BOTD: The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

The Other Boleyn Girl is book one of the Tudor series. It’s told from the point of view of Mary Boleyn, who is dismissed as Henry VIII’s mistress in favor for her sister Anne. It tells the story of Henry’s journey to anul his marriage to Katherine, his brother’s widow, in order to marry Anne.

It’s interesting to read the point of view of the women involved in this historical story, as they are used as pawns in a political power play. So far, of the Philippa Gregory books I’ve read, this has been my favorite. It moved at a faster clip and had more action. Plus, like the other books by Gregory that I prefer in terms of the series, the main character is interesting. She isn’t purely vapid or one dimensional. She experiences character growth throughout the story and that kept me interested.

- Eve

BOTD: A Cook’s Tour by Anthony Bourdain

In A Cook’s Tour, Anthony Bourdain is on a trip around the world in search of the perfect meal. On his adventure, he tries seemingly everything, including a still beating cobra heart, Fugu (poisonous blowfish), and sheep’s testicles…to name a few. He visits Cambodia, Vietnam, France, Portugal, Napa, Japan, and Russia, stays in all sorts of accommodations, treks across deserts, and is served by women in their homes and also by famous chefs. The food, the countries, the experiences, this book runs the gamut. 

The wide variety in the book keeps it interesting. I also found him to be less arrogant in this book, as compared to The Nasty Bits. This wasn’t exactly a book I couldn’t put down, but it was a book that was easy to pick up and immediately get back into.

As for the perfect meal? It’s not necessarily about what you’re eating or who prepared it. You may not even realize it’s the perfect meal while you’re eating it. And, more likely, there isn’t just one perfect meal. A meal being perfect or not is also influenced by the people you share it with, and where and who you are at that time in your life.

I’d like to get my  hands on the DVDs and watch the footage, particularly from the time he spent in Morocco. 

- Eve

BOTD: The Fault in our Stars by John Green

The Fault in our Stars is a story about two ill teenagers who fall in love.

In terms of the story, I think that’s all that needs to be said, but the book is about so much more than that. It’s about sickness, death, love, joy, what you want to be remembered for, and figuring out what type of life you want to live. 

I absolutely loved this book. It’s beautiful, genuine, heartbreaking and sweet. I feel as if, given that the main character is terminally ill, it would have easily been pretentious, preachy, or saccharine sweet, but it never felt that way. It just felt honest. Not brutally so, but beautifully. 

What a fantastic story.

- Eve

BOTD: The White Princess by Philippa Gregory


The White Princess tells the story of Princess Elizabeth of the York family. It is book five in the Cousins’ War series. Princess Elizabeth is the daughter of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, The White Queen. Young Elizabeth is mourning the death of her uncle/lover Richard III when she has to marry Henry VII, the son of Margaret Beaufort, of The Red Queen. As Henry comes to power following the death of the previous king and isn’t established as a well loved royal, his rule is tenuous and he and his mother are desperate to hold onto power.

I wasn’t too crazy about this book in the series. I liked the York side, but I absolutely hated The Red Queen, and Margaret Beaufort had too much of a presence in this book. It would be hard to tell the story without her, but I disliked her so much that it affected how I felt about this book. The story was also very repetitive. Henry spends his time chasing down a possible heir of York to secure his rule, the country hates him more each time, and Elizabeth never knows anything. While her motto was “humble and penitent” it should have been “I don’t know.” 

On to the Tudor series!

- Eve

BOTD: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

My love affair with Gillian Flynn novels continues.

Dark Places tells the story of Libby Day, who, as a seven year old, survived a massacre that killed her family. She was the key witness that put her older brother away as the murderer. Dark Places tells Libby’s current point of view, and it also gives you her mother’s point of view leading up to the murders and her brother’s point of view leading up to the murders.

In the current day, Libby has been challenged to explore the possibility that she was wrong and that her brother was not responsible for the death of her family. Her chapters are interspersed with the chapters from her mother and brother’s point of view, so we learn more about that day as Libby learns more. The style is reminiscent of Gone Girl and really fuels the momentum of the story. 

