March 24, 2015

INTERVIEW WITH MARIA LICARI

I was able to interview Maria Licari, an amazing makeup artist who did the makeup for Robert Schwentke and his family for the Insurgent NYC Premiere! Check her out here.

I, knowing nothing about makeup, so this interview taught me a lot and was extremely interesting! Hope you all like it.

Question 1: What inspired you to become a hair and makeup artist? 
ML: I loved playing with hair and makeup since I was a little girl. I would get pure joy out of making people look and feel beautiful. Even if at 6 years old it was not my best work, my family would act as if they absolutely loved it. Their reaction thrilled me and I knew instantly that I could do this for the rest of my life. 

Question 2: For those of us who don’t know much about hair and makeup, could you explain the process of doing makeup on males for premieres? 
ML: We call it men's grooming. That includes cutting/trimming/styling their hair as well as neatening up any facial hair and eyebrows. Followed by mositurizer to brighten and smooth the skin, I also like to conceal any dark under eye circles and/or blemishes on the skin. Lastly a touch of powder to remove shine and a dab of bronzer to give a healthy skin glow. 

Question 3: What is your favorite part of being a hair and makeup artist? 
ML: I have 2 favorite parts. I love that I get to be creative and artsy as I am an artist at heart. Also, I love that I get to build such great relationships with my clients. They trust me with their appearance and we bond over deep conversations during the process. 

Question 4: Do you have any advice for aspiring hair and makeup artists? 
ML: My best advice is to always continue to work hard no matter how far you've come, stay fresh and up to date with new trends, build relationships with as many people in the industry and always leave your clients with a positive memory of you. They will never forget how great you made them feel and they'll come back for more. 

Question 5: If you weren’t a hair and makeup artist what would you be?
ML: Thats a hard question considering I am so happy and passionate about what I do. I would most likely be anything that involves making people feel great. I have always been a people pleaser. I would be a "life motivator" if that is at all considered a career. Lol 

Question 6: Has there been anyone who has inspired you throughout your career?
ML: Yes, Mark Townsend! He is my mentor, extremely talented celebrity hairstylist, and a great friend of mine. Not only has he inspired me to grow as an artist, he also taught me alot of what I need to know to survive in this industry. Not to mention for someone who has had such incredible opportunities, he is the most humble and genuine person I know. 

March 18, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) by Sarah J. Maas

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine , that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Release Date: May 5th 2015


A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

Whats your "waiting on" this week?

March 16, 2015

Insurgent Early Screening

I am extremely excited that I will be attending an early screening of 'Insurgent' tonight! 
Thanks to my awesome dad, who got us tickets due to a company he owns. 
I will be posting daily updates on my Instagram @insurgentofficiall.
My spoiler free review of the movie will be up on my youtube and blog sometime this week! 

March 14, 2015

Review: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Title: All the Bright Places
Author: Jennifer Niven
Published: January 6th 2015 by Knopf
Pages: 388
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mental Illness
Source: Purchased
Format: Ebook
My Rating:
Buy it | Goodreads 
The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.Soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning!

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven 

I started out not liking this book. I found Finch very strange and Violet boring. As I progressed through I started to love it so much more then I expected, and I really connected to the story. A heartbreaking tale that I found nothing like Eleanor and Park meeting The Fault in Our Stars.

Lets talk about some of my favorite things:

“There’s no rush of having survived, only emptiness, and lungs that need air, and wet hair sticking to my face.”
“And then I go up to my room, climb onto a chair, and contemplate the mechanics of hanging. The problem is that I’m too tall and the ceiling is too low. There’s always the basement, but no one ever goes down there, and it could be weeks, maybe even months, before Mom and my sisters would find me.”
“I know life well enough to know you can’t count on things staying around or standing still, no matter how much you want them to. You can’t stop people from dying. You can’t stop them from going away. You can’t stop yourself from going away either. I know myself well enough to know that no one else can keep you awake or keep you from sleeping. That’s all on me too.”
“The thing I know about bipolar disorder is that it’s a label. One you give crazy people. I know this because I’ve taken junior-year psychology and I’ve seen movies and I’ve watched my father in action for almost eighteen years, even though you could never slap a label on him because he would kill you. Labels like “bipolar” say This is why you are the way you are. This is who you are. They explain people away as illnesses.”
I'm going to stop myself with the quotes, because I could keep going with Finch forever. The way he viewed the world and his death was so mechanical sometimes, but at other times he was able to find beauty in the most unique things. I related to him so much more than I thought I would and he left me with my heart broken and tears in my eyes. For me, Finch is a Twenty One Pilots album. I can relate practically every single song from them to him. I cannot explain how vivid my mental picture of him was and how deep my understanding and love for him went.

