Fiction Friday: #UKSummerBookSwap!

About a month or so ago I saw on twitter that Hayley and Beth were organising a UK Summer book swap and I knew I had to get involved. I love swapping things and sharing books and meeting new bloggers, it’s been lots of fun when I’ve done it in the past and this was no different!

I received this book; The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy from the lovely Anastasia. It’s one of her favourites and I’m really excited to give it a read because I haven’t read a good detective novel in ages and this one if set in the 1947- Just like L.A. Noire! Thank you so much Anastasia! I hope you liked the book you were sent.

If you have written a post about the #UKSummerBookSwap please leave me a link below! I’d love to read them!

Have you ever read this book?
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Beauty Review: Sephora Perfect Manicure Nail Protector!

The last review of the Sephora nail products I picked up in France today! I reviewed the Express Drying Oil and the ‘Tie-Dye’ Top Coat and today I’m talking about the ‘Perfect Manicure Nail Protector’ which looks very swanky and as a nail junkie I had to pick this up.

So the claims; 100% fast, 100% easy and zero smudges.

This just didn’t work for me, I found that the curve didn’t really fit to any of my nails and the metal would scratch at them. It didn’t make the process any easier, it didn’t stop smudging at the sides, and it was anything but easy. I understand what they were trying to do, I just think they picked the wrong material to make it out of.

Should you buy this? If you’re a professional then you may want to check out the Essence one which is made out of plastic but for the home and doing your own nails- I think it’s pretty pointless. It cost about £6 and I wish I’d bought a massive ice cream instead! Sorry Sephora!

What do you think of the manicure protector? Would you buy one?
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Fiction Friday: Losing her Harry Potter Virginity!

Excuse the rather vulgar title but it really was the only way to explain what this blog post was about. The ‘her’ in question is my friend Shi who is currently giggling in a Skype call over said title. A couple of months ago we got to talking and I discovered that my amazing friend had never read Harry Potter, and yes, it was nearly the end of our four year friendship. But she accepted to listen/read Harry Potter with me and with our books in our hands, the Stephen Fry audiobooks on our iTunes and unreliable Skype calls- we were ready.

It took us four months to finish the first book mainly because we are prone to distractions but finish it we did and we have another Harry Potter convert in our midst. Unsurprisingly we both rated it  on Goodreads and she has a few things to say:

“I feel good, glad that I’ve finally actually started reading the books. I wanted to read them for a long time but I don’t know what kept me from reading them- maybe I just needed a good partner to read them with. The writing was well done, apart from the fact that I had the American version of the books. Screaming out the American edits was fun. TRASHCAN. DUSTBIN. Motorbikes. I would rather have the British version of the book and not the American. I found it a lot more fun to read it with a partner because then you can talk to them and see if you have different opinions, favourite parts, specifics. My favourite part was probably the giant chess match, it’s hard to describe but the idea of huge chess pieces- it’s amazing to imagine in your head. Comparing the characters to the movie they all matched really well except Ron. I can’t wait to start the next book.”

Have you ever found out that a friend has never read something so well known? How did you react?
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Beauty Review: Sephora ‘Tie-Dye’ Top Coat!

With the release of the new OPI Sheer Tints for Summer 2014 I found myself rattling through my nail polish collection hunting for something I bought last Summer. The tints reminded me of this Sephora ‘Tie-Dye’ Top Coat and I thought I would put up a review of this little bottle following the news.

Pretty easy instructions; two coats of nail polish, wait ten minutes, apply the topcoat where you want the effect and repeat until it looks like you want it to! I tried to recreate the look on the label but I do think it is pretty versatile. It would be great to make an ombre look if you don’t have 5 similar nail polishes.

However when I tried it, it wasn’t quite the desired look. It’s a bit messy to say the least and the layers and layers of polish made it quite easy to smudge and dent for hours afterwards. It looks almost scaly, like mermaid nails, but that wasn’t what I was after.

Here’s the problem, the brush is curved. Blaming my tools here but while this is great for a normal nail polish, to get the look photographed on the bottle you would really need a straight brush. Overall since this only cost about 5 euros, I’m still glad I picked it up and I’m going to try out some more nail art looks with it, but it’s problematic and I don’t think I’ll be forking out for the OPI Sheer Tints.

What do you think?
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Fiction Friday: The Reading Habits Tag!

I got my laptop back! Those that follow me on Twitter or Facebook, my laptop broke this week. It was very dramatic. You never know what you have until it’s gone. Either way I didn’t have much time to plan todays Fiction Friday but when I saw this tag on Hayley’s blog I knew it was meant to be.

1. Do you have a certain place for reading at home?
Not really! Mainly in bed but the sofa and the hammock get some quality time too.

2. Bookmark or random piece of paper?

I read with mini sticky notes to stick in when I like a quote or when I want to Google something so I either use a sticky note or the plastic container of them. 

3. Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter or a certain number of pages?

I can just stop reading but I like to have a bit of finality when I decide to stop. Although if I’m not enjoying a book than it’s at risk of getting tossed into the abyss that is down the side of my bed.

4. Do you eat or drink when reading?

Sure, but I find it distracts me a little. I prefer it to be just me, the book and maybe a cup of tea or a bottle of water.

5. Do you watch TV or listen to music whilst reading?

Heck no, I’m still getting into the swing of reading again and I can’t have any distractions. Although I love reading in the car.

