Tuesday, February 24, 2015

NEW in the beloved Thunder Point series: One Wish by Robyn Carr Giveaway! (US only)

One Wish (Thunder Point #7)
Robyn Carr

Grace Dillon was a champion figure skater until she moved to Thunder Point to escape the ruthless world of fame and competition. And though she's proud of the quiet, self-sufficient life she's created running a successful flower shop, she knows something is missing. Her life could use a little excitement.

In a community where there are few eligible singles, high school teacher Troy Headly appoints himself Grace's fun coach. When he suggests a little companionship with no strings attached, Grace is eager to take him up on his offer, and the two enjoy…getting to know each other.

But things get complicated when Grace's past catches up with her, and she knows that's not what Troy signed up for. Faced with losing her, Troy realizes Grace is more than just a friend with benefits. He's determined to help her fight for the life she always wished for but never believed she could have—and maybe they can find real love along the way.

Giveaway!


Books à la Mode is giving away
 one finished copy of One Wish—yay!!


To enter, all you have to do is tell me:
If you could have just one wish granted magically—any wish—what would you make it? Think hard on this one!
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Robyn and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publicist—a huge thank you to the lovely folks at Little Bird Publicity!
Giveaway ends March 10th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US residents only—sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for a list of running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

How Much of My Real Life Is in Scent of Butterflies by Dora Levy Mossanen + Giveaway! (US/Can only)

Scent of Butterflies
Dora Levy Mossanen

Betrayal, forgiveness, identity and obsession churn against the tumultuous landscape of the Islamic revolution and seemingly perfect gardens of southern California in this compelling novel from bestselling author Dora Levy Mossanen.

Amidst a shattering betrayal and a country in turmoil, Soraya flees Iran to make a new life for herself in Los Angeles. The cruel and intimate blow her husband has dealt her awakens an obsessive streak that explodes in the heated world of Southern California, as Soraya plots her revenge against the other woman, her best friend, Butterfly. What she discovers proves far more devastating than anything she had ever imagined, unleashing a whirlwind of events that leave the reader breathless.

A novel singed by the flavors of Tehran, imbued with the Iranian roots of Persepolis and the culture clash of Rooftops of Tehran, this is a striking, nuanced story of a woman caught between two worlds, from the bestselling author of Harem.

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Girls of Mischief Bay by Susan Mallery + California Dreamin’ Prize Package Giveaway! (US/Can only)

The Girls of Mischief Bay (Mischief Bay #1)
Susan Mallery

Susan Mallery, the New York Times bestselling author of Three Sisters, is world renowned for her "insightful, funny, and poignant" stories (Booklist). With her brand-new Mischief Bay series, she brings vivid color to the story of three friends on the brink of a new life.

Nicole Lord wants to be a good wife, but there's a difference between being supportive and supporting her husband, who quit his job to write a screenplay she's never seen. He won't even help take care of their son, leaving Nicole to run the house and work full-time.

Sacrificing a personal life for her career is how Shannon Rigg became VP at her firm, but she wonders now whether she made the right choice. An exciting new relationship with a great guy convinces her that it might not be too late—until he drops a bombshell that has her questioning whether she really can have it all.

Although Pam Eiland adores her husband, she feels restless now that the kids are grown. Finding sexy new ways to surprise him brings the heat and humor back to their marriage, but when unexpected change turns her life upside down, she'll have to redefine herself. Again.

Through romance and heartbreak, laughter and tears, the girls of Mischief Bay will discover that life is richer with friends at your side.
Buy the book from:

Add to Goodreads badge Add to Goodreads badge Add to Goodreads badge Add to Goodreads badge Add to Goodreads badge Add to Goodreads badge

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

What I Pour Into My Books by Tatjana Soli, Author of The Last Good Paradise + Giveaway! (US/Can only)

The Last Good Paradise
Tatjana Soli

From Tatjana Soli, the bestselling author of The Lotus Eaters and The Forgetting Tree, comes a black comedy set on an island resort, where guests attempting to flee their troubles realize they can’t escape who they are.

On a small, unnamed coral atoll in the South Pacific, a group of troubled dreamers must face the possibility that the hopes they’ve labored after so single-mindedly might not lead them to the happiness they feel they were promised. Ann and Richard, an aspiring, Los Angeles power couple, are already sensing the cracks in their version of the American dream when their life unexpectedly implodes, leading them to brashly run away from home to a Robinson Crusoe idyll. Dex Cooper, lead singer of the rock band, Prospero, is facing his own slide from greatness, experimenting with artistic asceticism while accompanied by his sexy, young, and increasingly entrepreneurial muse, Wende. Loren, the French owner of the resort sauvage, has made his own Gauguin-like retreat from the world years before, only to find that the modern world has become impossible to disconnect from. Titi, descendent of Tahitian royalty, worker, and eventual inheritor of the resort, must fashion a vision of the island’s future that includes its indigenous people, while her partner, Cooked, is torn between anarchy and lust.

