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30 September 2013

Manicure Monday (34): Telegraph Avenue

Hi, guys. I almost didn't do a Manicure Monday post this week. I was still feeling a bit under the weather still and was uninspired by my book covers this week. But then I thinking of some ideas and decided to play around to see what I could come up with. I am happy with this manicure and I think they came out pretty good. I'm glad I decided to paint through my funk.

I just started Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon. I've had a copy of this for ages and am just getting around to it now. I've only read about 15 pages so far so I cannot say if I'll like it yet but I am hoping that I do. Chabon's The Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is one of my favorite books and I really like his writing. This book is about a record store in Oakland, CA and I wanted to incorporate musical elements into this look.

For this manicure I painted a red-orange creme as a base for all of the nails except my ring finger, which I painted with Cult Nails Tempest (white). Unfortunately I do not know the name of the red. It's a mini bottle by Sephora for OPI that came in a pack but the individual bottle isn't labeled. 

I then used acrylic paint in yellow, black and white to pain the individual nails. I mimicked the record on the cover on two of my nails. On my ring finger, I painted the fist clutching the flower that is on the cover (see above). I couldn't fit in all of the flower at the top, so it's a bit cut off. 

Finally, I did a bit of stamping with a plate by Cheeky (CH31) on my index finger and thumb. You know, I noticed recently that I use a lot of red and yellow in these manicures. I don't know if it's a coincidence or if  those colors are just really popular in book covers. That was just a random observation.

Thanks for checking out my manicure this week. I'd love to know what you think in the comments below. And if you have a bookish manicure to share, I'd love to see it so leave a link. Happy Monday!

29 September 2013

Stacked (74)

Hello! Hope you have all been having a great weekend. It's finally feeling like fall here and I just love it! I want to spend all day on the couch with a cup of tea and a book. Fall also makes me want to start reading some scary stories so you may see some of those on the blog soon. This week is full of library books. I am lucky to have a pretty awesome library system near me and I go about once a week. I picked up a few fun book this week as well as a DVD.

The Dead and Buried by Kim Harrington - I recently read Clarity and Perception by Harrington and really enjoyed them. Hoping I like this series as well.

The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe - I don't know much about this series except that I've seen it around and figured I would try it.

Pivot Point by Kasie West - Been wanting to read this one and psyched that the library had a copy.

Darius & Twig by Walter Dean Myers - Another book I don't know anything about but it had a cool cover and looks pretty short.

A Lady Never Surrenders by Sabrina Jeffries - Love a good historical romance and Sabrina Jeffries is a fave.

Veronica Mars Season 2 - Yes! Finally got Season 2 from the library. Hopefully I will be able to finish it in a week. 

Have a great week, everyone!

28 September 2013

Better Late Than Never ARC Challenge Sign Ups

Hello again! I am super excited to announce a little challenge that a few of my friends and I have been cooking up. As book bloggers we are often very lucky in the fact that we are able to get ARCs of great new books. However, I have found recently that I am really behind in my ARC reading and have a whole stack (and e-reader) full of ARCs I haven't had time to get to. This challenge is a way for us to get some of those books off our plate. This challenge is specifically for ARCs whose book release date was at least 6 months ago. We want to get some of those older books read and reviewed. If you're interested in joining up, all the details are below. I am will post on the start day with my list of books I am planning to read for the challenge. Happy reading!

It's the Better Late Than Never ARC Challenge! Does looking at your ARC pile stress you out? Do you suffer from NetGalley Guilt? Have you gotten so behind in your ARC reading that older ARCs have gotten pushed aside? Well then this challenge is for you. The Windy PagesNite Lite Book Reviews and The Reader's Antidote have all teamed up and are challenging ourselves to whittle down that ARC pile. This challenge will run from Oct 1 - December 31, 2013. The rules are simple.

Read as many older review books as you can, making way for the new year and new books!
Books may be physical ARCs or digital ARCs.
For book to qualify, release date must be at older than 6 months (release date earlier than May 1, 2013)
Please do a wrap up post at the end of each month so we can check your progress.
And if you are participating, there will most likely be a chance at a prize at the end so keep a look out!

