BLOG TOUR: Zodiac by Romina Russell | Galaxy Nail Art + GIVEAWAY!

Hey guys! I'm super stoked to be participating in the Penguin Teen readathon blog tour for the Zodiac series by Romina Russell! This tour is gearing up for the release of the final installment, Thirteen Rising, which comes out on August 29th. I've been meaning to get to start this series so I'm really grateful for the opportunity to be apart of this readathon, where everyone else is also rereading while I'm reading for the first time.

Title: Zodiac
Author: Romina Russell
Pages: 325 pages
Release Date: December 9th, 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy
At the dawn of time, there were 13 Houses in the Zodiac Galaxy. Now only 12 remain….

Rhoma Grace is a 16-year-old student from House Cancer with an unusual way of reading the stars. While her classmates use measurements to make accurate astrological predictions, Rho can’t solve for ‘x’ to save her life—so instead, she looks up at the night sky and makes up stories.

When a violent blast strikes the moons of Cancer, sending its ocean planet off-kilter and killing thousands of citizens—including its beloved Guardian—Rho is more surprised than anyone when she is named the House’s new leader. But, a true Cancerian who loves her home fiercely and will protect her people no matter what, Rho accepts.

Then, when more Houses fall victim to freak weather catastrophes, Rho starts seeing a pattern in the stars. She suspects Ophiuchus—the exiled 13th Guardian of Zodiac legend—has returned to exact his revenge across the Galaxy. Now Rho—along with Hysan Dax, a young envoy from House Libra, and Mathias, her guide and a member of her Royal Guard—must travel through the Zodiac to warn the other Guardians.

But who will believe anything this young novice says? Whom can Rho trust in a universe defined by differences? And how can she convince twelve worlds to unite as one Zodiac?

Embark on a dazzling journey with ZODIAC, the first novel in an epic sci-fi-meets-high-fantasy series set in a galaxy inspired by the astrological signs.

Buy it now! 
Today's nail inspired art look will be based by the vibes that I'm getting off of these beautiful covers. I've never really done nail art for a book post before, but I would really love to go back to my roots of nail art. I used to love doing different designs and changing it up every week but unfortunately my workplace doesn't allow nail polish at the moment, so I've had to close that hobby. But... since it is the weekend, I figured this galaxy-inspired nail look couldn't wait!

  1. Formula X Nail Polish in color Dark Matter 
  2. Base & Top Coat (my favorite is the Sally Hansen Ultimate Shield Top and Base coat)
  3. Any brand of white acrylic paint 
  4. A point ball pin tool/bobby pin/toothpick (anything sharp you can find in your home)

My inspiration! http://www.nailzini.com/2016/05/zodiac-signs-nail-art.html


My nail art skills are mediocre at best but it was still fun to whip out the tools and the nail polish and get to work again! I forgot how fun it was just to do your nails while the music is on in the background. If I were to redo this look, I'd probably have to be more careful when drawing these precise lines and corners. I think precision and accuracy is the most important thing when it comes to drawing on your nails with a sharp tool. 

Enter for a chance to win either one (1) grand prize set of Romina Russell’s Zodiac Series in paperback, including Zodiac, Wandering Star, and Black Moon (32.97) or to be one (1) of five (5) second place winners to receive a copy of Zodiac by Romina Russell (ARV: $10.99 each). 

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on June 26th, 2017 and 12:00 AM on July 17, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about July 21, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

Author Bio

Romina Russell (aka Romina Garber) is a Los Angeles based author who originally hails from Buenos Aires, Argentina. As a teen, Romina landed her first writing gig—College She Wrote, a weekly Sunday column for the Miami Herald that was later picked up for national syndication—and she hasn’t stopped writing since. When she’s not working on ZODIAC, Romina can be found producing movie trailers, taking photographs, or daydreaming about buying a new drum set. She is a graduate of Harvard College and a Virgo to the core.


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Don't forget to join the exciting twitter chat on the 16th! 


Guide to a Perfect Movie Night + My Favorite Movie

What do I love doing more than reading? Probably watching movies and TV shows. Hello guys *waves*! Today I'm joined with Pure Flix, an online resource that shares family-friendly video-streaming content, to talk about what our idea of a perfect movie night looks like + some of my favorite movies! Pure Flix has hundreds of family-friendly titles of entertainment from animated, documentaries, how-to's, educational and so much more (basically you're all around Netflix that's more family and kid-oriented! They are currently offering a free, one month trial. If you would like to, you can check out more info about the trial here. But not to draw away from the main point of this post.. how to have the perfect movie night in, even if you choose to do so alone!




Life of Pi

If you haven't watched this movie, WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFEEE? Life of Pi is my most rewatched movie of all time. This movie is laden with storytelling and so many details that enable the film to be watched so many times. Every time I rewatch this movie, I spot a detail or some apparent symbol that I missed the first time around. It's refreshing to feel so many different things after repeatedly watching the same movie. 

