Sunday Book Club! The Reflections of Queen Snow White by David Meredith

Today’s Sunday Book Club Review is “The Reflections of Queen Snow White” by David Meredith. The exciting announcement I mentioned last Sunday is that I was asked by the author to read & review this book! Yay – my first Sunday Book Club Collaboration! Disclaimer: I did receive this book for free, but that in no way influences my Review.

Initial Thoughts:
When David first emailed me & offered me the chance to review his book, I was surprised, extremely flattered, & excited. I love this Genre of Fairy Tale retellings or examination from a modern authors point of view, as you’ve probably noticed with my past Book Reviews such as Beastly, Mermaid: A Twist on the Classic Tale, The Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, & others coming up on my Books to Read List. I’ve never read an E-Book, which is the only way this novel is currently available, so I was a little nervous about how I’d feel using “new technology”, haha! I was also nervous because of the collaborative spirit of this Sunday Book Club. It’s tough to be fair when you know the author will most likely read your Review, but I believe I was unbiased. Keep reading & let me know in the Comments if you feel I was being too easy, fair, or too harsh!

Plot:
As the title implies, this story is of course, about Snow White. Meredith continues forward from the tale we know & starts his story with an older Snow White who is not the cheerful, upbeat Disney princess many know & love. She is now bitter, sad, & lonely because Prince Charming has passed away. Snow’s depression & grief have caused a rift in her relationship with her daughter Raven to the point that she is not even involved in the planning of her upcoming wedding. One day while wandering the castle in a state of despondency, Snow stumbles upon the Evil Queen’s old chambers. She finds the Magic Mirror has been stored there & embarks on a magical journey into her past to try & find some peace in this new chapter of her life. I will leave it at that to prevent any Spoilers.

Characters:
– Erfruet – It took way too long for me to piece together that Snow’s “right hand man” is one of THE dwarves. You know….one of the seven! I thought this character was used as a clever & cute way to pay homage to the original story & show how the Dwarves’ relationship with Snow continued after her marriage, connecting the old & new story.
– It seemed like all of the characters had some type of accent & foreign name, except Snow White & Prince Charming. I thought perhaps this was an homage to the Grimm Brother’s & their German heritage, but the accents didn’t seem German so I’m not certain.

Quotes:
– Acknowledgements: “To anyone who has ever known loss, wrestled with grief, & struggled to find themselves again”
This is really what the story is about & I admire Meredith for taking on such a difficult topic & trying to make it more relatable by involving a beloved Fairy Tale character. It’s an interesting topic for this Genre, one that’s not too often explored because most readers don’t want to think about the reality that comes after “happily ever after”. I will touch more on this idea below in the “Overall” section.
– Magic Mirror: “What happens, happens. The past is the past and your past is ever a part of you! Only by facing it can you truly leave it behind. Otherwise, it will ever intrude upon your present”…She felt as if she stood alone on the edge of a precipitous gorge, filled with despair at the impossibility of her predicament, but knowing that her only choice was to descend into its shadowy depths, cross the unseen rocky path at its bottom, and pull herself out once more on the other side.”
The beginning of this passage is really so true, not just about grief, but anything that plagues us from the past. The second half of the Quote seemed like a subtle, or perhaps not so subtle, metaphor for the process of grieving.

Overall:
I could definitely see this becoming a film. While I enjoy Fantasy stories, I sometimes take issue with how unnecessarily lengthy they can be. I know I’ve complained on here a few times about endless pages of scenery. I enjoyed Meredith’s extremely descriptive but mostly concise style of writing. However, it’s worth mentioning that there are scenes of abuse & sexual content that made me rather uncomfortable. Meredith has a knack for creating an intriguing story & providing resolution. There were several times I found myself wondering about a “plot hole”, but later receiving a full explanation. Overall I enjoyed the theme of the story & the unique idea of this stereotypical happy go lucky Princess dealing with grief. I think Meredith was trying to touch on an important point about loss & love. He presents the reader with the idea that throughout our lives we have way more than one chapter, way more than one “happily ever after”. Just because one type of love has left our lives doesn’t mean all love is gone & there’s nothing to live for, it just means our idea of happily ever after has to change. SPOILER! I also appreciated the Feminist angle of the story. The Magic Mirror is trying to make Snow see that although Charming helped her, she played a huge role in her own destiny. She saved herself, but gave the Prince all the credit & after his passing, felt she was lost without him because she did not see her own value.

