Thursday, 28 April 2016

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade

Hey Everyone!

I hope all is well with you. I've come to give a bit of an apology. I've been on holiday for the past week and yet I have posted nothing... simply because I just haven't felt in the mood to blog. Or read. I have review copies that I should have read and written reviews of by now, but my biggest issue is that I just have 0 motivation. 

So instead of heaping another review onto the blog, I've decided to get off of my lazy demotivated bum and actually post something. And it's something that has been dwelling on my mind a little with the release of Beyonce's surprise album called Lemonade.

You're gonna need a little background information before I can get to the point. I promise I won't go off on a fangirling tangent though! If you know me, you'll know I am crazy about Beyonce. Well, recently she was cheated on by her husband, Jay-Z, and this visual album is all about the thoughts and feelings that come with that. She discusses loving him, hating him and all the emotions that come between as well. Another theme that runs through the album is the race issue which involves modern day discrimination as well.

Why this brought about this blog post was because I was thinking about the things life gives us, and I came to the conclusion that life gives you one thing, and one thing alone and you get to choose what you end up doing with it. 

When we are born, we are always born into a family. We have a mother (everyone does!) and that mother will either raise you and love you, or she will give you away. And no matter where you go and how many horrible people you encounter in your life, I strongly believe that you will always run into at least one person somewhere in your childhood who will love you for you. Maybe you'll be lucky and run into multiple people, or maybe you'll just have the one person. It could be a teacher, a best friend, a family member... anyone. 

Because if life gives you something, it gives you love. 

Some people take this love and turn it into black hate. 
Some people take this love and let it blossom and share it with others.
Some people are at loss as to what they need to do with it. 

There are so many things going on in the world today, that can make you angry, that can make you bone-weary tired and fed up. But in whatever you do, and to whoever it involves, always remember that from all the emotions, love is the strongest. 

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Choose love ^.^

(I'm going to be blogging a whole lot more next week. Just you wait and see ^.^)

Olivia's Question: What is one thing that makes you upset? And what is one thing that makes you happier than your previous answer?

Olivia-Savannah x

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Nails Extravaganza ~ The Beauty and the Beast

Hey everyone!

Nails Extravaganza is a nail art post I do here on Olivia's Catastrophe because I love nail art just as much as books! Today's mani was one I actually made by accident.

At first I wanted to do a design which included lines and colours and a fan brush - I had it all pictured in my head and it was going to be wonderful. However, it appears I have yet to master the fan brush technique because it turned out horrible. Absolutely horrible! It's rare that I start a design and remove the whole thing. But I did because I couldn't stand my nails looking like that and it made me so sad. 

I was pretty demotivated for me to have messed up so much and I wasn't in the mood to try again. But then I decided I would give it a shot and do something simple, or whatever I felt like doing. I decided that in contrast to the dark blue I used before I would go for something light yellow and more spring like. Then after that, I decided I wanted a rose. 

I had heard of the technique of using a black sharpie to draw intricate designs on nails. I wanted to try it, despite not having a sharpie. I have thick pens for when I bother to draw manga though, so I used that instead. I drew my rose on, coloured it in and then realised that if I added yellow polka dots this would look a lot like a Beauty and the Beast design. 
Because I love Disney so much, of course I had to do it. Tada! So here's the pictures (as you've seen throughout this post). I also have a tutorial. Enjoy!

The Tutorial!

Olivia's Question: Favourite Disney movie?

Olivia-Savannah x

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

The 13th Continuum (Review, Tour & Giveaway!)

Hi there!

Title: The 13th Continuum (Continuum trilogy)
Author: Jennifer Brody
Publisher: Turner Publishing
Published Date: 19th April 2016
Rating: 4 Stars

*Thank you to the TFFBC for the review copy*

Synopsis: One thousand years after a cataclysmic event leaves humanity on the brink of extinction, the survivors take refuge in continuums designed to sustain the human race until repopulation of Earth becomes possible. Against this backdrop, a group of young friends in the underwater Thirteenth Continuum dream about life outside their totalitarian existence, an idea that has been outlawed for centuries. When a shocking discovery turns the dream into a reality, they must decide if they will risk their own extinction to experience something no one has for generations, the Surface.

