9.22.2022

BOOK REVIEW: To Fetch a Felon {A Chatty Corgi Mystery Book} by Jennifer Hawkins



I have to give a huge cheers to Amazon for recommending Jennifer Hawkins' To Fetch a Felon {A Chatty Corgi Mystery Book, # 1} to me, because I likely would have never unearthed this gem on my own, which would have been devastating because it. is. fabulous. Y'all, I was practically raised by Rita Mae Brown's Mrs. Murphy Mysteries, so to find another series with such a prevalent animal presence {with the added bonus of human owner and Corgi literally being able to communicate with one another} is legit the best thing ever. Chef's kiss.

Fed up with watching her less-experienced male co-workers earn raises and promotions while she does the legwork in her London-based high finance position, forty-something Emma Reed elects to call it quits and finally do something that sets her soul on fire. Packing up her beloved Corgi, Oliver, along with her posh flat, Emma abandons London for Trevena, an idyllic village nestled in Cornwall. Here, Emma has hopes to open a village tea shop wherein she brings her grandmother's baked goods recipes into the spotlight as they so rightly deserve. With its cobblestone walkways and lush greenery, Trevena also provides enough exploratory spaces to sate talking Oliver's curiosity. Did you catch that there? The talking Oliver - because Oliver can, indeed, talk; and Emma is the only one who can communicate with him.

While on an explore the 'hood excursion with Oliver, the protective pup races into the garden of one Victoria Roberts, eager to catch a sly fox cavorting about; but instead irking the village curmudgeon. Victoria dislikes dogs, abhors most of the village residents, and owns just about all of Trevena - including Penhallow's, the old tea shop that Emma is eager to revive. Convinced that she's gotten off on the wrong foot with Victoria, Emma makes winning her over her absolute mission. Thus, armed with an assortment of homemade scones, Emma and Oliver head to Victoria's to make amends by way of tasty treats, only to stumble upon Victoria lying dead in her kitchen.

Oliver, in his own peculiar way, knows immediately that Victoria died not of natural causes, but rather, the victim of murder - an observation that makes Emma eager to solve the crime. After all, newcomer or not, as an individual with a vested interest in the deceased's property, as well being the finder of the body, Emma is every bit a suspect as everyone else. Luckily for her, many of the villagers are far more suspect. Take, for example, the visiting writer, Parker Taite, who is obviously hiding something; the hungry real estate agent, Maggie Trenwith, eager to make deals with developers but stopped at every turn by Victoria; or Jimmy, Victoria's down on his luck nephew. It seems all of Trevena had a bone to pick with Victoria. Now all Emma and Oliver need to do is uncover which of the many suspects is the true culprit - all before they find themselves next on the killer's list.

I truly did not know I would adore this story as much as I did, but Jennifer Hawkins positively captured my heart with this perfectly charming cozy. At first, upon learning the extent of Emma's ability to communicate with Oliver, I {wrongly} assumed that Emma could merely turn to Oliver, ask him who the killer was, and be done with it; however, that was most certainly not the case. Hawkins was incredibly clever in showing the difficulties Oliver had in relaying information regarding individuals to Emma. Unlike humans, Oliver, as a dog, doesn't merely refer to human beings by name or description as we do; rather, he relies upon scent, sounds, tastes...elements that were not so black and white in sharing with Emma, and became a source of frustration for him at times. This communication barrier truly created an added bonus of mystery, and made for an intriguing inclusion of dialogue.

As for the characters...I was quite charmed by all of them. Emma is such an easy to relate to, down to earth character; while Oliver himself gives off true Paddington vibes {like I legitimately could hear Paddington's voice whenever I read his lines}. The relationship between the two is so sweet and heartwarming. The rest of the villagers, from Emma's insta-BFF Genny Knowles to the kindhearted Angelique and her daughter Pearl, are such wonderful additions to the cast - each bringing their own personalities and quirks to the forefront to make you feel at home while nestled between the pages. Needless to say, I have already downloaded Murder Always Barks Twice {A Chatty Corgi Mystery Book, # 2} to my Kindle, and cannot wait to dig in. Brava Ms. Hawkins!


Star Rating: *****


xx
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9.19.2022

NOTD: ZOYA Metallic Dreams Nail Lacquer Collection in Amara

One coat of ZOYA Nail Polish in Amara. Metallic Chocolate Brown.

Hello gorgeous! OMG babes this beauty is so good for fall.

Amara is a rich metallic chocolate brown with copper undertones that is, essentially, fall in a bottle. I legit cannot stop staring at my nails - it is that good! Amara has an out of this world formula. She applies like. a. dream. The best part? She is a one coat wonder. Pretty sure this gorgeous gal is going to rule my autumn polish game!

xx

Disclaimer: Cat Eyes & Skinny Jeans occasionally receives vendor/ brand sponsorships for mentioning their products and services.
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9.15.2022

OPI Fall Wonders Mini Nail Lacquer Collection Swatches + Review

After a long summer of rainbow brights, I was craving autumn-inspired colors, so I could not pass up OPI's Fall Wonders Mini Nail Lacquer 4-Pack. Y'all, this quartet is snatched. From the vampy darks to the moody neutrals, this is one collection that perfectly transitions your tips from vibrant summer shades to the muted tones of fall. The obsession is real.

Midnight Mantra is a Dark Navy Blue Creme. Y'all, I didn't realize just how ready for fall I was until I applied this beauty to my nails, but now all I can say is bring on the sweater weather! Midnight Mantra is a delicious dark navy blue creme that appears teal after coat one, but really develops that delectable, deep, almost black navy appeal after coat two. For a shade that is so dark, the formula here was so simple to work with - no gravitating to cuticles or nail beds, just an easy peasy two coat and fast dry and you're good to go. Vampy babes you need this in your collection pronto! This is 2 coats.