All the Bright Places also exemplifies the struggles that teens have to face in trying to find themselves  while dealing with labels and bullying, in some cases, in such a legitimate way.

Violet wasn't anything special to me. I found the "lost her sister in a tragic accident" trope not done in a very unique way and I couldn't connect to Violet as I did Finch. The final chapters in Violets point of view even bored me a tad. I did enjoy her development, but the true heart of the story was Finch.

I am extremely glad All the Bright Places is soon to become a major motion picture because seeing this on the big screen, a grittier tale of teenagers dealing with death and suicide in such a real way is something that needs to be seen. It surely has the potential to impact many people if done the right way.

This new trend of YA authors addressing these previously untouched topics in a much more realistic light is extremely enjoyable for me. I enjoy reading gritty stories about characters struggling with these intense, very serious mental illnesses because it is when I relate the most to them, and for me I tend to enjoy books much more when I can identify with the characters.

“The thing I realize is, that it's not what you take, it's what you leave.”
― Jennifer Niven, All the Bright Places

March 13, 2015

Review: In the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken

Title: In The Afterlight (The Darkest Minds #3) 
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Genres: Young Adult, Dystopia
Release Date: October 28th, 2014
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Ruby can't look back. Fractured by an unbearable loss, she and the kids who survived the government's attack on Los Angeles travel north to regroup. With them is a prisoner: Clancy Gray, son of the president, and one of the few people Ruby has encountered with abilities like hers. Only Ruby has any power over him, and just one slip could lead to Clancy wreaking havoc on their minds. 

They are armed only with a volatile secret: proof of a government conspiracy to cover up the real cause of IAAN, the disease that has killed most of America's children and left Ruby and others like her with powers the government will kill to keep contained. But internal strife may destroy their only chance to free the "rehabilitation camps" housing thousands of other Psi kids.

Meanwhile, reunited with Liam, the boy she would-and did-sacrifice everything for to keep alive, Ruby must face the painful repercussions of having tampered with his memories of her. She turns to Cole, his older brother, to provide the intense training she knows she will need to take down Gray and the government. But Cole has demons of his own, and one fatal mistake may be the spark that sets the world on fire.

In the Afterlight was an amazing conclusion to the Darkest Minds trilogy. I found myself going from laughter to tears. It was also very bittersweet for me, as this is one of my all time favorite trilogies, and I will miss Ruby, Liam, Chubs, Zu and Vida.

Ruby and Liam went through some rough patches in this book, which I know bothered a lot of people.  It mostly had to do with Ruby keeping everything to herself. If the two of them just would have communicated they could have resolved everything, but they didn't. I found it really realistic and understandable, although frustrating. Teens are angsty and don't typically communicate or let others know whats bothering them until they reach this boiling point where they finally let everything out, and this was a prime example of that. As always though, Liam was so adorable and swoon worthy.

There were some very intense, high action scenes which I really appreciated. Many times the third book in a trilogy lacks action, but In the Afterlight certainly did not.  I was at the edge of my seat, especially toward the end of the book. There were also some pretty disturbing scenes at the end that really just added to demonstrating the cruelty of some of the people in the world, but there were heartwarming ones too.

Overall, I am so sad that The Darkest Minds Series is over, but In the Afterlight was a fantastic, quick paced conclusion to an intense trilogy.

March 12, 2015

Review: OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu

Title: OCD Love Story
Author: Corey Ann Haydu
Genre: Mental Illness 
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Source: Purchased

When Bea meets Beck, she knows instantly that he’s her kind of crazy. Sweet, strong, kinda-messed-up Beck understands her like no one else can. He makes her feel almost normal. He makes her feel like she could fall in love again.

But despite her feelings for Beck, Bea can’t stop thinking about someone else: a guy who is gorgeous and magnetic... and has no idea Bea even exists. But Bea knows a lot about him. She spends a lot of time watching him. She has a journal full of notes. Some might even say she’s obsessed.

Bea tells herself she’s got it all under control. But this isn’t a choice, it’s a compulsion. The truth is, she’s breaking down...and she might end up breaking her own heart.

My Thoughts: 

Told with heart, OCD Love Story is a gritty tale of life with OCD. I really enjoyed this book. The author encompasses the struggles of OCD, and represents many diverse obsessions and compulsions that I have not seen in other books I've read about OCD.

This book also made me think about the struggles people who have OCD in real life have to undergo. OCD Love Story was very hard to read at times, and I think that was because of how accurately OCD was represented. (I don't personally have OCD but from what I've read on it, and from reading other reviews of this book that come from people who have OCD it seemed to be an accurate representation.)

