Poetry: Starry Eyes

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Your neglect has managed to

Burst my heart into so many tiny pieces

That I was unable to recover all

The love that I bled out

I listen to your old songs about me

In hopes that I can feel that rush

I felt the first time that our eyes locked

Nothing could give me more joy

Than to feel

Remember when we had starry eyes

Our lips spoke poetry in every kiss

Remember when we had starry eyes

Our limbs resonated with music in every caress

I had a Kate Moss smile

Your nonchalance was so very James Dean

I read all the books you loved

If only to see the world from your perspective

My whole essence breathed you into me

I’ve never been the same again

There’s a hole in my chest

Where all my love for you resided

Remember when we had starry eyes

Our lips spoke poetry in every kiss

Remember when we had starry eyes

Our limbs resonated with music in every caress

What kills me

Is that I remember everything about our days

Together

What kills me

Is that I can’t recreate that feeling of starry eyes

With anyone else.

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Review: Medusa’s Makeup Sun Kissed Bronzer

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Summer is upon us and we all like to look more sun-kissed during these months. Unless you’re like me, who’s pasty white and usually end up having to hide under beach umbrellas or parasols. However, for the rest of you, bronzers are a godsend and truly help achieve that sun-kissed look many strive to achieve.

What It Is: Bronzer

Distinguishing Factors: Vegan

Verdict: I’ll be honest, despite having worked as a makeup artist, and used bronzers on my clients, I never quite mastered that technique on myself. I don’t know if my skintone has a lot to do with it (I could give any pasty-faced vampire a run for their money), but any bronzers that I have attempted to use in the past always end up giving me the same result; muddy skin. This is also why I don’t contour my cheeks. And that is why I end up using many bronzers and contour palettes as eyeshadows or crease colours for my eye looks.

Once I opened this bronzer, I fell in love with the colour because it did give the impression of being sunkissed. Not only that, it looked light enough for someone with a zombie complexion like myself. And honestly, even if it didn’t work as a bronzer, it’d still make for a pretty eyeshadow shade.

First of all, the blendability of this is soft and leaves a nice sun-kissed glow. Unfortunately for me, it doesn’t quite translate well on my cheeks (again, looking too orangey) but it looks very pretty on my lids. But I’m sure that other people might find this bronzer to be just as good as the iconic Hula Bronzer.

Price: $13

Where To Buy It: Medusa’s Makeup Site

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What Does It Mean To Edit an Anthology? – The 10 Steps You Need to Take!

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Two years ago I put together my first anthology, My American Nightmare – Women in Horror Anthology. I had always wanted to put together an anthology, and finally, after much thought and trepidation, I decided to bite the bullet and launch myself headfirst into this project.

The experience was both overwhelming and fulfilling. I got to read a lot of awesome horror short stories and in turn, meet new authors and become acquainted with their works.

Many people may not understand what exactly an anthology editor does, or may think that we simply select the stories, check for typos, and then slap our names on the cover. However, there’s a lot of work involved in the whole process and it’s a process that takes up several months, if not almost a year before the book is ready to be released to the world.

Now, for the second time, I’ll be putting on my anthology editor hat on and selecting stories for my upcoming anthology collection: Strange Girls – Women in Horror Anthology.

Below are the Ten Steps I do while putting together an anthology.

Step One. Select the Theme

For both anthologies, I knew that I wanted to help promote the writing of women in horror. Why am I closing the doors to the other half of the writing population? Simple. The horror genre has always been noted to be male-dominated, but women too have written some notable horror novels and short stories (from Mary Shelley, Shirley Jackson, Anne Rice, and Poppy Z. Brite just to name a few). For my first anthology, I knew that I wanted all the stories to have the U.S. as the setting, hence the title, My American Nightmare. For my current anthology, I knew that I wanted to explore the theme of Strange Girls, and what exactly it is about these girls that makes them strange.

Step Two. Advertise the Call for Submissions

After I select the theme, I write up an open submission call on my official author website and share the link on all my social media venues. Also, Stuart Conover from Horror Tree has been invaluable in his support by posting my submission call on his website, which has helped word of mouth travel extensively fast because of this. In the submission call, I not only state the guidelines and theme but also set a deadline and state the author’s compensation.