The story itself is one of survival, family and friendship. For this one, you're definitely going to need that tissue box and/or pillow to cling on to. You're either going to be really anxious watching the characters go through many trials and tribulations or really sad because that ending though...






She's the Man

Light-hearted romantic comedy, fetus Channing Tatum and soccer players with their shirts off? This movie just about had it all. She's the Man will always reign as the top comedy film I've ever seen. I think everything about this movie was relatable to my life when I watched it because the characters were just as immature and head-over-heels-in-love-with-other-people as I was. Maybe I was just a bit young when I first saw this, I don't know. What I do know now, though because of this movie, is that you can use (SPOILER ALERT: HIGHLIGHT TO READ)tampons when you have a bloody nose :D







Those were only two of my favorite movies. Don't even get me started on TV shows (but if you wanted to know: The OA, Stranger Things, Vampire Diaries, Gilmore Girls, Quantico, Death Note (anime), and 13 Reasons Why). What are some of yours? Let me know in the comments section below! 


ARC Review: The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones | MUST READ!


Title: The Hearts We Sold
Author: Emily Lloyd-Jones
Pages: 400 pages
Release Date: August 8th, 2017
Source: ARC from the publisher
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Rating: 5/5 stars
When Dee Moreno makes a deal with a demon—her heart in exchange for an escape from a disastrous home life—she finds the trade may have been more than she bargained for. And becoming “heartless” is only the beginning. What lies ahead is a nightmare far bigger, far more monstrous than anything she could have ever imagined.

With reality turned on its head, Dee has only a group of other deal-making teens to keep her grounded, including the charming but secretive James Lancer. And as something grows between them amid an otherworldy ordeal, Dee begins to wonder: Can she give someone her heart when it’s no longer hers to give?

Preorder now! 
**Content warnings: emotional abuse, alcohol addiction, and characters dealing with depression or anxiety**

**This review will be laden with exaggerations and fangirling because I fucking loved this book so much***

Wow. Just wow. Funny story behind this book actually. I received a huge summer package from The NOVL (the publisher) and this was one of the books included, however I didn't even bat an eyelash at it or pay any attention to it. I actually said to my friend, "I'll just give it away since I'm probably not going to read it." That is until I accidentally stumbled across its synopsis on Goodreads. After that, I pushed off all the books on my priority list to read this book. And thank god I did. 

The Hearts We Sold takes place in a world where humans are aware of demons. They may not know the demons' true purpose in appearing but they do know that they are willing to barter. In fact, many people have given their limbs to obtain something precious from the demons, who I like to think of as fairy godmothers. It mainly follows a girl named Deirdre (Dee) Moreno. Once Dee finds out that the school is cutting off her merit scholarship, she knows she is screwed. She is living in a toxic household with alcoholic parents and an emotionally abusive father that thinks her being in that school is useless. He refuses to help her pay the tuition fee. Without any way to support herself and a determination to stay in school and stay away from her household, she does the only thing she can think of. She makes a deal with the devil. But when the demon that appears wants more than just a limb, she ends up leasing her heart to him for two years. 

If you're a fan of the classic Rumpelstiltskin fairytale, you're going to enjoy this storyline. For some reason, the demon in this book reminded me of little ole' rumpy who would appear to the miller's daughter when she needed him the most. This book also reminded me a lot of Holly Black's work, specifically The Coldest Girl In Coldtown. It has a very dark and gothic kind of feel to it based on the smallest details like the places we are introduced to and the car that James drives. 

Besides the unique plot, I also really enjoyed the characters and the exploration of their motivations. This book was much more than a plot surrounding a human-demon bartering system. This book explores self-doubt, making decisions and living with the consequences. We get that "uh oh what have I done" moment, which I freaking loved. I loved how the author set up the entire beginning of the book to almost condone this trading between humans and demons. She made it seem very commonplace and acceptable to the society, but little do we know that it is much more than that. The book also explores one's desires and how far people are willing to go when they are seeking something in the moment. 

There are such small details in this book that made it to be so fantastic. Small lines of banter between the group made me laugh. The descriptions of the setting that made gooseflesh appear on my skin. There were even several lines in the book that revealed the truth about human nature and our motivations. 

The characters were all my children. It got to the point where I was scared to continue reading in fear of seeing one of them end up dead because they were putting their lives at risk to accomplish tasks for the demon. I shared sympathy for the characters and most importantly, I understood their reasons for making the trade even if I wouldn't have done the same thing in their situations. Not to mention that the main character is half Latino. There was also side characters on the LGBT+ spectrum.

Lloyd-Jones has a knack for presenting such real, authentic and flawed characters. We have the main character, who is most of the time insecure about relationships and getting close to other people. We see her growth through this fear as she meets James. Also with the demon himself! Throughout the entire book he's portrayed as an uncaring individual, but through working with this group of heartless people he even learns something about himself.

Aaaaannnndddd wait till you see the ending this book has got in store for ya, phew! Okay fair warning it's kind of tragic, so get those tissues ready. The magic system (is that the right term?) was quite a sight. At first you think okay this is going to be a paranormal contemporary about a girl who gives up her heart but falls in love, but noooooo. You, my friend, should be prepared to be taken on a fantasy, sci fi and magical journey to another universe (literally). 

