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Monday, December 22, 2014

NICOLE'S REVIEW + Novel Nails #20: Winterspell by Claire Legrand

Title: Winterspell
Author: Claire Legrand
Format Acquired: Hardcover
Publication Date: September 30 2014
Publishing House:  Simon & Schuster
ISBN: 9781442465985
Source of Copy: Purchased from Fully Booked


New York City, 1899, Clara Stole, the mayor's ever-perfect daughter, leads a double life. Since her mother's murder, she has secretly trained in self-defense with the mysterious Drosselmeyer.

Then, on Christmas Eve, disaster strikes.

Her home is destroyed, and her father is abducted - by beings distinctly not human. To find him, Clara journeys to the war-ravaged land of Cane. Her only companion is the dethroned prince Nicholas, bound by a wicked curse. If they're to surive Clara has no choice but to trust him, but his haunted eyes burn with secrets - and a need she can't define. With the dangerous, seductive fairy queen Anise hunting them, Clara soon realizes she won't leave Cane unscathed - if she leaves at all.

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

I know this book got a lot of rather low ratings over on goodreads, and while normally that would dissuade me from buying a book I was feeling rather adventurous and thought why the hell not? Luckily I didn't hate the book and that little issue with the statue that a lot of people commented on? I found that I was oddly okay with it. It was a good looking statue.

It's not easy leading a double life. On one hand Clara is the mayor's daughter; prim, proper and perfect as can be on the other she's training to fight under the odd Drosselmeyer's tutelage. Little does she know that she's going to be putting all the skills she's learned to the test when strange creatures enter her home and abduct her father on Christmas eve forcing her to put her trust in Nicholas as they travel to the lands of Cane to save her father.

Clara starts of a little wimpy but it was great to see her grow as a character as the book progressed. I also liked how Legrand explored Clara's sexuality in the book because while it's obvious that she had a thing for Nicholas I'm also pretty sure she was into Anise which makes her bisexual. I haven't seen a lot of LGBT characters in fantasy so this was a surprise.

Okay, so about that statue issue. Clara might have had a thing going on for a good looking statue and maybe that might be uncomfortable for people because it is an inanimate object, I couldn't blame her. As I said, dude was hunky and turned out to be Nicholas. No big surprise there. His relationship with Clara was kind of rocky at first and he might be a little crazy but thank goodness he managed to fix himself and their relationship.

I also liked how deliciously dark the book actually was. There's a lot of misery and death and depravity and a whole bunch of sick and crazy people in it. Also drugs and a faery war. And the world building was quite detailed and highly imaginative. 

Truthfully, I'm not that familiar with the Nutcracker story so I don't know how true this stayed to the original and what aspects of it Legrand kept in this retelling. What I can say is that I liked the story and I'm glad that this book ended well and is a stand alone.


"Novel Nails" is a feature of the blog that showcases nail art inspired by books and their covers. Nail art will be created by either Michelle or Nicole and will be featured alongside their reviews.

Finally! Another Novel Nails feature. I did this set a few weeks back and you can find it on my Tumblr in case anyone is interested. I'll place the links down below.

The cover was way too pretty to pass so I thought I'd do a set inspired by it. 

Nail polish used:
OPI Haven't the Foggiest
OPI Miss You-niverse

The pretty book.

I made a gradient using the purple and silver on three nails.

Close up of the hand drawn art. A raven, thorns and the gate (I have no idea what it is) on the cover.

Added a few jewels too.

The thumb.

Hope you like this set and if you want to check out my Instagram click HERE. For my Tumble, HERE.


Saturday, November 15, 2014

[BLOG TOUR] Novel Nails #19: The Young Elites by Marie Lu

"Novel Nails" is a feature of the blog that showcases nail art inspired by books and their covers. Nail art will be created by either Michelle or Nicole and will be featured alongside their reviews.

This week's feature is a nail set I've cooked up for The Young Elites blog tour. Everything hand drawn.

Nail polish used:
NARS Superstar (base)
Orly White Tips
OPI Push and Shove (silver chrome)

The book.

My nails with the book. Hope you can see the sword.

Closer look.

Love how Push and Shove looks. It's a super gorgeous chrome.

Thumb view.

So that's about it. No tutorials this time around. If you want to check out more of my nail art head on over to my nail art blog Novel Nails Designs OR you could just check out my instagram HERE.

Hope you liked this and watch out for my Legend themed nail sets!


Thursday, November 6, 2014

NICOLE'S REVIEW: The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas

Title: The Perilous Sea
Author: Sherry Thomas
Format Acquired: eARC
Publication Date: September 16 2014
Publishing House:  Balzer + Bray
ISBN: 0062329383
Source of Copy: Edelweiss


After spending the summer away from each other, Titus and Iolanthe (still disguised as Archer Fairfax) are eager to return to Eton College to resume their training to fight the Bane. Although no longer bound to Titus by a blood oath, Iolanthe is more committed than ever to fulfilling her destiny - especially with the agents of Atlantis quickly closing in.

Soon after arriving at school, though, Titus makes a shocking discovery, one that makes him question everything he previously believed about their mission. Faced with this devastating realization, Iolanthe is forced to come to terms with her new role, while Titus must choose between following his mother's prophecies or forging a divergent path to an unknowable future.

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


The Perilous Sea is the sequel to the Burning Sky which I reviewed HERE. I'm going to keep this short to avoid spoilers.

The Perilous Sea begins at the end of summer holidays. Titus and Iolanthe, who thought they would be spending it together, are finally reunited and are more determined to bring down the Bane. Their plans get messed up when Titus makes a surprising discovery in his mother's diary that makes him question her prophesies and drives a wedge between him and Iolanthe. But prophesies are prone to misinterpretation and is Titus willing to deviate from what has been foretold and try to forge his own path?

What's different about this sequel is how Thomas writes two separate timelines at the same time and does it well. It was not confusing and the point where the two timelines converged was surprisingly seamless and natural.

If you've bothered to read my review on the first book you can see that I was generally okay with it - a little slow, way too perfect characters. But things have changed in the second book and Titus and Iolanthe have done a little growing up and their relationship is one I am totally rooting for. (more kissy scenes in this book people)  What I liked about these two characters was their resilience in the face of intense hardship. A lot of things didn't go as planned and they had to find a way to either deal with it or risk getting smothered by defeat.

Thomas also puts more emphasis on the secondary characters and did a really good job with their personalities. Her characters all had roles to play and when unveiled left me rather surprised - in a good way. 

The pacing in the first book was rather slow and only seemed to pick up halfway into the story. The second book is totally different seeing as it offered up plot twist after plot twist tossing Titus and Iolanthe into a variety of difficult situations so much so that defeating the Bane seemed pretty much hopeless at one point.

The ending? Epic. This is one of those rare sequels that manages to outshine it's predecessor and fans of The Burning Sky will be more than pleased with this book. I cannot wait for the next book and I can only hope that it's even better than this.