Literary Friday ~ Palimpsest

photo ArtatHomeButton_zps18898da7.jpgSynopsis according to GoodReads:

“Between life and death, dreaming and waking, at the train stop beyond the end of the world is the city of Palimpsest. To get there is a miracle, a mystery, a gift, and a curse—a voyage permitted only to those who’ve always believed there’s another world than the one that meets the eye. Those fated to make the passage are marked forever by a map of that wondrous city tattooed on their flesh after a single orgasmic night. To this kingdom of ghost trains, lion-priests, living kanji, and cream-filled canals come four travelers: Oleg, a New York locksmith; the beekeeper November; Ludovico, a binder of rare books; and a young Japanese woman named Sei. They’ve each lost something important—a wife, a lover, a sister, a direction in life—and what they will find in Palimpsest is more than they could ever imagine.”

Palimpsest is a one of those genre-defying, expectation-defying books. Not in that I expected it to be crap, and it was the best thing ever, but in that it’s a contemporary adventure, and a fantasy, with some very erotic writing (but nothing very graphic), and even after finishing it I’m not sure I understand it all.

I came to Catherynne M. Valente by way of SJ Tucker, and have already read the Fairyland series before starting this one. So my order is all kinds of reversed. This book, like the Fairyland series, bears Valente’s trademark creative whimsy and macabre writing. She makes very interesting visuals of beautiful and terrible things, lighthearted and deadly, and the end result is (for me) unsettling.

At its heart, this book touches on some very primal human things: the need for community, defensiveness of belief, sensing but not understanding things beyond ourselves, and the hope for something greater than our little human sufferings. But it does so with a twisting path of 4 primary characters, and a flip-flopping narrative (third person in ‘the real world’, first person omniscient in Palimpsest). The characters were very complex, but the only one I felt any inkling of understanding was Ludo, and not very much with that. Most of the characters in her stories are very selfish, all the time, and it makes me feel frustrated and alienated.

Overall, I would recommend this for fans of contemporary fantasy along the dark and unknowable bent. If you don’t get squicked out easily, if you assume everyone is self-centered, if you don’t mind not understand what the heck just happened, and if you can easily accept that sexual orientation, desires, and drive are as fluid as water for everyone, everywhere*, this is probably a book you’ll enjoy.

* Don’t get me wrong- I don’t mind titillating fiction, and the concept of a city that’s an STD is interesting, but the blithe acceptance of everyone that Palimpsest is worth a sort of immediate sexual desperation (especially considering everything we see of the city is dangerous, painful, and mean) didn’t sit well with me.

Highlighting/Contouring Visual Aids

I’m still learning the magic of Highlighting & Contouring, but here’s what I’ve learned (from drag queens, Pinterest, and YouTube):

For the highlighting, you want a matte or slight shimmer product 1-2 shades lighter than your skin (liquid or powder, depending on your skin type).

For the contouring, you want a matte product 1 shade darker than your skin (liquid or powder, depending on your skin type).

You want to use them in conjunction- highlighting to draw attention to an area, contouring to create shadows.

Areas to highlight include: lower forehead (by eyebrows), top of nose (entire length), under the eyes (a debatable area, technique-wise), and/or cupid’s bow above the top lip.

Areas to contour include: temples, hairline (on forehead), cheekbones (below blush line), sides of the nose, jawline, and/or under the middle of the lower lip.

And because I’m a HAC newbie with a soft spot for visual guides…here’s the best of what I’ve found (click for the link-through):

HAC courtesy of Rich Tips for the Pore

HAC courtesy of Samer Khouzami

Eye of the Week ~ Macbeth

The Wyrd Sisters could get behind this. I wanted to show how different a shade could be if blended, as opposed to layered (wings vs liner).

Printcess EOTW Macbeth

Printcess EOTW Macbeth

That’s Storytime on most of my lid, with Deus Ex Machina in the outer corner and as a liner, and Manuscript on my browbone.

I admit, I’m a bit vain, and all shades of purple do great things for blue and green eyes. 🙂

Ultimate Blog Party 2014 ~ Hop & Giveaways

Ultimate Blog Party 2014
Hello, fellow #UBP14 blog hoppers & giveaway winner hopefuls!

Printcess Mineral Makeup

I’m Beth, resident blogger of owner of Printcess Mineral Makeup, where I handcraft cruelty-free mineral eye shadows that are inspired by books.

