Thursday, December 31, 2015

Inspired By: Best Selling Books {December 2015}

I haven't read any of these books, but I have two of them on my ever-growing To Be Read Shelf (Six of Crows and Illuminae). I actually got Illuminae back in May at BookCon and completely forgot I had it. I guess that's what happens when you don't have a bookshelf and all of your books are stored under your bed. Have you read any of these books? 

Six of Crows
Six of Crows

Written by Leigh Bardugo; Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone.

It helps to pull of a heist when you look like a badass. At least that's what I hope! So throw on a fur-trim black moto jacket, dreamcatcher tank, ripped jeans, and lace-up boots. Or wear a feather print kimono, gray top, black leggings, and black booties. 

Add to Goodreads

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1)
Written by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff; The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.But their problems are just getting started.

The dustjacket for this book is SO awesome -- it's actually transparent! While running from your life through space, it's best to be comfy, so wear a dark orange sweater, distressed jeans, layered necklaces, and gray sneakers. Or put on an orange tunic, black leggings, and brown boots. 

Add to Goodreads

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams
Bazaar of Bad Dreams
Written by Stephen King; In this new collection of stories that have never been published before, there are thrilling connections between stories; themes of morality, the afterlife, guilt, what we would do differently if we could see into the future or correct the mistakes of the past. 

A creepy collection from Stephen King sounds like the coolest thing! Get inspired by the cover and throw on a red zipper sweater, jeans, a butterfly necklace, and brown ankle booties. Or a gray and red plaid dress with tall black boots. 

Add to Goodreads

Furiously Happy
Furiously Happy
Written by Jenny LawsonFuriously Happy is a book about mental illness, but under the surface it's about embracing joy in fantastic and outrageous ways-and who doesn't need a bit more of that?

How wonderful is this cover?! Just looking at it makes me smile. Since this book is all about letting your weirdness show, here are some quirky outfits: a navy and yellow coat, a printed dress, and nude pumps. Or wear a yellow sweater, green jeans, an animal ears beanie, and fringe booties. 

Add to Goodreads

Have you read any of these books?

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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Pocket Book Reviews {December 2015} & Giveaway

I read 11 books this month! I also read 82 freaking books this year! My original reading goal was 45 books, so I surpassed my goal by A LOT! Go me! Unfortunately, I can only show you two of the books I read because I got almost all of them as ebooks, which is good for the lack of space in my room, but it also means I can't show you all pretty books. 

Camp Midnight*
 (4 out of 5)

By Steven T. Seagle and Jason KatzensteinReluctant Skye is accidentally sent to the wrong summer camp. Not wanting to please her step monster, Skye is dead-set on not fitting in. Turns out, she doesn't fit in because everyone there is a monster. 

I thought the story was really fun and didn't take itself too seriously. Skye is relatable and kind of a bad-ass for a kid. I'm a huge fan of the colorful and super saturated style of artwork. I think it really works well for this comic. I really enjoyed this. (*I got this book via NetGalley.)

The 5th Wave 
 (4 out of 5)

By Rick YanceyOn a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see and who have scattered Earth's last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. 

I listened to the audiobook of The 5th Wave and loved it. The two voice actors are fantastic, so I would recommend giving this a listen. The book itself was realistic (for an alien invasion), horrifying, and hopeful. It kept me on my toes. I was a little disappointed that for most of the book Cassie was hiding out in a house, but despite that all of the character's stories were exciting and intriguing. 

How to Be Brave*
 (3 out of 5)

By E. Katherine Kottaras; Reeling from her mother's death, Georgia has a choice: become lost in her own pain, or enjoy life right now, while she still can. She decides to start really living for the first time and makes a list of fifteen ways to be brave - all the things she's wanted to do but never had the courage to try.