By turns funny and tragic, The Last Good Paradise explores our modern, complex and often, self-contradictory discontents, crafting an exhilarating and darkly satirical story about our need to connect in an increasingly networked but isolating world.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah Giveaway! (US/Can only)

The Nightingale
Kristin Hannah

In love we find out who we want to be.
In war we find out who we are.

FRANCE, 1939

In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France... but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne’s home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.

Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can... completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.

With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France—a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.

Giveaway!


Books à la Mode is giving away
 one finished copy of The Nightingale—yay!!


To enter, all you have to do is tell me:
Name a specific war or battle that you're particularly interested in; any time period's, and country's. Which do you find the most compelling, and why?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Kristin and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publisher—a huge thank you to the lovely folks at St. Martin's Press!
Giveaway ends February 15th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canadian residents only—sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for a list of running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Coastal Scents Revealed 1 & Revealed 2 Eyeshadow Palettes: Comparison + Comprehensive Review + Swatches!

Coastal Scents's Revealed 1 and Revealed 2 palettes have been around for a while, and they're infamous for being considered inexpensive dupes of Urban Decay's Naked eyeshadow palettes. The similar naming sequences, nearly exact shade matches, and comparable pigmentations have recently put the Revealeds in the makeup spotlight, so I decided to grab both during Coastal Scents's 50% Black Friday sale (yes, I know this review is a bit overdue).

I'll be comparing the two palettes with swatches in this post, as well as show you some dupes between the two to prove that they're really not ALL that different from each other. If you're torn between the two, look no further, this review will cover everything you'd ever want to know.

The Basics


Both Revealed 1 and Revealed 2 retail for $39.95, but seem to be at a fixed discount price of $19.95. Actual 50% discount, or Coastal Scents's sneaky tactic to make you think you're getting one? The world may never know!

Several times a year, CS will have the Revealed palettes on sale for 50% off, including during Black Friday's site-wide sale, which is when I got mine. I highly suggest waiting for these sale events to purchase these, or sign up for price alerts from each respective product page so you can be notified if they go on sale individually. $9.98 is a bargain for each palette, but 20 bucks is pushing it. I love these eyeshadows, but not that much.


Each palette is identical in size and packaging, other than the difference in color of the covers. The palette is slim and quite sturdy, made from cardboard with a magnetic closure. Neither sports a mirror inside the case, and since they are just an open fold, I don't think they would be ideal for traveling. The top flap is literally a piece of cardboard folded hamburger-style on top of the palette—not very secure for tossing around. A thin cardboard box is included for each, but who keeps those things anyway?

In comparison to the Naked palettes, the Revealeds are slightly shorter and wider (more square), but only about half as thin, which means you're most likely getting less product. Coastal Scents's website states the net weight of the shadows in each palette is 30 grams, which is around 0.05 oz per eyeshadow.

The color range is not drastic to me, but when swatched, you can see subtle differences between each and every shade.

Revealed 1:

Revealed 2:

Revealed 1:

Revealed 2:

And now for the swatches! All swatches were made on top of eyeshadow primer (I used Proof 10 from Etude House), in both direct sunlight and natural indoor lighting. I've numbered them the same way as they are in the palettes photos above.

Revealed 1:

Revealed 2:

As you can see, the color range is gorgeous in these palettes, and although many of the colors are strikingly similar, they're not exactly the same. The gradient of colors is perfect for nighttime-going-out eye looks, as well as for blending. These palettes are overall neutral, with only a few darker colors towards the end of the spectrum that can achieve super dark smokey effects, which means they're multifunctional—perfect for everyday eyes, as well as for more intense looks!

MOST of the shades are incredibly velvety and buttery; I can see where the resemblance to the UD Naked palettes would be apparent. However, I think it would be a far stretch to say they could replace the Naked palettes or are better. To me, they are significantly lower in quality, as made obvious by the powderiness of many of the satiny and shimmery shades. Two in particular from the Revealed 2 palette, shades 4 and 19, were absolute nightmares to work with. They don't just have fine microglitters in them; they have actual chunks of glitter that made the texture grainy and just overall terrible. This was particularly disappointing for me because #19 in Revealed 2 is supposedly a dupe for "Darkhorse" from Naked 3 (black with multi-chrome maroon shimmer), one of my all-time favorite colors from UD, and it was one of the worst ones I'd swatched. Even over primer, there was no way I could get them to blend out properly, and every time I dipped a finger or brush into them, they made powder fly everywhere, including into the other shadows :( I'm a huge stickler against color cross-contamination, and both those shades are the biggest downside to the Revealed 2 palette.

The few matte shades included are pretty much duds (e.g. shades 1, 4, and 20 in Revealed 1, as well as shades 2, 17, 18, and 20 in Revealed 2). It's extremely difficult to produce a well-made matte eyeshadow color because usually they're so patchy and unpigmented. Shade 1 from Revealed 1 is pretty much invisible; as you can see in the swatch, it didn't even show up on my forearm.

The aforementioned shades required multiple attempts of rubbing during the swatching process, which isn't something I have the patience for when actually applying shadow to my eyelids.