27 September 2013

Uncovered (82): The Melancholy of Mechagirl

Hi, everyone. Sorry this post is so late. I am actually home sick today and could not find the energy to schedule this post last night, so here it is, in its late glory. This week's feature cover is The Melancholy of Mechagirl, a collection of short stories about Japan from Catherynne M. ValenteI haven't read any of Valente's books just yet but I have at least one hiding in my apartment somewhere.

I don't even know what to say about this cover except that it's strange and colorful and awesome. It's also a little bit disturbing with the image of the head coming out of the waves like that. I love the modern take on some of the traditional Japanese imagery such as the waves, sun and female face. I have no idea what those coils going around her head are but this cover makes me want to figure it out. The typeface is also great nad really stands out against the backdrop of the waves.

I am not usually a big fan of short stories but this cover makes me want to get this collection. What do you guys think? Yay or nay? Do you like short stories?

Have a great weekend, all!

26 September 2013

Review: The Heart of a Killer by Jaci Burton

Author: Jaci Burton
Publication Date: October 18, 2011
Publisher: Mira
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Find It: GoodreadsAmazonB&N
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

No one said coming home would be easy. But for Dante Renaldi, it's murder.

Before the Special Forces hero has even unpacked his bags from twelve years of active duty, he's embroiled in murder—corpses bearing the brutal trademark he's seen only once before—on the worst night of his life.

The last time Detective Anna Pallino saw Dante Renaldi, they were in love. Now, he's part of the connection to a string of fresh homicides and a horrible assault Anna only survived thanks to him.

More than anything, Anna wants to trust Dante. But as the bodies and the coincidences stack up, Anna will have to decide, and fast: Is the man she owes her life to the very same one who wants her dead?

Anna and Dante were once in love, until the night that changed both their lives forever. During a brutal attack on Anna, Dante and his three foster brothers accidentally kill her assailant. They decide to cover up the crime and go their separate ways, Dante leaving town for good. Twelve years later, he comes back to celebrate the wedding anniversary of his foster parents. But on the eve of his return, another brutal murder takes place, drawing them all back to that night twelve years go. Now a detective, Anna is called in to investigate the murders that implicate Dante and his brothers. And while Anna's attraction to Dante has only grown, she doesn't know if she can trust him or if he is the one she's trying to catch.

The Heart of a Killer is a romantic suspense novel by popular romance writer Jaci Burton. This was one of the first Jaci Burton books I ever read. While not my favorite of her books, it gave me a taste for her writing and eventually lead me to her Play by Play series, which I am a big fan of. 

The Heart of a Killer is one of those books that I read quickly and enjoyed but left no real lasting impression. Anna and Dante are both likable characters. I love stories about reunited lovers so it was fun watching them learn each other again. The chemistry was good and the buildup of twelve years of sexual longing created a lot of great tension between Dante and Anna.

While there were some interesting twists and turns, I didn't find the mystery to be very suspenseful. There were a few red herrings but I could see right through them. I figured out who the killer was before the end and didn't really buy the motive.

I don’t think The Heart of the Killer is one of Burton’s best and was an enjoyable but forgettable read. This would be a good book for an afternoon on the beach or a bit of light vacation reading.

*I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.

Visit the author online at jaciburton.com, Facebook and follow her on Twitter @jaciburton

Please note that this post may contain affiliate links. For more details, please see our full disclosure policy here

24 September 2013

Elizabeth Wein at Once Upon a Time Recap

Elizabeth Wein

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending a signing by Elizabeth Wein for her new book Rose Under Fire. The signing was at Once Upon a Time in Montrose, CA which is a great little store. I met up early with @frootjoos, @thewindypages and @alybee930 to dinner beforehand and then settled into our front row seats.

Elizabeth came out in a rockin' vintage style polka dot dress with great red shoes. I didn't get a shot of the shoes but Aly did and you can see them in her recap.