Long story short, I loved this book. It's just ironic to me how a book I had no interest in reading has become one of my favorites of this entire year. The Hearts We Sold is a dark and compelling story. We as readers don't normally expect a book to push us to reevaluate everything about our nature or the way we think, but this book had that effect. If you're looking for a read that is unique from anything on the market but still has that YA feel and romance we all know and love, preorder this book right away.

I haven't seen much hype for this book, which is unfortunate. Such a book requires all the love and support it can get. I only hope this review will get you one step closer in becoming interested. Thank you for reading! 

My Top 5 Favorite Ted Talks

What are TED Talks? You've probably heard the term thrown around somewhere. Maybe from a friend, a relative or an educator. Ted Talks, in the shortest definition possible, are ideas worth spreading. There are tons of Ted Talks on Youtube I've watched, but there are only a small handful that have had a lasting impact on my life. There are ones that I've just generally found stand out to me. Today I am going to share a few with you. 

1. Why I live a zero waste life by Lauren Singer 
Two years ago, I watched my first Ted Talk video. The speaker was Lauren Singer, a former environmental studies student at NYU, now the founder of her own company called The Simply Co. She has accumulated enough trash over three years to fit into a mason jar. Now why was this my first talk you ask? At the time, I was very passionate about the environment and animals (I still am). I actively sought out videos on Youtube about how to save the planet or stop climate change and air pollution. I guess Youtube took that as a sign to slip this video into my recommended page. 
I was always fascinated by the concept of 'zero waste', which basically means you live a lifestyle that doesn't produce any waste or send anything to landfills. A lifestyle that is so environmentally friendly, if you ask me. I've rewatched this video too many times that I've lost count. Because of this video I've changed some of my daily habits, sought out places of research that respectively advocate for the environment, and even talk openly about my beliefs. I'm not going to go on forever because this is one of many videos, but this talk will definitely change your perspective on environmental activism. There IS something you can do. The effort is not hopeless. 

2. I'm 17 by Kate Simonds
I'm 17. Oh, you thought I was just emphasizing the title? I am actually 17. This video resonated with me in a way no other has. In her talk, Kate discusses the growing distrust that adults have with kids. In better words, how kids are told not to believe in what they believe in because of their age. The belittling of students everywhere who are told 'what do you know?' because of the fact that they're not an adult. I related to this video so hard. Last summer and this summer, I've been working in a lab at Columbia University that studies a large invasive dinoflagellate species in the Arabian Sea and its threat. The research is largely important to the future of fisheries and the food chain. It also tells us a lot about the current health of our environment because the things that are allowing this species to grow rapidly are the very things that harm us as well. Anyways my point is, anytime I've ever tried to tell an adult about my research when they ask, they usually just nod their head or question me. This video pinpoints the feelings I have as a discouraged teenager who is also told "what could you possibly know that I don't?" by adults. Like Kate, I think it's time for a change in the way ideas are reciprocated by adults from students. 

3. I am not your asian stereotype by Canwen Xu
How many times have you visited another state or country and have been asked "where are from"? For me, too many times to count. And it's funny because every time I say New York, they always give me a funny look. I've gone into stores in Manhattan and the sales people would come up to me and say "you're not from around here, are you?" My response? I was born here (so fuck off xD).
This video is also a special one that has resonated with me. I've never had my ethnicity's stereotypes laid out so plainly but it was honestly so refreshing and nice to hear how Canwen overcame her challenges, living in areas with little racial diversity. 

4. Looks aren't everything. Believe me, I'm a model by Cameron Russel
I think what made this talk so valid was the fact that the speaker was a model. Cameron was a model talking about our society's obsession with image and the privilege of white people. There is a sense of trust that I had because she was a model and was criticizing her own industry. I could only guess some people might be skeptical because, again, she's a model. I liked some of the terms she used like "genetic lottery" and "recipient of a legacy". She changed my outlook on the modeling industry, for sure. Definitely one of my all-time favorites. 

5. The cost of menstrual shame by Kayla-Leah Rich 
According to my blog statistics, majority of you reading are women. If you're a women, you know what it's like to get your period. *cringe* Because people cringe whenever we start bringing up menstruation, isn't that right? 
This was the first Ted Talk that I cried to after watching. There are consequences that come with our society's hesitance to talk about menstruation. When we don't talk about it, young girls who know nothing about that stuff don't get warnings. The rights for woman in other countries that don't have feminine supplies to get some are not pushed. Kayla unapologetically talks about the importance of speaking up about what happens once a month. Did you know that some women in some countries are forced to use cloths from mattresses and even rocks to stop their flow? I didn't. The only way we can bring attention to this issue is if we begin the conversations. 


If you've stayed for this long, thank you for reading. I do hope you'll check out some of these inspiring talks, as well as share some of your favorites with me in the comments below. 






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