Beth from Printcess is a Book Nerd
On this blog, I share eye looks, book reviews, makeup tips & tricks, info about my products, and announcements of sales & new releases.
Eyeshadows by Printcess Villain by Printcess Printcess' Guide to Using Eyeshadow Sample Bags
While Printcess (and this blog) are only 3 months old, I’ve been blogging for years at Living a Goddess Life.
When I’m not reading or being a makeup mad scientist, I’m usually baking, slinging drinks at a geek-themed bar, gardening, chugging coffee, or finding restaurants to enjoy with my my main squeeze.
Mashiko Sushi Date Night
I love color, I think makeup should be fun & enable playfulness, and I live by the idea that each day is an opportunity to learn new things.
Printcess Literature Collection Photo
What the heck is #UBP14?
It’s a chance to get to know your fellow bloggers, discover new time-sinks of fun and information, and win some amazing prizes (including NINE eye shadows from my shop!)

Thanks for stopping by, enjoy the continual hop, and best of luck with the giveaways!

Literary Friday ~ The Snowman

photo ArtatHomeButton_zps18898da7.jpgSynopsis according to GoodReads:

Oslo in November. The first snow of the season has fallen. A boy named Jonas wakes in the night to find his mother gone. Out his window, in the cold moonlight, he sees the snowman that inexplicably appeared in the yard earlier in the day. Around its neck is his mother’s pink scarf. 

Hole suspects a link between a menacing letter he’s received and the disappearance of Jonas’s mother—and of perhaps a dozen other women, all of whom went missing on the day of a first snowfall. As his investigation deepens, something else emerges: he is becoming a pawn in an increasingly terrifying game whose rules are devised—and constantly revised—by the killer.

The Snowman is a contemporary, gritty detective novel that follows a serial killer’s gruesome crimes, and Inspector Harry Hole’s attempt to stop them. It was interesting to see crime drama from a non-American perspective. The story was both grittier in language and sexual references than most American stories I’ve read, and (interestingly, to me) featured a hero who wasn’t very heroic.

It isn’t just that Harry Hole is a (barely) recovering alcoholic, with poor social skills and good instincts. It’s that he doesn’t figure everything out. He makes mistakes- major ones, repeatedly. He follows the clues and his gut, and even when we the audience know he’s wrong…he’s still just an Inspector.  

And because I love realistically flawed characters, I was entertained (albeit frustrated) by his leaping to conclusions, missing clues, and general assumptions. I also got the distinct impression that Norway is tiny and not used to crime of any kind.  

If you enjoy creepy crime novels, especially serial killer novels that will have you guessing whodunnit until the last 5 chapters of the book or so, you’ll want to read this one. And you don’t need to be familiar with Nesbo’s other books to jump in, or understand Harry. 

But you probably shouldn’t read it on the first day of snow. 

Horizontal-Style Eyeshadow

This is the first way I ever learned how to apply eyeshadow (courtesy of Avon and a birthday makeup party when I was 12). It’s simple, no-frills, but can be dressed up or made more dramatic by using more saturated (or even contrasting) colors.

Printcess EOTW Plot Epilogue Neutrals

Believe it or not, that’s two browns (Epilogue and Plot), layered horizontally.

Horizontal-Style Eyeshadow

You can also use the second color as a thicker eyeliner.

Printcess Photo Mineral Makeup Spring Colors

Contrasting colors give it more pop!

Printcess Horizontal-Style Eyeshadow

The Smokey Eye look plays off this motif, with a darker color blended horizontally into the crease to create the appearance of a deep-set eye. But that’s another eyeshadow look for another week!

Eye of the Week ~ One Monster After Another

I couldn’t resist naming this one after my personal favorite childhood book, and one that set me on the path of being a lifelong reader. Like the book, written & illustrated by the amazing Mercer Mayer, this look contains more complexity than it appears to.

Printcess Eye of the Week ~ One Monster After Another

It’s also very verdant.

Printcess Eye of the Week ~ One Monster After Another

Here you can see a bit of the vertical layering more.


That’s Narrative on the browbone, Prologue in the inner corner of my eyelid, Characters in the middle third of my eyelid, Forest on the outer bit of my eyelid, and Epilogue as a blended wing and as a liner. Add mascara and poof! Monstrously gorgeous eyes.

One Monster After Another by Mercer Mayer