Step Three. Read the Short Stories

Once the stories start pouring in I begin reading right away (so that I’m not overwhelmed by reading a ton of short stories all at once) and also have found that this way it gives the stories time to marinate in my head and allow me to see which ones have remained memorable and which have become forgettable. By the deadline date, I usually have an idea of which stories will make the cut and which will not.

Step Four. Select and Reject Stories

This is where I make two lists, Accept vs. Decline, and start compiling which stories go where. Sometimes, I’ll put some stories in the Maybe file and read them over another two or three times before I decide if they’ll be a good fit for my theme. Once that’s complete, then I send out rejection and acceptance emails.

Step Five. Contracts & Issue Payment

Whenever you’re putting together an anthology it’s important to have each author sign a contract so that they are aware of their compensation and what to expect. This helps things become official and allows both you and the author to hold each other accountable to keep up both ends of the contract.

For payment, since it is an anthology and trying to figure out how to divide royalties evenly amongst a large group of people, I have found that a FLAT FEE is the best way to go. This is not to skimp out on the authors, it’s actually more in the authors best interest as if I were to divide the royalties, depending on sales they’d only be making a few cents. Besides, all money I made from My American Nightmare was used to cover expenses for the cover art, formatting, and promos, and to fund new future anthologies.

Step Six. Editing

Now the editing begins. Usually, there are three rounds and they go like this:

Developmental Editing: This is where you look for plot holes and what doesn’t make sense.

Line Editing: Checking if all sentences make sense.

Copy Editing: This is where you check grammar, spelling errors, and typos.

And then once the editing is over, that’s when you have to decide what order the stories go in. Again, this is kind of an art form that needs mastering. For my first anthology, I decided to start and end the anthology with what I thought were the strongest stories. Then I arranged others where I alternated between a long and short one and also if one was too similar in theme to another, I would space it out.

Step Seven. Choose The Cover

For my previous books, I’ve relied on James’ (goonwrite.com) graphics expertise. I can’t state how crucial it is to have an attractive book cover, cause people DO judge a book by its cover (at least on the first impact). The majority of the times, the cover alone will sell the book (not everyone reads the blurb or looks inside the book!). So, if you’re not competent or don’t have the means to design a book cover yourself, delegate this job to someone else who’s a professional. I REALLY RECOMMEND THIS.

Step Eight. Formatting the Book

Both ebooks and print require formatting the original file. I can’t stress how important this part of the process is, because if the book isn’t correctly formatted, then readers will have trouble reading your work, and if readers are having trouble reading, then you can bet they’re going to give up and leave a poor rating to boot! So, again, if you’re not competent with formatting digital or print files, then pay someone for this service. I’ve always done this and it’s one last thing I need to worry about.

Step Nine. Book Promos Ahead of Time & Send ARCS

Even before the book is released I begin contacting book bloggers for interviews or reviews, I book a book blog tour in advance (especially if you want them to coincide with your release date), sent out ARCS to reviewers, send out promo kits to the authors to help promote the book in their area. With My American Nightmare, I had both business cards and postcards made and also bought merch for an author in the anthology since she had gotten a table at a Halloween con in her area to help promote the book.

Ten. Upload & Publish the Book

Upload the book to retail sites (in my case I prefer to use Amazon) and contact any indie bookstores who may be interested in carrying a couple of copies of your book in their stores.

PHEW! So that’s the TEN STEPS required to do to publish an anthology! So if you’re interested in putting your own anthology together, this is pretty much a rough estimate of what you need to consider before you take the plunge!

Oh! And just as an FYI, I have funded these anthologies on my own (I know some like to have crowdfunding to help with expenses and that’s fine), but I don’t like having to worry about trying to raise money while also doing all those other steps in between!

Let me know if you’ve put an anthology together or are planning to put one together!

strangegirls

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Book Review: Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

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The next heart-pounding thriller from New York Times bestselling author Riley Sager follows a young woman whose new job apartment sitting in one of New York’s oldest and most glamorous buildings may cost more than it pays.