Suzi Takes A Sound Bath is a Blue Pearlized Creme.Le sigh...babes, this color is sending me. Suzi Takes A Sound Bath is a brilliant blue pearlized creme that, TBH, I didn't even realize was pearlized until I had applied it to my nails. This beauty has major shine, and is truly the perfect color for transitioning from the brights of summer to the deeps of fall. Formula and application was flawless. Seriously obsessing over this one ladies - you need it in your life! This is 2 coats.

Red-Veal Your Truth is a Red Creme. Red for fall? Groundbreaking. I couldn't resist. #sorrynotsorry.

Red-Veal Your Truth is a ravishing red creme that isn't unique to the polish world, but would make a stunning addition to your collection due to the fact that the formula is amazing! This beauty dries in what feels like seconds, and leaves behind an absolutely gorgeous finish. Insert heart hands here. This is 2 coats.

Peace of Mined is a Gray Creme. Is it just me, or has gray become such a rarity in the polish world? Peace of Mined is a calming gray creme that makes you feel all of the ohm vibes whenever you take a peek at your tips. This one is such a breeze to work with - applying smoothly in seconds. NGL, it is on the sheer side, so you may need a third coat {or a heavier hand} during application; but the finish is phenomenal. Absolutely loving this color for the start of fall! This is 2 coats.


AVAILABILITY: Ulta.

PRICE: $17.90 for the 4PC Mini Set; $10.79 for each full-size bottle
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xx
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9.12.2022

NOTD: ZOYA Nail Polish in Angel

Three coats of ZOYA Nail Polish in Angel. Iridescent Pink Overlay.

Anything named Angel is an instant win for me because it reminds me of my now deceased furbaby of the same name; but this one is so good y'all!

Angel is a dreamy iridescent pink overlay that mixes pink, periwinkle, and gold glitter into one bottle to create this gorgeous gem of a glitter bomb. NGL, I probably should have used this as a top coat, but I was in the mood for serious sparkle so I decided to rock it on its own. Application was fantastic! It does require three coats to reach full opacity; but the effect is stunning, with a shift that moves from gold to pink and back again. If glitter is your kryptonite you need this beauty in your life!

xx

Disclaimer: Cat Eyes & Skinny Jeans occasionally receives vendor/ brand sponsorships for mentioning their products and services.
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9.08.2022

BOOK REVIEW: Chapter and Curse {Cambridge Bookshop # 1} by Elizabeth Penney



I can't say whether it was the promise of a charming English village or the vintage bookshop occupied by a cat that drew me in; but somehow I stumbled upon Elizabeth Penney's Chapter and Curse {Cambridge Bookshop, # 1} and I absolutely had to delve into it. While Chapter and Curse did bring me both of those things {as well as a colorful cast of characters}; it failed to charm me enough to want to continue on with the series. Nevertheless, I do highly recommend to those who want an easy to follow cozy with a cast of characters who feel like old friends.

Since the death of her father, part-time librarian Molly Kimball and her British mother, Nina, have felt a strong sense of emptiness in their lives. So strong, in fact, that they feel that they need some sort of change to move forward. When they unexpectedly receive a letter from Nina's Aunt Violet in Cambridge, England requesting their help in running the family bookshop, Thomas Marlowe - Manuscripts and Folios, they see it as a bit of fate, and promptly leave their Vermont home for the UK. Nina has always been tight-lipped about her family, so Molly is headed directly into the unknown; but she is eager for a new adventure, and more than happy to oblige.

Though ramshackle by outward appearances, Thomas Marlowe, is one of Cambridge's oldest bookshops, brimming with rare odds and ends that collectors flock to. It is Aunt Violet's hope that Nina and Molly can inject a bit of youth into the business - bringing it into the digital age with ecommerce and social media; while helping to repair some of the more...crumbly bits. Oddly enough, Nina and Molly's arrival coincides with the Cambridge Literary Festival, allowing Molly to begin her Thomas Marlowe update immediately. Eager to capitalize on the flashy festival, and draw crowds and new customers to Thomas Marlowe, Molly invites Aunt Violet's old college classmate and famed poet, Persephone Brightwell, to the shop for a poetry reading. The reading itself turns out to be a smash, but ends on a low note when a guest is found dead. The murder weapon? Aunt Violet's pink knitting needle.

With Aunt Violet now a prime suspect in the senseless murder, Molly is determined to not only clear her name, but keep the struggling Thomas Marlowe afloat at the same time. Doing so, however, will take more resolve than she expected, as she must turn to the past to unravel secrets directly correlated to the present involving lies, blackmail, and murder. And in the midst of her amateur sleuthing, she may just have a moment or two to canoodle with cutie Kieran - resident tabloid fodder scion of a titled family turned bike shop owner who has an eye for Molly, and a desire for a simple life sans paparazzi.

Le sigh...I had such high hopes for this book, but they quickly dissipated when I was able to not only pinpoint the murderer but unravel the entire decades old mystery in just a few short chapters, leaving me to watch for ages as the overeager Molly chased after incorrect theories and suspects, before finally figuring it all out correctly in the very end. Admittedly, I am rather good at solving mysteries prior to the MC; but this one was so obviously drawn that it felt too easy. Had the characters been more appealing, I would have at least enjoyed their antics; however, I was unenthused by the cast here.

Molly, though supposedly a young adult {in her twenties, I believe} comes off as very immature at times. Though she is likable; she oftentimes reminds me of a 14-year-old as opposed to an adult. She has very little depth; and though there are some things about her that are appealing, she doesn't have the ability to carry the story. Adding to that, the whole meet cute storyline involving Kieran is a bit much, as his character, and the whole paparazzi deal simply does not fit in with this book. In fact, Kieran and his titled family seem fit for another story altogether. I may be in the minority when I say this, but while I find the Cambridge, England atmosphere quite charming, I will not be returning, as there simply isn't enough here for me to want to continue on. Womp womp.


Star Rating: ***


xx
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9.05.2022

NOTD: OPI Fall Wonders Nail Lacquer Collection in Red-Veal Your Truth

Two coats of OPI Fall Wonders Nail Lacquer Collection in Red-Veal Your Truth. Red Creme.

