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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

MICHELLE'S REVIEW: The Mean Girl Apologies by Stephanie Monahan

Title: The Mean Girl Apologies
Author: Stephanie Monahan
Format Acquired: eARC
Publication Date: June 2, 2014
Publishing House: Entangled
ISBN: 9781633750210
Source of Copy: Requested from publisher via NetGalley


You know that catchy song you keep hearing on the radio? It's about you.

Natalie Jamison has spent five years trying to forget the girl she was in high school: popular, pretty... and, okay, mean. Now in her twenties and living once again in her small town, she's right back where she was: following Queen Bee Amber and keeping secrets from her best friend, Sarah. 

Secrets like Jack Moreland. 

Everyone knows Jack Moreland - his new album, "Good Enough", is everywhere. He's famous. Impossibly handsome. Completely untouchable. But what none of Natalie's old clique knows is that in high school, Natalie and Jack fell in love. And their secret relationship was incredible, painful - and earth-shattering enough to inspire an entire album. Facing friends and enemies isn't easy, but Natalie will go to great lengths to prove she is good enough - to her friends, to herself, and most of all, to the small-town boy turned worldwide heartthrob she never forgot.

(Image, summary and information courtesy of Goodreads)


Never in Natalie Jamison's wildest dreams did she ever imagine she'd be going back to the tiny town she grew up in. And just when she thought she left high school behind, it seems that her old clique is still in town, and one of them in particular, is just as awful as she was back in the day. Jack Moreland, however, is on his way to the stars. But his heart? Just as shattered as Natalie left it. When a chance meeting reunites the two old flames, Natalie must decide whether she'll let other people's opinions trump her own feelings.

While Natalie never always approved of Amber's mean girl antics, she nevertheless was part of the popular girl clique. And Natalie knows that if you want to stay in, you have to act in. Jack Moreland? Definitely not in the clique, but definitely in her heart. But Natalie's insecurities always end up pushing Jack further and further away, until all that's left is their relationship in tatters.

While I did like the concept of two old sweethearts reuniting and realizing that the spark was very much still alive, I didn't feel as giddy as I expect I would when Natalie and Jack were together. Sometimes, there are chance novels that make you just want to smoosh the romantic characters together because all they need is a proper snogging to make them realize their true feelings because they obviously are very adorable and go together as soundly as bread and butter. But Jack and Natalie didn't have the kind of electrifying chemistry that I liked in my romance, which was kind of a bummer.

I did like how Jack was a bit wary about where this new, older version of their relationship would go, seeming as he was always the one fighting for the both of them back when they were younger. It then left things up to Natalie to face on her insecurities and slaying her own dragons (read: Amber, that evil, nasty little two-faced troll). 

The Mean Girl Apologies is okay, but not as magnetic as I made it out to be in my head. Truthfully, I have read about five or six books in between reading this one, just to shake things up a bit. 



NICOLE'S REVIEW: Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard

Title: Strange and Ever After
Author: Susan Dennard
Format Acquired: eARC
Publication Date: July 22 2014
Publishing House:  HarperTeen
ISBN: 0062083325
Source of Copy: Edelweiss


In the conclusion to the trilogy that Publisher's Weekly called "a roaring - and addictive - gothic world," Eleanor Fitt must control her growing power, face her feelings for Daniel, and confront the evil necromancer Marcus...all before it's too late.

He took her brother, he took her mother, and now, Marcus has taken her good friend Jie. With more determination that ever to bring this sinister man to justice, Eleanor heads to the hot desert streets of nineteenth-century Egypt in hopes of ending this nightmare. But in addition to her increasingly tense relationship with Daniel, Joseph, and her demon, Oliver, Eleanor must also deal with her former friend, Allison, who has ciriously entangled herself in Eleanor's mission.

