Tuesday, 10 May 2016

My Little Box May 2016 Review

Soooo, I haven't done one of these for a while. I blame work. I blame all things on work (seriously though, to the bloggers who work full time and consistently post on your blogs, how do you do it?!). Anyway, I have now been subscribed to MLB for a year! So here's a review of this month's box, which has an Italian theme, the My Little Dolce Vita Box.

Love the design of this month's box! That outfit is fab, I would definitely wear that maxi skirt! I like the background scenery too and how it ties in with the Italian theme. I really like the yellow border on the sides of the box as well, it makes it feel a lot more summery!

(I apologise for my horrifically dry skin and terribly chipped nail polish.)

My thoughts on each individual product:

My Little Beauty Bain de Soleil - so this is an illuminating moisturiser for legs which is supposed to build up a gradual tan. I haven't had time to test the tanning effects yet, but for a moisturiser, it's pretty good, and has a nice citrus-y smell. I have really super pale legs at the moment so I will keep using this and see how it goes!

Baija Croisière Céladon Body Oil - I have never used a scented body oil like this before, but the little description card essentially makes it out to be a perfume. The fragrance is green tea and jasmine and is very pleasant! It's not a strong smell, very subtle, and I can't imagine it would last very long, but if you only want a hint of fragrance, that is slightly fruity and floral, then I think this would be perfect.

Courrèges La Fille de L'Air - this is another fragrance, and is a bit stronger than the body oil. It also has a slightly floral scent, but there's something a bit more musky about it too - it's not my favourite, to be honest, it has a slight grandma-ish smell (you know what I mean, right?) but I might still give it a chance and wear it for a whole day to see how it fares.

My Little Box Turban - this is really pretty, but I am so lazy with my hair that I don't think I'd ever wear it. I think it's a great thing to include in the box though - but I'll probably just pass mine on to someone who will make more use out of it.

My Little Box Ring - I adore this ring! It's so cute and it matches a pair of earrings I already have, so I'm really happy with it. I think it will go with a lot of outfits too, and the design is one that you could wear in summer or winter! Very pleases with this product, and I love the tiny little ring box it comes in too!

That's my review of this month's box! What did you think? Did you prefer any other beauty boxes over this one for May?

Monday, 9 May 2016

Review: A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab

A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2) by V. E. Schwab
Publisher: Titan Books
Released: February 23rd 2016
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
Four months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift, and into Black London.

In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games—an extravagant international competition of magic, meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries—a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.

But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again—meaning that another London must fall.
(from Goodreads)

This book. This damn book. Like, what the hell, man? It’s not nice to end a book this way. Nope. Nuh uh. I’m not having it. I can’t have this. It’s just evil. I’m only human, what do you want from me, goddammit?! I can’t just SIT here, after reading THAT and then be like, “Oh la di da, how lovely, I’ll just wait another year to find out what happens!” NO. I can’t wait that long. WHY DO AUTHORS DO THIS TO US, WHY. I just. Whatever.

Because of my current state of mental anguish, which is a DIRECT RESULT OF THE ENDING OF THIS BOOK, I am just going to say, read this. Yes, you will end up like me, wondering why life is so cruel, why all authors seems to possess a need to punish their readers with torturous cliffhangers, but trust me, it will be worth it.

I love the characters in this series. Let’s start with Kell. He was going through a lot in this book. And he SO obviously missed Lila and it was adorable and yet so sad and his relationship with Rhy was rocky because of the events of the last book and what they really needed was just to argue and let it all out, but they both were bottling up their feelings and ugghh it was so painful. I mean not all the time, because they were still the awesomest of brothers and there were a lot of funny scenes, but you get what I’m saying. I loved Rhy too and he spent a lot of this book feeling out of place and upset and I just wanted everyone to be happy, and they weren’t! And I wanted Kell and Lila to see each other again and it took so long to happen but when it did…just give me the next book, okay.

Lila, I mean. She stole a ship within the first few pages of this book, I don’t think it’s possible to not like her. Her sense of humour was in tact and she was making good on her promise to explore the world. She was reckless at times, but that's just Lila for you. Her relationship with Alucard was something. I didn’t like Alucard at first but, while he was still completely untrustworthy by the end of the book, he grew on me. A lot. And I am SO intrigued to find out what exactly happened between him and Rhy because Kell hated his guts, so he must have done something awful.

And another thing, even though this book had alternative POVs (which, if you know me, you will know I am not a fan of), I actually enjoyed both equally and didn’t spend my time waiting to get back to one person, like I normally do. I loved the world Victoria Schwab had built here and I was just happy to see any of it, with anyone.

In regard to the villain of this book, I must venture into spoiler territory to express my feelings, so, highlight to read: Goddamn Holland. I hated him and his stupid collars and WHY DID HE HAVE TO RUIN EVERYTHING. THE ENDING. THE ENDING! (end of spoiler). Also, Kell/Rhy’s parents sucked.

Overall, this book was excellent, but the ending was so cliffhangery that it was more like a mountainhanger and I am not over it, even though I read it months ago. So yeah.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Get Hamilton Out of My Head

Seriously. Every single day I wake up with a Hamilton song in my head. At work, I absentmindedly hum to it. Sometimes I actually sing and get weird looks from colleagues who have no idea why I've suddenly burst into "Eliza, I'm looking for a mind at work, work". I mean, if I were them, and didn't know what Hamilton was, I would just be like, "who the hell is Eliza?"