Red for fall? Groundbreaking. I couldn't resist. #sorrynotsorry.

Red-Veal Your Truth is a ravishing red creme that isn't unique to the polish world, but would make a stunning addition to your collection due to the fact that the formula is amazing! This beauty dries in what feels like seconds, and leaves behind an absolutely gorgeous finish. Insert heart hands here.

xx
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9.01.2022

sugar plum

Avec Les Filles Shawl Collar Coat in SUGAR PLUM.

Getting major Upper East Side vibes off this stunner.

xx
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8.29.2022

NOTD: ZOYA Nail Polish in Maddy

Two coats of ZOYA Nail Polish in Maddy. Flamingo pink creme.

These pastel pink cremes will never fail to slay me. Obsessed!

Maddy is a preppy pastel dubbed as a flamingo pink creme that is a total wear now, wear later shade in that it is perfection for summer as well as the winter months when pastels just make sense. This one had an immaculate formula - gaining opacity in two simple coats and maintaining no chips, no tipwear status for the full week that I wore it. Highly recommended for you pink ladies.

xx

Disclaimer: Cat Eyes & Skinny Jeans occasionally receives vendor/ brand sponsorships for mentioning their products and services.
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8.25.2022

BOOK REVIEW: By Book or By Crook {Lighthouse Library Mystery # 1} by Eva Gates



NGL here, I put off reading Eva Gates' By Book or By Crook {Lighthouse Library Mystery, # 1} for quite some time because my track record with cozy mysteries as of late has been...well, for lack of better words, a literal dumpster fire. That said, I enjoyed this one. It did take me a few chapters to warm up to the characters and pacing; but I enjoyed it enough where Book 2 is a definite possibility in my future.

Lucy Richardson has spent a decade working at the prestigious Harvard Library, but when she's proposed to by a guy she's not head over heels for, leading her to decline, her wealthy family flips, and she decides that change is needed in her life - pronto! Packing her bags, Lucy resigns from her position, and retreats to the Outer Banks - a charming small town that she summered at as a child. There she connects with her Aunt Ellen, and cousin Josie, hoping to clear her head, and drown her sorrows in calorie-laden confections from Josie's bakery. Though only expected to be a short stay, when Lucy is offered a position at the Bodie Lighthouse Library by head librarian Bertie, she immediately accepts and elects to turn her vacation destination into her permanent home. But not everyone on Bodie Island is thrilled about Lucy's arrival - or insta job offer.

Enter Louise Jane. With no college education to back her, it would be impossible to hire her on as a librarian; but she is convinced that no one deserves the job more than her. In fact, in her eyes, Lucy stole the position from her; therefore, Louise Jane will stop at nothing to take it back - including manipulating the library board to see things her way. Despite knowing that Louise Jane and the library board are out for blood, Lucy refuses to back away from her newly secured post - especially since Bodie is currently hosting a Jane Austen exhibit featuring a slew of rare and expensive first editions. It is during the big reveal party of this exhibit to friends of the library that disaster strikes in the form of the chair of the library board being discovered dead. And Bertie being the prime suspect for his murder.

Given the fact that the deceased was one of Lucy's greatest naysayers, and felt as if her position should be eliminated, and Bertie was one of Lucy's biggest supporters has placed Lucy in a bit of a bind. Feeling as if she is to blame for Bertie's arrest, she resolves to do a bit of amateur sleuthing to uncover the real killer, and clear Bertie's name. But as Jane Austen first editions begin disappearing from the locked exhibit while under Lucy's watch, she finds herself being viewed by some as a thief, and realizes that if she doesn't find the true culprit quickly, she may be the next one behind bars - or worse...dead.

As with most cozy mysteries, By Book or By Crook does not come without its share of flaws. For one, many of the characters are difficult to warm up to. While I loved the children's librarian, Ronald, along with the free-spirited Josie; I found both Bertie and research librarian, Charlene, hard to like. For me, Charles, the library cat, was the true star of the book; though he didn't get nearly as much page time as the love triangle involving Lucy, Connor, and Butch - of which I am grossly uninterested in. Additionally, the relationship between Louise Jane and Poor Andrew is incredibly...odd, and something that comes off as very juvenile - circa middle school or high school.

All of that said, there were times when I really enjoyed Lucy, and felt that her personality resonated with mine - enough so that I will take book two, Booked for Trouble {Lighthouse Library Mystery, # 2}, for a spin. I only hope that we see more of Charles and Josie in the next installment.


Star Rating: ***1/2


xx
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8.22.2022

NOTD: OPI Fall Wonders Nail Lacquer Collection in Suzi Takes A Sound Bath

Two coats of OPI Fall Wonders Nail Lacquer Collection in Suzi Takes A Sound Bath. Blue Pearlized Creme.

Le sigh...babes, this color is sending me.

Suzi Takes A Sound Bath is a brilliant blue pearlized creme that, TBH, I didn't even realize was pearlized until I had applied it to my nails. This beauty has major shine, and is truly the perfect color for transitioning from the brights of summer to the deeps of fall. Formula and application was flawless. Seriously obsessing over this one ladies - you need it in your life!

xx
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8.18.2022

saturday

Free People Saturday Cotton Crop Shirt Jacket in LAZY BONES.

I love a good shacket sitch. The cropped aesthetic of this cutie makes it ideal for summer to fall transitions. Total crave!

xx
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8.15.2022

NOTD: ZOYA Nail Polish in Joanie

Two coats of ZOYA Nail Polish in Joanie. Tulip pink creme.

This color y'all. Seriously, it may be my new. favorite. pink.