Release Date: July 2, 2019

Pre-Order on Amazon

Price: $17.10 (hardcover)

Publisher: Dutton

Plot Summary:

No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen’s new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan’s most high-profile and mysterious buildings. Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind.

As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid, who comfortingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story . . . until the next day, when Ingrid disappears.

Searching for the truth about Ingrid’s disappearance, Jules digs deeper into the Bartholomew’s sordid past and into the secrets kept within its walls. What she discovers pits Jules against the clock as she races to unmask a killer, expose the building’s hidden past, and escape the Bartholomew before her temporary status becomes permanent.

Grade: A

Review:

Soon after reading The Last Time I Lied, I picked up Final Girls (I still need to read it) and of course requested a copy of Lock Every Door the second it was available on NetGalley. Luckily, I managed to snag a copy. There’s something about Riley Sager that I just LOVE. He always manages to incorporate some horror aspect into his thriller novels. For example, with Lock Every Door, Jules is a recently laid-off worker, and finds work as a housesitter in the exclusive Bartholomew Building (in which she and her sister used to obsess about since their favorite book was set there), and for some reason the book gave me some serious Rosemary’s Baby vibes. Maybe because of the uber-rich, yet creepy neighbors, or the fact that it’s alluded that the building is cursed and witches may be involved. However, this being a Sager novel means that although it may give you horror vibes, it never ventures off into supernatural.

I found Jules to be very relatable, as I think we can all identify with her. She was a hard worker in college, received a degree thinking she could better her social standing, instead, she ends up working a crummy office job in which she gets laid off from, and in her desperation to find a new living situation (her loser boyfriend cheated on her), she falls for an ad on Craigslist that is looking for a housesitter. Now, if Jules economic situation hadn’t been so fire, she would’ve bailed at the first inkling of something being amiss at the Bartholomew, but since beggars can’t be chooser’s, she sticks it out even when us readers are yelling, GET THE FUCK OUT!

Some aspects of the story seem kind of over the top, but I feel like it works, or at least Sager has enough thriller cred to make it work. This book is perfect any of you who love mysteries, thrillers, or horror (cause even though it’s not horror it DOES have a lot of horror vibes running throughout).

I really enjoyed this book a lot and have a feeling that Sager will become one of my fave new authors.

*Thank you so much to NetGalley and Dutton for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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Derma Roller System: One Step to Beautiful Skin

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Every since micro-needling has become a thing, I’ve been curious about this scary yet simple procedure. But I didn’t really take the plunge to try it out until I was contacted by Derma Roller System to try out their product. Not being a fan of needles, I decided to opt for the smallest needle model they had (0.5mm) and hoped for the best.

So what exactly does a Derma Roller System do?

Well, it’s supposed to help rejuvenate your skin, treat acne scars, ease hyperpigmentation, and get rid of the first signs of aging. It’s also touted to boost any product absorption by 90%. I was a sent the DermaC+ Anti-Aging Serum and PerfectDerm Collagen Face Mask to use with the Derma Roller System, and some advise to prep the skin with serum before, although the guide I was sent with the product suggested to prep the skin by cleaning it thoroughly, then to roll the Derma Roller gently over the area you wish to treat 4 times vertically, 4 times horizontally, 4 times diagonally to the left and 4 times diagonally to the right. This should help stimulate collagen and elastin formation in the skin. One note of caution, despite what some Beauty Gurus may suggest on other blogs or YouTube, you should AVOID using the Derma Roller on your eyelids or lips. After you’re done with rolling then you should apply a collagen cream, serum or mask. You may leave the product on, or keep it on your face for 10 minutes before rinsing it off.

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I’ll be honest, I was kinda skeptical at first and a tiny bit afraid. The idea of rolling 200 tiny needles into my skin didn’t sound pleasant in the least, and also had me worrying about possible staph infections (which could happen if you don’t clean your roller after each use, IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO CLEAN IT WITH RUBBING ALCOHOL OR HYDROGEN PEROXIDE). So, before I began, I decided to watch a few videos so that I wouldn’t end up like Pinhead from Hellraiser cause the only time that look would be cute is Halloween.

Putting aside all my worries, I decided that I was going to see what all the hype was about, and if this medieval torture device looking contraption actually delivered amazing skin.