Reviews: The 13th Continuum is a book I more so picked up because it looked interesting more than anthing else. I didn't know too much about it, but the idea of the book intrigued me. I liked the word continuum. And that was enough for me to sign up and keep me fingers crossed that I was chosen to be part of the tour! I'm so happy I got the chance to read and review this book because I flew through it in the space of two days, despite it being 400-something pages long. 

This novel is a post-apocalyptic set book. The beginning had me head over heels in love already because we get to see the Doom unfolding, and what happened to the chosen people who were sent to the continuums. But then we got a little bit of history as we skip forward 1000 years (it's not a disjointed skip at all!) We get to see how the situation in the 13th Continuum develops, and it was perfect because I could see all the patterns in history that we studied occurring. The religion overtaking democracy, the burning of books and most things related to the past [in order to create a new history that suits themselves] and so on. It's just how I would have pictured it to happen and was just so realistic, I could believe it was happening now if I wanted to!

But then the story kicks in, and we are swept into this scientific underwater world. It's described so perfectly that it is easy to envision where everything is and what being part of this society is like. Myra, our main character, definitely doesn't have it easy. She dreams of The Surface - words that are forbidden to even be spoken about - and when she hears of the Beacon that can help guide her society back to earth (especially as the Continuum itself is failing) I just loved the journey it took her on. She needed bravery, she needed friends and she manages to bring all that and more to the forefront in this novel. 

We don't only get to see Myra's perspective though. The second voice in the story belongs to Captain Aero who is in another continuum, but one of the ones that was persevered in space. Although all the continuums began with humans, this one has taken a very different approach after the last 1000 years. Advanced technology and a war-run kind of society where soldiers and being emotionless is valued, it was interesting to see this take on the world. It wasn't as developed as I felt Myra's was, but it was still fantastically done and fed my imagination until it was satisfied. 

There is plenty of action in this book to keep you hooked. The climax is especially jam-packed because nothing seems to go perfectly right in the way you'd want for people who are trying to save the world. At times I felt like the way Myra and her gang managed to escape some situations was leaning a little on the too-good-to-be-true side, but aside from that I greatly enjoyed reading it.

As for the secondary characters, some were fairly well developed and others were a little lacking. We never really get to know Rikard, Kaleb or Paige as much as I would have liked. But by the end of the book I really felt a connection to Maude, Wren and Tinker as well. It was strange that sometimes I could connect incredibly well with some secondary characters, but with others at times not at all!

This story took me in on a ride that I couldn't keep track of my notes and just enjoyed reading the book! If that isn't a testament to how good this book is, then I'm not sure what else could be. I'm looking forward to the sequel!

Links: Goodreads and Amazon!

Giveaway! Prize: Win a The 13th Continuum Prize Pack: a signed copy of Jennifer Brody's book, a bookmark and a custom tote bag (US/CAN Only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Olivia's Question: What is one of your possessions you're most afraid of destroying (accidentally?)

Olivia-Savannah x

Monday, 18 April 2016

Death Wish (Review)

Hi there!

Title: Death Wish (Ceruleans #1)

Author: Megan Tayte
Publisher: Heaven Afire
Published Date: 7th February 2015
Rating: 4 Stars

*Thank you to the author for the review copy*

Synopsis: The Ceruleans: mere mortals infused with power over life and death. Five books; one question: If the might of the heavens were in your hands, would you be sinner or saint? 

Seventeen-year-old Scarlett Blake is haunted by death. Her estranged sister has made the ultimate dramatic exit. Running away from school, joining a surfing fraternity, partying hard: that sounds like Sienna. But suicide? It makes no sense. 

Following in her sister’s footsteps, Scarlett comes to an isolated English cove with grand plans to uncover the truth. Alone. But she hasn’t reckoned on meeting two boys who are determined to help her. Luke: the blue-eyed surfer who’ll see the real Scarlett, who’ll challenge her, who’ll save her. And Jude: the elusive drifter with a knack for turning up whenever Scarlett’s in need. 