Joanie is a darling tulip pink creme that brings out your tan and looks utterly charming as a mani/pedi combo. This cutie shocked me with her level of opacity. I honestly thought she would require more than two coats, but she applied lush and opaque in just two {and could have been a OCW had I applied with a heavier hand}. This one will be in heavy rotation for spring, summer, and winter. Love!

xx

Disclaimer: Cat Eyes & Skinny Jeans occasionally receives vendor/ brand sponsorships for mentioning their products and services.
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8.11.2022

ZOYA Pink Palette Summer 2022 Collection Nail Lacquer Swatches + Review

It has been a minute since I've indulged in ZOYA nail polish; so when I received their Pink Palette Summer 2022 Collection Nail Lacquer in the mail, I had to bust that bad boy open pronto. Babes, despite the fact that I'm a picky pink polish collector {try saying that 3 times fast!}, this collection just spoke to me and allowed me to play with all of the pinks. Whether pink is your thang or not, you will love these shades; but, even more so, you will adore the fabulous formulas and out of this world incredible brushes. Barbie would totes approve of this collection; and girlies, so do I!

Angel is an Iridescent Pink Overlay. Anything named Angel is an instant win for me because it reminds me of my now deceased furbaby of the same name; but this one is so good y'all! Angel is a dreamy iridescent pink overlay that mixes pink, periwinkle, and gold glitter into one bottle to create this gorgeous gem of a glitter bomb. NGL, I probably should have used this as a top coat, but I was in the mood for serious sparkle so I decided to rock it on its own. Application was fantastic! It does require three coats to reach full opacity; but the effect is stunning, with a shift that moves from gold to pink and back again. If glitter is your kryptonite you need this beauty in your life! This is 3 coats.

Joanie is a Tulip Pink Creme. This color y'all. Seriously, it may be my new. favorite. pink. Joanie is a darling tulip pink creme that brings out your tan and looks utterly charming as a mani/pedi combo. This cutie shocked me with her level of opacity. I honestly thought she would require more than two coats, but she applied lush and opaque in just two {and could have been a OCW had I applied with a heavier hand}. This one will be in heavy rotation for spring, summer, and winter. Love! This is 2 coats.

Maddy is a Flamingo Pink Creme. These pastel pink cremes will never fail to slay me. Obsessed! Maddy is a preppy pastel dubbed as a flamingo pink creme that is a total wear now, wear later shade in that it is perfection for summer as well as the winter months when pastels just make sense. This one had an immaculate formula - gaining opacity in two simple coats and maintaining no chips, no tipwear status for the full week that I wore it. Highly recommended for you pink ladies. This is 2 coats.

Shannon is a Melon Pink Creme. This is my third ZOYA pink in the past month; and, dare I say it, my possible fave thus far! Shannon is a juicy melon pink creme that puts me in the mood for picnics, beach bonfires, and Disney days, oh my! The peachy undertones give it a flirty, playful vibe without making it feel juvenile; while the punchy color will make it perfect for manis or pedis all. summer. long. Formula is fab with a super simple application and 5+ days of wear. A must for all of you pink-loving boss babes! This is 2 coats.

Kay is a Bright Pink Creme. Ugh! Photographs are not doing this cutie any justice rn! Kay is a brilliant bright pink creme that would be right at home on Barbie's nails. This beauty is lighter in shade than her collection counterpart, Gigi, but features the same incredible formula. This one, unfortunately, bubbled on me a tiny bit; but it seriously wasn't dealbreaker territory. Especially since the staying power was so phenom! This is 2 coats.

Gigi is a Red Azalea Creme. OMG y'all this polish is phenomenal! Gigi is a gorgeous red azalea creme that legit plays tricks on your eyes - appearing hot coral pink at times, and red coral at others. Regardless of which version your eyes see, however, this color is TDF. The kind of TDF that makes you want to repeat-wear all summer long. True story. The formula here is straight up decadent, applying beautifully and drying at the speed of light. A very important thing to touch on here is that the brush is incredible - not too wide, not too slim, just perfect for achieving a model-worthy mani. Obsessed! This is 2 coats.


AVAILABILITY: ZOYA.

PRICE: $12.00 for each full-size bottle



xx

Disclaimer: Cat Eyes & Skinny Jeans occasionally receives vendor/ brand sponsorships for mentioning their products and services.
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8.08.2022

NOTD: OPI Fall Wonders Nail Lacquer Collection in Midnight Mantra

Two coats of OPI Fall Wonders Nail Lacquer Collection in Midnight Mantra. Dark Navy Blue Creme.

Y'all, I didn't realize just how ready for fall I was until I applied this beauty to my nails, but now all I can say is bring on the sweater weather!

Midnight Mantra is a delicious dark navy blue creme that appears teal after coat one, but really develops that delectable, deep, almost black navy appeal after coat two. For a shade that is so dark, the formula here was so simple to work with - no gravitating to cuticles or nail beds, just an easy peasy two coat and fast dry and you're good to go. Vampy babes you need this in your collection pronto!

xx
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8.04.2022

BOOK REVIEW: The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau



“The main thing is to pay attention. Pay close attention to everything, notice what no one else notices. Then you’ll know what no one else knows, and that’s always useful.”

I was substitute teaching in a fifth grade classroom earlier this year when I spotted a copy of Jeanne DuPrau's The City of Ember on every student's desk. Curiosity captured, I looked it up online once I got home, and downloaded a copy immediately to my Kindle. A dystopian story that feels all-too-possible-of-turning-reality given the current state of the nation, this is one bite sized story {I say this because I devoured it in a very short period of time} that lays the groundwork for a saga bursting with espionage and excitement, rumors and lies, and a journey to change the world forever as we know it.

Two hundred years ago, the city of Ember was constructed by builders to house the last of the human race after an unshared catastrophe wiped out the rest of the world - or so that is what Ember residents have been told. An underground, poverty-stricken locale that has captured the last of the light in the world, Ember is the saving grace of society; but as the great lamps that light the city begin to flicker, inhabitants start to worry - after all, should the great lamps fail to stay alight, the world is cast into darkness forever. But not all have lost hope.

