Fairytale Fashions: Downton Abbey Tea Time

Posted on Friday, April 18th 2014 in Fairytale Fashions

The Republic of Tea has created some really yummy looking Downton Abbey teas & I cannot wait to get my hands on them! You can get these from The Republic of Tea or World Market (in which case you may not have to deal with that pesky thing called shipping).  I also found some bonus food items to go along with tea time – but they’re a little harder to find. Check them out!

English Rose Tea

Grantham Breakfast Tea Blend

 

Estate Blend

 

 

I’ve always loved Walker’s shortbread cookies on occasion with my tea, so I was so excited when I stumbled across these yummy looking treats (click the pictures for links – I found them on Amazon & World Market):

 
 

 

If I were throwing a tea party, I’d definitely include these, along with some finger sandwiches, scones, and tea cakes. What about you? Are you going to see if your World Market has these in stock by you? That’s what I’ll be doing tonight :)

Recklessly Royal

Posted on Thursday, April 17th 2014 in Review

Recklessly RoyalTitle: Recklessly Royal
Author: Nichole Chase
Series: Suddenly #2
Publisher: Avon
Date: March 25, 2014
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: For Review
Description: "Catherine has spent her life being the perfect princess. She’s kept her hands clean, her head down, and most importantly—men at arm’s length. After all, most men are after only one thing, and for Cathy there’s a lot more at stake than her bed; she has to worry about the fate of an entire nation. But at the rate she’s going, Cathy is afraid she’ll give the Virgin Queen a run for her money. She is tired of waiting for someone good enough to come along. She has a plan, and it all hinges on seducing the one man who seems utterly unimpressed by all things royal. The one man she is tempted by more than any other . . .

When David arrives at the royal wedding of his friend, the newly ordained Duchess Samantha Rousseau, he expected to feel uncomfortable and out of his element, but he wasn’t prepared to be targeted by Prince Alex’s gorgeous younger sister. With Cathy’s giant blue eyes, killer figure, and sense of humor, it won’t take long before he gives in. But when he finds out just how innocent the crown princess really is, will he play the part of knight in shining armor or the dashing rogue? "

***

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Recklessly Royal was really cute. Unlike Suddenly Royal, where our main character finds her self swept into a world of luxury and political demands she’s never known before, Catherine has been always been a princess. It was interesting to see the royal life from her perspective as she’d been dealing with it her whole life, and in particular how it’s impacted her romantic relationships.

As soon as Catherine drunkenly meets David, sparks fly (along with a whole lot of embarrassment). They were clearly a cute couple from the beginning and didn’t really have any of that I can’t stand you, but really want to make out with you stuff going on. It was quite a normal, naturally developed relationship and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it!

The drama in this novel focuses more on Catherine’s life as a princess and her relationship with her staff. She is very close and friendly with her staff, which makes sense if they’ve been around her all her life, but there were times when their interactions seamed a little inappropriate and over familiar and that bothered me…but what do I know – I am not royalty.

Recklessly Royal is a really fun contemporary romance and it’s a great sequel to Suddenly Royal. I’ve really enjoyed Nichole Chase’s writing thus far and was so happy to hear that there is going to be a third book in this series – Reluctantly Royal. Can’t wait to get my hands on it!

 

4 Stars

Insurgent

Posted on Saturday, April 12th 2014 in Review

InsurgentTitle: Insurgent
Author: Veronica Roth
Series: Divergent #2
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Date: May 1, 2012
Pages: 525
Format: Hardcover
Source: For Review
Description: "One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so. "

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

***

Wow! That was one intense read. I can’t remember the last time I read back-to-back books in a series, but now I remember how much I miss it. Insurgent was even better than Divergent. Now that the world building is taken care of, we are thrown into the aftermath of the Erudite attack with gusto and the intensity level never stops.

Tris and Four were both amazing in this novel. While Tris is an incredibly strong character, she goes through a lot at the end of Divergent and it doesn’t leave her untouched. It would have been so easy to gloss over the things Tris had to do and make her this really badass character that is mostly unaffected by her actions. Making Tris vulnerable made her a much more compelling character, albeit frustrating at times.

Then there’s Four. Four has always been complex, but we see so much more of him in Insurgent now that he isn’t just a trainer. I still really liked him, but man did I want to punch him in the face sometimes – especially towards the end. All in all though, I’m happy to have seen more of his character and hope he continues to grow in Allegiant.

As awesome as the characters in this story are, the plot is really what propels everything forward. With all the battles going on it’s almost like a constant adrenaline rush. Watching the other factions react to Erudite was fascinating. I really wanted to know more about the other factions and we get that with Insurgent. At the end of Divergent the only two factions we truly understand are Abnegation and Dauntless. By the end of Insurgent we know so much more about Amity, Candor, Erudite, and the factionless, and it’s almost  like these groups are characters in themselves.

Then there is the truth. Which probably deserves it’s own place on the Insurgent character list. Why did Erudite decide to attack Abnegation? What could possibly be motivating Jeanine. What’s on the other side of that wall? Since Tris is part Erudite, it should be no surprise that a great deal of the book deals with a desire to really understand Erudite’s motivations and what possibly could have provoked them to massacre the Abnegation.

Insurgent was an amazing read and now I finally understand why everyone loves this series so much. Even though I really enjoyed Divergent, this series didn’t reach that epic, one of my favorite series of all time status until I read this novel. And now ladies & gentleman, it is time for me to start reading Allegiant!