As Scarlett’s quest for the truth unravels, so too does her grip on reality as she’s always known it. Because there’s something strange going on in this little cove. A dead magpie circles the skies. A dead deer watches from the undergrowth. Hands glow with light. Warmth. Power

What transpires is a summer of discovery. Of what it means to conquer fear. To fall in love. To choose life. To choose death. 

To believe the impossible. 

Review: Death Wish was a book I had been seeing plenty of reviews going around for for a while. I had even been pretty interested in it, so when the author asked if I would like to review it, I jumped at the chance. I was intrigued by the premise and the positive things I had heard about it, and easily fell into reading the book. There was something about the writing style that drew me into the world. Yet, it took me longer than expected to read the book. I didn't want to rush it all. 

One of my favourite things about this book were the characters. They seemed so real to me. I really did like Scarlett, our main character, but I think I loved Cara most of all. She was in a car accident when her parents died, and it has mangled her legs so they are a difficulty for her. But she was also so outgoing and vibrant never let life get to her. Then there was also Luke who was always so caring and gracious.

But the biggest theme that reflected throughout this book is grief. Scarlett has recently lost her sister and is trying to come to terms with it. But she mostly wants to understand why her sister commit suicide. She's to live at the scene and wants to learn to surf seeing as that is what her sister did before she walked into the sea to give up her life. We definitely see all the shades of grief here, and as someone who has lost someone myself before, I could relate. Tayte managed to describe the emotions that someone could experience perfectly. And it's not only that. We get to see Cara who has lost people in the past, and how she has coped with it. There's also Scarlett's mother who has an entirely different way of dealing with this (drinking) than herself. It was interesting to really see all the different perspectives.

If you can believe it, aside from that very realistic and down to earth theme, this is still the first book in a paranormal kind of trilogy. So in this book we see some strange happenings that don't quite make sense, and as the book goes on Scarlett starts to discover more and more about what is happening. It's only the beginning of the trilogy so this isn't explored too much, but you can tell it is going to be a big contender in the next two books. Which I fully intend to read now as well. 

This book was funny at times. It was serious. It was interesting. It was the perfect balance of most things I need in a novel, and I am very much so looking forward to trying the sequel soon!

Links: Goodreads and Amazon!

Olivia's Question: Was there ever a book you could closely relate to? Which one was it?

Olivia-Savannah x

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Mail Order Brides (Review)

Hi there!

Title: Mail Order Bride
Authors: Stacy Henrie, Kristin Holt, Annette Lyon, Sarah M.Eden, Heather B. Moore and Sian Ann Bessey.
Publisher: Mirror Press
Published Date: 9th February 2015
Rating: 4 Stars

*Thank you to Ebooks4review or the review copy*

Synopsis: You can find it here! It's a bit lengthy so I'm just linking it.

Review: Mail Order Brides is a historical fiction romance anthology. I wanted to read it because the concept of mail order brides was entirely new to me. I was interested in seeing what could come of it, and the creativity really astounded me. With the same concept these authors managed to make each short story unique. I just loved reading them all. I have a mini review for each. 

Written in Her Heart: As an opening short story I wanted this one to grip me immediately. And it did. It was sweet and cute. It had coloured characters even though this was a short story, a brilliant writing style and even used flashbacks. I really loved the romance as well. 

Wanted: Midwife Bride: This one showed me that men can be so cruel. I can't believe the way one of them tried to take advantage of a smart woman just because she was smart. I really liked Naomi. She had ambition, a clever, down to earth mind and was sensible. She had trust issues after being hurt the way she was, and that made sense. There was a touch of insta-affection/love, but this is a collection of historical fiction romance short stories. It's makes sense for that to happen, and I'll excuse it a bit in all of these short stories. 

The Sound of Home: This book brought another cruel man. It also dealt with the issue of illness and loss. I liked how Marilyn wasn't afraid of hard work and was willing to put elbow grease into what she was doing. 