Now, it takes 40 days for cell turnover to happen, so you need about that time to see some results. I decided to abide by that rule.

I don’t have any hyperpigmentation or acne scars, so I decided to focus on my forehead where I have a slight fine line. It’s advised to use the roller even up to five times a week if the needle size is 0.5mm (like the one I chose). I decided to first use it about two times a week before upping the dosage. The first two weeks I didn’t see much difference, but after the fourth week, I noticed that my skin looked glowing and just overall nicer in appearance.

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I can’t say how this will work on deeper wrinkles (since I currently don’t have them), but I can say that the Derma Roller System does help improve one’s skintone and that if you’re looking to try out a microneedle, then Derma Roller System would be a nice one to try.

What I liked about the product itself is that it is small, easy to use, and durable. Although it is noted that one needs to change the head after a number of uses.

Should you consider getting a Derma Roller System?

If you want to see some improvement in your skin, I would recommend using this to help you fix any of your skin concerns you might have.

Are the needles painful?

I can’t say about the other sizes, but the 0.5mm were unbearably painful at all. So, if what’s keeping you from trying it is the eventual pain, then go with small needle size and maybe once you get accustomed to it you can always size up later.

Concluding Thoughts

There’s some science to this whole micro-needling hype, and it does help the skin’s appearance in ways that I can’t even explain. If you want to achieve amazing skin, then maybe you should look into investing in a Derma Roller System. It currently retails for $49.95 on their website.

*Thank you Derma Roller for sending me a bundle kit of three of their products free of charge for an honest review.

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Review: Pat McGrath Labs FetishEyes Mascara

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Pat McGrath is one of the most famous and influential makeup artists in the world. She has done makeup for runway shows, editorials, and ads. Many people love the bold looks she creates, especially when it comes to the eyes. So when I was sent this mascara to review* I was really looking forward to it!

What It Is: Volumizing & Lengthening Mascara

Distinguishing Factors: Conditioning Peptides help keep lashes long and healthy!

Verdict: I am very conflicted when it comes to this product because I do love the formula, however, I really HATE the brush! The formula is clump-free and it has intense pigmentation, but then the brush was designed too big that even a person with the steadiest hand is bound to create a mess, let alone someone who’s running on little sleep in the wee hours of the morning attempting to get ready for work. I think that this mascara would 100% improve if it had a smaller brush that will help lift lashes without smudging the product on your eyelids. I’ll most likely pop in another brush and still use the mascara, but if you’re looking to purchase this item, I think you’re better off with something else. Life’s too short to waste your money on mediocre mascara.

Price: $28

Where To Buy It: Pat McGrath website

*Product was sent to me free of charge from Allure Magazine for an honest review

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Throwback Thursday: House

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From the very beginning, I was a horror fan and also a night owl, which made going to bed at a decent hour once I began school a difficult task for my parents to get me to accomplish. So, the only way they managed to get me to go to sleep on time was for them to promise me that they’d record on the VHS whatever horror movie was playing that night on either Cinemax or HBO so that I could watch it upon my return from school the following day.

One of the movies I loved as a child was House. It was a quintessential 80’s comedy horror with the awesome Kane Hodder (most famous for bearing Jason’s hockey mask in several Friday the 13th movies) as the stunt coordinator.

Not recalling much about this movie (I hadn’t seen it since I was about 6), I decided to take a trip down horror memory lane and see if a recent viewing would garner me with more insight than when I first saw it as a child.

The movie opens with horror writer, Roger Cobb who’s doing a book signing for his latest novel and it seems like they found every weirdo in Los Angeles to be an extra as a fan. His manager tells him he needs to write another book pronto as the fans are hungry for more, but Roger, a Vietnam vet is still plagued by the war and what happened to a fellow soldier, Big Ben. When his aunt commits suicide and he inherits a huge mansion, Roger sees that as an opportunity for him to finally work on his Vietnam memoir. However, thoughts of his missing son and ex-wife start to haunt him as well. Soon he has to deal with his PTSD, grief, and actual supernatural phenomena.