A bucket list. Friends. A nice boy. It sounds liek the start of a really cute book, and it is. The main character Georgia is sweet and artistic and a free thinker and I liked reading from her point of view, but the first half of the book was too predictable and cookie cutter. I liked the idea of the bucket list, but the items on it were too conventional. I wanted them to be more fun and unique. I think the book really hit its stride at the halfway point. It became less about the bucket list and more about Georgia and her believable friendships with her friends. I also loved the poems throughout the story. (*I got this book via NetGalley.)

 (4 out of 5)

By Robin McKinley; When Beauty's father comes home with the tale of an enchanted castle in the forest and the terrible promise he had to make to the Beast who lives there, Beauty knows she must go to the castle, a prisoner of her own free will. Her father protests that he will not let her go, but she answers, "Cannot a Beast be tamed?"

I love Beauty and the Beast retellings! This one is reminiscent of the Disney movie with some unique changes (invisible servants, a castle that can only be found when lost, and more magic). I loved getting to know Beauty a lot more since 40% of the book follows Beauty before she meets the Beast, but of course I enjoyed the parts with Beauty and the Beast the best. However, I wish there were more scenes of them interacting and I wish the end didn't feel so rushed. 

Winter (Lunar Chronicles #4) 
 (5 out of 5)

By Marissa Meyer; Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

OH EM GEE! I can't even with this book. It is 800 pages of adventure and emotion and fighting and romance and revolution and all sorts of awesome. My favorite character is Cinder (she's so sassy!), so it was so exciting to see her revolution against Levana and to see how all of the characters individual stories all came together. I'm so sad this series is over because it's amazing!

Percy Jackson The Lightning Theif & Sea of Monsters 
 (3 out of 5) /  (4 out of 5)

By Rick Riordan; When Percy's mom finds out, she knows it's time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he'll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea.

I listened to the first two books because I've been wanting to read the Percy Jackson books for a while now. Yes, they're middle grade books, but the idea of Greek Gods and demigods in the modern world really appealed to me. The first two books are cheeky and fun, and even though Percy is the main character Annabeth totally steals the show with her intelligence and poise.  

Once Upon A [Stolen] Time**
 (2 out of 5)

By Samreen Ahsan; In 2015, Myra Farrow is obsessed with medieval castles, especially the mysterious Hue Castle. Unknown to Myra, her soul is bound to Hue Castle by blood and sorcery. In 1415, Edward Hue, the last of the Hue royal bloodline, has never stood in the sunshine or held a living flower. Cursed from birth to live in darkness and bring death to all he touches, he is at the mercy of his cruel, tyrannical father.

I had high hopes for this book after reading the premise, but I was unfortunately let down. To be honest, this book feels like a first draft. The characters aren't fleshed out and there's more telling than showing. The only character that felt real was Edward, whereas Myra annoyed the hell out of me; she was like a rag doll that everyone threw around. She didn't do anything for herself and always had to get permission to do anything, despite being an adult, which was so so so aggravating and not believable. Pass on this book. (*I got this book for free. All opinions are my own.)

The Private Eye*
 (4 out of 5)

By Brian K. Vaugh and Marcos Martin; The digital cloud “burst” and exposed all of our worst secrets and in the future everyone wears costumes and has a secret identity. Following an unlicensed P.I. who is thrust into the most important case of his life, this sci-fi mystery explores the nature of privacy with frightening prescience.

What a cool concept and a remarkable story! I was fascinated by the whole thing: the premise, the characters, the art, and the themes. What if people were so scared of others finding out their secrets that they wore disguises in public? The idea could be over the top, but it's done realistically. Our culture morphed into this out of fear and fear is a powerful motivator. I wasn't sure what to expect plot-wise, but I was pleasantly surprised by its complexity. Overall it's fun, thought-provoking, and cool! (*I got this book via NetGalley.)

Sleeping Giants*
 (4 out of 5)

By Sylvain Neuval; A girl in South Dakota falls through the earth and lands on the palm of a giant metal hand. Now she is a top-level physicist leading a team of people to understand exactly what that hand is, where it came from, and what it portends for humanity. It's told exclusively through transcriptions of interviews conducted by a mysterious and unnamed character. 