For Better or Worse: I loved the situation that these main characters found themselves in. Imagine sending for a mail order bride, only for her to turn out to be a girl you strongly disliked from your childhood. It was the enemies to lover kind of thing that I have not seen in historical fiction before. And I liked it!

An Inconvenient Bride: This was a story where the original husband for the mail order bride passed away before she could arrive there. Carmela is Italian and I liked hearing a little bit about Italy from her point of view. Not much to say about this one, but the characters had chemistry.

The Price of Silver: This was a sweet one to wrap up the collection, but it went a bit too fast for me. Of them all, this was the one I felt the instalove most present in. It was short and sweet though. 

I loved this collection and if I have less to say about a short story, doesn't mean it was worse! I will definitely be looking into works by all these authors so I can try their independent books as well. 

Links: Goodreads and Amazon!

Olivia's Question: Do you have a penpal?

Olivia-Savannah x

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

No Love Allowed (Review, Tour & Giveaway!)

Hi there!

Title: No Love Allowed
Author: Kate Evangelista
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Published Date: 19th April 2016
Rating: 5 Stars

*Thank you to Xpresso Book Tours for the review copy*

Synopsis: It's all fun and parties until someone falls in love in this modern fairy tale from author Kate Evangelista.

Caleb desperately needs a fake girlfriend. Either he attends a series of parties for his father’s law firm with a pretty girl on his arm, or he gets shipped off to Yale to start a future he’s not ready for and isn’t sure he wants. And sadly, the last unattached girl in his social circle has just made the grievous mistake of falling in love with him. Fortunately, Didi, recently fired waitress and aspiring painter, is open to new experiences. As the summer ticks by in a whirl of lavish parties, there’s only one rule: They must not fall in love!

Review: No Love Allowed was a book that was on my radar and I had even requested it, but unfortunately was turned down. Which was why I jumped at the chance to be part of this review tour. And guess what? I absolutely loved this book.

This was my first every ‘fake girlfriend’ kind of read. I know that trope is one that appears in a few YA romances, but none in any of the books I had bothered to pick up myself. Now that I have had a taste of this one, I know I am just going to want more. The book gave a very plausible reason for Caleb needing a fake girlfriend – he was just trying to pass through a high class internship without girls being shoved his way throughout the whole summer. But there was a lot more to this one than the cute romance that was indeed just that – very, very cute.

There was also a wonderful writing style that simply drew me into the book. I haven’t had too much time for reading lately but it only took me the space of a day to start and finish this book because there was something about the way that it was written that gripped me. I didn’t want to put the book down at all.

I also really loved the main character. Sure, Didi had her moods, but she was the kind of girl who was confident and didn’t take any rubbish from anyone. She was strong and would give you a good talking to if you deserved it. At the beginning we get to know that she has a mental illness, and I liked the role it played in the novel. Didi takes medication so it doesn’t usually get too bad, and I liked how she described it and the fact that it wasn’t the biggest contender in the novel. It was simply something she had to live with. The description for the way it made her feel was perfectly well done.

Caleb was also another character I had to love. He was the kind of guy who knew what he wanted in life, and always kept a cool exterior when really there is a lot more emotional depth to him. He has an amazing band of friends too who are the secondary characters – Nathan, Preston and some more. I liked them all and they were all pretty well developed as well. The friendship dynamics between the group made me smile. It Was so sweet.
The contrast in wealth was also something fairly intriguing to read about here. There was Didi, whose mother works two jobs to pull through for them, and then there was Caleb who came from a rich family. I liked the way money was addressed. And I have to say, Didi’s attitude was similar to mine. She didn’t want to be showered with gifts simply because they had money to spare. It just didn’t fit right with her and if I was in her position, I’d probably feel the same way.

The ending was so cute. It bordered a little on the cheesy side but hey, I like cheesy. Everyone can do with a little cheese sometimes :3

A very good pick me up read. I want to try more from this author!

Giveaway Time! Enter to win one of two paperback copies of No Love Allowed! Open to US addresses only!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

New Video! My video book review of Marked by Laura Williams McCaffrey!

Olivia’s Question: What’s your must have food for a picnic?