With the rising dead chomping at her every move and Jie's life hanging in the balance, Eleanor is convinced that her black magic will see her through to the bitter end. But there will be a price. Though she and the Spirit Hunters have weathered every battle thus far, there will be consequences to suffer this time - the effects of which will be irreversible. And when it's over, only some will be able to live a strange and ever after.

        (Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


Strange and Ever After is the last book in the series. Review for the second book HERE.

This is it, the final battle, the moment that will decide whether Eleanor manages to win against the evil that took her mother, her brother and now her friend Jie or ultimately lose everyone dear to her. Eleanor travels all over the place in this installment, from Paris to Marseilles and then to Egpyt, if I'm not mistaken, trying to stop Marcus and hoping to save the life of her friend.

The final installment of this series is...I can't. It's killer. As in when I read...THAT PART (no spoilers) I had to do a reread because why why why why why. Cue ugly crying people. Ugh. On to the review.

Eleanor's control of her powers is getting better but her powers and her demon companion still cause strife between her and the Spirit Hunters seeing as how they're totally against her necromancy. I'm glad that Daniel and Eleanor's relationship actually progresses in this installment and Eleanor does grow as a character. I mean sure sometimes her decisions leave me baffled but Eleanor's a smart girl and fearless too and she always manages to push through. Sometimes I wonder why Eleanor's so afraid of her magic but then I realize it's not exactly unicorns and rainbows when it comes to raising the dead. Dead is dead and zombies aren't pretty.

If you've read the second book you'll know that Eleanor and Oliver are not on good terms but I like how their friendship doesn't just disappear and they manage to bridge the gap between them. He's the one who always urges Eleanor to hone her powers and free him from their contract. And despite his anger and hurt he still cares. 

Strange and Ever After is hard to put down, Eleanor encounters trouble every which way she turns to the point that it looks like she just can't win. And when all was said and done, the ending was terribly poignant. It's one of the more conclusive endings I've read, with all the loose ends tied up. It was sad but Dennard managed to make it hopeful so while I might have thrown a little tantrum I got over it quickly enough. I'm satisfied and I will definitely read the next book the author releases. 

Thank you for this series Susan Dennard, it was wonderful.




Wednesday, August 20, 2014

[BLOG TOUR + Giveaway] Proxy by Alex London Nail Art Tutorial

Hi guys!

I'm with Pinoy Book Tours to kick off the Proxy blog tour with a bang. In case you didn't know I have a FOUR RAINBOW review of Proxy HERE. I had no idea this tour was going to happen and had already reviewed the book so the lovely ladies of PBT asked me to do a picture tutorial of my nail art instead - which I hope you guys will sport during the signing.

This nail design is really easy and you don't exactly need fancy nail art tools. Just your nail polish and maybe a thin pointed brush. You can find these at NBS or any art store basically. Proxy and Guardian (book#2) can also be purchased from National Bookstore. It's my first time to do a tutorial since a lot of my work is done freehand and involves a LOT of yolo. Hope you like this mani!

Here are the steps:

1. After prepping your nails add on a layer of base coat. If you're using OPI Push and Shove, it comes with its own base. (You're free to use whatever silver you want.)

2. Take your red polish and swipe it along the free edge of your nail. If your nails are square, round, squoval, it doesn't really matter. It's like french tips.

3. There are actually two ways to do this step:

A. Take your pointed brush and trace along the base of your nail, near the cuticle, then draw a straight line a few spaces above it then fill in to get that lovely solid wall of color on the base.

B. Another way is to just swipe your nail polish brush along the base and clean up after. (I recommend step A, less hassle but yeah.)

4. Taking your pointed brush just trace along the sides of your nails starting from the base and then connect it to the color on the tips.

.Add top coat and voila! There you have it.

Novel Nails Designs is my nail art blog over at Tumblr in case anyone's wondering, and Instagram too. Bookish manicures galore. If you do recreate this mani tag me on instagram using #novelnailsdesigns! Or tweet me @thetwinsread. I would love to see people recreate this for the signing. 

Here's the link to the giveaway which is PH only. HERE.