Rating: B-
Unfortunately, my rating was influenced a bit by the production value. Any book I catch typos in automatically gets knocked down a peg. While I did enjoy the overall theme & message of the book & find them to be important topics to tackle, I can’t support the sex scenes & some of the discussions the characters have about sex/body fluids. I can very well see the interactions taking place, especially in that time period, but that doesn’t mean I want to read about them. That’s the beauty of reading, I’m supposed to be able to use my imagination, haha! Some of those scenes were too descriptive for me & I would imagine other readers may feel the same. While those scenes were not too frequent, they did weigh heavily enough on me that it was almost a distraction from the book as a whole. I would say it’s 50/50 – Great topic/message but some really uncomfortable character interaction!

What do you think? Will you be heading to Amazon to download your own copy of “Reflections”? Please feel free to share your thoughts & book suggestions with me in the comments below! Big thank you to David Meredith for asking me to do this Review – I congratulate you on all of your well deserved success.
If you’re an author or PR team looking for Reviews, please reach out to me – MissAl.Leigh@gmail.com

The next Sunday Book Club is July 10th & the book is “The Fates Will Find Their Way” by Hannah Pittard. Stay tuned & thanks for reading!

Beauty Haul! Sephora Treats! Ulta & Target!

Beauty Haul!

Beauty Haul!

I TOLD you guys I have a shopping problem shopping solution!
Here’s another package of Sephora treats I got in the mail that I’m excited to test out! I also went to Ulta and picked up some things & got some great free gifts! The two Princess mugs are from Target – EXTREMELY hard to find. They were part of the Valentine’s Day merchandise, hence the Convo Hearts, but sold out super fast! I don’t believe they are being sold anymore, not even in the clearance section. My mom was able to find these on Ebay. I’ve seen people use them to hold makeup brushes, but I already have brush holders, so I’ll have to find some other makeup related use for them!

Here’s a list of the products featured here. Click on the links to purchase them for yourself!
1. COVER FX Custom Cover Drops in G20
2. Murad Invisiblur(TM) Perfecting Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 30
I think I’m going to use the “Murad” & “Cover FX Drops” together. If you follow me on Instagram: @MissAl_Leigh you will see I don’t have great skin. I’ve seen actual breakouts clear up a lot recently since I started eating clean and exercising but I’m still left with quite a bit of dark spots and uneven texture. In an effort to appear “flawless” I use a lot of face products in my makeup routine. This works pretty well until my temperature rises any little bit and my face gets super oily, resulting in cakey, clumpy looking makeup. The Murad Invisblur Perfecting Shield is supposed to replace acne treatment medication, primer, and SPF. The Cover FX Custom Cover Drops allows foundation pigments to blend with your non-pigmented products and create custom coverage without altering the texture of the product. By combining the two, I will create a tinted acne treatment/primer/SPF that will cut down on the different types of products I’m layering on top of each other that create that cakey look. Combining these products will also be a great time saver as I’ll only be using 2 products.
3. stila “Beauty in Bloom” Convertible Color Trio
stila Convertible Color in Camellia
stila Convertible Color in Peony
– stila Convertible Color in Tulip
4. NYX Matte Lipstick in Angel
5. Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray
6. Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream in Vanilla
7. ULTA Sugar Scrub in Freshwater Mist
8. China Glaze, Avant Garden Collection in Create A Spark (This was a steal in clearance!)
9. tarte Gift Pack
tarte Brazilliance™ Skin Rejuvenating Maracuja Self Tanning Face Towelettes
tarte LipSurgence™ Lip Gloss in Flush
10. Too Faced, Reality Stars Favorites 2
Shadow Insurance Primer
Better Than Sex Mascara
Perfect Eyes Eyeliner
11. Urban Decay, The Ultimate Pair
Revolution Lipstick in F-Bomb
24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencil in 69
12. Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in LSD
13. These are just some random brand of “Metallic Flash Tattoos”. You can find official Flash Tattoos at Sephora or all sorts of brands on Amazon.

I’m thinking about doing reviews on the “Murad” and “Cover FX” as they’re both fairly new products & I haven’t seen too many reviews on them. Let me know in the comments below if you’d like that or a review on any of these products! Click the follow button on the top right to stay updated whenever I post, thanks for reading 🙂

Fragrance Valentine's Day

Mini review – Disney Ariel Storylook Palette!