Olivia-Savannah x

Saturday, 9 April 2016

My Hoarding Catastrophe ~ Book Buying Ban SUCCESS!

Hey Guys! Happy weekend!

My Hoarding Catastrophe is my version of a monthly book haul here on Olivia's Catastrophe. 

You may be wondering where my post for Thursday went. It doesn't exist. Lately, I've been feeling a little of the blogging pressure and I didn't feel like posting that day. So I reminded myself I didn't have to by not doing it! Then I started to freak out on Friday, something along the lines of. 
Me: What if my readers didn't notice the missing post? What if no one actually cares. D:
Me: But what if they DID and they think I won't post anymore?
Me: I'm such a bad blogger...
Me: Yep, never trying this tactic again. 

Aaaaand onto the books now!

Physical books: As the title of this post suggests, my book buying ban was a SUCCESS! I didn't buy a single book for the whole month. I'm so proud. This proves that if I do want to kick this obsession of hoarding and buying, I can. I got five lovely books, mostly for review. 

Constructed of Magic - Alan Swartz
A Song to Tear The World Apart - Zan Romanoff
Motions and Moments - Michael Pronko (Giveaway win @ Doodles, Doodles Everywhere)
Briar Rose - Jana Oliver
The Boy in the Top Knot - Sathnam Sanghera

Freebies! I only allowed myself two because they looked too good to pass up. 

Batter Up - Robyn Neeley 
The Crown and the Arrow - Renee Adieh 

Review Copies: My next aim in this book buying ban is to resist the one click request and request fewer reviewer copies. Because I honestly can't help myself when it comes to doing this, because all these books sound so good all the time!

The Book of Esther - Emily Barton 
Please Hold - Tricia Stewart Shiu 
Love Blind - C. Desire & Jolene Perry 
The View From Cheap Seats - Neil Gaiman 
Strike - Delilah S. Dawson
Three Truths and a Lie - Brent Hartinger
A Night In With Marilyn Monroe - Lucy Holliday
A Hundred Thousand Worlds - Bob Proehl 
Fates and Traitors - Jennifer Chiaverini
A Hundred Hours of Night - Anna Woltz
Black Widow - Christopher Brookmyre
All in Pieces - Suzanne Young
The After Party - Anton DiSclafani
irreversible - Chris Lynch
Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy - Multiple People (xD)
The Flipside - Shaun Johnson
Every Hidden Thing - Kenneth Oppel

Olivia's Question: What books have you recently bought/acquired?

Olivia-Savannah x

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Dissension (Book Review)

Hi there!

Title: Dissension (The Blood Inheritance Trilogy #1)
Author: Adrienne Monsoon
Publisher: Jolly Fish Press
Published Date: 23rd February 2013
Rating: 3 Stars

*Thank you to the author for the review copy*

Synopsis: Fists are pumping, bodies gyrating, sweat dripping—booming music drowns out all other noise in the dark club. Leisha, dressed in skimpy, revealing clothes, eyes her victim. As soon as he sets eyes on her, she knows he's hers. He becomes excited as despicable thoughts of murder run through his mind, all readable by Leisha's abnormal senses. After a bit of small talk, they are soon both out the door, Leisha pushed against the wall. The man pulls out a knife, ready to cut up this beautiful woman. Leisha smiles as she deflects the knife and bites into his neck, sucking every ounce of life from this abominable man.

It wasn't always this way.

Leisha was once a loving mother with an ideal family. Though this was over two thousand years ago, Leisha still holds that time dear to her heart. But for now, she must focus on trying to escape the eternal and bloody war between her kind—the Vampires—and the Immortals, an undying race sworn to destroy her people. Soon, Leisha finds herself captured by the government only to be saved by a young and mysterious human girl. What entails is the beginning of a long and torturous journey as Leisha and her newfound friend run for their lives while searching for the one thing that can end it all—the prophecy child.

Review: Dissension by Adrienne Monsoon was a break I needed. I have been reading a lot of YA lately, and a lot of contemporary kind of books. Although I have had a lot of fantasy as well, it was high time for me to get back to some good old paranormal books. This one fulfilled my want for that perfectly. This novel is packed with vampires – a familiar concept, and also something called Immortals which was new and unique. I liked the mix of what I was comfortable with and also something new to toy with too.