IT'S BECOME A SERIOUS PROBLEM. One time, I listened to Satisfied like, 30 times, on a loop. I mouth the words on the TUBE. The tube! WHY. Everyone stares. But I can't help it. And I think about the lyrics too much. Like in Take a Break. That comma in the middle of a phrase. It changed the meaning. DID HE INTEND THIS?


(I haven't slept properly in a week, don't judge my fragile mind right now.)

In any case, if you have no idea what I'm talking about, Hamilton is a musical. A few months ago I listened to the soundtrack and have since been lost in endless replays of all the songs. It's currently only showing in New York at the moment (I think? Correct me if I'm wrong) but I heard it's coming to the UK in 2017 and you can bet that I will be going to see it. If only to finally get the damn songs out of my head, once and for all! In my head every second I'm alive, ugh.

Sometimes I'll just be answering emails, you know, innocently preparing some report or other and then bam, instead of focussing on whatever crappy vlookup I'm supposed to be doing, I get a random burst of "Angelica...Eliza, and PEGGY" in my head.

You think this is a joke, the amount of times I have actually said "and PEGGY" randomly would shock you. My colleagues think I'm super weird and I do not blame them.

I have tried listening to other songs to stop this from happening, but Hamilton always sneaks back in. Oceans rise, empires fall, AND HAMILTON IS ALWAYS IN MY HEAD.

I am starting to think it'll will be there forever. Which is embarrassing, because I really, really cannot sing. But I sing a lot. And I get really into singing. To the point where I accidentally knock into things. Like tables. And cupboard doors that I forget to close after getting myself a snack, leaving me with red marks on my forehead like a total idiot. Ahh at least no-one else was in the room where it happened.

(Make it stop.)

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Review: Burning Midnight by Will McIntosh

Burning Midnight by Will McIntosh
Publisher: Macmillan Children's
Released: February 11th 2016
My Rating: 2 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
Sully is a sphere dealer at a flea market. It doesn't pay much - Alex Holliday's stores have muscled out most of the independent sellers - but it helps him and his mum make the rent. No one knows where the brilliant-coloured spheres came from. One day they were just there, hidden all over the earth like huge gemstones. Burn a pair and they make you a little better: an inch taller, skilled at maths, better-looking. The rarer the sphere, the greater the improvement - and the more expensive the sphere.

When Sully meets Hunter, a girl with a natural talent for finding spheres, the two start searching together. What they find will change more than just their lives... Because the entire world fights over spheres, but no one knows why they're here or what their powers are... until now. (from Goodreads)

Burning Midnight was a very odd book. I liked the original premise and enjoyed the first half, but the second half was just weird and the things that happened seemed a bit random, and weren’t well explained. 

Our main character Sully was a sphere dealer. Don’t ask me about the spheres, because nothing about them was explained until the last quarter of the book, and even then it made hardly any sense. All we were told at the start was that spheres gave people abilities - from a high IQ to good hearing and a whole range of other things. As a result, they were in high demand, and rarer spheres were sold for thousands, if not millions of dollars. Sully was mostly sphere hunting to try and make some money, though it wasn’t really going well. He hadn’t found anything worth much since his discovery of the Cherry Red sphere a few years ago - and back then, he was conned out of the over two million dollars he was owed, so it wasn’t the best of times for him. After meeting Hunter, however, he started getting his hopes up again. She was a natural at finding spheres, and if together they could find something with a high rarity level, they’d be set for life. The romance between these two was really, really unnecessary and I didn’t enjoy it at all. Sully seemed like a decent enough guy but he got too fixated on Hunter too fast and it was weird. And I really liked Hunter to begin with, she was really cool, had been through a lot in her life, but was determined to succeed. Then in the second half of the book she suffered a completely personality alteration and it was just ugh. Whhhy? And the romance became all sappy and these two barely knew each other yet were perfectly happy to risk their lives in ridiculous ways and I just didn’t believe it. Even Sully’s friends who came along for the journey seemed too eager to die for this - in my opinion, most people would have tried to talk Sully and Hunter out of their plan instead of going along with it.

Plot-wise, oh dear. I mean, I did like the first half of the book. I really did. The writing started a little choppy but got better a few chapters in. The concept of the spheres was really interesting and I was definitely intrigued by them. I liked getting to know Sully, I liked the reveal about who stole the sphere he and Hunter found (that could have been developed and used in the second half!). I enjoyed the scenes where Sully and Hunter went out looking for spheres. I had my suspicions about the spheres, and I was hoping we’d get a good explanation as to where they came from. But nope. The explanation was so odd and then what happened after the Gold spheres were burnt was completely random and barely explained. Why did those events occur? Where did the spheres even come from, exactly? It was all a bit of a mess - the ending conflict was introduced so quickly and then solved so quickly, and it just seemed out of place. The world-building in general was poor and one of the biggest weaknesses of this book.

Overall, while I liked some parts of this book, it took a direction that I didn’t think made much sense and the personality changes in some of the characters were just too much for me. I wouldn’t actively discourage anyone from reading this book, especially if you like science fiction, but just go into it cautiously if you do pick it up. Personally, it wasn’t for me, but if you are a fan of very unexpected twists, you may enjoy it.