Twelve-year-old Lina Mayfleet and her casual acquaintance/friend, Doon Harrow, have finally completed their schooling, and have reached the stage in their lives where they are assigned jobs. Neither, however, is content with the job that they received on Assignment Day. Lina has always longed to be a Messenger, but was assigned the boring task of Pipeworks Laborer; and Doon, fascinated with the innerworkings of Ember and determined to solve Ember's flickering lights problem, hopes nothing more than to be a Pipeworks Laborer, but draws the dreaded Messenger. Saddened by the luck of the draw, Lina and Doon trade jobs, so each has the assignment they desired, which sparks an unlikely friendship and exchanging of information.

Lina, as Messenger, spends her days racing across Ember, exchanging messages between recipients of both menial and extraordinary importance; while Doon spends his days in the underbelly of Ember, exploring secret caverns, and mysteries within. It is through their respective positions that they begin to uncover secrets about the only home they've ever known. Secrets about shortages and rations, the possibility of life beyond Ember, and the stealthy surplus and hoarding of goods by Ember's impassioned Mayor Cole. When Mayor Cole learns of Lina and Doon's knowledge, and their desire to expose him, the greedy politician begins a campaign to discredit the two, and imprison them. Now, they are forced to flee into the darkness to, hopefully, save themselves and the people of Ember from eternal darkness.

Y'all, I have said it once and I will say it again: it is hard reading dystopian novels in today's climate because so many things mirror reality; but I digress...they are engrossing. In comparison to series such as The Hunger Games or Divergent, The City of Ember is definitely tame in regards to violence; but this is Book One in a quartet, so that could change. This is a book that truly makes you question the excess of society, and teaches you to appreciate what you have - or, at least, that was my take-away. I can't say that I had strong feelings either way for Lina or Doon; however, again, it is book one, so those may develop over time. That said, I never warmed up to Katniss Everdeen or Peeta Mellark, so no guarantees. What I can guarantee, is that I will be reading Book Two, The People of Sparks, because I am truly itching to find out what lies beyond Ember.

If you're new to dystopians, this is a good introduction, as, compared to other dystopian releases in recent years, it's light and quickly read. If you're a seasoned dystopian reader, you may appreciate the slower pace and strong buildup to The People of Sparks. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, you should be able to find something, or someone, to root for!


Star Rating: ***1/2


xx
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8.01.2022

NOTD: ZOYA Nail Polish in Shannon

Two coats of ZOYA Nail Polish in Shannon. Melon pink creme.

This is my third ZOYA pink in the past month; and, dare I say it, my possible fave thus far!

Shannon is a juicy melon pink creme that puts me in the mood for picnics, beach bonfires, and Disney days, oh my! The peachy undertones give it a flirty, playful vibe without making it feel juvenile; while the punchy color will make it perfect for manis or pedis all. summer. long. Formula is fab with a super simple application and 5+ days of wear. A must for all of you pink-loving boss babes!

xx

Disclaimer: Cat Eyes & Skinny Jeans occasionally receives vendor/ brand sponsorships for mentioning their products and services.
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7.28.2022

BOOK REVIEW: Super Spinach {Adventures in Fosterland} by Hannah Shaw



“Heroes aren't built from cloth and string. They're built from bravery, and from love.”

When I tell you that I pre-ordered Hannah Shaw's Super Spinach {Adventures in Fosterland} back in October 2021, I am not kidding. Y'all, Hannah Shaw is like a quuen to me {and to all kitties} due to her incredible dedication and devotion to cats, so purchasing anything she publishes is a total no-brainer. Anyway...when this tale appeared on my porch on release day, delving into it immediately was a must; and let me tell you...it is the cutest. If you follow Hannah Shaw {aka Kitten Lady} on social media {which I'm assuming you do}, you likely already know the MCs from this book, Spinach and Chickpea; but seeing their rescue, rehabilitation, and adoption story played out in fiction is the type of treat that will be adored whether you're 1 or 100.

Spinach is not okay with being kept in her own cage at the animal shelter. While some may feel privileged to have their own sleeping space; Spinach feels completely left out. After all, the other kittens at the animal shelter get to spend their days batting crinkly balls about, climbing cat trees, and playing together, while she has to sit out on the sidelines, a silent observer. Spinach kind of understands the reason, she's not healthy like the other kittens and gets worn out very quickly; but that doesn't make her feel any less lonely.

When Spinach is evaluated by a veterinarian, she finally receives a life-changing diagnosis - Spinach has pectus excavatum, a congenital condition that causes the chest to be sunken. The veterinarian knows exactly how to fix Spinach up; and, after surgery, she finally has the ability to play, pounce, and jump! She also has something extra: a metal plate on her chest that has transformed her into...Super Spinach!

Soon Spinach is whisked off to Fosterland by a giant lady where she is provided with two very important things: 1) a variety of super-powered socks to protect her plate; and 2} a super sidekick named Chickpea. With her socks and sidekick with her at all times, Super Spinach is fearless. But then the unthinkable happens...Spinach's super suit socks are taken away, leaving her powerless. Now it's up to Spinach to rely on her powers from within rather than her super suit to save the day; but she may not be up for the challenge.

This book y'all...it put me in my feels. Seeing Spinach and Chickpea star in their own story was truly like a dream come true; and the fact that it was so full of adventure {and accompanied by the cutest illustrations ever!} truly made it that. much. better. For those who don't follow Hannah, The True Story of Spinach and Chickpea accompaniment at the end, along with the real-life photographs of this pawsome duo on the back cover are a welcome addition. I, for one, cannot wait to share this series with my students, as I am positive that they will adore it just as much as I did.

Side note: After reading this book, I realized that this is actually considered the second story in the series, with Emmett and Jez being book number one. If you, like me, make that error, don't sweat it. The books are not based on continuity, and can easily standalone. That said, make sure you buy them both because one dose of cuteness is definitely not enough. I'm now officially counting down the days for Book 3, Baby Badger, to hit shelves!


Star Rating: *****


xx
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7.25.2022

NOTD: ZOYA Nail Polish in Kay

Two coats of ZOYA Nail Polish in Kay. Bright pink creme.

