Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Favourite books of 2011 Part #1

Reading is one of my favorite things to do. So I thought I'd share some of my favorite books of 2011.

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares 
by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own. ~ Click here for my review

The Spook's Apprentice/ The Last Apprentice/ Wardstone Chronicles (the whole series)
by Joseph Delaney
Capturing witches
Binding boggarts
Driving away ghosts

For years, Old Gregory has been the Spook for the county, ridding the local villages of evil. Now his time is coming to an end. But who will take over for him? Twenty-nine apprentices have tried-some floundered, some fled, some failed to stay alive.

Only Thomas Ward is left. He's the last hope; the last apprentice.

Can Thomas succeed? Will he learn the difference between a benign witch and a malevolent one? Does the Spook's warning against girls with pointy shoes include Alice? And what will happen if Thomas accidentally frees Mother Malkin, the most evil witch in the county ... ?

 Intertwined by Gena Showalter
There’s something about the new guy at Crossroads High…

Most sixteen-year-olds have friends. Aden Stone has four human souls living inside him:

One can time travel.
One can raise the dead.
One can possess another human.
One can tell the future.

Everyone thinks he’s crazy, which is why he’s spent his entire life shuffled between mental institutions and juvie. All of that is about to change, however. For months Aden has been having visions of a beautiful girl—a girl who carries centuries-old secrets. A girl who will either save him or destroy him.
Together they’ll enter a dark world of intrigue and danger... but not everyone will come out alive. ~ Click here for my review

 Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
The story of Scarlett and Rosie March, two highly-skilled sisters who have been hunting Fenris (werewolves) -- who prey on teen girls -- since Scarlett lost her eye years ago while defending Rosie in an attack. Scarlett lives to destroy the Fenris, and she and Rosie lure them in with red cloaks (a colour the wolves can't resist), though Rosie hunts more out of debt to her sister than drive. But things seem to be changing. The wolves are getting stronger and harder to fight, and there has been a rash of news reports of countless teen girls brutally murdered in the city. Scarlet and Rosie soon discover the truth: wolves are banding together in search of a Potential Fenris -- a man tainted by the pack but not yet fully changed. Desperate to find the Potential to use him as bait for a massive werewolf extermination, the sisters move to the city with Silas, a young woodsman and long time family friend who is deadly with an axe. But the clues to finding the Potential aren't adding up, and Scarlet is shocked to learn new details of Silas's family history. Meanwhile, Rosie finds herself drawn to Silas and the bond they share not only drives the sisters apart, but could destroy all they've worked for. 

The Boy in the striped pyjamas 
by John Boyne
When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move from their home to a new house far far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance.

But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different to his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences. ~ Click here for my review

The Agency: A Spy in the house
By Y. S. Lee
Introducing an exciting new series! Steeped in Victorian atmosphere and intrigue, this diverting mystery trails a feisty heroine as she takes on a precarious secret assignment.

Rescued from the gallows in 1850s London, young orphan (and thief) Mary Quinn is surprised to be offered a singular education, instruction in fine manners — and an unusual vocation. Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls is a cover for an all-female investigative unit called The Agency, and at seventeen, Mary is about to put her training to the test. Assuming the guise of a lady’s companion, she must infiltrate a rich merchant’s home in hopes of tracing his missing cargo ships. But the household is full of dangerous deceptions, and there is no one to trust — or is there? Packed with action and suspense, banter and romance, and evoking the gritty backstreets of Victorian London, this breezy mystery debuts a daring young detective who lives by her wits while uncovering secrets — including those of her own past.

Marley & Me by John Grogan
In this funny and poignant memoir about a wildly neurotic Labrador retriever named Marley, an unsuspecting young couple come to understand what really matters. Marley had no brakes on his loyalty, exuberance, or passion. ~ Click here for my review

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
Weird as it is working for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, Evie’s always thought of herself as normal. Sure, her best friend is a mermaid, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she's falling for a shape-shifter, and she's the only person who can see through paranormals' glamours, but still. Normal.

Only now paranormals are dying, and Evie's dreams are filled with haunting voices and mysterious prophecies. She soon realizes that there may be a link between her abilities and the sudden rash of deaths. Not only that, but she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal. ~ Click here for my review

Did you read any good books in 2011?

*All pictures & blurbs from goodreads

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Happy birthday Tia!

This post is dedicated to my dog Tia. She is a Stafforshire Terrier X which my partner and I rescued from the RSPCA.

