Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Book Review: Bohemia by Veronika Carnaby


When Veronika Carnaby got in touch with me to ask if I'd like to read her book, I took a look at the description and decided it was too good an opportunity to pass up. I love finding different genres to read, and a book about the Beat Generation was certainly a new experience for me.

[Image Source]

Bohemia was described by Veronika as:

Influenced by the works of Beat Generation authors and great poets, the story takes place during 1960 and chronicles a group of bohemian twenty-somethings who defy the "ideals" of a mid-twentieth century society to seek creative fulfillment. On a deeper level, it portrays the creative path that artists of all mediums tread, all the while depicting the challenges faced by youth in the '60s. Moreover, the book has also gained support from legendary jazz musician and composer, Archie Shepp, who has contributed some brief words to it.

Now - I'm not familiar with the world of jazz at all, so I had to google Archie Shepp.  I'm actually none the wiser having googled him, apologies Mr. Shepp. I didn't have to google the Beat Generation - I'm sure there will be comparisions drawn between Bohemia and Jack Kerouac's On The Road - Kerouac being one of the original generation of  bohemians and a big part of the movement in the 50's & 60's.

The Beat Generation is something that's worth a google, if you've never heard of it - it was full of fascinating characters (also, the term Hipster? Totally a Beat Generation word). Bohemia is told from the perspective of one of those characters - Valerie Freed, who aches for something more than a 9-to-5, stifled existence in the town she grew up in. With her best friend Emm, and two free-spirited lads (Jimmy and Lester), Valerie sets off on a journey that changes her life in several ways.

The writing is beautiful. Veronika manages to draw us in to this magical, creative, eccentric little community of musicians, writers, dancers and all-round like-minded people on a mission to do exactly what they want to do, and makes us feel as if we are right there with Valerie. I was aching for her to succeed, for her to accomplish something. The people she meets on her travels are fascinating, each one leaving their own little mark on Val, and I felt a little sense of loss every time one of them moved on. It's actually hard to believe that Valerie herself hasn't written the book.

It's not a fast-paced rip-roaring thriller by any means, nor is it a book that I found easy to get into. I had to give it a couple of tries (I think in all honesty this was because it's one of the only e-books I've read, I find it very odd not to have the paper book) and I'd definitely love to tackle it again in a hard copy to give different chapters the attention they deserve.  The ones in particular about The Ladybug Club were so descriptive and colourful - Veronika has a serious flair for making a particular place as much of a main character as any of the human ones. This book is - it's a journey, an insight, an experience. I can't believe this is only Veronika's first novel, nor can I believe this isn't a real first-hand account of life in 60's Bohemia.

I'm glad I stuck it out, because I won't forget Bohemia for a long time.

Also, Roxford - very cool cat.

Veronika has a blog, which you can check out HERE.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Comparison: GOSH Holographic vs GOSH Holographic Hero vs Color Club Harp On It


I've spoken before about my Voldemort polishes (the ones of which we do not speak) - those polishes I lust after, track down, get sick of, then buy again. The original GOSH holographic is one of them.

I found my original one in a bargain basket in a tiny chemist a few years ago, bought it, then got sick of it and sold it. Fool!! When Holographic Hero was released last year, I immediately wanted to get my grubby little paws on it. Sadly, it proved no match for the original. When Color Club released their "Halo Hues" collection, I pounced on "Harp on It" - a silver holo that looked pretty similar to the original GOSH Holographic.

I was itching to compare the three, but didn't have a swatch of original Holographic. Or so I thought. When I was cleaning my stash out the other day, I found some old nail swatches that my son had broken off a nail wheel. Amongst them was a swatch of original Holographic, so I swatched the other colours on two nail tips (because I'm lazy and I didn't want to take my polish off). Here we go:

Outside, in natural light, there isn't much of a difference.

Front: GOSH Holographic Original. Centre: GOSH Holographic Hero.
Back: Color Club Harp On It.

Again, indoors, in natural light, there wasn't a huge difference either:

Front: Original Holographic. Top: Color Club. Bottom: Holo Hero.

I blu-tacced (yes, that's a word) the nails on so that I could get different angles for you.

Outside, natural light: 

L-R: Original Holo, Holo Hero, Color Club.

I really hate Holographic Hero in natural light - you have to wave your hands around like a mad thing to even detect a hint of holographic loveliness. This polish disappointed me so much when I got it (and it was bloody expensive). Here they are again in natural light, indoors this time:

L-R: Original Holo, Holo Hero, Color Club.

As we all know, holos are at their best with a flash. And here's where the comparison gets good. 

L-R: Original Holo, Holo Hero, Color Club.
LOOK at the holo in the Color Club (and that dirty great fingerprint, oops). It's an even stronger effect than the original GOSH one, which is pretty impressive in its own right. Holographic Hero is a more subtle holographic polish, you can immediately tell that it's completely different from its predecessor.

Top: Color Club. Middle: Holo Hero. Bottom: Original Holo.
Verdict? If you're aching for original GOSH Holographic but can't get your hands on it, leave Holographic Hero where it is and seek out Color Club Harp on It. I got mine from beautyzone2007 on eBay a while back (where, incidentally, it was the same price as the GOSH one AFTER international postage was added).  

I've worn the Color Club as a full mani once, and it lasted five days with a top coat, I was hugely surprised by its staying power.