I also really enjoyed the interactions between Beck (who I wanted to give a huge hug to) and Bea. I wanted them together from the start even though their relationship was cute but awkward, and even hard to read at times. I felt it demonstrated how OCD effects every aspect of life. 

OCD Love Story is no easy read. Don't pick this up if you are looking for a light-hearted and quirky contemporary. The focus is not on the "love story" that the title alludes to, but the OCD. For those looking for a more serious, heavy, contemporary with a focus on mental illness, this is for you. Although hard to read, it is a must read that stayed with me for a while. OCD isn't something light, or something to be romanticized, it is a serious mental illness, and thats exactly how it was handled in OCD Love Story. 


March 11, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne







Title:  The Wrong Side of Right
Author: Jenn Marie Thorne 
Release Date: March 17th 2015 

Fans of Sarah Dessen and Huntley Fitzpatrick will enjoy this smart debut young adult novel, equal parts My Life Next Door and The Princess Diaries—plus a dash of Aaron Sorkin.

Kate Quinn’s mom died last year, leaving Kate parentless and reeling. So when the unexpected shows up in her living room, Kate must confront another reality she never thought possible—or thought of at all. Kate does have a father. He’s a powerful politician. And he’s running for U.S. President. Suddenly, Kate’s moving in with a family she never knew she had, joining a campaign in support of a man she hardly knows, and falling for a rebellious boy who may not have the purest motives. This is Kate’s new life. But who is Kate? When what she truly believes flies in the face of the campaign’s talking points, she must decide. Does she turn to the family she barely knows, the boy she knows but doesn’t necessarily trust, or face a third, even scarier option?

Set against a backdrop of politics, family, and first love, this is a story of personal responsibility, complicated romance, and trying to discover who you are even as everyone tells you who you should be.

Whats your "waiting on" this week!? 







March 10, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books For Readers Who Like Contemporary (3)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week bloggers post a top ten list related to a specific theme. This week's theme is Ten Books For Readers Who Like ____

These are my recommendations for those who like contemporaries. Warning, some are heavier than others.

1. Anna and the French Kiss Trilogy by Stephanie Perkins

2. Ugly Love by Collleen Hoover

3. Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

4. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

5. Return to Paradise by Simone Elkeles

6. Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles

7. Hopeless by Coleen Hoover

8. If I Stay by Gayle Forman

9. Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern

10. The Lux Series by Jennifer L. Armentrout (this is more of a sci-fi/contemporary)

March 8, 2015

Review: I Was Here by Gayle Forman

Title: I Was Here
Author: Gayle Forman
Genre: Contemporary, Mental Illness
Source: Purchased
Cody and Meg were inseparable.
Two peas in a pod.
Until . . . they weren’t anymore.

When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.

I Was Here is Gayle Forman at her finest, a taut, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story about redefining the meaning of family and finding a way to move forward even in the face of unspeakable loss
Thoughts:
I enjoyed I Was Here. The characters and plot intrigued me, but I didn’t exactly feel anything. I don’t mean that as a bad thing, it was still a good book, it just didn’t invoke many emotions. 

Ben McAllister. Ben was my favorite character. He was so charming and I loved his interactions with Cody. Although he's made out to be a player, the more we get to know him the sweeter he seems.

Cody. I liked Cody, but Cody becomes obsessed with tracking down someone Meg, her best friend who committed suicide, was talking to on a suicide support group website. I was extremely worried for her safety, and it seemed like her journey was going to end badly.

Cody and Trisha. Trisha is Cody's mom. She's a single parent and Cody was pretty much an accident. It seems like Trisha still doesn't want Cody, but their relationship really progresses throughout the novel. I loved seeing them come closer together.

Plot Twist. The plot twist wasn't that much of a twist for me, as I predicted it pretty early on in the novel.

The authors note at the end of the book is a nice add-on, which I recommend going back and reading if you skimmed over it.

I Was Here was a good book, but I would rate it as my least favorite Gayle Forman book so far.

March 7, 2015

Review: Ask the Passengers by A.S. King

Title: The Raven Boys
Author: A.S. King
Pages: 304
My Rating: ★★★★


Astrid Jones desperately wants to confide in someone, but her mother's pushiness and her father's lack of interest tell her they're the last people she can trust. Instead, Astrid spends hours lying on the backyard picnic table watching airplanes fly overhead. She doesn't know the passengers inside, but they're the only people who won't judge her when she asks them her most personal questions--like what it means that she's falling in love with a girl.In this truly original portrayal of a girl struggling to break free of society's definitions, Printz Honor author A.S. King asks readers to question everything--and offers hope to those who will never stop seeking real love. As her secret relationship becomes more intense and her friends demand answers, Astrid has nowhere left to turn. She can't share the truth with anyone except the people at thirty thousand feet, and they don't even know she's there. But little does Astrid know just how much even the tiniest connection will affect these strangers' lives--and her own--for the better.