While this novel is the first one in a trilogy and does set up some storyline plots for future books, it also has its own plot arc for this book which leads to a conclusion as well. Many first books in a series just seem to miss out on that little essential thing to make the first book splendid. But this one gave us answers, an exciting climax AND also a few questions left open for book two!

The main characters in this book were Leisha, a vampire, and Samantha who is a normal teenage girl. Well, as normal as you can get when you’re having visions. I love reading from their points of view until they met, and their fast friendship was so easy to understand. I loved Leisha’s personality especially. She is a vampire but she doesn’t like killing people for their blood unless they are necessarily bad people. As usual when it comes to being an unwilling vampire, I liked the internal conflict it brought to her. Samantha as well was just a teenage human girl, but she knew she had importance. She was smart beyond her years and tried to be the best person she could be in all her decisions. She was way too sweet for me to ever dislike!

I also really approved of the storyline too. There are hints of a war between the Immortals and Vampires seeing as they are natural enemies. However, a prophecy and a promise child also come into play. There was a lot of torture too – it never gets too graphic but I think it just shows how serious both sides were when it comes to hating themselves. And as well as these two paranormal parties there are also the humans who are trying to capture paranormal creatures and experiment on them to understand. They put an interesting little twist on everything.

While I did like the characters and did care for them, I still felt a little bit distant. There wasn’t as deep of a connection as I would ideally want. What I did like about what Monson did was that these characters all had history between them already. As the story goes on we get more parts to the story and hints as to what their backgrounds are. I liked that there was suspense and a slow unraveling of the situation.

Overall, I loved this story. The fast pace and the action kept me on my toes. There are all these characters ploying and fighting to be leader. I cannot wait to know what happens in book two (which I already have!)

Want to enter a giveaway for the book? Click HERE!

Links: Goodreads and Amazon!

Olivia’s Question: Is there a genre you wish you read a bit more of?

Olivia-Savannah x

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Olivia Snaps ~ #CurrentlyReading

Hello Everyone! Hope you're enjoying your start to April :)

Olivia Snaps is a meme here on Olivia's Catastrophe where I share some of my photography with you all. 

My question to you is, have you ever bought a product and simply fallen in love with it? Because I have. I bought the Currently Reading Tribal Print mug from Evie Bookish's Society6 store. After that, it was almost like I had fallen in love. I have an instagram account where I post bookish photos... and I think my followers might be a little annoyed about how much I feature this mug.

What some people might find incredibly funny, is that I don't even use it for its purpose. I have a lot of mugs - more like a collection than anything else. So this is one of those that has gone onto my shelf and I use for decoration. I might drink from it someday, but then again, I might not. 

I'm trying to think of what it is about it that I like so much. I think it's the colours. The purple and the blue tones and how it is so incredibly well made. Honestly, I was impressed by the quality when I received it. One of my favourite mugs now for sure. 
As for the theme of currently reading... I am actually only reading two books at the moment. Usually it's something more like 5 or 4. I'm reading The Wrath and the Dawn which I have been reading for quite a while, and also Death Wish by Megan Tayte. Both of the books are pretty good so far!
The only worrying thing is how long I have been reading The Wrath and the Dawn for. It's not that I don't like it - but I read a few pages and then don't pick it up for a whole week. But when I do pick it up, I like it a lot. So why am I taking so long dallying before I get back to it each and every time? I'm not sure... despite how hard I am thinking about this. 

Another book which I don't truly count as currently reading is The Zig Zag Girl by Elly Griffiths. I started this one in JANUARY. I think I have picked it up about three times since then, read a bit of it, and then put it back down. It's just not getting good yet, but for some reason I don't feel like I have read enough of it to DNF it and say I have given it a fair chance. Which is why it keeps turning up on my TBR for the month. But I never really get around to it >>
Olivia's Question: Have you ever fallen in love with a product? What are you currently reading?

 Olivia-Savannah x