5 Stars

Fairytale Fashions: Frozen Inspired Makeup

Posted on Friday, April 11th 2014 in Fairytale Fashions

Since I featured an Elsa inspired hair tutorial for my last Fairytale Fashions, I thought an Elsa inspired makeup look would be appropriate this week! TheBubblegumPrincess put this look together & it’s really cute!

 

What do you think? Personally, I think Elsa’s makeup is a lot more purple & I actually have a look in mind that I think would work well using the Urban Decay Vice 2 Palette. But if I was going for an everyday Elsa-esque look, I think this is gorgeous & very wearable. Would you wear this look out?

Divergent

Posted on Thursday, April 10th 2014 in Review

DivergentTitle: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Series: Divergent #1
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Date: April 25, 2011
Pages: 487
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Description: "In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her. "

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

***

 

I just finished Divergent a few days ago and I am dying to pick up Insurgent, but promised myself I’d write this review first.

Even though this series is so popular, I managed to avoid spoilers and only new that this was a dystopian involving factions and that Four and Tris were a very popular couple in the blogosphere. I haven’t even seen the movie trailer yet. Quite honestly, I’m surprised at my ability to avoid all of this Divergent stuff with how much everyone talks about it.

I found myself almost instantly sucked into the novel after the choosing ceremony. Seeing Tris learn to adapt to an entirely new environment, along with the other initiates was really fascinating. Learning about her Divergence was too, and so was finally meeting Four. I’ve got to say I’ve been curious about him after all the Four love out there.

The inter-faction relations were also quite interesting. There are definitely factions I like more than others, and at least one that reminds me of Slytherin. I’ll let you guys guess which one…

I don’t need to tell you guys this one is fantastic & I think you should read it. If you haven’t done so yet, I’m sure you’ve heard it many, many times from other people (p.s. they’re right). I am happy to finally be on the Divergent train though, and can’t wait to see what happens next!

4 Stars

Waiting on Wednesday

Posted on Wednesday, April 9th 2014 in Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

For more books I’m looking forward to, check out the Upcoming page.

 Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White (September 2014 – HarperTeen)

Downton Abbey meets Cassandra Clare in this lush, romantic fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White.

“I did my best to keep you from crossing paths with this world. And I shall do my best to protect you now that you have.”

Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets Finn, a gorgeous, enigmatic young lord who introduces her to the secret world of Albion’s nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn’t—power, money, status…and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, dangerous secrets that the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits and her determination, can stop him.

Kiersten White captured readers’ hearts with her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy and its effortless mix of magic and real-world teenage humor. She returns to that winning combination of wit, charm, and enchantment in Illusions of Fate, a sparkling and romantic new novel perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare, The Madman’s Daughter, and Libba Bray.”

Books and Beauty: Divergent Palette & More!

Posted on Sunday, April 6th 2014 in Books and Beauty

Products Mentioned:

Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Half Bad by Sally Green
Divergent Palette

 

Fairytale Fashions: Elsa-inspired Hair

Posted on Friday, April 4th 2014 in Fairytale Fashions

Please tell me you love Frozen too! Other than my sisters (who haven’t even seen the movie because they’re clearly pretty lame), everyone I know really liked it. Meghan Rienks recently did an Elsa-inspired braid and it’s so cute!

 


Elsa’s braid starts at the back of her head, and isn’t a side braid. It also doesn’t go up to her crown, but unless you have bangs that are a very particular length and can pull off spraying them back & having volume at the same time, I think this is a great way to pull off an Elsa look!

Would you wear this? I’ve been trying out this type of braid for a couple days, but just a basic side braid, nothing too fancy.

Diverget Fans Get Ready for 4.4 Day!

Posted on Thursday, April 3rd 2014 in News

HarperCollins is celebrating Four and the Divergent series tomorrow! 

Stop by DivergentOfficial.com or Facebook.com/DivergentSeries for giveaways, a video featuring Veronica Roth & Theo James (who looks exactly how I imagined Four), & a sneak peak from the upcoming Four: A Divergent Collection book.

If your joining in on Twitter, use #FourFour and tell us your thoughts on Four in four words :)

 

Four: A Divergent Collection (July 2014 - Katherine Tegen Books)

“More Four! Fans of the Divergent series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth will be thrilled by Four: A Divergent Story Collection, five short stories told from Four’s perspective. Each brief story—”The Transfer,” “The Initiate,” “The Son,” “The Traitor,” and “Free Four”—explores the world of the Divergent series through the eyes of the mysterious but charismatic Tobias Eaton, revealing previously unknown facets of his personality, backstory, and relationships.” 

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository 

 

 

Waiting on Wednesday

Posted on Wednesday, April 2nd 2014 in Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

For more books I’m looking forward to, check out the Upcoming page.

 

The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes (May 2014 – HarperTeen)

“Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is used to getting what she wants, and when her boyfriend Jason breaks up with her for no reason, what she wants is to win him back before the start of their senior year. Lainey and her friend Bianca check the interwebz for tips and tricks, but the online dating advice is all pretty lame.

Then the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. Didn’t someone once say that love is a battlefield? Jason isn’t going to stand a chance once Lainey and Bee go all Zhou Dynasty on him…

Old school strategy and subterfuge meet modern-day dramarama in the story of a girl who sets out to win at all costs and ends up discovering what’s really worth fighting for.”