Ask the Passengers is only my second LGBT read and although I found it contained a few popular tropes, it had extremely original elements such as magical realism. For those who don’t know, magical realism is when magical or unreal elements play a natural part in a realistic environment. I really enjoyed how A.S. King incorporated it and it was extremely well done. Ask the Passengers dealt with important issues, such as expectations in society and the pressure and stress they caused, and coming out to family and friends. Astrid was a great protagonist, she was snippy but thoughtful and I found her “sending her love” to the people on the plane very original and nicely executed. Another thing I enjoyed was how not one of the characters were one-dimensional, they were each diverse and had their own plethora of issues. After Ask the Passengers I definitely plan on reading more from A.S. King.

March 6, 2015

Review: Don't Touch by Rachel M. Wilson


Title: Don’t Touch
Author: Rachel M. Wilson
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Mental Illness
Release Date: September 2nd, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
Step on a crack, break your mother's back,
Touch another person's skin, and Dad's gone for good . . .
 Caddie has a history of magical thinking—of playing games in her head to cope with her surroundings—but it's never been this bad before.
 When her parents split up, Don't touch becomes Caddie's mantra. Maybe if she keeps from touching another person's skin, Dad will come home. She knows it doesn't make sense, but her games have never been logical. Soon, despite Alabama's humidity, she's covering every inch of her skin and wearing evening gloves to school.

And that's where things get tricky. Even though Caddie's the new girl, it's hard to pass off her compulsions as artistic quirks. Friends notice things. Her drama class is all about interacting with her scene partners, especially Peter, who's auditioning for the role of Hamlet. Caddie desperately wants to play Ophelia, but if she does, she'll have to touch Peter . . . and kiss him. Part of Caddie would love nothing more than to kiss Peter—but the other part isn't sure she's brave enough to let herself fall. 
From rising star Rachel M. Wilson comes a powerful, moving debut novel of the friendship and love that are there for us, if only we'll let them in.


My Review: I love YA novels that deal with real issues without romanticizing or glossing over them. I want to see the good and the bad and the happy and the sad. I want to feel the pain and the anxiety right along with that character. I want to be drawn into their brain, seeing their though processes no matter how frustrating it may be- and with books like this it can get very frustrating. Needless to say, this book gave me everything I wanted and more.



I loved Peter and Mandy. Peter was understanding and patient, but not to the extent where it was unbelievable. Obviously, when you have a mental disorder and are refraining from telling anyone about it while continuing irrational behaviors, people are bound to be confused and upset. Anyone who didn’t react in a negative way at some point would seem unrealistic, to me, at least. I was also able to connect to Mandy more than I thought I would. Imagine loosing your best friend, getting her back knowing something is wrong, wanting to be there for her, wanting her to confide in you, but having her push you away and keep secrets when all you want to do is help. It would hurt, and as much as you try to be understanding, there’s only so much you can take. The two were both very realistic to me, trying to help but also getting frustrated, rightfully so, at some points.


Many people disliked this book because they didn’t understand; they didn’t get how Caddie was keeping it to herself or how come she couldn’t just get over her problems. I think that’s an extremely invalid reason for disliking it, because it isn’t that hard to understand why Caddie couldn’t get tell anyone. When you have a mental disorder, its typically uncomfortable for you to ask for help or to open up about it. You don’t know how people will react. You have no idea if they’ll judge you, hate you, think your weird, or stop speaking to you. It’s nerve-wracking. Also, many people think the book could have been wrapped up in 100 pages or that Caddie could have gotten over her issues quicker. OCD isn’t something there’s a quick fix for, it’s a serious issue that takes time.

I loved the setting of the book, and the role Hamlet played in everything. Caddie was essentially trying to see if she was or wasn’t Ophelia through the whole book and I really enjoyed it.

Mental health is a serious issue to tackle, and Rachel Wilson did a great job with it, especially since she’s dealt with anxiety and OCD herself. Her author’s note at the end is not something to be skipped over. I am grateful that there are more and more books entering the YA genre about mental illnesses, books that are showing the real side of these diseases. I think we need them. Partially, for some readers to know that they aren’t alone and for others to gain more insight on serious topics.

Don’t Touch was a wonderful debut novel by Rachel Wilson, and it had a great balance. Never too sad or heavy, and the perfect amount of humor with the right amount of seriousness.