Tuesday, 16 June 2015

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

This book is so fantastic! There is almost nothing more to say. This novel instantly drew me in and kept me fascinated the whole time. There was no moment where I found myself wondering if I should start a new book. The characters were amazing, the plot was amazing, the setting was amazing. I don't have enough good things to say here.

First, let's start with plot. I found it interesting that this was almost like a modern fairy tale and was concerned at first as to how they would mix, but Holly Black melded the two wonderfully. There isn't an overwhelming amount of modern day stuff, but there's enough that you know what era you're in. And there's lots of fairy tale creatures, but not so much that you're overwhelmed. The plot moved quickly enough, but you didn't feel like you were being rushed through.

The characters were all amazing! So. Much. Realism. Everyone was very well-rounded and there was lots of character development, which is great! I love when characters are both well-rounded and have great development. The Darkest Part of the Forest was interesting because there was so much of the characters that you had to try to figure out yourself. It was kind of like a mystery/thriller thing, which was intense because it's all from first person perspective so the fact that Black was able to keep certain things hidden while throwing out a bunch of clues and hints was very skillfully done. I absolutely love Hazel and Jack and Ben and just everyone. There is no character that I hate. Even the villain was well done. And the love stories! They are very realistic and not forced at all, which is good. I hate when authors set up love stories just because they feel the need and force it to fit what everyone else is doing with their love stories. Black's love story between Hazel and Jack was very much expected by me from this genre (mortal/fey thing) but it was artfully written. And the beginnings of Ben and Severin's love story was also well written as well, and also unexpected (in a good way), but it fits, and that's what matters.

Setting was interesting because the story takes place in modern day with the fairy tale aspects. The modern day town that also has so many old-timey traditions to keep the fey happy was very interesting. It's great because people can still be that scared and superstitious and suspicious, so it was cool to see all of those feelings directed toward fey.

All in all, I would definitely give this book a five out of five. It's from a girl's perspective, but it's not super mushy or chic lit by any means. It has a darkness to it that makes it very interesting to read but isn't too scary to read before going to bed.

Quote of the day: "We weren't - I mean, not really -" Jack started, making gestures toward the bed that Ben thought meant "I am not trying to dishonour your sister, although it is possible that I am hoping to have sex with her," at the same time Hazel began apologizing for ditching Ben. - Holly Black, The Darkest Part of the Forest

Thursday, 11 June 2015

The Skystone by Jack Whyte

It's been a long time since I've done a book review but since I am officially done school (forever!!) I will definitely be reading more so you guys can look out for more reviews.

Today's review is The Skystone by Jack Whyte. This is the first book in the A Dream of Eagles series. It's basically a retelling of the legend of King Arthur from before Camelot even existed. The first book begins with Publius Varrus, a Roman soldier, looking back on his life and telling the reader events that happened when he was younger.

The beginning was slightly confusing because it kept jumping back and forth in time, and not to Publius' present but to different times within his timeline. This really set up his relationship with Caius Brittanicus, but it would have been easier to follow if it had been more straightforward. Now saying that, I think Whyte really imitated the way the human mind truly works with this narrative telling. The human mind doesn't necessarily follow any linear patterns and moves in its own way. This is how the plot moves in the novel.

The characters were really well-rounded. Publius was set up as a model Roman soldier, but also as someone who has his own flaws as well. This can be seen at the end when he does something out of pure vengeance against a bad man, but isn't particularly proud of it. Caius was also really well done and didn't seem too perfect. Luceiia felt a little set up however. Her love story with Publius seemed a little too improbable, even though I liked that they ended up together. I felt like Whyte wanted them to end up together and wanted it to happen as quickly as possible.

The novel itself takes place over a span of many years. It covers a lot within 620 pages, so be prepared for a lot to happen. It's great that the plot has a lot of intense things that happen, while there are also periods of peace; again, imitating real life since it covers so many years.

There's also a lot that doesn't happen in this novel that I expected to happen. I feel like this is almost an extended prologue to the real story, which would happen in the later novels.

Overall, I would give this book a three out of five stars. It was very interesting to read since there is a lot of Roman history involved and King Arthur stories are always intriguing, but I felt that there wasn't enough to draw me in to continue reading for the rest of the series.

