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!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Marriage Charm by Linda Lael Miller Giveaway! (US only)

The Marriage Charm (The Brides of Bliss County #2)
Linda Lael Miller

The women of Bliss County have a pact—to find husbands. The right husbands.

One already has: Hadleigh Stevens, who married rancher Tripp Galloway a few months ago. Now Melody Nolan thinks it's her turn. Melody has recently found success as a jewelry designer, and her work is the focus of her life. She's not exactly unhappy, but she wants more. She's always been attracted to Spence Hogan, the local chief of police, but she's convinced that Spence, a notorious charmer, isn't what you'd call husband material.

Spence is a good cop who isn't scared of anything—except love. And he's done everything he can to preserve his reputation as a womanizer—a reputation that keeps marriage-minded women, including Melody, at bay. And yet... there's something about Melody he can't forget. Something his heart can't ignore.

Giveaway!


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


To enter, all you have to do is tell me:
What made you smile today?
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. Linda 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 February 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!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

An Appetite for Violets by Martine Bailey Giveaway! (US only)

An Appetite for Violets
Martine Bailey

That’s how it is for us servants. No one pays you much heed; mostly you're invisible as furniture. Yet you overhear a conversation here, and add a little gossip there. Then you find something, something you should not have found.

Irrepressible Biddy Leigh, under-cook at forbidding Mawton Hall, only wants to marry her childhood sweetheart and set up her own tavern. But when her elderly master marries young Lady Carinna, Biddy is unwittingly swept up in a world of scheming, secrets, and lies. Forced to accompany her new mistress to Italy, she documents her adventures and culinary discoveries in an old household book of recipes, The Cook’s Jewel. Biddy grows intrigued by her fellow travelers, but her secretive and unconventional mistress is the most intriguing of all.

In London, Biddy finds herself attracted to her mistress’s younger brother. In France, she discovers her mistress’s dark secret. At last in Italy, Biddy becomes embroiled in a murderous conspiracy, knowing the secrets she holds could be a key to a better life, or her downfall.

Inspired by eighteenth-century household books of recipes and set at the time of the invention of the first restaurants, An Appetite for Violets is a literary feast for lovers of historical fiction. Martine Bailey's novel opens a window into the fascinating lives of servants, while also delivering a suspenseful tale of obsession and betrayal.

Giveaway!


Books à la Mode is giving away
 one finished copy of An Appetite for Violets—yay!!


To enter, all you have to do is tell me:
Describe a time in your life when you were affected by gossip—make it as juicy as you want! It can be from an experience in the past, or in recent events.
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. Martine 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 7th 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, January 22, 2015

The Reluctant Psychic by Suzan Saxman Giveaway! (US/Can only)

The Reluctant Psychic: A Memoir
Suzan Saxman with Perdita Finn

We all, as children, had our imaginary friends and monsters in the closet. But for Suzan Saxman, those friends and monsters didn’t go away—and they weren’t imaginary.

From an early age, Suzan knew instinctively that she had to hide her true self. She couldn’t talk about the specters who haunted her, waking and dreaming. In bed with a childhood fever, winged beings guarded her; bullied and friendless at school, she ate lunch silently under the steps of St. Theresa’s with the ghost of a nun; paralyzed with fear, she woke each night to see a man with no eyes, watching her; and she kept watch at the window, every day, while her real father was at work and Steve, her other father, was with her mother. It was the 1960's in suburban Staten Island and she tried to hide it all—to silence the spirits, ghosts and her own developing abilities to tap into people’s futures. She tried to be a daughter her mother could love.

Now, with Perdita Finn, Suzan tells the story of her journey in The Reluctant Psychic, and tries to make sense of her mother’s own personal buried secrets that were never acknowledged. She tells of the joy and terror in seeing things others couldn’t and understanding what no one else expected—and the loneliness and sadness of possessing a tremendous gift. Through powerful readings of others’ destinies interwoven with compelling narrative, a reluctant psychic emerges into the light.

Giveaway!