Ugh! Photographs are not doing this cutie any justice rn!

Kay is a brilliant bright pink creme that would be right at home on Barbie's nails. This beauty is lighter in shade than her collection counterpart, Gigi, but features the same incredible formula. This one, unfortunately, bubbled on me a tiny bit; but it seriously wasn't dealbreaker territory. Especially since the staying power was so phenom!

xx

Disclaimer: Cat Eyes & Skinny Jeans occasionally receives vendor/ brand sponsorships for mentioning their products and services.
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7.21.2022

dune bug

Free People Dune Bug Zip-Up Cotton Cardigan in OVERBOARD {also available in WHITE SWAN}.

Seriously swooning over that crochet-inspired detailing. This would be so perfect for transitioning into fall, amiright?!

xx
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7.18.2022

NOTD: OPI Power of Hue Nail Lacquer Collection in Pink Big

Two coats of OPI Power of Hue Nail Lacquer Collection in Pink Big. Matte Bright Pink Shimmer.

Babes this shade is seriously slaying.

Pink Big is a groovy matte bright pink shimmer that is a total essential for all of you ladies who love a little girly glam. This cutie is an absolute must for summer mani/pedi season, what with it's Barbie girl feel and subtle shimmer. I do recommend applying two layers of top coat to amp up the shine, as this one dries down to a matte finish.

xx
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7.14.2022

BOOK REVIEW: Summer's Edge by Dana Mele



“The invitation is never the revenge, Kennedy. The revenge is what you’re invited to.”

I never understood the meaning of the term slow burn when attributed to books until experiencing Dana Mele's Summer's Edge; but now I understand it all too well. So well, in fact, that I question whether I will ever experience it again in the world of literature, as it evaded me up until this point; and I truly can't imagine any other book bringing the slow burn quite like this unputdownable gem right here.

Emily Joiner was once a key part of an inseparable group of friends. A group so devoted to one another that die-hard loyalties lasted, despite regular rivalries and the occasional red hot romance; and summers were always spent lazing at Kennedy's family lake house. Last summer, however, was different - more complicated. Instead of the usual friend group consisting of Emily, Kennedy, Chelsea {Kennedy's on again, off again girlfriend}, Ryan {Emily's twin brother}, and Chase {Emily's lifelong crush}; Mila has been added to the mix. Mila, Chase's new girlfriend, is disliked by the girl's on sight, and the summer...doesn't end well - especially for Emily, who winds up dying tragically when the lake house burns to the ground.

Fast forward one year. The lake house has been painstakingly rebuilt - a mirror image of its former self; the only difference being that death has been scrubbed out. Now ready for guests, and with the anniversary of Emily's death upon us, a reunion has been set into motion. The five former friends each receive an invitation, of which they accept, arriving at the house with hesitation; questioning if they should have RSVP'ed yes from the moment they emerge from their luxury vehicles. With tensions running high, the group elects to try and put their differences aside, and make the most of this memorial, for Emily's sake; but Chelsea, who has been locked away in a mental health facility for the past year, begins having terrifying visions that are pushing her towards the brink - visions that may be more accurate than anyone would like to admit.

With creepy events occurring within mere moments of their arrival; accusations begin to fly - accusations implying that Emily's death was no accident. Even worse, it becomes evident that the group may not be alone on the lake house property - someone else tagged along, and they're seeking revenge. Their survival depends on their ability to unravel the mystery, and unearth the truth; but that will take working together, and pushing past a whole lot of old drama, which this group of frenemies does not seem ready for.

When I say that I could not put this book down I am being 100% real with you - it was so good. And that ending? Mic drop moment. I read so heavily that authors rarely surprise me or keep me guessing, but Dana Mele did that tenfold with Summer's Edge. Comparing it to The Haunting of Hill House was so accurate because, like THOHH, this book was always a step ahead, using the assumptions we make as readers {or viewers} as leverage to catapult us into some new surprise that legit makes. you. think. NGL, I really couldn't stand any of the characters, who are toxic to a fault; however, I did start to find Kennedy a bit more interesting once I read the portion of the book told from her POV, and learned about her supernatural abilities.

Cheers to Mele for finally introducing me to the slow burn. And to everyone else, your summer will be incomplete without a read of this book - get. it. now. A little word of warning though, your perception of boat rides and late-night lake swims may change significantly after turning the last page. Just saying.


Star Rating: ****


xx
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7.11.2022

NOTD: OPI Power of Hue Nail Lacquer Collection in Mango For It

Two coats of OPI Power of Hue Nail Lacquer Collection in Mango For It. Matte Orange Shimmer.

Yo, girlies, this color is giving. it. to. me.

Mango For It is a fresh, flirty, fruity vibrant matte orange shimmer that feels positively made for the tropics! NGL here, if you opt for the matte look, this one is far lighter {think tangerine}; but when you add that top coat, the gloss brings out allll of those glorious, vibrant orange vibes.

Though all of the shades in the Power of Hue collection have featured shimmer throughout; Mango For It is one of the only colors where that shimmer is discernible and adds a juicy dimension to the overall look. Loving it!

xx
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7.07.2022

bennett

Free People Bennett Crop Cotton Top & Shorts Set in FAWN COMBO.

I am such a sucker for crop top and short sets, like it's not even funny. This one is the cutest!

xx
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7.04.2022

NOTD: ZOYA Nail Polish in Gigi

Two coats of ZOYA Nail Polish in Gigi. Red azalea creme.

OMG y'all this polish is phenomenal!

Gigi is a gorgeous red azalea creme that legit plays tricks on your eyes - appearing hot coral pink at times, and red coral at others. Regardless of which version your eyes see, however, this color is TDF. The kind of TDF that makes you want to repeat-wear all summer long. True story.