When we adopted her she was a stray so they didn't know how old she really was, So they decided her birthday is July, 15. So today she turns 2! She has been with our family for 6 months now and we couldn't be happier.

I think everyone should adopt a pet because it's the best thing in the world knowing that you have saved an animal and given it a better home.

Happy Birthday Tia!! <3

Do you know someone who has an adopted pet?

My Wishlist #1

Wishlists ~ Doesn't everyone have one! There's so many things I wish I could buy if only I had the money and didn't have to spend it on bills and house repayments grrr!

1. Endlessly by Kiersten White
2. Cute Fox Brooch from Etsy
3. Flight as can be skirt from Modcloth
4. Illustrated Cup & Saucer set with little Doe from Etsy
5. The Hobbit miniature book pendant necklace from Etsy

What is on your wishlist?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

"Tia" Nails

Happy Thursday! These nails are inspired by my gorgeous dog Tia. {Pictured below} She's a girl so she has a lot of pink things and I thought this design suited her so well, so I decided to name this design "Tia" nails.

 Step 1. Paint all nails white.

Step 2. Next I did the pink heart which I used a dotting pen (or you can use a toothpick). 

Step 3.Paint the thumb in light pink crackle nail polish.

Step 4. Paint the 'Feature' nail in pink glitter {I used Revlon #230 Popular}

Step 5. Once the white nail polish is completely dry on the pointer and pinky finger get some removable sticky tap and cut it into thin strips and stick to nails like the picture. 

Step 6. Then paint the pink nail polish over the whole nail including the tape.

Step 7. Once the pink is dry then carefully remove. (You may need to get that toothpick out to touch up if a little bit of the nail polish comes off with the tape).

Step 8. Then add a top coat to finish it off!

Right: All the nail polish colours I used {not including my base & top coats}

Do you have a pet? What type of nails would you do for them?

Bye for now ~ Sami X

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

War = Sadness

Then by Morris Gleitzman
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Felix and Zelda have escaped the train to the death camp, but where do they go now? They're two runaway kids in Nazi-occupied Poland. Danger lies at every turn of the road.

With the help of a woman named Genia and their active imaginations, Felix and Zelda find a new home and begin to heal, forming a new family together. But can it last?

Morris Gleitzman's winning characters will tug at readers' hearts as they struggle to survive in the harsh political climate of Poland in 1942. Their lives are difficult, but they always remember what matters: family, love, and hope.

Review: *Sniff Sniff* Why?! Why did Morris Gleitzman write such a sad story!! This is the follow on to his first book on the holocaust called “Once”. It continues the story of the young Jewsish boy Felix and his little 6 year old friend Zelda. I can’t really say that I enjoyed the first book or this book because it’s such an emotional topic, but I can say that I liked it because Felix felt very real and his voice was very strong throughout the book. It felt exactly like I was hearing the story straight from a 10 year old boys mouth. I don’t want to give away why it’s so sad but something really horrible happens at the end of the book and it left me stunned, I thought to myself ‘How can this be a book aimed at junior aged children? It’s very graphic and devastating at times’. I know, I know, it’s set in World War two and there wasn’t any happy times during the war until people found out it was over but.... I wasn’t expecting that!! This book is only 182 pages (which translates to only 3 and a half hours of listening) so it’s a very short, so when it ended I was craving to know what happened next, I needed to find out the ending to Felix’s story. So I am interested to see what happens in the next book and whether it will be the end to Felix's story.

On the cover: As always there's many covers and this is the cover that I had for the Audiobook. What I find interesting is the brightness of the green and blue, If I had picked this up without knowing anything about it I would think it's not a really sad book about World War two. It seems like it's a coming of age story (which it kind of is but through experience of war not just normal everyday things). The silhouette of the children meant something to me after I finished, It seems a bit like disappearing (but that's all I'll say as it will give away too much).

Listening to next: "Full cupboard of life" by Alexander Mccall Smith

Have you read this series before? What did you think?

Bye for now ~ Sami X

Monday, July 9, 2012

Library Lover

Working in a library is the best job in the world. I'm surrounded by books all day, I have a great team of workmates who make the work day fun, I get to read stories to babies & children twice a week, Access to all new books & movies, Chatting with all the wonderful patrons and running a youth book club. Can't get any better than that for me :)


This is my Library! It's where I come to work everyday (how lucky am I!)

Performer Earl Leonard came into the library for a school holiday activity. He wowed the crowds of parents and kids with songs & dancing.

Left: Illustrator Craig Smith came in to show some primary school tips on drawing.