FINALLY!!!!!! I wasn’t really too excited about Sephora’s collaboration with Disney for the Disney Princess Collection’s because I simply didn’t care about the princesses they chose. I was gifted the Cinderella travel sized perfume & the packaging was really pretty & was excited to add it to my perfume bottle collection – until the lettering started to chip off 😦 I was disappointed by the quality, so I vowed not to buy anymore products…until they picked Ariel, the Little Mermaid! She’s my number two princess,  & if they make a Belle Collection, I’ll camp out in front of Sephora to get my hands on that stuff! But supposedly they aren’t making anymore Collections 😦
I was frantically trying to buy it from Sephora, even had the palette in my cart on Sephora.com, only to have them pull it and sell it to someone else while I was browsing. :(( I had given up hope on ever getting the palette from Sephora because they kept selling out, so I resigned myself to the jacked up prices on Ebay. I somehow managed to win my first auction & only ended up paying about $10 more than what it was selling for in stores – so I’m pretty pleased!
The packaging is SO beautiful, it’s going to be really lovely to use as house decoration after the shadows are used up. One gripe…the shadows are housed INSIDE the main packaging and it’s kind of difficult to open. Here’s some photos of the packaging and swatches…mini review throughout and a final word about the palette at the end…

Outer Packaging

Outer Packaging

Back side; outer packaging

Back side; outer packaging

Back side; outer packaging

Back side; outer packaging

Close up of the back of the packaging

Close up of the back of the packaging

Actual palette

Actual palette

Palette Cover and Palette side by side

Palette Cover and Palette side by side

Cropped close up on shadows

Cropped close up on shadows

Cropped close up, row 1, from left to right, Blue Lagoon, Scuttle, Flounder, Sebastian, Flotsam

Row 1, Blue Lagoon, Scuttle, Flounder, Sebastian, Flotsam - uhmm where's the pigment!?

Row 1, Blue Lagoon, Scuttle, Flounder, Sebastian, Flotsam – uhmm where’s the pigment!?

Row 2, l to r, Sea Shells, Les Poissons, Caspian Sea, Your Voice, Unfortunate Souls

Row 2, l to r, Sea Shells, Les Poissons, Caspian Sea, Your Voice, Unfortunate Souls

Row 2, l to r, Sea Shells, Les Poissons, Caspian Sea, Your Voice, Unfortunate Souls - the shimmers have much better pigment than the row above, but still not great, & Unfortunate Souls hardly shows up at all...

Row 2, l to r, Sea Shells, Les Poissons, Caspian Sea, Your Voice, Unfortunate Souls – the shimmers have much better pigment than the row above, but still not great, & Unfortunate Souls hardly shows at all…

Row 3, l to r, Atlantica, Fins, Sick of Swimming, Ursula, Sha La La

Row 3, l to r, Atlantica, Fins, Sick of Swimming, Ursula, Sha La La

Row 3, l to r, Atlantica, Fins, Sick of Swimmin', Ursula, Sha La La

Row 3, l to r, Atlantica, Fins, Sick of Swimmin’, Ursula, Sha La La – They pigment keeps improving – so that’s a good sign!

Row 4, l to r, Triton, Wanderin' Free, Jetsam, Sea Witch, Treasures Untold

Row 4, l to r, Triton, Wanderin’ Free, Jetsam, Sea Witch, Treasures Untold

Row 4, l to r, Triton, Wanderin' Free, Jetsam, Sea Witch, Treasures Untold - Like I said, the pigment just keeps getting better, very shimmery but beautiful shades

Row 4, l to r, Triton, Wanderin’ Free, Jetsam, Sea Witch, Treasures Untold – Like I said, the pigment just keeps getting better, very shimmery but beautiful shades

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is not the best quality eyeshadow I’ve ever owned. I’m not surprised though. I think Disney/Sephora saw a good market, mid 20’s women who grew up with Disney, now wanting adult products & willing to shell out the money, no matter what the product really consists of. The colors are mostly super shimmery, not very pigmented, but there’s definitely a way to incorporate them into a look – you just have to figure how how to suit your style. For me, I’ll probably use these as highlight or lid shades for everyday use, for a night out/special occasion, I could probably be persuaded to use the darker shimmery shades as a crease color with really heavy blending. I’ll have to play around with it. You will definitely need a good eye shadow base/primer!
The packaging is awesome. Upon further investigation I found there’s a way to completely remove the eyeshadow tray and use the velvet box and “Dare to Dream” cover as a jewelry box or simple bookshelf decoration – I’ll probably end up doing that.
I do not regret this purchase at all, although it was fairly expensive and the shadows aren’t really colors I’ll reach for on a daily basis, I’m an early 20’s girl that grew up with the Disney Princesses & I want my adult merchandise & I’m willing to pay for it no matter what it consists of!!! Now seriously…where’s the Belle Collection? I’m waiting Sephora…