The formula here is straight up decadent, applying beautifully and drying at the speed of light. A very important thing to touch on here is that the brush is incredible - not too wide, not too slim, just perfect for achieving a model-worthy mani. Obsessed!

xx

Disclaimer: Cat Eyes & Skinny Jeans occasionally receives vendor/ brand sponsorships for mentioning their products and services.
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6.30.2022

BOOK REVIEW: My Otter Half by Michelle Schusterman



In the name of being honest, let me tell you that I totally judged this book by its cover, and I am so glad that I did because I absolutely adored it! Michelle Schusterman's My Otter Half possesses the type of charm reserved for Disney movies {of which I hope it someday becomes}; while, at the same time, bringing the very real issue of oil spills and ocean pollution to the forefront in a way that educates without being overtly graphic or preachy. It's a tale of family {human, canine, and otter}, friendship, and finding your way home in the vein of both The Incredible Journey and Finding Nemo - and I, for one, feel that no heart would be untouched by the story found within these pages.

Oliver is a young sea otter faced with a difficult problem: proving to his pals that he is not a momma otter's boy, like they all believe. You see, the other young sea otters have already experienced land adventures; while Oliver has been told time and time again by his overprotective mother that the time will come for him to explore the land - for now he must remain where she can keep him safe. Tired of hearing no, Oliver takes it upon himself to create his own adventure to prove his bravery by swimming into Puget Sound alone, where humans and ships can be found by the dozens. Within a short time of arriving, however, an oil spill threatening local wildlife takes place, trapping Oliver in the harbor, and separating him from his friends and beloved momma.

Like Oliver, Franklin is lost from his family. The big diff? Franklin is a dachshund puppy with a penchant for chasing squirrels at inappropriate times - not a sea otter. Those squirrels I mentioned? Yep, the very reason why Franklin was separated from his owner, Lucy, in the first place. Franklin has absolutely no idea how to reunite with the doting Lucy; but when he meets Oliver, he's convinced that the two can help each other in finding their families as long as they work together. And so the two four-legged fellas embark on a quest through the Pacific Northwest wildnerness to do precisely that.

Told in alternating chapters from the POV of Franklin, Oliver, and Lucy, My Otter Half is a story that really puts you in your feels. Though the adventures of the incredibly mischevious Oliver and Franklin are oftentimes humorous, there are moments where your heart breaks for these two sweet creatures and their plight. Chapters told in Lucy's perspective are slightly different from those shared by Franklin and Oliver. Through Lucy, we see quite a bit of time searching for Franklin, but also struggling with family issues involving a rift between her mother and older brother, Zach. Most interesting about Lucy's chapters, however, are the details regarding the oil spill itself, and the animal rescues and clean-ups completed by her mother, who appears to be a marine biologist {though it is never specified} - this alone will intrigue young animal lovers and aspiring veterinarians, while aiding in a classroom study about oil spills.

As a new teacher and animal lover, who gravitates frequently to oil spill studies and the ramifications on wildlife, this is a tale that I would love to incorporate into my future classroom, tying it into science, ELA, and even social studies {using Google Maps to track the adventures of Franklin and Oliver}. Highly recommended!


Star Rating: *****


xx
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6.27.2022

NOTD: OPI Power of Hue Nail Lacquer Collection in Make Rainbows

Two coats of OPI Power of Hue Nail Lacquer Collection in Make Rainbows. Matte Green Shimmer.

Babes, I wore this bad boy for World Turtle Day {May 23rd}, and it 100% lived up to the occasion!

Make Rainbows is a lemming-esque matte green shimmer with lime tones that makes it feel fresh, fun, and unique on your tips. This one really surprised me, as I thought it would lean brighter; but instead it read a little darker than expected - and that was totally fine by me! This one showed signs of tipwear after about 5 days of application; but sparkled beautifully up until that point. Highly recommend this one if you love a good green!

xx
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6.23.2022

OPI Power of Hue Summer 2022 Collection Nail Lacquer Mini 6-Pack Swatches + Review

Let's be honest here, when it comes to nail colors I rarely grab for brights; instead favoring pastels, vampy shades, or my ultimate fave, white creme. That said, I immediately snatched up OPI's Power of Hue Summer 2022 Collection Nail Lacquer Mini 6-Pack when I spotted it in an effort to break me out of my comfort zone, and force me to take a walk on the bright side. Truth be told, I wasn't wild over the matte finishes, and the shorter-than-I-like wear time that tends to accompany said finishes; but I did adore how playful, flirty, and fun each of the six shades turned out to be - not to mention how apropos they would be for your summer getaways. Take a peek at all of the pretty below!

Feel Bluetiful is a Matte Turquoise Blue Shimmer. Mermaid nails don't care! Feel Bluetiful is a unicorn-like matte turquoise blue shimmer that legit makes you feel like a mermaid every single time you glance at your fingertips. Formula here was so amazingly simple to work with - applying quickly, and drying even faster. Yes, it has a matte finish; but I'm not a fan, so I added top coat to bring out the shine and shimmer. Y'all, this one earned me multiple comments from 5th graders {the harshest critics}, so you know it's amazing. Great staying power, great color...you need this one in your collection babes! This is 2 coats.

Bee Unapologetic is a Matte Yellow Shimmer. Alert: summer essential shade right here babes! Bee Unapologetic is a bright matte yellow shimmer that is basically sunshine in a bottle. True story. This one is sunny and brilliant and feels so sassy on the nails. The formula here wasn't perfection - while it dries fast, it does require three coats to achieve full, even opacity. Not a dealbreaker; but definitely worth mentioning. Other than that, it's kind of amazing - and absolutely essential for your beachy getaways this summer! This is 3 coats.

Mango For It is a Matte Orange Shimmer. Yo, girlies, this color is giving. it. to. me. Mango For It is a fresh, flirty, fruity vibrant matte orange shimmer that feels positively made for the tropics! NGL here, if you opt for the matte look, this one is far lighter {think tangerine}; but when you add that top coat, the gloss brings out allll of those glorious, vibrant orange vibes. Though all of the shades in the Power of Hue collection have featured shimmer throughout; Mango For It is one of the only colors where that shimmer is discernible and adds a juicy dimension to the overall look. Loving it! This is 2 coats.

