Thursday, April 30, 2015

Inspired By: April's Best Selling Books

It's book time, ladies and gents! If you haven't heard yet, Anthony Doerr's book All The Light We Cannot See won the Pulitzer Prize! I've heard it's a fantastic book, but the book I most want to read from the ones below is The Girl at Midnight, a cool YA fantasy. 

The Girl at Midnight
The Girl at Midnight
Written by Melissa Grey; beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. Echo, a human, is a runaway pickpocket and the Avicen are the only family she's ever known. When a war comes to her home, she decides it's time to act.

A fun and cover-inspired look: a star print dress, gold feather headband, purple belt, and peep-toe black booties. Or wear a casual outfit with a star print blouse, gray jeans, feather earrings, moon and star ring, and brown booties. 

Buy the book: B&N | Amazon | Goodreads

All The Light We Cannot See
All The Light We Cannot See
Written by Anthony Doerr, this Pulitzer-Prize winning and New York Times best seller is about blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II. 

A military-like outfit inspired by Werner, the orphan German boy: an olive jacket, striped blouse, jeans, a black watch, and black booties. Or wear an outfit like Marie-Laure, the French girl: a lace blue dress, black blazer, diamond ring, star earrings, and lace nude flats. 

Buy the book: B&N | Amazon | Goodreads

The Wicked Will Rise (Dorothy Must Die #2)
The Wicked Will Rise
Written by Danielle Paige, this YA reimagining of The Wizard of Oz follows Amy, a girl from Kanas, who landed on Oz in the previous book to find that it's not the place you know from the books and movies. Somehow, across a twisted and divided land, Amy has to find the Order, protect the true ruler of Oz, take Dorothy and her henchmen down—and try to figure out what I'm really doing here.

Inspired by the Wicked Witch, who oddly enough is a good guy in this book: a lace black romper, green bracelets, a mint watch, and mint and striped heels. Or an outfit based on Amy: black moto jacket, "Go Your Own Way" tank, distressed jeans, and floral sneakers. 

Buy the book: B&N | Amazon | Goodreads

The Hand on the Mirror: A True Story
The Hand on the Mirror
Written by Janis Heaphy Durham, this true story is about Janis and her husband, Max, who died of cancer in 2004. Soon after his death, she began encountering strange things: lights flickering, clocks stopping at 12:44, the exact time of Max's death, and a powdery handprint on a mirror. This launched her on a journey that transformed her spiritually and altered her view of reality forever.

Wear all-white like the ghost in the book: white blazer, polka dot tank, distressed jeans, silver cuff, and gray sneakers. Or throw on a gray tee dress, a striped sweater, and gray booties. 

Buy the book: B&N | Amazon | Goodreads

Which of these books do you want to read?

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Pocket Book Reviews {April 2015}

I read more books this month than I ever have before! *pats self on back* I'm not sure why, but I was on a reading streak. I picked up a few awesome books on my own and got a bunch to review for free, mostly through NetGalley.

★★★ (4 out of 5)

Written by Alice Hoffman, this story follows Twig, a young girl in a small town that is rumored to have a monster. Two hundred years ago, a witch placed a curse on Twig's family that was meant to last forever, but when a new family moves in next door everything will change. 

This book is beautiful from beginning to end. The story just springs to life on the pages. The writing is illustrative and lovely and it was like I was reading a movie. All of the characters are believable and flawed, and made me feel for them and what they were going through. The story is a bit simplified, and the ending felt a little too packaged and perfect, but then again it is a middle-grade book, so that's understandable. 

Buy the book: B&N | Amazon | Goodreads

Material Girls**
★★★ (4 out of 5)

Written by Elaine Dimopoulos, this story is in a future where teenagers control culture, or so they think. Sixteen-year-old Marla Klein is employed at a top fashion label and dictates what the new clothing trends are, but when she's demoted she begins to see that she's just a pawn in a system of corporate control and decides to change it. 

This story is being called Project Runway meets Divergent, which feels pretty accurate. I would add that it kind of feels like what would happen if the people in the Capital (in The Hunger Games) rebelled against society. I initially wasn't sure I would like it, but the characters intrigued me as did the society as a whole. The plot ended up surprising me because it turned out to be smarter and more political than I anticipated. I had to know what would happen next.

Buy the book: B&N | Amazon | Goodreads (Release date: May 5)

Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles #3.5)
★★★ (5 out of 5)

Written by Marissa Meyer, this book is a prequel to the Lunar Chronicles series. Princess Levana is a girl who grows up with an older sister who terrorizes her and parents who don't care about her or her older sister, so is it any wonder that she would turn into a power hungry, crazy queen? 