Elizabeth Wein

23 September 2013

Manicure Monday (33): Eleanor & Park

Hi, guys! Welcome to another Manicure Monday. I hope you all had an awesome weekend. I survived the 5K. Thanks for all the well wishes. It wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be though it was still plenty difficult. And I am still a terrible runner. My friends who were pushing their 2 year old in a stroller came in like 10 minutes before me. Hahaha. But I had a lot of fun with my friends and our team actually raised over $500, so that was cool.

For this week's Manicure Monday post, I have a manicure that I have been wanting to do for a while now. I knew I was going to read Eleanor & Park for my book club this month and began plotting my manicure accordingly.

Eleanor & Park

The background color to this cover is an unusual shade of pale yellow/beige. I knew I had nothing like it in my stash and had been keeping an eye out for something that might work. Last week when I was at Ulta I picked up every bottle of yellow polish they had and knew that none of them was right. But I kept digging around in the hopes of some kind of nail polish miracle when I spotted it. There, on the bottom shelf, we a pale yellow bottle that didn't look like any of the other yellows around. I checked the bottle and saw that it was a shade called Cream of the Crop by Ulta brand. It was weird though because there were 8 other bottles of that shade in the store but this was one much lighter than all of them. Opening it I saw that it was also a strange, thick consistency but I knew I could fix that with thinner. So I bought it and it is a pretty good match to the cover. I think it's a bit darker than the actual cover but it's close enough.

Eleanor & Park

This cover is pretty much perfect for nail art. I just painted on Eleanor & Park on my fingers freehand using various polishes and then added the ampersand to connect them. I think they turned out really well. The ampersand isn't my best work but it gets the point across.

Eleanor & Park

Eleanor & Park

I got a ton of compliments when I wore this manicure. People don't always notice when I do nail art but I had at least 3 people comment on my nails in one day. I am about 1/3rd of the way through the book so far and it's great. It makes me a little sad though which is why I think it's taking me a little longer than usual to finish it. I am really enjoying it though and will finish it this week.

So that's it for Manicure Monday. Hope you all have a wonderful week! :)

22 September 2013

Stacked (73)

Hello, everyone. I hope you are all having a good weekend. By the time you read this I will on my way to my 5K run. Unfortunately my knee started hurting last night but I am hoping it won't be too bad during the run. I have been promised a pancake breakfast afterwards though so I shall power on. Things on the book front are still pretty low key. I could not help getting a few things on Edelweiss (that auto approve button is my downfall) and a book on my Kindle. Let's check 'em out.

No Good Duke Goes Unpunished by Sarah Maclean - Guys, I was so excited when I saw this on Edelweiss. I am a huge Sarah Maclean fan and love this series. I already read it and I liked it a lot. I don't think I quite loved it as much as some of her other books but I don't think fans will be disappointed.

Searching for Somebody by Jennifer Probst - I haven't read any of Probst's books but this looked interesting.

His For Christmas by Jennifer Haymore (short story) - This is a short from the House of Trent series. I enjoyed the first book and am hoping this will be cute.

Shadows by Ilsa J Bick - I have not read this series yet but I do own the first book. Both the first book and Shadows, the second book in the series are only $1.39 each on Kindle right now so I grabbed it.

20 September 2013

Uncovered (82): Passionaries

Happy Friday, friends. This is my weekly Uncovered post where I feature a cover that's caught my eye. This week it's Passionaries by Tonya Hurley. This is the second book in the Blessed series. They have actually re-designed the covers to this series. I am a little sad about this because I loved the original cover to the first book, The Blessed. The cover illustration was just gorgeous and I am not sure why they changed it. I have a feeling it just didn't appeal to as many people as they had hoped. While I am sad to see that design go away, I like the new covers. I think they still maintain the same dark vibe as the original, though they are more subtle.

I wish I could see this cover up close because there's probably some awesome stuff going on in the details that I just can't see on the computer. I really like the mirror imaging of the artwork. It gives it a slightly surreal feel and it's cool how the guitars are incorporated. The line work looks really incredible and the longer you look at it the more things you pick up. The two roses also kind of look like eyes which makes it look like the book is staring right at you..... :)

While I am sad to see the move away from the original cover design, I like the new look. What do you guys think? Do you prefer one over the other? Let me know in the comments below.

