Monday, 17 August 2015

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

This post contains a review and a bookish manicure.

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
Published Jan 2015 by Hachette
Source: the publisher
Rating: 5 stars

From the blurb: Near the little town of Fairfold, in the darkest part of the forest, lies a glass casket. Inside the casket lies a sleeping faerie prince that none can rouse. He's the most fascinating thing Hazel and her brother Ben have ever seen. They dream of waking him - but what happens when dreams come true? In the darkest part of the forest, you must be careful what you wish for...

Sixteen year old Hazel Evans lives in a small town called Fairfold, a place known for its fae-inhabited woods. As long as you're a local you're safe (well, most of the time), but visitors are fair game. Hazel and her brother grew up playing in the woods, imagining ways to wake a sleeping prince, and hunting those that would hurt townsfolk. Thier games ended a long time ago, but when the town is threatened, once again Hazel must try and save them.

I've had this book on my shelf since the beginning of the year and I'm so glad I finally read it. Right from the start I adored the conversational tone of the narration, I really felt as though I was being told a modern fairy tale. I also loved Hazel, she's a wonderfully complicated main character and it was wonderful to see her growth over the length of the story.

One of my favourite aspects of paranormal tales is when they would stand on their own if you took away the magical elements, in this case if you removed the fae, we would still have a solid story about a young girl trying to figure out what she wants and who she is. A girl who has been trying to pretend that she doesn't feel inferior and ordinary compared to her beloved brother, and to forget about the neglectful behaviour her parents exhibited when their children were younger.

While we're on the subject of Hazel's parents, I loved that her mum made them kale and raisin granola bars, so I decided to whip some up! I used the Original Glo Bar recipe in the Oh She Glows cookbook, with a few modifications: puffed amaranth in place of puffed rice, raisins in place of chocolate chips, and I made a quick batch of kale chips and crumbled some into the mix - delicious!

The Darkest Part of the Forest is magical, dark, and creepily captivating. And, although I was completely satisfied with the ending, I wouldn't protest if Holly Black decided to revisit Fairfold in the future! While reading I was reminded of Fairytales for Wilde Girls by Allyse Near, and Maggie Stiefvater's Books of Faerie series, so if you're a fan of those, definitely pick up a copy of TDPotF.

Thank you to Hachette for my review copy.

I love the wild greenery on the cover of TDPotF and decided to do nails as tonight I'm attending the Hachette YA Bloggers Night where Holly Black will be a guest.

I started with two coats of Mode Cosmetics Midas Touch.

Then I sponged on the following: Urban Decay Smog, Ulta3 Chinchilly, Orly Take Him to the Cleaners and WnW Collecting Pollen, Ulta3 Tahitian Lime, and Ulta3 Frog Prince.

I used a fine brush and acrylic paint for the details in the greenery.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Burn by Paula Weston

This post contains a review and a bookish manicure.

Burn (The Repahim #4) by Paula Weston

Published June 24, 2015 by Text Publishing
Source: the publisher
Rating: 4 stars

From the blurb: Gaby remembers everything.For a year she believed she was a backpacker chilling out in Pandanus Beach. Working at the library. Getting over the accident that killed her twin brother.Then Rafa came to find her and Gaby discovered her true identity as Gabe: one of the Rephaim. Over a hundred years old. Half angel, half human, all demon-smiting badass—and hopelessly attracted to the infuriating Rafa.Now she knows who faked her memories, and how—and why it’s all hurtling towards a massive showdown between the forces of heaven and hell.More importantly, she remembers why she’s spent the last ten years wanting to seriously hurt Rafa.

Burn is the fourth and final novel in Paula Weston's much-loved Rephaim series. This is a new adult series that doesn't follow the usual tropes, instead it perfectly blends romance, angel lore, an idyllic Australian setting, action, and a range of realistic, engaging characters. It also wouldn't be a Paula Weston book without a reference to the Foo Fighters and Dave Grohl, check and check!

I love this series, but there was a major bump in the road for me, Shimmer (book three). It pained me last year when I discovered I just could not get through it because it felt like filler and there was just too much standing around for me, so I gave up. Perhaps I missed out on something awesome towards the middle or end of the book, but I have no regrets. And, the wonderful thing about this series is that these book contain prologues as well as a cast of characters - this is such a help when you're reading a series as it's published, often within a year between instalments.

So, I was a little apprehensive to begin Burn, but I needn't have been, this is a fantastic end to the series. We learn what Gaby has remembered about her past with Rafa, Jude, and the others. There's plenty of action; from heated scenes between Gaby and Rafa, to an epic battle on the beach. It's also great to see Gaby become stronger and more confident in who she truly is. I loved the way it all wrapped up, it was a very satisfying ending to this amazing series.

I know angels are a sticky point for a lot of YA readers, but do not let that put you off this series, there is so much more to it than just angels. If you're a Daughter of Smoke and Bone fan, give these books a go.

Thank you to Text Publishing for my review copy.

I've always loved the covers of this series, from the original Aussie cover of Shadows, to the eventual adoption of the UK redesign. I did nails inspired by the colours of Shadows way back when I started with bookish nails, and I attempted nails to match Haze the night before my flight to LA 2 years ago, but in my haste they were a bit of a mess and I never finished them. So, in honour of the final book, I did nails to match this gorgeous cover.

I used acrylic paint to sponge on the various greens of the background.

I used a fine brush and acrylic paint for Gaby and her brilliant orange wings.