The Lunar Chronicles (which is a fantasy fairytale reimagining) is one of my favorites; it just keeps getting better and better. We get to know Queen Levana before she becomes the horrible, cruel queen we all know and hate in Cinder. Queen Levana uses her "glamour" (ability to change her appearance and make people do what she wants) to gain power, but I couldn't help but feel sorry for the young, misguided, delusional young woman she was before becoming Queen. I love how Meyer expanded the story and made us see the world from a new perspective. It makes me eager for the final installment in the series called Winter

Buy the book: B&N | Amazon | Goodreads

The Worrier's Guide to Life**
★★★ (4 out of 5)

Written by Gemma Correll, her comics show how when you look at life, you can see how peculiar and wacky it really is. Correll, a self-proclaimed World Champion Worrier and Expert Insomniac, shows you that life can get much, much worse. 

I was in the mood to read something light, quick, and fun, and this hit the spot. Each page has a quirky comic about life, like Reward Stickers for Grown-Ups and A Map to an Introvert's Heart. Gemma Correll's comics cracked me up and when I came across one particularly poignant and funny I had to share it with anyone who was nearby. I think this would be a great gift. 

Buy the book: B&N | Amazon | Goodreads (Release date: May 26)

The Fade Out Volume 1**
★★★ (3 out of 5)

Written by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, this noir graphic novel is set in Hollywood at the end of the Golden Era (1940s). Charlie, a script writer, wakes up one day after a wild party and realizes that he's in the room with a very famous, very dead actress. One that he didn't kill. The murder is labeled a suicide, a new actress gets her part, Charlie doesn't know who to trust, and nothing is as it seems. 

I'm normally not one for noir, but this story intrigued me. Hollywood, script writers, post-World War II, and the murder of a famous actress. As is the case with most noir, all of the characters' morals are ambiguous, even the main character's; you don't know who to trust and you don't know what horrible news a cigarette-smoking woman will deliver next. It was an interesting story and my biggest complaint is that I wish it was longer.

Buy the book: B&N | Amazon | Goodreads

The Cicada Prophecy*
★★★ (3 out of 5)

Written by J.R. McLeay; in the future mankind has found a way to achieve immortality...for a price. In order to live forever, at twelve years old every person undergoes an operation that preserves their body at a pre-adolescent stage. The world is a peaceful utopian full of emotionally and intellectually mature juveniles, but rebels from the Garden of Eden church plan to return the world to its natural order by whatever means necessary. 

This book is interesting, I'll give it that. As someone who is fascinated by genetics and evolution, the pseudo-science kept me intrigued, as did the overarching story of whether this juvenile-run society would remain intact by the end. However, many of the characters felt like caricatures and I couldn't get over how the dialogue felt too clinical and fake. Yes, the characters are meant to be very intellectual, but almost every conversation felt detached and too explanatory. 

Buy the book: B&N | Amazon | Goodreads

★★★ (5 out of 5)

Written by V.E. Schwab, ten years ago two brilliant college students, Victor and Eli, decide to do an experiment to become EOs aka people with extraordinary abilities, but do so they have to have a near-death experiment. Turns out they were right and they both get powers, but something goes wrong. Ten years later, Victor has broken out of prison and he's determined to catch up with Eli, who his now his enemy. 

This book is fantastic! It's a dark superhero origin story without the superheroes. You root for Victor, but he's not exactly a hero. In a way, he could be a villain himself, but that's what makes it so great. All of the characters are ambiguous and real. Eli is a true villain that you love to hate and wish you could punch in the face. The story really takes you on an adventurous ride.  

Buy the book: B&N | Amazon | Goodreads

The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy**
★★★ (5 out of 5)

Written by Sam Maggs, this book explores the world of girl geekdom: fanfiction, cosplay, books, podcasts, OTPs, conventions, and more. It's packed with tips for going to conventions, how to get into your fandom of choice, how to deal with hate on the internet, and how to support fellow geeks. 

This book is just a ball of awesome! I loved it! I'd say it's more for people who are just starting to fly their "Geek Girl" flag rather than for full on geek girls since most geeks will know everything in the book already, but it was still a lot of fun to read. I actually got a lot out of the section on going to conventions since I've never been to one myself. 

Buy the book: B&N | Amazon | Goodreads (Release date: May 12)

In Real Life
★★★ (4 out of 5)

Written by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang, In Real Life is about a teen girl, Anda, who joins the massive multiplayer role-playing game called Coarsegold. She's part of an all-girl group inside the game and makes friends from all over the world, but things get complicated when she befriends a poor Chinese kid. Anda learns that actions in-world also out out-of-world consequences. 

I really enjoyed this book and breezed right through it. It's beautifully illustrated and a fun read. I love that Anda learns more about herself and becomes more of a bad ass by playing this game, but I think there are a few topics that could've been touched upon more like bullying and feminism. I also wish it had been longer because it was so wonderful. 