6. One book at a time or several at once?

I seem to have developed a really bad habit of starting loads of books at once so at the moment I’m trying to get my ‘currently reading’ down to about 1-2.

7. Reading at home or everywhere?

Reading at home preferably but everywhere if I’m out and about.

8. Reading out loud or silently in your head?
Silently in my head, but lately I’ve found myself skipping over words- anyone else do this?- so I’ve been slowing down and it’s like I’m reading out loud but in my head if that makes sense!

9. Do you ever read ahead or skip pages?

Heck no. Imagine skipping a few pages of Harry Potter and suddenly boom. Troll in the dungeon. Treat every book like there’s going to be a troll in the dungeon in my opinion.

10. Breaking the spine or keeping it new?

I hate breaking the spine. I have certain books where I don’t care because I know I’m going to read them over and over. My World War Z book looks like it got dropped off a cliff. But I like to keep my books pretty and new-ish.

11. Do you write in your books?

Like I said before, I read with sticky notes- I’m actually thinking about doing a post on this if people were curious so no, I never write in books.

12. What are you currently reading?

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone by JK Rowling with my friend.
Startled by his Furry Shorts by Louise Rennison for nostalgia. 
Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin that I borrowed from my trainer.
Drawn by Cecilia Gray, a book I got off Netgalley.
John Dies and the End by David Wong, I’m about half way through and taking a break.
And The Boy in the Book by Nathan Penlington which I got from Book Bridgr and am loving.
Or as I call them; too many books.

I tag everyone but especially Joe and Amy from the Bookolio blog, Holly from Holly, Quills and Ivy and Ashley from Legally Redhead!
If you want to see more of my reading habits you can see what and when I’m reading on Goodreads!
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Fiction Friday: Books I Read in June!

This wasn’t a good month for reading! The only novel I read was the last 100 or so pages of a book I’d started earlier in the year and the only other books I read were Graphic novels. Fortunately I’ve already completed by Goodreads reading challenge so I’m allowed to fall a bit behind. And I was really poorly; you can read about how I got my fiction fix without reading here!

Kitty goes to Washington by Carrie Vaughn
Now I read the first Kitty Norville book in March and really liked it. This second book moved on from the pack dynamics and growing up drama to political drama! We go with Kitty to Washington where she is called upon to talk about being a Werewolf, of course there are a few snags along the way and I did put this book down for quite a while and have no pull to pick it up again. What started in March took me three months to finish. But I did and I’m glad. If there’s one thing Carrie Vaughn does well, it’s speech. I love a good dialogue, monologue, anything. And there was a good chapter in this book where I was sad, seething and all around ready to punch one of the characters because of the speech. I empathised a lot.
I do like this series, but this was not as strong as the first book in my opinion so I only gave it 3 stars.

Y: The Last Man, Volume 1: Unmaned by Brian K Vaughn, Pia Guerra and José Marzán Jr. 
I waxed lyrical about this series in my Top 5 Summer Fiction Essentials and decided to re-read my copies, this series follows Yorick- the only man left alive, and his monkey ampersand as they figure out what the heck to do after everything with a Y chromosome dies. I really like the first trade of this comic book, the characters are introduced and it’s really easy to connect with them and the apocalyptic element of the story really starts to sink in! I think Brian, Pia and José did a really good job. I recommend these books to anyone!

Y: The Last Man, Volume 2: Cycles by Brian K Vaughn, Pia Guerra and José Marzán Jr.
The second trade in the Y: The Last Man series is just as good as the first, they start to show more of the effects of every man in the world dying such as transport and food production. And of course the Amazons, women who have decided that every man dying was a good thing so Yorick better look out! I’m fairly certain all of my reviews for this series will be 4 or 5 stars because it’s so good. This also had an extra sketchbook section at the back with Pia Guerra working out faces and designs of our main characters. Pretty cool.

Favourite quote this month: “I’d never seen much reason to change my name just because it had become a hideous irony.” At least Kitty the werewolf is self-aware!

What did you read this month?

*My book links have always linked to Amazon buts of the 1st July 2014 I’m an Amazon Affiliate. This will not change anything!
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Beauty Review: Sephora Express Drying Oil!

I’m pretty patient when it comes to my nails drying but ever since I stopped using Seche Vite it seems that waiting for nail polish to dry is like waiting for the grass to grow. So when I saw this Express Drying Oil in Sephora with the promise that it would dry nail polish in 1 minute and boost shine? It was in my basket in a second!

It claims that it will dry nail polish in a minute, boost shine, smooth the nails and nourish cuticles. So do I think it does this? Yes and no. 

Yes, the nails do seem to dry quicker and the addition of oil means that if you catch your wet nail with your finger that it slides off rather than leaving a finger print. My cuticles don’t complain about it and do seem more moisturised but I keep them in pretty good shape as it is so I’m not sure nourished is the word I’d use.
No, I don’t think it dries nail polish in a minute or boosts shine. I think it speeds up drying! But not to a minute. And I don’t notice any difference in shine.

Is it worth buying? It’s not as instant as something like Seche Vite but it’s a handy little product to have around and I tend to reach for it when I’m using one of those nail polishes that just doesn’t want to ever dry. While I was at the Essence event getting my nails done, they used Essence’s drying oil so I’ll be interested to see how that compares to this as it is quite a bit cheaper and more available. I can’t find this online but it is definitely available in EU Sephora shops for around €9.

Have you ever tried a drying oil? Do you think they work?
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