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


To enter, all you have to do is tell me:
Do you think the benefits of being psychic would outweigh the negative consequences? If given the option, would you want to be psychic?
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. Suzan 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 5th 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!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

House Broken by Sonja Yoerg Giveaway! (US/Can only)

House Broken
Sonja Yoerg

In this compelling and poignant debut novel, a woman skilled at caring for animals must learn to mend the broken relationships in her family...

For veterinarian Geneva Novak, animals can be easier to understand than people. They’re also easier to forgive. But when her mother, Helen, is injured in a vodka-fueled accident, it’s up to Geneva to give her the care she needs.

Since her teens, Geneva has kept her self-destructive mother at arm’s length. Now, with two slippery teenagers of her own at home, the last thing she wants is to add Helen to the mix. But Geneva’s husband convinces her that letting Helen live with them could be her golden chance to repair their relationship.

Geneva isn’t expecting her mother to change anytime soon, but she may finally get answers to the questions she’s been asking for so long. As the truth about her family unfolds, however, Geneva may find secrets too painful to bear and too terrible to forgive.

Giveaway!


Books à la Mode is giving away
 one finished copy of House Broken—yay!!


To enter, all you have to do is answer Sonja's question for y'all:
What is your definition of a good dog?
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. Sonja and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the author—a huge thank you to the lovely Sonja Yoerg!
Giveaway ends January 28th 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!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Characters Inspired by Real People in The Divorce Diet by Ellen Hawley + Giveaway! (US/Can only)

The Divorce Diet
Ellen Hawley

The Divorce Diet is dedicated to every woman who ever walked away from a relationship—or a diet.

Abigail, an inspired cook and stay-at-home mother, decides to repair the problems in her marriage with a diet book for herself and an elaborate birthday dinner for her husband. But over dinner her husband announces that the whole marriage thing just doesn’t work for him. Reeling, she packs up her baby, her cookbooks, and her single estate extra virgin olive oil and moves in with her parents while she looks for work and child care.

Floundering and broke in this life she didn’t choose, she turns for guidance and emotional support to the internalized voice of her diet book, and it becomes her invisible guru. While she struggles to reconcile the joy she takes in cooking with the book’s joyless and increasingly bizarre recipes and her native good sense with its advice, she works her way from one underpaid job to the next, eats everything but what her diet book recommends, and swears to get her life in order before her daughter’s old enough to create long-term memories.

Her diet book has promised to help her become the person she wants to be, but it’s only when she strikes out on her own that she figures out who that is.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Housemaid's Daughter by Barbara Mutch Giveaway! (US/Can only)

The Housemaid's Daughter
Barbara Mutch

Barbara Mutch's stunning first novel tells a story of love and duty colliding on the arid plains of Apartheid-era South Africa

When Cathleen Harrington leaves her home in Ireland in 1919 to travel to South Africa, she knows that she does not love the man she is to marry there—her fiance Edward, whom she has not seen for five years. Isolated and estranged in a small town in the harsh Karoo desert, her only real companions are her diary and her housemaid, and later the housemaid's daughter, Ada. When Ada is born, Cathleen recognizes in her someone she can love and respond to in a way that she cannot with her own family.

Under Cathleen’s tutelage, Ada grows into an accomplished pianist and a reader who cannot resist turning the pages of the diary, discovering the secrets Cathleen sought to hide. As they grow closer, Ada sees new possibilities in front of her—a new horizon. But in one night, everything changes, and Cathleen comes home from a trip to find that Ada has disappeared, scorned by her own community. Cathleen must make a choice: should she conform to society, or search for the girl who has become closer to her than her own daughter?

Set against the backdrop of a beautiful, yet divided land, The Housemaid's Daughter is a startling and thought-provoking novel that intricately portrays the drama and heartbreak of two women who rise above cruelty to find love, hope, and redemption.

Giveaway!


Books à la Mode is giving away
 one finished copy of The Housemaid's Daughter—yay!!


To enter, all you have to do is tell me:
What are three things you are grateful for today?
For me:
  1. Having been able to wake up this morning without hitting snooze 2329358 times
  2. Peanut butter—I eat it by the spoonful... sometimes even as meals, like I did today (oops)
  3. Mild California winter climates—I hail from New England where I'm used to dreadful winters! It's a nice change ;)
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. Barbara 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 January 20th 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!