Buy the book: B&N | Amazon | Goodreads

*I received this book for free. All opinions are my own.
**I received this book via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

Win Fairest by Marissa Meyer! International giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I haven't read The Curse of Anne Boleyn yet, even though I've received it from NetGalley, 
but 3 of you can win a copy of the book ahead of its release date. (Giveaway via Sourcebooks.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Outfit: Simple Elegance with Sparkle Box

**I received one Sparkle Box for review. All opinions are my own.**

One of the reasons I love Ipsy is the thrill of seeing that pink metallic mailer every month and ripping it open to see what products I've received. If you're more a jewelry girl than a beauty girl then you're in luck -- Sparkle Box is a jewelry subscription service that sends you 2-3 pieces of jewelry every month for $19 that's yours to keep. 

My favorite thing about Sparkle Box (besides getting beautiful jewelry in the mail!) is that there are various styles to choose from: Boho Beauty, Quirky/Handmade, On Trend, Subtle Style, Avant Garde, Surprise Me, and Sparkle Girl for ages 10-16. Whatever your preferred jewelry style, there's a box for it. 

I chose Subtle Style since I like simple and elegant pieces and I was not disappointed. I got a gold double chain chevron-like necklace and gold hammered earrings. These pieces are lovely and classic and perfect for both parties and every day. So if you want sparkle send to your door check out Sparkle Box.

Get 10% off your first box with code SARASPARKLE10!

Necklace & Earrings: ℅ Sparkle Box | Cardigan: Urban Outfitters (old)
Top: Loft | Jeans: Hollister | Loafers: thrifted 

Would you try Sparkle Box?

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Monday, April 27, 2015

Lusting: Slip-On Sneakers

Between going to Pittsburgh to do some sightseeing and going to BookCon, I'm going to be doing a lot of walking and I want a new pair of slip-on sneakers. My cute purple pair got drenched and now the lining keeps slipping. I also have navy sneakers, but when I wear them without socks the laces annoy my feet. All that to say I need a new pair stat. 

So here are a few fun options I love:
Slip-On Sneakers

Do you love slip-on sneakers?

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Rocksbox Jewelry

**I was given three months of Rocksbox for free. All opinions are my own.**

Pretty jewelry customized for you and sent straight to your doorstep? Count me in! If you haven't heard of Rocksbox, it's a subscription box where you take a quiz so Rocksbox knows your jewelry taste and sends you jewelry to rent for $19. You're sent designer jewelry that you can keep for as long as you like. When you want to try something new, you simply send it all back and get three new pieces to wear. If there's anything that you want to keep forever, you can buy it at a discounted price. 

Use code "moptopxoxo" to get your first box free!

Perry Street's Daisy Crystal Earrings
Aren't these earrings so elegant and classy? They sparkle in the sun and are the perfect length. They're pretty, but I probably wouldn't wear them very often. They original price is $50 and the Insiders' Price is $40.

Wanderlust + Co's Box-Pave Silver Cuff
I'm picky about my cuffs. I want them to be loose, but not so loose that they fall halfway down my hand like these do. I'm also not a fan of the crystaled square at one end. It's not really my style. Original price is $62 and Insiders' Price is $49.

Urban Gem's Victoria Necklace
I LOVE this! I feel like I've been on the hunt for a crystal necklace like this for ages and they're always too big, too heavy, or too short, but this one is perfect. It's so pretty and lightweight and it goes with everything. The original price is $64 and the Insiders' Price is $51, but I'm so tempted to keep it. What do you think?

P.S. -- Marissa (formerly of The Modern Austen) is starting a new blog!
Ampersand Creative launches today and aims to help young professionals identify and fulfill a creative lifestyle. She wants you to say yes to the "ands" in your life. Doesn't that sound fantastic?! Be sure to check it out!

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Inspired By: The Age of Adaline

I've been looking forward to seeing The Age of Adaline for months now! Raise your hand if you've been anxiously anticipating its release too! If you've never heard of it, it's about a young married woman, who gets into a car accident and gets struck by lightning, which miraculously stops her from aging. Due to the fact that she doesn't grow old, she must go on the run and she lives a lonely life, but in the present she meets a man who finally makes her want to stop running.

It comes out tomorrow in the U.S. 

1920s to 1940s
Age of Adaline -- 20s to 40s

Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively) is a normal young woman, who gets married and has a daughter, but one evening she gets into a car accident and her life is changed forever. She remains with her family for a short time, but eventually people start to notice that she hasn't aged and she must go on the run.

For a 1920s look, wear a long yellow coat, an orange dress with a bit of a drop waist, black t-strap flats, and a brown satchel. Or get inspired by Adaline's wedding look: a white lace dress, a floral headband, a sequin clutch, red lips, and burgundy t-strap heels. 

