Friday, 31 October 2014

2x1 Halloween Hearty Nails & Books: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

Halloween calls for monsters. This has a particularly popular breed of monsters: vampires.
As I've said before, vampires are so overdone. Nowadays I rarely find a vampire story worthy of holding my attention.
Well, this one. This one held my attention just as much the second time round as it did the first. No joke. I read somewhere a reviewer saying this book is the vampire story for the people who have lost hope in vampire stories, and I agree. 
Wait, but what book is this again?

It is Holly Black's The Coldest Girl in Coldtown.

Yeah, I know, the title is rather silly. In fact the very first thing that made me curious when I saw it was what kind of book would have such a title? But after reading it and seeing why it's called like that, well, let's just say I learnt not to judge a book by its title.

I find the opening scene is pretty telling of the kind of story this is. It begins with Tana waking up in a bathtub, the morning after a crazy party. As soon as she walks around the house for a bit, she discovers that all of the people present have been murdered by vampires. All her friends dead (minus one who was away at the time of the party), her ex-boyfriend Aidan alive but infected, and she's only survived because the vampires didn't bother to look behind the bath curtain.
I really liked that beginning, sets the tone very effectively. I liked how it starts as a perfectly ordinary situation, only to reveal a massacre by supernatural beings they all knew about (but were too drunk to make sure all the windows were closed and secured).
As you can guess, this story does not skimp on the blood and violence. It does not romanticise vampires. Anyone who romanticises vampires here will die an ugly death. Including the vampires who romanticise themselves. I can't exactly explain how satisfying that is. If you read it, you'll know.
The vampires themselves were nicely done, I thought. Red eyes, non-retractable fangs (seriously though who thought of retractable fangs, it sounds pretty nonsensical to me), none of that we glitter in the sun nonsense, none of the I can't get into your house if you don't invite me first rubbish (I honestly think that started out as a way to make people think they'd be safe home, but there's no real reason for it), and also none of the I get scared by a crucifix bullshit. They do get hurt by rosewater though, of all things. I guess they needed one weakness. Apart from sunlight of course.
I liked the characters as well. Tana is badass but not Mary Sue-ish, and her emotional reactions are believable (basically she spends the book in one big adrenaline rush and always on the brink of a hysteric breakdown). Gavriel is endearingly insane (yes that's ridiculous), Aidan is a jerk, but not reaaaaaally. Special mention to Lucien (who IS a jerk, to nobody's surprise) because I kept imagining Kamijo whenever he was mentioned LOL.

I really have nothing bad to say about this book. Nothing I disliked. Even the title doesn't seem quite as silly after reading it. So let's go on with the nails.

I got inspired mainly by the cover of the book. Since I can't do the hand and title, I chose to do the background, that damask-like design. Though, I will admit, I made up most of it, because if you look at the cover in person the background is all blurry so you can't really see much of the design.

The pinky got a plain gradient in matching blues, because I have tiny hands and there's really not much space in my pinky nail.That gradient is the same I did as the base for the vampire fingers. Here's a rundown of what I used (base & top coats included!):

Sally Hansen Salon Manicure Base Coat (uh, a green bottle)
NYC 302 Black as my base colour on all the nails.
Sephora L16 Curaçao on the very tips of the gradient nails.
Essence Midnight Date sponged roughly, covering the brighter blue.
All nails but the pinky were then mattified with an Anonymous Claire's matte top coat (because Tartofraises said that using acrylics on mattified polish is easier, so I tried and I think she's right).
Acrylic paint for the details. White, red, black and a blue I had to mix myself were used.
A WYNIE red glitter numbered 027 was used just for the blood on the index finger, over red acrylic, the way Robin Moses does, because it's prettier than without the glitter (duh).
Then I topped it all off with a coat of WYNIE clear polish.
And to finish it off, Essie Good to Go.

Yes, I use two top coats. I like having one thinner first, to make sure the design doesn't run or anything, and then a nice thick one. I use a cheap one as the thin one always, it's my it's-ok-to-mess-up clear polish. The thick one needs to be a good quality quick-dry one.

That's all for today! As a final note, let me tell you, I was very amused at how the amount of blue in the pictures made my fingers look even more ghostly than usual.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Hearty Nails Halloween 2014: the rainbow pumpkin patch

I'm afraid this year I haven't been able to go all out on Halloween like I did last year. However, the Pigg peeps (which is the only game I waste my time with, apart from Candy Crush) have, as usual, decorated everything. They do it every year, it would seem they like it as much as I do. This is why this year I was inspired by their decoration for my nails.

Once again I have forgotten which nail polishes I used for this, despite these not being old pictures, but the thing is I used quite a few. I'm sure at least 5 of the colours were from Kiko. Everything was drawn with a toothpick, hence some bits being wonky (though the mouth on the green pumpkin is like that on purpose). Then the top coat got angry at me and smudged some other bits, but that wasn't my fault or the toothpick's.

These (please excuse the lame picture) are the original pumpkins from the game. Actually these are all the pumpkins I've collected since I started playing the game.
(And look at that, I've actually managed to fulfill yesterday's promise. Ha, self)

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Hearty Offtopic: Of fails and distractions

Look who's alive.
I've been busy. And also, when not busy, distracted. So I'm gonna tell you what's kept me busy and what's kept me distracted.

First of all, the serious things I'm trying to get done. I have two and a half projects going on, plus an online course. The first project has hit a bump that's made me think I need to re-outline the whole thing. So it's currently halfway through its second outline. The second (the half) project is in worldbuilding stage and all the possibilities are terribly distracting. The other extra project is not my original idea (it's a collab) and its outline is not coming very smoothly to me. All that plus course assignments and quizzes. The struggle is real.

Now, you'll get to see what has been keeping me distracted.

Throughout the whole of september Marissa Meyer wrote a series on her creative process. You can find that here. If you know me at all you'll know that two things will get my attention immediately: people talking about their creative process, and concept albums. Learning about other people's creative process can teach you so much, and it can give you ideas to try and make your own creative process smoother as well. Concept albums, on the other hand, are like puzzles: songs and cover images and everything related are pieces of a mystery you need to put together. I just can't resist. Which brings me to my next point.

Acid Black Cherry is the solo project of yasu, singer of the band Janne Da Arc. Since it started in 2007, all of the albums released by Acid Black Cherry have been concept albums. Aaaaand he just announced the next one. "L" is to be released in 2015, but we fans are already having some theories about the story there, from the clues in the previous singles and especially in the teaser and the video for the latest single, INCUBUS:

While we're in the topic of music, someone else just came back with a bang:

Now from the book front, there's been mainly 2 books.

The first is Crushed, second book from the Soul Eaters series (you can find my review of the first book here). It finally came out at the end of September and I've been delaying posting the review but trust me, not for lack of enthusiasm or love for it. You'll see the review up soon.

The second book is this. Neither the companion nor the trilogy have been translated to English, which is a massive pity and someone should definitely fix it. Therefore if I manage to whip up a review (I'm having some difficulty getting words out, mainly due to the fact that I've never openly talked about this trilogy with people and I've enjoyed it very privately for 10 years all through my teens), it will be fully in Spanish.

Now, in an attempt at getting back on track with the blogging thing, I'm going to say something I might regret later, but TOMORROW I'll put up a nail post! Yeah for real! A Halloween one, even!

And coming up right on Halloween day, a 2x1! Nail post AND a book review. Both based on a book very suitable for Halloween.