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I don’t know if it’s because it was the 80’s, but House’s supernatural elements come in the forms of campy looking gremlin-like creatures that look like they were repurposed from the set of Critters. However, the plot of juxtaposing supernatural horrors with the actual horror of war was brilliant, and something that I probably didn’t fully catch the meaning of as a child. After all, we’re a generation who’s been living with war for years now (Gulf War, Balkans Wars, War on Terror, etc.). We now know the full effects of PTSD and how that can be a lot scarier than say, having to live in a haunted house full of campy looking gremlins and closet monsters.

So overall, did I enjoy the movie? The short answer is, yes. With so many movies nowadays relying on CGI for special effects it’s nice to see movies where practical effects were used and skilled prop masters and makeup artists were needed to create the monsters that appeared in the movie. Sure, the movie hasn’t aged well when it comes to the campiness of how the characters act or using questionable soundtrack for a horror movie with songs like You’re No Good and Dedicated to the One I Love, just to name a few.

But if you’re not familiar with 80’s creature horrors, then I recommend you check out House. It’s not truly disturbing, being a horror comedy, so one could totally watch it as a Friday night family film.

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How To Lose Weight Eating Like Marie Antoinette

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Kirsten Dunst indulges in the sweet life of Marie Antoinette. 

You may recall Marie Antoinette from your history class as being the Queen of France who was beheaded during the French Revolution, or you may know her best for Sofia Coppola’s exaggerated interpretation of the late Queen’s life in her 2006 film headlined by Kirsten Dunst as the titular role of Marie Antoinette. Often, when you think of the last Queen of France you imagine her opulent gowns, pompous wigs, and tables upon tables of colourful desserts. This was a queen who lives for excess, and yet, she was capable of maintaining a very slim waist 58cm (23in), for the majority of her life. Despite being known for devouring cakes and hot chocolate for breakfast. So how exactly did she achieve this sort of sorcery?

Karen Wheeler, author of the diet book, The Marie Antoinette Diet: Eat Cake and Still Lose Weight, let’s us in on a little secret. It’s not simply portion control (although that too matters), but rather the time of day you consume said sweets.

The queen was known for consuming most of her sweets first thing in the morning. Sugars, when consumed early in the morning, are more likely to be turned by the body into energy since we do most of our daily activities during the morning and early afternoon. Consuming sugars later during the day and especially at night somehow triggers the body to instantly turn those sugars into fat since we’re least likely to be burning calories at that hour (most people are likely to be getting ready to go to bed after dinner).

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More sweets for the queen!

Karen Wheeler also stresses the importance of a light dinner, and how we should aim for 12-hr. Fast (meaning that you don’t eat past 8-pm and your next meal would be breakfast the following morning).

Although these claims may seem a bit off for some (especially for those who love to snack!). But it does make sense as to why this plan would actually work in losing weight or maintaining your ideal weight without having to actually diet (meaning cutting out the things we crave like carbs and sugars). Ideally, one’s digestive system should have a resting period 10-12 hours at night for it helps you sleep better and it allows your body to truly relax.

But one thing that Wheeler stresses most of all, is always to eat food at its natural state meaning no over-processed junk food, trans-fats, or vegetable or polyunsaturated oil. Another helpful tip? No drinking your weight in sugar (or alcohol).

So in conclusion, yes, you’re allowed to your cake and eat it took, but just know when to eat it and cut out all the other baddies. After all, we could all learn a beauty trick or two from one of history’s most fashionable monarch. Marie Antoinette knew how to party, but she also knew how to rock a stunning figure.

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One of the most famous portraits of the actual Marie Antoinette, last Queen of France.

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Book Review & Author Interview: Bright Burning Stars by A.K. Small

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Would you die for the Prize?

Release Date: May 21, 2019

Pre-Order on Amazon

Price: $12.29 (hardcover)

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Plot Summary:

Best friends Marine Duval and Kate Sanders have trained since childhood at the Paris Opera Ballet School, where they’ve forged an inseparable bond through shared stories of family tragedies and a powerful love for dance. When the body of a student is found in the dorms just before the start of their final year, Marine and Kate begin to ask themselves how far they would go for the ultimate prize: to be named the one girl who will join the Opera’s prestigious corps de ballet. Would they cheat? Seduce the most talented boy in the school, dubbed the Demigod, hoping his magic will make them shine, too? Would they risk death for it? Neither girl is sure.