If you fell into a giant metal hand that had been buried underneath the earth for thousands of years wouldn't you want to know how it got there? Talk about a fascinating story with flawed, resilient characters that are constantly put in tough situations. It does take some getting used to reading interview transcripts and it puts up a wall between the reader and the characters because we aren't in their head, but it was still an engrossing story. (*I got this book via NetGalley.)

H8 Society: How An Atomic Fart Saved The World**
 (2 out of 5)

Written by Bill Sienkiewicz; A dystopian town. Two rival teen gangs. A secret society that wants to take over the world. A group of teens must deal with the repercussions of unexpected physical transformations after an incident. 

Yes, the title is weird, but I really wanted to like it since it's not just a book, but a "post-digital adventure" with 26 indie songs and graphics. I think the idea is really cool, but it fell flat for me because it felt too disjointed. The story is reminiscent of West Side Story, which I found interesting, but the omniscient point of view made it hard to connect to any of the characters on a deep level. Plus, they all felt like caricatures and I didn't really care about any of them. And I just didn't understand how an explosion caused these kids to look like their video game counterparts at all. 

International giveaway to win Winter by Marissa Meyeter!
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What did you read this month? 

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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Outfit: Dark Lace

This isn't what I wore to my office holiday party and it's a good thing I didn't because I ate so much food that my food baby would've showed. We ate at X20, a restaurant in Yonkers that overlooks the Hudson River and you can see New York City in the distance. I've never eaten so much food in my entire life. One person would bring a tray of food and as soon as they left there was another tray in front of me. There was sushi, vegetable dumplings, balls of beef wellington, coconut shrimp, miso-glazed salmon with noodles, mushroom ravioli, mini ice cream cones, chocolate cake, chocolate truffles, and more. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it!

On an unrelated note, I've been wanting a new pair of heeled black ankle boots. I wanted this one pair from Target, but my size is sold out, so I've been thinking about this pair from Forever 21. Yay or nay? 
Cardigan: Express | Top: gift | Jeans: American Eagle | Booties: via Poshmark

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Monday, December 28, 2015

Lusting: Strappy Flats

Despite the unseasonable warmth, it's definitely not the season for wanting flats. I know that soon the cold and the snow will sweep in and I'll only be able to wear boots until April. But a girl can dream about wearing cute flats! The other day, I literally dreamed about getting a pair of strappy flats. Do you guys ever dream about buying shoes or clothes? 
Strappy Flats

Do you like strappy flats?

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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Ipsy Glam Bag {December 2015}

This bright red, quilted bag is so cute! I like that the color is festive, but it works as a nice accessory all year round. So this month I got some products that I'm really happy with and one that I'm disappointed with. 

What I got:
 Elizabeth Mott Eye Shadow Primer ($20)
♥ Pacifica Natural Lipstick in Nudie Red ($10)
♥ Klorane Floral Water Make Up Remover ($23)
♥ Formula X Nail Polish in Revved Up ($10.50)
♥ ACURE Cell Stimulating Face Mask ($13)

Elizabeth Mott Eye Shadow Primer 

Of all the items in my Ipsy bag, you wouldn't think this would be my favorite, but it is! My Holy Grail eye primer has always been the Urban Decay Original one, but this one rivals it. It has the same consistancy and works just as well. No oily eye lids by the end of the day. And it's the same price as the Urban Decay one. I call this a winner. 

Pacifica Natural Lipstick in Nudie Red

I had high hopes for this lipstick, but it fell short. The nude-brick red color is nice, though not my favorite, but the real problem is that this lipstick is really dry and not very moisturizing. I think it's cool that it's packed with vitamins and antioxidants and it is pigmented, but I didn't like having it on my lips. 