Right: A display that I did this year.

All these three photos are from when we had a school holiday activity called "Toys in the library". Children brought theirs toys to the library for a sleepover and we caught on camera what the toys got up to while they stayed over night.

What do you love most about your library?

Bye for now ~ Sami X 

Disney Designer Princess

I love Disney movies as I'm sure a lot of other people do too. I can watch my favourites over and over again. Last year Disney released the new Designer Princess range which I adore! The collection features dolls, clothing, make-up, nail polish, stationary, mugs & accessories. I want almost everything but I'd die for the nail polish collection!
Here are all the new & improved Designer Princesses and their dolls
{Picture sourced from the internet}

{This is a video someone made which showcases the dolls ~ just beautiful}

Unfortunately the products are hard to come by in Australia and to find online. Everything is sold out in the Disneystore but I have found a website that shows some of the products, just click here!

Have you purchased anything from this range?

Bye for now ~ Sami X

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Skeleton Detective has done it again!

Playing with fire (Skulduggery Pleasant #2) by Derek Landy
Rating 4 out of 5 stars

"Skulduggery and Valkyrie are facing a new enemy: Baron Vengeous, who is determined to bring back the terrifying Faceless Ones and is crafting an army of evil to help him. Added to that, Vengeous is about to enlist a new ally (if he can raise it from the dead): the horrible Grotesquery, a very unlikable monster of legend.

Once Vengeous is on the loose, dead bodies and vampires start showing up all over Ireland. Now pretty much everybody is out to kill Valkyrie, and the daring detective duo faces its biggest challenge yet.

But what if the greatest threat to Valkyrie is just a little closer to home?"

Review: After listening on Audio to the first book in the ‘Skulduggery Pleasant’ series I couldn’t wait to read the second. The first book was funny, magical and full of adventure, and this one also delivers all of those things. I love the soundtrack and special effect sounds on the audio book, it really sets the scene and makes the story more exciting! In the first book there were so many laugh out loud moments but I didn’t feel like there were as many in this one. I still really love the banter between main characters, Skulduggery & Valkyrie, at times I was amazed at what kind of comebacks a 13 year old could come up with (some were hilarious!) My favourite Skulduggery quote in this book would have to be “We aren’t retreating... we’re advancing in reverse”. These books are quick and easy to read and fill the time quite easily, So if you’re looking for a book full of fun then this series is what you’re looking for. Even though it wasn’t as funny as the first I still had a great time listening to it and I look forward to continuing the adventures with Skulduggery & Valkyrie. Keep up the good work of saving the world!!

On the cover: I LOVE these covers! They are so cool, the colors are very eye-catching against the black & whites and the catch phrase at the bottom is the perfect explanation of what is to come. Doesn't Skulduggery look fly in his suit :)

To see my review of the first book in the series click here

*Picture & blurb taken from goodreads

Listening to next: Then by Morris Gleitzman

Bye for now ~ Sami X

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Love Birds & Cherry Blossoms

Hey! I haven't posted in a while because I've been a bit busy. I did these nails on the weekend so I'm sorry I'm only posting about them now. I decided to do these nails because someone I follow on instagram is having a 'copcat' competition. To enter you must choose one of her manicure designs she has done and try to copy it. She is giving away 9 nail polishes and 2 stripping tapes to the winner. So this is the design that I chose to replicate ~ "Love birds & Cherry Blossoms"

Step 1: Paint all nails in one color. I chose Revlon's Minted #85.

 Step 2: Using a black nail polish pen to do the branches *Make sure you keep the feature finger free of branches because that's where you will put the lovebirds.

Step 3: Put some light pink nail polish onto a piece of cardboard and then use a dotting pen to dip into the nail polish and then dot onto the branches.

Step 4: Do the same as above but instead of light pink nail polish, use white and then once again with a darker pink. 

Step 5: Then put some brown nail polish onto the cardboard and using a thin dotting pen (or toothpick) to do your birds and then red nailpolish for the heart.

Step 6: Wait for it to dry before adding your clear coat and then you're done!

I loved doing this manicure and found it wasn't very hard compared to other manicures I have tried. I knew this would be too hard to replicate on my right hand because I'm right handed, so I did a simple cherry blossom branch design on there instead. I have had so many compliments on this manicure and it didn't take up too much time to do. I'll keep you updated if I get nominated (there are other people that have tried this same design so I have some tough competition!)

Would you give it a go? Let me know if you do :)

Bye for now ~ Sami X
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