BOTD: Top Secret Twenty-One by Janet Evanovich

Top Secret Twenty One is the 21st book in the Stephanie Plum series.

In this book, Stephanie is trying to track down a car dealer FTA who appears to be attempting to take out anyone with knowledge of his criminal enterprises. And thanks to an assassination plot at Rangeman, Stephanie also is trying to track down a Russian assassin. 

Whereas Takedown Twenty felt like Evanovich was just phoning it in, this book is more on point. It’s funny, entertaining, and action packed. I loved Grandma Mazur’s hijinks, and the explosions were totally up to par. 

This one is formulaic like the others, and Stephanie is still incompetent without trying to improve her skill set, thus relying too much on Rangeman to do her job. But it’s a quick, fun, relaxing read, and I actually laughed with this one, as opposed to #20. 

- Eve

July 2014 Julep Maven

Just some minimal customization this month!

Lorenzana, Beverly, and Bare Body Milk.

- Eve

NOTD: Julep Paulette

Paulette arrived in my May 2014 Julep Maven box. It’s a beautiful pastel, shimmery purple.

2 coats. 

Absolutely beautiful, and I’ve received a lot of compliments on it. I feel like this is a color that complements most outfits without being overpowering, and the shimmer helps differentiate it from other pastel polishes.

- Eve

NOTD: Julep Jennine

Jennine arrived in my June 2014 Julep Maven box. It is a beautiful turquoise-y blue glitter. It’s also one of their Stardust Finish polishes. It’s a textured polish, a matte glitter similar to OPI’s Liquid Sand. 

2 coats. No top coat.

This is just a lovely, lovely color. Because it’s a textured polish, application was not as smooth as their other polishes. It’s gritty and it dried extremely quickly. It wasn’t hard to apply, it just required more attention.

So, it’s undoubtedly beautiful. But what about the texture?

I had avoided textured polishes because I was pretty convinced I wouldn’t like them. I caved with this one because I loved the color. The texture is driving me a little crazy though. It’s one thing to feel it when rubbing my fingers across my nails, but I notice it when I’m putting on my clothes, or drying my hands…doing anything with my hands really. I might soldier on with it as is, because maybe I just need to get used to it, but I imagine that this will be the last textured polish I purchase. 

- Eve

NOTD: Fourth of July 2014

Hey, if a design is working for you, do it again and again, right?

Blue: Julep Ally
White: Essie Blanc
Red: OPI Vodka & Caviar

- Eve

NOTD: Triangles

I saw this on the Julep blog a while ago, and thought it would spruce up my chipped Rage mani!

Rose gold: Orly Rage
Purple: OPI Lincoln Park at Midnight
White: Essie Blanc

- Eve

June 2014 Julep Maven

I recently upgraded to the personalized Maven box options, so that if I’m not totally blown away by the boxes for the month, I can switch some polishes around.

This month I switched to It Girl and then switched out Phia and Savory for Ariana and Colette. I also exchanged Jules to get more Swatch Me stickers, because believe me when I say…I have a lot of Jules.

Left to right: Jennine, Colette, Ariana, and two pixy sticks.

NOTD: Green and Gold

BOTD: Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

I know, I’ve read his books all out of order. Eh.

In Kitchen Confidential, Bourdain talks about how he became a chef, his career, what happens in a professional kitchen (and who works there), and lessons he’s learned in the business. 

While there is some material in this book that doesn’t interest me as much (mainly, the nitty gritty details of French dishes), I found this book really enjoyable. It’s definitely less bitter and more self deprecating than The Nasty Bits, which, to be fair, was also enjoyable. His stories about Adam Real-Last-Name-Unknown and Bigfoot were particularly entertaining. He even includes tidbits about when to order fish (hint: NOT Monday) and what kind of knife everyone should have, and I appreciate that his writing style isn’t pretentious; you feel as if he’s just talking to you as opposed to trying to write the Next Great Memoir.

I highly recommend this book, and that’s coming from someone who generally does not care for nonfiction!

- Eve

BOTD: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One takes place in the year 2044, and tells the story of Wade Watts. Wade doesn’t lead a great life, and finds escape in a virtual world known as the OASIS. When the 80’s obsessed developer of the OASIS passes away, he leaves behind an insane contest, involving finding keys to unlock gates that lead to the ultimate prize. When Wade discovers the first key, he not only becomes instantly famous, but is thrust into danger, as some people will do anything to win.

I’m going to start out by saying that this is now one of my favorite books. In fact, I’ll go ahead and declare it my second favorite book ever (for the record, my #1 favorite book is The Three Musketeers). This book was so much fun! It was funny, there were intriguing puzzles, political commentary, environmental issues, and it made me feel pretty much every emotion possible: Pride, despair, sadness, elation, you name it, I felt it.

If you aren’t interested in or grew up in the 80’s, or have never played an MMO, or maybe never played a video game ever, this is probably not the book for you. But this book absolutely spoke to me. I identified with Wade in a way that I haven’t identified with a character in a long time. This is definitely a book that I will re-read on a regular basis.

- Eve