There are very, very few cosmetic companies that can successfully pull off matte eyeshadows (off the top of my head Urban Decay, theBalm and Lancôme are among them—coincidentally, their products are my eyeshadow holy grails), so I didn't have too high of expectations to begin with. Just based off the Revealed swatches, the shimmery colors are what appeal to me anyway, so I wasn't too disappointed by the patchy matte shades.

All that negativity aside, MOST of the colors, I absolutely loved—especially the shimmer finishes. The color, pigmentation, and blendability of the almost foil-like shades are phenomenal, and because of these, I do think the palettes are worth getting, even if you already have the Urban Decay ones! They're really not a huge investment if you catch them during a CS sale, and they're so smooth in texture and striking in color, that you won't regret buying them—I promise!

Now, it isn't absolutely necessary for you to buy both, especially since they seem quite similar overall, with only minor differences between the shades. Based off the packaging alone, you can tell Revealed 1 has more cooler-toned neutrals, with some warmer golds on the right side, while Revealed 2 is completely rose and rose-gold based, with several plum and pinker shades dominating the darker hues.

Comparing Revealed 1 to Revealed 2


You might be wondering about exact overlaps because you don't want to have to buy both if there are multiples in each palette. Fortunately, I couldn't find any obvious duplicates, which means you're getting 40—yes, 40!—distinct shades across these two palettes. That's serious bang for your buck that even most drugstore brands can't beat.

I did find several almost-dupes between the Revealed 1 and 2 palettes that I swatched side-by-side for you here:

The last shade in each palette was the only one that seemed obvious, but even when swatched they were not identical. They're both matte blacks, but for some reason the one in Revealed 2 is significantly patchier and more powdery than the one in Revealed 1. I found this to be a trend in quality overall; Revealed 1 simply had less "low quality" shades in both the matte and shimmery eyeshadows.

These seem almost identical under sunlight, but are slightly different in hue in the shade.

All four of these shades are comparable, but I thought they were all really pretty, so no complaints there :D


I already mentioned how grainy and powdery #4 from Revealed 2 is, as you can see closer up in the picture above. It's not even decent, it's completely non-workable. I'm tempted to depot it completely because I know I'll never use it!

Both of the above colors are pretty accurate dupes of Urban Decay's "Virgin," although #1 from Revealed 2 is slightly more yellow-toned than #2 from Revealed 1 is.

As you can see, none of them are exact dupes, just very very similar, so again, it isn't the end of the world if you can only get one of them, but it also wouldn't hurt for you to get both ;)

Verdict


While the Revealed palettes aren't exact dupes for the UD Naked palettes, they come pretty damn close. For the affordable drugstore price, the quality is simply unbeatable. I love how Coastal Scents offers a more affordable alternative to the overpriced Nakeds. Considering both Revealed 1 and 2 contain shades that Naked 1, 2, and 3 don't, I would definitely recommend these over the Nakeds you're shopping for makeup on a budget... and aren't we all??

I will warn you that the formula of some of the shadows will be too loose and powdery, and some won't even show up on the skin (eek!). Regardless, the versatility and overall performance of both palettes really impressed me.

I personally like Revealed 1 better than 2, even though the 2 has rose-gold colors I'm normally fond of. The quality of the shadows in Revealed 1 is noticeably better, and there are almost no dud colors, like there are quite a few of in Revealed 2. If you only had to pick one, Revealed 1 is the way to go. Or, you could be a crazy person like me and just get both Americanflag

p.s. This is the first swatch & review I've done—what do you think of the format?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

New in the Slow Burn Series: In His Keeping by Maya Banks + AUTOGRAPHED Copy Giveaway! (US/Can only)

In His Keeping (Slow Burn #2)
Maya Banks

#1 bestselling author Maya Banks continues her suspenseful and steamy Slow Burn series with this second book—a twisting tale featuring a strong yet vulnerable heroine in danger and the sexy alpha hero who must save her.

Arial knows the rules that keep her safe. She's been following them since she was a little girl: Do not tell. Do not show. But in a moment of terror, facing an attacker intent on taking more than just her life, Ari has no choice but to unleash the psychic powers she's been hiding since childhood.

Now, with her abilities revealed, a bigger threat looms—something that makes her question everything she thought she knew about her parents and her secretive upbringing. But this isn't a fight she can face on her own.

As the head of Devereaux Security, Beau Devereaux is no stranger to the strange. But when he takes on a new client—a beautiful young woman with an extraordinary gift—Beau isn't prepared for the extent of his attraction to her. What began as a simple assignment, just another job, quickly turns personal as Beau discovers he'll do anything at all to protect Ari. No matter what it costs him personally. Even his heart and soul.

Giveaway!


Today I'm giving away
 one AUTOGRAPHED copy of In His Keeping—yay!! This is special copy exclusively for Books à la Mode readers!


To enter, all you have to do is tell me:
What's your favorite type of alpha male hero?
I've got a thing for secret agents like Beau from the book... I also like firefighters...... :)

Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Maya and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publicist—a huge thank you to the lovely folks at Sullivan & Partners!
Giveaway ends February 12th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada residents only—sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for a list of running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!