Have you guys read any of the books in the A Dream of Eagles series? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

Quote of the day: Magic, after all, is no more than the product of knowledge others don't share. - Jack Whyte

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Spring/Summer Beauty Must Haves 2015

The warmer months are upon us so I thought I would share some things that would be great for the summer time.

Magnitone Pulsar Eclipse: This is a body brush that you can use all over your body. It comes with three different brushes, the SilkBliss, StimSoft, and Body Cleanse. This would be so great to use before self-tanning and/or shaving! It also comes with a travel case so you could take this with you wherever you go while keeping it protected.

Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster: This looks so amazing! This is a liquid that you add to
your morning and/or evening moisturizer to add a sun kissed glow to your skin. This is great because you can determine how dark you want your face to look so you can a lot of it or a little, it's totally up to you.

Caudalie Beauty Elixir: The Caudalie Beauty Elixir is amazing. This is one that I have actually used
before and I loved it. It's essentially a toning water. I like to use this after washing my face and then I also like to tie my face a spritz after I've done my makeup so it doesn't look too powdery. It's so refreshing in the summer and has a slight minty fragrance that just helps wake you up.

Josie Maran Argan Liquid Gold Self-Tanning Oil: This is pretty self-explanatory. Rather than a fake
tan in the form of a mousse or lotion, this is an oil. This looks so amazing and beautiful. It's a self-tan (obviously) but the oil means that it's also very hydrating, which I find not a lot of self-tanners are. Self-tans are great because they provide you with the colour you want for the summer, but it's a lot safer than lying out in the sun for hours on end with SPF 4 on. The fact that this self-tan comes with a mitt is also pretty nice; you wouldn't have to go out and purchase one separately which would mean more money! You can apply this after using the Magnitone to scrub away all those dead skin cells.

Natural Beauty Alchemy: Make Your Own Organic Cleansers, Creams, Serums, Shampoos, Balms, and More by Fifi M. Maacaron: Being mainly a book blog, I couldn't resist adding this beauty book to the list. This is a book full of DIY beauty products for anything you could ever imagine. This would be such a fun thing to have at a sleepover or if you're doing a spa day or anything like that. Plus it's all natural so you would know what you're putting on your skin. Bonus!

Those are all of my beauty must haves for this summer! Let me know what your beauty must haves are in the comments below.

Quote of the day: I am not pretty. I am not beautiful. I am as radiant as the sun. - Suzanne Collins

Monday, 1 June 2015

Greece Day 1

Greece Day 1, Sunday

Hello everyone! Long time no post. I have finally (FINALLY) graduated from university so as a treat for ourselves, two of my friends and I decided to go to Greece for two weeks to celebrate. We booked a package through Transat (which is a Montreal based travel company). The plan was Athens for two nights, Mykonos for three nights, Santorini for three nights, Crete for three nights, and Rhodes for three nights. I think was great for our first time travelling Europe sans parents because Transat took care of travel to and from the islands/hotels and helped us book tours at each of the destinations. This was my first time leaving North America so I was very excited, but also very nervous. I definitely overpacked, but I feel like it's better to be safe than sorry. If you guys want me to do a post on packing for a long trip like that, then let me know in the comments. I definitely learned some things from this trip about packing and travelling!

So our first day of our trip was Sunday May 10th. Our flight was at 2:40pm so we had some time in the morning to make sure we were all packed. My parents volunteered to drive the three of us to the airport because we were flying out of Toronto and the city I live in is two hours away from there.

It was a quick ride because we were all anxious and talking about the trip.

We got to the airport in decent time and got through security easily enough. We discovered a David's Tea at Pearson International Airport, which was awesome! I tried out an iced Pink Flamingo tea and it was delicious.

The airline we flew with was Air Transat since that's who we booked through, and the plane was so cool! They had mood lighting that changed when it was morning and evening so you weren't thrown off too much. The dinner was pretty gross (I had a chicken and rice curry) and the breakfast was just a slice of banana bread (also pretty gross). They had non-stop movies though so I watched The Theory of Everything, which was amazing, and The Imitation Game, which was also amazing, as well as reading some Lord of the Rings. I only got two hours of sleep, but it was better than nothing!

Quote of the day: I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light. - Helen Keller