But then Kate gets closer to the Demigod, even as Marine has begun to capture his heart. And as selection day draws near, the competition—for the Prize, for the Demigod—becomes fiercer, and Marine and Kate realize they have everything to lose, including each other.

Bright Burning Stars is a stunning, propulsive story about girls at their physical and emotional extremes, the gutting power of first love, and what it means to fight for your dreams.

Grade: A

Review:

For some reason I find books or films about ballet to be utterly fascinating and alluring. Maybe because I took ballet classes for a year as a kid (before realizing that I should give up cause there was no way I’d ever be a ballerina with my lack of grace). I’m so obsessed with ballet that I even made my protagonist in CUT HERE, Lena one. This is to confirm that I was absolutely excited when I was finally given the ARC for Bright Burning Stars (I had requested it months ago and had only been given it a few weeks prior to publication date).

Things I loved about this novel:

Friendships: The two protagonists, Marine and Kate have a very strong friendship. It actually is the core of the novel and despite the fact that they’re both aiming for “The Prize” aka becoming the exclusive etoile at the Opera National de Paris. “Rats” as the studying ballerinas are referred to in the novel, are so focused on the prize that they’d do anything to obtain it, and Kate is even willing to die for it. Slowly, bestfriends Marine and Kate begin to grow apart as things get more competitive and each wanting to snag the prize title for their own.

Relationships: I love how the author explores various types of relationships, such as showing one romantic relationship as gradually growing into something much more passionate than it initially was, and another romantic relationship that becomes tragically toxic fast.

Setting: Ever since I was little (maybe because I was obsessed with Marie Antoinette & Versailles) I’ve been in love with Paris. So, I’ll automatically favor any novel that takes place in the City of Lights. I was just a bit sad that we, the readers never get a chance to experience the city because we’re always stuck in the dance studios with the two protagonists.

Minor gripe: I wasn’t a fan of how abortion was handled in this book. Not because one of the protagonists decides to go over and beyond to terminate an unexpected pregnancy, but because of how simplistic it was written out to be. Sure, maybe drinking odd toxic herbal teas *can* induce an abortion, but I don’t like how easy it all was for the character. Since this is a YA and intended for teens, I don’t want teens thinking that if you’re pregnant that you can just forego a normal abortion AT A CLINIC and just drink herbal tea and wish everything will get taken care of, because in most cases that won’t work. Just putting that out there for the kids.

The Ending: There were only two ways the book could’ve ended and I assumed both possible endings. Ultimately, the author aimed for the safest one. Which is not to say that is was bad, but probably tragic loving me would’ve opted for the other much more unsettling ending. But seeing that it’s YA I can see why the novel would end on a much more hopeful note than not.

Overall, the novel had very lush and alluring elements to it and I was completely consumed by the story. If you love Paris, ballet, and strong friendships, then this book is for you.

*Thank you so much to NetGalley and Algonquin Young Readers for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Short Q & A With The Author:

I read that you were a ballet dancer. Did you study ballet in Paris, as the characters in Bright Burning Stars did or did you study it elsewhere?

When I was five-years-old, I began dancing in Paris with a famous teacher named Max Bozzoni who taught and danced at the Paris Opera. Then I danced with L’Académie Chaptal where the teachers also danced and taught at the Paris Opera. And in my teens, I danced with the Richmond Ballet Student Company and did a summer at Pacific Northwest Ballet on full scholarship.

Why did you decide to set the story in Paris? Is it because it’s where ballet first began or because Paris is the perfect setting for a book about passion (both for ballet and love)?

I chose Paris because I began my dance adventure there and because I grew up obsessed and in love with the Parisian rats who became principal dancers. I knew I wanted to render homage to them specifically.

Do you think that female friendships are very important to girls in their teenage years and that’s why it’s particularly devastating when they end?

I think female friendships are always important, but when you are a teen you experience love with a particular type of intensity. I feel like those friendships are almost always tattooed in your heart somehow, which do make them hard to reckon with when they unravel.

