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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.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

NICOLE'S REVIEW: Aspen by Rebekah Crane

Title: Aspen
Author: Rebekah Crane
Format Acquired: eARC
Publication Date: June 5 2014
Publishing House:  This Together Media
ISBN: 1496139437
Source of Copy: NetGalley


One quiet night in Boulder, Colorado, Aspen Yellow-Sunrise Taylore made a mistake.

In the next instant, her life changed forever.

Aspen doesn't want to remember the car accident that killed Katelyn Ryan, a sleek-haired popular soccer player. But forgetting is hard - because Katelyn may have died - but she didn't leave. Her ghost is following Aspen around, and heading into senior year, it's kind of a problem. Especially when Katelyn's former boyfriend Ben appears to be the only person at school with a clue as to how Aspen feels.

Popularity, Homecoming Court, hot guys - none of these things ever mattered to Aspen. She's been busy trying to keep her stoner mother Ninny in line and out of unemployment. But with Ben sitting next to her in Physics and her therapist begging her to remember all the things she wants to forget, Aspen is thrust into a vivid, challenging world she can't control...and doesn't want to.

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


Honestly, if you put a pile of books in front of me, this one included, I probably wouldn't pick it up. Even if it were displayed among dreaded medical textbooks or math books. I'm really just not that into contemporary. But I was offered an eARC of this book and I thought, why not? I liked the author's previous book well enough. 

Aspen is suffering from PTSD after her involvement in an accident that took away the life of one of her classmates. She just wants to get through her senior year, figure out why Katelyn's ghost is stalking her and try to keep her mother in line. It doesn't help that Ben, Katelyn's boyfriend, sits next to her in class and looks at her with eyes that seem to know just exactly what she's going through.

Aspen feels genuine. A normal girl trying to find her way, trying to move on from the accident that changed her life in an instant. She's struggling to deal with the people in school, her family and Katelyn's ghost. The ghost isn't particularly malicious but that doesn't mean it's not creepy. Aspen is also lucky in that she's got a mother who, despite being irresponsible, truly loves her and friends who care about her. She's stubborn and all she wants to do is forget.

Then there's Ben. He's sweet and nice and charming and good for Aspen. He's making her remember things from the night that she'd rather forget. And he's making her feel things she's not sure she should. But hey, he needs her and she needs him and they're perfect for each other.

The pacing for this book was just right, showing readers Aspen's snarky side and her humor. Her interactions with all the different characters and the final moment where Katelyn's side of the story is revealed and Aspen learns to let it go. (Cue the Frozen song, just because)

This book is heartfelt. A story of letting go, acceptance and the fact that life goes on whether you want it to or not. I may not have bothered to pick this up if it were dangled in front of me but I'm glad I did. Maybe next time I'll try not to judge a book by it's cover.



Monday, August 11, 2014

NICOLE'S REVIEW + Novel Nails #16: Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Title: Dorothy Must Die
Author: Danielle Paige
Format Acquired: Paperback
Publication Date: April 1 2014
Publishing House: HarperCollins
ISBN: 0062280678
Source of Copy: Purchased from National Bookstore


I didn't ask for any of this. I didn't ask to be some kind of hero.

But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado - taking you with it - you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I've read the books. I've seen the movies. But I never expected Oz to look like this. A place where Good Witches can't be trusted and Wicked Witches may just be the good guys. A place where even the yellow brick road is crumbling.

What happened? Dorothy.

My name is Amy Gumm -  and I'm the other girl from Kansas.

I've been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked and I've been given a mission:

Remove the Tin Woodman's heart. Steal the Scarecrow's brain. Take the Lion's courage.

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


I could not resist buying this book. A retelling of The Wizard of Oz that puts a totally new spin on the characters? Yeah, dude. Count me in. 

Amy's spent her whole life stuck in a trailer with her alcoholic mom, stuck in a school where she gets teased all the time and where everyone is against her. She just wants to leave it all behind her. Little does she know that her yearnings would all by answered in the form of a tornado that sweeps through town, lifts her trailer up and dumps her in the middle of nowhere where she's faced with an odd, crumbling yellow brick road. 

I love how Paige took the original story and warped it into something wicked. Dorothy who's now the power hungry monarch ruling Oz in her tiny cleavage-bearing dresses and high heels? A little disturbing. The Tin Man's got a crush on Dorothy and acts as her bodyguard, the Lion's been turned into a gruesome beast who sucks the soul out of hapless munchkins and the like. And the Scarecrow? He performs despicable experiments on flying monkeys and turns people into walking weapons. Literally. 

Amy, the heroine, is incredibly real. She doesn't want to be the hero, doesn't want to be the one to kill Dorothy. But what choice does she have when the witches who saved her from Dorothy's clutches claim she's the only one who can? Her emotions are all over the place but really, mine would be too if I were in her place. She can be nasty sometimes, and kind of whiny and maybe a little stupid but that's what endeared her to me. She's genuine.

Going up against Dorothy and her magical red heels and clothes in that awful blue and white checker pattern? No thank you. Imagine that pattern on leather and try not to cringe and shudder in despair. (Has turning evil somehow screwed with Dorothy's fashion sense?) She's forced to train with the witches and earn her magic but she also has to deal with Nox; infuriating, handsome, standoffish Nox who teaches her combat skills and takes her to mountain tops to look at the stars. Nox who looks at her like he sees her and tells her he likes her hair. I couldn't exactly get a read on him and I'm pretty sure there's more to Nox than his combat skills and dedication to the cause.

Dorothy Must Die is an incredibly imaginative retelling of the original Oz but you don't have to be familiar with the original story to follow this. It's dark and dreary and gory but wholly entertaining. Oh and did I mention that this is Danielle Paige's debut book? So rad. If you're a fan of Oz, of retellings, or maybe just on the lookout for your next read why not pick this book up? 


"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.

It's nail art time! This week's feature is Dorothy Must Die. I loved this book, you guys should totes read it.

Anyway, this is an easy bookish manicure too. I initially wanted to do the blue and white gingham check pattern but it didn't suit the feel of the set I had in mind. I tossed that idea. Blue and white gingham will never be the same after this book. Imagine a gown in that pattern. I might cry.

Here's the nail polish I used:
MAC Flaming Rose
Orly Liquid Vinyl
Nails Inc. Covent Garden Market

Freehand designs done in acrylic.

I just love this set. Look how sassy my nails are. 

Matchy matchy with the book. You can see how adding the gingham pattern would have thrown this mani for a loop.

I'm assuming that that's the symbol for the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked. I copied it onto my nail. 

Isn't that red just gorgeous? Reminds me of Dorothy's ruby heels.

Hope you liked this mani and if you're interested feel free to check out my instagram HERE for more bookish manicures or my tumblr HERE. Feel free to message me and let's talk nail polish and books.