Klorane Floral Water Make Up Remover 

This is the prettiest smelling make up remover I've ever smelled. According to the website, it's a 3-in-1 micellar cleanser, toner, and eye make up remover, which is really neat. I've only used it to take off my eye make up and it works just as you would expect it too. It doesn't leave any residue or make my skin feel oily. In fact my skin felt really clean after and it didn't sting my eyes. I would recommend this.

Formula X Nail Polish in Revved Up 

Well, hello pretty nail polish! This metallic color goes on so smoothly and it only took one layer to get the ideal opacity. Plus the champagne-gold color is bright and oh so pretty. I would recommend this. 

ACURE Cell Stimulating Face Mask 

This face mask is interesting. It stimulates new cell growth, French Green Clay draws out impurities, and it's vegan, gluten, and cruelty-free. The scent is a mix between seaweed and mint, the mask itself is on the thinner side, and it's green (which is fun for scaring people!). I haven't used it enough to see a real difference, but I like it enough to keep using it. 

P.S. -- I also started getting a ComicBlock subscription and so far I'm loving it! I got one Batgirl t-shirt, a Thor hammer keychain, and four comics (Vader Down #1, Star Wars #1, Pacific Rim #1, and Howard the Duck #1). 

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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Outfit: White & Lilac

Have you seen the new Colors of the Year for 2016? The two colors are Rose Quartz and Serenity. I think they're very pretty and calming. I think a lipstick in the color Rose Quartz will be really pretty and what do you know it already exists at Sephora

I got this cardigan a few months ago and obviously it isn't Rose Quartz or Serenity, but funnily enough the color is like a mix of the two. 

P.S. -- This outfit is featured in Her Umbrella's Winter issue & I wrote two book reviews for Holl & Lane Magazine!
Cardigan: Forever 21 | Dress: Hollister | Belt: Anthropologie | Booties: DSW

Do you like the Colors of the Year for 2016?

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Monday, December 21, 2015

Inspiration: Winter White

White in the winter is fresh and a mood-booster (black can get depressing after a while), so I want to wear white more this season. However, white jeans for me are a no-no because I tend to rub my hands against my thighs a lot (nervous habit, I guess) and I just know I would get stains all over them because of that, BUT I would love a pair of light gray jeans. Close enough, right?

Are you a fan of winter white?

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Friday, December 18, 2015

Dear Reader, Who Are You? Pt. 5

Well, I haven't done one of these in a while. I figured with the holidays here and that warm, fuzzy feeling taking over that it was the perfect time to get to know everyone a little bit more. 

I would love to know:
  • what you're currently reading
  • a book you recommend
  • a present you want for the holidays
  • your favorite holiday movie
  • a 2016 goal
I'll go first:

What about you?

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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Inspired By: The Force Awakens

OMG guys! Star Wars: The Force Awakens comes out tomorrow. In preparation, I rewatched the original trilogy this past weekend. I'm seeing the movie Saturday morning with my two younger brothers and I'm looking forward to sitting in the theater and hearing John Williams' opening score. 

This movie is technically Star Wars VII, a sequel to the original trilogy and takes place 30 years after Star Wars VI or Return of the Jedi. An old enemy with a new face surfaces against the Resistance called the First Order, and so our heroes must go up against new foes to save the galaxy. 

The Force Awakens -- Rey

Rey (Daisy Ridley) is a scavenger on the desert planet Jakku. Not much is known about her other than that she's self-sufficient and clearly a bad-ass if she can weild that giant stick. For a modern interpretation of Rey's outfit go for a loose top, distressed jeans, brown boots, and a BB-8 bag. Or put on a white tunic, black leggings, a bird necklace, and black ankle booties. 

The Force Awakens -- Finn
Finn (John Boyega) is a former First Order Stormtrooper who joins the Resistance, so why he switched sides will be revealed in the movie. For a cool Finn-esque look, put on a beige sweater jacket, gray top, black jeans, and gray sneakers. Or wear a brown moto jacket, navy top, green pants, Death Star ring, and brown booties. 