This is a very fast paced novel. As you can see, my copy is already fairly battered because I threw it into my purse to have with me for any possible reading opportunity whilst in Disneyland. I always had this book at hand so I could pick it up at a moment’s notice. And just like with Gone Girl and Sharp Objects, the story just sang to me and infiltrated my thoughts throughout the day.

- Eve

The Case of the Found Photo Pass


Hey everyone! This week I went to Disneyland with my family. Friday was the first day you could meet Captain America and Thor. At some point during the craziness I picked up a Photo Pass on the floor thinking it was ours, then realized my mistake when I found ours in my pocket. If you know this family (or know someone who knows them) please tell them to contact me so I can give them their Photo Pass numbers! So please share (and share again) this photo so we can hook them up with their amazing pictures!

- Eve

NOTD: Ombre Mani

Subtitle: Eve continues to experiment with easy nail art to learn how to use her new nail art tools.

I came across this nail art tutorial recently and thought it would be great for me to try, because it’s supposed to look a little messy and not perfect. This helps control for my lack of confidence given the learning curve and for my right hand never looking quite as good as my left.

White: Essie Blanc
Light pink: OPI Panda-monium Pink
Darker pink: Julep Joy

I had to practice a lot of self control in order to avoid adding a ton of glitter.

- Eve

NOTD: Flower Mani

I finally caved and purchased dotting tools and stripers. I don’t know what took me so long - they were ridiculously cheap! I’ve been looking for non intimidating manis to cut my teeth on, and I found this NOTD at HelloGiggles. I love the contrast of the pastels on the black, so I figured I’d give it a shot!

Black: China Glaze Liquid Leather
Blue: Salon Hanson Complete Salon Manicure in Barracuda
Purple: OPI Planks A Lot
Pink: OPI Sparrow Me The Drama
Green: OPI Mermaid’s Tears
Yellow: Julep Leila

- Eve

NOTD: Julep Kristen

Kristen arrived in my February 2014 Julep Maven box. My default style is Boho Glam, but I switched to Bombshell for February in large part due to Kristen.

It is a dark teal with silver microshimmer.

One coat. 

Beautiful. And getting this opacity in one coat is amazing. I am so very glad I switched to Bombshell!

- Eve

BOTD: City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

City of Fallen Angels is the fourth book in The Mortal Instruments Series. I was looking forward to this book, as Delilah had informed me that Simon had more of a significant role in this book, and he is one of my favorite characters.

Valentine is dead, and people are moving on. Clary is training to be a Shadowhunter and Jace is helping her train, her mom and Luke are getting married, and Simon is doing his best to live a normal life. But dead Shadowhunters, who were a part of Valentine’s inner circle, start appearing in Downworlder territory. And, of course, Clary and Jace have relationship issues. 

…that last sentence made it seem pretty trite. I suppose it’s obvious I’m getting pretty sick of their relationship problems. Have a conversation! Problems solved.

If this book weren’t as Simon heavy as it was, I would probably have been done with the series. I like the action and I like the world but Clary and Jace are becoming one dimensional and boring. Clary basically feels like she’s falling to pieces because she’s convinced herself that Jace doesn’t love her anymore, and Jace is falling to pieces because he’s so afraid of hurting her. Again, have a conversation, for Pete’s sake!

Given how book three ended, I felt like this book, as a continuation of the series, was superfluous. I probably would have preferred it if this were a spin-off, again, focusing more on Simon. I like that she went into Simon facing his immortality and trying to come to terms with it. He’s starting to grapple with the fact that he will never get taller, will watch his friends have families while he will never have kids, and he will watch his friends die. This is heavy stuff for a sixteen year old and I ate it up. It’s also why I liked the author exploring Magnus and Alec’s relationship. Magnus is going to live forever, but Alec is human. It’s going to be complicated and that makes for interesting reading.

I hope Clary and Jace become more intriguing. They’re supposed to be the main characters and they are being outshone by everyone else.

- Eve