The ballet world can be very cutthroat and dealing with physical pain is an every day occurrence for a ballerina. Do you think that’s why it’s hard for dancers to relate to others who don’t dance or don’t have a similar passion as their own?

To me, the dance world is like a monastery. You give yourself over to that vocation physically and mentally. Dancers are artists, but also athletes. Imagine a painter who wrestles, or a cellist who plays basketball, or a sculptor who sprints. The complexity of fusing art and sport. Very few people, I believe, know the rigor of ballet and, yes, that keeps the dancers separate from others for sure.

What actresses can you see in the role of Kate & Marine if anyone ever decides to bring Bright Burning Stars on the big or TV screen?

If I had it my way I’d want to see real dancers portray my girls, like Ava Arbuckle and Audrey Freeman whom I follow on IG!

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Film Review: Blue My Mind

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Going through puberty can be scary. One’s body undergoes so many changes, from hair showing up in unexpected areas, strange dreams, and weird odors, it’s no secret that many people find that time of their life to be both traumatic and off-putting. But what happens when your body begins to change in ways that are completely unexpected? What can you do when your toes begin to fuse together, you grow scales, and suddenly have an explicable urge to devour raw fish? Lisa Brühlmann explores how a young girl’s body drastically changes in Blue My Mind, the moment she has her first period and is navigating a new high school. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a strange fascination for body horror movies or books that embrace a coming of age tale (much like in Teeth and Ginger Snaps). It’s probably why my coming of age feminist horror story, Good Sister, Bad Sister also features body horror.

The film opens with scenes of a little girl near the sea, quickly evoking to the aquatic atmosphere that will be in the background throughout the whole film till it takes center stage in the final closing scenes. The film takes place in modern Switzerland, mostly centered around a high school. Mia (Luna Wedler) is a new student and is quickly drawn to queen bee Gianna (Zoë Pastelle Holthuizen) and her group of friends. But these new friends have dangerous pastimes which include shoplifting, recreational drugs, and meaningless sex.

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Mia struggles to fit in putting herself in dangerous situations all while she is dealing with her body changing in unexpected ways. Her parents, although clueless to her inner turmoil, do sense that something is wrong with her and decide to send her back to therapy. While Mia is more preoccupied with her physical malaise and decides to seek a doctor, only to run out during her visit when she feels like the doctor is unable to provide her the answers she’s seeking. Much like Kafka’s Metamorphosis, Mia’s change occurs without a rational explanation (at least in Ginger Snaps, Ginger is bitten by a werewolf and in Teeth, Dawn’s mutation was something she had since birth).

Mia’s isolation is palpable, and it’s fitting that the only one to have her back is Gianna (her mother left her to live in the U.S. with a new love and her dad doesn’t give her the time of day). The movie centers around their friendship which at times seems to resonate with queerness (there are several instances where it seems like the two girls are going to kiss). Both girls save each other from perils (Mia saves Gianna from drowning while Gianna saves Mia from a group of young men who have nefarious intentions). So, when Mia’s transformation is complete, it’s no surprise that the only person she thinks about calling in her time of need is Gianna.

Some of the themes explored in the film are self-harm (instances where we see Mia drinking salt water, which bulimics use as a way to induce vomiting and cutting away the freakish parts of her body with manicure scissors), alienation (the more Mia changes, the lonelier she feels), and body dysmorphia (where feeling like a freak, much like Kafka’s Metamorphosis, ultimately enables you to physically become a freak).

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In some respects, this film is also a feminist horror. The film often sees the males that Mia encounters to be self-serving creeps who have no regard for her feelings and only see her as a sexual object. But Mia isn’t a victim, because her changes allow her to grow in physical strength despite the fact that she’s emotionally breaking down.

As the film reaches its harrowing end, we’re left with the feeling that perhaps the only way to be true to oneself is to not run away from what you truly are on the inside. Even if revealing your true self will potentially isolate you from the rest of society. But is anyone really in need of half-assed relationships when there are better fish in the sea?

Recommended for fans of The Little Mermaid with a dark, Brother Grimm’s coming of age twist.

Watch the trailer.

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