The Force Awakens -- Poe
Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) is a Resistance X-wing fighter pilot and the best one in the galaxy. He's been sent out on a mission by Princess Leia, who is now known as General Organa. For a feminine interpretation of Poe's fighter outfit, try on an orange dress, yellow-tinted sunglasses, star earrings, and gray wedges. Or wear a cozy look: orange sweater, white fuzzy vest, Darth Vader earrings, jeans, and gray boots. 

Kylo Ren
The Force Awakens -- Kylo Ren
Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is the new Big Bad. He's obsessed with the now-deceased Darth Vader and fulfilling his legacy. He's a powerful warrior and a commander of the First Order. Go for a dark but feminine look in a lace black dres, gold necklace, red bracelet, and strappy black heels. Or embrace the dark side in a black hooded jacket, a Kylo Ren tee, black jeans, and lace-up boots. 

Will you be seeing the movie?

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

6 Bookstagrammers You Should Follow

As you know, book anything is my jam. Books themselves, movies based on books (sometimes), booktube, and #bookstagram. If you're new to the phrase, bookstagram is bookish pictures on Instagram. But most bookstagrammers don't just put down their copy of a book and snap a picture. Oh no. These awesome book nerds take it to a whole new level, so if you like your bookstagram pictures to look like carefully curated art, then these are six accounts you should follow. 

ONE | ursula_uriate
The Holy Grail of bookstagram! I absolutely swoon over Ursula of @ursula_uriate's pictures every time one pops up on my Instagram feed because they are pure bookish pleasure! She just has a way with artfully arranging her books and the fact that she has an obsession with Alice in Wonderland means her pictures have a whimsical feel. 

TWO | bookloversnest
Allison of @bookloversnest loves YA books just as much as I do and every time one of her pictures comes up I find a new book I want to read. I adore how bright and colorful her feed is; it's like a rainbow of bookishness. And she's also a writer!

THREE | bookotter
How cool are these pictures? Liza of @bookotter has a wonderfully minimalist picture style that to me evokes a Gothic feel (check out more of her pictures to see what I mean). She arranges flowers and leaves and objects like a pro. It helps that we have the same taste in books. 

FOUR | twirlingpages
Can I please have her room? Alexandra of @twirlingpages not only reads the best books (totally jealous of the awesome ARCs that she gets), but her gallery wall is to die for and she's a freaking ballerina! I love that her Instagram feed has a feminine feel it it. 

FIVE | booksandteacups_
Hodan of @booksandteacups_'s combines two fantastic things: books and food! She makes me wish I could eat breakfast in bed every single morning while reading. And everything she eats looks so delicious too. 

SIX | foldedpagesdistillery
Hikari of @foldedpagesdistillery's collection of mugs, bookmarks, candles, bookish jewelry, and Harry Potter gear is seriously swoon-worthy. I wish I had a million dollars so I could have the same collection of awesome things. I love that she includes objects that have something to do with the book. Everything she adds is so clever, especially when you've read the book and understand why she included it. 

Honorary mention: @bookwormboutique makes the BEST book nerd items!

Which bookstagrammers do you follow?

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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Outfit: Library Card

Are you an avid library-goer? I am for sure! Don't get me wrong, I can still spend hours browsing the new books at Barnes & Nobles, but I don't always want to buy every single book. If I'm not sure I'll like the book, I'll mosey on over to the library to get it.

I was never an audiobook listener before, but for several months now I've been borrowing audiobooks from the library (because they're way too expensive to buy) and it's made driving to and from work so much more enjoyable. It's a great way to "read" more books because I obviously have to be in my car to get to work. And sometimes I just can't listen to the same three songs on the radio anymore. (P.S. - Overdrive is fan-freaking-tastic!)

This library card scarf from Out of Print is perfect for the library lover like myself. I was so tempted to get the yellow version because it's Hufflepuff colors!
Jacket: Target | Sweater: Old Navy | Scarf: Out of Print
Jeans: Hollister | Boots: DSW

Are you a library-goer?

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