Have a good weekend!

19 September 2013

Current Obsession: Veronica Mars

So today I am going to talk a bit about one of my current obsessions. This past weekend my friend came over with her DVDs of Veronica Mars. I know, I know - where have I been on this time? The Veronica Mars train came and went and even funded a movie, and I still hadn't seen it. I would say that my only excuse is that I am probably the worst TV watcher ever. While most people can plow through a season in a weekend or a week, it'll take me months or even years to finish a show. I don't know what it is except that a TV series seems like such a time commitment while a movie can be consumed in a couple of hours.

Anyhow - she came over and we proceeded to watch 3 episodes of VM back to back. To you TV champs this probably seems like nothing but, to me, that's at least 3 weeks worth of episodes. As everyone predicted, I do love it. It's really smart and funny without being too unbelievable. The mysteries are plausible (for the most part). And I love Veronica! She's a serious spitfire and I love watching her in action. She is smart but also makes mistakes and owns up to them. The supporting cast also excellent and I love her dad and Wallace especially. I really want to know who killed Lily, too.

It's also really fun to watch the show because so many actors have made appearances. So far I've seen Jessica Chastain, Leighton Meester, Aaron Paul, Adam Scott, Melissa Leo...and I am sure more will appear.

That's my mini gush over Veronica Mars. It's nice to find something that lives up to the hype. It's also just fun and not super intense or dramatic. Hope you all enjoyed a peek into what I am currently obsessed with.

Previous obsession: Orphan Black
So not obsessed with: Fringe (seriously I don't understand why people love this show so much. The characters make terrible decisions and the plot barely advances from one episode to the next. I just don't get it.)

images copyright Warner Bros. Television

18 September 2013

Review: Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren

Author: Christina Lauren
Publication Date: February 12, 2013
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance/Erotica
Find It: GoodreadsAmazonB&N
Source: Publisher at Comic-Con

Whip-smart, hardworking, and on her way to an MBA, Chloe Mills has only one problem: her boss, Bennett Ryan. He's exacting, blunt, inconsiderate—and completely irresistible. A Beautiful Bastard.

Bennett has returned to Chicago from France to take a vital role in his family's massive media business. He never expected that the assistant who'd been helping him from abroad was the gorgeous, innocently provocative—completely infuriating—creature he now has to see every day. Despite the rumors, he's never been one for a workplace hookup. But Chloe's so tempting he's willing to bend the rules—or outright smash them—if it means he can have her. All over the office.

As their appetites for one another increase to a breaking point, Bennett and Chloe must decide exactly what they're willing to lose in order to win each other.

I avoided this series for a long time. I saw the cover and heard the hype and thought that it was just another Fifty Shades type book about a high powered suit and his virginal assistant. But when I saw that the authors were going to be signing copies of their books at Comic-Con this year, I decided to bite the bullet and give the series a go. The worst that could happen was that I wouldn't like it and the best could be that I'd have an awesome new series to rave about. Can you guess what happened? Well I will tell you that I read Beautiful Bastard in about a day and then proceeded to tear through Beautiful Stranger and the Beautiful Bitch novella in the days that followed. If you like good smut, then this is the series for you.

Bennett Ryan is a beautiful bastard. He's used to getting what he wants and he doesn't put up with people who can't deliver. Chloe Mills is a driven and hardworking intern earning her MBA degree while working for Bennett. She puts up with a lot of crap for Bennett, she doesn't do it meekly. Chloe is ball buster really keeps Bennett on his toes. She does her job well and is probably the only person who can handle Bennett.

I am a big fan of when love interests don't get along. The love/hate relationship always makes things more interesting and Chloe and Bennett have a lot of both going on. They go from yelling at each other one minute to screwing in a stairwell the next. The sexual tension is really high and each encounter is more intense than the last. They also find some very creative places and ways to have sex, and they do it often. But as much as they do it, the sex never seemed gratuitous not did I get bored with it.