1950s to 1970s
Age of Adaline -- 50s to 70s
Adaline remains on the run and changes up her look constantly into order to blend in with the times. Her daughter is now getting older than her. It's during the 1960s that she meets William Jones (who will later be played by Harrison Ford), whom she meets again in forty years.

Go for a classic meets modern look in a black sleeve dress, an olive jacket, map print scarf, floral bracelet, and pale blue pointed-toe heels. Or dress like Adaline's 1970s look in a gray sweater, green pleated skirt, and gray heels. 

1980s to Present
Age of Adaline -- 80s to Present
Adaline has been on the run for so long now that she's forgotten what it's like to call a place home. Her daughter is now an old woman and Adaline meets a young man named Ellis Jones (Michael Huisman) who makes her want to stay, but everything is threatened when she meets his parents.

Go for a 1990s vibe with a striped cardigan, a floral print dress, a long necklace, and brown wedges. Or wear a modern outfit: a burgundy lace dress, a blue necklace, star stud earrings, and purple and leopard print heels. 

Will you be seeing The Age of Adaline?

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Ipsy Glam Bag {April 2015}

Time to review the Beautifully Bohemian Ipsy bag! I really love this month's bag, both the actual bag (the colorful straw makes me think of the beach) and the amazing beauty products. I'm excited to use all of these products for the rest of forever.

What I got:
 Pandora's Face Blush in Pink Carnation (full size $12)
 Mullein & Sparrow's Tinted Lip Balm (full size $10)
 The Balm's Nude Dude Eyeshadow in Fit (sample $3, full size palette $36)
 MICA Beauty's Eye Primer (full size $45)
 Elizabeth Arden Lipstick in Red Door Red (full size $25)

This bag is worth $95! Whoa!

Pandora's Face Blush in Pink Carnation

I love using blush. It makes me look like I'm alive, instead of a pale zombie. This blush is a dark rosy-pink (it's darker in person that it appears in pictures), it's matte, and pigmented. With just a swipe or two it gives me a rosy glow. I would recommend this. 

Mullein & Sparrow's Tinted Lip Balm

The small packaging is so cute! This balm is organic, vegan, and handmade. It has a delicious orange smell, but the balm itself is thin and greasy and not very tinted. I like the scent, but not much more than that. 

The Balm's Nude Dude Eyeshadow in Fit

Love this packaging -- it's a book! This pigmented metallic bronze eyeshadow is so pretty and catches the light very nicely. I would love to get more colors. I would recommend this. 

MICA Beauty's Eye Primer

I didn't think I would find an eye primer that rivals the Urban Decay original primer, but this is fantastic. The light colors acts as a matte highlighter, which is great for when you need to look more awake, but if you have darker skin don't worry because it blends in really well. My eyeshadow stayed put all day with this, there wasn't creasing, and no oily lids. Perfection! I would 100% recommend this. 

Elizabeth Arden Lipstick in Red Door Red

This is definitely the fanciest lipstick I have! Look at that gold packaging! I love the idea of red lipstick, but to be honest I never wear it because you have to be so precise. This pink-red lipstick is so pigmented; one swipe is all you need. It also has a sweet vanilla scent, which I love. I'll have to start wearing red lipstick more. I would recommend this. 

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Outfit: I'm A Fangirl

I'm proud to say that I'm a fangirl! I fangirl about YA books, fashion, Harry Potter, movies, Mindy Kaling, rom-coms, Marvel superheroes, and more. It's wonderful when you find someone who loves something as much as you do, so that you can fangirl together. 

This past Saturday, I hung out with Kristin of Super Space Chick (and later her boyfriend Andrew joined us) and we fangirled about fantasy novels, Marvel movies, Nutella, and our love of reading YA books. She is seriously so awesome! Yay for meeting blogger friends in real life!

Speaking of which, in a month I'm going to Pittsburgh to meet more blogger friends: Jess, Kristin, and Marissa! I'm excited to explore a new city and get to know these wonderful gals!

I was sick last week, so I thought I would show you the pictures I took for the collaboration with Jess. Be sure to stop by her blog to see my answers to her bookish questions.
Cardigan: Old Navy | Shirt: Hot Topic | Jeans: American Eagle
Sneakers: Converse

Join my series Books & Looks!

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Monday, April 20, 2015

Inspiration: Springtime

Who else is thrilled that spring has arrived? It's time for flowy tops and dresses, driving with the windows open, basking in the sunshine, having ice cream with friends, easy updos (because you're off to worry about more important things), and just having a grand old time. 

This spring I have a lot of fantastic things on the horizon, but the two most exciting are that I'm going to Pittsburgh to see Jess, Kristin, and Marissa and that I'm attending BookCon! May is going to be an awesome month!

What are you excited for this spring?

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