and privileged to be the one to start out The Tsar's Guard Parade! I'm super excited to read The Crown's Game and I'm excited to share this book with you and the love of this book!

Also, if you read to the end of the post, there's an international giveaway! So do stick around for that!

Here's some information on the novel if you haven't heard of it already:



ABOUT

Title: The Crown's Game
Author: Evelyn Skye
Series: The Crown's Game #1 
Publisher: Balzer+Bray
Release Date: May 17th 2016 
Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks
Synopsis:
Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.
And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love . . . or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear . . . the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.

As something special that I did for my Tsar's Guard Parade post, I created a moodboard for the book! I had a lot of fun creating this moodboard and here it is!




I absolutely cannot wait to read this novel and I hope you guys are too! Click this link to check out the rest of the tour! It's going to last several months so get ready!



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Evelyn Skye was once offered a job by the C.I.A., she not-so-secretly wishes she was on "So You Think You Can Dance," and if you challenge her to a pizza-eating contest, she guarantees she will win. When she isn't writing, Evelyn can be found chasing her daughter on the playground or sitting on the couch, immersed in a good book and eating way too many cookies. THE CROWN'S GAME is her first novel. Evelyn can be found online at www.evelynskye.com and on Twitter @EvelynSkyeYA




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