The book is told from dual POVs which I don’t always love but really appreciated in this book. Without it, you might really think that Bennett was an asshole. But seeing his side of things makes him a much more likable character. He has real feelings for Chloe beyond just sex and, though he is confident on the outside, we get to see some of his insecurities. I really like being able to get into both of their heads.

Beautiful Bastard is a deliciously over the top, sexy romp.  If you like fun, sexy books, give this series a try. I don't think you'll be sorry.

*A copy of this book was provided free of charge from the publisher. This in no way affected my opinion or review of this book.

Visit the authors online at www.christinalaurenbooks.com, Twitter (Christina, Lauren) and Facebook.
Please note that this post may contain affiliate links. For more details, please see our full disclosure policy here

17 September 2013

Top Ten Books On My Fall 2013 TBR List

Hi and welcome to Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is Top Ten Books On My Fall 2013 TBR List. Let's get down to it!

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - I have heard nothing but great reviews on this one and it's about a girl who writes fanfic. While I don't write fanfic, I definitely understand the fangirl culture and think this one is going to be good.

Champion by Marie Lu - The third book in the Legend series! I am dying to know what happens to June and Day. These books are so tense but I love them.

Shadowdance by Kristen Callihan - Another series book (there will be more). This is the best paranormal historical romance series. Each book just keeps getting better and better and I can't wait to read book 4 in the series.

The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead - My love for Richelle Mead is vast and I have to know what happens to Sydney and Adrian. This reminds me that I should go pre-order this book...

Archangel's Legion by Nalini Singh - Another one of my favorite authors. Excited that this book will be going back to Raphael and Elena.

Beautiful Player by Christina Lauren - This series is like candy. I can't stop reading them.

No Good Duke Goes Unpunished by Sarah Maclean - I actually just got this one from Edelweiss over the weekend. Sarah Maclean writes awesome romances and I am looking forward to this one.

Reaver by Larissa Ione - More Demonica series! Reaver has been a character that a lot of people have been curious about, me included. I don't love this cover but I it'll do.

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes - Loved Me Before You and am really interested to see Moyes's follow up.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley & Gris Grimly - This is going to be perfect for Halloween. A graphic novel version of Frankenstein done by Gris Grimly. It looks awesome.

Those are some of my most anticipated fall releases. What are yours? Leave a link in the comments below and I'll be sure to stop by. :)

16 September 2013

Manicure Monday (32): The Iron Duke

Hi, everyone. Sigh - it's another Monday. I hope you all had a good weekend. It was too short, as always. I spend most of Sunday watching Veronica Mars with Bookyurt. I watched 6 episodes, which is a record for me since I am normally the slowest TV watcher. I am really liking it so far though and it's funny to see all of the recognizable actors pop up in it. Anyhow, let's get to this week's manicure.

The Iron Duke is the first in Meljean Brook's Iron Seas series, a steampunk romance. I don't know why I waited so long to read this one, but I really liked it. I actually had to hunt this copy down as none of my local bookstores had it. In ended up having to order from the big A, but it was worth it because this book is awesome and even included a free short story. 

I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do for this manicure before I started though it took a bit of trial and error. First I painted my nails with OPI You Don't Know Jacques, a taupe/brown creme. I used a gold from Wet N Wild whose name I can't remember now on my ring finger. Then I busted out stamping plate CH-33 from Cheeky, which had the cog/gear stamp. I had to fiddle with this a bit to get it right without totally muddling the image. I used a black creme and a champagne frost to stamp the gears.

On my accent nail I stamped a single pirate ship in black to represent Marco's Terror. It's a bit off center but hey, I don't mind. I can't remember what plate this was from though It was from the same Cheeky Summer 2012 collection. Ignore the dirt on my hands. No idea how it got there.

For my thumb I decided to attempt a big of freehand art and drew the blimp and a tower from the book's cover. It's a bit hard to see here since my thumbnail is pretty curved but you can kinda see what's going on. If you look closely you can see bubbles in my top coat because I went a little too thick with it. 

Overall I liked this manicure and I really like this book. I also bought book 2 when I got this one and hope to start it soon. Let me know what you think of this week's manicure in the comments below. Thanks and have an awesome week!