Make Rainbows is a Matte Green Shimmer. Babes, I wore this bad boy for World Turtle Day {May 23rd}, and it 100% lived up to the occasion! Make Rainbows is a lemming-esque matte green shimmer with lime tones that makes it feel fresh, fun, and unique on your tips. This one really surprised me, as I thought it would lean brighter; but instead it read a little darker than expected - and that was totally fine by me! This one showed signs of tipwear after about 5 days of application; but sparkled beautifully up until that point. Highly recommend this one if you love a good green! This is 2 coats.

Pink Big is a Matte Bright Pink Shimmer. Babes this shade is seriously slaying. Pink Big is a groovy matte bright pink shimmer that is a total essential for all of you ladies who love a little girly glam. This cutie is an absolute must for summer mani/pedi season, what with it's Barbie girl feel and subtle shimmer. I do recommend applying two layers of top coat to amp up the shine, as this one dries down to a matte finish. This is 2 coats.

Go to Grape Lengths is a Matte Violet Shimmer. Y'all, I wish I could have gotten a direct sunlight pic of this bad boy because it is a sparkly paradise; but the weather wasn't cooperating, so this will have to do. Go to Grape Lengths is a magical matte violet shimmer that is guaranteed to >step up your summer shimmer game; while seamlessly transitioning for fall wear come August/September. Yes, this one is a matte finish; but y'all know how much I love my shine when it comes to polish, so I applied top coat. #sorrynotsorry. Even with top coat, however, this one was not as long-lasting as I would have hoped, which seems to be commonplace when it comes to mattes. I experienced chipping near the nail bed within a couple of days of application. Still a gorgeous color to add to your collection; but more of a short-term relationship shade. This is 2 coats.


AVAILABILITY: Ulta.

PRICE: $23.90 for the 6PC Mini Set; $10.79 for each full-size bottle
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xx
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6.20.2022

NOTD: OPI Power of Hue Nail Lacquer Collection in Bee Unapologetic

Three coats of OPI Power of Hue Nail Lacquer Collection in Bee Unapologetic. Matte Yellow Shimmer.

Alert: summer essential shade right here babes!

Bee Unapologetic is a bright matte yellow shimmer that is basically sunshine in a bottle. True story. This one is sunny and brilliant and feels so sassy on the nails. The formula here wasn't perfection - while it dries fast, it does require three coats to achieve full, even opacity. Not a dealbreaker; but definitely worth mentioning. Other than that, it's kind of amazing - and absolutely essential for your beachy getaways this summer!

xx
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6.16.2022

BOOK REVIEW: Six of Crows {Six of Crows, # 1} by Leigh Bardugo



“A gambler, a convict, a wayward son, a lost Grisha, a Suli girl who had become a killer, a boy from the Barrel who had become something worse.”

Last May, having binged the Netflix adaptation of Leigh Bardugo's Shadow and Bone, I reviewed the book of the same title, only to find that the characters I truly adored from the TV series {Inej, Kaz, and Jesper}, were nowhere to be seen. Fast forward to April 2022, I elected to forgo the rest of the Shadow and Bone series {for the time being} and merely skip to the Six of Crows Duology in order to meet my favorite heist trio in novel form. Though intriguing and adventure-laden at times, I can't say that this introduction lived up to my expectations. In fact, I found myself slogging through repetitive dialogue, lackluster characters, and a premise that I was unable to ever become fully vested in - leading me to believe that I will not be reading part two. Womp womp.

Ketterdam {aka the Barrel}, a locale for sinners not saints, bustles day and night with international trade. Pickpockets prowl the streets; gangs take over entire territories; and, for the right price, anything can be had. No one knows this better than seventeen-year-old Kaz Brekker {aka Dirtyhands} - a criminal mastermind with fast hands and a crew of unlawful, fearless friends with the courage to take on any crime, known as The Dregs. Though Brekker is the brains behind each malfeasance; he himself knows that he would be unable to pull anything off without his crew of outcasts. And so, when he accepts the job of a lifetime, one that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams {if he survives}, he knows exactly who to enlist to get the job done.

The Dregs are quite the motley crew of criminals, with assorted pasts and personalities that oftentimes clash with one another; but they are a family of sorts - and families, regardless of how dysfunctional they may be, stick together. Inej {aka the Wraith}, a contortionist/spy with deadly dagger aim and a conscience; Jesper, a sharpshooter {and former farm boy} with a bad gambling habit; Nina, a hilarious Heartrender surviving the slums with the use of her magic; newcomers Wylan and Matthias; and Kaz himself - a convict hungry for revenge. Together, Kaz is convinced that he will be able to execute the heist of the century: penetrating an inaccessible prison facility known as The Ice Court and extracting Bo Yul-Bayur, the chemist behind the accidentally-created drug jurda parem, a product that, in the wrong hands, could spell disaster for Grisha. To the average criminal, it sounds like an impossible feat; to Kaz and his crew, it's a ticket to incredible riches.

This book y'all...I struggled - like, struggled-so-much-I-had-to-take-a-break-at-the-halfway-point. Don't get me wrong, I found the characters of Inej, Kaz, and Jesper to be entertaining at times, and seeing their backstory was intriguing; but the persistent shifts between character POV and present/past scenarios was enough to make my head spin. On top of that, I truly felt that, after the first 25% of the book, the rest of the story just kept going in circles. My main goal for continuing on was simply to finish it, so that I could begin the next book in my TBR pile - never a good sign. Part of my...disinterest in this story could be blamed on the romantic situations involving all of the characters, which I find incredibly boring; or, perhaps, I just wasn't sold on the characters willingness to attempt such an insane heist. Regardless of the reason, I feel that this will be my last foray into the Grishaverse and Bardugo's work as a whole.


Star Rating: ***


xx
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